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US jobless claims drop to lowest level in 14 years WASHINGTON: New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits unexpectedly fell last week to their lowest level in 14 years, the Labor Department said Thursday.Initial claims dropped by 23,000 to 264,000 in the week ending October 11, an eight percent decline from the previous week.That is the lowest weekly number for jobless claims since April 15, 2000 when 259,000 people filed, and another sign of an improving jobs market.Analysts expected last week's claims to rise slightly to 290,000.The Labor Department gave no reason for the steeper-than-expected decline.Jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, have now remained under 300,000 for five consecutive weeks, and the monthly average has fallen to 283,500, 4,250 fewer than the monthly average reported last week.That also is the lowest level in 14 years, since the week of June 10, 2000, when the monthly average was 283,500.A year ago last week, new claims numbered 355,000. From ...

Deflation stalks Europe's periphery as inflation hits 5-year low BRUSSELS: Deflation hit five peripheral euro zone countries in September as inflation slipped to its lowest for five years and exports faltered, data on Thursday showed, offering little hope that the bloc will avoid its third recession in six years.While consumer inflation at 0.3 percent was unchanged from Eurostat's Sept. 30 estimate and met market expectations, Greece, Spain, Italy, Slovenia and Slovakia showed deflation in the month on persistently depressed household demand.With such a minimal ...

Merkel says Russia sanctions do not preclude dialogue BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech in parliament on Thursday that sanctions against Russia over Ukraine were necessary but they did not preclude dialogue with Moscow.Speaking ahead of an EU-Asia summit in Milan where Merkel and other European leaders are to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time in months, the German leader described the situation in Ukraine as "very difficult". In her speech, Merkel also said the euro ...

Kerry's plane grounded ... again VIENNA: Globe-trotting top US diplomat John Kerry was left hoofing it back on a commercial flight from Vienna Thursday, after his ageing Air Force plane broke down for the fourth time this year.After marathon talks on Iran's nuclear programme in the Austrian capital Wednesday, Kerry's party of more than 40 State Department staff and journalists were checking out of their hotel rooms before dawn Thursday when the news came that his Boeing 757 needed unspecified ...

Putin targeted by topless protest at ASEM summit MILAN: Topless Femen activists poured buckets of wine over their naked breasts in front of Milan's cathedral Thursday, in the latest of the women's rights group's signature protests.The stunt, witnessed by a handful of bemused commuters on a chilly morning, came ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin's arrival in the Italian city for an ASEM summit of European and Asian leaders.Femen leader Inna Shevchenko was one of the two women performing what looked like a ...

French Ebola airport checks to start Saturday PARIS: France will start carrying out health checks on Saturday on travellers arriving by plane from Guinea, one of the worst-hit nations in the spreading Ebola epidemic.Medics at Paris's main international Charles de Gaulle airport will take the temperature of passengers arriving from the daily flights still operating from the Guinean capital Conakry, Health Minister Marisol Touraine told AFP.The checks will be carried out before passengers enter the airport building, by medical staff with the ...

Switzerland lowers growth forecasts GENEVA: Switzerland has lowered its growth forecast for 2014 from 2.0 to 1.8 percent, the wealthy Alpine nation's statistics agency said on Thursday.The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, or SECO, also revised down its growth forecast for 2015, from 2.6 to 2.4 percent, suggesting that while Switzerland has survived years of European financial turmoil relatively unscathed, weakness in the eurozone has begun to rub off.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.807 bln
Exports $1.911 bln
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WeeklyOctober 20, 2014
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