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TOKYO: The world's tallest tower, the Tokyo Skytree, opened to the public on Tuesday with tens of thousands of visitors flocking to the Japanese capital's newest attraction. Despite rainy weather, residents and tourists gathered around the 634-metre (2,080-foot) tower and its adjacent shopping and amusement complex which also opened on Tuesday. But those hoping for spectacular views from the observation deck 350 metres up were thwarted by the weather. "I have long been looking forward to coming here," said Ayumi Nakazawa, who won tickets to the opening ceremony of the tower, which ranks as the world's second-tallest structure. "I can't see the view (because of the rain), but it was exciting," Nakazawa told reporters after becoming the first official visitor to the observation deck. Japan's hard-hit tourism sector is hoping the tower will boost the number of visitors from abroad after figures plummeted in the wake of Japan's quake-tsunami disaster last year. The disaster, which sparked ...

BEIJING: Beijing said Tuesday it was investigating the seizure of 28 Chinese fishermen by armed North Koreans, as it gave its clearest indication yet that state forces may have played a role. The men were seized as they fished in waters running between China and North Korea on May 8, and held for 13 days before they were released at the weekend, according to earlier reports. Neither country has identified the abductors, and China has been unusually ...
SEOUL: Seoul is seeking an exemption from a European Union embargo that would effectively halt shipments of Iranian oil to South Korea from July 1, officials said on Tuesday. The EU decided in January to enforce a full embargo on Iranian crude as part of efforts to bring Tehran back to international talks over its suspected nuclear weapons programme. It will also ban European firms from insuring or reinsuring tankers transporting Iranian oil anywhere in the world ...
JAKARTA: Indonesian prosecutors on Monday asked for a life sentence rather than the death penalty for Umar Patek, the bombmaker accused of being behind the Bali attacks that killed 202 people. When the trial started in February prosecutors had said they would seek capital punishment for Patek, who was held last year in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, four months before Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed there. Prosecutor Bambang Suharyadi told the West Jakarta District ...
JAKARTA: The remains of 45 victims killed in a Russian plane crash in Indonesia have been identified, a police forensics official said Monday, as experts probe why the plane slammed into a dormant volcano. "We identified 45 victims comprising 35 Indonesians and 10 foreigners eight Russian, one American and a Frenchman," said national police forensics expert Anton Castilani. "The identification process was completed on Sunday and we will hand over the victims' remains and death notifications to ...
HONG KONG: The Chinese provincial police chief at the centre of the biggest political scandal to engulf the communist leadership in decades will be tried for treason, a report said on Monday. Former Chongqing municipality police chief Wang Lijun, who fled to a US consulate in February reportedly seeking asylum, would be tried as early as next month, the South China Morning Post reported, quoting unnamed sources. Wang had been the right-hand-man of Chongqing party boss Bo ...
MANILA: The Iranian ambassador to the Philippines was robbed in his own home by a thief who struck while the diplomat was asleep, a police official said on Sunday. Alasghar Mohamadi was not even aware he had been robbed until the next day, said district police head Chief Inspector Adelaido Celario. "He was trying to use his cellphone on Saturday when he realised it was missing," said the police chief. The robber apparently climbed over the back wall ...

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Foreign Debt $60.9bn
Per Cap Income $1,368
GDP Growth 3.6%
Average CPI 7.5%
Trade Balance $-1.433 bln
Exports $2.167 bln
Imports $3.600 bln
WeeklyApril 14, 2014
Reserves $9.713 bln