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Cuban parliament rubber-stamps normalization with US HAVANA: Cuba's parliament on Friday unanimously ratified a deal reached between Havana and Washington normalizing relations after a half-century of hostility."The Cuban parliament today gave its unanimous support" to the bilateral thaw, which was outlined Wednesday in a speech by President Raul Castro, the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina said shortly after the start of the session.Castro is chairing the twice-yearly meeting of parliament in a session largely focused on the communist island's historic renewal of ties with the United States.He had been due to give a closing address in the evening, but the session was extended to Saturday to finish discussions on the Cuban economy, the originally scheduled topic, reported state news agency AIN.The session was also attended by the "Cuban Five," the group of intelligence agents jailed in the United States whose last three members were released in a prisoner exchange that paved the way for Wednesday's landmark ...

US issues worldwide travel alert WASHINGTON: The United States issued a worldwide travel alert Friday, warning Americans to be vigilant during the holiday period, especially in the wake of a deadly siege in Australia.Sydney this week saw a dramatic siege in a cafe that began Monday and left two hostages and a gunman dead."The lone wolf attack in Sydney, Australia... resulting in the deaths of two hostages, is a reminder that US citizens should be extra cautious, maintain a very ...
Scientists make strides in tsunami warning MIAMI: The 2004 tsunami led to greater global cooperation and improved techniques for detecting waves that could reach faraway shores, even though scientists still cannot predict when an earthquake will strike.A decade ago, scientists did not have a tsunami warning system in place in the Indian Ocean, because there had been no recent history of tsunamis there.The world's main monitoring body, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center headquartered at Hawaii's Ewa Beach, was focused on volatile ...
US-Cuba ties thaw, White House open to Castro visit WASHINGTON: A US visit by Cuban President Raul Castro is a possibility, the White House said Thursday, a day after he and US President Barack Obama announced a historic bilateral rapprochement.With developments proceeding apace, a high-level US diplomat, Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, revealed she will travel to Havana in late January for the first direct talks to "begin the process of restoration of diplomatic relations."But amid celebrations on Havana's streets and plaudits ringing ...
White House fence must be raised immediately: panel WASHINGTON: The White House fence should be immediately raised by four or five feet to prevent people from breaking into the grounds, according to an independent security review made public Thursday.A public summary of the panel's classified report also warned that the Secret Service -- the US agency that guards the president -- is "starved for leadership" and needs root and branch reform.It called for an outside leader, better training and more staff to boost ...
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 ...
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 ...


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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