Britain says to pass emergency phone and email data law

Britain said on Thursday it would rush through emergency legislation to force telecoms companies to retain the data of users for a year, saying the move was vital to protect national security following a decision by Europe's top court.

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Communication companies had been required to retain data for 12 months under a 2006 European Union directive which was thrown out by the European Court of Justice in April.

The scrapping of the directive could deprive police and intelligence agencies of access to information about who customers contacted by phone, text or email, and where and when, the British government said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the emergency legislation would restore this capability and enshrine it in law, ensuring investigations would not be hampered and giving protection to the telecom firms from possible legal challenges.

However, he stated the measure would not give the authorities any new powers to access Britons' personal data or the content of their calls or emails, a hugely controversial issue which has already led to one proposed law being ditched in the wake of privacy concerns.

"No government introduces fast track legislation lightly. But the consequences of not acting are grave," Cameron said in a statement.

"I want to be very clear that we are not introducing new powers or capabilities - that is not for this Parliament. This is about restoring two vital measures ensuring that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies maintain the right tools to keep us all safe."

The emergency security legislation, which has the support of all three major parties, will include a termination clause meaning it will expire in 2016 meaning lawmakers will have to look at the measures in detail again before then. (Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

Russia's Rosneft, Zarubezhneft to agree on Cuban offshore block this week

Russian state oil companies Rosneft and Zarubezhneft plan to sign an agreement with Cuban state oil company Cubanpetroleo to develop an offshore block 37, a senior Russian official said.

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Yuri Ushakov, an aide to President Vladimir Putin who plans to visit Cuba on July 11, told reporters the companies were aiming to agree on the deal during his visit. He did not provide any other details.

A number of factors are working against Cuba's oil hopes, among them the political and logistical difficulties imposed by the long-standing U.S. trade embargo against the island. (Reporting by Dasha Korsunskaya; writing by Katya Golubkova, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

UPDATE 1-U.S. House Republicans seek CDC documents on anthrax scare

Congressional Republicans asked the Obama administration on Wednesday to provide documents related to last month's anthrax scare at a U.S. lab facility, where more than 80 people were initially feared to be exposed to the deadly pathogen.

In a series of letters, top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked for the results of several Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lab inspections and audits of potential weaknesses in biosecurity protocols dating back to October 2007.

"How many suspected exposures to select agents and/or toxins have been reported at CDC since October 2007? How many actual exposures have been reported," said the July 9 letter to CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden signed by three Republican panel members including Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan.

The lawmakers, who also requested information from the inspector general of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said they were gathering information for a July 16 hearing of the panel's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. Frieden is scheduled to testify.

CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said the agency has been working closely with the subcommittee and would "respond as quickly and completely as possible" to the requests.

CDC officials say live anthrax may have been transferred from the facility to employees in a lower-security facility who were not wearing proper protective gear, raising concerns that they may have been exposed to the deadly pathogen.

No one has shown symptoms. Officials initially believed as many as 84 people could have been exposed and scores have taken antibiotics to ward off infection.

The letters were also signed by subcommittee chairman Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania and vice chairman Michael Burgess of Texas.

But they bore no signatures from the committee's Democratic members. The office of the panel's top Democrat, Representative Henry Waxman of California, had no immediate comment.

The letter to Frieden listed 10 questions seeking documents or information by July 10 on a range of issues including an investigation conducted by a Canadian public health agency, the number of CDC staff approved to access dangerous toxins and pathogens, and how much the agency has spent on the facility.

(Reporting by David Morgan and Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Peter Cooney and Andrew Hay)

PRESS DIGEST- Financial Times - July 10

The following are the top stories in the Financial Times. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

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Headlines

AbbVie retraction shows panel has teeth

(on.ft.com/1r99c1T)

Citi to pay $7 bln to resolve U.S. probe

(on.ft.com/1rU46Ju)

Lufthansa considers launching low-cost long-haul service

(on.ft.com/1qKUlLN)

European regulators fine Servier of France

(on.ft.com/1jqRFT7)

UK's Financial Conduct Authority sets sights on high-frequency traders

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(on.ft.com/VLE8L3)

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Aldi and Lidl lead charge of discount supermarkets

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(on.ft.com/1rU3l2Z)

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Peer-to-peer lender wins landmark rating

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(on.ft.com/1oCSLIL)

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Overview

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AbbVie Chief Executive Richard Gonzalez was on Wednesday forced to retract comments made by him while discussing shareholder support for the U.S. drugmaker' s 30 billion pound ($51.1 billion) bid for Shire after being caught out by British takeover rules.

