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US bill to pressure Vietnam on rights WASHINGTON: US lawmakers marked on Thursday's 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon to introduce legislation that would require Vietnam to make tangible human rights improvements before it receives US assistance such as trade benefits.Washington and Hanoi were bitter foes in a war that led to the death of millions of Vietnamese and 58,000 Americans, but ties have improved substantially since the 1990s, particularly on economic issues.With a historic US-Pacific trade accord under negotiation, a bipartisan group of four House members introduced the Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2015 to ensure that progress is made on sensitive issues such as rights and that they do not get "bargained away" in the trade talks."It is important to pass the bill quickly because this year the administration has promised Vietnam lucrative trade benefits as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and new security cooperation, benefits not deserved because of the government's atrocious human ...

NASA pushes back against proposal to slash climate budget WASHINGTON: NASA pushed back on Thursday against a congressional proposal to slash more than $300 million in funding from its branch focused on climate issues.The proposal would cut funding to NASA's Earth Sciences division, which researches the planet's natural systems and processes -- including climate change, severe weather and glaciers.Republican Lamar Smith, who chairs the House of Representatives' Science, Space and Technology Committee presented the proposal earlier in the week.NASA administrator Charles Bolden said that ...
Obama taps Africa hand as USAID chief WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama on Thursday tapped veteran Africa expert Gayle Smith to head the US Agency for International Development, which manages $20 billion of taxpayer money."I've worked closely with Gayle for nearly a decade," Obama said, lauding Smith's "energy and passion."Since 2009 Smith has been a senior adviser on Obama's National Security Council, heading up international development, humanitarian crisis response and democracy issues.Before working at the White House, Smith lived and worked in Africa ...
More than 100 arrested at New York police protests NEW YORK: More than 100 people were arrested in New York at protests over alleged police brutality against African Americans, officials said Thursday. Thousands gathered Wednesday night in New York to demonstrate over the death of Freddie Gray, who succumbed to serious spinal injuries after his arrest in Baltimore. Police in New York said the arrests were for various reasons. "We have more than one hundred people arrested. The reasons are varied, mostly disorderly conduct," ...
Obama offers 'deep condolences' to Nepal WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama called Nepal's prime minister Wednesday to express his "deep condolences" for the loss of life in a massive earthquake that has devastated the Himalayan nation.The White House said Obama and Sushil Koirala discussed "ongoing efforts" to respond to the 7.8 magnitude quake, which shattered the capital Kathmandu and killed more than 5,000.White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama had pledged that the United States will do "all it can" to ...
Obama, Abe revitalize ties as China 'flexes muscles' WASHINGTON: The United States and Japan sought to reinvigorate their 70-year alliance in the face of China's growing clout Tuesday, with President Barack Obama welcoming Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the White House.Voicing shared anxiety about China's activities in the South and East China Seas, the two leaders vowed to counter new threats and increase joint military deterrence. Obama accused China of "flexing their muscles" though territorial claims and the building of new islands in ...
US, Japan concerned about China actions in South China Sea: Obama WASHINGTON: The United States and Japan "share a concern" about China's activities in the South China Sea, where Beijing has built an air strip and other structures on coral reefs, President Barack Obama said Tuesday."The United States and Japan are united in our commitment to freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and the peaceful resolution of disputes without coercion," Obama told a joint White House press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.Copyright AFP ...


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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 $-1.894 bln
Exports $1.953 bln
Imports $3.847 bln
WeeklyJune 25, 2015
Reserves $17.457 bln