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Belgian premier asks for freeze on wages

Prime Minister Wilfried Martens has called for a total freeze on wages for the rest of this year in an attempt to solve Belgium's economic crisis and retain a hold on his shaky coalition. Mr. Martens asked his government partners to agree to the wage freeze at an emergency Cabinet meeting after bouts of violent speculation against the Belgian franc on the currency markets last week.

But the proposed freeze was immediately attacked by the Socialist Party and seemed certain to cause new strains in Mr. Martens's fragile coalition of Socialists and Social Christians.

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