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Looming US cuts raise fears for world's poor

Published on Feb 27, 2013 6:14 AM
 
US President Barack Obama is seen in the Oval Office on Feb 26, 2013 as he leaves the White House in Washington, DC, en route Newport News, Virginia. With the United States days away from billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts, anti-poverty campaigners fear that reductions in foreign aid could potentially lead to thousands of deaths. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - With the United States days away from billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts, anti-poverty campaigners fear that reductions in foreign aid could potentially lead to thousands of deaths.

The world's largest economy faces US$85 billion (S$105.3 billion) in cuts virtually across the board starting on March 1 unless the White House and Congress reach a last-minute deal ahead of the self-imposed deadline known as the sequester.

While the showdown has caused concern in numerous circles, activists are pushing hard to avoid a 5.3 per cent cut in US development assistance which they fear could set back programmes to feed the poor and prevent disease.

"The sequester is an equal cut across the board, but equal cuts don't have equal impact," said Mr Tom Hart, US executive director of the One campaign, the anti-poverty group co-founded by U2 frontman Bono.

 
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