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By Jason Lange WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve has been surprised by how quickly the U.S. Policymakers "generally agreed" improvements in the labor market over the last year had been "greater than expected," according to minutes of the central bank's July 29-30 meeting released on Wednesday. The Fed had said in its policy statement following the meeting that there was "significant" labor market slack, but the minutes showed many members of its policy-setting panel thought this characterization "might have to change before long." "Labor market conditions had moved noticeably closer to those viewed as normal in the longer run," the minutes said. Still, most policymakers felt any change in their view on when to start raising rates "would depend on further information on the trajectories of economic activity, the labor market and inflation." The minutes also showed Fed officials had largely agreed on many elements of a framework for eventually raising rates from near zero, with almost all of them agreeing it would be appropriate to retain the overnight federal funds rate as their key target.
Violence erupted in an Ebola quarantine zone in Liberia's capital Wednesday as authorities struggled to contain the deadly disease, while new suspected cases in Asia sparked fears of it spreading from Africa. The crackdown in Liberia comes as authorities around the world are scrambling to stem the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola, which has killed more than 1,200 people across west Africa this year. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf quarantined West Point and Dolo Town, to the east of the capital, and imposed a night-time curfew as part of new drastic measures to fight the disease. Residents of West Point, where club-wielding youths stormed an Ebola medical facility on Saturday, reacted with fury to the crackdown, hurling stones and shouting at the security forces.