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TOP STORIES

Euro zone manufacturing downturn eases

LONDON - Euro zone manufacturing remains mired in recession in November while Asian performance, with the exception of China, is subdued, underscoring a fragile and patchy global economy. (GLOBAL-ECONOMY/WRAPUP, expect by 1100 GMT/6 AM ET, by Andy Bruce, 600 words)

+ See also:

- PMI-FINAL/GERMANY, moved, 400 words

- CHINA-PMI/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Lucy Hornby, 800 words

- BRITAIN-ECONOMY/MANUFACTURING, moved, 100 words

Greece launches bond buyback offer

ATHENS - Greece says it will buy back bonds through a modified Dutch auction as part of efforts to cut its ballooning debt, allowing it to assess the level of demand before setting a final price for the deal. (GREECE-BUYBACK/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by George Georgiopoulos and Deepa Babington, 500 words)

+ See also:

- ECB-NOYER/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Leika Kihara, 550 words

UK lawmakers call for tax crackdown on multinationals

LONDON - A committee of UK lawmakers has called on government to crack down on multinational companies that make substantial sales in Britain but pay little tax here, echoing demands from leaders across Europe for measures to tackle corporate tax avoidance. (BRITAIN-TAX/BIGBUSINESS, moved, by Tom Bergin, 640 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-TAX/TREASURY , moved, 360 words

Euro, shares rise on signs of Chinese growth

LONDON - The euro hit a six-week high and shares rise as signs of quicker Chinese growth boosts investor risk appetite although gains are capped by U.S. budget worries. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/(WRAPUP 5), expect by 1030 GMT/5.30 AM ET, 500 words)

ECONOMY

In US 'fiscal cliff' manoeuvres it's all about the holiday

WASHINGTON - Watching the events of the past few weeks, you could have gotten the idea that the United States is not only going to slip from the "fiscal cliff" but jump lemming-like off it. (USA FISCAL/CONGRESS (ANALYSIS), moved, by Richard Cowan, 1,000 words)

Britain must hike infrastructure budget - Ernst & Young

LONDON - The British government should focus on infrastructure projects to boost its economy over the next two years, a think tank has says. (ERNSTYOUNG-AUTUMNSTATEMENT, moved, by Luke Jeffs, 370 words)

Euro zone crisis drags down European ad spending - report

LONDON - The euro zone crisis has left Western Europe the only world region to see a fall in advertising spending this year, market research group ZenithOptimedia says. (EUROPE-ADVERTISING/, moved, by Luke Jeffs, 290 words)

Gabon puts squeeze on oil companies

LONDON - Gabon is seeking to squeeze more money out of foreign oil companies operating in the country, executives say, potentially damping enthusiasm for a long-awaited deepwater licensing round due next year. (GABON-OIL, expect by 1100 GMT/6 AM ET, by Tom Bergin and Shadia Nasralla, 650 words)

Indian reforms face test with parliament vote

NEW DELHI - India's stuttering economic reform programme faces a key parliamentary test this week on whether to let foreign supermarket chains such as Wal-Mart Stores set up shop, in a vote that could pave the way for further measures to revive the economy. (INDIA-REFORMS/, moved, by Matthias Williams, 650 words)

COMPANIES

EADS confirms shareholder shake-up talks

PARIS - EADS confirmed that its French and German stakeholders were discussing a shake-up of the shareholding structure and corporate governance at the European aerospace and defence group. (EADS-STRUCTURE/TALKS (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, 530 words)

Credit Suisse CEO Dougan under pressure despite outsmarting rival

ZURICH - Credit Suisse boss Brady Dougan has outmanoeuvred an internal rival with his recent revamp of the Swiss bank and management shake-up but he is still on borrowed time, senior banking sources say. (CREDITSUISSE-CEO/, expect by 1100 GMT/6 AM ET, by Katharina Bart, 1,120 words)

UBS near $450 mln Libor settlement with US, UK - NYT

ZURICH - Swiss bank UBS AG is close to a settlement with U.S. and British authorities and is expected to pay more than $450 million over claims that some of its employees submitted false Libor rates, the New York Times reports. (UBS-LIBOR/ (UPDATE 1), expect by 1000 GMT/5 AM ET, by Sakthi Prasad and Martin de Sa'Pinto, 400 words)

Delta among suitors for stake in Virgin Atlantic - sources

NEW YORK/SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines says it is in talks with interested parties to sell its 49 percent stake in British carrier Virgin Atlantic, with sources revealing that Delta Air Lines Inc is among the potential suitors. (DELTA-VIRGIN/ (WRAPUP 2, GRAPHIC), moved, by Soyoung Kim and Charmian Kok, 855 words)

BP to outline upstream growth strategy

LONDON - BP will outline growth plans for its oil and gas production arm in its first strategy update since striking a series of deals aimed at getting its Russian and U.S. operations back on track. (BP-STRATEGY/, moved, by Andrew Callus, 450 words)

Batelco agrees to buy CWC assets in $1 bln deal

DUBAI - Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco), facing falling home revenue and market share, has agreed to buy Cable & Wireless Communications' assets in Monaco and some islands in a deal potentially worth up to $1 billion. (BATELCO/CWC(UPDATE 2), moved, by Matt Smith and Dinesh Nair, 580 words)

Telefonica considers listing 10-15 pct of Latam unit

MADRID - Spain's Telefonica SA is working on plans to list 10-15 percent of its Latin American unit, its chief executive says in an interview with the Financial Times. (TELEFONIC-IPO/LATAM (UPDATE 1), moved, 250 words)

China's dot-com darlings tap cheap global credit

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI - Chinese search engine company Baidu Inc paid a lower interest rate than Google Inc when it sold $750 million in 10-year bonds last month. China's three dominant dot-com names - Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd - have successfully tapped global funding this year, stockpiling a combined $6 billion in debt despite investor scepticism about opaque Chinese companies. (CHINA-INTERNET/DEBT, moved, by Umesh Desai and Pete Sweeney, 900 words)

ANALYSIS

Steel reprieve comes at price for France's Hollande

PARIS - Francois Hollande's bid to rescue steel furnaces in France's historic industrial heartland was to be the mark of a president on the side of the workers and a state with the courage to bring a multinational to heel. (FRANCE-MITTAL/HOLLANDE (ANALYSIS), moved, by Mark John, 940 words)

Drugmakers step up search for hearing loss medicines

ZURICH/LONDON - When Swiss biotech firm Auris Medical wanted to recruit patients to test its experimental hearing loss drug, it decided to enlist partygoers deafened by firecrackers on New Year's Eve. (HEARING-MEDICINES/ (ANALYSIS, PICTURE), moved, by Caroline Copley and Ben Hirschler, 1,100 words)