Paper: IMF Concerned by Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Draft Law

The International Monetary Fund has told the Ukrainian authorities that it does not support a draft law to create an anti-corruption court because the bill does not guarantee its independence, the newspaper Ukrainska Pravda reported on Monday. Slow progress in establishing a court to handle corruption cases while demonstrating independence and transparency has been one of the main obstacles to the disbursement of a long-delayed loan tranche under the aid-for-reforms…

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Energy Agency Sees Oil Price Decline, But Analyst Predicts a Boom

Crude oil prices reached a 30-month high this week. But the government agency that analyzes and disseminates energy information says the rally may have run its course. The Energy Information Administration predicts U.S. crude prices will stabilize to about 55 dollars a barrel for West Texas Crude and 60 dollars a barrel for Brent Crude, with slightly higher prices for both in 2019. One energy expert disagrees and says oil…

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Wahlberg Donates $1.5 Million After Pay Gap Outcry

Following an outcry over a significant disparity in pay between co-stars, Mark Wahlberg agreed Saturday to donate the $1.5 million he earned for reshoots for All the Money in the World to the sexual misconduct defense initiative Time’s Up. Wahlberg said he’ll donate the money in the name of his co-star, Michelle Williams, who reportedly made less than $1,000 on the reshoots. “I 100% support the fight for fair pay,”…

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Protests in Tunisia Spur Government to Pledge Aid to Poor

Tunisia plans to increase aid for poor families by $70.3 million, after nearly a week of protests over austerity measures, an official said Saturday. “This will concern about 250,000 families,” Mohamed Trabelsi, minister of social affairs, said. “It will help the poor and middle class.” President Beji Caid Essebsi was also scheduled to visit the poor district of Ettadhamen in the capital, Tunis, which was hit by protests. Essebsi was…

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Report: Traffic Fatalities Hold Back Developing Economies

Deadly traffic accidents are more than just individual tragedies. They’re a drag on economic growth in developing countries, according to a new World Bank report. The study is among the first to show that investing in road safety in low- and middle-income countries would raise national incomes. Ninety percent of the world’s annual 1.25 million traffic deaths happen in the developing world. The World Health Organization says traffic accidents are…

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Awash in Corn, Soybeans, US Farmers Focus on Trade Deals

For Illinois farmer Garry Niemeyer, it’s a slow time of year, spent indoors fixing equipment, not outdoors tending his fields, which now lie empty. All of his corn and soybeans were harvested in what has turned out to be a good year. “This is the largest amount of corn we’ve had ever,” he said. And this bounty is not limited to Niemeyer’s farm. It can be seen throughout the United…

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Awash in Corn, Soybeans, U.S. Farmers Focus on Trade Deals

The United States Department of Agriculture reports record harvests of corn and soybeans in the United States in 2017, with stocks overflowing at elevators and storage bins across the country. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, record yields don’t necessarily translate into stronger bottom lines for farmers, who increasingly depend on international trade to move their product and improve their prices. …

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Protests Erupt Again in Tunisia, Cradle of 2011 Arab Spring

Protesters took to the streets in towns and cities across Tunisia for a fourth day Friday, as anger grows over price hikes introduced by the government. Demonstrations in 2011 in Tunisia grew into the revolution that overthrew the government and triggered a wave of uprisings across the Arab world. Seven years on, the dictatorship may have gone but, as Henry Ridgwell reports, lingering social and economic problems are driving the…

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Transit Shutdown in Greece as Unions Strike for Right to Strike

The Athens subway came to a standstill Friday as Greeks protested new reforms that parliament is set to approve Jan. 15 in return for bailout funds, including restrictions on the right to strike. In the first major industrial upheaval of 2018, the shutdown of the Athens metro, used by about 938,000 commuters daily, caused traffic gridlock in the city of 3.8 million people. Ships were unable to sail as workers…

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As Sanctions Bite, China Trade With North Korea Plummets

China’s trade with North Korea plunged 50 percent in December as U.N. sanctions imposed over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development tightened, the government reported Friday.   China accounts for nearly all of the isolated North’s trade and energy supplies. Beijing has imposed limits on oil sales and cut deeply into the North’s foreign revenue by ordering North Korean businesses in China to close, sending home migrant workers and banning purchases…

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