A look at economic developments around the globe

AP News
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Posted: Oct 20, 2011 1:59 PM
A look at economic developments around the globe

A look at economic developments and activity in major stock markets around the world Thursday:

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BRUSSELS _ The eurozone's efforts to solve its escalating debt crisis plunged into disarray, when Germany and France called a second emergency summit after it became clear that they would not be able to bridge their difference in time for a first crisis meeting Sunday.

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LONDON _ Seesawing expectations about this weekend's summit of European leaders remained the main driver in markets, with investors growing skeptical again about governments' ability to agree on a strategy to deal with the debt crisis.

Germany's DAX closed down 2.5 percent, while the CAC-40 in France fell 2.3 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares ended 1.2 percent lower.

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TOKYO _ In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 1.8 percent, and South Korea's Kospi tumbled 2.7 percent. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.9 percent, and the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index plunged 2.9 percent.

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ATHENS, Greece _ Greek protesters rampaged outside parliament with firebombs and stones, leaving one construction worker dead as lawmakers inside gathered to vote on deeply unpopular new cutbacks demanded by international creditors.

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BEIJING _ China's Foreign Ministry defended the government's censoring of the Internet, saying it meets international norms, as the U.S. questions whether the practices amount to a trade barrier.

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BEIJING _ China's biggest producer of rare earths is suspending production for one month in hopes of boosting slumping prices of the exotic minerals used in mobile phones and other high-tech products.

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SHANGHAI _ China has given the go-ahead for several local authorities to sell bonds as it moves to bridge financing shortfalls and prevent debt defaults by overextended provincial governments.

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BERLIN _ Germany sharply lowered its 2012 growth forecast to 1 percent, from 1.8 percent previously, in response to uncertainty in global markets.

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MADRID _ Spain easily raised $5.4 billion in an auction of bonds maturing over the next decade, in its first big-scale foray in the markets since the three major ratings agencies downgraded their views on the government's debt.

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BRATISLAVA, Slovakia _ Slovakia is imposing a special tax on the country's banks as it attempts to bring its deficit down.

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BERN, Switzerland _ Swiss officials say they will meet with a delegation from Greece next week to explore a possible agreement aimed at boosting the debt-laden Mediterranean country's tax income.

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SEOUL, South Korea _ The leaders of South Korea and Japan agreed to expand the size of a currency swap deal and push to resume stalled free trade negotiations, as Tokyo returned looted Korean royal documents in a goodwill gesture.

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