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* China pushes capital control reforms

* US and North Korea meet for nuclear talks

* Baghdad bombings kill at least 20

* Somalia conference seeks to galvanise peace push

* Wen seen setting China growth below 8%

* Germany fights eurozone firewall moves

* Hungary hits at Brussels funds threat

* Syrian assault spurs call for intervention

* Buenos Aires commuter train crash kills 49 people

* Woodside considering buying back Shell stake

* Quran-burning spurs deadly riots

* Markets: mixed

China pushes capital control reforms
China should accelerate the loosening of capital controls, the central bank has said in a landmark report that outlines the path to a critical reform for the economy, the FT reports.

US and North Korea meet for nuclear talks
The US and North Korea met on Thursday for the first time since the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il died in December, to discuss the communist state dismantling its nuclear programme in return for food aid, the FT reports.

Baghdad bombings kill at least 20
Car bombs struck across Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 20 people and wounding dozens, in the latest wave of attacks on the Iraqi capital since a political crisis erupted in December, security officials said, Reuters reports (via the FT).

Somalia conference seeks to galvanise peace push
African, Arab and Western nations worried by Somalia’s turmoil meet on Thursday to coordinate efforts against militants and pirates seen as growing threats to global security and ramp up measures to end famine and clan violence, Reuters reports.

Wen seen setting China growth below 8%
China’s Premier Wen Jiabao is seen signaling next month that curbing pollution, inequality and the risk of financial instability eclipse the benefits of faster economic growth, a survey of analysts indicated, Bloomberg reports.

Germany fights eurozone firewall moves
The German government is set to resist or delay increasing the size of the eurozone’s financial “firewall” against contagion from the Greek debt crisis, in the face of mounting pressure from its partners, the International Monetary Fund and the US administration, the FT reports.

Hungary hits at Brussels funds threat
Hungary condemned as “unfounded and unfair” European Commission plans to suspend funding worth nearly €500m next year because of an excessive budget deficit, the FT reports.

Syrian assault spurs call for intervention
The Syrian regime’s intensifying assault on the rebellious city of Homs killed dozens of people on Wednesday including two western journalists, sparking fresh pleas for international action to stop the bloodshed, the FT reports.

Buenos Aires commuter train crash kills 49 people
The train crash at Once station in the heart of Buenos Aires, with forty-nine dead and more than six-hundred injured, is the worst in Argentina in more than forty years, beyondbrics reports. But for many it was an accident waiting to happen. The opposition, rail users and the train unions have for a long time accused the government and the private train companies of under-investing in the rail network.

Woodside considering buying back Shell stake
Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia’s second-largest oil producer, is considering buying back Royal Dutch Shell’s holding, valued at A$7.1bn, and may fund it with cash from its Pluto liquefied natural gas venture, Bloomberg reports.

Quran-burning spurs deadly riots
Deadly anti-American protests spread across Afghanistan Wednesday as demonstrators armed with guns, iron rods and rocks attacked Afghan government and Western targets, venting their outrage over the burning of copies of the Quran at a U.S. military base, the WSJ reports.

Emerging Markets
MSCI Emerging Market Index down -0.34% at 1,061

Europe
FTSE down +0.26% at 5,932
RTS down -0.07% at 1,641
Warsaw Wig down -0.01% at 41,663
FTSE 300 Eurotop down -0.05% at 1,076

Americas
DJIA down -0.21% at 12,939
S&P 500 down -0.33% at 1,358
Bovespa down -0.17% at 66,093

Asia
Nikkei 225 up +0.44% at 9,596
Topix up +0.48% at 829.35
Hang Seng down -0.78% at 21,381
Shanghai Composite up +0.25% at 2,410
MSCI Asia ex-Japan down -0.81% at 528.13
S&P CNX Nifty Index down -0.40% at 5,483

Currencies
€/$ 1.33 (1.32)
$/¥ 80.13 (80.23)

Commodities
Brent Crude (ICE) up +1.33 at 124.23
Light Crude (Nymex) up +0.26 at 106.54
100 Oz Gold (Comex) up +6.00 at 1,776

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