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PM Abe bids for stronger hand as Japan votes TOKYO: Japanese voters go to the polls Sunday in an election expected to strengthen Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's hand, potentially giving him power to push much-needed economic reforms.Half of the 242 seats in the upper legislative chamber are up for grabs, in what is expected to be the last national election for three years.With approval ratings well over 60 percent seven months after he won the premiership in a general election, a win for the hawkish premier's ruling bloc is all but assured.Control of both chambers will remove political obstacles to Abe's agenda.Supporters say that will give him free reign to force unpopular changes on Japan's long under-performing economy.They point to the need for reform of the labour market to make it easier for firms to hire and fire workers, participation in a huge free trade pact and a rise in consumption tax, which economists say will help to slow ...

Man in wheelchair detonates device at Beijing airport: state media BEIJING: A man in a wheelchair ignited a home-made explosive device outside an arrivals exit at Beijing's international airport on Saturday, state media reported, injuring himself but no others.The man, identified only as Chinese, was being treated, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.The explosion, which occurred in the airport's Terminal 3, caused no other injuries, the report said.Xinhua said the explosion came at about 6:24 pm (1024 GMT), adding that police were investigating. Police and ...
China detains six over death of watermelon vendor: report SHANGHAI: Chinese police have detained six security officials involved in a spat that led to the death of a watermelon vendor and sparked online fury over perceived abuses of power by city patrols.The six men were suspected of causing "intentional injury", the official Xinhua news agency said on Saturday, quoting unidentified sources in the south-central province of Hunan.The rapid action by authorities could help defuse growing public anger after the vendor, Deng Zhengjia, 56, died ...
North Korea awards late leader new order ahead of anniversary SEOUL: North Korea has awarded late leader Kim Jong-Il a new medal, state media said Saturday, as Pyongyang gears up to mark 60 years since the Korean War ended.The presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, or parliament, passed the order on Kim -- who died of a heart attack in December 2011 -- on June 10, the official Korean Central News Agency reported."Kim Jong-Il was... peerless patriot who smashed the imperialist reactionaries' moves to isolate ...
China H7N9 survivor gives birth: report BEIJING: A Chinese woman who spent five weeks in intensive care with H7N9 bird flu has given birth to a girl in what was described as a "miracle" first, state media said Friday.Qiu Yan, 25, was five months pregnant when she was diagnosed with the virus in April, early in China's human outbreak of the disease. She was in a "very serious condition" and underwent antibiotic, antiviral and hormone treatments, along with daily X-rays, during ...
Australia closed to boatpeople: PM SYDNEY: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Friday announced that no more boatpeople will be resettled in Australia with all unauthorised arrivals to be sent to poverty-stricken Papua New Guinea."From now on, any asylum-seeker who arrives in Australia by boat will have no chance of being settled in Australia as a refugee," Rudd, flanked by his PNG counterpart Peter O'Neill, told reporters.Asylum-seekers arriving at Australia's far-flung Christmas Island will be sent to the Manus Island processing ...
PM Abe set for win in Japan poll TOKYO: After six years of political turmoil and a slew of short-term prime ministers, Japan looks set for stability if premier Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc wins this weekend's election, analysts say.But the question is whether Abe will continue his programme of economic reforms, or revert to nationalist type and risk a further fraying of relations with China."We need political stability to carry out policies," Abe told reporters. "We will get that political stability by winning ...

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Foreign Debt $62.649bn
Per Cap Income $1,512
GDP Growth 4.24%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.197 bln
Exports $1.729 bln
Imports $3.926 bln
WeeklyNovember 30, 2015
Reserves $19.828 bln