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Breakout at Australian immigration centre on PNG SYDNEY: Thirty-five asylum-seekers broke out of an Australian immigration detention on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island and several were injured, officials said Monday, as tensions mount about their fate under hardline policies.Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the group escaped on Sunday evening but were quickly rounded up by private security contractors at the facility, one of two remote Pacific camps used in Canberra's punitive off-shore detention policy.Under the scheme, aimed at deterring people-smugglers, any asylum-seeker arriving by boat or intercepted at sea is transferred to Manus or Nauru for processing and permanent resettlement outside Australia.Morrison said power poles and fences were toppled during the fracas and bunk beds smashed to fashion makeshift weapons, but there was no destruction of accommodation. "A full face-to-photo identification has been conducted and all transferees have been accounted for," Morrison told reporters.Eight detainees were arrested over the disturbance and Morrison said 19 presented to ...

Workers say strikes out in Japan TOKYO: Japan's unions have started demanding wage hikes from cash-rich firms as annual pay talks get under way, setting up a rare showdown after years of drama-free labour relations.Unionists are questioning if usually quiescent workers should stick by a decades-long strategy of keeping the peace with their bosses and rarely going on strike, a strategy that has generated few pay rises.Japan's auto sector is a key target, with all eyes on Toyota, the world's biggest ...
Three Indonesia airports reopen after volcano eruption JAKARTA: Three airports in Indonesia reopened on Saturday while four others remained closed, officials said, after a volcanic eruption killed three people and forced mass evacuations.Mount Kelud, considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the main island of Java, spewed red-hot ash and rocks high into the air late Thursday night just hours after its alert status was raised."The airport in Malang city in East Java province, and Cilacap and Semarang cities in Central ...
Two Koreas agree to hold families' reunion as planned: South SEOUL: North and South Korea agreed Friday to hold a reunion for families divided by the Korean War as planned, Seoul said, despite North Korean concerns over overlapping South Korea-US military drills."South and North Korea agreed to hold the reunion of separated families as scheduled" South Korea's chief delegate to high-level talks with the North, Kim Kyou-Hyun, told reporters.The families reunion has been scheduled for February 20-25 at the North's Mount Kumgang resort.Copyright AFP (Agence ...
Excavation at North Korea nuclear test site: US think-tank SEOUL: Recent satellite imagery suggests North Korea has stepped up excavation work at its main nuclear test site, but there are no signs of an imminent test, a US think-tank said Friday.The images indicate a "significant acceleration in excavation activity" at the remote Punggye-ri test site in the northeast, said the closely-followed 38 North website of the Johns Hopkins University's US-Korea Institute.The debris excavated from a new tunnel at the site appears to have doubled ...
Thailand launches operation to reclaim protest sites BANGKOK: Thailand deployed thousands of riot police in Bangkok on Friday to try to reclaim the government headquarters and other areas occupied by protesters seeking to force the prime minister from office.The authorities plan to re-take several sites including Government House and the interior ministry, National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanatabut told AFP, saying officials would try to negotiate with the demonstrators first."We will re-take wherever we can and arrest protest leaders," he said. "It's ...
Two Koreas to hold second round of high-level talks SEOUL: North and South Korea will hold a second round of high-level talks on Friday, the South's Unification Ministry said, as they seek to resolve a row over looming South Korea-US military drills.The meeting will again be held at the border truce village of Panmunjom with the same vice minister-level delegations that participated in a first round of talks on Wednesday.They mark the highest-level sit-down between the two rivals since 2007.Wednesday's discussions ran late into ...

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Banking Review 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.586 bln
Exports $1.932 bln
Imports $3.518 bln
WeeklyMay 21, 2015
Reserves $17.75 bln