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S. Korea is Latest Bailout for Monetary Fund

South Korea's request for some $20 billion in help from the International Monetary Fund last Friday is the latest plea to the world financial watchdog in a year that has seen accelerating demand for IMF bailouts.

For the IMF, set up in 1944 to oversee global finance, Korea is the latest in an expensive string of callers.

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The Washington-based IMF became lender of last resort for a host of developing countries during the 1980s following the 1982-83 Latin American debt crisis. It was still routinely handing out some $8 billion a year in the early 1990s.

The following are some major past IMF bailouts:

1981: $5.3 billion for India.

1982: $3.9 billion for Mexico.

1995: $17.8 billion for Mexico, part of a $50.8 billion rescue package.

1996: $10.1 billion for Russia.

July 1997: $1.1 billion for Philippines.

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August 1997: $3.9 billion for Thailand, part of a total package worth $17.2 billion.

October 1997: $10 billion for Indonesia, part of a total package worth up to $40 billion.

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