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Japan Unveils Biggest Stimulus Plan

Japan's ruling party has unveiled its biggest-ever stimulus package to try to protect the world's second largest economy from a deepening recession.

The $154 billion plan outlined by the Liberal Democratic Party Thursday includes emergency spending to protect jobs and boost corporate financing.

It also calls for lower taxes on gifts of financial assets. The cut aims to encourage older Japanese to give some of their savings to younger generations likely to purchase expensive items like houses.

Japan's fourth stimulus package is worth about three percent of gross domestic product.

The economy is suffering its worst recession since World War II, due largely to a collapse in demand for Japanese goods.

The global slump in demand has also taken a toll on Germany, Europe's largest economy. The Economy Ministry announced Thursday that industrial production dropped for a sixth straight month in February.

The ministry had some positive news, however. Germany's industrial output fell 2.9 percent in February, far less than its 6.1 percent crash in January.

The German government, meanwhile, offered Thursday to take over the troubled Hypo Real Estate bank to try to stabilize the financial markets.

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