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TOP STORIES

U.S. job growth accelerates, weather cuts into hours worked

WASHINGTON - U.S. job growth rises more than expected in February, which could ease fears of an abrupt slowdown in economic growth and keep the Federal Reserve on track in reducing its monetary stimulus. (USA-ECONOMY/ (WRAPUP 2), moved, by Lucia Mutikani, 670 words)

Buoyant stocks at six-year high

LONDON - World shares are at a six-year high and heading for a fifth week of back-to-back gains as the ongoing tug-of-war over Crimea and U.S. jobs data do little to sap market confidence. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 5), moved, by Marc Jones, 1,000 words)

EU lawmakers study bonus rule as banks take evasive action

LONDON - European Union lawmakers will consider toughening the bloc's cap on bankers' bonuses after lenders have begun softening its impact by awarding extra "allowances" to top up fixed pay. (EU-BANKS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Huw Jones, 470 words)

+ See also:

- BANKS-BONUSES/INVESTORS, moved, by Chris Vellacott, 1,085 words

Emerging markets face carry pay-back time

LONDON - Emerging economies may be on the cusp of great unwinding of borrow-low invest-high carry trades, where an estimated $2 trillion -- double the size of previous yen carry deals -- have flooded mainly debt markets in the past five years. (EMERGING-CARRY/ (ANALYSIS), moved, by Natsuko Waki, 900 words)

INVESTMENT

Week after Mt Gox collapse, Japan struggles to grasp bitcoin

TOKYO - A week after the collapse of Mt. Gox, Japan is still struggling to craft a response to the bitcoin phenomenon, saying the crypto-currency is not legal tender, though it might be taxable and subject to money-laundering controls. (BITCOIN-MTGOX/JAPAN (UPDATE 1), moved, by William Mallard, 390 words)

+ See also:

- BITCOIN-INVENTOR/ (PICTURE, TV, UPDATE 2), moved, by Aron Ranen and Brandon Lowrey, 850 words

- BITCOIN-MTGOX/BELIEVERS, moved, by Kevin Krolicki and Nathan Layne, 630 words

China's "land kings" under threat as tightening takes a toll

HONG KONG - The days of Chinese developers snatching up premium properties with record-breaking offers are coming to an end as cooling measures bite and sale prices are squeezed, ending the reign of a handful of "land kings" in the world's second-largest economy. (CHINA-PROPERTY/, moved, by Clare Jim and Yimou Lee, 850 words)

+ See also:

- CHINA-HAINAN/CASINO (PICTURE), moved, 400 words

ECONOMY

Construction pushes up German industry output

BERLIN - German industry output rises for a third consecutive month in January, driven by a surge in construction, data shows, suggesting the industrial sector in Europe's largest economy started 2014 in good shape. (GERMANY-OUTPUT/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Michelle Martin, 400 words)

+ See also:

- GERMANY-INDUSTRY/POWER, moved, by Henning Gloystein and Vera Eckert, 815 words

ECB's Mersch - banks clean-up needed to boost "weak growth"

FRANKFURT - Europe's banking sector needs to be cleaned up and access to capital markets improved for companies to support the economic recovery in the euro zone when it picks up speed, European Central Bank policymaker Yves Mersch says. (ECB/LENDING-MERSCH, moved, 30 words)

+ See also:

- ECB/BANKS, moved, 330 words

Nigeria growth to quicken, inflation to ease this year - IMF

ABUJA - Nigeria's economy will grow faster this year than last, driven by sectors outside Africa's biggest energy industry, while inflation will continue its downward path, the International Monetary Fund says. (NIGERIA-IMF/, expect by 1400 GMT/9 AM ET, by Joe Brock, 700 words)

Britons increasingly see rate rise but lower price forecasts

LONDON - Britons' expectations for an interest rate hike over the next year are on the rise even as their inflation forecasts have fallen, a quarterly poll commissioned by the Bank of England shows. (BRITAIN-BOE/INFLATION, moved, 320 words)

Britain says Scotland split would risk Scottish pensions

LONDON - Scottish pensions will be put in danger if voters decide to split from Britain this year, a senior British minister will say in the government's latest attempt to persuade Scots to reject independence. (BRITAIN-SCOTLAND/PENSIONS, moved, by William James, 390 words)

