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(MENAFN - AFP) German automaker Daimler AG broke ground this week on a $500 million plant in Charleston, South Carolina to build vans, with the company hoping at last to avoid steep US import tariffs.

When the factory comes online by the end of the decade, it may also help the company pay lower wages and circumvent labor unions.

Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) France is bracing for its annual Black Saturday, when millions of people return from their July holidays and millions of others take to the roads, rails and skies for their August break.

The annual event is more charmingly referred to as the big "chasse-croise" of the summer, a phrase derived from a dance pattern.

"It would be nuts to get into a car tomorrow," ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) A groundbreaking maternity clinic dedicated to helping rape survivors through pregnancy opened in London on Friday.

The centre at the Royal London Hospital is the world's first maternity clinic specifically for rape survivors, according to the My Body Back project which helps women who have experienced sexual violence.

The new initiative was launched ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Four cases of Zika virus in Florida are likely the first transmitted locally by mosquitoes in the United States, officials said Friday, marking a new phase in the fast-growing pandemic.

Until now, more than 1,600 cases of Zika -- which can cause birth defects -- have been recorded in the mainland United States but most were brought in by people who had become ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Italy's Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena came a distant last in EU bank stress test, as the world's oldest bank announced sweeping reforms in a bid to stay afloat.

Under the European Banking Authority's economic shock scenario, BMPS would suffer a 14.23 percent plunge in its core capital ratio -- a measure of stability -- by 2018.

That would bring the ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The Canadian economy suffered its worst contraction in more than seven years in May, mainly due to massive wildfires in the oil-sands region of Fort McMurray, the government said Friday.

Canada's gross domestic product, the broad measure of goods and services, fell 0.6 percent in May from April, the largest monthly decline since March 2009, Statistics Canada ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) US oil giants ExxonMobil and Chevron reported another bruising round of results Friday, with a glut of gasoline and other refined products adding to the hit from low oil prices.

ExxonMobil reported a nearly 60 percent plunge in second-quarter net income to $1.7 billion, while Chevron suffered a $1.5 billion loss, its third straight quarter in the red.

"The ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Shares in Monte Paschi di Siena (BMPS) soared on the Milan stock exchange Friday, boosted by a possible new lifeline tabled by a veteran Italian banker and Swiss giant UBS.

The stock of BMPS, the world's oldest bank which has become the eurozone banking sector's problem child, rose over 10 percent at the opening on news of the plan, which could turn out to ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Global stocks proved resilient Friday despite disappointing second-quarter economic growth in Europe and the United States and an underwhelming stimulus package from the Bank of Japan.

Official US data estimated growth in the second quarter at an annual rate of 1.2 percent, far below the 2.6 percent expected by analysts. The report showed weak investment by ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Equities remained resilient Friday despite disappointing growth in Europe and the United States and the Bank of Japan failing to deliver an expected boost to stimulus.

Frankfurt and Paris both ended the day higher despite eurozone economic growth halving to 0.3 percent in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, London edged out a small gain as oil prices bounced ...

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