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Italian presidential vote to test Renzi government's stability ROME: The unity of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's party and the strength of his alliance on reforms with opposition rival Silvio Berlusconi will be tested on Thursday with a parliamentary vote to choose a new president.Though historically a largely ceremonial figure, the Italian head of state has important powers at times of political instability, a frequent occurrence in Italy, as he or she can dissolve parliament, call elections, and pick prime ministers.Some 1,009 parliamentarians and regional officials will hold a first round of voting at 3 p.m. (1400 GMT). A president is not likely to emerge from the first vote, when a two-thirds majority is needed, but in the fourth or fifth round - probably on Saturday - when only a simple majority is required.After two days of consultations with political factions, Renzi has chosen Sergio Mattarella, a constitutional court judge and a former defence minister for the centre-left, as ...

Spanish retail sales rise at fastest pace in 11 years in December MADRID: Spanish retail sales leapt 6.5 percent year-on-year in December, the biggest increase since 2003, as Spaniards spent at Christmas, encouraged by an improving economic outlook and falling oil prices.It was the latest sign that falling prices are boosting consumer spending and growth, rather than translating into "bad" deflation, where consumers delay purchases in the hope that prices will be lower in the future.Thursday's data on a calendar-adjusted basis from the National Statistics Institute (INE) ...

Malaysia declares MH370 an accident, passengers dead KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Thursday formally declared missing flight MH370 to be an "accident" and its passengers and crew presumed dead, a step that opens the door for compensation payments but is likely to hit distraught relatives hard."It is therefore, with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident... and that all 239 of the passengers and crew on board ...

Italy launches search for a new president ROME: Italy's parliament meets Thursday to begin selecting a new president with the race apparently wide open and much at stake for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who is keen on having a friendly figure installed as head of state."It is an important test for Matteo Renzi -- he needs to find a name capable of securing the broadest possible backing," analysts at the Unicredit bank said in a note to investors on the selection procedure ...

North Korea demanded $10bn for summit: ex-South Korea president`1 SEOUL: North Korea demanded an "absurd" $10 billion payoff and close to a million tonnes in food aid in 2009 in return for a hoped-for summit with Seoul, then-South Korean president Lee Myung-Bak said in a soon-to-be-published memoir.Lee also revealed that the two Koreas kept up negotiations for a possible summit even after Seoul effectively froze relations in 2010 following the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel.Lee's 800-page memoir of his 2008-12 term in ...

Political tensions behind China-Japan economic issues: Beijing BEIJING: Political tensions are partly to blame for Japanese investment in China recording its biggest fall for almost a quarter of a century, Beijing's commerce ministry said Thursday.Investment from Japan slid 38.8 percent to $4.33 billion last year, Chinese figures show, with a respected Japanese industry group saying the drop was the steepest since 1989, when it fell around 35 percent in the wake of the Tiananmen Square killings.Commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said that ...

China media warn new Greek government over port BEIJING: New Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is in a similar position to Phaeton, the Greek mythological figure given the reins of the sun only to lose control and nearly destroy the earth, Chinese media said Thursday.The comments came after the newly-elected authorities in Athens said they would halt the privatisation of Greece's biggest port, which China's COSCO group has bid for."This is reminiscent of a tale in Greek mythology," said an analysis in The ...


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ICT 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
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WeeklyJanuary 25, 2015
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