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Philippines picks up pieces after storm leaves five dead MANILA: Thousands of people displaced by floods triggered by tropical storm Fung-Wong returned to their mud-caked homes in the Philippine capital Saturday, as the death toll from the disaster rose to five, officials said.Heavy rains paralysed the sprawling metropolis of more than 12 million people and nearby regions on Friday, with roof-high floods chasing 83,000 people from their homes, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council."We have no choice but to come back. We can't afford to rent an apartment," butcher's wife Lovi Barbosa, 35, told AFP as she attempted to remove dirt from the floor of her home near a still swollen creek.She said she and her five children, aged between two and 10, spent a sleepless night sat on the cold floor outside a tyre repair shop because the local school was already full of similarly displaced neighbours.Three weeks' worth of rain swamped the region ...

New Zealanders go to polls in 'dirty tricks' election WELLINGTON: New Zealanders voted Saturday in a general election with conservative Prime Minister John Key tipped for a narrow victory despite a roller-coaster campaign dominated by allegations of dirty tricks and mass surveillance.Polling booths opened at 9:00 am and will close at 7:00 pm (0700 GMT) as 3.06 million registered voters cast their ballots for the South Pacific nation's 51st parliament.First indications of the election outcome -- which is notoriously difficult to predict under New ...
American sought to expose North Korea prison life SEOUL: A US citizen jailed this month in North Korea wanted to be imprisoned so he could reveal the human rights situation inside, the North's state media said Saturday.Matthew Miller allegedly ripped up his tourist visa and demanded asylum at Pyongyang's airport in April, and was sentenced to six years' hard labour by the country's Supreme Court last Sunday.The 24-year-old nurtured "a foolish idea of spying on the prison and human rights situation while experiencing ...
225 victims of MH17 identified THE HAGUE: Forensic experts have identified a total of 225 victims of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, with 14 new names released to families, Dutch authorities said on Friday."Among the 14 victims, seven were Dutch and seven were of other nationalities," the justice ministry said in a statement, adding that those nationalities would not be released at the behest of their embassies.The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 exploded over insurgent-held east Ukraine on July 17, killing ...
Japan PM say he aims to see pension-fund reform as soon as possible TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday he aims to reform the country's $1.2 trillion public fund as soon as possible, a prospect which has boosted shares in Tokyo and added further downward pressure on the yen. Earlier this month, Abe appointed Yasuhisa Shiozaki, a proponent of diversifying the assets of the Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) away from government debt, to the post of health minister, whose job includes supervising the pension ...
Election-eve polls point to New Zealand cliffhanger WELLINGTON: New Zealand political leaders made their final pitch to voters on Friday as election-eve polls pointed to Prime Minister John Key scraping a win.Key, who is seeking a third term, said his support remained solid despite dirty tricks allegations against his centre-right government, while Labour leader David Cunliffe said he saw a growing mood for change.Both leaders predicted the outcome would be close under New Zealand's complicated proportional voting system, which is notoriously hard ...
Arrests made in major Australian counter-terror raids SYDNEY: Police on Thursday made a series of arrests in pre-dawn counter-terrorism raids across Sydney and Brisbane, with those detained reportedly suspected of links to the militants group Islamic State.The large-scale operation, which spanned multiple suburbs, comes barely a week after Australia raised the terror threat level to "high" for the first time in a decade on growing concern about militants returning from fighting in Iraq and Syria. Police said 600 officers were involved and ...

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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.434 bln
Exports $1.930 bln
Imports $3.364 bln
WeeklySeptember 18, 2014
Reserves $13.525 bln