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South Korea concert victims' families call for leniency SEOUL: The families of 16 people who died after falling through a ventilation shaft at a South Korean open-air concert asked for leniency on Monday for event organisers despite fresh concerns about safety six months after a ferry disaster. Opposition lawmakers chided the government for a lack of substantive improvements in safety despite repeated pledges to tighten standards, with one member of parliament saying: "The Republic of Korea has become the republic of disasters". "The government needs to be making swift checks of all public facilities around the country to prevent these accidents that could happen any time," opposition leader Moon Hee-sang told a party policy meeting. The victims were standing on the cover of a ventilation shaft to get a better view of the pop concert featuring girl group 4Minute when it gave way, plunging them about 20 metres (66 feet) underground to their deaths.Eleven people were injured, nine ...

Japan industry minister resigns over make-up scandal TOKYO: Japan's high-profile and telegenic industry minister on Monday resigned over claims she misused political funds, including to buy both votes and make-up, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's gender reform drive.Yuko Obuchi told a press conference carried live on multiple television channels that parliamentary business had been stalled because of questions over her spending."It is not permissible for me as Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry to have economy and energy policies ...
Australia hopeful of revised Antarctic sanctuary success SYDNEY: Australia said Monday it was hopeful of winning support for its plan for a vast marine sanctuary off east Antarctica, after revising its proposal to make it smaller.Australia, France and the European Union first put forward a bid for a 1.9 million square kilometre (760,000 square mile) Marine Protected Area encompassing seven stretches of the pristine wilderness in 2011, but it was knocked back last year.Its latest proposal is for a 1.0 million square ...
North Korea's Kim hosts banquet for Asiad gold medallists SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un hosted a banquet for athletes who won gold medals at the recent Asian Games in South Korea, state media said Sunday, marking his third public appearance in a week after an extended absence.Kim praised the medallists for proving "the validity and vitality of the party's plan for building a sports powerhouse", the official Korean Central News Agency reported.North Korea took 11 gold medals, 11 silver and 14 bronze in ...
Japan industry minister to resign over make-up scandal: report TOKYO: Japan's industry minister is set to resign over claims she spent political donations on make-up, local media reported Saturday, in a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's bid to restart nuclear power.Yuko Obuchi was named as the country's first female minister of economy, trade and industry -- a powerful portfolio that includes oversight of the energy sector -- in September.She was the most prominent of a new wave of women picked to leading Cabinet ...
Indonesia to inaugurate first president without ties to ex-dictator JAKARTA: Joko Widodo will cap a remarkable rise from an upbringing in a riverside slum when he is sworn in as Indonesia's president Monday, but takes power amid doubts about his ability to enact much-needed reforms.Indonesia's first leader without deep roots in the era of dictator Suharto, Widodo will be sworn in at a ceremony in parliament attended by foreign dignitaries, including US Secretary of State John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. After ...
Japan ministers visit controversial Tokyo war shrine TOKYO: Two Japanese ministers visited a controversial Tokyo war shrine Saturday, the first Cabinet ministers to join a pilgrimage by 100 lawmakers to the spot condemned by China and Korea as a symbol of Japan's wartime aggression.Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi visited the Yasukuni Shrine in downtown Tokyo, a day after the cross-party group of parliamentarians also went to the site in a move that angered Beijing.National Public Safety Commission chief Eriko Yamatani ...

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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