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Nov 14, 2014

U.S. seeks to ease influx of Central American child migrants

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington will allow some children in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to apply for refugee status from their home countries, Vice President Joe Biden announced on Friday, in a bid to stem an exodus of undocumented migrants to the U.S. border through Mexico.

The program only applies to children whose parents are legal residents of the United States. But Biden said it should provide an alternative for children making the “harrowing” journey alone from Central America in order to join their parents.

Nov 12, 2014

Washington steps up calls on Europe to do more for its economy

SEATTLE/WASHINGTON, Nov 12 (Reuters) – The United States on
Wednesday stepped up calls on European policymakers to do more
to avoid a “lost decade” of low growth, saying steps taken by
the European Central Bank may not be sufficient on their own.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew gave an unusually blunt
assessment of what he thinks Europe needs to do, arguing that
France and Italy should rein in budget deficits more slowly and
that it was “critical” Germany and Netherlands open their fiscal
purse strings.

Nov 12, 2014

U.S. urges Europe to do more to avoid economic slump

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday called on European policymakers to do more to avoid a “lost decade” of low growth, saying steps taken by the European Central Bank may not be sufficient on their own.

Speaking ahead of the summit of leaders from the Group of 20 nations later this week in Australia, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said euro zone countries should pursue a combination of fiscal, monetary and structural policies to support growth.

Nov 11, 2014

U.S. urges IMF to cancel debt of Ebola-stricken countries

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Tuesday proposed that the International Monetary Fund write off some $100 million in debt it is owed by Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to free up more resources for those countries, the hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak.

The debt relief should enable the three impoverished West African countries to spend more on government services and to support their economies as they cope with the devastating epidemic, U.S. Treasury officials told Reuters.

Nov 4, 2014

IMF gave richer countries wrong austerity advice after crisis: watchdog

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund ignored its own research and pushed too early for richer countries to trim budgets after the global financial crisis, the IMF’s internal auditor said on Tuesday.

The Washington-based multilateral lender, concerned about high debt levels and large fiscal deficits, urged countries like Germany, the United States and Japan to pursue austerity in 2010-11 before their economies had fully recovered from the crisis.

Oct 31, 2014

Jamaica vows to stick by economic pledges, minister says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jamaica must stick with tough economic measures in order to reduce its high debt burden and regain credibility with financial markets, the finance minister said on Thursday.

The Caribbean country signed a four-year, $930 million loan program with the International Monetary Fund to help reform its economy and reverse a history of low growth and high debt.

Oct 31, 2014

World Bank to cut 500 jobs in some units as part of revamp

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank said it plans to cut 500 jobs over the next three years as part of a broad restructuring meant to make it more efficient but that has rattled employees.

The long-expected layoffs, along with budget cuts and internal reorganization, have sparked regular staff protests and fears of a broader revolt at a time when the bank is trying to ramp up its work in fighting the Ebola outbreak and other global challenges, and maintain its relevance.

Oct 29, 2014

World Bank’s IFC issues first inclusive business bond

WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – The World Bank’s private
sector arm on Wednesday sold about $105 million in “inclusive
business” bonds, the first-ever debt offering that target
businesses which include the world’s poorest people in their
supply chains.

The International Finance Corporation, or IFC, issued the
four-year, triple-A rated bond only to Japanese retail
investors, tapping into the growing interest in low-risk
investments with a social or environmental focus.

Oct 29, 2014

Tajikistan most improved in World Bank business ranks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Tajikistan made the greatest strides in business-friendly reforms in the past year, part of an overall trend of improving business regulations across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the World Bank said in a report released on Tuesday.

However, the business climate worsened most in Serbia compared with its performance last year, the bank said in its latest “Doing Business” report. The eastern European country is going through painful fiscal austerity after huge floods devastated the economy.

Oct 23, 2014

U.S. warns of sanctions on buyers of Islamic State oil

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Thursday threatened to slap sanctions on anyone buying oil from Islamic State militants in an effort to disrupt what it said was a $1-million-a-day funding source.

Islamic State has seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria in a brutal campaign, and could pose a threat to the United States and its allies if it is not stopped, U.S. Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen said.