Group of Seven finance ministers, joined for the first time by US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, are set to wrestle with the global impact of the US slowdown at a weekend meeting in Italy. The one-day G7 gathering in Palermo, Sicily, would allow the world's biggest economic powers to get an understanding of the economic policies of US President George W. Bush, the hosts are quoted by AFP as saying. US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan soothed some market fears with his statement to Congress on Tuesday that the world's biggest economy could quickly pull out of the doldrums. It was in retrenchment, but not a recession, he told lawmakers. But some European countries have already revised downwards their forecasts for economic growth in 2001. The International Monetary Fund warned in Davos last month it would cut its 2001 world growth forecast to about 3.5 percent from the 4.2-percent figure announced in September. Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin was also due to briefly join the G7 ministers, turning the meeting into a G8.
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A shark attacked a killed a man in the sea on Dream Beach in Egypt's Hurghada resort.