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Praise and playtime for royals in Canberra CANBERRA: Britain's Prince William and wife Catherine visited children at a playground and received warm praise from Australia's monarchist prime minister in the capital Canberra on Thursday, the penultimate day of their royal tour. Tony Abbott, born in England and an ardent admirer of the Windsors, held a packed reception in parliament's Great Hall on what he said was the 50th British royal visit to the continent and would be "remembered as one of the very best."The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave Australia on Friday after a nearly three-week tour which began in New Zealand."With young children and with teenagers, sometimes in very difficult circumstances, with indigenous people, with Australians in all our diversity who have flocked to royal events, your dedication to all your future realms, Sir, and your grace and warmth, Ma'am, have been abundantly on display," Abbott told the couple."You have taken such obvious pleasure in ...

Obama says 'critical' for China to pressure North Korea TOKYO: China's role in stopping North Korea from forging ahead with a nuclear weapons programme is "critically important", US President Barack Obama told reporters in Japan Thursday as he issued a stern ticking off to Pyongyang."North Korea has engaged in provocative actions for the last several decades. It's been an irresponsible actor on the international stage for the last several decades," he said."They are the most isolated country in the world. They are subject to ...
Abe, Obama affirm Japan-US alliance at summit TOKYO: Barack Obama and Shinzo Abe were Thursday discussing the future shape of the Japan-US security alliance as they met for talks at the start of the president's tour of a tense Asia.Both men praised the alliance, which Obama called the "foundation" of stability in the Asia-Pacific, a region where Tokyo and Beijing are facing off over territory, North Korea is threatening a nuclear test and Japan and South Korea are squabbling over history.The "US-Japan ...
Obama ate only half the sushi course: media TOKYO: Barack Obama may have enthused publicly about the sushi he was served at an exclusive Michelin-starred restaurant, but he stopped eating half way through the meal, reports said Thursday.Pictures showed the US president being served sake by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the counter of the tiny Tokyo eatery, as part of a meal billed as a chance for bonding, at which neither wore a tie.But a report Thursday said instead of making ...
US, Japan to confirm China dispute islands defence promise TOKYO: A joint statement to be released after a US-Japan summit Thursday will explicitly say islands at the centre of a dispute with China are covered by the security alliance that obliges Washington to come to Tokyo's aid if attacked, reports said.The report will be welcome news to the Japanese government, which craves robust US backing in a row that some observers warn forms the most dangerous geopolitical faultline in the region.Chinese and Japanese ships ...
South Korea's Park urges China to avert North Korea nuclear test SEOUL: South Korean President Park Geun-Hye on Wednesday urged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to make "further efforts" to dissuade North Korea from conducting a fresh nuclear test, warning of serious repercussions for regional stability.Her comments, made during a phone call between the two presidents and reported by her office, came a day after South Korea said heightened activity at the North's main nuclear test site might indicate an imminent test.According to the presidential Blue House, ...
Thai PM given more time in critical legal case BANGKOK: Thailand's Constitutional Court on Wednesday gave crisis-mired Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra more time to submit her defence against allegations of abuse of power which could see her removed from office.The premier, who is facing a cascade of legal challenges to her tenure as well as months of sometimes violent street protests, must give her defence by May 2, the court said in a statement.The case pivots on the transfer of then-national security chief Thawil ...

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Annual2012/13
Foreign Debt $60.9bn
Per Cap Income $1,368
GDP Growth 3.6%
Average CPI 7.5%
MonthlyFebruary
Trade Balance $-1.433 bln
Exports $2.167 bln
Imports $3.600 bln
WeeklyApril 14, 2014
Reserves $9.713 bln