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Allegations that British troops executed captured Iraqi prisoners and tortured or seriously abused others after a battle in 2004 were based on lies, a long-running inquiry concluded on Wednesday, exonerating the armed forces. The Al-Sweady inquiry, which has lasted five years and cost 31 million pounds ($49 million), was charged with examining allegations made by Iraqis that British soldiers captured and then murdered 20 men after a battle in southern Iraq.

Taliban militants detonated a suicide bomb and stormed a bank in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing five police and five civilians as the country endures a rise in violence as US-led NATO troops pull out. The attackers forced their way inside after a bomb exploded at the entrance of the Kabul Bank branch in Lashkar Gah, the capital of the insurgency-racked province of Helmand.
Shia Muslim militiamen from Afghanistan have been fighting in Syria for months alongside President Bashar al-Assad's troops, a monitoring group said Wednesday. Afghanistan is home to a Sunni Muslim majority but nearly one-fifth of the population is Shia, mainly Farsi-speakers and from the Hazara ethnic group. "Shia Afghan militiamen have been fighting for several months alongside Bashar al-Assad's army, especially around Shia religious sites in Sayyida Zeinab" near Damascus, said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Wednesday supporting Palestinian statehood in principle, in a compromise motion that did not follow some European national legislatures in backing immediate recognition of a Palestinian state. Following a deal among the main parties, the motion carried by 498 votes to 88 stated: "(The European Parliament) supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced."
The UN Security Council agreed on Wednesday to extend for a year cross-border deliveries of desperately-needed humanitarian aid to rebel-held areas in Syria. The 15-member council voted unanimously to renew authorisation through January 2016 for the UN convoys who cross into Syria from Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, without the consent of the Damascus regime.
The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas should be removed from the European Union's terrorist list, an EU court ruled on Wednesday, saying the decision to include it was based on media reports not considered analysis. However, in its ruling, the bloc's second highest tribunal said member states could maintain their freeze on Hamas's assets for three months to give time for further review or for an appeal to be launched.
The United States and Cuba made a historic breakthrough in their Cold War stand-off Wednesday, moving to revive diplomatic ties and launch measures to ease a five-decade US trade embargo. In the wake of a prisoner exchange, President Barack Obama said the United States was ready to review trade ties and to re-open its embassy in communist Cuba that has been closed since 1961.
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ICT 2014


Annual2013/14
Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
MonthlyOctober
Trade Balance $-2.309 bln
Exports $1.957 bln
Imports $4.266 bln
WeeklyDecember 18, 2014
Reserves $14.04 bln