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Tue Jan 7, 2014 8:39am EST

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TOP STORIES

Surprise drop in euro zone inflation shows deflation risk

BRUSSELS - Euro zone inflation falls in December after a small increase the previous month, increasing the European Central Bank's challenge of avoiding deflation as well as supporting the bloc's recovery. (EUROZONE-ECONOMY/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Martin Santa, 600 words)

Ireland gets bumper demand for first post-bailout bond

DUBLIN/LONDON - Ireland makes a storming return to the international bond market, with bumper demand for the country's first debt sale since exiting its EU/IMF bailout helping to drive down yields in the euro zone's periphery. (IRELAND-DEBT/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Conor Humphries and John Geddie, 500 words)

Credit Suisse steps up efforts to banish risk-taking past

ZURICH - Credit Suisse is accelerating a drive to scale back riskier fixed-income businesses following a tough 2013 and amid strict new regulation, moving further away from its traditional focus on investment banking. (CREDITSUISSE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Katharina Bart, 515 words)

+ see also;

- CREDITSUISSE-MORTGAGEPROBE/, moved, 455 words

European shares drive higher after Asia takes fresh hit

LONDON - European shares and the euro claws higher, as euro zone economic and inflation data holds up better than some had feared and the region's banks begin offloading funds stockpiled as a year-end precaution. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 6), expect by 1400 GMT/9 AM ET, by Marc Jones, 840 words)

ECONOMY

German unemployment falls unexpectedly in December

BERLIN - German unemployment unexpectedly falls in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, the first drop since July, the Labour Office says, bolstering hopes that domestic consumption could lift growth in Europe's biggest economy. (GERMANY-UNEMPLOYMENT/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 450 words)

U.S. trade deficit smallest in four years

WASHINGTON - The U.S. trade deficit is the smallest in four years as exports hit a record high and weak oil prices restrain import growth, the latest evidence of strengthening economic fundamentals. (USA-ECONOMY/TRADE, moved, 300 words)

Cash crunch signals policy dilemma for China's central bank

BEIJING - China's central bank looks set to risk another cash crunch at the end of January, barely a month after the last market squeeze, as policymakers press ahead with a crackdown on shadow financing and other risky bank lending. (CHINA-ECONOMY/POLICY (ANALYSIS, PICTURE), moved, by Kevin Yao, 1,250 words)

UK new car sales rise to highest level since 2007

LONDON - British new car sales rose to their highest level since 2007 last year, bucking a weak European trend to grow by 10.8 percent on the year, industry data for the continent's second-largest car market shows. (BRITAIN-AUTOS/SMMT (UPDATE 1), moved, by David Milliken, 540 words)

Turkey predicts brief economic impact from graft probe

ISTANBUL - Uncertainty caused by Turkey's corruption scandal could hit economic growth in the near term, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek says, while ratings agency Fitch warns that a prolonged crisis could weaken the country's creditworthiness. (TURKEY-CORRUPTION/ECONOMY (UPDATE 2), moved, by Seda Sezer, 620 words)

COMPANIES

Samsung Electronics sparks dividend debate after big bonus

SEOUL - Samsung Electronics, the world's largest smartphone maker, has reignited shareholder calls for more returns after splashing out on a special employee bonus estimated at nearly $1 billion. (SAMSUNG-EARNINGS/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Miyoung Kim, 870 words)

+ See also:

- MOBILE-DEVICES/GARTNER, moved, 315 words

- CES-4K/, moved, 400 words

UK watchdog defends approval of ex-Coop Bank chair

LONDON - Britain's financial watchdog has defends its role in approving the appointment of Paul Flowers to chair the Co-operative Bank in 2010 but admits that the decision proved to be a mistake in hindsight. (BRITAIN-COOP/ (UPDATE 2), expect by 1430 GMT/9.30 AM ET, by Matt Scuffham, 800 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-COOP/ (TIMELINE), moved, 500 words

Ex-UBS bank executive to enter plea in tax fraud case

MIAMI - A former high-ranking UBS banker charged with helping Americans dodge taxes through secret Swiss bank accounts is expected to plead not guilty on Tuesday to tax fraud conspiracy in federal court in Florida. (UBS-TAX/BANKER, moved, by Zachary Fagenson, 560 words)

Disasters caused less death and damage than usual in 2013

FRANKFURT - Natural catastrophes like floods and storms claimed more than 20,000 lives and caused around $125 billion in damage worldwide in 2013, well below the average of the last decade, reinsurer Munich Re says. (MUNICHRE-CATASTROPHES/, moved, 440 words)

SpiceJet orders Boeing jets worth over $4 bln - sources

DUBAI/PARIS - Indian budget airline SpiceJet has agreed to buy around 40 Boeing 737 passenger jets worth over $4 billion at list prices as it seeks to modernize its fleet and climb out of the red, industry sources says. (BOEING-SPICEJET/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Praveen Menon and Tim Hepher, 340 words)

Novartis and Roche fight it out in crowded lung cancer field

ZURICH - Swiss pharma group Novartis is pitting itself against local rival Roche to develop a treatment for a specific type of lung cancer as drugmakers crowd into the research areas where the science is most advanced. (NOVARTIS-ROCHE/LUNGDRUGS expect by 1400 GMT/9 AM ET, by Caroline Copley, 900 words)

Altice plans $1 bln share sale as Euro cable sector booms

PARIS - Altice, which owns French and Belgian cable companies and mobile operations in Israel, plans to list its shares on Amsterdam's NYSE Euronext with the aim of raising 750 million euros ($1 billion) to cut debt. (ALTICE/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Leila Abboud, 770 words)

"Boss-napping" returns as unionists lock up executives

PARIS - French trade unionists hold two executives overnight at the country's Goodyear tyre plant - a flashpoint for France's troubled industrial relations - to demand higher pay-outs for more than a thousand planned layoffs. (FRANCE-BOSSNAPPING/, moved, by Nicholas Vinocur, 500 words)

China suspends ban on video game consoles

BEIJING - China has temporarily lifts a 14-year-old ban on selling video game consoles, paving the way for Sony Corp, Microsoft Corp and Nintendo Co Ltd to enter the world's third largest video game market in terms of revenue. (CHINA-GAMESCONSOLES/ (UPDATE 2, PICTURE), moved, 720 words)

+ See also:

- CES-INTEL/, moved, by Noel Randewich, 550 words