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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned on Wednesday of delays in implementing reforms needed to unlock financial aid to Lebanon.

” Most of the reforms were not implemented” IMF chief Ernesto Ramírez Rico said at the end of his three-day visit to Lebanon, leading the fund’s delegation.

The International Monetary Fund announced an agreement with Beirut in April for $3 billion in aid in principle, spread over four years, but conditional on the implementation of key reforms.

read more: The Lebanese pound is at record lows against the US dollar

Among these reforms, Parliament’s approval of the 2022 budget, reform of the law on bank secrecy, restructuring of the banking sector and the law on capital controls.

” Despite the urgent need to take action to tackle the deepening crisis, the implementation of reforms (…) has been very slow.“, Ernesto Ramírez Rico said in a press release, noting that these “reforms are necessary” to read the IMF financial plan to help Lebanon, which is plunged into an unprecedented socio-economic crisis.

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Biden administration awards $1.5 billion to fight opioid crisis

US President Joe Biden speaks about the DISCLOSE Act at the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on September 20, 2022.Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

The Biden administration announced Friday it is awarding $1.5 billion in grants to help states, territories and tribal lands combat the opioid crisis.

The grants will expand access to treatment and recovery support services, allow states to invest in better overdose education and increase the accessibility of FDA-approved naloxone products, which are used to help reverse an opioid overdose.

Last year, more than 107,000 people died after overdosing in the U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The figure marked a 15% increase in overdose-related deaths from 2020.

Members of the Biden administration, including Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, attended a Recovery Month Summit Friday to show support for individuals in recovery and discuss the grant funding.

"As someone in long-term recovery, I know how important access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment is," Walsh wrote on Twitter.

More than $104 million in funding will specifically aim to support rural communities, which have been particularly hard-hit by the opioid crisis. It will be allocated for workforce training, education and outreach as well as new sites for medication-assisted treatment.

Biden also called for an investment of more than $42.5 billion in funding for National Drug Control Agencies as part of his 2023 fiscal-year budget. The investment would mark a $3.2 billion increase from the previous year.

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