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Kerry and Lavrov discuss Syria peace talks PARIS: Top US diplomat John Kerry meets his Russian counterpart Monday after trying to entice Syrian rebels into Geneva peace talks by vowing to exclude the Moscow-backed Damascus regime from any future transition government.Kerry said he was "confident" the opposition would attend the upcoming talks in Switzerland, speaking after a meeting in Paris Sunday of the "Friends of Syria" group of mainly Western and Gulf countries opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.The US Secretary of State met National Coalition leader Ahmad Jarba, whose grouping includes the main opposition movement in exile, and was due to hold further talks with him on Monday."I am confident that he and others will be in Geneva. I am counting on both parties to come together," he said.Jarba was equally upbeat, saying a "milestone" had been passed in diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, which is believed to have killed at least 130,000 people in ...

Ukraine pro-Europe protesters hold first big rally of 2014 KIEV: At least 50,000 opponents of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich rallied in a central Kiev square on Sunday, reviving an anti-government protest movement after a Christmas and New Year lull. The mass rally in Independence Square was a continuation of street protests that erupted in November after Yanukovich decided to abandon a free trade agreement with the European Union in favour of closer cooperation with Russia. The demonstration came a day ...
Greek far-right party MPs ordered held awaiting trial ATHENS: Three more far-right Golden Dawn lawmakers have been ordered detained pending trial in Greece on charges of belonging to a criminal group, as part of a crackdown on the party following the killing of an anti-fascist rapper by one of its supporters last year. The stabbing of Pavlos Fissas in September, to which a Golden Dawn sympathiser has confessed, provoked protests across the country, a shakeup of the police and a broad investigation into ...
French first lady in hospital after reports of Hollande affair PARIS: French first lady Valerie Trierweiler has been admitted to hospital following reports of an affair between President Francois Hollande and an actress, but will be discharged on Monday, sources said on Sunday. The daily newspaper Le Parisien said earlier on Sunday that Trierweiler, 48, had been taken to hospital after being shaken by reports of a liaison between her partner, French President Francois Hollande, and French actress Julie Gayet. "She ...
Nuclear deal with Iran to come on Jan. 20: EU BRUSSELS: Six world powers and Iran have agreed to start implementing an interim nuclear deal on Jan. 20, the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement on Sunday. Ashton represents the six nations the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany in diplomatic contacts with Iran related to the nuclear standoff.She said the sides would now ask the United Nations' nuclear watchdog to verify the deal's implementation. "We will ask the ...
50,000 Ukrainians protest opposition leader's beating KIEV: An estimated 50,000 pro-Western Ukrainians massed on Sunday in the heart of Kiev amid swelling anger over the bloody beating of prominent former minister turned opposition leader Yuriy Lutsenko.The 49-year-old member of jailed ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko's cabinet was transferred out of intensive care on Saturday evening after being attacked by truncheon-wielding police during a small protest the night before."He received about 10 blows to the head," the former interior minister's spokeswoman said. "No one ...
Russia says militants seized with bomb in south MOSCOW: Five members of a banned militant group were arrested in southern Russia on Saturday and a homemade bomb packed with shrapnel was defused, in another security scare weeks before the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Islamist militants have threatened to attack the games and suicide bombers killed at least 34 people last month in Volgograd, also in southern Russia. President Vladimir Putin, who has staked his political and personal prestige on ...


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Banking Review 2014

Foreign Debt $62.649bn
Per Cap Income $1,512
GDP Growth 4.24%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.378 bln
Exports $2.016 bln
Imports $4.394 bln
WeeklyAugust 27, 2015
Reserves $18.509 bln