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McCain, Graham denounce Obama's shift in US Cuba WASHINGTON: Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, two of the leading Republican voices on US foreign policy, on Wednesday denounced President Barack Obama's plans to ease US restrictions on Cuba. The policy shift reflected "America and the values it stands for in retreat and decline," they said in a statement, one of several issued by Republicans seeking to line up against the change in policy. "It is about the appeasement of autocratic dictators, thugs, and adversaries, diminishing America's influence in the world," said McCain and Graham. The two lawmakers will hold important foreign policy positions in the Republican-majority Senate that will be seated in January. McCain will be chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Graham will lead an appropriations subcommittee that oversees State Department spending, including on a potential embassy in Havana. Copyright Reuters, 2014 ...

US, Cuba announce historic thaw in ties WASHINGTON: The United States and Cuba moved to end five decades of Cold War hostility Wednesday, agreeing to revive diplomatic ties in a surprise breakthrough that would also ease a crippling US trade embargo.In the wake of a prisoner exchange, President Barack Obama said Washington was ready for a "new chapter" in relations with communist Cuba and would re-establish its embassy in Havana, shuttered since 1961."We are all Americans," Obama declared, breaking into Spanish for ...
Eleven dead in vigilante shootout in western Mexico MEXICO CITY: A shootout between rival vigilantes in Mexico's western Michoacan state has left 11 dead, authorities said on Tuesday, in the clearest sign yet of renewed unrest in an area President Enrique Pena Nieto's government said had been pacified.The federal government's security commissioner for the state, Alfredo Castillo, told reporters the clash pitted two rival vigilante groups against each another in the town of La Ruana, about 150 miles (241 km) from Morelia, the ...
Blinken confirmed as State Department number two WASHINGTON: The US Senate confirmed Tony Blinken as deputy secretary of state on Tuesday, installing a seasoned insider who has served as a close advisor to President Barack Obama.Blinken, the outgoing deputy national security advisor, was confirmed on a vote of 55-38, becoming Secretary of State John Kerry's number two.Blinken endured a confirmation process that included scathing criticism led by hawkish Republican Senator John McCain, who took to the Senate floor to blast him as ...
Obama bars oil, gas drilling in Alaska haven WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama declared Alaska's ecologically rich Bristol Bay off-limits for oil and gas exploration on Tuesday, saying the move was necessary to safeguard the region's fishing and tourism industries.The area was being withdrawn from consideration for all future oil and gas leasing, extending indefinitely a temporary ban issued by Obama in 2010, a White House statement said."I took action to make sure that one of America's greatest natural resources and a massive economic ...
Boston suspect to make first appearance in 17 months NEW YORK: Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is due to make his first public appearance in 17 months when he steps into court Thursday for final preparations for his January trial.Held in Fort Devens prison hospital around 70 kilometers (44 miles) from the federal court in Boston where he will face trial, 21-year-old Tsarnaev, has not been seen in public since he pleaded not guilty in July 2013.He faces the death penalty over the ...
Huge crowds mourn Kim Jong-Il on third death anniversary SEOUL: North Korean television showed tens of thousands of mourners bowing before a huge statue of Kim Jong-Il, as the regime marked the third anniversary of the former dictator's death on Wednesday.Wrapped up against the biting cold, endless rows of people were shown paying their respects to a 22-metre (72-foot) statue of the late leader and his father on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang, the epicentre of the personality cult surrounding the ruling Kim dynasty."Despite the ...


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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