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Taliban kills 12 demining workers in Afghanistan, police say LASHKAR GAH: The Taliban shot dead 12 demining workers near the former British base of Camp Bastion in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province on Saturday, opening fire from motor bikes, police said.Farid Ahmad Obaid, a spokesman for the provincial police chief, said Afghan forces later launched a counter attack, killing four of the militants and capturing three.Copyright Reuters, 2014 ...

Heavy snow feared to cast chill over Japan election TOKYO: Heavy snow hit large swathes of Japan on Saturday, the eve of a general election, fuelling speculation the ruling coalition is on course to an easy victory on low voter turnout.It was already snowing heavily in large areas of the country along the coast of the Sea of Japan (East Sea) on Saturday, though Tokyo remained clear and sunny. The weather agency warned of snowfall of as much as 80 centimetres (30 inches) in ...
Repatriated North Korean refugees 'presented' before media SEOUL: North Korea has held a press conference with nine people it says are the young refugees controversially repatriated from Laos last year, state media confirmed, in a further bid to refute claims they had been imprisoned and executed.The group, then aged 15 to 19, were arrested in Laos in May 2013 and eventually returned to the North via China, despite pleas by Seoul and the UN against their repatriation due to concerns for their ...
China 'deeply disappointed' over US snub of IMF reform BEIJING: Beijing said Friday it was "deeply disappointed" that Washington refused to back plans to reform the International Monetary Fund which would give emerging economies such as China a greater say in the institution.The US Congress earlier this week failed to ratify a new set of crucial governance and funding measures contained in the 2010 reform plan, forcing the IMF board to explore "alternative options".The reforms to the Fund's membership quota system -- essentially its ...
Australian PM to 'sweat blood' for Aboriginal recognition SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declared himself ready to "sweat blood" to ensure that Aborigines are recognised in the nation's constitution, hopefully by 2017.Written more than a century ago, Australia's constitution does not recognise Aborigines as the nation's first inhabitants, with one section also saying people can be banned from voting based on race.Australian lawmakers formally recognised indigenous peoples as the country's first inhabitants last year, five years after an historic apology to ...
Japan voters ready unenthusiastic yes to PM Abe TOKYO: Japan will hold a general election this weekend that looks likely to return Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to power and might even give him the momentum to press ahead with badly-needed structural changes.Billed by the premier as a referendum on "Abenomics" -- his signature plan to fix the economy -- observers expect he will barely break a sweat in an easy victory.Opinion polls predict the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior partner ...
China to send first anti-graft investigators to parliament BEIJING: The anti-corruption watchdog of China's ruling Communist Party said on Friday it would send investigators to the country's parliament for the first time ever, in a demonstration of the party's dominance over the organs of state.All of China's governing structures, ranging from the legislature to the government and the military, are controlled by the party.But it is the first time that the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) will send "resident supervisors" to ...

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ICT 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.664 bln
Exports $1.966 bln
Imports $3.630 bln
WeeklyDecember 22, 2014
Reserves $14.042 bln