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Swatch fire strikes at "heart" of watch mechanism production

ZURICH (Reuters) - A fire has destroyed one workshop and damaged another at Swatch Group's <UHR.VX> watch mechanism subsidiary, the Swiss firm that has a near monopoly on the supply of mechanisms to other watchmakers said. Swatch Chief Executive Nick Hayek told Swiss radio on Sunday that the blaze had struck at the "heart of production" at ETA Manufacture Horlogere and the impact on output would be examined more closely on Monday. "Everything is devastated," Hayek said.

Christmas in Southern California: temperatures near record highs

By Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Unseasonably balmy weather settled over Southern California on Wednesday as a region already accustomed to celebrating Christmas without snow experienced temperatures some 15 degrees (9 degrees Celsius) above normal. The warm spell baked the West Coast while the Midwest and Northeast were still dealing with the aftermath of a winter storm. Some 129,000 homes and businesses were without power on Christmas morning, energy companies reported.

Strike ends at Total refinery in western France

PARIS (Reuters) - Workers voted to end a strike over pay at Total's <TOTF.PA> Donges refinery in western France on Sunday, the oil company said, though industrial action continued at three other plants. The hardline CGT union led the walkout at the 230,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery near Nantes after rejecting an annual pay rise deal reached with moderate unions. "The strike action has ended at Donges," after workers voted to accept the earlier offer, a Total spokeswoman said.

World experiences hottest November in 134 years

The month of November was the hottest since record-keeping began in 1880, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday. The finding was based on globally averaged land and surface temperatures last month, NOAA said in a statement. "The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for November 2013 was record highest for the 134-year period of record," NOAA said. The average temperature was 0.78 Celsius (1.40 Fahrenheit), above the 20th century average of 12.9 Celsius (55.2 Fahrenheit), NOAA said.

Oil falls as Fed stimulus speculation rises ahead of key meeting

The price of oil edged lower Tuesday as investors waited to see whether or not the U.S. Federal Reserve would start reducing its economic stimulus program at a key policy meeting this week. Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery fell 2 cents to US$97.46 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, dipped 10 cents to 109.31 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

Oil prices rise on Libya disruptions

Oil prices jumped Monday after armed protesters in Libya refused to lift a months-long blockade of key oil terminals in the eastern part of the country. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January delivery gained 88 cents to $97.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. European benchmark Brent oil for January delivery jumped $1.64 to $110.47 a barrel in London. "The big story is about Libyan oil production remaining off the market," said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates. "That is definitely supporting both Brent and WTI prices."

Crude below US$97 as Libya plans to reopen terminals, Fed meeting approaches

The price of oil slid below US$97 a barrel Friday on the possibility of new supplies from Libya and expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut its stimulus program. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery dropped 90 cents to US$96.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, oil was down US$1.05 a barrel.

Oil falls as Libya plans to reopen terminals

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Oil prices were subdued Friday amid the possibility of new supplies from the Middle East after a Libyan militia said oil terminals could reopen. Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery was down 9 cents to US$97.41 a barrel at mid-afternoon Kuala Lumpur time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 6 cents on Thursday to settle at $97.50. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, eased 4 cents to $108.34 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

1st LD Writethru: U.S. oil price falls amid Fed tapering fears

1st LD Writethru: U.S. oil price falls amid Fed tapering fears NEW YORK, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- U.S. oil price dropped Wednesday amid increasing concerns over the Federal Reserve's tapering of its stimulus program. Chief budget negotiators in the U.S. Congress said late Tuesday that they had reached a two-year deal to avoid a government shutdown on Jan. 15.

IEA raises oil outlook for European, US demand

Global oil demand growth is expected to accelerate in 2014 on increased consumption from Europe and the United States, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday. The IEA said that global oil demand growth was now expected to rise by 145,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.2 million barrels per day (mbd) for 2013. A further gain of 1.2 mbd is forecast for 2014, to reach 92.4 mbd. hmn/hd
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