Obama 'optimistic' a fiscal agreement may be reached

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US President Barack Obama has said that a potential agreement on the "fiscal cliff" is still being discussed.

He reportedly asked Republican and Democratic leaders to back tax cuts for those earning under $250,000.

They have only four days to reach an agreement before across-the-board tax rises and spending cuts take effect.

Analysts say sliding over the "cliff" could tip the US into recession and set back the global economic recovery.

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