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Uganda, EU hold talks over anti-gay law

Ugandan officials were holding talks with the European Union on Friday over a controversial anti-gay bill that has left the east African nation facing sanctions and aid cuts. Last month, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill that calls for "repeat homosexuals" to be jailed for life, outlaws any promotion of homosexuality and requires people to report homosexuals.

EU could provide Ukraine with 850 million euros by June

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Ukraine could receive 850 million euros ($1.2 billion) in grants and loans from the European Union within the next three months, if its deal with the International Monetary Fund is finalized, a senior EU official said on Thursday. Ukraine won a $27-billion international financing lifeline led by the IMF on Thursday, rushed through in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea.

EU regulators to probe French tax caps for large energy users

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators opened an investigation on Thursday into tax reductions granted by French authorities to large energy users, concerned that these may give the companies an unfair advantage. France levies a surcharge on all electricity consumers to finance its drive for wind power. Large industrial companies which use at least 7 GWh per year however pay a reduced rate capped at 0.5 percent of their annual value added.

EU sets out plans to free finance for investment

By Huw Jones LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union will look for ways other than the region's banks to finance infrastructure projects and invest in start-up companies, according to plans the EU published on Thursday. The EU plans call for expanding stock and bond markets and tapping pension pots to help provide the trillion euros needed for new telecom, transport and energy networks by 2020.

Factbox: EU roadmap for expanding long-term financing

LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union has produced plans to get more long-term finance for infrastructure and companies from markets rather than from banks, the EU's executive, the European Commission, said on Thursday. The EU wants to reduce the continent's reliance on banks for funding and to stimulate the bloc's economy with new transport, telecom and energy projects. The main elements of the EU plans include:

Conference board says drug costs should stay stable under trade deal with EU

OTTAWA - The Conference Board of Canada says provincial and territorial drug costs are unlikely to rise significantly in the coming years under an economic and trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. The report says it won't be until 2023 before the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement might start to affect drug costs. The Conference Board also says the agreement could make Canada a more attractive place for research and development because it extends the length of time during which a patent is valid.

Conference board says drug costs should stay stable under trade deal with EU

OTTAWA - The Conference Board of Canada says provincial and territorial drug costs are unlikely to rise significantly in the coming years under an economic and trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. The report says it won't be until 2023 before the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement might start to affect drug costs. The Conference Board also says the agreement could make Canada a more attractive place for research and development because it extends the length of time during which a patent is valid.

Germany tackles benefit abuse as migration soars from eastern EU

By Stephen Brown BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany expects the number of Romanians and Bulgarians moving to the country to double this year, now that they are free to work anywhere in the European Union, and will defend its welfare system from potential abuse, the government said on Wednesday. Economic growth and low unemployment in Germany are luring EU citizens taking advantage of free labor movement in the bloc, and industry is short of workers. But EU expansion to the east has fuelled fears of an influx of people fleeing poverty.

WTO rules against China 'rare earth' trade curbs in dispute with US, EU and Japan

GENEVA - The World Trade Organization ruled Wednesday that China has violated international trade rules with its restrictions on the export of 17 "rare earths" and two other minerals that have key industrial and high-tech uses. Responding to complaints filed by the United States, the European Union and Japan, the WTO dispute settlement panel found that China's restrictions "breach" its obligations to the world trade body because the country could not properly justify them.

EU stages anti-trust raids in auto exhaust plants

The European Commission staged surprise inspections Tuesday at car exhaust system plants in several member states suspected of anti-competitive practices. The commission, which is in charge of policing competition in the 28-member bloc, said it "has concerns that the companies concerned may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or abuse of a dominant market position."
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