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Sep 14, 2011, midnight

Moody's cuts French banks as euro crisis deepens

DALIAN, China/BERLIN (Reuters) - Moody's Investors Service cut the credit ratings of France's Credit Agricole SA and Societe Generale on Wednesday, citing their exposure to Greece's debt, a fresh blow to euro area leaders struggling to restore confidence in the region. The ratings agency left BNP Paribas on review for a ratings downgrade saying the bank's profitability and capital base provides adequate cushion to support its Greek, Portuguese and Irish exposure.

Kabul attack ends after 20 hours as last gunman killed

KABUL (Reuters) - An assault by Taliban insurgents on the heart of Kabul's diplomatic and military enclave ended on Wednesday after 20 hours when security forces killed the last of six attackers, an Afghan government spokesman said. It was the longest and most audacious militant attack on the Afghan capital in the decade since the Taliban were ousted from power and a stark reminder of the insurgents' strength and reach as Western forces start to return home.

Republicans step up criticism of Obama's jobs plan

COLUMBUS, Ohio/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama warned Republican lawmakers on Wednesday against delaying action on his jobs plan until the 2012 elections even as they intensified criticism of his $447 billion proposal. "The next election is 14 months away, and we don't have the luxury of waiting that long," Obama told 3,000 people in Ohio, home state of House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican.

Release of key BP oil spill probe expected soon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The results of a pivotal federal U.S. probe of last year's massive BP oil spill could be released as early as Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. The final report from U.S. Coast Guard and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) investigators has been heavily anticipated by investors eager for clues on possible legal ramifications BP and its partners may face from the drilling disaster.

Fed set to give economy therapy, not shock treatment

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve, facing rising global financial strains and recession fears, is poised to increase downward pressure on longer-term interest rates next week in a bid to accelerate a sputtering U.S. recovery. With one eye on escalating debt turmoil in Europe and another on a stubbornly high 9.1 percent U.S. unemployment rate, the Fed, whose policy panel meets next Tuesday and Wednesday, looks set to begin shifting the composition of its balance sheet to weight it more heavily with longer-term securities.

Exclusive: U.S. in criminal probe of eBay employees

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors have launched a criminal probe into whether eBay Inc employees took confidential information from classified ad website Craigslist as eBay sought to build a rival service, a copy of a grand jury subpoena obtained by Reuters shows. The two companies have been feuding for years in civil court over allegations that online giant eBay took a stake in Craigslist and then misappropriated confidential information while it secretly planned its own classifieds site.

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