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Activists accuse World Bank of deadly dealings in Honduras

WASHINGTON — Honduras may not sound like an easy sell for international investment. But that has not dissuaded the World Bank. However, after reports of vicious fighting on Honduras' African palm plantations, some are questioning whether the bank's money is doing more harm than good.

Critics target World Bank poverty projects

TIRANA, Albania — 'These might be good and profitable investments,' says Peter Chowla, coordinator for the Breton Woods Project, a London-based watchdog group. 'But they’re wasting development money.'

This worries us most about China, says World Bank

Financial instability in China, stemming from its vast shadow banking sector, is a lurking threat for the world's second largest economy, according to Hans Timmer, director of the Development Prospects Group at the World Bank. "[China has] a shadow banking sector where nobody knows who is on the hook for all kinds of loans; [it] has 160 percent of GDP [gross domestic product] of private sector debt, and there are a lot of vulnerabilities there," Timmer told CNBC on Tuesday. Original Source URL:

World Bank president Robert Zoellick to step down in June

The board will now begin the process of selecting a new president, before Zoellick's term comes to an end on June 30.

Africa: Preschool programs help families, says World Bank (PHOTOS)

Preschool in rural Africa boosts children and their families, says new study.

BOSTON — Education is seen as crucial to boosting Africa's economic and social development. And preschool programs in rural Africa stimulate children to do better in school. Early education has a positive ripple effect on their families, too.

That is the finding of a new World Bank report which evaluates a preschool program in Mozambique run by Save the Children that was funded by a donation from American Idol's charity campaign. 

“The study, rare in Africa, has thrown light on the possibilities that we in developing countries can explore to give our children a much better future," said Mozambique's Minister of Education H.E. Zeferino Martins.

The pioneering study of early child development programs in Africa was funded by the World Bank and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation.

Save the Children's preschool program was also among the first of its kind in Mozambique, where only four percent of children under the age of 5 go to preschool, according to Mozambican government officials. 

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Here are some notable findings from the study by World Bank researchers Sophie Naudeau and Sebastian Martinez:

- Children in the preschool were 24 percent more likely to enroll in primary school and were significantly better equipped to learn than kids not enrolled in preschool.

- Children attending the preschool were much more likely to show interest in math and writing, recognize shapes and show respect for other children than those who are not.

- Preschool has a positive ripple effect on a child’s wider family; parents of enrolled kids were 26 percent likelier to work, while some older siblings were able to go to school themselves.

“This evaluation provides us evidence of the convincing results in preschool program thus revealing the great potential for improving the health and learning outcomes of children in Africa," said World Bank Vice President for Africa and former Nigerian Minister of Education Obiageli Ezekwesili.

"I therefore urge leaders, policy makers, communities and parents to take advantage of such programs that help young children, because they also help break the vicious cycle of dynastic poverty in families,” Ezekwesili said

More from GlobalPost: Richer countries, poorer people in Africa

The study covered 2,000 households in 76 rural communities of Mozambique's Gaza province, which is close to the capital Maputo and has relatively higher human development indicators than the rest of the country, according to Save the Children. Mozambique's low development means there is an urgent need for preschool programs in other parts of the country, according to the organization. 

Save the Children’s program helped build preschool centers to assist orphans and vulnerable children. With the help of trained volunteers from rural communities, the preschool centers reached about 5,000 kids ranging in age from three to six years.

A large part of Save the Children's preschool program was funded by American Idol fans.

The 2007 American Idol Gives Back charity event donated $13.5 million to Save the Children, and the organization used $1 million of those funds to start preschool programs in 30 communities in the Gaza province in 2008. The donation was also used to build classrooms, latrines and playgrounds, provide school supplies and training for teachers and volunteers.

“We are delighted that our early learning program in Mozambique offers a model for low-income countries across Africa,” said Carolyn Miles, Save the Children president.

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Athens aftermathEnlarge
Athens' firemen continue to douse down flames following last night's riots in protest against further massive austerity cuts (ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Greek parliament voted to bite down harder on the austerity bullet and passed a further 3.3 billion euros ($4.4 billion) cuts to government spending. The headline measures were a 22 percent reduction in the minimum wage and another 15,000 government employees being laid off,

On top of that euro zone finance ministers are saying the Greek government must find another 325 million euros in savings if it is to receive an EU funded 130 billion euro bail-out ($172 billion).

No wonder there were violent demonstrations last night.

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