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After a turbulent 2011, the 17 countries that use the euro will be quickly confronted in the new year with major hurdles to solving their government debt crisis, just as the eurozone economy is expected to sink back into recession.

 
 
Asian stocks markets fell with trading thinned by year-end holidays and mixed economic news out of the US and Japan.

The Commerce Department says the US economy grew at an annualized rate of 1.8 per cent in the third quarter and not 2.5 per cent as originally thought.
It will take an additional step - robust hiring, not just the end of layoffs - to bring the 8.6 per cent unemployment rate down significantly.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index shed 1.3 per cent to 8,406.99. South Korea's Kospi lost 1.8 per cent to 1,823.30 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 2 per cent to 17,984.25.
 
 
Kim Jong-II died on Saturday during a train journey from what the country's official KCNA news agency described as "a great mental and physical strain". He was 69.
China's economy grew 9.1 per cent in July-September but is expected to slow to below 9 per cent growth in the coming year.
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