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Ratings agency Standard & Poor's said on Friday it expected Britons to vote to remain in the European Union by a small majority in a June 23 referendum, but that the risk of leaving was a negative for the country's creditworthiness. S&P is the only major ratings agency to maintain a triple-A rating for Britain, but it has a negative outlook, implying a one-in-three chance of a downgrade in the next two years. "The negative outlook continues to reflect our view that the forthcoming referendum on the U.K.'s membership of the EU ... is likely to be a close call and could result in a vote to leave," S&P said.
Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 79, has returned to Algiers after a brief visit to Geneva for medical checkups, his latest since a stroke three years ago that has mostly kept him out of the public view. Bouteflika, who has governed the North African OPEC state for more than 15 years, left a week ago for "regular medical checkups", state media said. Bouteflika's illness has prompted speculation about a possible transition from a leader who helped bring the country out of a 1990s war with Islamist fighters and into more economic stability during the times of high oil prices.