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Wolfowitz Nominated to Lead World Bank

I'm Steve Ember with IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

President Bush this week nominated Paul Wolfowitz to become president of the World Bank. The current head of the bank, James Wolfensohn, has held that position for ten years. His second term ends May thirty-first.

Mister Wolfensohn announced in January that he would not seek a third term as leader of the development bank. It provides loans, policy advice and other assistance to help countries reduce poverty.

Paul Wolfowitz has served in both the State Department and the Defense Department. For the last four years he has been deputy defense secretary under Donald Rumsfeld. Mister Wolfowitz was a major planner of the invasion of Iraq two years ago. He is often called the "architect" of the war.

Some aid groups and others criticized the choice of an official so closely linked to the Iraq war to lead the World Bank. European reaction was mixed. Japan welcomed the nomination.

Mister Wolfowitz recently traveled to South Asia to see the damage from the earthquake and tsunami waves in December. He helped plan American military assistance to the area.

His nomination must be approved by the twenty-four directors of the World Bank. They represent one hundred eighty-four member countries. Traditionally, an American leads the World Bank while a European heads the International Monetary Fund.

Paul Wolfowitz has taught at Yale and Johns Hopkins universities. During the late nineteen eighties, he served as ambassador to Indonesia. He won praise as a diplomat.

Later, Mister Wolfowitz served as undersecretary of defense for policy under the first President Bush. As such, he developed policy during the Persian Gulf War after Iraq invaded Kuwait in nineteen ninety.

In two thousand one he was a leading supporter of military strikes against al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. That was after the September eleventh terrorist attacks on the United States.

Each year, the World Bank provides thousands of millions of dollars to developing countries. Education and health programs often receive money.

But critics of the World Bank say programs for the poor are often cut as a result of financial reforms required to get loans. They say rich countries get richer, while poor countries struggle to repay.

Mister Bush described Paul Wolfowitz as a "proven leader and experienced diplomat who will guide the World Bank effectively and honorably."

In the News, in VOA Special English, was written by Jerilyn Watson. I’m Steve Ember.