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Fijians go to polls, seek to end 'coup culture' SUVA: The Pacific nation of Fiji will Wednesday hold its first elections in almost eight years, with voters urged to embrace democracy after decades of ethnic tensions and military meddling in civil affairs.The September 17 vote is considered pivotal to ending the archipelago's "coup culture", which saw four governments toppled between 1987 and 2006 amid instability stemming from tensions between indigenous Fijians and ethnic Indians.After nearly eight years of authoritarian rule, 590,000 registered voters in the population of about 900,000 will have the chance to select from 262 candidates standing for election to a new 50-seat parliament set up under a constitution adopted in 2013.A multinational observer group -- led by Australia, India, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea -- will monitor the poll to ensure it is free and fair.Fiji's status as the largest and most economically powerful South Pacific island nation means the election matters not just to Fiji, ...

Search for missing as three die in Philippine ferry sinking MANILA: Three people were killed as rescuers searched for at least three others still missing with more than a hundred rescued after a ferry sank in waters off the central Philippines, the government said Sunday.At least 110 people have been rescued after the sinking of the Maharlika II ferry on Saturday night, said President Benigno Aquino's spokeswoman Abigail Valte.There had been some confusion over the number of people aboard the vessel when it went down ...
Australian royal prank call station donates to nurse's family SYDNEY: An Australian radio station at the centre of a royal hoax call controversy where a nurse was found hanged in Britain has donated Aus$500,000 (US$450,000) to her family to "help them in the future".Southern Cross Austereo said it was donating the money to a trust fund for Indian-born Jacintha Saldanha's family, and expressed its "deepest sympathy and sincere condolences"."We do not assume, of course, that this donation or any amount of money could relieve ...
Thai PM to visit Myanmar on first official trip BANGKOK: Thailand's coup leader and premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha will visit Myanmar on his first official overseas trip, an official said Friday, as the junta seeks to strengthen ties with its former military-ruled neighbour.Prayut will travel to Myanmar "as soon as possible", deputy foreign minister Don Pramudwinai told AFP, saying the trip could take place by the end of this month or early October."The Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Myanmar as his first foreign country ...
Australia raises terror alert level to 'high' SYDNEY: Australia on Friday raised the terror threat level to "high" from "medium" for the first time in a decade, on concerns about Australians returning from fighting in the Middle East.The heightened alert means a "terrorist attack is likely"."There are people with the intent and the capability to mount attacks here in Australia," Prime Minister Tony Abbott told a press conference.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014 ...
South Korea aims to nearly double cigarette prices to combat smoking SEOUL: South Korea on Thursday proposed a tax hike as early as next year that would nearly double cigarette prices as the government tries to reduce one of the world's highest smoking rates among adult males.The proposal, which needs to be approved by parliament, sent shares in dominant tobacco maker, government-backed KT&G Corp , down more than 5 percent.It was also immediately criticised by the main opposition party, highlighting the difficulty in implementing anti-smoking regulations ...
South Korea increases emissions cap in proposed carbon trading scheme SEOUL: A cap on carbon dioxide emissions that South Korea expects to introduce as part of a carbon trading scheme will be around 3 percent larger than previously touted over the next three years, the government said on Thursday. Seoul has been under pressure from industry worried about costs from plans to begin what will be the world's second-biggest carbon emissions trading scheme from the start of 2015. South Korea is one of the world's ...

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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
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WeeklySeptember 25, 2014
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