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Reign of Algeria's Bouteflika marred by graft scandals

Corruption, a recurring scourge for Algeria, has risen to the forefront of public life during President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's rule, fuelled by soaring oil prices and an the explosion in imports. The judiciary has opened a graft probe centred on state-run energy giant Sonatrach, which has amassed nearly $700 billion in earnings since Bouteflika took office, with political leaders among those named in the investigation.

N. Korea vows Seoul will pay 'dear price' for insults

North Korea on Monday warned South Korea it would pay a "dear price" for recent criticisms of Pyongyang's nuclear programme and political system, saying they violated a no-slander agreement. The warning from the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) came days after Pyongyang blasted South Korean President Park Geun-Hye's proposals for Korean reunification as the "daydreams of a psychopath". Park was again the focus of the North's anger, with the CPRK denouncing comments she made during a recent tour of Europe.

New party seeks to shake up Greek politics, says founder

A new Greek political party that has catapulted to third place in the polls is hoping to overhaul the country's dysfunctional politics, its founder said Sunday. Former TV journalist Stavros Theodorakis said in interviews with Sunday newspapers that he wanted to break the rigid party-driven format of Greek politics. Launched in February his party To Potami -- 'river' in Greek -- already polls at up to 10 percent, enough to win third place in forthcoming European elections.

Reforms to IMF hit serious deadlock: G20 official

By Lidia Kelly WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Reforms to the International Monetary Fund have hit a deadlock despite a declaration from global financial chiefs that they would move forward without the United States if it fails to ratify the changes by year-end, a G20 official said on Sunday.

NATO leader concerned by pro-Russian gunmen, escalating tension in east Ukraine

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO's leader voiced concern on Sunday over the appearance of pro-Russian gunmen in eastern Ukraine and warned that any further Russian military interference in the country would deepen Moscow's international isolation. Ukraine's government sent security forces to the eastern city of Slaviansk on Sunday where pro-Russian militants have seized control. One Ukrainian state security officer was killed and five others wounded during the operation, the interior minister said.

Australia says progress towards G20 growth target "unacceptable"

PERTH, Australia, April 13 - Slow progress towards meeting economic growth targets set by the Group of 20 bloc of advanced and developing nations this year is "unacceptable", Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said on Sunday. G20 finance ministers had pledged to have "real and effective plans to lift the global economy by a further 2 percent" before they meet in Australia in September but were only one-tenth of the way there, he said.

Korea seeks to remove non-tariff barriers set by its main trade partners

SEOUL, April 13 (Yonhap) -- The trade ministry said Sunday that it is seeking ways to remove non-tariff barriers set by its main trade partners on concerns they may sap Seoul's overseas shipments. China topped the list with 35 cases of non-tariff barriers, followed by the U.S. with 31 and Japan with 31, according to the trade ministry and the Korea International Trade Association (KITA). The number of the European Union's non-tariff barriers reached 29, trailed by Indonesia with 22 cases and Vietnam with 19.

NATO chief sees Russian hand in east Ukraine escalation

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Sunday he was "extremely concerned" about the escalation of tensions in east Ukraine, saying actions by uniformed, pro-Russian gunmen with military weapons pointed to an organised campaign to destabilise the region. Drawing parallels with Crimea, the Ukrainian region Russia annexed last month after deploying forces there, he warned Moscow against further military interference. "We see a concerted campaign of violence by pro-Russian separatists, aiming to destabilise Ukraine as a sovereign state," Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement.

Nigeria eyes private funds to spark agriculture boom

Can investors get rich by backing Nigerian agriculture? An increasingly loud chorus of voices say that answering this question may be the most pressing challenge facing Africa's most populous country, ahead of defeating Boko Haram Islamists or curbing rampant corruption. Nigeria last week jumped ahead of South Africa as the continent's biggest economy after the re-calculated results of national output were announced.

G20 gives U.S. year-end deadline for IMF reforms

By Louise Egan and Anna Yukhananov WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Finance chiefs from around the globe on Friday gave the United States until year-end to ratify long-delayed reforms to the International Monetary Fund and threatened to move forward without it if it fails to do so.
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