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Parents of Japan kidnap victim hail meeting with grandchild TOKYO: The ageing mother of a Japanese woman kidnapped and taken to North Korea as a schoolgirl on Monday hailed a "miraculous" first meeting in Mongolia with her long-lost granddaughter.Megumi Yokota who was only 13 years old when she was kidnapped by North Korean agents in 1977 on her way home from school.The secretive state insists that Yokota killed herself in 1994, an explanation that Tokyo has long refused to accept.Yokota's parents -- father Shigeru, 81, and mother Sakie, 78 -- spent five days last week with their granddaughter, 26-year-old Kim Eun-Gyong, and her family in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator, Japan's foreign ministry said Sunday."What we have dreamt about for such a long time has come true -- they were miraculous days for us," Yokota's mother told a press briefing Monday near Tokyo."We had hoped to meet her as a family... It was a pleasing and wonderful moment."Yokota became ...

Indonesia starts election campaign, voters set to choose radical change JAKARTA: Indonesia's raucous election season kicks off on Sunday with the promise of a fresh style of leadership in the world's third largest democracy, whose economic promise has been sapped by rampant graft, confusing policy and weak rule. An uncertain election outlook abruptly changed on Friday when the main PDI-P opposition party named the hugely popular governor of Jakarta as its candidate for July's presidential election. That lifted even further its chances of dominating the ...
Thailand sentences suspected Uighur asylum seekers BANGKOK: Thailand on Saturday sentenced dozens of asylum seekers thought to be from China's Uighur minority for illegal entry, an official said, despite a US appeal for their protection.About 120 adults among the group were fined 4,000 baht ($124) each by a court in southern Thailand, according to police, who said they were waiting to identify the families before deciding their fate.The men will be detained by immigration and the women and children will be ...
Malaysian PM to hold press conference on missing plane: govt KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was to address a press conference Saturday on the fate of a missing Malaysian airliner, his office said on Saturday.Najib will make an announcement at approximately 1:30pm (0530) GMT, the prime minister's office said on its official Twitter account.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014 ...
Jakarta governor heads for Indonesia presidency JAKARTA: Indonesia's main opposition party nominated the hugely popular governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo, as its presidential candidate Friday, setting him up as the leading contender for July elections.Surveys have shown that Widodo, affectionately known nationwide as Jokowi, would claim the presidency by a long shot if nominated.He is considered a fresh face among a slew of candidates who have run multiple times and hark back to the three-decade Suharto dictatorship, many with military ties.The ...
Strong 6.3-magnitude quake hits off Japan, injures 17 TOKYO: A strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck off southern Japan early Friday injuring 17 people, reports said as officials warned residents to be alert to the danger of landslides following the tremor.There was no tsunami warning or reports of major damage.Public broadcaster NHK said 17 people were injured. None of the injuries seemed to be life-threatening.The epicentre of the quake -- which struck at 2:06 am (1706 GMT Thursday) -- was located 13 kilometres (eight miles) ...
Three dead in China knife attack, terror ruled out: official BEIJING: Attackers armed with knives killed at least three people in central China on Friday, an official said, ruling out a terrorist incident two weeks after a mass stabbing left 29 people dead and stunned the nation."Three people died," an official in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, told AFP by phone. "I can assure you it's not a terror attack. It happened in a market due to some dispute.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014 ...

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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 15, 2014
Reserves $13.922 bln