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South Korea far-left party dissolved for 'backing North Korea' SEOUL: South Korea's nascent far-left political party was disbanded Friday in a rare decision by the constitutional court which condemned it as a pro-North Korean group.In an 8-1 decision, judges endorsed the government's petition to disband the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) and ordered the forfeiture of all of its five seats in parliament.The court ruled the party's platform ran counter to the basic democratic order of the constitution by supporting North Korea's ideological doctrine."I hope today's decision will terminate the time-consuming ideological debate in our country," Park Han-Chul, the court's chief judge, said before reading a verdict.The court was tightly guarded by about 1,000 riot police as hundreds of people from rival groups gathered in the nearby streets, according to images broadcast on television.About 200 conservative activists, including some veterans clad in military uniforms, hailed the court's decision, waving national flags.Across the street, some 400 UPP members demonstrated against President ...

Eight children found dead at Australian property SYDNEY: Eight children aged between 18 months and 15 years have been found dead at a home in the Australian city of Cairns, police said Friday, reportedly after a gruesome mass stabbing."Cairns detectives have established a crime scene and begun an investigation into the death of eight children this morning," police said."During an examination of the residence police located the bodies of the children, all aged between 18 months and 15 years."A woman, 34, was ...
Japanese scientist resigns over stem cell scandal TOKYO: A researcher embroiled in a fabrication scandal that has rocked Japan's scientific establishment said Friday she would resign after failing to reproduce results of what was once billed as a ground-breaking study on stem cells.Haruko Obokata said she was dismayed that new laboratory tests have not been able to repeat her experiments, which she had claimed showed the successful conversion of an adult cell into a stem cell-like state."I am keenly aware of my ...
China hopes US will lift Cuba embargo: govt BEIJING: China said on Thursday it hopes the United States will lift its economic embargo on Cuba, in place for more than half a century, as the two countries normalise relations."China welcomes and supports the normalisation of Cuba-US bilateral ties, and we hope that the US can lift its embargo on Cuba as early as possible," Qin Gang, a foreign ministry spokesman, said at a regular media briefing in Beijing."We cherish our friendship with Cuba, ...
Iran says resumed nuclear talks 'useful' TEHRAN: Iran welcomed as "useful" Thursday its first round of nuclear talks with the major powers since the two sides gave themselves another seven months to strike a deal."We had intensive and useful discussions," Iran's lead negotiator, deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi, told state television after a two-hour meeting in Geneva on Wednesday."All issues were discussed. We'll have a new meeting in a little under a month." Araqchi held two days of talks with a ...
Heavy snow kills 5, disrupts travel in Japan TOKYO: At least five people have died in heavy snow that has blanketed swathes of Japan, reports said Thursday, with more than two metres (6ft 7ins) lying in some places and more forecast.Two elderly women were killed on the northernmost island of Hokkaido, Kyodo News reported, with one hit by a snow-plough and another buried when a warehouse collapsed under the weight of fallen snow.Two men, meanwhile, died in traffic accidents on snow-bound roads, one ...
Japan lab cannot repeat ground-breaking cell finding: reports TOKYO: Some of Japan's top scientists have been unable to reproduce results of what was once billed as a ground-breaking stem cell study, but which spiralled into a scandal that included a respected researcher's suicide, reports said Thursday.The government-backed Riken Institute will announce Friday that so-called "STAP" cells cannot be reproduced, writing the embarrassing final chapter of a study published in the journal Nature but later withdrawn, according to national broadcaster NHK. "Cells with pluripotency ...

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ICT 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.309 bln
Exports $1.957 bln
Imports $4.266 bln
WeeklyDecember 18, 2014
Reserves $14.04 bln