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China to spend $1bn on massive Caribbean resort ST. JOHN'S: Chinese investors are to plunge more than US$1 billion into developing Antigua and Barbuda's first mega-resort, creating 1,000 jobs for the tiny cash-strapped nation.Construction on the mammoth 1,600-acre (647-hectare) multi-hotel, residential and commercial project is slated to begin early next year. The 'Singulari' scheme -- 50 per cent bigger than the regionally-heralded Baha Mar resort under way in the Bahamas -- is being lauded as a major feather in the East Caribbean country's tourism cap.Spanning 900 acres of land in the north of Antigua and 700 acres of tiny islands, it will include several luxury hotels, hundreds of private homes, a school, hospital, marinas, golf courses, an entertainment district, horse racing track and the Caribbean's biggest casino.It is being created on land previously owned by disgraced US financier Allen Stanford, once Antigua's largest employer.Sam Dyson, of Luxury Locations real estate agency which introduced Beijing-based Yida International Investment Group ...

Pope says he wants to visit China ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE: Pope Francis said on Monday that he wants to visit China and called for the Catholic Church in the country to be allowed to do its "job"."You ask me if I want to go to China? Certainly, even tomorrow," he told reporters on board the papal plane as he returned from a visit to South Korea. "But the church asks for the freedom to do its job in China, there is ...
Thai junta boosts spending on defence, education in draft budget BANGKOK: Thai junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha, stressing that the military had a "limited time" in power before a return to civilian rule, submitted a draft fiscal 2015 budget on Monday, with defence and education receiving hefty increases.The military seized power in May after months of street demonstrations which led to the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.The Ministry of Education was allocated 498.16 billion baht ($15.66 billion), a 3.2 percent increase from last year's ...
Aquino says Chinese survey ships seen in Philippine waters MANILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino said two Chinese survey vessels had been sighted in a gas-rich area of its exclusive economic zone, raising concerns of heightened tensions in the disputed South China Sea. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to be rich in deposits of oil and gas resources. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim the sea where $5 trillion of ship-borne goods pass every year. "Recently, we got ...
South Korea, US start military drill despite North threats SEOUL: South Korea and the United States on Monday launched an annual military drill, Seoul's defence ministry said, despite condemnation by North Korea which has threatened a "merciless" retaliatory strike.The beginning of the "Ulchi Freedom Guardian" exercise, which will last until August 29, came as Pope Francis led a mass for inter-reconciliation in Seoul at the end of the five-day trip to South Korea.Although largely played out on computers, the drill involves tens of thousands ...
Pope urges divided Koreas to unite as 'one people' SEOUL: Pope Francis urged the divided Koreas to unite as "one family, one people" in a spirit of mutual forgiveness at a mass Monday that coincided with a South Korea-US military drill condemned by the North as a prelude to war."Forgiveness is the door which leads to reconciliation", although it may seem "impossible, impractical and even at times repugnant", Francis said at a special mass for inter-Korean peace and reconciliation in Seoul."All Koreans are brothers ...
New Zealand PM tips tight election battle WELLINGTON: Prime Minister John Key on Monday predicted a "close" and "hard fought" New Zealand general election next month, despite opinion polls showing his party has almost twice the support of its nearest rival.One poll put Key's conservative National Party on 50 percent support ahead of the September 20 vote, with the opposition Labour Party on 26 percent. Another survey had the race slightly closer at 47.5 percent to 29.But Key said nothing could be ...

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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
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Trade Balance $-2.311 bln
Exports $2.027 bln
Imports $4.338 bln
WeeklyAugust 28, 2014
Reserves $13.582 bln