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'Profound differences' but US, Cuba to meet again HAVANA: The United States and Cuba fell short of setting dates to reopen embassies but agreed to meet again to overcome deep rifts after they wrapped up historic talks Thursday aimed at normalizing relations.Cuban officials and the highest-ranking US delegation to visit Havana in 35 years praised the tone of their landmark discussions as they work to restore ties broken off in 1961, but they sparred over human rights and admitted to "profound differences."They must still discuss a date or location for their next meeting.It was the first get-together since US President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro surprised the world in December when they simultaneously announced plans to normalize ties after decades of enmity.Roberta Jacobson, the US assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, said the talks had been "positive and productive."The two sides discussed technical issues that need to be worked out to open embassies but, ...

Harper backs Bank of Canada rate cut; no fiscal stimulus planned CATHARINES: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper voiced complete confidence in the Bank of Canada on Thursday, a day after it stunned markets by cutting interest rates amid a plunge in oil prices. Harper also tried to play down the effects of the slide in crude prices and repeated a promise to balance the budget in 2015/16, an important political move ahead of an election set for October.Canada is one of the world's major oil producers ...
21 freed from kidnappers in Mexico: officials MEXICO CITY: Police have rescued 21 people who were held in a cave by kidnappers in the restive Mexican state of Guerrero, authorities said.Officials said federal police were questioning 13 suspects in the case, which occurred in the same gang-roiled region where 43 students disappeared in late September.The 21 were rescured from a cave in hills near the town of Arcelia, officials said Wednesday.Several gangs in the southwestern state have been waging violent battles for ...
US senator says wants to introduce fast-track trade bill by end Jan WASHINGTON: The head of the US Senate committee responsible for trade said on Thursday he wanted to introduce a bill by the end of January that grants the White House authority to fast track trade deals. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said talks with Democrats on the final form of the bill, seen as key to sealing major trade deals, had come a long way. "We want to do it before the end of ...
Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush meeting privately in Utah on Thursday WASHINGTON: Leading potential Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, who are engaged in a behind-the-scenes competition for dollars and support among party loyalists, are to meet in Utah on Thursday.Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said the former Florida governor is "looking forward to catching up with Governor Romney" on Thursday and the meeting has long been scheduled.A Romney adviser described the meeting as social. People familiar with the meeting said it was requested by ...
Mexico says Pacific free trade deal 'feasible' in mid-March MEXICO CITY: A deal on a 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade pact could be concluded in mid-March, Mexico's economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said on Thursday."It's feasible," Guajardo told Reuters after holding talks in Mexico earlier this week with US Trade Representative Michael Froman. The pact, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), has faced stumbling blocks, in significant part because of wrangling between its two biggest economies, the United States and Japan, over agricultural tariffs. Progress on the ...
US Senate Democratic leader Reid expects full recovery for eye WASHINGTON: US Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said on Thursday he expected a full recovery from an eye injury and will aggressively pursue both re-election and an agenda to aid the middle class Americans. Speaking to reporters for the first time in the Capitol since suffering the injury on New Year's Day while exercising at his Nevada home, Reid said he was looking forward to surgery on Monday. "I met with one of the doctors ...


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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 $-1.664 bln
Exports $1.966 bln
Imports $3.630 bln
WeeklyJanuary 25, 2015
Reserves $15.019 bln