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SYDNEY, Dec 3 AAP

December 03 2012, 07:43AM

A roundup of news in finance, economics and business from around the world:

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

WASHINGTON - Lead White House negotiator Timothy Geithner insists there would be no deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" unless Republicans allowed tax rates on the wealthiest Americans to rise.

WASHINGTON - Republicans have to stop using "political math" and say how much they are willing to raise tax rates on the wealthiest two per cent of Americans and then specify the spending cuts they want, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said.

MADRID - Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has admitted it will be difficult for the government to meet its deficit reduction targets despite a raft of austerity measures, as thousands of disabled people staged a noisy protest over cuts to their benefits.

LONDON - British finance minister George Osborne has warned that economic recovery will take longer than planned but insisted that abandoning the government's tough austerity measures would be catastrophic.

NEW YORK - Media conglomerate News Corporation is set to appoint Robert Thomson, a veteran journalist and the managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, as the CEO of its new, as-yet-unnamed publishing company, according to a report in the Journal.

BEIJING - China's manufacturing activity grew in November for the second month in a row, official data shows, in a further sign of strength in the world's second-biggest economy after a marked slowdown.

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia - Voters in small, crisis-hit Slovenia chose a president on Sunday amid growing discontent with government cost-cutting measures designed to avoid an international bailout.

LOCAL NEWS

MELBOURNE - The mining sector's labour productivity is a disaster that will block much future job growth in the industry, says a new report.

MELBOURNE - Australia's farmers are more pessimistic than optimistic about 2013 with dry weather and poor commodity prices biting, a key survey has found.

MELBOURNE - There's no way Australian businesses should have to pay high gas prices for energy when the resource is produced locally, says the head of global giant Dow Chemical.

SYDNEY - Australian officials are in India to formalise a deal for the largest and most comprehensive coal mining exploration program undertaken in Australia.

CANBERRA - The regulator of the national energy market says the meeting of federal and state leaders this week is a once in a decade chance to reform Australia's power generating system.