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By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and an alliance of faith groups urged President Joe Biden on Tuesday to back a big boost in the International Monetary Fund's emergency reserve funds to help poor countries devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to Biden, the governing body of the church said the United States should take urgent action to help the poorest countries on humanitarian grounds, but also to shore up its own economic interests and bolster trade with the developing world.

"The U.S. government is vital to ensuring the world emerges from this pandemic with greater resilience," the groups wrote, citing a World Bank estimate that the pandemic would push as many as 150 million people into extreme poverty this year.

Biden is only the second Roman Catholic to be elected U.S. president, but his support for reproductive rights has led to strained ties with the conservative conference of bishops.

In the letter, the bishops and Jubilee USA Network said the Biden administration should "lead the world" in a new issuance of the IMF's own currency, or Special Drawing Rights, just as it did during the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.

The Biden administration has not said whether it will reverse the Trump administration's position blocking a new issuance. U.S. support is critical for any boost in reserves since it is the IMF's largest shareholder.

Italy, current head of the Group of 20 major economies, says it is renewing its push for a $500 billion issuance - a move akin to a central bank printing money.

The bishops and Jubilee said they welcomed emerging consensus around $500 billion in new SDRs, but a bigger package was needed to address the huge financial needs triggered by the pandemic and years of escalating debts in poor countries.

They urged Biden to work with Congress and the IMF to issue SDRs worth $3 trillion, of which $1 trillion would be available to developing countries. Democrats have introduced legislation in Congress backing the bigger amount.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Richard Pullin)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

Tags: United States, international trade, World Bank

News Source: usnews.com

Tags: news united states international trade world bank countries news the biden administration the biden administration the imf’s poor countries the pandemic

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Bryson DeChambeaus drive the par-5 sixth green at Bay Hill experiment is off to a rough start

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BRADENTON, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Bryson DeChambeau of the United States looks on from the seventh tee during the second round of World Golf Championships-Workday Championship at The Concession on February 26, 2021 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

It's not even Thursday and you're probably already tired of hearing about what Bryson DeChambeau "might" do on the 555-yard par-5 sixth hole at Bay Hill this week. Such is life in the never-ending Bryson bulk-up saga.

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For those who spend their time doing more productive things than scroll social media, DeChambeau "might" try to fly the water and drive the green on the long par 5 in competition. We cannot emphasize "might" enough.

To his credit, he at least gave it a go during Wednesday's practice round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a nice tease for golf fans who will be expecting to see him actually try it when it counts on Thursday. So far, the experiment is yielding unsuccessful results, though there were some extenuating circumstances, as DeChambeau was quick to point out:

"It's too into the wind today," DeChambeau says as he makes his way to the tee box. To be fair, he appears to be right, and we again have to credit him for being about that action instead of talking about that action (shoutout Marshawn Lynch). Of course, it's easy to do this in a practice round when there are no repercussions for rinsing a few Bridgestones. We should also note that it looks like DeChambeau is trying this from the front of the tee box. 

Can DeChambeau pull this off? Absolutely. The scorecard might read 555 yards, but this is a carry of only 350, which DeChambeau can do with relative ease if there is no wind. But the penalty for a mis-hit into the drink is severe - re-tee, likely play safe and hit three into the fairway, and then try to get up-and-down for par with a mid to short iron. The reward would be worth it, though. A potential look at albatross, a two-putt eagle or an easy up-and-down for eagle would all be in play. Given how much this is being hyped up, though, he will probably hit a 5 iron into the fairway all four rounds. 

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