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(MENAFN - AFP) Belarussians on Friday reacted with panic to the Russian ruble's plunge, rushing to buy foreign notes as they fear a devaluation of their own currency.

The run on the Belarussian ruble forced the central bank to announce a "temporary" tax of 30 percent on all purchases of foreign currency.

The bank also required all exporters to convert half of their ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) European stocks steadied on Friday following sharp gains the previous day, while oil futures rose slightly after sharp falls amid huge volatility across global markets ahead of the festive shutdown.

Around midday in the British capital, London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares climbed 0.41 percent to stand at 6,492.63 points compared with Thursday's close.

Frankfurt's ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The European Union's highest court ruled Thursday that obesity can be considered a "disability" if it hinders an overweight person's performance at work.

The European Court of Justice had been asked by a Danish court to consider the case of a child minder in Denmark who said he was fired four years ago because he is obese.

The employee, Karsten Kaltoft, ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) A long-running legal tussle between Austria and Bavaria took a new twist Friday as Vienna sued the southern German region's state bank for 3.5 billion euros ($4.3 billion).

"Today is no day for jokes," Austrian Foreign Minister Hans Joerg Schelling told reporters in Vienna. "We have studied all the alternatives for months. We owe it to the taxpayers."

The ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Shares in French tech firm Atos soared nearly five percent on Friday as traders cheered the news it had bought the IT wing of Xerox for more than $1 billion.

Atos stock was trading 4.9 percent higher on the main French CAC-40 index at the mid-point of the session.

Chief executive -- and former French finance minister -- Thierry Breton said the $1.05-billion ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The International Monetary Fund held back 86 million euros ($106 million) in bailout funds for Cyprus Friday after the island's parliament delayed a vote on foreclosure legislation demanded by lenders.

The money is part of a 10-billion euro package of emergency loans that eurozone member Cyprus was forced to negotiate to avoid bankruptcy early last year.

The ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Nigeria's central bank on Friday announced new measures to curb currency speculation as part of an effort to defend the naira which has been hit hard by the collapse in global oil prices.

Customers who purchase foreign currency through the interbank market or an authorised trader must use the funds within 48-hours, said a statement issued by the Central Bank ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Embattled Japanese auto parts maker Takata has published an open letter in major US and German media, vowing to step up its safety record after an airbag crisis hammered the company's reputation.

Chairman Shigehisa Takada said his family company understood public concerns and was "saddened" by the deaths of at least five motorists in the US and Malaysia who ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Steve Wozniak says he is no fan of smartwatches and believes Google Glass will fail as he cautioned not to expect the company he co-founded, Apple, to always lead the way into new technologies.

The American, who quit Apple in 1987 -- 12 years after creating the technology giant with the late Steve Jobs -- made the comments as he took up Australian residency, ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The United States and China wrapped up high-level trade talks in Chicago, with US officials hailing progress in a range of areas including medicines, intellectual property rights and agriculture.

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said the two sides had "very productive" talks in the annual high-level forum aimed at addressing bilateral trade and investment ...

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