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Pan-Pacific trade pact taking shape: Australia SYDNEY: Australia's Trade Minister Andrew Robb said Monday the shape of an ambitious pan-Pacific trade agreement was "crystallising", with the 12 nations involved making further progress on market access negotiations.Robb said at the end of the three-day talks in Sydney that trade ministers had laid the groundwork for the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, which would encompass 40 percent of the global economy."Over the course of our weekend meeting, we have spent a considerable portion of our time in one-on-one discussions," Robb, who is hosting the Australian-leg of the discussions, said in a statement Monday."That has allowed us to make further progress in the negotiations on market access for goods, services and investment."We consider that the shape of an ambitious, comprehensive, high-standard and balanced deal is crystallising."The TPP deal has been the subject of discussions for several years, with negotiations slowing while the United States and Tokyo debate ...

Inter-Korean talks under threat SEOUL: The planned resumption of high-level talks between North and South Korea later this week appeared in jeopardy Monday with Pyongyang refusing to confirm its participation.The two Koreas agreed earlier this month to restart the dialogue, and South Korea had proposed meeting on October 30.However, in the latest in a series of similarly themed messages, North Korea said Sunday it was being forced to reconsider taking part in the talks due to a perceived lack ...
Indonesian president appoints technocrats to top economic posts JAKARTA: Indonesia's new president on Sunday appointed professional technocrats to lead the top economic ministries and implement much-needed reforms to deal with costly fuel subsidies, cooling investment and the country's creaky infrastructure.Joko Widodo unveiled a cabinet of 34 ministers that was filled with political appointees and last-minute replacements, reflecting the many compromises necessary to maintain a fragile coalition and have a team seen as free of graft.Widodo, who took office last Monday, appointed former state-owned ...
Myanmar army kills 'reporter' in custody YANGON: Myanmar's press council Saturday said the army had admitted to shooting dead a man in its custody who activists claim was a reporter detained after covering clashes near the conflict-hit eastern border.Aung Naing was gunned down as he tried to flee detention in Kyaikmaraw town in southeastern Mon state on October 4, the interim Myanmar Press Council (MPC) said citing a rare statement issued by the military.He "tried to escape by fighting with a ...
Former Japan PM to meet with China's Xi: report TOKYO: Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week, a report said Friday, as Tokyo tries to set up premier-level talks amid tensions with its giant neighbour.The reported meeting on Wednesday is happening during Fukuda's three-day visit to Beijing as a board member of a China-based international forum, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported.The sit down, which could not be immediately confirmed, is likely to focus on clearing the ...
Flight departs for North Korea despite Ebola tour ban BEIJING: A commercial flight took off from Beijing for North Korea on Friday, despite travel agencies saying they had been told the isolated state would close its borders to foreign tourists over Ebola fears.The Air China flight departed Beijing Capital International Airport Friday afternoon with 32 passengers on board, according to the airline's duty manager."My visa seems not to be affected," said German traveller Arne Hothan as he waited to board, a day after three ...
China launches first mission to moon and back BEIJING: China launched its first space mission to the moon and back early Friday, authorities said, the latest step forward for Beijing's ambitious programme to one day land a Chinese citizen on the Earth's only natural satellite.The unnamed, unmanned probe will travel to the moon, fly around it and head back to Earth, re-entering the atmosphere and landing, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) said in a statement."The first ...

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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-19.98 bln
Exports $25.13 bln
Imports $45.11 bln
WeeklyOctober 27, 2014
Reserves $13.464 bln