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Merkel says Russia sanctions do not preclude dialogue BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech in parliament on Thursday that sanctions against Russia over Ukraine were necessary but they did not preclude dialogue with Moscow.Speaking ahead of an EU-Asia summit in Milan where Merkel and other European leaders are to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time in months, the German leader described the situation in Ukraine as "very difficult". In her speech, Merkel also said the euro crisis had not yet been solved and stressed the need for members of the single currency bloc to stick to fiscal rules to ensure sustainable growth. Copyright Reuters, 2014 ...

Kerry's plane grounded ... again VIENNA: Globe-trotting top US diplomat John Kerry was left hoofing it back on a commercial flight from Vienna Thursday, after his ageing Air Force plane broke down for the fourth time this year.After marathon talks on Iran's nuclear programme in the Austrian capital Wednesday, Kerry's party of more than 40 State Department staff and journalists were checking out of their hotel rooms before dawn Thursday when the news came that his Boeing 757 needed unspecified ...
Putin targeted by topless protest at ASEM summit MILAN: Topless Femen activists poured buckets of wine over their naked breasts in front of Milan's cathedral Thursday, in the latest of the women's rights group's signature protests.The stunt, witnessed by a handful of bemused commuters on a chilly morning, came ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin's arrival in the Italian city for an ASEM summit of European and Asian leaders.Femen leader Inna Shevchenko was one of the two women performing what looked like a ...
French Ebola airport checks to start Saturday PARIS: France will start carrying out health checks on Saturday on travellers arriving by plane from Guinea, one of the worst-hit nations in the spreading Ebola epidemic.Medics at Paris's main international Charles de Gaulle airport will take the temperature of passengers arriving from the daily flights still operating from the Guinean capital Conakry, Health Minister Marisol Touraine told AFP.The checks will be carried out before passengers enter the airport building, by medical staff with the ...
Putin accuses Obama of hostility, meddling MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin accused US counterpart Barack Obama of a hostile attitude towards Russia, warning against "attempts to blackmail" Moscow.Speaking ahead of his visit to EU aspirant Serbia on Thursday and key talks with EU leaders on Friday, Putin minced no words, demanding that Washington take Moscow's interests into account.In some of his most combative comments on US-Russia ties yet, the Kremlin strongman took issue with Obama's speech at the United Nations General Assembly ...
London considers ban on smoking in parks, squares LONDON: Smoking should be banned in London parks and landmarks including Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square, a report by the London Health Commission said on Wednesday.The report found that 1.2 million Londoners smoke -- about 15 percent of the capital's population -- and that 67 of the city's schoolchildren are taking up the habit every day."As a cancer surgeon working in the NHS (National Health Service), I see the terrible consequences for smokers and their ...
EU's Juncker set to reshuffle top team BRUSSELS: Incoming EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker hurried to reshuffle his team Wednesday after a row over the Slovenian nominee threatened to delay his inauguration.Juncker's commission is due to start its five-year term at the beginning of November as the powerful executive arm of the European Union, a 28-nation bloc of 500 million people.But problems with Slovenia have left him racing against time to secure the approval of the European parliament for his entire team ...


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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
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WeeklyOctober 27, 2014
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