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China hopes US will lift Cuba embargo: govt BEIJING: China said on Thursday it hopes the United States will lift its economic embargo on Cuba, in place for more than half a century, as the two countries normalise relations."China welcomes and supports the normalisation of Cuba-US bilateral ties, and we hope that the US can lift its embargo on Cuba as early as possible," Qin Gang, a foreign ministry spokesman, said at a regular media briefing in Beijing."We cherish our friendship with Cuba, and as we always do, we will continue to support Cuba's choice in their development path."The US and Cuba moved to end five decades of Cold War hostility on Wednesday, agreeing to revive diplomatic ties in a surprise breakthrough that would also ease a crippling US trade embargo.In the wake of a prisoner exchange, President Barack Obama said Washington was ready for a "new chapter" in relations with communist Cuba and would re-establish its embassy ...

Iran says resumed nuclear talks 'useful' TEHRAN: Iran welcomed as "useful" Thursday its first round of nuclear talks with the major powers since the two sides gave themselves another seven months to strike a deal."We had intensive and useful discussions," Iran's lead negotiator, deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi, told state television after a two-hour meeting in Geneva on Wednesday."All issues were discussed. We'll have a new meeting in a little under a month." Araqchi held two days of talks with a ...
Heavy snow kills 5, disrupts travel in Japan TOKYO: At least five people have died in heavy snow that has blanketed swathes of Japan, reports said Thursday, with more than two metres (6ft 7ins) lying in some places and more forecast.Two elderly women were killed on the northernmost island of Hokkaido, Kyodo News reported, with one hit by a snow-plough and another buried when a warehouse collapsed under the weight of fallen snow.Two men, meanwhile, died in traffic accidents on snow-bound roads, one ...
Japan lab cannot repeat ground-breaking cell finding: reports TOKYO: Some of Japan's top scientists have been unable to reproduce results of what was once billed as a ground-breaking stem cell study, but which spiralled into a scandal that included a respected researcher's suicide, reports said Thursday.The government-backed Riken Institute will announce Friday that so-called "STAP" cells cannot be reproduced, writing the embarrassing final chapter of a study published in the journal Nature but later withdrawn, according to national broadcaster NHK. "Cells with pluripotency ...
Fishermen die in freighter collision off Japan TOKYO: A Japanese fisherman and his Indonesian crewmate died off western Japan after their boat collided with a cargo ship, Japan's coastguard said Thursday.Their oyster fishing ship, the 20-ton Shigeho-maru, collided with a 635-tonne vessel registered in Japan in the Seto Inland Sea near Hiroshima, the coastguard said.Three of the oyster boat's crew -- its Japanese skipper and two 24-year-old Indonesian men -- were thrown into the water. One Indonesian was rescued but the two ...
New families give Asian tsunami survivors chance of second life BANDA ACEH: Rusli Abdul Rahman and Fardhiah had been neighbours for years when the Asian tsunami devastated their small community in Indonesia's Aceh, killing both their spouses and their eight children. But they found a second chance at happiness by remarrying each other and having a son -- one of the many new families formed in the aftermath of a natural disaster that killed tens of thousands a decade ago.Fardhiah, 50, who goes by one ...
Korean Air heiress questioned over 'nut rage' SEOUL: Korean prosecutors questioned Korean Air heiress and former senior executive Cho Hyun-Ah on Wednesday over her fit of "nut rage" aboard a plane this month, which sparked a national uproar.The 40-year-old daughter of the airline's chief executive forced the chief cabin crew member off a New York-Seoul flight and compelled the taxiing plane to return to the gate after she took exception to being served macadamia nuts she had not asked for -- and ...

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ICT 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.309 bln
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Imports $4.266 bln
WeeklyDecember 15, 2014
Reserves $13.922 bln