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From the truffle-infused beef-cheek ravioli at Babbo restaurant in New York to the all-black-truffle menu at La Toque in Napa Valley, California, the pungent mushroom has conquered the summer menu and is no longer just a treasured winter treat. The black-truffle summer craze is the result of a confluence of events, some of which were decades in the making.

Researchers Wednesday urged sailors to become "citizen oceanographers" and help scientists better understand some of the world's wildest seas where ships and even planes disappear without trace. An Australian-led study said that despite technology such as GPS navigation and advanced research vessels with modern capabilities, much of the world's oceans remains under-explored, with cost a key impediment to knowing more.
San Francisco-based Coinbase is taking its Bitcoin wallet to Europe with an aim of enticing more people there to use the digital currency. Coinbase on Wednesday launched in 13 European countries, including France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands. "While US adoption is trending strong, Bitcoin offerings in other markets have not been as easily accessible to the average person," Coinbase said in a statement.
Thousands of parrots, monkeys, iguanas, toucans, turtles and other rainforest animals are kept as exotic pets in Costa Rica, a practice putting some species at risk, according to experts. The Central American country, famous for its rich biodiversity, won plaudits from conservationists two years ago for banning sport hunting in a pioneering move to protect wild animals.
George Clooney says he is to wed his fiancee Amal Alamuddin in Venice in the next few weeks, less than a year after the 36-year-old lawyer began dating Hollywood's most eligible bachelor. The heartthrob US actor's spokesman confirmed the wedding venue but not the date after Clooney let slip his plans to marry the British human rights attorney in the picture-postcard Italian city.
Starlets take note: Hollywood filmmakers pushed a no-fuss, no-makeup look in new movies at the Toronto film festival this week, redefining beauty as "raw." And established stars including Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon lapped it up.
Jane Fonda insists that she does not have a funny bone, but kept people in stitches Monday at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) premiere of "This is Where I Leave You." Best known for her dramatic roles, including in "The China Syndrome," "Coming Home," "Julia" and "On Golden Pond," Fonda in her latest role plays a celebrity shrink in the hilarious adaptation of Jonathan Trooper's book, opposite some of the best comedic actors in Hollywood such as Tina Fey and Jason Bateman.


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.807 bln
Exports $1.911 bln
Imports $4.718 bln
WeeklySeptember 25, 2014
Reserves $13.305 bln