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World powers meet to save Syria peace hopes

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Senior envoys from world and regional powers gathered once again in Vienna on Tuesday in an effort to salvage stumbling efforts to halt Syria’s civil war. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov—diplomacy’s odd couple, at loggerheads over much else in the world—are chairing the meeting, which began shortly after 0700 GMT. At the gathering, the 17-nation International Syria Support Group (ISSG) will renew its call for a nationwide ceasefire and immediate humanitarian access to besieged areas, reports AFP. But headaches were likely to persist over the third plank of the plan—a call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and the rebels to agree on a framework for a political transition. US officials travelling with Kerry say Washingto...

D-8 states to sign MoU on SMEs soon

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A memorandum of understanding (MoU) among the D-8 (developing eight) member countries would be signed soon to use the potentiality of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). The decision came on the proposal of Bangladesh Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu at the concluding session of the 5th Ministerial Meeting on D-8 Industrial Cooperation at Cairo in Egypt yesterday, said a press release here today. d8Prime Minister of Egypt Sherif Ismail was present as the chief guest on the occasion. Amir Hossain Amu said the D-8 membe...

Luxury or bust for foreign automakers in Japan

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Tokyo businessman Randal Furudera isn’t about to swap his German-made BMW M5 for a “boring” Japanese car, although he’ll give them some grudging respect for their ho-hum dependability. Deep-pocketed buyers like Furudera are driving sales in Japan of high-end foreign brands, which dominate the niche sector in a car market long seen as all but shuttered to overseas automakers, AFP reports. “Most Japanese cars these days are sort of becoming moving appliances,” the 54-year-old told AFP. “They’re very reliable, they’re good quality, they never break and all that, but they’re not very

IMF lowers forecast for global economy

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday stepped up its warning of weakness in the global economy ahead of a gathering this week of the world’s top economic policymakers in Washington. The IMF said it anticipates the global economy would expand by 3.2 percent this year, down 0.2 percentage points from its forecast just three months ago. And the fund candidly admitted that even that projection could easily prove too optimistic amid upheaval in emerging markets, slowdown in China and fraying political and economic ties in Europe. imf 2

Steely’ Clark seen as a natural for UN top job

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Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark has forged a formidable reputation in her homeland, with political allies noting her “steely determination” as she bids to become the first woman to lead the United Nations. Clark, who on Monday announced her candidacy for the UN secretary general’s role after months of speculation, led New Zealand’s centre-left Labour government for three successive terms from 1999-2008, reports AFP. hKThe 66-year-old then went on to head the UN’s largest agency, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), ma...

Brussels hit by ‘blind, violent, cowardly’ attacks

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Belgian Prime Minister said Brussels was hit early Tuesday by two "blind, violent and cowardly" attacks on its airport and metro system which left many dead and wounded. Brussels"Two attacks took place this morning in Zaventam airport and Maalbeek metro station, blind, violent, cowardly attacks," Michel announced on national television. "There are many dead and many wounded, some of them seriously," he said, with the death toll so far put at 31.

-AFP