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Beijing adopts smoking ban for public places: state media BEIJING: China's capital on Friday passed a smoking ban for all indoor public places and offices, state media reported, despite the failure of past attempts to limit where the country's 300 million smokers can light up.The new regulation comes into force in June and also bans tobacco advertising outdoors, on public transport and on nearly every form of media -- including magazines, radio, TV, films, newspapers and books -- the official Xinhua news agency reported.Tobacco kills more than a million people each year in China, where some brands can be purchased for as little as three yuan ($0.49). Chinese and foreign experts say the number of smoking deaths could triple by 2030.Experts point to the state monopoly on the tobacco industry, which accounts for nearly a tenth of national tax revenue, as one of the biggest obstacles to anti-smoking efforts.The World Health Organization applauded the move, saying it paved the ...

Japan's ruling party accused of shying from election questions TOKYO: The ruling party of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not send anyone to speak at a foreign journalists' club before the general election, a spokesman admitted Friday, sparking accusations it is shying away from tough questions.The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said it has been unable to find anyone among its senior ranks who can represent the party at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (FCCJ) ahead of the December 14 poll.But the move ...
Indonesian officials ordered to eat street food to trim budget JAKARTA:- Indonesia has ordered officials to eat local street food at meetings instead of fancy foreign fare and stop holding lavish parties, the latest moves by the new government to crack down on bureaucratic excess.Snacks such as cassava, steamed corn and yam cakes should be served at official gatherings and the number of guests invited to high-ranking bureaucrats' parties should be limited to 400, a minister said.President Joko Widodo, who took office last month and ...
Chinese lawyers fear draft law will muzzle them BEIJING: Lawyers in China fear a proposal to make insulting or defaming court personnel a crime will restrict their freedom to defend their clients, a prominent advocate said Friday, weeks after the Communist Party pledged to ensure the "rule of law".The revision to the criminal law, which would punish those who "seriously disrupt the order of the court" with a minimum three years in prison, was published soon after a key meeting of party leaders ...
China to push football education to raise level of game BEIJING: China is mandating football courses at more and more schools to raise the level of the game and bolster its ambitions as a power in global sport, state media reported Friday.The world's most populous country has long been a powerhouse in sports such as gymnastics, diving, table tennis and badminton.But despite a domestic football league that offers foreign managers and players lucrative contracts, the national side remains a lowly 99th place in Fifa's global ...
Japan volcano eruption hits flights TOKYO: Flights in Japan were cancelled or diverted on Thursday to avoid a cloud of ash and smoke spewing from an erupting volcano in the south.Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways warned passengers of "a number of cancellations and changed destinations" on routes involving Kumamoto airport because of the 800-metre (2,600-foot) column of debris from Mount Aso."Today we cancelled eight flights departing from Kumamoto and four flights arriving there," a JAL spokesman said."There was also ...
Thai elections may be delayed until 2016: report BANGKOK: Thailand's finance minister Sommai Phasee has said elections in the junta-ruled kingdom could be delayed until mid-2016, days after military officials ruled out lifting martial law any time soon.Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha had previously said his government hoped to hold fresh polls around October 2015, after seizing power in a coup six months ago, despite international appeals for a swift return to democracy.But in an indication elections could be further delayed, Sommai told the ...

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Banking Review 2013

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.380 bln
Exports $2.181 bln
Imports $4.561 bln
WeeklyNovember 13, 2014
Reserves $13.268 bln