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LONDON, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 futures contract fell 0.6 percent on Friday, with the cash market also set for a weaker open, as global equity markets slid after U.S. President Barack Obama said he had authorized air strikes in Iraq. For more on the factors affecting European stocks, please click on
* The UK blue chip index closed down by 38.79 points, or 0.6 percent, at 6,597.37 points on Thursday, its lowest close since April 16, meaning it has fallen more than 3 percent since a peak seen at the end of July.
* UNITED STATES/IRAQ: U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he has authorized air strikes against Islamist militants in Iraq to protect American personnel and launched humanitarian assistance to prevent a genocide of members of a religious minority who have fled their homes.
* OIL: Oil prices on both sides of the Atlantic rose more than $1 on Friday, with Brent nearing $107 a barrel after the United States approved air strikes against Islamic militants in Iraq, raising the threat of oil disruptions from the key oil producer.
* CHINESE ECONOMY: China's iron ore imports jumped nearly 11 percent in July from the previous month, customs data showed, as buyers took advantage of lower prices for the steelmaking raw material and stocked up, despite weak domestic steel demand.
* GLAXOSMITHKLINE : Chinese prosecutors on Friday charged a British investigator and his American wife with illegally obtaining private information in a case that is seen as key to a bribery investigation against GlaxoSmithKline.
* 3I : London-based private equity firm 3i Group Plc had hired U.S. bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc to run a potential sale of British luxury lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur, the New York Times reported on Thursday, citing a source.
* TUI TRAVEL : TUI Travel, Europe's biggest tour operator by revenues, reported a 21 percent rise in third-quarter profit and said it was on track to deliver profitable growth even as parts of the market become more competitive.
* BELLWAY : Housebuilder Bellway reported growth in the value of its forward order book.
* CATLIN : Bermuda-based Catlin Group said first-half profit more than doubled as the insurer and reinsurer got a boost from better investment returns and more resilient pricing environments in the United States, Europe and Asia.
* AFREN : London-listed oil producer Afren has suspended output at its Barda Rash oilfield in Iraqi Kurdistan due to heightened security issues after Islamic State militants advanced closer to the oil-rich region.
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