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New Ukraine offensive 'unlikely' despite build-up fears KIEV: Fears may be rising in the West that eastern Ukraine could be plunged back into all-out conflict but a new offensive by pro-Russian forces is unlikely any time soon, analysts said Thursday.The amount of military hardware being moved into the war-torn region is insufficient for a major operation, which would probably not be launched during Ukraine's harsh winter, experts told AFP.Instead, the deployments may be designed to deter Ukraine from launching a bid to reclaim the territories or send a message to a domestic audience in Russia."There is a positional war of attrition going on. Any large-scale offensives are highly unlikely," said Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent military analyst based in Moscow."For a major operation, you need thousands of tanks. There are a lot less than that -- and mainly just artillery."In recent days, a string of Western powers have spoken out over fears that Russia is sending reinforcements to ...

Albanian PM visits flashpoint in fraught Serbia trip PRESEVO: Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said Tuesday he was confident a historic visit he was making to Serbia would help open a new era of ties despite a very public row with his hosts over Kosovo."Despite the difficulties, I am confident that we have opened a new page in the relations with Serbia," Rama said on a visit to the ethnic-Albanian town of Presevo in southern Serbia.At the start of what was supposed to ...
'Most powerful' Putin takes on West at Asia-Pacific summits MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin is heading into showdown talks with Australia's leader as part of what is expected to be his toughest foreign trip since the start of the standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine.But Putin appears well prepared to take the heat in Beijing later on Tuesday and Brisbane this weekend, enjoying the Forbes title of the "most powerful man in the world" and domestic approval ratings exceeding 80 percent.Much to ...
Putin accuses Kiev forces of stalling MH17 probe MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said that the investigation of the MH17 crash site is stalling due to Kiev's constant shelling of the rebel-controlled area in eastern Ukraine.Putin told Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak that rebels were not hindering access to the site of the Malaysia Airlines crash, in which 298 people died in July when the aircraft came down in an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists."Of course the rebels are not shooting, ...
German foreign minister says situation in Ukraine ‘serious’ ASTANA: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Monday the situation in Ukraine's rebel-held eastern regions had again become serious and all sides must respect a ceasefire agreement.His comments during a visit to Kazakhstan underlined growing concern about an increase in fighting between pro-Russian separatists and government forces in the past week despite a ceasefire agreed in the Belarussian capital, Minsk, on Sept. 5."Unfortunately, the situation is again serious. I now think that we must ...
Thousands protest in Romania over presidential vote BUCHAREST: Some 10,000 people protested in Romania on Saturday, accusing the government of limiting voting from citizens living abroad in last weekend's presidential polls.Thousands of Romanians living abroad were allegedly unable to vote in the November 2 first-round presidential election due to an insufficient number of open polling stations in countries including France, Germany and Britain.Prime Minister Victor Ponta finished first in the vote with 40 percent of the ballots, while his conservative rival Klaus ...
Catalonia holds independence vote in defiance of Spain BARCELONA: One of Spain's biggest and richest regions, Catalonia, will on Sunday hold a much-disputed symbolic vote on whether it should break away as an independent state, in defiance of the central government.Spain's conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government has vowed to defend the unity of the country, as it recovers from a steep economic downturn, and has mounted a series of constitutional appeals to try to block the vote.But Catalans have pushed ahead ...


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Banking Review 2013

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.380 bln
Exports $2.181 bln
Imports $4.561 bln
WeeklyNovember 13, 2014
Reserves $13.268 bln