the economic outlook in the United States, however cloudy, is still better than in most other regions.

loss of purchasing power over time, meaning your dollar will not go as far tomorrow as it did today. It is typically expressed as the annual change in prices for everyday goods and services such as food, furniture, apparel, transportation and toys.

A fragile currency can sometimes work as “a buffering mechanism,” causing nations to import less and export more, Mr. Prasad said. But today, many “are not seeing the benefits of stronger growth.”

Still, they must pay more for essential imports like oil, wheat or pharmaceuticals as well as for loan bills due from billion-dollar debts.

debt crisis in Latin America in the 1980s.

The situation is particularly fraught because so many countries ran up above-average debts to deal with the fallout from the pandemic. And now they are facing renewed pressure to offer public support as food and energy prices soar.

Indonesia this month, thousands of protesters, angry over a 30 percent price increase on subsidized fuel, clashed with the police. In Tunisia, a shortage of subsidized food items like sugar, coffee, flour and eggs has shuttered cafes and emptied market shelves.

New research on the impact of a strong dollar on emerging nations found that it drags down economic progress across the board.

“You can see these very pronounced negative effects of a stronger dollar,” said Maurice Obstfeld, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and an author of the study.

central banks feel pressure to raise interest rates to bolster their currencies and prevent import prices from skyrocketing. Last week, Argentina, the Philippines, Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Britain and Norway raised interest rates.

World Bank warned this month that simultaneous interest rate increases are pushing the world toward a recession and developing nations toward a string of financial crises that would inflict “lasting harm.”

Clearly, the Fed’s mandate is to look after the American economy, but some economists and foreign policymakers argue it should pay more attention to the fallout its decisions have on the rest of the world.

In 1998, Alan Greenspan, a five-term Fed chair, argued that “it is just not credible that the United States can remain an oasis of prosperity unaffected by a world that is experiencing greatly increased stress.”

The United States is now facing a slowing economy, but the essential dilemma is the same.

“Central banks have purely domestic mandates,” said Mr. Obstfeld, the U.C. Berkeley economist, but financial and trade globalization have made economies more interdependent than they have ever been and so closer cooperation is needed. “I don’t think central banks can have the luxury of not thinking about what’s happening abroad.”

Flávia Milhorance contributed reporting from Rio de Janeiro.

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Russian President Putin Vows To Press Attack On Ukraine

By Associated Press

and Newsy Staff
September 16, 2022

At a summit in Uzbekistan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the “liberation” of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region remains the main military goal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed Friday to press his attack on Ukraine despite its latest counteroffensive and warned that Moscow could ramp up its strikes if Ukrainian forces target power plants and other infrastructure in Russia.

Speaking to reporters Friday after attending a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan, Putin said the “liberation” of Ukraine’s entire eastern Donbas region remained Russia’s main military goal and that he sees no need to revise it.

“We aren’t in a rush,” the Russian leader said, adding that Russia has only deployed volunteer soldiers to fight in Ukraine.

Russia was forced to pull back its forces from large swaths of northeastern Ukraine last week after a swift Ukrainian counteroffensive. Ukraine’s move to reclaim control of several Russian-occupied cities and villages marked the largest military setback for Moscow since its forces had to retreat from areas near the capital early in the war.

Asked about the Ukrainian counteroffensive, Putin replied: “Let’s see how it develops and how it ends.”

He alleged that Ukraine has attempted to launch attacks “near our nuclear facilities, nuclear power plants” in Russia and vowed to do “everything to prevent any negative turn of events.”

“We will retaliate if they fail to understand that such methods are unacceptable, they don’t differ from terrorism,” Putin said.

Putin also sought Friday to assuage India’s concern about the conflict in Ukraine, telling Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Moscow wants to see a quick end to the fighting and alleging Ukrainian officials won’t negotiate.

“I know your stand on the conflict in Ukraine and the concerns that you have repeatedly voiced,” the Russian leader told Modi. “We will do all we can to end that as quickly as possible. Regrettably, the other side, the leadership of Ukraine, has rejected the negotiations process and stated that it wants to achieve its goals by military means, on the battlefield.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said it is Russia that allegedly doesn’t want to negotiate in earnest. He also has insisted on the withdrawal of Russian troops from occupied areas of Ukraine as a precondition for talks.

Putin’s remarks during the talks with Modi echoed similar comments he made during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping the previous day.

