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IMF

Letter bomb explodes at Paris offices of IMF leaving one injured

A letter bomb exploded at the Paris offices of the International Monetary Fund on Thursday, injuring a secretary who suffered burns to her hands and face, police said.

Letter bomb explodes at Paris offices of IMF leaving one injured
Photo: AFP
Employees were evacuated from the building near the Arc de Triomphe monument in the heart of the capital “as a precaution” after the late morning explosion, a police source said.
 
IMF chief Christine Lagarde condemned it as a “cowardly act of violence”.
 
She reaffirmed “the IMF's resolve to continue our work in line with our mandate”, according to a statement issued by her office.
 
“We are working closely with the French authorities to investigate this incident and ensure the safety of our staff.”
 
 
French President Francois Hollande called it an “attack”, saying it showed that “we are still targeted.”
 
The victim, a secretary for an unnamed senior manager, suffered light burns from the blast which might have been caused by a firework, a police source told AFP, asking not to be named.
 
Armed police and soldiers were seen securing the area around the IMF offices.
 
France has been the victim of a series of deadly attacks by Islamic extremists since 2015.
 
Although no link has been established at this stage, a Greek far-left group claimed Thursday that it had sent a parcel bomb to the German finance ministry in Berlin, more than six years after waging a similar campaign targeting European officials.
 




Claim by 'Conspiracy of Fire'
 
The Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei group admitted responsibility in a statement posted on an anti-establishment website, but only mentioned Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble's office as a target.
 
German police said they had discovered the “explosive” package at Schaeuble's office on Wednesday, a day before he was due to host his new US counterpart Steven Mnuchin.
 
Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, listed as a terrorist organisation by the United States, in 2010 sent letter bombs to foreign embassies in Greece and to three European leaders — then European Commission chairman Jose Manuel Barroso, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and then Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
 
A Greek police source said the claim was “most probably” authentic.
 
Germany and the IMF are blamed by many Greeks for imposing years of public sector cuts and reforms in exchange for bailout packages needed to prop up the recession-hit country.
 
Greece's interior ministry said authorities in both Greece and Germany were working together on the case.
 
A Greek police source said the package had a Greek stamp. The “sender” of the parcel was given as a deputy leader of the opposition New Democracy party — along with his real address.

ECONOMY

Make reforms while sun shines on world economy: Lagarde

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has urged France and other countries to push through reforms "while the sun is shining" on the global economy.

Make reforms while sun shines on world economy: Lagarde
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde. Photo: AFP

In an interview with France's Le Journal du Dimanche published on Sunday Lagarde said the strength of the global economic recovery had taken the IMF by surprise.

“In 2017, for the first time in a long time, we revised our growth forecasts upwards whereas previously we used to lower them,” she said.

Global growth of 3.6 percent was both “stronger and more widely shared” in 2017, she said, noting that developed economies were now growing again under their own steam and no longer merely being pulled along by demand in emerging markets.

Lagarde said the favourable climate lent itself to implementing reforms.

“When the sun is shining you should take advantage to fix the roof,” she said, using one of her favourite maxims.

This year's global growth is on a par with the average of the two decades leading up to the global financial crisis of 2007-2008.

The IMF has forecast a further slight improvement in 2018, to 3.7 percent.

In Lagarde's native France, seen for years as one of Europe's weak links, the recovery kicked in in earnest this year.

From 1.1 percent in 2016, growth is expected to rise to 1.9 percent in 2017 — still short of the 2.4 percent forecast for the eurozone as a whole but better than the 1.6 percent initially forecast in the eurozone's second-largest economy.

Centrist President Emmanuel Macron aims to consolidate the momentum and bring down stubbornly high unemployment with an ambitious programme of labour, tax and welfare reforms.

Lagarde said the changes were key to boosting France's credibility at a time when Macron is pushing for reforms at the European level, including closer integration among eurozone members.

The managing director of the IMF was France's finance minister in 2008, when the euro looked to be in serious jeopardy.

Nearly 10 years later, the currency is out of the woods.

But, Lagarde warned, “the mission has not been accomplished — and maybe never will — because Europe is not united on moving towards greater integration while maintaining national sovereignty.”