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February 18 2013, 07:57AM

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


MADRID - Thousands of demonstrators have marched through the streets of 16 Spanish cities Sunday to protest plans to part-privatise the public health care system, with some questioning the government's motives.

NICOSIA - Right-wing leader Nicos Anastasiades has won the presidential election in debt-hit Cyprus with 51 per cent of the vote, exit polls show.

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama is concerned about the effect that looming, drastic across-the-board budget cuts will have on the middle class, his new chief of staff says.

NEW DELHI - Two Indian federal investigators will travel to Italy this week to meet with prosecutors investigating allegations that the Italian company Finmeccanica paid bribes to secure a 560 million euros ($A727.93 million) deal to sell 12 helicopters to India, a government official says.

JERUSALEM - An Israeli newspaper scoop has prompted the country's prime minister to freeze his annual ice cream budget.

SKOURIES - About 40 masked attackers have raided the facilities of a prospective gold mine in northern Greece, setting machinery and offices alight, authorities say.

WELLINGTON - The New Zealand dollar fell from record highs on a trade-weighted basis and against the pound on speculation it may have run too hard after a string of strong economic figures.


SYDNEY - The Australian dollar is more than half a US cent lower after falls in gold prices and US stocks on Friday.

SYDNEY - The Australian market looks set to open higher after Wall Street closed mixed and Europe's main stock markets retreated as the Group of 20 finance ministers met amid growing talk of "currency wars".

PERTH - Almost one in five Australians would struggle to come up with $1000 to deal with an emergency, while one in three people spend everything they earn.