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Jul 30, 2014

U.S. Treasury unveils delayed know-your-customer rule

LOUIS (Reuters) – The United States unveiled on Wednesday a long-delayed rule that would require banks to identify hidden account owners in order to curb money laundering and peer behind shell companies.

The proposed rule would require financial institutions to report the “beneficial,” or true owners of certain accounts, and identify anyone who owns at least a quarter of a company or legal entity, using a standardized format to collect the information.

Jul 29, 2014

Obama says strains over Ukraine not leading to new Cold War with Russia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama escalated U.S. economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday for its aggression against Ukraine but dismissed suggestions the growing chill in U.S.-Russian relations marked the start of a new Cold War.

The United States and the European Union, in a carefully coordinated action, announced targeted new sanctions against Russian banks, energy and defense firms.

Jul 29, 2014

IMF warns of potential risks to global growth

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sharply higher interest rates around the world could combine with weaker growth in emerging markets to slice as much as 2 percentage points off global growth in the next five years, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

In a report assessing how individual national policies could interact to undermine the world economy, the IMF also warned the conflict between Russia and Ukraine could reverberate to the rest of the region if sanctions against Russia escalate, hitting natural gas supplies to Europe and weakening European banks.

Jul 25, 2014

Change to big World Bank aid projects could cede policing to governments

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is considering putting governments in charge of policing its aid projects, a move watchdog groups worry could undermine social and environmental safeguards the lender currently has in place.

The proposal, outlined in a draft document obtained by Reuters, would represent the biggest shake up in 20 years to the policies governing how the bank’s big development projects are monitored. Proponents say it would allow more flexibility and less red tape and is necessary to adjust to a world in which the World Bank is not the only major development player.

Jul 23, 2014

IMF cuts U.S. 2014 growth forecast to 1.7 percent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday said it expects the U.S. economy to grow 1.7 percent in 2014, even more slowly than it predicted a month ago, as weakness in the first quarter offsets an expected pick-up in the second half of the year.

The IMF, which in June forecast 2 percent growth for the world’s largest economy this year, said U.S. activity should accelerate to a pace of 3 percent to 3.5 percent in the rest of 2014, and grow by 3 percent next year and in 2016.

Jul 16, 2014

U.S. hits oil giant Rosneft, other firms with toughest Russia sanctions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama imposed the biggest package of U.S. economic sanctions yet on Russia on Wednesday, hitting Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft and other energy, financial and defense firms, with what he called significant but targeted penalties.

Obama’s latest round of sanctions came after close consultations with European leaders, who announced a less-ambitious package. The ultimate impact of the U.S. sanctions likely depends on whether the European Union follows suit.

Jul 16, 2014

U.S. imposes toughest sanctions yet on Russia over Ukraine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday imposed its most wide-ranging sanctions yet on Russia’s economy, including Gazprombank and the Rosneft Oil Co, and other major banks and energy and defense companies.

Washington has steadily escalated its financial sanctions on Russia over what it views as Moscow’s interference in its neighbor Ukraine and its annexation of the Crimea region.

Jul 15, 2014

World Bank review shows flaws in social, environment safeguards process

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank has systemic defects in its procedures to ensure that people and the environment are not harmed in development projects, according to an internal review obtained by Reuters.

The global development lender is undergoing the first major update to its social and environmental protections in decades, which are likely to influence other international institutions.

Jun 21, 2014

U.S. sanctions net snares the innocent, burdens business

WASHINGTON, June 21 (Reuters) – On a Friday afternoon in
March, Jose Luis Zamora pulled into a Lexus dealership in Dallas
to test-drive a new car with his wife. Ready to pay, Zamora
instead waited more than two hours before being informed his
name had popped up on a government watchlist that blocks those
linked to money launderers, groups alleged to have committed
terrorist acts and other enemies of the United States from doing
business in the country.

A routine credit check matched him to Jose Hernan Zamora, a
Colombian who is no relation to the Texas resident and was added
to the Treasury Department’s sanctions list around 1997 for his
ties to narcotics traffickers.

Jun 16, 2014

IMF cuts U.S. growth outlook, says full employment years off

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecast for the United States on Monday and said the economy would not reach full employment until the end of 2017, allowing the Federal Reserve to bide its time before raising interest rates.

In its annual health check of the U.S. economy, the IMF also urged the United States to boost the minimum wage, which is below most international standards, to fight poverty, which lingers above 15 percent.