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Published:Tuesday | January 6, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Maduro to visit China

President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro is travelling to China to discuss financing as the South American nation's economy sinks into a recession.

China is the socialist country's largest creditor. Maduro said Sunday that he would talk with President Xi Jinping about Venezuela's oil-for-loans agreements.

Venezuela is struggling with the world's highest inflation, a newly confirmed recession, and a cash crunch brought about partly by a steep fall in the price of oil, which makes up 95 per cent of the country's export earnings.

At the end of December, Maduro announced that he would make the economy his chief focus in 2015.

AA, pilots reach labour deal

The pilots union at American Airlines has agreed to put up for a vote a five-year contract proposal that would boost pay by more than 26 per cent and offer smaller raises in later years.

The board of the Allied Pilots Association agreed late Saturday, just before a midnight deadline set by the company, to accept the basic terms of the deal before the offer was pulled and negotiations moved to arbitration.

American Airlines Group Inc, based in Fort Worth, Texas, is pushing to reach agreements with its labour unions as part of its 14-month effort to combine operations with merger partner US Airways. American CEO Doug Parker issued additional four per cent raises last month to unions that had already accepted labour deals and offered to sweeten its offer to pilots by that much if they agreed to a deal by Saturday.

The deal, including the four per cent sweetener, would increase pilot pay by 23 per cent retroactive to December 2 if pilots agree to the deal by mid-January. Pay would increase by an additional three percent as of January 1 of this year, and be followed by annual three per cent raises through 2019. It would cover 15,000 American and US Airways pilots.