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RBS privatisation prospects brighten after surprise profit LONDON: Part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland boosted its chances of an earlier than expected return to private ownership, posting a surprise 1 billion pound ($1.7 billion) second-quarter profit as its painful restructuring begins to bear fruit. The government has already started selling off shares in its state-backed rival Lloyds Banking Group, but RBS's privatisation was considered by banking and political sources to be three to five years away despite drastic cost-cuts, asset sales and the shrinking of its investment bank. Britain pumped 45.5 billion pounds into the bank during the 2008/09 financial crisis, leaving the government with an 81 percent stake and taxpayers are still sitting on a paper loss of 11.7 billion pounds.RBS's second-quarter numbers far exceeded analysts' expectations, prompting the bank to report a week early, and sent its shares soaring 13.5 percent to 373 pence at 1030GMT - on course for their biggest one-day gain since April ...

WHO calls for humanitarian corridor to evacuate Gaza wounded GENEVA: The World Health Organisation (WHO) called on Friday for a humanitarian corridor to be set up in Gaza to allow aid workers to evacuate the wounded and bring in life-saving medicines. In a statement, the UN health agency said that four hospitals, including al Aqsa hospital in the coastal strip, had been damaged in the conflict that began on July 8 when Israel launched air strikes, followed by a ground invasion. "WHO calls for ...

Rosneft lines up anti-sanctions measures, net income up MOSCOW: Russia's biggest oil producer Rosneft said on Friday it has prepared steps to cope with the negative impact from international sanctions, as it reported higher net income on the back of a stronger rouble. Kremlin-controlled Rosneft, which accounts for 40 percent of Russian oil production, was hit by sanctions from the United States over Moscow's actions in Ukraine, limiting the company's access to Western money.The company, in which BP owns a 19.75 percent stake, ...

Euro, shares sag as Ukraine woes hit German confidence LONDON: Signs that tensions between the West and Russia are starting to hurt confidence in Europe's dominant economy Germany left the euro near an eight-month low on Friday and lifted the region's government bonds.Germany's Ifo survey revealed a hefty fall in business confidence over the last few weeks, prompting concerns the region's growth engine and driver of its recovery could be stuttering.It was the third consecutive fall in an index which monitors the mood of ...

EU reaches preliminary deal on Russia economic sanctions BRUSSELS: European Union ambassadors reached a preliminary agreement on Friday to push ahead with hard-hitting economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis but details remained to be worked out, diplomats said. The 28-nation EU has toughened its stance towards Moscow since last week's downing of a Malaysian airliner in an area of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists. After a discussion that lasted all day Thursday and part of Friday, ambassadors asked the EU's ...

Kerry meets with UN, Egypt as Gaza truce push builds CAIRO: US Secretary of State John Kerry huddled Friday with UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Egypt's foreign minister as pressure built for a ceasefire in Gaza.Kerry, who spent another night in Cairo reaching out by telephone to regional officials, met Ban and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri for around half an hour.The top US diplomat has said he would speak to reporters later Friday, on what could be the end of his week-long mission to ...


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Foreign Debt $60.9bn
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WeeklyJuly 10, 2014
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