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Hundreds of HK police use sledgehammers and chainsaws to dismantle protest barriers HONG KONG: Hundreds of Hong Kong police used sledgehammers and chainsaws to dismantle pro-democracy barricades near government offices and the city's financial centre on Tuesday, a day after clashes broke out as anti-protest groups tried to reclaim roads.The police operation was the latest in two days to dismantle barricades after two weeks of protests, with the stalemate fuelling frustrations in the Asian financial hub and draining public support for the pro-democracy movement.Police, criticised for using tear gas and batons in the first 24 hours of the protests, have adopted a more patient approach, counting on protesters to come under public pressure to clear some of the city's major arteries.Some of the city's most powerful tycoons had warned prior to the protests that any moves to occupy the heart of the city could undermine Hong Kong's stability. They have remained largely silent since the protests kicked off.Tensions are expected to escalate ...

Japan lawmakers to visit controversial war shrine TOKYO: Dozens of Japanese politicians, possibly including cabinet ministers, are poised to visit a Tokyo shrine condemned by China and Korea as a symbol of Tokyo's militarist past, as it begins its autumn festival this week.A cross-party group of national lawmakers plans to go to Yasukuni Shrine en masse on Friday as it kicks off the four-day festival.However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who infuriated Beijing and Seoul by visiting the shrine in December last year, ...
South Korea says it can't ban leaflet launches into North SEOUL: South Korea said Monday it would re-examine the issue of activists floating anti-Pyongyang leaflets into North Korea after an exchange of fire on the border, but stressed it could not simply ban the practice.North Korea has long condemned the launch of large bundles of leaflets attached to giant helium balloons as a provocation, and last Friday it attempted to shoot some down with large-calibre machine guns.A number of rounds fell over the border, prompting ...
New Zealand to tighten laws on foreign fighters WELLINGTON: New Zealand will tighten laws to address the potential threat posed by "foreign terrorist fighters" returning to the country from conflict hotspots such as Iraq and Syria, Prime Minister John Key said Monday.Key said current laws did not address the risk posed by radicalised fighters returning to New Zealand after exposure to the Islamic State (IS) organisation, also known as ISIS or ISIL."We know that a small number of New Zealanders have travelled overseas ...
Typhoon Vongfong hits southern Japan, moving to main island TOKYO: Typhoon Vongfong hit Japan's southern island Kyushu earlier on Monday and was expected to bear down on the main island Honshu later in the day, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights, Japan's NHK broadcaster said.The strongest storm to hit Japan this year has forced the evacuation of about 450,000 people on the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku, as well as Okinawa which was hit by Vongfong on Sunday, according to NHK.Vongfong battered the ...
27 Chinese, local hostages released in Cameroon: government YAOUNDE: Ten Chinese and 17 local hostages have been released in Cameroon, where they were kidnapped earlier this year in raids blamed on the Nigerian group Boko Haram, Cameroon's president said Saturday."The 27 hostages abducted on May 16 in Waza and July 27 in Kolofata were released to the Cameroonian authorities this night," President Paul Biya said in a statement on national radio.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014 ...
Quake strikes 110 miles off east coast of Japan: USGS TOKY0: An earthquake measuring 6.2 struck off the east coast of Japan's main island of Honshu, the US Geological Survey reported on Saturday.The epicentre of the quake was placed 110 miles northeast of Hachinohe, according to the USGS website.There was no danger of a tsunami, public broadcaster NHK said. The quake occurred around 0236 GMT, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.Copyright Reuters, 2014 ...

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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.807 bln
Exports $1.911 bln
Imports $4.718 bln
WeeklyOctober 23, 2014
Reserves $13.465 bln