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Philippines unveils new plan to fight persistent poverty

The Philippines Monday announced plans to spend more on infrastructure and introduce other reforms to try to lift millions out of poverty. The revised Philippine Development Plan sets more ambitious economic targets to address persistent concerns that poor Filipinos are not enjoying the benefits of the country's recent dramatic economic growth. Among the new targets is the lowering of the poverty incidence from 25.2 percent of the population in 2012 to 16.6 percent by 2016, economic officials said.

Making a financial stretch is key to saving for college

By Liz Weston LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Parents who aren't saving for college could learn a lesson or two from low-income parents who do.

50,000 children could die in months in S.Sudan

Conflict in South Sudan has triggered a serious risk of famine that will kill up to 50,000 children within months if immediate action is not taken, the UN warned on Friday. The African country has experienced high levels of malnutrition since it gained independence in 2011, UNICEF said, and conditions have worsened since ethnic conflict broke out between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and supporters of his former deputy Riek Machar.

Diet passes bill to set up state-backed infrastructure export firm

The Diet enacted Friday a law aimed at establishing a state-backed firm which will help Japanese private-sector companies export their infrastructure-building technologies in such fields as railways and roads. The House of Councillors passed the bill which was already approved by the House of Representatives.

BRICS aim to finish development bank preparations by July summit

By Lidia Kelly and Paul Simao WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The BRICS bloc of emerging economies will have all preparatory work done for setting up its development bank by the group's summit in July, South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday. The bank Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa plan to support infrastructure projects has been slow in coming, with prolonged disagreements over its funding, management and headquarters.

S. Korea extends US$1.74 bln in overseas aid in 2013

SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea extended a total of US$1.74 billion in its overseas development aid (ODA) in 2013, becoming the world's 16th largest donor, the Prime Minister's Secretariat said Wednesday. The country's fund to assist developing countries last year increased 9.2 percent from the previous year's $1.59 billion, the Secretariat said citing data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Brazil election jitters may hit investments in 2014: source

By Alonso Soto and Luciana Otoni BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's presidential vote will likely delay some investment decisions this year but spending on infrastructure is expected to remain strong, a senior government official told Reuters. Although President Dilma Rousseff is the favorite to win the October 5 general election, many investors could withhold funds until the next government outlines its plans for the following four years, which could hamper the country's already slow economic growth.

UN rights expert urges debt relief for Philippines

MANILA (Reuters) - A United Nations human rights expert on Tuesday urged international creditors to cancel the Philippines' debt and give it unconditional grant aid instead of new loans to fund massive post-typhoon reconstruction. The Southeast Asian country, hit hard five months ago by Typhoon Haiyan -- one of the strongest storms to make landfall anywhere -- estimated the total cost of a four-year reconstruction effort could surpass the current estimate of 361 billion pesos ($8 billion).

S. Korea's development aid increases fastest among donors

SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's spending for helping less developed countries establish economic and industrial infrastructure grew at the fastest pace among major donor nations last year, a report showed Sunday. The government spent a total of US$1.59 billion in so-called Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 2012, which has expanded 18.8 percent on average every year since 2008, the report by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance showed.

More progress needed to rid world of mines, Japanese U.N. envoy says

While great strides have been made to realize a world free of landmines, more work needs to be done Japan's deputy ambassador to the United Nations said Friday to mark the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance. "We have made a lot of progress, but at the same time we have a long way to go to achieve a world free of landmines," Deputy Ambassador Kazuyoshi Umemoto, told reporters at a press conference to observe the annual event that was first designated back in 2005. "Japan shares and upholds the U.N. vision of a world free of landmines."
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