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PM set to win N.Z. vote despite 'dirty tricks' WELLINGTON: New Zealanders head to the polls on Saturday amid signs Prime Minister John Key has managed to ride out dirty tricks allegations and will narrowly win a third term after highlighting his economic record. While New Zealand's complicated proportional voting system is notoriously hard to predict, most opinion polls have Key's centre-right National Party returning to power with the support of a handful of minor parties to form government.The main opposition Labour Party along with the Greens stand as their closest rivals -- with Winston Peters, the leader of the minor New Zealand First party, shaping up to become kingmaker if the election night count is too close to call.Much of National's success through a tumultuous campaign is credited to the personal popularity of the charismatic Key, a 53-year-old who rose from a humble childhood to earn his fortune as a merchant banker.Policies have largely taken a backseat in ...

Four jailed on terror charges in China: state media BEIJING: A Chinese court has sentenced four people to between 10 and 20 years in prison on terror-related charges, state media reported, as Beijing furthers a crackdown after a wave of violent attacks.The four individuals were found guilty on Wednesday of "participating in terrorist organizations, illegally manufacturing explosives, harbouring suspects and financing terror activities", according to a report on Yunnan Net, a Yunnan provincial government news website.The four -- whose names suggest they are members ...

Dovish Fed holds policy unchanged WASHINGTON: The Federal Reserve stuck to its forecast for an initial interest rate rise in 2015 on Wednesday but cut its forecast for US growth slightly.Holding to its cautious dovish stance on inflation, the Federal Open Market Committee did not change any language it uses to signal its rate plans, saying any increase will happen only a "considerable time" after the October end to the bond-buying stimulus program.Although the economy continues to expand "at a ...

Seattle leaders call for safeguards amid boom in oil train shipments SEATTLE: Seattle officials called on Wednesday for more safeguards for crude oil trains travelling through the city in increasing numbers, warning some rail infrastructure was antiquated and could contribute to a catastrophic accident.An oil tanker accident in the city could be "a catastrophe for our community in terms of risk to life, property and environment," Seattle's Office of Emergency Management said in a report. Citing a series of devastating accidents linked to oil train derailments, ...

Judge pauses Detroit's bankruptcy trial again DETROIT: US Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ordered a week-long break in Detroit's bankruptcy trial on Wednesday, giving the last major objector to the city's restructuring plan time to rework its case.The hearing will be adjourned from Friday and reconvene on Sept. 29. It was also placed on hiatus last week for three days while the city applied finishing touches to a settlement with another creditor, Syncora Guarantee Inc. Syncora formally withdrew its objections to the ...

US House passes Fed audit bill; measure seen doomed in Senate WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill on Wednesday that would open up Federal Reserve monetary policy decisions to a congressional audit, reviving a measure passed in 2012. But the legislation approved by the Republican-dominated House is expected to meet a fate similar to its predecessor's: death in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The "Federal Reserve Transparency Act" passed 333-92 in a bipartisan vote. It is largely similar to the 2012 "Audit the Fed" ...

Former Ivory Coast president backs Ouattara for 2015 election DAOUKRO: Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara on Wednesday received the endorsement of former president Henri Konan Bedie for re-election in 2015, boosting his chances of a second term. Support from Bedie, who heads the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast (PDCI), was previously uncertain and some had speculated that his party would field a separate candidate."Before the nation assembled here, I am giving clear guidance to support your candidacy at the next presidential election," Bedie said, ...


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.434 bln
Exports $1.930 bln
Imports $3.364 bln
WeeklySeptember 18, 2014
Reserves $13.525 bln