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South Korean police ban planned anti-government rally SEOUL: South Korean police on Saturday banned a anti-government demonstration planned in Seoul next week, citing concerns the protest could turn violent, a spokesman said.But activists vowed to push ahead with the rally next Saturday outside City Hall.Police acted under a law allowing them to ban street protests if there is a risk of them turning violent, the spokesman for the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency told AFP.Police warned leaders of activist groups who defy the ban would be arrested, as would participants who refused to disperse.Critics say the conservative government of President Park Geun-Hye, a daughter of the late heavy-handed ruler Park Chung-Hee, is slipping back into past authoritarian rule.The ban was in line with a government warning on Friday of zero violence in street protests.Justice Minister Kim Hyun-Woong said in a televised address that the government was determined to "eradicate" any public disorder and stressed that violators would "pay ...

South Korea bans imports of French poultry SEOUL: South Korea has imposed a ban on imports of French poultry and live birds after the European country reported a bird flu outbreak.The move, announced by South Korea's agriculture ministry on Thursday, came after the European Commission confirmed that birds at a French chicken farm were infected with the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu.The commission ordered all 32 birds at the farm to be culled and called for close monitoring of neighbouring poultry ...
Australia fire death toll at 3 as damage tops $44mn ADELAIDE: Australians were counting the cost of bushfires Friday, with officials saying a volunteer firefighter died from a suspected heart attack while battling an eastern blaze and a southern inferno razed at least 35 homes.The latest death came after two people were killed Wednesday when an "Armageddon-like" blaze swept through parts of South Australia, leaving insurance claims of Aus$61 million (US$44 million) in its wake.The 48-year-old firefighter collapsed and died after he and New South ...
China Communist Party reshuffles military, extends control BEIJING: China will carry out sweeping reforms to the structure of its military, state media reported, in moves intended to enhance the ruling Communist Party's control over the People's Liberation Army.China's armed forces have long been plagued by inefficiency and corruption, even as Beijing adopts more assertive stances in territorial disputes with neighbours including Japan and the Philippines over islands in the East and South China Seas.President Xi Jinping's widely-publicised anti-corruption campaign -- which critics ...
North, South Korea hold rare talks SEOUL: North and South Korean officials sat down on Thursday for rare talks aimed at paving the way for a sustainable high-level dialogue that has constantly eluded the two rivals.The meeting at the border truce village of Panmunjom began shortly before 1:00pm (0400 GMT) and marked the first inter-governmental interaction since August when the two sides met to defuse a crisis that had pushed them to the brink of an armed conflict.That meeting ended with ...
South Korea holds state funeral for ex-president Kim Young-Sam SEOUL: In freezing temperatures and light snowfall, South Korea held a state funeral on Thursday for former president Kim Young-Sam, whose 1992 election victory brought a formal end to more than 30 years of military rule.The one-time pro-democracy activist who served as president from 1993-1998, died in hospital on Sunday after a serious blood infection. He was 87.Kim's term was bookended by two major events, the first nuclear crisis with North Korea in 1994 and ...
South Korea Nov consumer sentiment at 14-mth high SEOUL: A key South Korean consumer confidence index rose for a fifth consecutive month to a 14-month high in November, central bank data showed on Thursday, boding well for a sustained recovery in consumer spending. The composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) ticked up to 106 in November from 105 in October, according to the Bank of Korea data compiled from its monthly survey, the highest level since it touched 107 in September last year. A ...

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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