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US spy agencies evaluating North Korea blast WASHINGTON: In a first US reaction to North Korea's apparent nuclear test, the office of the Director of National Intelligence said spy agencies were evaluating a "seismic event" in the Stalinist state.   "The intelligence community is aware of a seismic event with explosive characteristics in North Korea and we are evaluating all relevant information," said a statement issued by the DNI's office.   There was so far no immediate reaction from the White House or other government agencies to the test, which took place on Monday night US time.   Officials had long suspected Pyongyang could explode another nuclear device, and the test took place on the eve of Obama's annual State of the Union address, which was expected to feature calls for global atomic weapons stocks.   Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013 ...

US launches Earth observation satellite LOS ANGELES: The United States launched its latest Earth observation satellite Monday atop an Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, NASA said.   The Landsat Data Continuity Mission was the latest in a line of satellites used to continuously gather imagery from space of the Earth's land surface, coastal areas and coral reefs.   "Everything is looking good, and the engine is operating normally," a NASA announcer said after the rocket roared off its launch ...
NASA rover drills into its first Martian rock CAPE CANAVERAL: The Mars rover Curiosity drilled into the Martian surface for the first time as part of an effort to learn if the planet most like Earth in the solar system ever had conditions to support microbial life, NASA said on Saturday.   Pictures beamed back to Earth on Saturday showed a hole about 0.63 inches (1.6 cm) wide and 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) deep in a patch of fine-grained sedimentary bedrock that appears to have ...
US northeast digs out from deadly blizzard NEW YORK: The US northeast slowly dug out early Sunday from a mammoth blizzard that choked air, road and rail travel, left some 650,000 homes and businesses without power and caused at least seven deaths.   The storm, which hit New York and other areas still scarred by Superstorm Sandy back in October, dumped as much as three feet of snow across New England, with hurricane-strength gusts helping to create massive drifts. By late Saturday, the system ...
Obama urges balanced approach to deficit reduction WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama urged Congress on Saturday to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction, warning that steep budget cuts known as "the sequester" would hurt the economy and threaten thousands of American jobs.   "If the sequester is allowed to go forward, thousands of Americans who work in fields like national security, education or clean energy are likely to be laid off," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.   "All our economic progress ...
Top US diplomat for Asia steps down WASHINGTON: The top US diplomat for Asian affairs, Kurt Campbell, stepped down from his post Friday after almost four years in the job helping to steer America's pivot to Asia, a US official said.   Campbell has served as assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs since June 2009, and has criss-crossed the region since taking over from his predecessor Christopher Hill.   He will be replaced by his deputy Joe Yun until a new assistant ...
Massachusetts bans driving in snowstorm BOSTON: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick on Friday temporarily banned all non-emergency traffic on roads ahead of a major blizzard forecasted to blanket the US northeast.   "I have now signed an executive order banning vehicle traffic effective at 4:00 pm (2100 GMT) today. There are a number of exemptions for that for emergency workers and the like. Please exercise caution and use common sense," he said at his emergency center in Framingham.   The National Weather Service predicted "a ...


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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