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UPDATE 2-Greek PM defends controversial "Plan B" for euro zone exit

ATHENS, July 31- Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras acknowledged on Friday that his government had made covert contingency plans in case Greece was forced out of the euro, but rejected accusations that he had plotted a return to the drachma. Tsipras was forced to respond to the issue in parliament after former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis this week revealed...
Source: Reuters | By: Renee Maltezou and Lefteris Papadimas
ArcelorMittal sees Chinese steel demand shrinking this year

BRUSSELS, July 31- China's steel demand will shrink this year and lead to a flood of exports, ArcelorMittal said on Friday, highlighting the growth problems facing the world's top consumer and producer of the construction material. In dollar terms, ArcelorMittal only sells 1 percent of its steel to China compared to 46 percent to Europe, including Russia and...
Source: Reuters | By: Robert-Jan Bartunek and Pratima Desai
EU to probe FedEx takeover of Dutch rival TNT

BRUSSELS- The European Union is opening an in-depth probe into whether FedEx's proposed $4.9 billion takeover of Dutch company TNT would strangle competition in the massive market for small package deliveries. EU Antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said Friday she had to "make sure that FedEx's takeover of TNT would not impede effective competition and...
Source: The Associated Press
Spain to give civil servants first pay rise in 5 years

MADRID- Spain's prime minister Friday promised a 1 percent pay rise for Spain's 2.5 million civil servants in the 2016 budget, their first hike in five years after public spending was reined in because of the country's economic crisis. Spain was battered by the global financial crisis and only emerged from a double-dip recession at the end of 2013. It still has a...
Source: The Associated Press
GRAINS-U.S. grain, soy prices edge up but set for big monthly losses

*Chicago wheat down more than 18 pct for July. Chicago Board of Trade front-month wheat rose 1.1 percent to $5.02 a bushel by 1111 GMT, edging away from the prior session's five-week low of $4.93-3/ 4. Crop scouts on the U.S. Wheat Quality Council's annual three-day tour of North Dakota and adjacent states projected spring wheat yield potential at 49.9 bushels per...
Source: Reuters | By: Nigel Hunt
EU's Mogherini seeks talks with Iran on energy, trade by early 2016

*Mogherini met Iran's Zarif in Tehran this week. BRUSSELS, July 31- The European Union should start high-level talks with Iran on energy and trade by the beginning of 2016, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told a closed-door meeting of EU policymakers. The day after a deal on Iran's nuclear program was sealed this month, Mogherini told the European...
Source: Reuters
Brexit may lead to Scottish independence: Sturgeon

A withdrawal from the European Union (EU) by the United Kingdom could trigger a second independence referendum in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, told CNBC.
Source: CNBC.com | By: See Kit Tang
UPDATE 2-Google refuses French order to apply "right to be forgotten" globally

*Google sticks to position ruling only applies in Europe. BRUSSELS, July 30- Google Inc is refusing to bow to an order from the French privacy watchdog to scrub search results worldwide when users invoke their "right to be forgotten" online, it said on Thursday, exposing itself to possible fines. However, it has limited removals to its European websites, such as...
Source: Reuters | By: Julia Fioretti
UPDATE 1-Google refuses French request to apply "right to be forgotten" globally

*Google sticks to position that ruling only applies in Europe. BRUSSELS, July 30- Google Inc is refusing to bow to an order from the French privacy watchdog to scrub search results worldwide when users invoke their "right to be forgotten" online, it said on Thursday, exposing itself to possible fines. However, it has limited removals to its European websites, such as...
Source: Reuters | By: Julia Fioretti
Google refuses French request to apply "right to be forgotten" globally

BRUSSELS, July 30- Google Inc is refusing to bow to an order from the French privacy watchdog to scrub search results worldwide when users invoke their "right to be forgotten" online, it said on Thursday, exposing itself to possible fines. That stemmed from a ruling in May last year by the European Court of Justice that European residents can ask search engines, such...
Source: Reuters | By: Julia Fioretti