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Morning business round-up: Sony to shed 10,000 staff

What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

Electronics giant Sony has said it will shed 10,000 staff as part of a major reorganisation.

The cuts, which represent 6% of the global workforce, will be made over the next 12 months.

The reduction includes staff working in businesses that are being sold, such as its chemicals division.

On Tuesday, Sony forecasted a record annual loss of $6.4bn (£4bn), double its previous estimate. Its share price has fallen 40% over the past 12 months.

Lehman Brothers has said it will begin paying out $22.5bn to creditors next week, double its initial estimate for the first round of repayments.

The US investment bank, which collapsed in 2008 and only came out of bankruptcy protection last week, has estimated it will repay $65bn in total.

The repayment plan was approved by a bankruptcy judge in December last year.

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The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sued AutoChina International and 11 investors over alleged stock manipulation.

They have been accused of unlawfully buying and selling shares in a bid to artificially inflate trading figures so the company could gain "favourable loan terms".

AutoChina, which says it is the country's biggest commercial vehicle sales and leasing firm, has denied the charges.

In Europe, French presidential candidate Francois Hollande has said he intends to take a no-nonsense approach to financial markets and tackle speculation.

Mr Hollande outlined the need to "dominate finance" and leave investors "with no space to act".

He also criticised rival candidate and current President Nicolas Sarkozy for leaving France with too much debt.

The two men go head-to-head in the presidential election later this month, with Mr Hollande ahead in the polls.

Finally, the UK's trade deficit widened in February as exports of goods to non-EU countries dropped, figures have shown.

The deficit on the trade in goods and services increased to £3.4bn ($5.4bn) from a revised £2.5bn in January, the Office for National Statistics said.

The decrease in exports was driven by lower sales of cars to countries outside the EU, including the US, Russia and China.

Total exports of goods fell 3.4% in February, while imports were unchanged.

The UK's goods trade deficit increased to £8.8bn in February from £7.9bn in January.

The latest Business Daily podcast looks at the difficulties facing Italy's government in its attempts to reform the country's arcane labour laws.

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