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The European Central Bank has kept interest rates on hold and left its ultra-easy monetary policy unchanged at its policy-making meeting on Thursday. ECB President Mario Draghi said at his last press conference of his eight-year tenure that the benefits of loose policy far outweighed the risks.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for a general election on Dec. 12 to break Britain's Brexit impasse. Johnson said in a letter to opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday that he would give parliament more time to approve his Brexit deal but lawmakers must back a December election. "This parliament has refused to take decisions. It cannot refuse to let the voters replace it with a new parliament that can make decisions," he wrote to Corbyn."Prolonging this paralysis into 2020 would have dangerous consequences for businesses, jobs and for basic confidence in democratic institutions, already badly damaged by the behaviour of parliament since the referendum.

The U.S. Treasury Department has issued a waiver for companies to wind down transactions with a Chinese tanker company it had sanctioned last month for allegedly transporting Iranian oil. The waiver, good through Dec. 20, allows "maintenance or wind down of transactions" including offloading non-Iranian crude oil involving COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Co. Ltd. The Treasury Department said Thursday's waiver applies to COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) or any entity owned 50% or more by the company. The department said the waiver does not authorize any transactions or activities with COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman and Ship Management Co, Ltd.