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Washington, United States  (AFP) —The global economic recovery is on firmer footing as improving growth in China, Europe and Japan offset downward revisions for the United States and Britain, the International Monetary Fund said Sunday.

However, wage growth remains sluggish which risks increasing tensions that have pushed some countries toward more anti-global policies, while efforts to erode financial regulations put in place since the 2008 crisis could erode stability, the IMF warned.

"The recovery in global growth that we projected in April is on a firmer footing; there is now no question mark over the world economy's gain in momentum," IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld said.

Presenting the latest update of the World Economic Outlook (WEO), he said "recent data point to the broadest synchronised upswing the world economy has experienced in the last decade."

The fund still expects the global economy will grow by 3.5 per cent in 2017 and 3.6 per cent in 2018, the same as in the April WEO. 

However, the unchanged forecast masks some significant revisions, including in the United States where the IMF downgraded its growth estimate last month after judging that spending plans promised by President Donald Trump that had been expected to provide a boost to the economy were stuck in limbo.

The US estimate was cut to 2.1 percent for this year and next, down 0.2 points and 0.4 points, respectively, from the more optimistic forecast in the last report.

The outlook for the British economy also was revised down by 0.3 points to 1.7 per cent this year on weaker-than-expected activity in the first quarter, while the impact of Brexit "remains unclear."

But those downward revisions were offset by the improving outlook in key economies, including the euro area where growth prospects have improved in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The euro area now is projected to see economic growth of 1.9 per cent this year and 1.7 percent in 2018.

Japan also is seeing improved growth prospects, with an expansion of 1.3 per cent this year expected, although that is seen slowing sharply to 0.6 per cent in 2018.

Meanwhile, China continues to be a major engine of global growth, expanding by 6.7 per cent this year, and 6.4 percent next, driven by economic policies in Beijing. 

The forecast for 2017 was revised up by 0.1 percentage point, "reflecting the stronger than expected outturn in the first quarter" which the IMF said was underpinned by Beijing's "supply-side reforms."

The 0.2-point upward revision for 2018, however, was the result of the expected delay in the "needed fiscal adjustment," which could cause risks down the road. 

China's "higher growth is coming at the cost of continuing rapid credit expansion and the resulting financial stability risks," Obstfeld warned in his prepared statement.

But within the mostly upbeat forecasts, the IMF once again sounded the warning on the growing anti-global sentiment, which could leave all economies worse off.

That has been fuelled in part by the fact the benefits of increased growth have not been broadly shared.

"Even as unemployment is falling, wage growth still remains weak," Obstfeld said. 

That "not only holds back the improvement of living standards, but also carries risks of exacerbating social tensions that have already pushed some electorates in the direction of more inward-looking economic policies."

While the report does not specify any country, it comes amid Brexit talks and the Trump administration's continuing focus on "America first" policies, including cutting bilateral trade deficits and backing away from free trade agreements. 

The report warned that "policies based narrowly on domestic advantage are at best inefficient and at worst highly damaging to all."

Obstfeld said, "Strengthening multilateral cooperation is another key to prosperity."

Finally, the IMF cautioned that "a broad rollback of the strengthening of financial regulation and oversight achieved since the crisis" -- something the Trump administration is pushing -- could increase the risk to global financial stability.

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Frontier Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have been fined for violating U.S. Transportation Department airline consumer protection rules, the department said on Friday.

Frontier Airlines was fined $400,000 for violating oversales and disability rules, American Airlines $250,000 for failing to make timely refunds to passengers, and Delta Air Lines $200,000 for filing inaccurate baggage reports, the department said in a statement.

Delta failed to properly report all baggage claims from 2012 through 2015 and told the Transportation Department that if it had reported all claims it would have likely fallen from fourth to fifth in rankings among carriers for fewest baggage claims in 2012 and 2013.

Delta said in a statement it was notified last year its damaged bag policy was not compliant with the department’s published guidelines and it immediately updated its policy.

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(Caribbean 360 News) New York, United States – JetBlue is expanding its Mint premium service on Caribbean flights next year.

It’s adding a second Saturday seasonal round-trip flight between New York and St Maarten, starting January 13; between Boston and Aruba and between Boston and St Maarten, from February 17.

Additionally, Mint service between both New York and Boston to Aruba will operate daily between February 15 and 26.

All seasonal Mint routes in the Caribbean operate through April 2018.

JetBlue currently operates year-round Mint service between New York and Barbados, New York and Grenada, and New York and St Lucia.

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(VI Consortium) ST. THOMAS — As far back as the cruise industry goes, St. Thomas has been one of its most visited destinations. Charlotte Amalie, with a waterfront seemingly tailor-made for tourists, and two ports that have for years welcomed millions of visitors from around the world, has maintained thousands of tourism-related jobs.

But attractions that intrigued tourists in the 1970s, 80s, 90s and even early 2000s, no longer carry the luster they once did, and as the Virgin Islands government, administration after next, has failed to take the necessary steps in revamping the tourism product, cruise calls have diminished, with St. Thomas seeing a big drop through 2018.

Cruise industry experts, standing in front of community members and government officials at the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef Resort here on Thursday night, spoke candidly about the territory’s current position in the cruise line business, telling local officials that the territory needs to either innovate or go home, according to Senate President Myron Jackson, who spoke with The Consortium at length following the hourslong panel, hosted by Governor Kenneth Mapp.

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(Antigua Observer) The management of the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa has acceded to the request of the Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) and will be reducing the period of temporary closure from five months to three.

The resort originally announced that it would close for renovations in September and the process would last for up to five months.

In a letter to the union dated July 20th, General Manager of the Sandals Group Gaurav Sindhi, indicated that, “In the interest of our team members and all stakeholders concerned, Sandals Resorts International intends to make every effort to reduce the period of repairs to three months, and we are targeting a December 17, 2017 reopening of Sandals Grande Antigua”.

The union was also informed, in the letter, of a meeting between the company’s Chief Operations Officer Shawn Dacosta, Prime Minister Gaston Browne and the Cabinet of Antigua & Barbuda on Wednesday.

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