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Australia passes law to send boatpeople offshore SYDNEY: Australia's parliament has passed a law allowing it to transfer asylum-seekers arriving by boat to other countries, despite objections that refugees could be held indefinitely in remote camps. The Senate, parliament's upper house, passed the legislation late Thursday after months of political wrangling, enabling the government to send boatpeople to Papua New Guinea and tiny Nauru to have their refugee claims processed. It represents a compromise by the centre-left Labor government, which had previously abandoned offshore processing Australian policy under former conservative prime minister John Howard. "I cannot honestly say legislation we consider today sits comfortably in the narrative of the Labor Party, a party based on social justice, compassion and a fair go," Labor Senator Gavin Marshall said. The government and Tony Abbott's conservative opposition who have advocated reopening Nauru and also turning back asylum-seeker boats where possible voted together to pass the legislation. The left-leaning Greens pushed for several amendments to provide ...

Tokyo to ask Seoul to let court rule on island row TOKYO: Japan on Friday said it would ask South Korea to go to the International Court of Justice for a ruling on a disputed island chain, as Tokyo looks to get some diplomatic leverage in a damaging row. It would be the first time Tokyo has asked Seoul to go to the ICJ for five decades, and the first since ties with its one-time colony were normalised. The news came as Japan also said it was reviewing ...
China urges Syria government, opposition to talk  BEIJING: China's foreign minister urged a visiting Syrian government envoy on Thursday to start talks with the opposition at an early date, but said Damascus should also take steps to meet the people's demands for change. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told Envoy Bouthaina Shaaban that China was also "extremely worried" by the situation in her country. Copyright Reuters, 2012 ...
Indonesian president warns on growth  JAKARTA: Indonesia risks losing a "golden opportunity" to boost economic growth if it fails to improve infrastructure and streamline investment regulations, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned on Thursday. Last year, Southeast Asia's largest economy grew at a robust 6.5 percent and foreign direct investment was a record $20 billion. But Yudhoyono said investment and growth were both at risk without a good investment climate and improved infrastructure. "We realise that we still have a number of constraints regarding ...
Relief as storm leaves Philippines  MANILA: Tropical Storm Kai-tak blew out of the Philippines on Thursday, offering some relief for millions of people struggling to recover from a brutal few weeks of monsoon rains that claimed 109 lives. However civil defence chief Benito Ramos said floods could still hit the Cagayan river basin, a farming region of more than two million people as runoff from storm-induced rains descend from surrounding mountain ranges. "The storm is gone but we're still on red alert. ...
China demands Japan release activists over island protest  HONG KONG/TOKYO: China demanded Japan immediately and unconditionally free 14 Chinese activists held over a protest landing on disputed islands on Wednesday, as tensions between Tokyo and its neighbours flared on the anniversary of the end of World War Two. The landing by the activists on an island chain in the East China Sea and their detention by Japan's coastguard came on a day of regional diplomatic jousting, underscoring how history dogs Japan's ties with China ...
Japan arrests 14 over disputed island: coastguard  TOKYO: Japanese police made nine more arrests after pro-China activists landed on a disputed island in the East China Sea on Wednesday, the coastguard said. "We arrested nine men for alleged illegal entry," said an official at the coastguard in Okinawa. "This brings the total number of people arrested to 14." The new arrests came after police arrested five men on the archipelago the activists know as Diaoyu but which Japan calls Senkaku. The activists, who belong to ...

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Foreign Debt $60.9bn
Per Cap Income $1,368
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WeeklyJuly 10, 2014
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