imf meetings open under economic cloud & protests

imf meetings open under economic cloudfrom voa: Member nations of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank will open their annual meeting in Washington Saturday in the shadow of a worldwide economic slowdown.

The global economy has been rocked by the slumping U.S. housing market, a decline in the U.S. dollar, and rising oil prices. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says the U.S. housing decline is "the most significant current risk" to the economy.

Paulson also asserted that the United States is still committed to a strong dollar.

Hundreds of protesters marched in Washington late Friday night to oppose IMF and World Bank policies, which they say exploits poor and developing nations.

The protest turned violent, with store windows smashed and one woman hit in the face with a brick.