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Merkel weathers media grilling on US spying BERLIN: Nine weeks before elections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel weathered a media grilling on Friday on US online surveillance and her government's role in it, insisting she was still waiting for answers from Washington.Merkel remains the frontrunner for the September 22 vote, and a new poll suggests the snooping affair is not yet a major election issue but the opposition hopes this will change while the media is turning increasingly hostile.Pressed on the US National Security Agency's PRISM programme for most of a 100-minute annual summer press conference, Merkel maintained she learnt of it through media reports, was unfamiliar with the details and urged patience.Merkel stressed that her country "is not a surveillance state" and that "German law applies on German soil" but also conceded that this has its limits in the age of global telecommunication systems.Pressure has grown for weeks on Merkel over the spying claims made by fugitive ...

Pope sets up commission to reform Vatican VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis, moving to overcome major crises in the Holy See, on Friday set up a special commission to reform its economic and administrative departments, the Vatican said.The commission, which will report directly to the pope, would advise him on economic affairs, improve transparency and ensure correct application of accounting principles, the Vatican said. Francis had already established a separate commission on how to reform the Vatican bank. Both the bank and the ...
Hungary opposition aims for autumn pact to oust Orban in 2014 BUDAPEST: Hungary's leftist opposition, aiming to forge a united front to challenge Prime Minister Viktor Orban in an election next year hopes to agree on a joint candidate by October, former premier Gordon Bajnai said on Friday.A decision would represent a breakthrough in sluggish progress towards an agreement that has been hampered by a struggle between Bajnai and Socialist party chairman Attila Mesterhazy for the number one spot on a joint ticket.Bajnai's newly formed party, ...
Syrian deputy PM Jamil to visit Moscow: official MOSCOW: Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil is to visit Moscow Monday for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign ministry announced on Friday.The ministry did not give further details on the agenda for the talks, which come as Moscow and Washington seek to organise a peace conference between the regime and rebels to end Syria's civil war.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013 ...
Russian court convicts protest leader Navalny of embezzlement KIROV: A court in Russia's northern Kirov region on Thursday convicted protest leader Alexei Navalny of embezzlement in a case that could see President Vladimir Putin's top foe jailed for several years.Judge Sergei Blinov said he found Navalny guilty of colluding to steal money in a timber deal while acting as an unpaid advisor to the local government. Sentencing is expected to be announced later in the day.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013 ...
Italy court probes senator for defamation of black minister: sources MILAN: A court in the northern Italian city of Bergamo is investigating Senate Vice President Roberto Calderoli, a leading member of the Northern League party, for defamation after he likened the country's first black minister to an orangutan, judicial sources said on Wednesday.Calderoli said Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge, an Italian citizen who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, had "the features of an orangutan" at a political rally near Bergamo on Saturday.Calderoli, who ...
Pirates hijack tanker off Gabon as shipping risks spread LONDON: Pirates have hijacked an oil products tanker with 24 crew on board off the Gabon coast, the vessel's operator said on Wednesday, as a surge in such attacks in West Africa's mineral-rich Gulf of Guinea threatens regional shipping.The pirates are thought to have boarded the Malta-flagged Cotton tanker, carrying a partly loaded cargo of fuel oil, on Monday near Port Gentil, Gabon, in the first reported attack in that region in the past five ...


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ICT 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-999 mln
Exports $2.064 bln
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WeeklyMarch 20, 2015
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