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U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday he would push world leaders this week for a reshaping of the global economy in response to the deepest financial crisis in decades.

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In Europe, officials kept up pressure for a deal to curb bankers' pay and bonuses at a two-day summit of leaders from the Group of 20 countries, which begins on Thursday.

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The summit will be held in the former steelmaking center of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, marking the third time in less than a year that leaders of countries accounting for about 85 percent of the world economy will have met to coordinate their responses to the crisis.

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The United States is proposing a broad new economic framework that it hopes the G20 will adopt, according to a letter by a top White House adviser.

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Obama said the U.S. economy was recovering, even if unemployment remained high, and now was the time to rebalance the global economy after decades of U.S. over-consumption.

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"We can't go back to the era where the Chinese or the Germans or other countries just are selling everything to us, we're taking out a bunch of credit card debt or home equity loans, but we're not selling anything to them," Obama said in an interview with CNN television.

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For years before the financial crisis erupted in 2007, economists had warned of the dangers of imbalances in the global economy -- namely huge trade surpluses and currency reserves built up by exporters like China, and similarly big deficits in the United States and other economies.

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With U.S. consumers now holding back on spending after house prices plunged and as unemployment climbs, Washington wants other countries to become engines of growth.

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"That's part of what the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh is going to be about, making sure that there's a more balanced economy," Obama told CNN.

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China has long been the target of calls from the West to get its massive population to spend more. It may be reluctant to offer a significant change in economic policy when Chinese President Hu Jintao meets Obama this week.

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The U.S. proposal, sketched out in a letter by Obama's top G20 adviser, Michael Froman, calls for a new "framework" to reflect the balancing process that the White House wants.

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"The Framework would be a pledge on the part of G-20 leaders to individually and collectively pursue a set of policies which would lead to stronger, better-balanced growth," said the letter, which was obtained by Reuters.

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Without naming specific countries, the proposal indicates the United States should save more and cut its budget deficit, China should rely less on exports and Europe should make structural changes -- possibly in areas such as labor law -- to make itself more attractive to investment.

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To head off reluctance from China, Froman's letter also supported Beijing's call for developing countries to have more say at the International Monetary Fund.

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The IMF would be at the center of a peer review process that would assess member nations' policies and how they affect economic growth.

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Some economists have worried that a trade dispute over new U.S. import duties on Chinese tires could make it hard for leaders to renew their pledges to avoid protectionism, let alone discuss a major rethink of the world economy.

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Nonetheless, calls for a new equilibrium are growing.

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"We need to have rebalancing of growth and increase in consumption in the emerging markets to have enough growth in the short term," International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn told the Financial Times.

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In Pittsburgh, the first of several expected anti-G20 protest marches took place with hundreds of demonstrators demanding governments create more jobs by spending more money on public works.

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"(This) is a jobless recovery and there is the prospect of a permanent high unemployment economy." said Larry Holmes, of protest organizers Bail Out the People Movement.

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Bigger protests are expected on Thursday and Friday.

EUROPE PRESSES ON BONUSES

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European officials renewed calls on the summit to curb bonuses paid to bankers. Massive payouts linked to risky investments are widely seen as a factor in the credit crisis.

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German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said he supported a Dutch proposal to limit banking executives' bonuses to the level of their fixed annual salary, the kind of idea that U.S. officials, mindful of Wall Street's concerns, oppose.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is seeking re-election next weekend, said on Saturday she was "thoroughly optimistic" that a deal could be done on reforming financial markets.

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy has tempered his calls for bonus caps, possibly paving the way for a G20 deal tying payouts to bankers' long-term performance, not quick bets.

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Steinbrueck, a member of the center-left Social Democrats, said he would press G20 countries to examine the idea of a global tax on financial transactions to curb excesses.

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A U.S. draft of the summit communique did not mention this plan, German magazine Der Spiegel said. But G20 sources told Reuters the idea would be discussed by leaders.

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The European Union should impose limits on bankers' bonuses even if the United States does not, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Sunday.

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The United States is keen to show Europe that it is taking steps to rein in excesses in financial markets.

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But the pace of U.S. regulatory reform has been slow, hindered by opposition from a powerful banking lobby and the Obama administration's focus on healthcare reform.

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Those delays could get longer still because the Senate's top legislator on financial regulation favors a more radical streamlining of bank supervisory agencies than the changes proposed by Obama.

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The G20 leaders are due to discuss other issues in Pittsburgh, including climate change ahead of important United Nations negotiations on emissions levels in December.

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The EU's Barroso will warn on Monday that the talks "are dangerously close to deadlock at the moment ... and the world cannot afford such a disastrous outcome," according to excerpts of a speech he will make in New York.

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