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South Korea bans imports of French poultry SEOUL: South Korea has imposed a ban on imports of French poultry and live birds after the European country reported a bird flu outbreak.The move, announced by South Korea's agriculture ministry on Thursday, came after the European Commission confirmed that birds at a French chicken farm were infected with the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu.The commission ordered all 32 birds at the farm to be culled and called for close monitoring of neighbouring poultry farms.Seoul's agriculture ministry suspended imports of all meat products, live birds and even eggs from France, but processed foods treated with heat were not affected.The ministry did not say how long the ban was likely to be in place for, though similar measures in the past have lasted from between several months to more than a year.South Korea imported one tonne of duck meat, 13 tonnes of foie gras, 844,000 chicks and 41,000 ducklings from ...

Australia fire death toll at 3 as damage tops $44mn ADELAIDE: Australians were counting the cost of bushfires Friday, with officials saying a volunteer firefighter died from a suspected heart attack while battling an eastern blaze and a southern inferno razed at least 35 homes.The latest death came after two people were killed Wednesday when an "Armageddon-like" blaze swept through parts of South Australia, leaving insurance claims of Aus$61 million (US$44 million) in its wake.The 48-year-old firefighter collapsed and died after he and New South ...
China Communist Party reshuffles military, extends control BEIJING: China will carry out sweeping reforms to the structure of its military, state media reported, in moves intended to enhance the ruling Communist Party's control over the People's Liberation Army.China's armed forces have long been plagued by inefficiency and corruption, even as Beijing adopts more assertive stances in territorial disputes with neighbours including Japan and the Philippines over islands in the East and South China Seas.President Xi Jinping's widely-publicised anti-corruption campaign -- which critics ...
North, South Korea hold rare talks SEOUL: North and South Korean officials sat down on Thursday for rare talks aimed at paving the way for a sustainable high-level dialogue that has constantly eluded the two rivals.The meeting at the border truce village of Panmunjom began shortly before 1:00pm (0400 GMT) and marked the first inter-governmental interaction since August when the two sides met to defuse a crisis that had pushed them to the brink of an armed conflict.That meeting ended with ...
South Korea holds state funeral for ex-president Kim Young-Sam SEOUL: In freezing temperatures and light snowfall, South Korea held a state funeral on Thursday for former president Kim Young-Sam, whose 1992 election victory brought a formal end to more than 30 years of military rule.The one-time pro-democracy activist who served as president from 1993-1998, died in hospital on Sunday after a serious blood infection. He was 87.Kim's term was bookended by two major events, the first nuclear crisis with North Korea in 1994 and ...
South Korea Nov consumer sentiment at 14-mth high SEOUL: A key South Korean consumer confidence index rose for a fifth consecutive month to a 14-month high in November, central bank data showed on Thursday, boding well for a sustained recovery in consumer spending. The composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) ticked up to 106 in November from 105 in October, according to the Bank of Korea data compiled from its monthly survey, the highest level since it touched 107 in September last year. A ...
Vanuatu president calls snap election: report WELLINGTON: Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale has dissolved parliament and called a snap election after a corruption scandal destabilised the government, local media reported Wednesday.Lonsdale addressed the nation late Tuesday, calling the situation a "man-made disaster", the Vanuatu Post reported.It said the president announced he was using his constitutional powers to dissolve parliament and call an election on a date yet to be set.Lonsdale said a "political impasse" was paralysing the impoverished Pacific nation's government after ...

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Foreign Debt $62.649bn
Per Cap Income $1,512
GDP Growth 4.24%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.197 bln
Exports $1.729 bln
Imports $3.926 bln
WeeklyNovember 23, 2015
Reserves $19.713 bln