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Obama to address nation as debt fight rages

US President Barack Obama scheduled a rare prime-time speech to the nation Monday as polarized lawmakers failed to rally behind a plan to avert a disastrous debt default perhaps just one week away. The prospect of the world’s richest country running out of cash to pay its bills come August 2 sent stocks sliding and gold soaring while the IMF warned of a “severe shock” to the world economy absent an elusive breakthrough. Obama’s 9 pm (0100 GMT) speech from the White House’s ornate East Room would be only his seventh formal address to the nation, and the first since he unveiled a timeline for a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in June. The address came with Democrats who control the Senate…