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China builds military airstrip on disputed island: Xinhua BEIJING: Beijing has completed a runway for military aircraft on a South China Sea island also claimed by Vietnam, state-run media reported, as it asserts its territorial claims in the area.The newly built facility stretches across Woody Island, part of the Paracel chain, China's Xinhua news agency said late Tuesday.The Paracels are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan, and tensions between Beijing and Hanoi rose this year over Chinese construction and oil exploration there.The runway is Beijing's latest physical assertion of control in the area, two years after it declared a city named Sansha centred on Woody Island -- known as Yongxing in Chinese -- to administer vast swathes of the South China Sea.Vital shipping routes run through the waters and they are believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits. Parts of the sea are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.Xinhua's report gave few ...

Major new fault found in New Zealand capital WELLINGTON: A new geological fault capable of generating a 7.1-magnitude earthquake has been found in Wellington, confirming the New Zealand capital's status as one of the world's most seismically active cities, scientists revealed Wednesday.Geologists from the official NIWA research agency said the Aotea fault began on the floor of Wellington Harbour and was believed to extend through the central city and southern suburbs.NIWA marine geologist Philip Barnes said there was evidence that the most recent ...
Rare North Korea visit to South opens direct line to Kim SEOUL: A shock visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's closest aides to South Korea has opened a high-level communication between the two rivals that has been missing for years, analysts said Sunday.Whether it is a line of communication that will endure or produce lasting results remains to be seen, but Saturday's visit by a trio of top-ranking officials provided an opportunity that few saw coming."It's huge," said Andrei Lankov, a professor of Korean Studies ...
Philippines suspends work on South China Sea military airstrip MANILA: The Philippines said Saturday it has shelved planned improvements on a military airstrip in the disputed South China Sea to support its bid for a UN ruling against Beijing over the tense territorial row.The Philippines infuriated China in March by asking a United Nations tribunal to declare Beijing's territorial claims in the South China Sea a violation of international law.China claims almost all of the sea, a vital avenue for world trade that is ...
Taiwan's health minister quits over 'gutter oil' scandal TAIPEI: Taiwan's health minister Chiu Wen-ta has resigned over a food safety scare that has gripped the island after hundreds of tonnes of products made with "gutter oil" were removed from sale.Chiu had repeatedly offered to step down after the tainted oil case surfaced last month, and his resignation was finally approved by Premier Jiang Yi-huah late Friday, a cabinet statement said.He is the third minister to have stepped down in recent months. Economic affairs ...
Final poll count sees New Zealand PM Key's party lose outright majority WELLINGTON: New Zealand's ruling National Party has lost its election night absolute majority, but will remain in power with the support of coalition partners following the completion of vote counting Saturday. The final result released by the Electoral Commission gives Prime Minister John Key's centre-right National party 60 seats in the 121-seat parliament, with partners ACT, United Future and the Maori Party adding another four. Preliminary figures following the September 20 election gave National 61 ...
Fights break out between pro- and anti-protest groups in HK HONG KONG: Pro-democracy protesters clashed with opposition groups in two of Hong Kong's busiest shopping districts Friday, with police stepping in to try to calm the chaos.Fights broke out in Causeway Bay and Mong Kok after anti-protester groups started to dismantle barricades in a apparent backlash against the demonstrations, which have brought parts of the city to a standstill.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014 ...

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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
WeeklyOctober 23, 2014
Reserves $13.465 bln