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Northwest airlines has chosen Europe's Airbus Industrie over Boeing to build $3.2 billion worth of short-haul passenger jets, a London business journal reported. The twin-engine Airbus A318, not yet in production, is to have a range of 2,300 miles and seat 100 to 107 passengers.

The International Monetary Fund approved a major change in how it makes loans available to countries to help prevent financial collapses. The agency's executive board OK'd extending "contingent credit lines" to qualifying nations so they can receive IMF loans before a crisis develops. It is hoped pre-approved credit will signal to investors that such nations are pursuing sound policies and have the financial resources to support their currencies against speculative attacks, the IMF said.

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