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By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment aid unexpectedly fell last week, but continued weakness in business spending on capital goods suggested slower economic growth in the fourth quarter. There is also a good chance that the October payroll gain may not have been an aberration," said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment increased to 75.1 for November, up from a final reading of 73.2 in October. A separate report from the Commerce Department showed non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, dropped 1.2 percent last month.
By Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) - By dropping earlier demands that Iran shut down an underground uranium enrichment plant and ship material out of the country as part of a preliminary deal, nuclear negotiators have kicked some of the toughest questions forward to talks for the next year. The curbs to its nuclear program that Iran agreed to on Sunday are easier to reverse than measures that were previously called for by the six global powers seeking to prevent Tehran from developing an atomic bomb, experts say. But supporters say the compromise was necessary to halt Iran's nuclear advances so that the real bargaining could begin, and should help keep both sides focused on the final negotiations which lie ahead. A senior Western diplomat acknowledged that Iran could resume its most controversial activity - production of 20 percent enriched uranium - if it should decide to abandon the deal or if final talks fail.
The European Commission told Britain on Wednesday that European Union freedom of movement rules were non-negotiable and that London had to accept them if it wanted to remain in the bloc's single market. "Free movement is non-negotiable," Viviane Reding, vice-president of the EU executive told Reuters when asked about plans by Prime Minister David Cameron to impose tighter controls on migrants from Romania and Bulgaria and to try to restrict freedom of movement rules for poorer EU states. "If Britain wants to leave the single market, you should say so.
American Airlines parent AMR expects to emerge from bankruptcy and complete its merger with US Airways on December 9, the companies said Wednesday. The two companies, which are merging to become the "American Airlines Group," said a US bankruptcy court Wednesday approved the merger of the two US airlines. Common shares for American Airlines will trade under the "AAL" ticker on Nasdaq starting the following Monday. Momentum behind the plan to create a third US air giant to compete with Delta Air Lines and United Continental Holdings picked up considerably after the Justice Department on November 12 announced a settlement to resolve an antitrust complaint that had sought to block the AMR-US Airways merger.
By Peter Griffiths LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday dismissed the Scottish government's vision of how the country would look if it votes for independence next year, accusing nationalists of ducking the biggest policy questions. Speaking in the UK parliament in London, Cameron said the 670-page blueprint for independence lacked credibility and failed to give detailed answers about an independent Scotland's future currency or its role in the European Union and NATO. "We were just left (with) a huge set of questions." Britain's three main UK-wide political parties oppose Scotland's independence, arguing that the country of 5 million people would be less prosperous and less secure on its own. Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), which dominates the devolved Scottish parliament, says it could thrive if it took the historic step.