China and India have refused to join Western sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine while increasing their purchases of Russian oil and gas, helping Moscow offset the financial restrictions imposed by the U.S. and its allies.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was formed by Russia and China as a counterweight to U.S. influence. The group also includes India, Pakistan and four ex-Soviet Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran is on track to receive full membership.

On Thursday, Putin held a one-on-one meeting with Xi and thanked the Chinese leader for his government’s “balanced position” on the Ukraine war, while adding that he was ready to discuss unspecified China’s “concerns” about Ukraine.

Xi, in a statement released by his government, expressed support for Russia’s “core interests” but also interest in working together to “inject stability” into world affairs.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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IAEA board passes resolution calling on Russia to leave Zaporizhzhia

A Russian all-terrain armoured vehicle is parked outside the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant during the visit of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert mission in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict outside Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, September 1, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko/

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  • Second resolution on Ukraine since war started
  • First was in March before Russia seized power plant
  • Twenty-six of 35 board members backed the text
  • Russia and China only countries to oppose it

VIENNA, Sept 15 (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors on Thursday passed a resolution demanding that Russia end its occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

The resolution is the second on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board, and their content is very similar, though the first in March preceded Russian forces taking control of Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant. read more

Both resolutions were proposed by Canada and Poland on behalf of Ukraine, which is not on the board, the IAEA’s top policy-making body that meets more than once a year.

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The text, which says the board calls on Russia to “immediately cease all actions against, and at, the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant and any other nuclear facility in Ukraine”, was passed with 26 votes in favour, two against and seven abstentions, diplomats at the closed-door meeting said. read more

The text was later posted on the IAEA’s website.

Russia and China were the countries that voted against while Egypt, South Africa, Senegal, Burundi, Vietnam, India and Pakistan abstained, the diplomats said.

The board “deplores the Russian Federation’s persistent violent actions against nuclear facilities in Ukraine, including forcefully seizing of control of nuclear facilities,” the resolution’s text reads.

Russia seized radioactive waste facilities in Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986, at the start of the war but later withdrew.

Russia and Ukraine have repeatedly accused each other of shelling the Zaporizhzhia plant in southern Ukraine.

Russia’s mission to the IAEA called the text anti-Russian and said “the Achilles’ heel of this resolution” was that it said nothing about the “systematic shelling” of the plant.

“The reason is simple – this shelling is carried out by Ukraine, which is supported and shielded by Western countries in every possible way,” it said in a statement.

The resolution adds that Russia’s occupation of the plant significantly increases the risk of a nuclear accident. Ukrainian staff continue to operate the plant in conditions that the IAEA has described as endangering the site’s safety.

“This Board took up the issue in March and adopted a resolution that deplored Russia’s violent actions and called upon Russia to immediately cease all actions against and at nuclear facilities in Ukraine and return control of them to the competent Ukrainian authorities,” the U.S. statement to the board said.

“The very next day, Russia spurned that call by seizing the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. Russia is treating Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure as a military prize, seeking to deprive Ukraine of control over its own energy resources and to use the plant as a base for military action against Ukraine,” it added.

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Additional reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Hugh Lawson, Jonathan Oatis and Grant McCool

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Iran to join Asian security body led by Russia, China

Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev meets Iran’s counterpart Ebrahim Raisi ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan September 14, 2022. Foreign Ministry of Uzbekistan/Handout via REUTERS

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DUBAI, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Iran has moved a step closer towards becoming a permanent member of a central Asian security body dominated by Russia and China, as Tehran seeks to overcome economic isolation imposed by U.S. sanctions.

Foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on Thursday said Iran had signed a memorandum of obligations to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which is holding a summit this week in Uzbekistan.

The body, formed in the 2001 as a talking shop for Russia, China and ex-Soviet states in Central Asia, expanded four years ago to include India and Pakistan, with a view to playing a bigger role as counterweight to Western influence in the region.

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“By signing the document for full membership of the SCO, now Iran has entered a new stage of various economic, commercial, transit and energy cooperation,” Hossein Amirabdollahian wrote on his Instagram page.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was in the Silk Road oasis of Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Thursday to attend the summit. He held a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian state TV reported.

Last year, the central Asian security body approved Iran’s application for accession, while Tehran’s hardline rulers called on members to help it form a mechanism to avert sanctions imposed by the West over its disputed nuclear programme.

Iran will now be able to take part in the body’s meetings, although it is likely to take some time to achieve full membership, deputy secretary-general of the organisation Grigory Logvinov told Russian state TV, which also reported the signing.

