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Germany, Japan, US Fight Economic Slump


Major nations around the world are working on new measures to boost their economies out of the global financial slump.

German political leaders Monday are working over the details of a proposed $68 billion rescue package.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative coalition is at odds with the center-left Social Democrats over how much assistance is needed to help Europe's biggest economy. The conservatives want tax cuts, while the Social Democrats are pushing tax increases for the rich.

The United States also is considering tax breaks as part of a massive stimulus package to get Americans spending again.

In Tokyo, the head of Japan's Central Bank says he is considering measures, including monetary policy, to combat the rising value of the yen. The world's second largest economy, Japan, faces a rough 2009.

Central bank governor Masaaki Shirakawa said Sunday that a strong yen makes it harder for Japan's exporters to sell their goods on the world market.

India already has taken aggressive measures to help its economy. Monday its stock index rose after officials last week cut interest rates, freed up credit and eased limits on foreign investment.

Oil prices rose back above $47 Monday as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza raised concerns that crude supplies could be disrupted. Oil for February delivery rose nearly three percent to $47.62 a barrel in New York's morning trading. OPEC's expected production cut also is driving up the prices.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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