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Obama signs order expanding US Afghanistan role: NY Times WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing a broader military mission in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, the New York Times reported on Saturday.The decision ensures a direct role for American troops in fighting in Afghanistan for at least another year, it said, adding Obama's decision was made during a White House meeting with national security advisers in recent weeks.In May, Obama said the American military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year. Missions for the remaining 9,800 troops would be limited to training Afghan forces and to hunting the "remnants of al Qaeda", he said.Obama's new order lets American forces execute missions against the Taliban and other militant groups threatening US troops or the Afghan government.The new authorization also allows US air strikes to support Afghan forces on combat missions and US troops occasionally to accompany Afghan troops on operations against the ...

US welcomes oil deal between Iraqi Kurdistan and Baghdad ISTANBUL: US Vice President Joe Biden welcomed an agreement between Iraq's central government and its northern Kurdistan region over the management of oil exports, a step forward in a feud that has threatened the unity of Iraq.After years of friction, the two sides last week struck a deal in which Kurds will give half of their overall oil shipments to the federal government and Baghdad will pay overdue civil servants' salaries in the region."I was ...

Deadlocked Iran nuclear talks enter cliffhanger final weekend VIENNA: Iran and world powers appeared set Saturday for a fresh round of cliffhanger nuclear talks in a bid to break the deadlock two days ahead of a deadline.In a sign of the high stakes involved, US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif stayed overnight Friday in the Austrian capital Vienna to try to narrow what Washington has said are "serious gaps" in the cliffhanger negotiations.Iranian sources said the ...

Time to act on energy security, Biden tells EU ISTANBUL: US Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday told Europe it was time to act on improving its energy security, warning of Russia's "track record" in using energy supplies as a weapon.Speaking at an Atlantic Council meeting in Istanbul, Biden said Europe needed to step up efforts to "ensure diversification" away from Russian oil and gas imports.He said the crisis in Ukraine had again showed up "Russia's track record in using energy supplies as a ...

Obama telephones Nawaz Sharif ISLAMABAD: US President Barack Obama telephoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss the "evolving situation" in the region, the Pakistan foreign ministry said."Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed satisfaction at the direction of Pakistan-US relations which were on an upward trajectory" and "President Obama noted Pakistan-US relations were strong and robust" during their conversation on Friday evening the ministry said in a statement.Obama informed Sharif of his forthcoming trip to India and said he would visit ...

Kiev says Russia has 7,500 troops in Ukraine KIEV: Ukraine's defence minister said Saturday that Russia has 7,500 troops in the east of the country, where pro-Moscow separatists have been fighting government troops for months."Unfortunately, the stabilisation of the situation in the east of Ukraine does not depend only on us," said Stepan Poltorak. "The presence of 7,500 representatives of Russian armed forces in Ukraine destabilises the situation and prevents us from stabilising it."Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014


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Banking Review 2013

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.380 bln
Exports $2.181 bln
Imports $4.561 bln
WeeklyNovember 13, 2014
Reserves $13.268 bln