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UN hails 'important' step in Baghdad-Kurd row BAGHDAD: An initial deal between Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region and Baghdad aimed at resolving long-standing budget and oil disputes is "a very important first step," the United Nations said on Friday.Baghdad has long opposed the three-province region's independent export of oil, while Kurdish leaders have criticised Baghdad for withholding budget payments to the region.In a first move to end the disputes, the two sides agreed Thursday for Baghdad to pay $500 million to Kurdistan in exchange for the transfer of 150,000 barrels of oil per day to the federal government, the Kurdish region's government said."I welcome the agreement... on resolving the budget dispute," UN Iraq envoy Nickolay Mladenov said in a statement."This agreement will allow public sector employees in the governorates of Arbil, Dohuk and Sulaimaniyah to begin receiving their salaries. It will also allow the Kurdistan Regional Government to resume its contribution to the federal budget at a time ...

Israel lifts age bar on Jerusalem mosque prayers JERUSALEM: Men of all ages will be allowed to attend the main weekly Muslim prayers Friday at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound for the first time in "months and months", a police spokesman said."No age limit on the Temple Mount, we're hoping things will be calm and quiet today," spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told AFP.He was using the Jewish term for the Old City holy site that has been the scene of repeated disturbances for months.Copyright ...
Yemen president sacked from party leadership SANAA: Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi was dismissed on Saturday from the leadership of his party, after being accused of soliciting UN sanctions against his predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh.The General People's Congress said it appointed two members to the posts of vice president and secretary general in place of Hadi, who became president after Saleh was forced to resign in February 2012 after a year of bloody protests.Saleh remains the head of the GPC.Copyright AFP ...
Arab-Israeli shot dead during arrest attempt: police JERUSALEM: Israeli security forces on Saturday shot dead a young Arab-Israeli during an attempted arrest, police said.The killing in Kfar Kana in northern Israel comes against a backdrop of soaring Israeli-Palestinian tensions in annexed east Jerusalem where there have been near-daily clashes in flashpoint neighbourhoods.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014 ...
UN Security Council slaps sanctions on Yemen ex-president Saleh UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council on Friday imposed sanctions on Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and two allied rebel commanders for threatening peace in the impoverished Arab country.A US request to impose a visa ban and assets freeze on the deposed leader and the two commanders from the Shiite Huthi movement went into force after no objections were raised to the measures by the deadline of 2200 GMT, the Lithuanian chair of the ...
US 'welcomes' Yemen's new government following crisis WASHINGTON: The White House on Friday welcomed the formation of Yemen's new government, and encouraged the impoverished Arab nation to overcome partisan politics following weeks of turmoil. Yemen announced a new 36-member government aimed at ending the political crisis, in line with a peace deal agreed on September 21, the day Shiite Huthi rebels seized the capital. Washington said it "welcomes the formation of a new cabinet in Yemen," National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan ...
All Haj pilgrims must leave by Nov 8 ISLAMABAD: The Saudi Ministry of Hajj has warned that foreign pilgrims face stiff fines, deportation at their own expense, and a year ban from the Kingdom if they fail to leave Saudi Arabia by Nov. 8.Hatem Qadi, spokesman of the ministry, said recently that there would also be heavy penalties for those who harbor overstayers.He said there are currently 40,000 Indian and Malaysian Hajis still in Makkah and Madinah, while 1.3 million have left, Arab ...


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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 $-2.309 bln
Exports $1.957 bln
Imports $4.266 bln
WeeklyDecember 18, 2014
Reserves $14.04 bln