By Stanley White and John McCrank
TOKYO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Asian shares and the British pound rose on Thursday ahead of the Christmas break, as Britain and the European Union closed in on a free-trade deal and investors placed bets on global economic recovery prospects.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.14%. Australian stocks advanced by 0.
57%, while Tokyo shares rose 0.43%.
Chinese stocks rose 0.02%, but Alibaba Group Holding Ltd slumped 6.28%, its biggest daily drop in six weeks, after China's.....