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Australian PM under fire after naming one woman in cabinet SYDNEY: Australia's new Prime Minister Tony Abbott unveiled his incoming cabinet Monday, attracting immediate criticism for including only one woman.Conservative Liberal leader Abbott was elected by an overwhelming majority on September 7, and in his first press conference since victory over the incumbent Labor Party named a widely-expected line-up.Julie Bishop, the incoming foreign minister, is the only woman in the 19-member cabinet, although Abbott did promote several woman to the outer ministry. "I'm obviously disappointed that there aren't more women in cabinet," Abbott, who leads a Liberal/National coalition, told reporters in Canberra.The new prime minister -- who last year was accused of misogyny by Julia Gillard, Australia's first female premier, in a sexism speech that went viral around the world -- came under fire for the lack of women on his frontbench. "The cabinet of Afghanistan now has more women in it than the cabinet of Australia," interim opposition Labor ...

Beijing and ASEAN in talks on South China Sea BEIJING: A code of conduct for handling disputes in the South China Sea should be discussed "gradually", Beijing said after meetings with Southeast Asian nations, suggesting any agreement is still far off.The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been trying for more than a decade to secure agreement from China on a legally binding code of conduct.Beijing claims nearly all of the South China Sea, even waters approaching the coasts of neighbouring countries, ...
Japan tells 300,000 households to evacuate as typhoon hits TOKYO: Typhoon Man-yi hit central Japan on Monday, with almost 300,000 households told to evacuate and fears the storm could go on to hit the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.The typhoon made landfall in Toyohashi, Aichi prefecture, shortly before 8:00 am (2300 GMT Sunday), packing gusts of up to 162 kilometres (100 miles) per hour, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.Public broadcaster NHK said four people were missing due to landslides or floods, while at least 65 ...
Japan nuclear-free as last reactor switched off TOKYO: Japan went nuclear-free on Monday as it switched off its last operating reactor for an inspection, with no date scheduled for a restart amid strong public hostility to atomic power.Kansai Electric Power took offline the No. 4 reactor at its Oi nuclear plant in the western prefecture of Fukui at 1:33 am (1633 GMT Sunday) "without any problems," said a company official.The move left the world's third largest economy without atomic energy for the ...
Protesters clash with police in Cambodia PHNOM PENH: Police used teargas, smoke grenades and water cannon to disperse demonstrators after a rally in Cambodia on Sunday to push for an investigation into a July election they say was fixed to favour the ruling party.A human rights worker said he saw one protester shot dead and two others sustain bullet wounds to the legs as police moved in to arrest and disperse demonstrators. Police could not confirm the witness account.Clashes broke out ...
Japan's Kanebo battles to rescue brand after skin-blotch scandal TOKYO: Japanese cosmetics giant Kanebo faces a tough battle repairing its brand image with consumer confidence at "rock bottom" after its products left ugly blotches on customers' faces, observers say.Japan's second-largest cosmetics firm -- more than a century old and with its reputation for quality now in tatters -- can recover, they say, but it has to move swiftly and surely.Kanebo's travails are the latest in a long line of public relations disasters that have ...
New Australian PM says job now is to keep public trust SYDNEY: Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott said on Friday the time to savour victory was over, telling his party they had won the trust of Australia and their job now was to keep it.The conservative, who ended six years of Labor rule in elections last weekend, was rubberstamped as Liberal leader at the first meeting of his party since being elected and told his colleagues they must deliver on their commitments. "We have won the trust ...

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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
Exports $1.957 bln
Imports $4.266 bln
WeeklyDecember 15, 2014
Reserves $13.922 bln