US-NEWS Summary

Sep 23, 2011, 11:06 p.m.

Europe hastens to build up debt crisis defenses

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - European policymakers are quickening their preparations to cope with an escalation of the region's debt crisis as talk of a possible Greek default gained pace on Friday. Finance chiefs from around the world have turned up the heat on Europe to do more to prevent Greece's debt woes from infecting other euro zone countries and the world economy.

Congress delays budget fight until Monday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Congress set the stage for another last-minute budget showdown as lawmakers delayed action on a broad spending bill until Monday, shortly before disaster relief funds will run out completely. This time, the brinkmanship threatens to disrupt assistance to victims of floods, wildfires and other natural disasters in one of the most extreme years for weather in U.S. history.

Gold slumps record $100; stocks edge up

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gold prices slumped more than $100 an ounce on Friday, the biggest fall on record in dollar terms, as traders sold to cover losses, while global stocks edged up on expectations the European Central Bank will take new measures to contain the euro zone debt crisis. Trading was volatile, capping one of the most tumultuous weeks on record for world markets as fear of a Greek default and a gloomy Federal Reserve prognosis for the U.S. economy sparked a sell-off in stocks and commodities and drove investors to the safe-haven U.S. dollar and Treasuries.

Abbas stakes Palestinian claim to state at U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked the United Nations on Friday to recognize a state for his people, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the world body as a "theater of the absurd" and said only direct talks could deliver peace. Abbas handed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a letter requesting full U.N. membership, which the Security Council will discuss on Monday. The United States has vowed to support its Israeli ally and use its veto if a vote is held.

Bill Gates backs Tobin tax, G20 unconvinced

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Friday backed a controversial financial transactions tax to aid development in poor countries but France acknowledged that most G20 countries did not like the idea. The Gates Foundation was tasked by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to examine ways the Group of 20 leading economies could raise new money for the world's poor, including plugging an estimated $80 billion to $100 billion funding gap to tackle climate change.

Libya NTC says to announce "crisis" government in days

BENGHAZI/SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) - Libya's interim rulers said on Friday they would announce a "crisis" government within the next few days, signaling a breakthrough in efforts to form a more inclusive administration after the war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi. "We've agreed on a number of portfolios and who would hold the most important ones. There will be 22 portfolios and one vice premier," said Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, a spokesman for the National Transitional Council (NTC).

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