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European lawmakers expand power of Central Bank

BRUSSELS — EU legislators overwhelmingly approved Thursday a law that puts about 130 of the eurozone’s largest banks under the scrutiny of the European Central Bank.

The legislation contains provisions that would give the European Parliament somewhat more oversight of the ECB when the bank assumes its new authority. The vote is an important development, but not the final one, in a winding process that began in early 2012, during one of the most fevered periods in the eurozone financial crisis.

The measure still needs approval from EU governments to take effect, though that is expected to be a formality. The Single Supervisory Mechanism it creates is expected to start work during the autumn of 2014 after the ECB conducts a “stress test” on the lenders coming within its purview.

—James Kanter, The New York Times

Aquifers discovered in drought-ridden Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya —

With water security a growing concern around the world, the discovery of five aquifers in drought-plagued Turkana County could help secure Kenya’s access to the most critical of natural resources, particularly in the arid north. Out of a total Kenyan population of roughly 41 million people, 17 million lack sufficient access to safe drinking water and 28 million are without adequate sanitation, said the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

—Nicholas Kulish, The New York Times

CA might raise minimum wage

LOS ANGELES — California’s top lawmakers on Wednesday pledged their support for a plan to raise the minimum wage in the state to $10 an hour, which could soon give California workers the highest minimum pay rate in the country.

In a rare show of backing for pending legislation, Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, announced his “strong support” for a bill in the state Legislature that would raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour from $8 by the start of 2016. Currently, Washington state has the highest minimum wage of any state, at $9.19 per hour.

Leaders of the Legislature, where Democrats hold majorities in both houses, also announced their support for the bill Wednesday, all but guaranteeing its passage before the legislative deadline Friday.

—Ian Lovett, The New York Times