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MADRID: NATO's chief said Wednesday he counted on France's support for NATO security operations, after Francois Hollande pledged to pull troops from Afghanistan immediately if he wins the French presidency. "I'm not going to interfere in any way in the election campaign in France. Having said that, I consider France a strong ally," Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters in Madrid after meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. "France has always been strongly committed to our security operations and I would expect that to continue to be the case, whoever might be elected on May 6." Socialist Hollande, favourite to become French president in that second-round vote, has vowed to pull all French troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2012, one year earlier than President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan. The alliance has 130,000 US-led troops, including some 3,300 French, fighting to stabilise Afghanistan against a Taliban insurgency with the aim of handing total ...

BEIJING: China's military on Thursday vowed to defend the country's territory amid a stand-off with the Philippines in the disputed South China Sea, the official Xinhua news agency said. China is locked in a maritime dispute with the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, which is considered a potential Asian flashpoint due to the overlapping claims of several nations. "China's armed forces bear the responsibility for the task of defending the nation's territorial ...
NEW YORK: A prominent international human rights group has urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is on a visit to India, to make human rights violations in the South Asian country a central part of his talks with Indian leaders. The secretary-general flew to New Delhi on Wednesday for a three-day visit, saying he would discuss regional and global issues with Indian officials and leaders. "India has a dynamic democracy, but UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should not ...
COLOMBO: The Maldivian parliament Wednesday approved the 14-member cabinet appointed by President Mohamed Waheed who is accused of seizing power in a military and police-backed coup. A vote in the 77-member assembly ratified Waheed's cabinet, which was named after he took office following the resignation of his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed who claimed he was forced to step down. A parliamentary official who declined to be named said that 45 lawmakers voted in favour of the cabinet. He added ...
KATHMANDU: Nepal's "Super Sherpa" on Wednesday voiced amazement at the pace of change in the country's remote Himalayan communities, as he celebrated his return from one of the world's most difficult treks. Apa Sherpa, 52, arrived in Kathmandu earlier this week after leading the first expedition to complete the Great Himalayan Trail, a 1,700-kilometre (1,050-mile) trek spanning the entire length of the Nepalese Himalayas. Sherpa, who earned his nickname for scaling Mount Everest a record 21 times, ...
MUMBAI: Moody's Investor Service has not issued any new statement on India's sovereign rating and outlook, the agency told Reuters on Wednesday. CNBC-TV18 and Bloomberg-UTV reported that Moody's affirmed India rating at BAA3 and said outlook was stable. "I would like to clarify that Moody's have not rating affirmation nor announcement on India following S&P's ratings action on India today," said Eleanor Sheung, communications strategist for Asia ratings. Standard & Poor's on Wednesday cut India's outlook to negative ...
NEW DELHI: Indian officials said Tuesday they had dropped all criminal charges against a top Tibetan Buddhist monk seen as a potential successor to the Dalai Lama. Police in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh filed conspiracy charges against the Karmapa Lama last December, after authorities found more than $1 million in foreign cash, including Chinese yuan, stashed in his monastery. The discovery led to allegations in the Indian media vigorously denied by the 26-year-old Karmapa that ...


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.807 bln
Exports $1.911 bln
Imports $4.718 bln
WeeklyOctober 23, 2014
Reserves $13.465 bln