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Schaeuble: ECB chief decision after March The question of who succeeds Jean-Claude Trichet as president of the European Central Bank is not being discussed at this week's Group of 20 meeting according to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble who said the matter will be dealt with after March. At the same time Finland's finance minister said the country would put forward its central bank governor Erkki Liikanen as a candidate to head the ECB. Liikanen was the second choice for the job among economists polled by Reuters. The favourite is Italy's top banker, Mario Draghi. Analysts back him to replace Trichet because of his experience in several senior posts including at the World Bank, and given his reputation as a moderate on interest rate policy. Luxembourg's central bank chief Yves Mersch has also been spoken of. He is the longest serving member of the European Central Bank's governing council. Mersch might get German support as he is viewed as tough on inflation . Jens Weidman, the newly chosen Bundesbank president is thought to be too new and to young at 42. He will have been in the job only six months when Trichet retires. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, is very experienced, but unlikely to get the job because, like Trichet, he is French and the ECB has a policy of varying the nationality of its presidents. Strauss-Kahn is also being touted as a possible candidate for the French presidential race in 2012 running against Nicolas Sarkozy.
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Eyewitness says death toll could rise in Bahrain The Bahrain police operation in the early hours of Thursday morning was caught on amateur film by a witness in the square. Journalist Ahmed Hazim told euronews what happened: “The riot police intervened at about three o'clock in the morning and blocked the entrances to the “Pearl” roundabout which is a sort of square. They started shooting using tear gas and rubber bullets. According to reports, three people were killed and dozens wounded. The death toll could rise. The protesters were removed from the square and several were arrested. The police cordoned off the area, stopping others from getting in.”
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EU court bans gender linked insurance policies The European Court of Justice has ruled there should be no more sex discrimination in insurance policies. It said insurance companies cannot take gender into account when setting premiums and paying out benefits from annuities and retirement savings or for accident cover. The decision by Europe's top court could increase the costs of women's accident insurance and boost their retirement income from annuities. It could also make men worse off. A new EU directive, with major implications for the insurance sector, will now come into effect from 21 December 2012. The transitional period would allow EU member states to decide what action to take on domestic laws and give companies a chance to adjust and find ways to mitigate the knock-on effect. Insurance analysts say the ruling could boost women's retirement income by up to 10 percent. Insurers currently pay retired men who have purchased an annuity more than women, on the basis that on average they die younger — on average three years earlier. Ending the gender disparity in annuities will affect insurers like Britain's Legal and General and Prudential, France's Axa and Allianz of Germany.