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Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:54am EDT

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TOP STORIES

U.S. economy contracts 2.9 percent in first quarter

WASHINGTON - The U.S. economy contracted at a much steeper pace than previously estimated in the first quarter, but there are indications that growth has since rebounded strongly. (USA-ECONOMY (WRAPUP 1), expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, 600 words)

Italy and Germany align on EU policy, UK set for showdown

BRUSSELS - Britain's hopes of getting Italy's support in its campaign to stop Jean-Claude Juncker becoming European Commission president are dashed as Germany and Italy show themselves aligned ahead of this week's EU summit. (EU-SUMMIT, expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, by Luke Baker, 750 words)

Iraq jitters hit European shares, German bond yields slip

LONDON - Europe's top share index slip to a three-week low as concerns that violence in Iraq could escalate further prompt investors to take refuge in safer assets such as German bonds.(MARKETS-GLOBAL (WRAPUP 5), moved, by Atul Prakash, 650 words)

BNP said to move compliance to U.S. as settlement nears

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - BNP Paribas is relocating its U.S. sanctions compliance operations to New York from Paris, ahead of a nearly $9 billion settlement it is expected to reach with U.S. authorities over violations of sanctions on Sudan and other countries, according to people familiar with the matter. (BNP-PARIBAS COMPLIANCE/, moved, by Karen Freifeld and Aruna Viswanatha, 700 words)

ECONOMY

One in three chance ECB will launch asset purchases

The chances of the European Central Bank launching an asset purchase programme have risen to one in three, according to a Reuters poll in which a slim majority of economists see inflation picking up before that is necessary. (ECB-RATES/POLL, moved, by Sumanta Dey, 600 words)

Bank of Japan still seen easing policy in 2014

TOKYO - The Bank of Japan will ramp up asset purchases this year although confidence that inflation will move towards the central bank's target prompted some analysts to push back expectations as to when it will do so, a Reuters poll finds.(JAPAN-ECONOMY/POLL, by Kaori Kaneko, moved, 560 words)

COMPANIES

Patent win helps Shire as AbbVie plots next bid move

LONDON - U.S. drugmaker AbbVie sets out the strategic rationale for acquiring Shire as a battle for control of the London-listed company, which has spurned AbbVie's $46 billion bid, enters a new phase. (SHIRE ABBVIE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Ben Hirschler, 400 words)

Wonga to pay $4.4 mln compensation for fake legal letters

LONDON - Britain's biggest payday lender Wonga will pay 2.6 million pounds in compensation to 45,000 customers after sending them bogus letters from non-existent law firms that threatened legal action. (WONGA-COMPENSATION/ (UPDATE 2), expect by 1300 GMT/7 AM ET, by Steve Slater, 500 words)

Philips, Infineon, Samsung face EU antitrust fines

BRUSSELS - EU regulators are poised to fine Philips, Samsung Electronics and Infineon Technologies in the coming weeks for fixing prices of chips used in mobile SIM cards, two people familiar with the case say.(EU-SMARTCARDCHIPSCARTEL/PHILIPS, moved, by Foo Yun Chee, 300 words)

S.Africa miners return to work, ending record strike

MARIKANA, South Africa - Tens of thousands of South African miners return to work at the world's top platinum producers, the day after wage deals were signed to end a five-month strike, the longest and most damaging in the country's history. (SAFRICA-MINING/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Ed Stoddard, 500 words)

Japan bets big on making fuel-cell cars in near-future

TOKYO - Japan's government and top carmakers, including Toyota Motor Corp, are joining forces to bet big that they can speed up the arrival of the fuel cell era: a still costly and complex technology that uses hydrogen as fuel and could virtually end the problem of automotive pollution. (JAPAN-GROWTH/FUELCELLS, moved, by Yoko Kubota and Maki Shiraki, 760 words)

Land Securities pays Lend Lease $1.1 bln for Bluewater stake

SYDNEY/LONDON - Britain's Land Securities has paid Australian property company Lend Lease Corp 656 million pounds ($1.1 billion) for a 30 percent stake in the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, southeast England, the companies say. (LEND LEASE SALE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Lincoln Feast and James Davey, 300 words)

Novo Nordisk will be twice as big in 10 years - deputy CEO

COPENHAGEN - Revenue at Denmark's Novo Nordisk, the world's biggest insulin maker, will double within the next 10 years, according to the firm's deputy chief executive, Kaare Schultz. (NOVO NORDISK-DEPUTY-CEO/, moved, 700 words)