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China's Xi to launch $1.4bn port city development in Sri Lanka COLOMBO: Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Sri Lanka Tuesday to launch construction of a Beijing-funded $1.4 billion port city and seek closer defence ties that could provoke unease in neighbouring India.China is increasingly asserting its influence in the Indian Ocean, with Sri Lanka a midway point on one of the world's busiest international shipping lanes.It is already the largest investor in Sri Lanka, having financed the construction of a deep-sea port elsewhere and an international airport. Xi will on Wednesday kick off construction of the new port city, to include the country's first Formula One track.In a letter published on the front page of Sri Lanka's state-run Daily News on Tuesday, Xi said he wants to "enhance exchanges and cooperation between us in maritime, business, infrastructure, defence, tourism and other areas".The reference to defence came despite the repeated insistence of Sri Lankan officials that relations were based on commercial ...

Large blast rocks central Kabul: AFP KABUL: A large blast ripped through central Kabul on Tuesday, shaking buildings and setting off the siren alert at the US embassy as emergency vehicles raced through the streets to assess the damage.The explosion occurred in the Afghan capital as the two candidates in the presidential election hold talks on ending a prolonged stalemate over who won the vote on June 14.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014 ...
China's Xi wins Maldives backing for 'maritime silk route' MALE: China's President Xi Jinping secured Maldivian support Monday for a "21st century maritime silk road" as he began a South Asian tour in the strategically located Indian Ocean atoll nation.The Maldives is best known for its tourist industry but also straddles major international shipping lanes, and Chinese investment there has grown significantly as Beijing tries to secure vital trade routes.In a joint statement, the two countries also said they agreed to cooperate on security ...
India considers closing some loss-making state firms NEW DELHI: Indian government officials will meet on Tuesday to discuss proposals to shut down some loss-making state-owned companies, risking a conflict with powerful trade unions.After two decades of halting privatisations, the central government still owns about 260 firms and thousands more at the state level, involved in activities ranging from generating nuclear power to making condoms.Some of them, including Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Steel Authority of India are successful, but there are ...
Bangladesh sets two-year jail term for child marriage DHAKA: Bangladesh on Monday approved a law setting a two-year jail term for anyone involved in marrying a girl aged under 18, in a bid to cut the country's notoriously high child marriage rate.The new law comes days after new UN figures showed two-thirds of Bangladeshi girls marry before they reach adulthood. It targets the parents or guardians and the marriage registrar as well as the groom."Anyone found responsible for child marriage, including the groom, ...
India's spacecraft 'on target' to reach Mars BANGALORE: An Indian spacecraft is on course to reach Mars, an official said Monday, following a 666-million-kilometre voyage that could see New Delhi's low-cost space programme win Asia's race to the Red Planet.The 350-tonne rocket carrying an unmanned probe is set to enter Mars's orbit next week after 10 months in space.It is India's first mission to the planet to search for evidence of life.Indian Space Research Organisation official Koteswara Rao said the rocket has ...
China's Xi starts South Asia tour in ‘paradise’ MALE: Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in the Maldives Sunday, making a historic visit to the Indian Ocean tourist destination at the start of a three-nation South Asian tour.Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen received Xi and his entourage at the international airport, located on a small islet near the capital island Male where an official state welcome awaits him Monday.Xi and his wife were taken to the nearby Paradise Island Resort and Spa, a self-contained super-luxury ...


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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 20, 2014
Reserves $13.436 bln