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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 travelled almost 666 million kilometres (413 million miles) since its launch from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota last November."India will be the first country in the world to insert a spacecraft into the Martian orbit in a maiden attempt if the operation succeeds," ISRO scientific secretary V. Koteswara Rao told reporters."And also the first Asian country to reach the Red Planet's sphere," Rao said.Rao said the rocket's engines will be "woken up" to allow for ...

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 ...
China urges central Asian neighbours to step up extremism fight BEIJING: China's President Xi Jinping urged Central Asian states to step up the fight against religious extremism and cyber terrorism, state media said, as Beijing reaches for help across its borders in addressing security concerns in its restive Xinjiang region.Beijing says separatist groups in the far western region of Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur minority, are seeking to form their own state called East Turkestan and have links with militants in Central Asia as ...
Garment industry says 200 plants shut since Bangladesh disaster DHAKA: More than 200 garment factories have shut down in Bangladesh since the country's worst industrial disaster prompted a massive clean-up of the world's second-largest textile sector, an industry group said Thursday.The closures have cost tens of thousands of jobs and led to a fall in exports, raising worries about the $24.5 billion industry -- the key economic mainstay for the impoverished nation of 155 million people.The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), which ...
Iran says emerging anti-Islamic state coalition ‘shrouded in serious ambiguities’ ANKARA: Iran said on Thursday the emerging international coalition to battle Islamic State militants was "shrouded in serious ambiguities", Iranian state television reported."The so-called international coalition to fight the ISIL group... is shrouded in serious ambiguities and there are severe misgivings about its determination to sincerely fight the root causes of terrorism," Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Thursday.She did not mention specifically a call by U.S. President Barack Obama for a broad coalition ...
Outgoing Afghan president downsizes retirement home KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has decided a lavish residence specially built for his imminent retirement is too big and he will move into a more modest home instead, an official said Thursday.Karzai was due to settle down in the vast new property very close to the presidential palace -- fuelling speculation that he intends to play an active role in the country's politics when he leaves office.But he has changed his mind and decreed ...
Kabul's Old City sees new lease of life KABUL: When workers began renovating Murad Khane district, a jewel of Old Kabul that breaks up the city's otherwise bland facade of concrete high-rises and blast-walls, it was hidden under piles of garbage.Now the teeming quarter is home to bustling bazaars, a revitalised calligraphy and woodwork school and a courtyard that won a UNESCO conservation award last year.In the 1700s and 1800s the area was home to the city's administrators, but fell into disrepair in ...


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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.434 bln
Exports $1.930 bln
Imports $3.364 bln
WeeklySeptember 18, 2014
Reserves $13.525 bln