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US Financial Crisis Triggers Global Concern

As U.S. lawmakers debate legislation aimed at rescuing America's financial system, people around the world are keeping a close eye on Washington and Wall Street. VOA's Robert Raffaele has reaction from world leaders and citizens.

For many around the world, the U.S. crisis is a major concern. Many people are worried about how the troubled American economy will affect their finances.

American Lisa Montgomery is an education consultant in London. She advises families who want to send their children to U.S. colleges.

"I don't think people think it's just an American problem," Montgomery said, "but the solution is going to have to be American, as we look at the government attempting to react to the problem. And that's where I think some of the nervousness comes in. Everyone's money is in the game, but the U.S. government is going to have to decide how to fix it."

Stephen Revere is an American living in South Korea. He recently launched a new magazine.

"There's no telling where this is going at all," Revere said. "This could be the next depression, or it could be a blip on the screen. "

The crisis is also on the minds of world leaders.

At talks in Saint Petersburg Thursday, Russian president Dimitri Medvedev and German chancellor Angela Merkel spoke about the crisis.

"The financial crisis should teach us a lesson because we can't afford such crises every couple of years," Merkel said. "It has been obvious for a long time that we need more transparency."

"What did the latest developments show us? They showed us that the times when one economy and one currency dominated are gone for good," Medvedev added.

Chancellor Merkel and Mr. Medvedev called for a financial system that takes into account the interests of many nations.

For the moment, European economies are taking a hit because of the US crisis.

"The government and national governments need to get liquidity back, they need to get the housing market back on track, we need to get some visibility on interest rates and we need to get customers confident that they can plan their individual futures," said Stuart Rose, CEO of British retailer Marks & Spencer.

The retailer suffered its worst decline in nearly a decade amid plunging consumer confidence - in Britain.