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Assad or no Assad, West asks, as IS rises and conflict rages PARIS: Faced with a seemingly unending bloody conflict in Syria and the rise of the Islamic State group, is President Bashar al-Assad the lesser of the country's evils and should the West re-engage with him?While world powers such as the United States, France and Britain refuse to have anything to do with a leader the French prime minister described as a "butcher", the question is increasingly being raised within these countries.Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy for Syria, echoed this feeling this month when he said Assad was "part of the solution" to end a conflict that has killed more than 210,000 people, displaced nearly half the country's population and spilled over into neighbouring nations.And this week, a private trip to Damascus by French lawmakers who met Assad for talks drew an angry response from the French government which cut diplomatic ties with Syria in 2012 -- but was feted ...

US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians BEIRUT: The US-led coalition carried out air strikes Thursday against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the militants have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians.The raids struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties.They followed the launch Monday of a new offensive by IS, which kidnapped the Assyrians as it seized territory around Tal ...
Netanyahu speech risks more than Obama's ire WASHINGTON: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the US Congress next week will shatter already poor relations with President Barack Obama and test the resilience of US-Israeli ties.Since Netanyahu and Obama came to power in 2009 they have had a testy relationship, clashing over Israeli settlement building and the moribund Middle East peace process.But on Tuesday, Netanyahu will appear in Obama's backyard, at Republicans' invitation, and ask Congress to oppose a policy the White ...
IS jihadists kidnap 90 Christians in Syria: monitor BEIRUT: Jihadists from the Islamic State group have kidnapped at least 90 Assyrian Christians in northeast Syria, after overrunning two villages, a monitor said Tuesday.The abductions appeared to be the first time the group has kidnapped Christians en masse in Syria, though the jihadists have taken thousands of prisoners as they have advanced in the country and neighbouring Iraq.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said IS kidnapped the 90 Assyrians on Monday ...
Hadi reclaims stake as president to end Yemen chaos ADEN: Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has retracted his resignation after escaping house arrest in the militia-controlled capital, an aide said Tuesday, staking a claim to lead the country out of crisis.The embattled leader had tendered his resignation last month after the Shiite militia, known as Huthis, seized the presidential palace and besieged his residence in Sanaa.He made a surprise escape from house arrest on Saturday and resurfaced in Aden, capital of the formerly independent ...
Syria Kurds seize territory in anti-IS offensive BEIRUT: Kurdish fighters have launched an offensive against jihadists in Syria's northeastern Hassakeh province and pushed them from several areas, a monitoring group and the main Kurdish party said.The offensive, launched late on Saturday, is aimed at retaking the town of Tal Hamis and areas around it that are under the control of the Islamic State group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.Kurdish militia forces, known as the People's Protection Units (YPG), "managed to ...
Kuwait jails opposition leader for insulting ruler KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait's appeals court sentenced prominent opposition leader Mussallam al-Barrak to two years in jail on Sunday on charges of insulting the Gulf state's ruler, his group said.The charges relate to a speech he gave to tens of thousands of demonstrators in October 2012 protesting changes to the electoral law which he said would allow the ruling Al-Sabah family to manipulate the outcome of elections.Barrak was a member of parliament at the time but ...


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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
WeeklyApril 16, 2015
Reserves $16.818 bln