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France says it cannot act alone on Syria as US hesitates PARIS/WASHINGTON: France said on Sunday it could not act alone against Syria after the United States stepped back from the brink, making Paris the last remaining top ally in the Western coalition to hesitate over punishing President Bashar al-Assad.After President Barack Obama delayed an imminent strike by deciding to consult Congress and the British parliament vetoed any involvement, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is to discuss with senior lawmakers on Monday how to respond to allegations chemical weapons attacks were launched by Assad.Interior Minister Manuel Valls said France would await the US Congress's decision, which is unlikely for more than a week at least. "France cannot go it alone," Valls told Europe 1 radio. "We need a coalition."Obama made the surprise announcement on Saturday that he would seek approval from Congress for military intervention in a gamble that will test his ability to project American strength abroad and deploy his ...

David Frost dies of heart attack LONDON: British journalist David Frost, best known for interviewing former U.S President Richard Nixon, died of a heart attack on Saturday at the age of 74, the BBC said on Sunday.Frost is most famous for a 1977 interview during which Nixon apologised for the Watergate scandal when his Republican party staff bugged the opposition Democrats' offices."Sir David died of a heart attack last night aboard the Queen Elizabeth which is a Cunard (cruise) liner where ...
Allies concerned over UK opposition's Syria stance: minister LONDON: The United States and some European countries are concerned about the decision by Britain's opposition Labour Party to vote down a government motion that could have paved the way for a strike on Syria, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday."There is some serious concern in other capitals, not just across the Atlantic but in European capitals as well, about the position they (Labour) have taken in voting down a government motion (on Syria)," ...
Merkel, election rival face off in TV debate BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel will come face-to-face in a television clash Sunday with her centre-left election rival, confronting Peer Steinbrueck whom she has studiously ignored on the campaign trail.In what has been billed as the primetime TV event of the year, Steinbrueck will have a last-ditch chance to close a yawning poll gap against the popular Merkel.With three weeks to go to election day, the brash, straight-talking but gaffe-prone Social Democrat, who once served ...
Syrians among 230 boat people landed in Italy ROME: Scores of Syrian asylum seekers landed in southern Italy on Saturday on two boats carring a total of around 230 people, officials said.The first boat, a fishing vessel, carried 130 people including 21 women and 28 children under the age of six, the border guard said in a statement.The asylum seekers said they were Somalis and Syrian and local officials said they believed the boat had left from a port in Greece five days ...
Merkel urges more market rules, co-opts challenger's pet issue BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would push the G20 to make more progress on regulating financial markets and cracking down on tax evasion, co-opting signature policy issues of her main challenger in September's elections.Merkel, who confronts leftist leader Peer Steinbrueck in a TV duel on Sunday, said she wanted to urge leaders of the G20 top world economies to agree a time frame for steps towards tighter regulation of the so-called "shadow banking" ...
Firefighters tame major Portugal wildfire LISBON: Firefighters in Portugal have tamed a major blaze but were on alert Saturday for further outbreaks of wildfires which have already claimed five lives and ravaged thousands of hectares of forest."The situation is much calmer but we remain on the alert," Carlos Guerra, spokesman of the civil protection authority, told AFP.Hundreds of Portuguese fighters backed by Spanish and French aircraft have been battling wildfires in the north and centre of the country for days.On ...


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Banking Review 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.586 bln
Exports $1.932 bln
Imports $3.518 bln
WeeklyMay 21, 2015
Reserves $17.75 bln