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The International Monetary Fund on Thursday urged the US to boost incomes for the poor, including raising the minimum wage, saying that would help sustain the country's rebound from the Great Recession. Senior IMF economist Deniz Igan argued in a report posted on the IMF website that a combination of a higher minimum wage and an increase in a key tax benefit could go far to help lift people out of poverty. "Unless the economic benefits of an improving economy are felt more widely, this recovery may well prove neither economically nor socially sustainable." Plunging into a fight that has divided the major US political parties, Igan rejected arguments that increasing the minimum wage, now $7.25 an hour, would cause companies to hire significantly fewer workers.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma death row inmate who writhed, moaned and clenched his teeth before he was pronounced dead about 43 minutes after his execution began succumbed to the lethal drugs he was administered, not a heart attack, after the state's prisons chief halted efforts to kill him, an autopsy report released Thursday says.
Syrian armed groups, some of whom are linked to Al-Qaeda, captured 43 UN peacekeepers on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on Thursday and surrounded 81 others, the UN said. The 43 peacekeepers from Fiji were forced to surrender their weapons and taken hostage near the Quneitra crossing, but 81 Filipino blue helmets "held their ground" and refused to disarm, the Filipino defense department said. "This resulted in a stand-off which is still the prevailing situation at this time, as UN officials try to peacefully resolve the situation," said the statement from Manila. Fiji army chief Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga said the captured peacekeepers were all safe, and asked people in the Pacific nation to pray that they are released unharmed.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama tamped down the prospect of imminent U.S. military action in Syria on Thursday, saying "we don't have a strategy yet" for degrading the violent militant group seeking to establish a caliphate in the Middle East.