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Arrests made in major Australian counter-terror raids SYDNEY: Police on Thursday made a series of arrests in pre-dawn counter-terrorism raids across Sydney and Brisbane, with those detained reportedly suspected of links to the militants group Islamic State.The large-scale operation, which spanned multiple suburbs, comes barely a week after Australia raised the terror threat level to "high" for the first time in a decade on growing concern about militants returning from fighting in Iraq and Syria. Police said 600 officers were involved and while they did not immediately detail how many arrests were made, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said at least a dozen people were taken in for questioning."Today's operation reflects the challenges that we face," New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said."This has been a big operation and it reflects what we are dealing with right now."The government believes up to 60 Australians are fighting alongside militants for Islamic State, while another 100 were actively working ...

PM set to win N.Z. vote despite 'dirty tricks' WELLINGTON: New Zealanders head to the polls on Saturday amid signs Prime Minister John Key has managed to ride out dirty tricks allegations and will narrowly win a third term after highlighting his economic record. While New Zealand's complicated proportional voting system is notoriously hard to predict, most opinion polls have Key's centre-right National Party returning to power with the support of a handful of minor parties to form government.The main opposition Labour Party along ...
Four jailed on terror charges in China: state media BEIJING: A Chinese court has sentenced four people to between 10 and 20 years in prison on terror-related charges, state media reported, as Beijing furthers a crackdown after a wave of violent attacks.The four individuals were found guilty on Wednesday of "participating in terrorist organizations, illegally manufacturing explosives, harbouring suspects and financing terror activities", according to a report on Yunnan Net, a Yunnan provincial government news website.The four -- whose names suggest they are members ...
China's Xi kicks off $1.4bn Sri Lanka port city development COLOMBO: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday launched the construction of a $1.4 billion port city in Sri Lanka's capital that will give Beijing a firmer foothold in the Indian Ocean region. Xi wrapped up his two-day visit to Sri Lanka by visiting Colombo harbour to kick off building of the port city, before heading to neighbouring giant India. The new city, Sri Lanka's largest single foreign investment, is being built alongside an already existing ...
Chinese envoy says North Korea's Kim Jong Un may visit Beijing SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could go to China on his first foreign trip since taking power, China's ambassador to South Korea said on Wednesday, according to a report from South Korea's Yonhap news agency. The 31-year-old leader assumed power after his father, Kim Jong Il, died suddenly in 2011. China is North Korea's closest ally and main benefactor. "I think that a visit from Kim Jong Un might materialise sometime in the ...
South Korea detains American trying to swim to North Korea SEOUL: South Korean soldiers detained a US citizen who was apparently trying to swim across the river border into rival North Korea, the South's defence ministry said Wednesday."A male American citizen was arrested last night while attempting to swim across the river to North Korea," a ministry spokesman told AFP, adding that he had been handed over to the relevant authorities.According to the Yonhap news agency, the man told investigators that he had wanted to ...
Season's first dolphins killed in Japan: activists TOKYO: The first dolphins of the season were slaughtered on Tuesday in the small Japanese town of Taiji, campaigners said, commencing an annual cull repeatedly condemned by animal rights groups.Activists from the environmentalist group Sea Shepherd have been monitoring a bay in Taiji, southwestern Japan, since the six-month dolphin hunting season began earlier this month."First pod of 2014-2015 being driven into cove now," the activists from Sea Shepherd, who call themselves "Cove Guardians", tweeted at ...

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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 $-2.807 bln
Exports $1.911 bln
Imports $4.718 bln
WeeklySeptember 25, 2014
Reserves $13.305 bln