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(MENAFN - AFP) The Brazilian health ministry confirmed that there was a link between cases of microcephaly, a head deformity, in babies and the Zika virus, transmitted by mosquitoes that spread dengue.

The outbreak of microcephaly in northeastern Brazil "is a unique situation in global scientific research," the agency said in a statement.

Health authorities established ...

(MENAFN - AFP) While the golden domes of Turkmenistan's presidential palace hint at the country's fantastic gas wealth, the reclusive Central Asian country remains a slumbering giant in the high stakes game of energy politics.

An ex-Soviet republic of five million, Turkmenistan boasts more gas reserves per capita than any other country bar Qatar. But it has so far proved ...

(MENAFN - AFP) The International Monetary Fund is expected to approve inclusion of China's yuan in its SDR basket of elite currencies on Monday, rewarding Beijing's strong pursuit of the global status.

The IMF executive board is scheduled to meet Monday to decide on the recommendation by staff experts earlier in November to include the yuan, also known as the renminbi, alongside ...

(MENAFN - AFP) Chinese Internet tycoon Jack Ma's mooted buyout of Hong Kong's struggling South China Morning Post could see the paper prosper from his Midas touch, analysts say, but also further erode its independence and with it the city's press freedoms.

The once globally renowned paper was founded in 1903 and has long given international readers an insider's perspective ...

(MENAFN - AFP) Saudi-led Gulf OPEC members will reject pressure to shoulder the cost of cutting oil production alone despite warnings that prices risk sliding further, officials and analysts say.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, which pump more than half of OPEC's 32 million barrels of daily output, want a solid commitment from all other producers, ...

(MENAFN - AFP) A massive influx of refugees, and accompanying billions in public spending, have provided Germany with a long-awaited answer to partners' calls for it to do more to jumpstart the eurozone economy.

Data released this week showed solid growth for Europe's top economy in the third quarter, lifted by strong consumer spending and state expenditure for asylum seekers.

Analysts ...

(MENAFN - AFP) Prepaid payment cards were seen as a positive development, helping those excluded from the banking system and providing a convenient financial tool, but their use in the Paris terror attacks has revealed a troubling dark side.

The attackers used an anonymous prepaid card to rent hotel rooms outside Paris the night before the November 13 strikes that killed ...

(MENAFN - AFP) The ECB will roll out its big guns at its monetary policy meeting this week, ramping up its trillion-euro asset purchases and cutting key rates to hike weak inflation, analysts said.

Fed up with an inflation rate that is stubbornly far below the target of close to 2.0 percent, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi has in recent weeks multiplied pledges to ...

(MENAFN - AFP) Iran is seeking $25 billion in investments from 50 deals involving international oil and gas companies, foreign executives were told Saturday in Tehran as the government outlined new contractual terms.

Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh opened a two-day conference in the capital attended by BP, Shell, Total of France, ENI of Italy, Repsol of Spain, OMV from Austria ...

(MENAFN - AFP) Ireland is feeling the strain as Europe's largest producer of zinc with global prices for the metal plummeting due to an economic slowdown in China and surplus supply on world markets.

The country's second largest mine is shutting down with the loss of 370 jobs because the zinc is running out and Indian owners Vedanta Resources Group have no plans for further ...

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