Opening Bell: ECB stimulus plans, Hawking and other scientists back the EU, agricultural land prices fall

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The European Central Bank is expected to cut interest rates when its governing council meets in Frankfurt today.

ECB President, Mario Draghi is also expected to announce an increase in the amount of money being pumped into the financial system through its quantitative easing bond-buying programme.

The central bank has struggled to stimulate economic activity across the eurozone, after one year of quantitative easing the Euro Stoxx 50 Index has fallen by 17%.

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Professor Stephen Hawking says leaving the EU would be a "disaster for UK science".

He's among more than 150 scientists who've added their names to a letter in The Times (London).

The scientists warn the UK might struggle to attract talented young recruits to the industry from Europe.

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The average price of agricultural land fell by 10% last year to just under €9,000 an acre according to the Farmers Journal Land Price Report, published this morning.

According to the report, farmers continue to be the principal buyers of land and their purchasing power has been affected by lower dairy and other commodity prices and by more difficult access to loans.

Kildare, recorded the highest average price at €13,900 per acre, while other higher than average counties included Dublin, Meath and Wexford.

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Volkswagen's top executive in the US will step down six months after the German carmaker became engulfed in the diesel emissions scandal.

In a statement the company said Michael Horn is leaving "through mutual agreement" and Hinrich Woebcken, will take over on an interim basis.

Horn's departure comes as VW continues to negotiate with US environmental regulators, the Department of Justice, and lawyers representing consumers who are suing the company for compensation.