Dutch government announces 6-billion-euro economic stimulus plan

Dutch government announces 6-billion-euro economic stimulus plan Amsterdam  - The Dutch government on Wednesday announced a 6- billion-euro (8.1-billion-dollar) economic stimulus plan that will see investment followed by cost-cutting in 2011 to tackle the economic crisis.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, presenting the plan to parliament, said the funds would be spent over six years, primarily on infrastructure projects, unemployment prevention and sustainable energy over the next six years.

NEWS FEATURE: Finance crisis forces Dutch return to "old" politics

Finance crisis forces Dutch return to "old" politicsAmsterdam  - Eight years after so-called "polder model" politics was officially carried to its grave in the Netherlands, the economic crisis has revived the typically Dutch socio-political tradition of compromise and pragmatism.

Wednesday the labour unions and employee organisations deliberated on the government's proposal for measures to fight the economic crisis.

Obama tackles US tax code, 300 billion dollars in savings

Obama tackles US tax code, 300 billion dollars in savings Washington - US President Barack Obama will name a task force to overhaul the country's 96-year-old tax code and plug loopholes that could save 300 billion dollars per year, Obama's top budget advisor said Wednesday.

The task force will be headed by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker and directed by Austin Goolsbee, a close economic advisor of Obama's, and should report back by December 4.

Norwegian central bank lowers lead rate to 2.00 per cent

Norwegian central bank lowers lead rate to 2.00 per cent Oslo  - The Norwegian central bank on Wednesday lowered its lead rate a further 0.50 percentage points to 2.00 per cent, as part of attempts to reduce the impact of the weakened global economy on Norway.

The new cut takes effect Thursday, the central bank said.

Norges Bank deputy governor Jan F Qvigstad said in a statement that "the outlook for the global economy has deteriorated."

IMF revamps lending practices

IMF revamps lending practicesWashington - The International Monetary Fund will revamp its lending policies to encourage more countries to make use of its emergency funds in the current economic crisis, the financial watchdog announced Tuesday.

The retooling would provide faster access to IMF loans and with less of the usual policy conditions that have scared off some countries. Governments including Singapore and South Korea have rejected IMF funds despite facing massive budget shortfalls.

Ford chief earned 13.6 million dollars despite record losses

Ford MotorsNew York  - Despite record losses, the chief of Ford Motors, Alan Mulally, earned 13.6 million dollars in 2008.

The money included 2 million dollars in regular salary plus long- term stock options, the country's second largest car producer said Tuesday in a statement.

Mulally did not receive a bonus for 2008, in contrast to 2007. For the current and next years, he has agreed to a 30-per-cent salary reduction.

Ford reported record losses of 15 billion dollars for 2008 - but still has enough cash reserves to survive.