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RBS bank shares gain on jobs cull reports

Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland gained on Friday as reports said that the state-rescued lender will announce next week that it is cutting its headcount by tens of thousands. RBS stock climbed 1.15 percent to 359.8 pence on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was up 0.43 percent in early deals. Newspapers said the announcement of a jobs cull, which could total at least 30,000 according to the Financial Times following a shake-up of the lender's investment banking and international divisions, would be made alongside its annual earnings statement due next Thursday.

Germany cuts order for Eurofighter jets

Germany's defence ministry is planning to reduce its order for Eurofighter jets from 180 to 143, according to media reports on Thursday. National news agency DPA quoted "government sources" as saying that the ministry's number two, Stephane Beemelmans, had informed parliament's defence committee about the decision late Wednesday. The reduction had already been decided in late 2011 by the then defence minister Thomas de Maziere, the report said.

Germany cuts order for Eurofighter jets

Germany's defence ministry is planning to reduce its order for Eurofighter jets from 180 to 143, according to media reports on Thursday. National news agency DPA quoted "government sources" as saying that the ministry's number two, Stephane Beemelmans, had informed parliament's defence committee about the decision late Wednesday. The reduction had already been decided in late 2011 by the then defence minister Thomas de Maziere, the report said.

BAE warns U.S. defense spending cuts to hit earnings this year

By Brenda Goh LONDON (Reuters) - Europe's biggest defense contractor BAE Systems <BAES.L> warned on Thursday it expected earnings this year to drop by up to 10 percent as a result of U.S. spending cuts, with conditions still difficult despite a recent budget deal in Congress. The British group, which had announced on Wednesday that it had at last agreed a price increase on its sale of Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Saudi Arabia, saw its shares suffer their biggest one-day percentage fall since October 2008.

BAE Systems announces profit slump on US hit

BAE Systems net profit slumped 82 percent last year owing to a huge one-off charge linked to a reduction in US government spending, the British defence giant announced on Thursday. Profit after tax tumbled to £168 million ($280 million, 203 million euros) in 2013 compared with £948 million a year earlier, BAE said in a statement, adding that it expected a further drop in earnings during 2014.

BAE Systems announces profit slump on US hit

BAE Systems net profit slumped 82 percent last year owing to a huge one-off charge linked to a reduction in US government spending, the British defence giant announced on Thursday. Profit after tax tumbled to £168 million ($280 million, 203 million euros) in 2013 compared with £948 million a year earlier, BAE said in a statement, adding that it expected a further drop in earnings during 2014. bcp/yad

Former UK PM Blair offered to help Murdoch over phone-hacking

By Michael Holden and Kate Holton LONDON (Reuters) - Former British prime minister Tony Blair offered to act as a secret adviser to Rupert Murdoch during his media empire's phone-hacking scandal, suggesting the firm follow steps he took to calm public anger over the Iraq war, a London court heard on Wednesday.

Blair 'advised Murdoch executives over hacking crisis'

Former British prime minister Tony Blair advised a key executive in Rupert Murdoch's newspaper empire days before she was arrested over phone hacking at the News of the World, a court heard on Wednesday. Blair also offered to be an "unofficial" advisor to Murdoch and his son James at the height of the scandal which led to the closure of the tabloid in July 2011.

British court dismisses challenge to Snowden-linked detention

British High Court judges on Wednesday dismissed a claim by David Miranda, the partner of ex-Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, that his detention at London's Heathrow airport under anti-terror laws last year was unlawful. Greenwald was at the time working with the Guardian newspaper and other publications on exposing widespread US and British spying, based on highly-classified data leaked by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Rebekah Brooks prepares to testify in UK hacking trial

Rebekah Brooks, the former head of Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper unit, arrived in court on Wednesday as she prepared to take the stand in the phone-hacking trial. After nearly four months of hearings, lawyers for Brooks, a former editor of the now-defunct News of the World tabloid, were due to begin presenting the case for the defence. Brooks denies conspiring to hack phones while she edited the paper between 2000 and 2003, specifically conspiring to illegally access the voicemails of missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler, who was later found murdered.
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