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    UK PM May says Brexit accord is big step towards smooth EU exit

    London: Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday Britain had taken an important step forward in delivering a smooth departure from the European Union after the bloc agreed to move talks onto the next stage of negotiations. 

    “Today is an important step on the road to delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit and forging our deep and special future partnership,” May said on Twitter.


    RBI sets rupee reference rate at 64.0958 against US dollar

    Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India today fixed the reference rate of the rupee at 64.0958 against the US dollar and 75.5241 for the euro. The corresponding rates were 64.2798 and 75.9980, yesterday. 

    The according to an RBI statement, the exchange rates for the pound and the yen against the rupee were 86.1319 and 57.13 per 100 yens, respectively, based on reference rates for the dollar and cross-currency quotes at noon. The SDR-rupee figure will be based on this rate, the statement added.


    Death toll from train, bus collision in France rises to six: Source

    Paris: The death toll from Thursday’s collision between a train and a school bus has risen to six, a source familiar with the investigation said on Friday, as investigators combed the mangled wreckage. 

    The train ploughed into the bus, which was carrying children aged between 11 and 17, on a road crossing near the town of Perpignan in southern France.


    Russia says open to working with US to try to resolve Libya crisis: RIA

    Moscow: Russia is open to working with the United States to try to solve the crisis in Libya, Russia’s ambassador to Libya was cited as saying on Friday by the RIA news agency. 

    He was also cited as saying that Moscow was ready to initiate the lifting of an international arms embargo on Libya, but that was something he said could only be done once the North African country had a united army.


    Japan adopts additional sanctions against North Korea: Suga

    Tokyo: Japan will impose additional sanctions on North Korea following repeated threats by Pyongyang’s missiles and nuclear programme, Japan’s top government spokesman said on Friday. 

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that Japan would freeze assets of 19 more North Korean institutions.


    PSA's Opel to shorten workers' hours in restructuring

    Frankfurt: PSA Group’s Opel, under pressure to cut costs, said on Friday that management and workers representatives had reached an agreement that included shorter hours for its workers.

    The Ruesselsheim, Germany-based carmaker said an agreement had been struck to, among other, trim hours for at least six months from Jan. 1 in the engineering and administration departments.  From April 1, the work week will also be shortened to 35 hours, Opel said.


    China's premier says improving S.Korea-China ties to benefit S.Korea businesses

    Seoul: Chinese premier Li Keqiang on Friday said stalled bilateral projects with South Korea would resume as ties between the two nations thaw, South Korea’s presidential office spokesman said. 

    Many South Korean businesses will benefit from better ties with China, and many Chinese are expected to visit South Korea during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Yoon Young-chan said in text messages to reporters, citing Li.


    Russian court finds ex-minister Ulyukayev guilty of taking a bribe: Judge

    Moscow: A Russian court on Friday found ex-economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev guilty of taking a bribe. 

    The court established that Ulyukayev had personally taken a bribe from Igor Sechin, the chief executive officer of oil giant Rosneft, a judge said.


    Bill on Triple Talaq cleared by Cabinet

    New Delhi: A bill on Triple Talaq was cleared by the Union Cabinet on Friday, ahead of it being taken up in the Winter Session of Parliament. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, is popularly known as a bill on 'Triple Talaq', a form of oral divorce among the Muslims.

    According to government sources, the Bill has provision for punishment for this form of divorce. The bill will also give women right to seek maintenance in case of Triple Talaq.


    Iran nuke deal breakdown would hurt effort to manage N Korea: Russia

    Moscow: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a possible breakdown of the Iran nuclear deal would send the wrong signal when it came to trying to resolve the situation around North Korea, the RIA and Interfax news agencies reported on Friday.

    Any attempts to provoke a military scenario for North Korea would lead to catastrophe, the agencies quoted Lavrov as saying in the Russian parliament.


    India raises import tax on some electrical, electronics items

    New Delhi: India has raised import tax on some electrical and electronics items such as mobile phones, television sets, digital cameras and microwave ovens to up to 20 percent, a government statement issued late on Thursday said.

    Import tax on video cameras has been raised to 15 percent from 10 percent and on television sets, it has been doubled to 20 percent, the statement said. 


    Russian parliament sets March 18 as presidential election date

    Moscow: The upper house of the Russian parliament voted on Friday to set March 18 as the date of next year’s presidential election.

    The decision was approved by the Russian senators unanimously, speaker Valentina Matvienko said after the vote.


    Hospital operator Shalby's shares fall on trading debut after $80 million IPO

    Mumbai: Shares of Indian hospital operator Shalby Ltd fell as much as 3 percent in early trade on market debut after the company’s 5.1 billion rupee ($80 million) initial public offering last week.

    Shares were trading at 246.75 rupees, down 0.5 percent as of 0435 GMT, compared with the IPO issue price of 248 rupees.  The issue was subscribed nearly three times.


    Russia says high-level contacts with North Korea possible: Ifax

    Moscow: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said Moscow had not had high-level contacts with the new North Korean leadership but they were possible, the Interfax news agency reported on Friday. 

    “In theory they (contacts) are possible,” Interfax quoted Morgulov as saying.  Morgulov said Russia had many communication channels with North Korea, which “in one way or another are bearing fruit”.


    Gold higher as dollar slips on tax bill worries

    Gold prices edged higher in Asian trade on Friday, heading for their first weekly gain in four, as the dollar sagged on concerns about the progress of U.S. tax reform.

    Spot gold was up nearly 0.2 percent at $1,254.74 an ounce as of 0349 GMT, and has gained 0.5 percent so far this week. US gold futures were unchanged at $1,257 an ounce.



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