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World Governments Race to Contain Flu Outbreak


SWINE FLU: Governments around the world are racing to avoid both a pandemic and global hysteria as more possible swine flu cases emerge from Canada to New Zealand.
The World Health Organization has declared the virus "a public health emergency of international concern" with "pandemic potential."
Health officials in Mexico, the outbreak's epicenter, say swine flu is believed to have killed 103 people and sickened more than 1,600.
On Monday, the European Commission called for an urgent meeting of EU health ministers to discuss the possible threat posed by the swine flu outbreak. The EU health commissioner recommended avoiding travel to areas affected by the flu. Earlier Monday, Spain confirmed its first swine flu case.
Meanwhile, Asian countries have begun screening air passengers.

PAKISTAN: Pakistan's military says troops killed 20 militants in an operation against the Taliban in the troubled northwest.An army statement says paramilitary troops killed the militants Monday in the Lower Dir district, which is part of the Malakand division of North West Frontier Province.
Earlier Monday, a spokesman for radical cleric Sufi Mohammad (Ameer Izat) said he had suspended peace negotiations between the Taliban and government officials until the military operation in Lower Dir was halted.

SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka's government says it will stop using heavy weapons and air strikes in the northern war zone to prevent further civilian casualties.
The president's office said in a statement Monday that combat operations have concluded and troops no longer will use major artillery.

WORLD ECONOMY: World Bank policymakers say the bank will boost lending to poor nations by $100 billion over the next three years, calling the global financial crisis a calamity.
At the close of a two-day meeting in Washington Sunday, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said the crisis has forced as many as 90 million people into poverty. He said the bank must act in real time to stop a human catastrop

JAPAN ECONOMY: Japanese government officials have released a gloomy economic report on the same day the government in Tokyo is expected to submit a supplemental budget to parliament. The report, issued Monday, predicts the world's second-largest economy will contract by a record 3.3 percent in the fiscal year that began April 1. In December, the government estimated that domestic growth would be flat for the 2009 fiscal year. Later in the day, the government is expected to hand lawmakers a supplementary budget bill that would fund Japan's record $159 billion economic rescue package.





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