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Japan military in popularity push TOKYO: Pacifist Japan is gradually learning to love its military, with an apparent public relations campaign under way to soften its image, featuring online popularity contests, a much-touted soprano vocalist and dating events. The armed forces are also visible in youth culture, with young teens tuning in to "Girl und Panzer" a cartoon about schoolgirls who do battle in tanks. Japan's most popular Twitter hashtag in 2013 was #KanColle, a reference to an online game in which anthropomorphised warships compete to out-pretty each other as young girls.The image change comes as nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing to give the Self Defence Forces (SDF) more money and scope to act as a normal military might, at a time of rising tensions with China.The SDF has not fired a shot in battle since a battered and broken Japan surrendered in 1945, accepting a United States-led occupation that would last until ...


For Mexico's hottest drug balladeer, music has a cost TEXCOCO: "El Komander" struts on stage, pours expensive whisky into a fan's mouth and sings about grenade launchers -- just another wild night for a Mexican singer who has faced bans for eulogizing drug lords.Wearing a black leather jacket and military fatigue pants, Alfredo Rios took his show to 5,500 people in Texcoco, in the state of Mexico, a region of 15 million people enduring a spike in murders this year.The man with the short-cropped ...

Sigma top UK music chart top spot with Kanye West reworking LONDON: London-based dance music duo Sigma entered the British single charts in first place on Sunday with "Nobody To Love", outselling "Last Night" by the boy band The Vamps to claim their first number one single, the Official Charts Company said.Sigma, made up of Joe Lenzie and Cameron Edwards, sold 121,000 copies of their upbeat reworking of "Bound 2" by U.S. star Kanye West. "Nobody To Love" became the third-biggest-selling single of the year.Last week's ...

'Captain America' commands North American box office LOS ANGELES: Superhero sequel "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" maintained the top rank at the North American box office this weekend, estimates showed Sunday.The latest big-screen blockbuster featuring the iconic Marvel superhero took in $41.4 million, figures from box office tracker Exhibitor Relations said.The performance held off another sequel, animated children's movie "Rio 2," a follow-up to the 2011 hit about a family of blue macaw parrots.The movie, which features the voices of Jesse Eisenberg ...

Cannes film festival prepares to unveil its A-list PARIS: Cannes film festival organisers will on Thursday fire the starting gun for this year's Riviera movie extravaganza when they unveil the films chosen to compete for its top Palme d'Or prize.Always a heady mix of traditional A-list glamour and quirky filmmaking spiced up with a dash of controversy, the festival selects only around 20 of the 1,800 or so films submitted each year.Ryan Gosling, Catherine Deneuve, Ken Loach, Meryl Streep, Gerard Depardieu, Woody Allen, ...

Tenacity pays off for founder of 'Nollywood Netflix' LAGOS: At only 33, Jason Njoku is already considered one of Africa's most promising entrepreneurs thanks to an online film distribution service that has tapped high demand for Nigerian movies.But the British-born Nigerian entrepreneur, whose firm iROKO has been compared to the US Internet movie and TV streaming giant Netflix, is cautious about reading too much into the accolade. "On paper, I'm a millionaire, absolutely," he told AFP at his office in Nigeria's financial capital, ...

SRK's 'Happy New Year' to feature most expensive song in Bollywood? According to Mid-day.com Farah Khan’s upcoming film ‘Happy New Year’ will feature Bollywood’s most expensive song ever. A source revealed the song will be made on a whopping budget of Rs 7 crores, which will break the record of ‘Dhoom 3’s’ ‘Malang’, which cost around Rs 5 crores. The song will see the film’s star cast including Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani and Sonu Sood. Mid-day.com quoted a source as saying, ...


 



 
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Annual2012/13
Foreign Debt $60.9bn
Per Cap Income $1,368
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MonthlyFebruary
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