* Opposition calls for boycott as Iran votes
* Russian bank shuts down Iranian embassy accounts
* Turkcell weighs up offer for Vivacom
* Brazil declares new ‘currency war’
* Red Cross says Syria allows access to rebel town after UN’s rights vote
* Beijing diversifies away from US dollar
* BTG to include global depositary receipts in IPO
* Judge ramps up pressure on Kazakh mogul
* Six accused Americans depart from Egypt
* Delhi sells ONGC stake despite glitches
* Markets: up
Opposition calls for boycott as Iran votes
Iran’s polling stations opened on Friday to about 48m eligible voters to elect the next parliament amid calls by pro-democracy opposition groups to boycott the election and deprive the Islamic regime of a show of public legitimacy, the FT reports.
Russian bank shuts down Iranian embassy accounts
A state-controlled Russian bank is closing down the accounts of Iranian embassy staff in Moscow in a step criticised by Ambassador Seyed Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi as surrendering to U.S.-led financial sanctions against Tehran, Reuters reports.
Turkcell weighs up offer for Vivacom
Turkcell, Turkey’s biggest mobile phone company, said it was considering investing in Vivacom, a Bulgarian telecoms operator – but dismissed as “groundless” a report it was poised to make a bid valuing the group at $1.4bn, the FT reports
Brazil declares new ‘currency war’
Brazil has declared a fresh “currency war” on the US and Europe, extending a tax on foreign borrowings and threatening further capital controls in an effort to protect the country’s struggling manufacturers, the FT reports.
Red Cross says Syria allows access to rebel town after UN’s rights vote
The International Committee of the Red Cross said it had won permission from President Bashar al- Assad’s government to enter a besieged Syrian town, hours after the United Nations Human Rights Council deplored “systematic violations of human rights,” Bloomberg reports.
Beijing diversifies away from US dollar
Fresh data suggest China is moderating its appetite for investing in US securities, a trend that could mean lower flows of cheap capital from Beijing and a possible rise in borrowing costs across the American economy, the WSJ reports.
BTG to include global depositary receipts in IPO
BTG Pactual will sell global depositary receipts as part of an initial public offering of Latin America’s largest independent investment bank, a move that promises to test investor appetite for Brazilian shares, the FT reports.
Judge ramps up pressure on Kazakh mogul
Mukhtar Ablyazov, a Kazakh oligarch accused of siphoning off $5bn from Kazakhstan bank BTA, which he used to head, has until March 9 to turn himself in and disclose his assets or be prevented from defending fraud claims, the High Court in London has ordered, the FT reports.
Six accused Americans depart from Egypt
Six Americans accused of violating Egyptian civil-society laws left the country on Thursday night, effectively ending a diplomatic spat that nearly upended Washington’s relationship with one of its closest security partners in the Middle East, the WSJ reports.
Delhi sells ONGC stake despite glitches
India’s government auctioned a 5 per cent stake in state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation on Thursday raising about $2.45bn, but only after a period of confusion in which the sale appeared to be under-subscribed, the FT reports.
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Nikkei 225 up +0.72% at 9,777
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Hang Seng up +0.81% at 21,562
Shanghai Composite up +1.43% at 2,461
MSCI Asia ex-Japan up +0.51% at 535.25
S&P CNX Nifty Index up +0.37% at 5,359
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