Brazil's currency falters, U.S. investors worry
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- Brazil's central banker unexpectedly resigned Wednesday and his successor devalued the currency by 7.6 percent, roiling world financial markets. Many feared the economic contagion could spread through Latin America and even threaten the United States. Wall Street fell sharply after the announcement that Central Bank chief Gustavo Franco had stepped down. Investors worry that if Brazil falls, Latin America's largest economy and most populous country could drag others in the region down. An estimated 2,000 American businesses operate in Brazil, including such giants as IBM, Coca-Cola and General Motors Corp.
Pope to visit N. American cities next week
MEXICO CITY -- Pope John Paul II is expected to discuss human rights and racism during a visit to Mexico next week, but will try to avoid discussing specific conflicts, Roman Catholic church officials said Tuesday. The pope will visit only Mexico City and St. Louis during his Jan. 22-27 trip, but officials said his mission is continent-wide because the main purpose is to sign a document drafted during a 1997 meeting of bishops from across the Americas.
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