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Vodafone has agreed to buy Spain's largest cable operator Ono for 7.2 billion euros ($10.03 billion), in the latest move by the British group to acquire fixed-line assets to rebuild its European operations. Vodafone said on Monday it expected to achieve cost and capital expenditure savings of approximately 240 million euros, before integration costs, by the fourth full year after completion. The deal for the private equity-owned group is Vodafone's third purchase of a European fixed-broadband asset in two years as the company seeks to improve its networks and shore up its European businesses after they were hit by fierce competition, the recession and regulatory cuts. Vodafone has launched a program to invest in its networks, and acquire assets where necessary, after selling its U.S. arm for $130 billion last year.
Simferopol (Ukraine) (AFP) - Crimea was due to formally apply to join Russia on Monday after voting to split from Ukraine, as Europe prepared to hit Moscow with a wave of sanctions in the worst East-West stand-off since the Cold War. An overwhelming 96.6 percent of voters on the mostly Russian-speaking peninsula chose to secede from Ukraine, according to final results from Sunday's referendum, which the Kremlin is accused of orchestrating. Crimea's regional assembly will meet early Monday to apply to merge with Russia, a process that could take months and is mired in uncertainty for a region that remains heavily dependent on the Ukraine mainland. There was sharp international condemnation of the vote, which could see the most radical redrawing of the map of Europe since Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.