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."
By Emmanuel Braun and Paul-Marin Ngoupana BANGUI (Reuters) - Rival militia forces fought fierce battles in Central African Republic's capital on Thursday and the U.N. authorised French military action to halt Muslim-Christian sectarian violence that threatens to escalate into widespread civilian massacres. A Reuters witness and an aid worker said at least 105 people had been killed in the fighting between former rebels now in charge of the country and fighters loyal to ousted president Francois Bozize. Fifty-three bodies had been brought to a mosque in Bangui's PK5 neighbourhood. Samuel Hanryon, who works for medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres at Bangui's Hopital Communautaire, said there were another 52 bodies at the morgue there.