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World

On 100th day, Obama forecasts more pain before recession's end

On his 100th day in office, President Barack Obama has defended his record to date on trying to turn around the struggling US economy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave Obama good marks for his time in office.

Barack Obama after 100 days in office

Obama said efforts to clear the country's "economic wreckage" were ongoing

"In many areas a new course was set very assertively," Merkel said in Berlin. "I'm full of hope. It was a very intensive 100 days."

Merkel said the Obama administration had reacted firmly to the economic crisis "and in my consideration done everything that one can to apply countermeasures."

This was important for the global economy, said the chancellor.

Merkel welcomed the "new course" set by the US with respect to climate protection and cooperation in Afghanistan.

Obama had created the conditions "for very, very close relations" between the US and Germany as well as with the European Union, she said.

Obama satisfied

President Barack Obama looks on as German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to reporters

Merkel says Obama is taking the US in the right direction

Obama said he was happy with his efforts at attempting to stabilize the US economy but warned of more job losses before the country's 16-month long recession comes to an end.

"I am pleased with our progress but I am not satisfied," he said in a press conference at the White House. "Millions of Americans are still without jobs and homes, and more will be lost before this recession is over."

Obama's remarks came after government figures showed the US economy shrank 6.1 percent in the first quarter of this year, though the Federal Reserve touted signs that the outlook had "improved modestly" over the past few weeks.

Obama asked for "patience" from the public and also reiterated his long-running theme that the country had to build a "new foundation for growth" in the coming years that was less reliant on debt and lax regulations of financial institutions.

"Even as we clear away the wreckage of this recession ... we can't go back to an economy that is built on a pile of sand," Obama said.

The global economy has largely been brought down by excessive risks taken in financial sectors, especially in the US housing market that began folding in mid-2006.

Obama said he expected far-reaching reforms on how Wall Street is regulated to be adopted by the end of the year.

Pakistan instability

A Pakistani soldier watches over a bridge during a military offensive against the Taliban

The Pakistani military has been unable to drive out the Taliban

Obama spoke at length on most major foreign and domestic issues affecting the US, including the situation in Pakistan, whose government is struggling to contain the growing Taliban insurgency.

Obama said the Pakistani government lacked the ability to provide basic services for its people and promised the US would do all it could to build up its institutions.

"I am gravely concerned about the situation in Pakistan," Obama said. "The civilian government there right now is very fragile."

Despite the fears, Obama said he was confident the US could help ensure that Pakistan's nuclear weapons capability did not fall into the hands of extremists.

"I'm confident that we can make sure that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is secure," Obama said.

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