Iran’s economy has been hit hard since 2018, when then-U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, including Russia and China.

Months of indirect talks between Iran and U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration have hit a dead end over several obstacles to reviving the nuclear pact, under which Tehran agreed to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.

The U.S. sanctions and growing concerns about an emerging, U.S.-backed Gulf Arab-Israeli bloc that could shift the Middle East balance of power further away from Tehran have prompted Iran’s clerical rulers to pursue closer economic and strategic ties with Russia, itself hit with sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

“Iran is determined to boost its ties with Russia, from economic to aerospace and political fields,” Raisi said during his meeting with Putin, according to Iranian state media.

“The cooperation between Tehran and Moscow can significantly neutralise the limitations imposed on our countries by the U.S. sanctions,” he said.

In July, just days after Biden visited Israel and Saudi Arabia, Putin visited Tehran in his first trip outside the former Soviet Union since the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Putin said on Thursday that a delegation of 80 large companies will visit Iran next week, Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported, in another sign of the growing ties with Iran. read more

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Reporting by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel

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How Accent-Changing Apps Are Removing Communication Barriers

Apps like Sanas are helping smooth communication by removing accent barriers that can lead to misunderstandings.

Accents are diverse and unique, but sometimes accents get in the way of understanding people. An app called Sanas looks to remove that barrier by using AI technology to take away a person’s accent.

“We’re all trained with the products, with the services,” said Dwayne Alviola, “Whether we’re in the Philippines or in a different country, rest assured that we’re trained in every detail to handle your accounts.”

Alviola lives in the Philippines and has worked for U.S.-based companies for eight years. He previously worked in call centers and now works in customer service.

Throughout the years of working in call centers, Alviola says he and his coworkers faced discrimination and racism on the other end of the call.

“Usually, the “f-you” word, then usually they’ll be in different types of curses, but since it’s our second language, we don’t even mind it,” Alviola said. “But, racism comes in, even if we know that we’re not the one being blamed for their experience, it still hits us the most.”

Alviola says they’re stuck. When he was working in call centers, they’re not allowed to hang up, so they have to be on the call until the caller on the other line clicks off. He says accent-altering apps can lead to smoother communication and less verbal abuse.

“Especially for new graduates who just entered training, then it would help them boost their confidence,” Alviola said. “That’s also one reason why I like the app, because if it was developed just a few years ago when I was starting, I would love it.”

Others find the Sanas app especially helpful when cops or hospitals are involved.

“If there is a law, like a with discussion, with the cop, with their doctor mainly, there are a lot of problem when communicating with the doctor if you don’t know proper English,” said Mehboob Ahmedabadi, an Indian man working in media.

On the flip side, others argue that apps that take away accents perpetuate racism and discrimination by masking the problem at hand. Judy Ravin, the founder of Accents International, says there’s a way to do things differently.

“At the conclusion of our program, which is called Powerful Pronunciation, people will still have an accent,” Ravin said. “We think that’s a good thing. An accent is a piece of our cultural and linguistic identity. What we won’t have is a communication barrier due to pronunciation.”

Unlike the app that filters voices, Accents International improves pronunciation through real time coaching. For example, the vowel sounding “aw” used in words like “law” or “daughter” can be tough for those not familiar with pronouncing it.

“The way we teach it is both,” Ravin said. “What does it look like, and what does it feel like? Well, it looks like someone’s popped an egg in their mouth. It looks like a perfect oval… and a person can feel the top of their tongue behind their lower teeth. So what does it look like? What does it feel like… not, what does it sound like?”

Vincent Dixon had a thick Irish accent, but through years of teaching English in France, he learned to communicate more effectively.

“I think sometimes people feel that their accents makes them lesser or more, and it really doesn’t,” Dixon said. “It just makes you who you are. It’s like the color of my eyes or the color of my hair.”

In a world filled with more AI listening, trying to get machines to understand despite an accent can be especially frustrating.

“It’s very frustrating because I talk to my watch, I talk to my husband,” said Eileen Panzardi, a Puerto Rican living in Atlanta. “I talk to my phone, and I have to pass it to my daughter, who was born here in Atlanta, and ask her to say whatever word it is for Siri to understand me because sometimes she don’t even get me.”

Ultimately, the goal of accent-changing technology is to create better person-to-person communication in an ever-increasing, globalized world.

“For me, the key point is not their identity in communication,” said Haulk A, a Kurdish software engineer living in Chicago. “In the communication, the important thing is to the message that you send and the message that you get.”

Source: newsy.com

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