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Former rivals embrace as German coalition talks begin BERLIN: It was a scene that might cause shock in the United States or Britain, where the partisan divide is much deeper, making political compromise seem impossible at times.But in Germany, where Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) put months of hostility behind them on Wednesday, sat down at the same table and even hugged each other, the readiness to forge consensus barely raised an eyebrow.At the start of coalition negotiations that are expected to last six weeks, 77 politicians from the rival camps buried the hatchet and held a cordial first meeting at the headquarters of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) in Berlin.None of the animosity of the past months was evident. On the contrary, the gathering had the look of a family reunion."For people whose interactions in recent months were limited to an election battle it is important to set another tone and build personal relations," said ...

Russia drops piracy charges against Greenpeace activists: report MOSCOW: Russia has dropped piracy charges against 30 people involved in a Greenpeace protest over Arctic oil drilling, replacing them with lesser charges, the Itar-Tass news agency reported on Wednesday, citing federal investigators.Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said the charges against activists who protested at an oil platform last month had been changed from piracy, which carries a maximum jail sentence of 12 years, to hooliganism which has a lesser punishment, Itar-Tass reported.Copyright Reuters, 2013 ...

Slovakia sees state debt dipping to 54.3pc/GDP by year-end PRAGUE: Slovakia's national debt will drop to 54.3 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the year from 58 percent at the end of the second quarter, the government's Institute for Financial Policy said on Wednesday.It said the drop - corresponding to 2 billion euros -- would come from bond and treasury bill repayments and repurchases.The institute said the total government debt in the euro zone country stood at 41.6 billion euros at ...

Spain exits recession, job losses ease: central bank MADRID: Spain escaped from its two-year recession in the third quarter of this year with timid growth as job destruction eased, the country's central bank said on Wednesday.After nine straight quarters of contraction in the second trough of a double-dip recession, the eurozone's fourth-biggest economy grew by 0.1 percent, the Bank of Spain said in a report.The rate at which jobs were being destroyed in the recession, which has thrown millions out of work and ...

Germany bullish on economy, jobs for 2014: ministry BERLIN: Germany said Wednesday its robust economy would fuel record employment this year and next as well as boost consumer spending and industrial investment.The economy ministry said in its autumn forecast that gross domestic product would expand 0.5 percent this year and 1.7 percent next year, confirming reports from sources on Tuesday and underlining the rude health of Europe's top economic power.The unemployment rate is set to hit 6.9 percent this year and fall to ...

South African inflation falls to 6pc in September: official data JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's annual inflation fell to 6.0 percent in September, official data showed on Wednesday ahead of the unveiling of the national mid-term budget.Statistics South Africa said that consumer prices had eased from a 6.4-percent peak in August, thanks in part to a fall in petrol prices.The drop was in line with economists' expectations, according to Nedbank's Busisiwe Radebe."We expected it should drop down to six percent from that 6.4 percent peak we saw ...

ADB urges East Asian giants to work together on climate change TOKYO: The Asian Development Bank on Wednesday called on China and Japan to band together in fighting the disastrous effects of climate change, despite their diplomatic hostilities.The Manila-based ADB urged the Asian giants, along with neighbours South Korea and Mongolia, to set up a climate research network and an emissions trading scheme. A carbon trading market could see the countries hit their greenhouse gas emission targets at a "significantly lower cost than acting alone", it ...


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
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WeeklySeptember 25, 2014
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