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Rivals China, Taiwan to hold surprise meeting weeks before island's elections TAIPEI/BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold talks with the leader of neighbouring Taiwan on Saturday, the first such meeting between the two political rivals since the Chinese civil war ended in 1949 and coming weeks ahead of elections on the island.The meeting in Singapore coincides with rising anti-China sentiment in Taiwan ahead of the presidential and parliamentary polls in January which the pro-China Kuomintang (KMT) is likely to lose to the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which traditionally favours independence from China.Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, who steps down next year due to term limits, has made improving economic links with China a key policy since he took office in 2008. He has signed landmark business and tourism deals, though there has been no progress in resolving their political differences.Andrew Hsia, head of the Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan's ministry in charge of China policy, said the meeting underscored both sides' ...

Iran's Rouhani says expects sanctions lift by end-2015 DUBAI: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday he expected nuclear sanctions against Tehran to be lifted by the end of the year, state news agency IRNA reported."According to our plans, the oppressive sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran will be lifted by the end of 2015," IRNA quoted Rouhani as saying during a ceremony to welcome the new Spanish ambassador to Tehran.Copyright Reuters, 2015 ...
India FM in Maldives as pressure mounts over Nasheed jailing MALÉ: India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited the Maldives Saturday amid mounting international pressure on the tiny atoll nation to free its jailed former leader Mohamed Nasheed.Swaraj was received at the airport islet of Hulhule by her Maldivian counterpart Dunya Maumoon and the two women will hold official level talks on Sunday, the Maldivian foreign ministry said in a statement."The External Affairs Minister is visiting the Maldives on the invitation of Foreign Minister Dunya," ...
Nepal parliament to elect new prime minister Sunday KATHMANDU: Nepal on Friday announced plans to elect a new prime minister this weekend, three weeks after the country adopted a new constitution that triggered deadly protests and a border blockade.Incumbent prime minister Sushil Koirala had pledged to step down after the constitution -- Nepal's first to be drawn up by elected representatives -- was adopted on September 20.He announced on October 2 he would ask the president to begin the process of forming a ...
France to hold crunch talks in India on Rafale deal: official NEW DELHI: French and Indian defence officials are to hold fresh talks Tuesday on the purchase of 36 Rafale jets, with hopes drawn-out negotiations on the multi-billion-dollar deal are close to concluding, an official said.The talks are going ahead in New Delhi after the French side agreed to an Indian government demand for future investment in the country as part of the deal, the Economic Times said.A government official told AFP he was confident the ...
20 feared missing after India boat capsizes: official GUWAHATI: Rescuers were searching on Tuesday for about 20 people feared missing after a boat capsized and sank in a rain-swollen river in remote northeast India, a government official said.The motorised ferry was taking about 100 villagers to a popular boat race in Assam state when it hit a bridge pylon and overturned on the Kolohi river late on Monday, a top district administrator told AFP."The village headman who jumped out first from the boat ...
Maldives president unhurt in blast on his speed boat MALÉ: An explosion ripped through a speed boat carrying Maldives President Abdulla Yameen on Monday, injuring his wife and two others but leaving him unhurt, a minister said.It is not clear what caused the blast on the presidential craft as it docked in the capital island Male.Authorities have launched an investigation, said Mohamed Hussain Shareef, minister at the President's Office."The first lady Fathimath Ibrahim, a senior protocol officer and a bodyguard of the president were ...


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Foreign Debt $62.649bn
Per Cap Income $1,512
GDP Growth 4.24%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.197 bln
Exports $1.729 bln
Imports $3.926 bln
WeeklyNovember 23, 2015
Reserves $19.713 bln