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Putin signs law banning smoking in public places MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning smoking in public places in Russia from June, a cornerstone of the government's bid to improve public health, the Kremlin said Monday.The law, called "On protecting the health of citizens from the danger of passive smoking and the consequences of the use of tabacco," makes smoking illegal in restaurants, cafes, hotels, trains and a host of other places.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013 ...

Bulgaria Orthodox Church elects new patriarch SOFIA: Bulgaria's Orthodox Church on Sunday elected metropolitan Neophyte of the northern city of Ruse as its new leader after Patriarch Maxim died last November aged 98 after leading the church for over 40 years.The bells of the golden-domed Alexander Nevski cathedral in downtown Sofia announced the election of a new patriarch by the 138 delegates at the church council Sunday afternoon.Shortly after that, council speaker metropolitan Yosif announced that "Ruse metropolitan Neophyte was elected ...
Leftist may hold key to stable rule in Italy ROME: Italy's chance of stable government after elections this weekend may rely on forcing two awkward partners into coalition: former European Commissioner Mario Monti and an openly gay leftist he has vowed not to work with. The mutual sniping between Monti and Nichi Vendola, governor of the southern region of Puglia, has intensified during the final weeks of campaigning for elections on Sunday and Monday and both have declared their visions for Italy "incompatible". Yet ...
Austrian hostage in Yemen in desperate video plea     VIENNA: An Austrian man kidnapped in Yemen late last year with a Finnish couple said in a video posted on the Internet that his captors would kill him in a week if their demands were not met, Austrian media said Saturday.   The video, which was posted on Youtube on February 21, was confirmed as authentic by the authorities of Finland and Austria, the Austrian APA agency said.   "My name is Dominik Neubauer. I'm an Austrian citizen. I've ...
Ecuador president vows to push large-scale mining     QUITO: Ecuador's re-elected President Rafael Correa said Saturday he will push large-scale mining projects during his next four years in office, despite opposition from some indigenous groups.   "The Ecuadoran people have voted to responsibly take advantage of non-renewable resources," said in a weekly address on his administration's activities.   Correa, a socialist, said his goal was to use the country's mining and oil wealth to eliminate poverty and said he was committed to "the Amazonian people and all ...
Berlusconi slams Europe   ROME: Italy's Silvio Berlusconi on Saturday said Europe's "lords of austerity" had tried to get rid of him, speaking in apparent breach of rules for candidates to stay silent the day before elections.   "I contradicted the lords of austerity who are now trying to get rid of me," Berlusconi was quoted by the ANSA news agency as saying in Milan in an interview with Greek television.   Leftist candidate Antonio Ingroia asked for sanctions against the billionaire tycoon ...
Colombia president threatens to end peace talks with FARC     BOGOTA: President Juan Manuel Santos, frustrated over a lack of progress in peace negotiations with leftist FARC rebels, threatened Saturday to abandon bilateral talks to end their nearly 50-year old conflict.   "As long as we make progress we'll be satisfied, but if we do not make progress we'll leave the negotiating table," Santos said at a public event in the town of Santa Barbara, in the northwestern department of Antioquia.   Rebels with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of ...


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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
Imports $4.718 bln
WeeklyOctober 20, 2014
Reserves $13.436 bln