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Kurdish troops backed by warplanes battled the Islamic State group on three fronts in northern Iraq Tuesday, clawing back land lost to the jihadists in recent months. The peshmerga struck before dawn against the town of Rabia on the Syrian border, north of the jihadist-controlled second city Mosul, and south of key oil hub Kirkuk, officers said.

British fighter jets on Tuesday bombed an artillery post and an armed truck used by the Islamic State group in Iraq in the Royal Air Force's first strikes in the US-led air campaign. The defence ministry said two Tornado jets hit the post with a Brimstone missile used against tanks and the vehicle with a 500-pound (230 kilogramme) Paveway IV laser-guided bomb.
Officials from Afghanistan and the United States on Tuesday signed a long-delayed security agreement to allow American troops to stay in the country after the end of the year, filling a campaign promise by new President Ashraf Ghani. National security adviser Hanif Atmar and US Ambassador James Cunningham signed the bilateral security agreement in a televised ceremony at the presidential palace, one day after Ghani was inaugurated.
Iran is to extend compulsory military service to two years because of a shortage of conscripts in the Islamic republic, the army said Tuesday. The decision to extend the term by three months from March results from a fall in the number of men aged 18, chief conscription officer General Moussa Kamali was quoted by state media as saying. He said compulsory service would be three months shorter for married men, and cut by another three months for each child in the case of fathers.
President Barack Obama Tuesday hailed the "energy" and "determination" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, flexing the symbolism of his office to make a strong pitch for the affections of the new Indian government. Modi meanwhile told Obama that he hoped for an agreement "soon" to free up a major global trade facilitation agreement, blocked by the government in New Delhi over concerns its food subsidies to the poor could face legal challenges.
Bangladesh has sacked a top minister after his criticism of Hajj triggered protests by Islamists who declared him an apostate and set a 24-hour deadline to replace him. Abdul Latif Siddique, the country's telecommunications minister, who is in New York accompanying Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, made the comments which were aired by local television stations.
Hong Kong demonstrators rejected demands immediately to end rallies that have paralysed the city's downtown, their numbers swelling for a third night before a national holiday Wednesday expected to put their campaign for free elections into overdrive. Protest leaders are confident of mustering massive crowds, angered at Beijing's refusal to grant full democracy, overnight and into Wednesday for the National Day public holiday marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China.
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Annual2013/14
Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
MonthlyAugust
Trade Balance $-2.807 bln
Exports $1.911 bln
Imports $4.718 bln
WeeklySeptember 25, 2014
Reserves $13.305 bln