The European Central Bank held its key interest rate at a record low of 0.25 percent on Thursday, while raising its forecast for the eurozone's gradual recovery despite prolonged low inflation. Like central banks in the United States, Japan and elsewhere, the ECB has used super-low rates and injected liquidity into the financial system to encourage lending and thereby boost investment and consumer spending. ECB President Mario Draghi said the cheap money would keep flowing, reiterating that he expected "key rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time." The ECB maintained its forecast that the economy of the 17-member currency bloc would this year shrink 0.4 percent, but predicted 1.1 percent growth next year, up from an earlier forecast of 1.0 percent.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Looking to soothe irritated relations with Israel, America's top diplomat on Thursday pledged to support the Jewish state's security throughout separate negotiations with Iran and the Palestinians — including Israel's demand that it "defend itself, by itself."