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Algerian president forgives farmers' debts

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP)--Algeria's official news agency says President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has announced the cancellation of 41 billion dinars ($5.2 billion/euro4.1 billion) in total debts owed by the nation's farmers and livestock raisers.

Presidential elections in the natural gas-rich, north African country are scheduled for April 9, and Bouteflika is running.

The state-run APS agency quoted him as telling an agricultural conference in northeastern Biskra on Saturday that the Treasury will buy up the debts owed by the farmers and livestock raisers.

On Feb. 24, he announced higher wages for state workers.

Parliament in November modified the constitution to cancel presidential term limits--previously limited to two--and setting the stage for Bouteflika to seek a third mandate.

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