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US President Barack Obama’s announcement of plans to restructure banks as a key component of comprehensive financial regulatory reform is a major step in the right direction, which other governments must rapidly commit to match through similar laws, according to the international trade union movement. Linking the banking sector’s “binge of irresponsibility” to the deepening unemployment crisis, Obama has proposed a series of urgently-needed reforms, including an end to the practice of banks using depositors’ money to engage in the kind of high-risk speculative operations, such as hedge funds and private equity, which helped plunge the world into recession.

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