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Christine Lagarde appointed new IMF chief

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has been chosen as the new leader of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Ms Lagarde is the first woman to lead the lending organisation.

She replaces Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned last month after being charged with sexually assaulting a New York hotel housekeeper.

Ms Lagarde was opposed by Agustin Carstens - a Mexican central banker whose candidacy never caught fire, even among developing countries.

She tweeted last night: "I am honoured and delighted that the Board has entrusted me with the position of MD of the IMF."

Chancellor George Osborne hailed the appointment as "good news for the global economy and for Britain".

Ms Lagarde has the support of most European countries and is seen as an ideal candidate to handle the IMF's ongoing bailout of weak eurozone countries.

The 55-year-old led the Chicago-based law firm Baker & McKenzie before entering French politics in 2005.

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