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Thai PM to visit Myanmar on first official trip BANGKOK: Thailand's coup leader and premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha will visit Myanmar on his first official overseas trip, an official said Friday, as the junta seeks to strengthen ties with its former military-ruled neighbour.Prayut will travel to Myanmar "as soon as possible", deputy foreign minister Don Pramudwinai told AFP, saying the trip could take place by the end of this month or early October."The Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Myanmar as his first foreign country because Myanmar currently chairs ASEAN," Don said, referring to the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations of which Thailand is also a member.Prayut is next expected to visit other ASEAN member states beginning with Malaysia, he added.For decades, former military-ruled Myanmar was treated as a pariah state by the West, but since a nominally civilian government took power in 2011, the nation has been lauded for its dramatic reforms.Thailand's coup makers, meanwhile, have been chided ...

Australia raises terror alert level to 'high' SYDNEY: Australia on Friday raised the terror threat level to "high" from "medium" for the first time in a decade, on concerns about Australians returning from fighting in the Middle East.The heightened alert means a "terrorist attack is likely"."There are people with the intent and the capability to mount attacks here in Australia," Prime Minister Tony Abbott told a press conference.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014 ...
South Korea aims to nearly double cigarette prices to combat smoking SEOUL: South Korea on Thursday proposed a tax hike as early as next year that would nearly double cigarette prices as the government tries to reduce one of the world's highest smoking rates among adult males.The proposal, which needs to be approved by parliament, sent shares in dominant tobacco maker, government-backed KT&G Corp , down more than 5 percent.It was also immediately criticised by the main opposition party, highlighting the difficulty in implementing anti-smoking regulations ...
South Korea increases emissions cap in proposed carbon trading scheme SEOUL: A cap on carbon dioxide emissions that South Korea expects to introduce as part of a carbon trading scheme will be around 3 percent larger than previously touted over the next three years, the government said on Thursday. Seoul has been under pressure from industry worried about costs from plans to begin what will be the world's second-biggest carbon emissions trading scheme from the start of 2015. South Korea is one of the world's ...
Indonesia's Widodo wants to overturn law curbing anti-graft drive JAKARTA: Indonesian president-elect Joko Widodo wants the top court to overturn legislation that makes it more difficult to investigate lawmakers for graft, an adviser said, referring to a law passed with little publicity in one of the world's most corrupt countries. Widodo's team echoes the concerns of civil society groups that have challenged a law requiring investigators to get approval from a special parliamentary council before investigating lawmakers for corruption or other crimes. Many Indonesians ...
Police leave explosives in suitcase at Australia airport SYDNEY: Australian police apologised Thursday after a suitcase with plastic explosives inside used for sniffer dog training was left at Sydney airport and only found four weeks later by a passenger.The woman, travelling through the country's busiest airport on Tuesday, was given the unclaimed bag as a replacement after her one was damaged during a flight.When she reached home and opened the suitcase, she found 230 grams (eight ounces) of plastic explosive in a training ...
South Korea to hike cigarette price by 80pc SEOUL: South Korea on Thursday proposed a steep 80 percent hike in cigarette prices to cut consumption in a nation with one of the world's highest male smoking rates.The decision requires parliamentary approval, but Health Minister Moon Hyung-Pyo said it was necessary to counter what has become the "biggest threat to national health".The proposal would see the average price of a packet of cigarettes rise from 2,500 won ($2.42) to 4,500 won from January 1 ...

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Annual2013/14
Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
MonthlyAugust
Trade Balance $-1.434 bln
Exports $1.930 bln
Imports $3.364 bln
WeeklySeptember 18, 2014
Reserves $13.525 bln