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Americans are smoking less than ever WASHINGTON: The percentage of Americans who are smokers has fallen to an all-time low, now representing just 17.8 percent of the population, a study released Tuesday found.US health officials said the percentage of Americans who are smokers has fallen to the lowest level since 1965, when they began keeping records.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the number of American adults smokers fell from 45.1 million in 2005, or 20.9 percent of the USA population at the time, to 42.1 million.Despite progress in reducing the overall number of US smokers, rates remained on the high side for some groups, particularly lower-income people, as well as gays and lesbians, the CDC said.Smoking accounts for one in five US deaths annually, taking more than 480,000 lives.According to US government data, smoking costs the economy more than $289 billion a year for medical care and lost productivity.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014 ...

Federal charges still possible in Ferguson case WASHINGTON: After a Missouri grand jury did not charge a white police officer with any crime in the shooting death of black teen Michael Brown, his family and supporters are pinning their hopes on federal charges.The Justice Department quickly opened its own investigations in the wake of the August 9 shooting of Michael Brown, who was unarmed, by Officer Darren Wilson in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson.One arm of the probe is to determine ...

Juncker unveils massive EU investment plan STRASBOURG: European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker was set to unveil an eagerly awaited 300-billion-euro investment plan in European Parliament on Wednesday, intended to boost the continent's flatlining economy.The plan is the cornerstone of Juncker's five-year agenda to jumpstart the EU's moribund economy, which has failed to grow since the financial crisis and is mired in mass unemployment and near-deflation.The new European Fund for Strategic Investment will be funded to the tune of 21 billion euros, ...

Swiss to vote on immigration cut 'to save environment' GENEVA: The Swiss will once again head to the polls this weekend to decide whether to dramatically slash immigration numbers, this time in the name of saving the environment in a proposal opponents have labelled xenophobic.Initiatives aimed at reining in the number of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees to the wealthy Alpine nation have been abundant in recent years.Most recently, voters in February narrowly approved reinstating quotas for immigration from the neighbouring European Union, throwing ...

In Ferguson, blacks say racial bias is fact of life FERGUSON: When Sean Jackson became a father, he says he knew he needed to teach his son how to interact with police so as to avoid arrest -- or worse. Such is the life of a black man in Ferguson, Missouri.Ferguson is at boiling point over a grand jury's decision not to indict a white officer for shooting dead an unarmed black teenager, and African Americans here are furious over police brutality, racism and what ...

Coal mine fire kills 24 in China BEIJING: A fire at a Chinese coal mine killed 24 workers early Wednesday, state media reported, the latest fatal incident to hit the accident-prone industry.The blaze at the mine in Liaoning province, in the northeast, also left 52 people injured, the official Xinhua news agency said, quoting the state-owned Fuxin Coal Corporation.Initial investigation showed that coal dust in a shaft was ignited shortly after a weak earthquake with a magnitude of just 1.6 hit the ...

Mexico leader forced into action over 43 missing MEXICO CITY: Two months after 43 students vanished in the night, change is afoot in Mexico: Protests have swept the nation, sounding a wake-up call for the president to finally tackle corruption and police brutality.Facing the biggest crisis of his two-year-old administration, President Enrique Pena Nieto will announce Thursday a new strategy to tackle the country's disfunctional justice system.The national soul-searching began in September after police in the southern state of Guerrero attacked busloads of ...


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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