IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said he will "rapidly" seek approval of the request from the fund's executive board.

Macedonia's conservative government says it will use the money to support the budget and capital investments. It expects the economy to grow 2 percent this year and 3.5 percent in 2011. The former Yugoslav republic dipped in recession in 2009 with unemployment hovering around a staggering 30 percent.

The arrangement does not require economic austerity â¿¿ contrasting with the IMF's bailout loans to neighbor Greece, which is receiving euro110 billion from the fund and European countries after over-borrowing brought it to the brink of default.


BRUSSELS â¿¿ The EU competition watchdog fined five Taiwanese and South Korean electronics companies 649 million euros ($857 million) for fixing prices on LCD panels between 2001 and 2006.

The companies include Chimei InnoLux Corp., LG Display Co., AU Optronics Corp., Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. and HannStar Display Corp. Samsung Electronics Co., also participated in the price fixing but escaped a fine because it blew the whistle on the cartel, the European Commission said.

Monday's fines targeted price-fixing for LCD panels used in flat screens for televisions, computer monitors and electronic notebooks. The European Union's initial investigation had also included smaller LCD screens like the ones built into mobile phones, digital cameras, or MP3 players, but the fines did not target price-fixing for those products.

Between Oct. 2001 and Feb. 2006, the companies met about 60 times, mostly in Taiwanese hotels, for what they called "the Crystal meetings," the Commission said. In addition to fixing prices, they also exchanged information on their future production plans and other business plans, it said.


BERLIN â¿¿ Industrial production in Germany rose sharply in October and exports remained strong despite a month-on-month dip, indicating that Europe's biggest economy is still in good health amid troubles elsewhere on the continent.

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