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Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:02am EDT

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TOP STORIES

Burger King signs deal to buy Canada's Tim Hortons

Burger King Worldwide Inc has agreed to buy Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons Inc, the companies say, in a cash and stock deal that will create the world's third-largest fast food restaurant group with sales of KEout $23 billion. (TIM HORTONS-BURGER KG WLD/OFFER (UPDATE 1), moved, 210 words)

France fine-tunes reform cabinet after rebels ousted

PARIS - French President Francois Hollande fine-tunes his third government team in two years, seeking to reconcile pro-growth measures with deficit-reduction after ousting rebel ministers opposed to budgetary rigour. (FRANCE-POLITICS/GOVERNMENT (UPDATE 2, PICTURE, TV), moved, by Ingrid Melander, 700 words)

ECB sees banks tapping new loans as funding gap looms

FRANKFURT - The European Central Bank expects banks to flock to its new ultra-long loan offering in September, regardless of the dire economic outlook for the euro zone, not least because of a looming funding gap early next year. (ECB-LIQUIDITY/TLTRO, expect by 1300 GMT/9 AM ET, by Eva Taylor 750 words)

Aircraft demand spurs record U.S. durable goods orders gain

WASHINGTON - Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods post their biggest gain on record in July on strong international demand for aircraft, but the underlying trend remains consistent with a steady pace of domestic economic growth. (USA-ECONOMY (WRAPUP 1), expect by 1400 GMT/10 AM ET, 500 words)

MARKETS

Euro, bond yields dip as looser ECB policy eyed

LONDON - The euro hits its lowest level against the dollar in nearly a year and euro zone government bond yields fall to record lows on expectations the European Central Bank could ease monetary policy as soon as next week. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/(WRAPUP 4), moved, by Nigel Stephenson, 620 words)

+ See also:

- RUSSIA-MARKETS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 400 words

INSIGHT

Gas-rich islands on Indonesia's South China Sea frontline

RANAI, Indonesia - The word "sleepy" could have been invented for Ranai, the largest town in Indonesia's remote and sparsely populated Natuna archipelago. It takes an imaginative leap to see Natuna as a future flashpoint in the escalating dispute over ownership of the South China Sea, but that's precisely what many people here fear. (SOUTHCHINASEA-INDONESIA/NATUNA (INSIGHT, PICTURES, GRAPHICS, TV), moved, by Andrew R.C. Marshall, 1,260 words)

ECONOMY

Russia hikes inflation outlook, cuts 2015 growth forecast

MOSCOW - Russia's Economy Ministry has ramped up its inflation forecasts and halved its 2015 economic growth forecast, adding to signs that tit-for-tat sanctions over Ukraine are seriously harming its economy. (RUSSIA-ECONOMY/FORECASTS (UPDATE 2), moved, 600 words)

S. Africa dodges recession as economy grows 0.6 pct in Q2

PRETORIA - South Africa avoids slipping into a recession in the second quarter as solid growth in the agriculture and financial industries outweigh a hammering in the strike-hit mining sector, economic data shows. (SAFRICA-ECONOMY/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Xola Potelwa and Mfuneko Toyana, 585 words)

Growth in UK services companies slows

LONDON - Growth in services companies that form the bulk of Britain's economy slowed in the three months to August, according to a survey that suggests the swift pace of economic recovery has eased. (BRITAIN-ECONOMY/SERVICES, moved, 290 words)

Austrian finance minister quits in tax reform row

VIENNA - Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger unexpectedly resigns from all his posts, citing lack of support from his conservative People's Party (OVP) in a row over tax reform. (AUSTRIA-SPINDELEGGER/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Michael Shields and Angelika Gruber, 630 words)

Japan stays bullish on prices but cuts GDP estimate -sources

TOKYO - The Bank of Japan is likely to keep its bullish inflation outlook even as it cuts its economic growth forecast for this fiscal year in a report, sources say, suggesting that the bank will not ease policy further at least until the end of 2014. (JAPAN-ECONOMY/ (WRAPUP 1), moved, 715 words)

Israel's economy starting to show cracks

JERUSALEM - For more than a decade, it seemed as if Israel's economy was bullet-proof and weathered everything from a global crisis to military conflicts with little damage as consumers shopped and foreigners pumped lots of cash into the country. But the economy's run of good luck and status as best in the West may be running out of steam. (ISRAEL-ECONOMY/, expect by 1300 GMT/9 AM ET, by Steven Scheer, 850 words)

COMPANIES

WHO urges stiff regulatory curbs on e-cigarettes

GENEVA - The World Health Organization (WHO) steps up its war on "Big Tobacco", calling for stiff regulation of electronic cigarettes as well as bans on indoor use, advertising and sales to minors. (HEALTH-WHO/ECIGARETTES (UPDATE 3), moved, by Stephanie Nebehay, 690 words)

Best Buy revenue misses estimates as customers shift online

Best Buy Co Inc, the largest U.S. speciality retailer of consumer electronics, reports a lower-than-expected quarterly revenue for the third straight quarter, citing lower traffic in its stores as more consumers shop online. (BESTBUY-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, 305 words)

WPP says Ukraine tensions won't hit advertising spending

LONDON - WPP, the world's largest advertising company, says tensions between Russia and the West are likely to dampen merger and acquisition activity, prompting its clients to spend more on their brand image instead. (WPP-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Paul Sandle, 695 words)

Former Porsche chiefs to be tried over VW takeover saga

BERLIN - Porsche's two former top executives will be forced to stand trial in Germany over their stewardship during the company's botched 2008 attempt to acquire much-bigger Volkswagen. (PORSCHE HLDG-COURT/ (UPDATE 1), moving shortly, 265 words)

Fund managers look to make room for Alibaba

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK - Investors are looking over their portfolios to make room for Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings Inc's market debut next month - and that means some less attractive stocks that funds are holding might be shown the door. (ALIBABA GROUP IPO/FUNDS, moved, by Deepa Seetharaman and Ryan Vlastelica, 800 words)

Chinese regulator targets Microsoft's browser, media player

BEIJING - Microsoft Corp's internet browser and media player are being targeted in a Chinese antitrust probe, raising the prospect of China revisiting the software bundling issue at the heart of past antitrust complaints against the firm in the West. (CHINA-ANTITRUST/MICROSOFT (UPDATE 2), moved, by Gerry Shih and Paul Carsten, 465 words)

E.ON pushes renewables as conventional power declines

BERLIN - Having joined the renewable energy frenzy too late, Germany's top utility E.ON is dashing into solar and wind power as it tries to make up for a slump in profits from traditional power stations. (E ON-RENEWABLES/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Christoph Steitz, 315 words)