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Former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam dead at 98 SYDNEY: Former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam, a towering figure who led the nation through a period of massive change and remains the country's only leader to be sacked, died Tuesday aged 98."A loving and generous father, he was a source of inspiration to us and our families and for millions of Australians," said his children Antony, Nicholas, Stephen and Catherine in announcing his death.Conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott called the Labor stalwart "a giant of his time", and instructed flags around the country to be flown at half mast while suspending normal parliament for the day as a mark of respect."Whitlam represented more than a new politics. He represented a new way of thinking, about government, about our region, about our place in the world and about change itself," said Abbott.Despite being in power for only three turbulent years, Whitlam launched sweeping reforms of the nation's economic and cultural ...

Kerry in Indonesia seeks Asian support against Islamic State JAKARTA: US Secretary of State John Kerry met leaders from the Asia Pacific region in Indonesia on Monday, seeking more help in the U.S.-led effort against Islamic State in the Middle East.In a one-day stop in Jakarta for the inauguration of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Kerry scheduled bilateral meetings with the new leader of the world's largest Muslim population, the prime ministers of neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore, the Sultan of Brunei, Australia's prime minister and ...
Japan PM accepted METI min Obuchi's resignation TOKYO: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has accepted the resignation of trade and industry minister Yuko Obuchi, Japan's top government spokesman said on Monday. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was speaking at a regular press conference after Obuchi announced she was stepping down following allegations that her support groups had misused political funds. Copyright Reuters, 2014 ...
South Korea warns North against 'reckless provocation' SEOUL: South Korea warned North Korea on Monday against further "reckless" provocations following a series of minor border skirmishes that have heightened military tensions ahead of planned high-level talks.Troops from both sides exchanged small arms fire on Sunday after South Korean troops fired warning shots at a North Korean patrol moving towards the military demarcation line that divides the peninsula."We sternly warn North Korea against reckless military provocations ... that would raise military tensions," Defence ...
South Korea concert victims' families call for leniency SEOUL: The families of 16 people who died after falling through a ventilation shaft at a South Korean open-air concert asked for leniency on Monday for event organisers despite fresh concerns about safety six months after a ferry disaster. Opposition lawmakers chided the government for a lack of substantive improvements in safety despite repeated pledges to tighten standards, with one member of parliament saying: "The Republic of Korea has become the republic of disasters". "The ...
Japan industry minister resigns over make-up scandal TOKYO: Japan's high-profile and telegenic industry minister on Monday resigned over claims she misused political funds, including to buy both votes and make-up, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's gender reform drive.Yuko Obuchi told a press conference carried live on multiple television channels that parliamentary business had been stalled because of questions over her spending."It is not permissible for me as Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry to have economy and energy policies ...
Australia hopeful of revised Antarctic sanctuary success SYDNEY: Australia said Monday it was hopeful of winning support for its plan for a vast marine sanctuary off east Antarctica, after revising its proposal to make it smaller.Australia, France and the European Union first put forward a bid for a 1.9 million square kilometre (760,000 square mile) Marine Protected Area encompassing seven stretches of the pristine wilderness in 2011, but it was knocked back last year.Its latest proposal is for a 1.0 million square ...

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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.807 bln
Exports $1.911 bln
Imports $4.718 bln
WeeklyOctober 23, 2014
Reserves $13.465 bln