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Juncker's new EU Commission takes office BRUSSELS: The new European Commission led by EU veteran Jean-Claude Juncker formally took office Saturday, promising to "get down to work" as Europe faces a host of political and economic challenges.The agenda is heavy, with Juncker making it his first task to launch a 300 billion euro ($380 billion) investment plan by Christmas to kickstart a faltering economy plagued by stubborn, near-record unemployment.The Ukraine crisis meanwhile shows no sign of easing, the European Union is locked in difficult talks on a massive and controversial trade deal with Washington and Britain's future in the bloc is uncertain."Now it's time to roll up the sleeves and get down to work. Europe's challenges cannot wait," Juncker said in a statement Saturday. "As of today, my team and I will work hard to deliver Europe the new start we have promised.A first test comes Sunday when pro-Russian rebels plan elections in the areas they ...

At least 17 killed in Turkey bus crash ISTANBUL: At least 17 people were killed and 29 injured Friday when an overloaded bus carrying agricultural workers crashed in the Isparta region of southern Turkey, the Dogan news agency reported.The workers, mostly women, were on their way to pick apples at an orchard in the region when the bus turned over onto its side due to brake failure, it said.The severity of the accident was compounded when the bus carried on moving some 100 ...
Hungary's Orban scraps draft Internet tax law BUDAPEST: Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Friday said he was scrapping a draft Internet tax law that has sparked mass demonstrations in the central European country."The Internet tax cannot be introduced in its current form," Orban said in a radio interview. The proposed legislation was seen by critics as another attempt by the right-wing prime minister to silence dissent in the country and had led tens of thousands of demonstrators to take to the ...
EU will 'play its role' to support Ukraine-Russia gas deal PARIS: The European Union will "fully play its role" to implement the gas deal signed by Ukraine and Russia on Thursday, the French and German presidents said in a joint statement.Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel said they had spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko earlier in the evening, and all four "have welcomed the conclusion of negotiations on the delivery of Russian gas to Ukraine, achieved thanks to the ...
British Labour downplays threat of Scotland collapse LONDON: British opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband on Thursday brushed off polls indicating his party faces collapsing support in former stronghold Scotland ahead of next year's general election."We face a tough fight but no tougher than the fights we have faced in the past," Miliband told a Labour dinner event in Glasgow. His comments came after an Ipsos Mori survey showed Labour could lose up to 90 percent of its lawmakers in the region to ...
German unemployment unexpectedly drops in October BERLIN: German joblessness unexpectedly fell in October and the unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent, data from the Federal Labour Office showed on Thursday, underlining the strength of the job market in Europe's largest economy. The number of unemployed people decreased by 22,000 to 2.887 million, seasonally-adjusted data showed. That confounded expectations in a Reuters poll for a rise of 5,000 and fell further than even the lowest estimate for a drop of 13,000. ...
East Ukraine's rebels prepare for a long cold war LUKOVE: As winter approaches in Ukraine's eastern countryside, pro-Russian rebels and Kiev forces eye each other uneasily across a ragged frontline. Despite signing a truce, both seem to be digging in for the long haul."We are repairing this tank after it was hit by mortar shells yesterday. The war will be long. If Kiev wanted peace it would have finished a long time ago," a rebel commander of a checkpoint near the village of Lukove ...


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-19.98 bln
Exports $25.13 bln
Imports $45.11 bln
WeeklyOctober 27, 2014
Reserves $13.464 bln