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16 killed in collapse at South Korea pop concert SEONGNAM: Sixteen people were killed and nine others seriously injured when a ventilation grate gave way while they were watching an outdoor pop concert in Seongnam south of Seoul on Friday, rescuers said."They were standing on the ventilation grate to get a better view when it collapsed under their weight," a spokesman for the local fire services told AFP.Rescuers said 16 were confirmed dead, but added the death toll might rise with some of the injured understood to be in critical condition.Television reports said the 25 people fell more than 10 metres (30 feet) into an underground parking area when the grate collapsed.Amateur video footage obtained by the YTN news channel showed shocked spectators surrounding the collapsed grate as the popular all-girl K-pop band 4Minute, apparently oblivious to the accident, continued performing on the stage.More than 700 people were believed to be attending the outdoor concert."There was a sudden, loud ...

Hong Kong leader reopens offer of talks with students HONG KONG: Hong Kong's embattled leader reopened his offer of talks with student leaders Thursday a week after the government abruptly pulled out of discussions aimed at ending weeks of mass democracy rallies."Over the last few days, including this morning through third parties, we expressed a wish to the students that we would like to start a dialogue to discuss universal suffrage as soon as we can and hopefully within the following week," Chief Executive ...
South Korea foots 70pc of North's Asian Games bill SEOUL: South Korea said Thursday it would pay more than 70 percent of the $700,000 costs incurred by rival North Korea when it took part in the recent Asian Games in Incheon.The issue of subsidising the North's presence at the September 19-October 4 Games became problematic ahead of the event, when Seoul proposed breaking with its custom of supporting visiting sports teams from the North.Pyongyang accused the South of arrogance and retracted its decision to ...
China's Xi echoes Mao on the arts BEIJING: China's President Xi Jinping has told artists to serve the people and create works promoting "socialist values", with state media on Thursday comparing his remarks to a speech by Mao Zedong.Beijing imposes tight controls over art and culture, which critics say hampers China's efforts to upgrade its economy from lower-end manufacturing into more profitable creative sectors.In a high-minded broadside against market forces, Xi told a group of artists on Wednesday that they should not ...
Hong Kong tycoon calls for protests to end after tension over police beating HONG KONG: Hong Kong's most prominent tycoon, Li Ka-shing, on Wednesday urged protesters who have occupied parts of the city since late last month to go home, after police mounted their toughest action against the democracy activists in more than a week.Police arrested about 45 protesters in the early hours of Wednesday, using pepper spray against those who resisted, as they cleared a main road in the Chinese-controlled city that protesters had blocked with concrete ...
Nepal death toll jumps to 9 as 5 more foreign trekkers found dead KATHMANDU: Five more foreign trekkers have been killed in Nepal's Himalayas, taking the death toll from a snowstorm and avalanche to nine, including eight foreigners and one local, officials said Wednesday."A chopper search has located the bodies of five people, including four Canadians and an Indian, killed in an avalanche, bringing the total number of dead to nine," police official Ganesh Rai, who is charge of rescue efforts, told AFP.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014 ...
Abe seeks talks with Putin; No TPP proposals with Obama TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday he hopes to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the upcoming Asia-Europe summit."I would like to create the opportunity for talks with President Putin," Abe told reporters before leaving for the multilateral summit in Milan.A Kremlin official said last week that a bilateral meeting at ASEM was possible. Abe and Putin are already expected to have talks on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit next ...

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Annual2013/14
Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
MonthlyAugust
Trade Balance $-2.807 bln
Exports $1.911 bln
Imports $4.718 bln
WeeklyOctober 20, 2014
Reserves $13.436 bln