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Euro hits one-year low over soft economic data, Ukraine

LONDON – The euro fell to a near one-year low against the dollar in the wake of soft European economic data and uncertainty over the crisis in Ukraine.

Europe’s single currency fell to a low of $1.3119 after a survey Monday showed that the manufacturing sector across the 18-nation eurozone lost momentum in August. The euro hasn’t been lower since early September of last year.

The main reason behind the euro’s recent weakness has been a growing expectation that the European Central Bank may be considering a monetary stimulus to boost the ailing eurozone economy. In the second quarter, growth in the eurozone ground to a halt.

The crisis in Ukraine has also hobbled the eurozone’s economic outlook. Uncertainty over how the conflict will turn out has made businesses hesitant to invest.

‘Guardians’ box-office standout in lackluster summer season

LOS ANGELES – The intergalactic misfits of “Guardians of the Galaxy” are the summer’s box-office superheroes.

Marvel’s cosmic romp topped the Labor Day box office with a three-day take of $22 million – its third time in first place since its release five weeks ago, according to studio estimates Monday. With North American ticket sales of more than $280 million so far, “Guardians” is also the summer’s – and the year’s – top-grossing film to date domestically.

Still, summer box-office totals are down almost 15 percent from last year, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak.

“This is the lowest summer since 2006 in terms of revenue,” he said.

“Transformers: Age of Extinction,” which opened in late June, also boosted the summer box office with $1 billion in global ticket sales. “Maleficent” was another hit, bringing in more than $230 million domestically.

Greece rules out new pay cuts, tax hikes ahead of bailout talks

ATHENS, Greece – Greece’s government says it won’t enact further austerity measures ahead of talks later this week with bailout creditors.

Government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi said Monday that cuts in pay and income tax hikes would not be discussed at the three-day negotiations that are due to start in Paris on Tuesday.

Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis and four other Cabinet ministers are to attend the talks with debt inspectors – the first time they have taken place outside Greece since the country was bailed out in 2010.

In return for money from its fellow partners that use the euro currency and the International Monetary Fund, Greece has had to enact a raft of austerity measures and reforms to its economy.

Greece’s six-year recession is widely expected to come to end this year.

Japan urges disaster preppers to stock up on toilet paper

TOKYO – On national disaster prevention day, Japan’s government is urging people to stock up on toilet paper, because more than 40 percent of the nation’s supply comes from a high-risk earthquake zone.

The Trade and Industry Ministry is promoting specialty toilet paper for emergency use, marking Monday’s national disaster prevention day. Officials say people immediately think of food and water as relief goods, but easily forget toilet paper.

Government and industry officials said 41 percent of the country’s toilet paper supply comes from Shizuoka, central Japan, one of Japan’s most earthquake-prone areas. They warned of a toilet paper shortage crisis for about a month if the area is hit by an imminent Tokai mega-quake, a lesson learned from the deadly March 2011 disasters.