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Kerry vows to work for peace, stand up to evil WASHINGTON: John Kerry was publicly sworn in as secretary of state Wednesday, vowing to work for peace but pledging to do what is needed to stand up to "extremism, terrorism, chaos and evil."   "I am proud to take on this job because I want to work for peace and because the values and ideals of our nation are really what represents the best of the possibilities of life here on earth," Kerry told the audience.   But he warned that "while my preference is for peaceful resolution to conflict, my journey has also taught me that when remedies are exhausted, we must be prepared to defend our cause and do what is necessary to stand up to extremism, terrorism, chaos and evil."   Kerry was first sworn in as secretary of state at a small, private ceremony on Capitol Hill on Friday, less than two hours after Hillary Clinton stepped down from the job.   On Wednesday, ...

US states, local governments plead for new WASHINGTON: US state and local officials again called on Congress to pass renewed "No Child Left Behind" education legislation, writing in a letter on Tuesday that it must become "a top priority for every member of the House and Senate."   Nearly a year ago on Feb. 6, 2012 the same groups, including the National Governors Association, the US Conference of Mayors and the National School Boards Association, made a similar plea to re-authorize the federal education ...
NASA science balloon breaks longest flight record WASHINGTON: After more than 55 days flying over Antarctica, NASA's huge Super-TIGER scientific balloon has broken the record for the longest flight of its kind, bringing back a wealth of data, the US space agency said Monday.   The Super-TIGER balloon spent 55 days, one hour and 34 minutes aloft at an altitude of 127,000 feet (38,710 meters), beating the old record set in 2009 by just over a day.   It was gathering data on the high energy ...
Fidel Castro makes surprise appearance in Cuba HAVANA: Stooped and using a cane, Cuba's revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has taken the country by surprise by turning out to vote in legislative elections, after a three-month absence from public view.   The 86-year-old Castro cast his ballot at a school in Havana's El Vedado neighborhood on Sunday, engaging in an animated give-and-take with reporters at the polling station and voters for more than an hour.   The elections were to choose 612 members of the National Assembly ...
US urges inquiry into Egyptian police abuse WASHINGTON:  The United States Monday called on Egypt to investigate all cases of alleged police abuse after a man was brutally beaten outside the presidential palace in Cairo last week.   Clashes also erupted at Monday's funeral of another activist, Mohammed al-Guindi, 28, who was arrested last month after joining protests demanding change on the second anniversary of the country's uprising.   Egypt's opposition says Guindi's death proves the police have not reformed since the uprising to topple authoritarian ...
Kerry takes reins at State in WASHINGTON: John Kerry seized the reins of US diplomacy on Monday, winning a warm welcome from State Department staff as he took over from Hillary Clinton in what he described as a "homecoming."   Proving that "the Foreign Service is in my genes," Kerry brandished a battered copy of his first diplomatic passport, issued at the age of 11 when his diplomat father was posted to Berlin.   And he triggered laughter from hundreds packed into the bureau's grand ...
Obama injects new urgency in push for gun laws MINNEAPOLIS: President Barack Obama Monday heaped pressure on Congress for action "soon" on curbing gun violence, flanked by uniformed police officers he said should not be outgunned on US streets.   In his most high profile intervention in the guns debate since unveiling a package of executive actions and recommendations for new laws last month, Obama flew to Minneapolis, a city that has pioneered efforts to stem gun violence.   Obama made a pragmatic case for legislation on 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 $-1.703 bln
Exports $2.156 bln
Imports $3.859 bln
WeeklyFebruary 26, 2015
Reserves $15.944 bln