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GM pressured to compensate victims in faulty ignition crashes

By Jessica Dye and Nick Brown NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Motors Co is facing increasing pressure to compensate victims for an ignition defect that prompted the recall of 1.6 million vehicles, even if some would-be plaintiffs are barred from suing the auto maker under the terms of its emergence from bankruptcy in 2009.

Net foreign debt down $98.1 billion in fourth quarter: StatsCan

OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says the country's net foreign debt was reduced by $98.1 billion in the fourth quarter. The agency says this put Canada into a net asset position of $26.7 billion. It says the decline in net debt was attributable to relatively stronger foreign equity markets and a weaker Canadian dollar, which raised the value of Canada's international assets more than it increased the value of international liabilities. During 2013, Canada's overall net international investment position increased by $328.8 billion, despite an ongoing current account deficit.

Wall Street cash bonuses highest since 2008 crash: report

By Edward Krudy NEW YORK (Reuters) - The average bonus on Wall Street jumped 15 percent last year to the highest level since the 2008 financial crisis and was the third largest on record, New York State's budget watchdog said on Wednesday. The cash bonus pool swelled to $26.7 billion in 2013, pushing the average cash bonus to $164,530, a post-2008 high in a industry shrunk by the financial crisis, according to the New York state comptroller's annual estimate.

Italy prepared to cut major defense projects: minister

By Steve Scherer ROME (Reuters) - Italy will review its military needs and not hesitate to cut spending on unnecessary big projects, new defense minister Roberta Pinotti said on Wednesday, an announcement that will put the spotlight on its order for F-35 jets. Italy last announced major defense cuts two years ago in response to the euro zone debt crisis, including a 30-percent reduction in orders of Lockheed Martin Corp's radar-evading F-35 fighter planes.

NY comptroller: Average Wall Street bonus topped $164K in 5th year of post-crisis profits

ALBANY, N.Y. - The average bonus paid to securities industry employees in New York City grew 15 per cent last year to more than $164,000, the largest average Wall Street bonus since the 2008 financial crisis and the third highest on record, New York's state comptroller reported Wednesday. The securities industry has been profitable for five consecutive years, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said. It had 165,200 workers in New York City as of December, or 12.6 per cent fewer than before the crisis.

S. Korea's automobile production, exports rise in Feb.

SEJONG, March 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's automobile output increased from a year earlier in February due to a rise in both domestic sales and exports, the government said Wednesday. Combined output by the country's five automakers reached 359,148 vehicles last month, up 6.3 percent from the same month last year, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The ministry attributed the growth partly to an increase in the number of working days from a year earlier, and also to a rise in sales here and abroad.

GM hires law firms it works with to probe recall response

By Ben Klayman, Paul Lienert and Nick Brown DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors hired two law firms with ties to the automaker to look into its recall of cars blamed for 13 deaths, and a Congressional committee said it would also investigate the company's response to a defect that first came to light a decade ago.

Warning bells as Portugal urged to exit bailout without buffer

With Portugal's 78-billion-euro IMF-EU aid programme about to come to an end, its creditors are not only expecting the country to exit its massive bailout on May 17, but urging it to do so without a safety net. Analysts however warned that it is too soon for Portugal, which only shook off a 2.5-years-long recession in the second quarter of 2013, to raise its own funds on the open markets without any recourse to credit as back-up.

Europe inches closer to deal on bank resolution, more talks ahead

By Jan Strupczewski and Martin Santa BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone governments edged closer on Monday towards a deal on how to wind down failing banks, but reached no conclusions and more negotiations will take place on Tuesday to address demands of the European Parliament. Negotiations are set to last until Wednesday and may be the final step in a European banking union that would mean one supervisor for euro zone banks, one set of rules to close or restructure those in trouble and one pot of money to pay for it.

European stocks mixed after poor Chinese data

Europe's main stock markets traded mixed on Monday as investors responded to economic data from China and the United States. On the corporate front, US-based Chiquita Brands and Ireland's Fyffes Plc said they were merging in a deal that would create the world's biggest banana supplier with annual revenue of $4.6 billion (6.4 billion euros). In European afternoon trade, London's FTSE 100 dipped 0.11 percent to stand at 6,705.06 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 0.37 percent to 9,316.10 points.
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