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Business

Business Briefs

The combined economies of the 12 Euro-zone countries have slowed down, former tennis star Boris Becker wins a case against a German newspaper for using his photo without his consent and more.

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The German tennis legend's photo was used illegally as an ad.

Euro-zone economies growing slower

The combined economies of the 12 countries using the Euro currency grew at a slower rate than last quarter. European Union statistics released Thursday show a growth of only 0.2 percent in the last three months. The three previous months showed a growth of 0.4 percent. The loser this quarter was Greece, whose economic growth dropped 0.3 percent, according to Eurostat. Services in the Euro-zone economies contributed to the growth as industrial and agricultural output continued to stagnate. One of Germany's major economic institutes said the stagnation was most likely nearing an end. The Munich Ifo Institute predicted the Euro-zone economies would recover in the second half of 2003.

Boris Becker wins round against newspaper

Former tennis star Boris Becker won a round in court against the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper on Wednesday. A Munich judge ruled that the paper had used a photo of Becker to advertise for its Sunday edition, without Becker's consent. A photo of Becker on a placard with the headline "stumbling favorite" next to it wasn't defensible as freedom of the press. The decision opens the way for Becker to seek monetary damages.

Court overturns EU ruling against German bank

A top European appeals court overturned an order from the European Union antitrust regulators forcing Germany’s Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale to repay € 808 million ($ 885.6 million) in government aid. The ruling marks a setback for the European Commission’s competition watchdogs to force German public banks to pay back state subsidies. EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti insisted the court’s ruling would not deflect his anti-trust busters from seeking a level playing field. "The annulment of the commission’s decision will not stifle our task of ensuring fair competition in the German banking sector," he said. The commission vowed to pursue legal proceedings against similar capital transfers given to six other banks by state authorities in Berlin, Bavaria, Hesse and Thüringia, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg.

Germany's rail network comes to screeching halt

Hundreds of railroad workers walked off their jobs early Thursday in the north German cities of Hanover and Hamburg as rail unions threatened to expand their strikes ahead of pay negotiations. The Thursday morning action by about 600 rail workers stopped key cross-country trains bound for Cologne in the west and Berlin in the east. The two main rail unions, Transnet and GDBA are demanding a five percent pay hike from German railway company Deutsche Bahn. Union leaders have threatened to step up the five-day-old warning strikes by staging a nationwide laying down of work before the next round of scheduled talks are set to begin. Deutsche Bahn has offered only a 1.3 percent increase, along with moves to bring salaries in the former communist east at par with those in the west and bonus payments when earnings improve.