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US to lose decision-making vote at UNESCO over arrears linked to Palestinian membership

American influence in culture, science and education around the world is facing a blow with the United States expected to lose its vote on Friday at UNESCO.

The U.S. also is racking up hundreds of millions of dollars in debt it would have to repay in order to reclaim its vote at the U.N. agency, which promotes international education, science and culture.

The U.S. in 2011 cut all funding to the Paris-based UNESCO because it gave Palestine member status. According to UNESCO rules, the U.S. has until Friday to resume funding or it loses its vote.

The suspension of U.S. contributions, which account for $80 million a year — 22 percent of UNESCO's overall budget — forced the agency to cut American-led initiatives such as Holocaust education and tsunami research.

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