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Obama tells North Korea to stop 'belligerent approach' WASHINGTON: The United States slammed North Korea's belligerence Thursday and pressed China to rein in its ally, as US officials downplayed a chilling spy agency report that Pyongyang has a nuclear-armed missile.The alarming assessment of the North's nuclear capabilities, revealed by a US lawmaker at a congressional hearing, came as tensions on the Korean peninsula mounted over an expected missile launch by Pyongyang.A senior official traveling with US Secretary of State John Kerry to Seoul, where he was due on Friday, again pressed China to encourage its wayward ally to stop its destabilizing nuclear activities and threats to the region.The North's February nuclear test and its fury over subsequent UN sanctions, are at the core of the current crisis that has seen Pyongyang threaten nuclear strikes against the United States and South Korea.President Barack Obama said "nobody wants to see a conflict," but emphasized that the United States was ready ...

US sees stronger ebook sales, but growth slows WASHINGTON: Electronic books provided 23 percent of US publishing revenues in 2012 but sizzling growth rates have eased, according to industry figures released Thursday.The Association of American Publishers said ebooks gained ground in all categories -- adult fiction and nonfiction, young adult and children's and religious publishing -- and helped the industry increase revenues six percent to $7.1 billion for the year.The percentage of revenues from ebooks rose to 23 percent of net publisher revenues ...

US bond prices rise, 30-year auction lukewarm NEW YORK: US Treasuries prices rose on Thursday as a three-day rise in yields lured investors to buy government debt on the open market and a $13 billion auction of 30-year bonds, the final part of this week's $66 billion in longer-dated supply.Data on the 30-year Treasuries auction suggested that the anticipated surge in US bond demand from Japanese banks, insurers and pension funds have yet to materialize.The US bond market rallied last week after ...

Nigerian police free journalists held over report on president ABUJA: Nigerian police have freed four journalists arrested this week for a report in which they accused Goodluck Jonathan of launching a dirty tricks campaign against the opposition, their newspaper said on Thursday.The four reporters for local daily Leadership were detained on Monday after reporting that Jonathan had issued orders to frustrate a newly potent opposition by any means, including surveillance, ahead of 2015 presidential elections. The story did not say to whom the directive ...

Libya aims to get about fifth of power from solar by 2020 BRUSSELS: Libya is nearly ready to issue tenders for two new solar plants and aims to get a fifth of its power from renewable sources by 2020, while its sunshine could one day supply all of Europe, its electricity minister said.Until now, the member country of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has relied almost entirely on its oil and gas reserves for its energy needs."In 20 to 30 years Libya may run ...

IMF releases part of $2.1bn loan to Jordan WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund announced Thursday the release of a portion of its $2.1 billion loan to Jordan to help it weather regional instability, including an influx of Syrian refugees.The IMF executive board, after its first review of Jordan's economic performance under the three-year loan approved last August, made $385 million immediately available to the country, the second tranche of funding under the program."The authorities have managed a difficult environment by taking appropriate policy ...

Russia cut 2013 GDP growth forecast to 2.4pc: Ifax MOSCOW: Russia's Economy Ministry has cut its 2013 gross domestic product growth forecast to 2.4 percent from a previous 3.6 percent, the news agency Interfax cited Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach as saying.The new forecast comes after the Russian economy performed poorly in the first quarter, expanding only by an estimated 1 percent. The Economy Ministry's forecasts form the basis for the government's fiscal planning. Copyright Reuters, 2013


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Banking Review 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.586 bln
Exports $1.932 bln
Imports $3.518 bln
WeeklyMay 21, 2015
Reserves $17.75 bln