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Microsoft to cut 18,000 jobs

LOS ANGELES — Microsoft announced the biggest layoffs in its 39-year history Thursday, outlining plans to cut 18,000 jobs in a move that marked the CEO’s sharpest pivot yet away from his predecessor’s drive for the company to make its own devices.

Although some cuts had been expected ever since Microsoft acquired Nokia’s mobile-device unit, the number amounted to 14 per cent of the Microsoft workforce — about twice what analysts had estimated. READ

U.S. preparing unilateral sanctions on Russia

The United States is considering imposing unilateral sanctions on Russia over its threatening moves in Ukraine, a shift in strategy that reflects the Obama administration’s frustration with Europe’s reluctance to take tougher action against Moscow, according to U.S. and European officials. READ

BRICS nations agree to create own development bank

The leaders of five emerging market powers said at a summit Tuesday that they gave final agreement to creating their own development bank worth $100 billion that will have its headquarters in China. READ

Yellen says economy still needs high degree of Fed support

Despite recent sizable job gains, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is signalling that her agency is in no rush to withdraw the massive support it is providing the U.S. economy. READ

Former ambassador not confident Keystone will be approved

MONTREAL — A former Canadian ambassador says he’s less confident now than he was a few years ago about the U.S. giving the Keystone XL pipeline project the green light. READ

German town which once drew neo-Nazi marches now welcomes jobless foreigners

A small town in Germany that once was a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis is now welcoming jobless foreigners with open arms. READ

European finance minister buoy Greece, talk ceding budget sovereignty

Eurozone ministers threw a lifeline to Greece on Tuesday as they scrambled to prevent financial chaos from spreading further and driving Europe’s common euro currency into a catastrophic breakup. READ

Chinese manufacturing shrank the most since March 2009 in November: HSBC report

Concerns about a hard landing for the Chinese economy grew Wednesday after the latest read on the country’s manufacturing sector for November found it shrank to its lowest level since March 2009. READ

Greek leader backs country’s fiscal targets

In an abrupt U-turn, Greece’s conservative junior coalition leader has written to international creditors telling them he backed the country’s fiscal targets, clearing a major sticking point to get a desperately needed loan that will prevent a devastating Greek bankruptcy. READ

Europe’s market turmoil spreads

Fear, that contagious emotion, spread from country to country in Europe on Thursday as panicky investors worried the euro currency union could be heading toward an ugly breakup. READ

Italy’s new government passes first confidence vote

Italy’s new technocratic government has won a crucial confidence vote in the Senate to pursue widespread reforms and austerity aimed at staving off the sovereign debt crisis and saving the euro currency. READ

No politicians in Monti’s new Italian government

Premier Mario Monti formed a new Italian government without a single politician Wednesday, drawing from the ranks of bankers, diplomats and business executives to create a team to steer Italy away from financial disaster. READ

Get your fiscal house in order, Flaherty tells U.S. in speech

NEW YORK — It’s not often a Canadian politician goes to the United States to offer advice publicly, but Finance Minister Jim Flaherty did just that Wednesday, telling a U.S. business audience that Washington needs to get its fiscal house in order. READ

Irish government faces likely ouster, banks fall

DUBLIN, Ireland — The Irish government stood on the brink of collapse Monday, a day after being forced to accept a massive bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. READ

Greece debt crisis spreads, Spain faltering

BERLIN — Europe’s debt crisis has spread its contagion to another country as a major agency downgraded Spain’s credit rating, even as Germany grudgingly moved closer to bailing out Greece from imminent collapse. READ

Chavez threatens to nationalize gold mining

President Hugo Chavez threatened on Sunday to nationalize gold mining concessions in Venezuela, accusing mining companies of damaging the environment and violating workers’ rights. READ

Pressure on Greek finances intensifies

ATHENS — Greece’s borrowing costs spiked to a record high Thursday, intensifying the country’s debt crisis and suggesting a eurozone and International Monetary Fund rescue plan is providing little support for Athens’ struggle to avoid default. READ

G7 wants banks held accountable

IQALUIT, Nunavut — The Group of Seven finance ministers emerged from a two-day meeting in the Far North saying they are determined to make financial institutions bear the cost of crises they cause. READ

TV makers bet on 3-D

LAS VEGAS — This is supposedly the year 3-D television becomes the hot new thing: Updated sets and disc players are coming out, and 3-D cable channels are in the works. But it’s not clear the idea will reach out and grab mainstream viewers. READ

GM prepares for bankruptcy

General Motors, the humbled auto giant that has been part of American life for more than 100 years, will file for bankruptcy protection Monday in a deal that will give American taxpayers a 60-per-cent ownership stake and expand the U.S. government’s reach into big business. READ

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