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IMF calls for deficit cuts in United States

WASHINGTON --- The International Monetary Fund is calling for the United States to make a stronger effort to curb its budget deficits.

The IMF said Thursday that in addition to cutting government spending, the Obama administration will have to consider raising taxes to get the U.S. deficit to a manageable level.

The IMF proposed a range of possible tax increases that would be certain to generate huge political opposition, from reducing the popular tax deduction for home mortgages to instituting a national sales tax.

The 185-nation international lending agency report said that the U.S. economic recovery was becoming "increasingly well established" but it warned that the risks remained on the downside.

But the IMF said so far the U.S. rebound "has proved stronger than we had earlier expected" thanks in large part to what it called a "powerful and effective policy response" on the part of the government, including the efforts of the Federal Reserve.

Administration won't cite China for currency

WASHINGTON --- The Obama administration declined Thursday to cite China for manipulating its currency to gain unfair trade advantages against the United States.

The administration did conclude that the Chinese currency is undervalued against the dollar, in a report that it is required to send Congress.

The report noted that China on June 19 announced it was introducing more flexibility into its currency system. After showing no movement against the dollar since mid-2008, the Chinese yuan has risen about 0.8 percent against the dollar since Beijing's June announcement.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill criticized the findings. Some vowed to push legislation to impose penalties on Chinese imports if China does not move more quickly to revalue its currency.

Johnson & Johnson plagued by recalls

TRENTON, N.J. --- Sales of Johnson & Johnson pain relievers are collapsing as a string of recalls appears to have made consumers wary of brands such as Tylenol and Benadryl.

An eighth recall, announced Thursday, could worsen consumer reaction. That wariness and the huge amount of products pulled off store shelves together look to be costing J&J tens of millions of dollars a month.

Thursday's recall by Johnson & Johnson's McNeil consumer health care unit covers 21 lots of products, including Children's Tylenol. Those were recalled because of a musty or moldy smell, extending a large Jan. 15 recall tied to a nauseating chemical on shipping pallets.

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