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New Japan minister hit by S&M bar scandal TOKYO: Japan was stung Thursday by its third political scandal in a week after the country's new industry minister -- whose predecessor resigned in disgrace over misspending -- admitted that his underlings had spent office cash at a sex bar.The new revelations could deal another serious blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose administration is already facing a public backlash over its bid to turn Japan's shuttered nuclear reactors back on while his plan to revive the economy stalls.On Thursday, newly appointed industry minister Yoichi Miyazawa, a Harvard graduate and former senior bureaucrat in the finance ministry, distanced himself from the affair, saying he wasn't present at the sex club in the city of Hiroshima.But he acknowledged that some staff at his political office had billed 18,230 yen ($170) as entertainment expenses during a visit in September 2010, Jiji Press news agency said."I came to know of that through a ...

Hong Kong climbers hang protest banner off landmark cliff HONG KONG: A group of climbers unfurled a giant protest banner from a famous Hong Kong cliff Thursday after the city's leader said that full democracy demanded by mass rallies would give the poor too much power. Climbers unveiled the 28-metre banner off Lion Rock, an imposing hill with a steep cliffside that rises above the densely-packed working class Kowloon area and is often used to invoke the Asian financial hub's "can do" attitude.The yellow ...
North Korea warns South over planned high-level talks SEOUL: North Korea issued a fresh warning Thursday that planned high-level talks with the South might have to be scrapped because of what it called Seoul's arrogant and provocative behaviour."Inter-Korean ties are now standing at the crossroads," the North Korean delegation that would participate in the proposed dialogue said in a lengthy statement carried by the North's official KCNA news agency.The choice facing both sides was to "make the seeds of hard-won inter-Korean dialogue sprout ...
Australia ramps up parliament security after Ottawa attack CANBERRA: Australia stepped up security around Parliament House on Thursday and Prime Minister Tony Abbott expressed solidarity with Ottawa after a gunman attempted to storm Canada's legislature.Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the government would boost security measures around Canberra's parliament buildings on top of a recent tightening of measures imposed after Australia last month raised its terror alert level from "medium" to "high"."There will be an enhanced Australian Federal Police presence around the building," Keenan ...
Nepal calls off search for survivors of deadly Himalayan snowstorm KATHMANDU: Nepal on Wednesday called off a search for any more survivors of a Himalayan snowstorm that claimed some 43 lives, after more than a week of scouring the popular trekking region.Emergency workers have airlifted 518 people to safety, including 310 foreign tourists, since the snowstorm struck the Annapurna Circuit during peak season, catching trekkers, their guides and porters unawares. "We have decided to call off the operation for now, staying (on) stand-by if there ...
Malaysia's defence minister hopeful MH370 will be found PERTH: Malaysia's Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Wednesday his country was determined to find missing Flight MH370, as he was briefed by Australian officials leading the complex search deep in the Indian Ocean.Hishammuddin, who is in the Western Australian port of Fremantle to inspect one of the search ships, the GO Phoenix, said the passengers and crew on board the Malaysia Airlines jet "remain in our thoughts and also in our prayers"."We must continue to ...
South Korea urges North to release other detainees SEOUL: South Korea on Wednesday welcomed North Korea's release of a US citizen, but immediately urged it to free two other American detainees and a South Korean missionary who was arrested on espionage charges.Jeffrey Fowle, who was detained in April after apparently leaving a Bible in the bathroom of a nightclub in the North, flew out of Pyongyang on a Pentagon plane on Tuesday."Our government welcomes Fowle's release," a South Korean foreign ministry official said."We ...

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Annual2013/14
Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
MonthlyAugust
Trade Balance $-2.807 bln
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WeeklyOctober 20, 2014
Reserves $13.436 bln