+ See also:

- ALLIANCE TRUST/SCOTLAND (UPDATE 3), moving shortly, by Chris Vellacott, 775 words

Hungary's farmland clampdown risks new conflict with EU

KALOCFA, Hungary - Austrian farmers working in Hungary could be forced off their land under new laws initiated by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a prospect that angers Vienna and could revive conflict between Orban and Brussels. (HUNGARY-FARMLAND/, expect by 1400 GMT/9 AM ET, by Gergely Szakacs, 900 words)

Middle East drought blights 2014 food crop outlook

AMMAN - The Middle East's driest winter in several decades could pose a threat to global food prices, with local crops depleted along with farmers' livelihoods, U.N. experts and climatologists say. (CLIMATE-DROUGHT/MIDDLEAST (PICTURE), expect by 1500 GMT/10 AM ET, by Suleiman Al-Khalidi, 1160 words)

COMPANIES

Chaori default sets landmark precedent for Chinese debt

SHANGHAI - China records its first domestic bond default as expected when loss-making solar equipment producer Chaori Solar misses an interest payment, setting a landmark for market discipline in the world's second-largest economy. (CHAORISOLAR-BONDS/ (UPDATE 1, PICTURE), moved, by Gabriel Wildau, 700 words)

+ See also:

- CHINA-DEBT/LOCAL, moved, 350 words

- CHINA-DEFAULT/, moved, by Gabriel Wildau, 750 words

Telecom Italia skips 2013 dividend, hits debt cutting target

MILAN - Telecom Italia skips its dividend for ordinary shares to fund much-needed network investment, it says, but Italy's largest phone company does manage to hit its debt reduction target. (TELECOMITALIA-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 300 words)

+ See also:

- EU-ANTITRUST/TELECOMS, moved, by Foo Yun Chee, 370 words

Kazakhstan sues foreign oil majors over flailing Kashagan

ASTANA - Kazakhstan is suing foreign oil majors developing its huge Kashagan oilfield in the Caspian Sea, a tactic similar to those that secured the government large stakes in two of the three multinational energy projects on its territory. (OIL-KASHAGAN/ECOLOGY (UPDATE 3), moved, by Raushan Nurshayeva, 585 words)

Bouygues commits to preserve jobs after SFR offer - CEO

PARIS - Bouygues, the diversified French industrial group that has made an indicative offer for its telecommunications rival SFR, is aiming to complete the deal without having to cut staff, its head told Les Echos in an interview published. (BOUYGUES-SFR/, moved, 215 words)

+ See also:

- BOUYGUES-VIVENDI/JCDECAUX, moved, 100 words

Appeals court acquits banks in Milan derivatives case

MILAN - A Milan appeals court has acquitted four international banks including JPMorgan and UBS found guilty in an earlier trial of mis-selling derivatives to the city of Milan. (ITALY-DERIVATIVES/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Manuela D'Alessandro, 380 words)

Airline shake-ups dent Airbus order surge in Feb

PARIS - Airline shake-ups in Indonesia and Serbia dent a surge in orders for Airbus aircraft in February, but the European planemaker edges ahead in its annual order race with Boeing, company data shows. (AIRBUS-ORDERS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 400 words)

Novartis drug Jakavi seen as blockbuster after positive data

ZURICH - Novartis drug Jakavi achieves its main goal in a late-stage trial for patients suffering from a rare blood cancer, putting it on track to become a potential blockbuster treatment with sales of $1 billion-plus. (NOVARTIS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 265 words)

Property valuations add to burden of Italian banks

DUBLIN - The Bank of Italy is hiring up to five real estate consultants to examine whether Italian banks have over valued property used as collateral against loans, potentially forcing them to set aside more money against defaults. (ITALY-BANKS/COLLATERAL, expect by 1400 GMT/9 AM ET, by Valentina Za and Silvia Aloisi, 800 words)

FEATURE

Elite security posse fostered founders of WhatsApp, Napster

SAN FRANCISCO - A few days after selling WhatsApp to Facebook for $19 billion, Jan Koum stepped into a suite at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco to celebrate with old friends, including CEOs, reformed hackers and a few people who fell into both those camps. (WHATSAPP-W00W00/ (FEATURE, PICTURE), moved, by Joseph Menn, 1,425 words)

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