Ukraine okays budget

KIEV: The Ukrainian parliament on Friday adopted a budget for 2016 with a deficit of three per cent of GDP, crucial for unlocking much needed aid from the IMF and western countries. The budget was passed after an acrimonious all-night debate and was finally approved by 263 lawmakers, about 40 more than the minimum required number. The cash-strapped and war-scarred country badly needs aid and this move is crucial in unlocking the release of a delayed $1.7 billion (1.6 billion euro) loan from the International Monetary Fund and other western aid.