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16 still missing on Japan volcano, typhoon threatens recovery TOKYO: Sixteen people remain unaccounted for on a still-smouldering Japanese volcano that erupted at the weekend, officials said Friday, as a typhoon looming off the coast threatened to further delay the stalled recovery operation.It is the first time an official figure has been put on the number of people missing since the volcano roared to life, and comes on top of the 47 people whose bodies have been removed from the peak of Mount Ontake."The figure is based on information from people searching for the missing," a Nagano prefectural official said, adding that the number may be revised later.The volcano continues to belch steam and poisonous fumes, making a section near the crater inaccessible, despite the presence of hundreds of well-equipped troops, police and firefighters.Rescue workers have spoken of up to half a metre (20 inches) of thick, sticky ash smothering the slopes, with some of the dead found half-buried, ...

Hong Kong protests 'doomed to fail': China party paper BEIJING: The official mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist party said Friday that authorities will not make concessions to pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and that their cause is "doomed to fail".Students whose peaceful protests have paralysed parts of the global financial hub have agreed to hold talks with the government while vowing to continue their occupation, as the city's under-fire leader refused to stand down.But the protesters' demands for unfettered elections are "neither legal nor ...
New blow to Indonesia's Widodo at rowdy parliament opening JAKARTA: Indonesian opposition politicians won key posts in parliament Thursday after new leader Joko Widodo's supporters stormed out of a rowdy opening session, heightening fears a divided legislature will hinder his ambitious reforms.Parliament convened for a new term Wednesday, dominated by parties that backed ex-general Prabowo Subianto in July's presidential election, which he lost to Widodo, the country's first leader without deep roots in the autocratic past.Prabowo's backers had already flexed their muscles in the ...
Protesters press HK leader to quit, China tells US to back off HONG KONG: Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters demanded that the city's embattled leader meet a deadline to resign on Thursday, as China warned the United States against meddling in its "internal affairs".Demonstrators, who have shut down central areas of the southern Chinese city for four days, have given chief executive Leung Chun-ying until midnight to step down, or face escalated action.In Washington, Beijing warned the United States to back off, in its strongest riposte yet to ...
China tells US to back off over Hong Kong WASHINGTON: The US and China openly clashed Wednesday over the pro-democracy protests sweeping Hong Kong, with Beijing warning Washington to back off and saying it would not tolerate "illegal acts."President Barack Obama told visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that the United States "was following developments in Hong Kong closely" when he dropped in on a meeting between Wang and national security advisor Susan Rice, the White House said.Obama also "expressed their hope that differences ...
North Korea upgrades rocket launch site: US think-tank SEOUL: Fresh satellite images show North Korea has completed upgrading its main satellite site to handle far larger rockets, suggesting a possible launch by the end of the year, a US think tank said Thursday."North Korea is now ready to move forward with another rocket launch," the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said on its closely followed 38 North website.While stressing there was no evidence of a planned launch, the institute said Pyongyang now ...
Australian spy agencies given greater powers SYDNEY: Australia's intelligence agencies will have enhanced powers after tougher counter-terror legislation passed parliament on Wednesday, despite concerns the changes could hurt press freedom.The government argued the changes were needed to plug gaps in current law and equip agencies to deal with new potential threats, including from militant returning from Syria and Iraq."We are determined to do what we must to secure our freedoms and to keep our people safe," Attorney-General George Brandis said after ...

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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.807 bln
Exports $1.911 bln
Imports $4.718 bln
WeeklyOctober 23, 2014
Reserves $13.465 bln