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Indonesia 'caught by surprise' over Australia boat turnbacks SYDNEY: Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa has criticised the Australian government for a lack of communication over its turning back of asylum-seeker boats to his country, saying "we are somewhat caught by surprise".Natalegawa, who spoke to Australian broadcaster SBS late Tuesday, said that "this is certainly not something that we really appreciate".Indonesia has been angered by Australia's efforts to stem the flow of asylum-seekers by establishing a military-led operation to turn the boats back to its Southeast Asian neighbour, where many originate.Tensions between the two countries also grew after the Australian navy admitted entering Indonesia's territorial waters during some of the turnback operations."It often comes to our notice when such a policy takes place after the event," Natalegawa said, adding in response to a question on whether Australia notifies Indonesia when it turns back boats that "we are somewhat caught by surprise to be honest"."So far it's been a very ...

Sex line gran berates Australian PM over budget SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was involved in heated exchanges with radio callers Wednesday over his tough budget, including a pensioner who works on a sex phone line to pay the bills.The conservative leader's first budget since coming to office last September took the axe to health and education spending while tightening welfare and family benefits in an attempt to slash the country's deficit.It has been widely slammed as too harsh with students marching ...
Thai cabinet barred from using crisis headquarters: official BANGKOK: Thailand's cabinet has been barred from using its crisis headquarters and is working from a secret location, a government official said Wednesday, a day after the military imposed martial law.The office of the permanent secretary for the defence ministry told the embattled government it could no longer use the facilities where it had been meeting since opposition protesters surrounded its main headquarters months ago, said the official, who did not want to be named."The ...
Chinese pandas arrive in Malaysia after delay over MH370 KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia welcomed a pair of pandas from China on Wednesday, after a month's delay caused by tensions over the Malaysian airliner which disappeared in March with mostly Chinese passengers aboard.The eight-year-old pandas -- female Feng Yi ("Phoenix") and male Fu Wa ("Lucky") -- arrived in Kuala Lumpur to an honour guard of water cannon, after a flight from Chengdu in southwestern China where they were bred.Feng Yi was briefly shown to the media ...
Japan's Kinki University to change pervy name TOKYO: Move over Fukuppy, Japan's Kinki University has decided it's time for a name change after years of foreigners sniggering about its pervy nomenclature.Like Fukuppy, the mascot for Fukushima Industries, the name "Kinki University" doesn't even raise an eyebrow in Japan, coming as it does from the Kinki area -- the country's mid-western region in and around Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures.But the university's dean Hitoshi Shiozaki told reporters this week that he is tired ...
Questions build over China's architectural copies CHONGQING: Already renowned for copying Western goods from trainers to champagne, China is building up its replica reputation with a miniature Mount Rushmore, Eiffel Tower and an entire Austrian village.The reproduced structures -- also dubbed "duplitecture" -- can appear bizarre to outsiders but make sense to many in the country."I think it's a good thing. I can see things from places that I've never been," said a man surnamed Fu, 32, sitting in a Chongqing ...
China accuses US of 'hypocrisy and double standards' on hacking BEIJING: China's defence ministry on Tuesday denounced the US for "hypocrisy and double standards" after a first-ever US indictment of Chinese military officers for alleged cyber-espionage."From 'WikiLeaks' to the 'Snowden' case, US hypocrisy and double standards regarding the issue of cyber-security have long been abundantly clear," the ministry said in a statement posted on its website."The so-called 'commercial espionage network' is a pure fabrication by the US, a move to mislead the public based on ...

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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 $-999 mln
Exports $2.064 bln
Imports $3.063 bln
WeeklyMarch 20, 2015
Reserves $16.132 bln