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TOP STORIES

Yellen, future tightening in spotlight as U.S. Fed meets

The U.S. Federal Reserve is widely expected to chop another $10 billion from its monthly bond purchases at a meeting on Wednesday but make few, if any, other concrete policy moves. (USA-FED/POLICY (UPDATE 1), moved, by Jonathan Spicer, 750 words)

GE to submit improved Alstom offer Thursday - source

PARIS - General Electric will on Thursday unveil to the French government and unions an improved offer for the energy businesses of Alstom, a source close to the U.S. conglomerate says of renewed efforts to fend off a rival proposal. (ALSTOM-OFFER/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 335 words)

Dollar holds firm as markets sniff risks of Fed hawkishness

LONDON - The dollar holds firm after a surprisingly high reading for U.S. inflation raises expectations that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen could strike a more hawkish tone on the monetary policy outlook. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 6), moved, by Marius Zaharia, 700 words)

Ireland asks EU to look at data rules in wake of Facebook allegations

DUBLIN - Ireland's High Court asks the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to review European Union data protection rules in light of allegations that Facebook shared data from EU users with the U.S. National Security Agency. (FACEBOOK-PRIVACY/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Sarah O'Connor, 355 words)

ECONOMY

U.S. current account deficit widens sharply in first quarter

WASHINGTON - The U.S. current account deficit increased to its widest point in 1-1/2 years in the first quarter as exports slumped and the surplus on primary income declined, the Commerce Department says. (USA ECONOMY/CURRENTACCOUNT, moved, 300 words)

+ See also:

- USA-ECONOMY/MORTGAGES, moved, 165 words

Merkel says no need to change EU budget rules, flexible enough

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel agree there is no need to change the European Union's Stability and Growth pact as it already offers all the flexibility it needs. (GERMANY-PACT/MERKEL, moved, 100 words)

ECB says forex benchmark rates compiled on too narrow basis

LONDON - The European Central Bank says in a briefing paper on Wednesday that benchmark foreign exchange rates are not necessarily reliable as they are often fixed using just one set of data. (ECB-FOREX/REGULATIONS (UPDATE 1), moved, by Huw Jones, 545 words)

Bank of England says was surprised markets saw low chance of 2014 rate rise

LONDON - Bank of England policymakers are surprised earlier this month that markets had not priced in a higher chance of an interest rate rise this year, minutes of their June 4-5 policy meeting shows. (BRITAIN-BOE/, moved, 515 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-BOE/WEALE, moved, 355 words

Premier Li says no hard landing for China, expects medium to high growth

LONDON - China's economy will not have a hard landing and will maintain medium to high growth in the long run, Premier Li Keqiang says. (CHINA-BRITAIN/ECONOMY-LI (UPDATE 1), moved, 260 words)

+ See also:

- CHINA-PROPERTY/PRICES (UPDATE 2), moved, by Xiaoyi Shao and Koh Gui Qing, 770 words

- CHINA-POLICY/, moved, 350 words

Portugal sells 1.5 bln euros of Treasury bills at lower yields

LISBON - Portugal sells all 1.5 billion euros of Treasury bills offered at an auction, although demand is less than at previous auctions after a sharp fall in yields to their lowest ever levels. (PORTUGAL-TREASURIES/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Laura Noonan, 320 words)

COMPANIES

Billionaire JD.com founder lines up next challenge: beating Alibaba

BEIJING - With an iron grip, JD.com Inc founder Richard Liu has dragged China's number two online retailer from a Beijing backwater to a rich New York listing. Beyond the wealth that brought him lies Liu's next target - beating Jack Ma's Alibaba. (JD.COM-LIU/ (INTERVIEW, PICTURE), moved, by Paul Carsten, 1050 words)

French biotech Cellectis surges as Pfizer signs cancer drug deal

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer, which failed last month in a $118 billion bid to buy AstraZeneca, says it has signed a deal with French biotech Cellectis to develop immunotherapy drugs in cancer. (PFIZER-CELLECTIS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Ben Hirschler, 440 words)

H&M plans more websites to catch up with fashion rivals

STOCKHOLM - Hennes & Mauritz, the world's second-biggest fashion retailer, plans to step up the pace of its online expansion next year to catch up with rivals in e-commerce. (HENNES & MAURITZ/ (UPDATE 2), moved, 660 words)

Greece seeks bidders for $1 bln Crete airport

ATHENS - Chinese, French, German and Spanish firms are vying to build an 800 million euro ($1 billion) airport on the island of Crete, one of a number of projects planned by Greece as it recovers from a recession, the infrastructure minister says. (GREECE-INFRASTRUCTURE/ (INTERVIEW), moved, by Angeliki Koutantou, 550 words)

FedEx's ground business boosts fourth-quarter revenue

FedEx Corp reports a better-than-expected 3.5 percent rise in quarterly revenue as the world's No. 2 package delivery company benefits from higher volumes in its ground business. (FEDEX-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 140 words)

Novartis says slimmer structure to boost profitability

ZURICH - Novartis AG shed some light on how an overhaul of its business could boost profitability even in a "brutal" era for health spending, saying the shake-up will have lifted core operating margins by 2.5 percentage points last year. (NOVARTIS-FORECAST/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Caroline Copley, 585 words)

Big Tobacco squares up as EU rules aim to track every cigarette

BAYREUTH, Germany - It takes a British American Tobacco factory machine three minutes to load 4 million cigarettes onto a truck in northern Bavaria - but it can take a lot longer to figure out whether those cigarettes end up where they should. (TOBACCO-TRACKING/ (INSIGHT, PICTURE), moved, by Martinne Geller, 1,540 words)

Wall Street's latest fad is built on sand

HOUSTON - Super-sized hydraulic fracturing jobs, which use vast amounts of sand to coax more oil and gas from shale, have led to astronomical returns for investors in companies that mine the tiny particles. (USA-FRACKING/SAND (ANALYSIS, GRAPHIC), moved, by Anna Driver, 790 words)

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