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Citigroup Inc is close to shelling out more than $7 billion to resolve a long-running investigation by the U.S. government into its sale of mortgage-backed securities, according to people familiar with the matter.

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Germany's Lufthansa may launch a no-frills long-haul airline as part of wider plans by the company to stave off competition from low-cost and Middle Eastern carriers.

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European Union antitrust regulators fined have fined six drugmakers including France's Servier a whopping 428 million euros ($583.8 million) for blocking the entry of cheaper generic competition to an expensive branded drug.

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Britain's financial watchdog is launching a review of competition in the wholesale securities market as it eyes the practices used by high-frequency traders to get ahead on other investors.

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Germany's Aldi is the global leader among discount food retailers that offer limited assortment grocery. Schwarz, which owns Lidl, took second place, according to a study by research firm Planet Retail.

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A cross-selection of peer-to-peer (P2P) loans has gotten a credit rating from Standard & Poor's, marking the first time that a major credit rating agency has agreed to formally evaluate a securitisation from the fast-growing P2P sector. ($1 = 0.5877 British Pounds) ($1 = 0.7331 Euros) (Compiled by Esha Vaish; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Swiss stocks - Factors to watch on July 10

Swiss stocks were expected to open steady on Thursday, in line with European factors seen unchanged after the Federal Reserve showed no rush to end its easy money policy.

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The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen flat at 8,540 points, according to premarket indications from bank Julius Baer .

The following are some of the main factors expected to affect Swiss stocks on Thursday:

CREDIT SUISSE

Banca Generali said on Thursday it had reached an agreement to buy the Italian affluent and upper affluent private banking operations of Credit Suisse Italy.

For more, click on

COMPANY STATEMENTS

* Addex Therapeutics announced positive results with ADX71441 in preclinical models of nicotine addiction.

* Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank said first-half net income increased by 3.6 percent to 49.3 million Swiss francs.

* Basilea's said its partner Astellas submitted isavuconazole U.S. NDA for the treatment of invasive aspergillosis and invasive mucormycosis.

* Schindler will increase its stake in its Chinese joint venture XJ-Schindler (Xuchang) Elevator Co to 51 percent from 46 percent in the current year. The agreement gives Schindler the option to raise its stake up to 66 percent by 2017.

ECONOMY

BRIEF-China's Apeloa Pharma sees H1 profit more than doubling on investment gains, product upgrades

Apeloa Pharmaceutical Co Ltd

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* Says expects h1 net profit up 167-174 percent y/y at 216-222 million yuan ($34.83-$35.79 million)

Source text in Chinese: bit.ly/1na9y39

Further company coverage: ($1 = 6.2023 Chinese Yuan Renminbi) (Reporting by Hong Kong and Singapore newsrooms)

India's Glenmark Pharma seeks foreign partners on biologic drugs

India's Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd is in talks with foreign companies for a partnership on two of its biological drugs being tested for the treatment of chronic pain and autoimmune disorders, a senior executive said on Thursday.

Glenmark is looking for companies whose research pipelines would complement its experimental drugs, GBR830 and GBR900, which are both in phase 1, or early stage clinical trials on humans, Chairman and Managing Director Glenn Saldanha said.

He declined to give names, but said he expects to find partners by the time the two drugs complete phase 2 clinical trials, which will be "anywhere from a year to two years."

"It will depend on whether the companies are therapeutically focused on that area and whether they have a conflicting molecule in their pipeline," Saldanha said in an interview at Glenmark's headquarters in Mumbai.

While India's $15 billion pharmaceutical industry is mainly engaged in the development and sale of generic medicines, Glenmark is among the few that continue to invest in the development of original medicines. Natco Pharma Ltd and Cadila Healthcare Ltd are two other Indian companies also involved in such research.

Glenmark has as many as many as six drugs under development for treatments varying from pain and respiratory disorders to multiple sclerosis, and it is already partnered with U.S.-based Forest Laboratories Ltd and French firm Sanofi on two of them.

Glenmark, India's sixth-largest drugmaker by sales, gets about 34 percent of its revenue from the United States, while India is its second-largest market, contributing a quarter of total revenue. (Editing by Matt Driskill)