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Toyota auto output up for first time in 12 months

Japan’s Toyota Motor on Wednesday said domestic production rose for the first time in 12 months in August as it recovers from the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster. Total domestic production of cars, trucks and buses produced byToyota and its two affiliates – Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors – rose 12.0 percent from…

French budget targets deficit but growth uncertain

The French government on Wednesday presented a 2012 austerity budget, promising to balance strained public finances but warning that eurozone debt “turbulence” could yet derail timid growth. France’s public deficit will reach 5.7 percent of gross domestic product this year, before dropping to 4.5 percent in 2012 and then to the European Union limit of 3.0…

Man Group loses $6 billion from asset base

Hedge fund manager Man Group said Wednesday it had lost $6.0 billion (4.4 billion euros) from its asset base since June due to financial markets chaos, sparking a 21-percent plunge in its shares. Man Group said in a trading update that its total funds under management currently stood at about $65 billion.…

U.S.-Taiwan arms deal to affect exchanges: China

Beijing said on Wednesday Washington’s decision to upgradeTaiwan’s F-16 fighters would damage military ties between the United States and China, impacting military exchanges and high-level visits. China has repeatedly condemned the $5.85 billion US deal to upgrade Taiwan’s fleet of F-16 fighter jets, summoning the US ambassador and warning the move would undermine warmingmilitary…

Mexican group vows to ‘eliminate’ feared Zeta drug gang

MEXICO CITY — A paramilitary group is vowing to “eliminate” the Zetas, reputedly Mexico’s most violent drug gang, in a video posted on the Internet several days after 49 bodies were found on the streets of Veracruz. The video, posted on Saturday according to its creators, shows a group of…

Canada has best reputation in the world: study

OTTAWA — Canada has the best reputation in the world, says a study measuring public perceptions of 50 countries around the world, released on Tuesday. The Reputation Institute study measures the trust, esteem, admiration and good feelings the public holds towards 50 countries, as well as perceptions of peoples’ quality…

Human ashes feature in paintings of Czech artist

PRAGUE — An exhibition of paintings containing human ashes by controversial Czech artist Roman Tyc has raised eyebrows after opening Tuesday in a gallery in Prague’s historic city centre. “When you’re six and your mum dies, you see her as a metal urn and know her only from photographs for…

Photos reveal party life of Kadhafi son

TRIPOLI — Photographs obtained by AFP in Libya reveal how Moamer Kadhafi’s son Hannibal and his lingerie model wife lived a high-flying party lifestyle during his father’s brutal rule. In the dozens of photographs, found on a laptop belonging to Kadhafi’s son and made available by former Libyan rebels to…

Ex-porn star aims to clean up Italian politics

ROME — Italy’s flamboyant ex-porn star and former politician Cicciolina plans to set up a new political party as the antithesis to her country’s corrupt politics, according to excerpts from an interview published Tuesday. “We want to set up an optimistic party of the future. Enough with these parties of…

French police round up Roma ahead of vote

MARSEILLE, France — French police on Tuesday rounded up more than 160 members of the Roma minority from a camp in Marseille, sparking the ire of rights groups some six months ahead of presidential elections. President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to make security a central theme of his re-election campaign…

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