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Federal parties in year-end fundraising frenzy as per-vote subsidy nears end

OTTAWA - The major federal political parties are in a headlong rush to extract as much cash as possible from partisan supporters before the end of 2013. The Conservatives and Liberals have posted running fundraising totals for the fourth quarter as they push their followers toward an arbitrary Dec. 31 deadline. And the New Democrats are promoting what the party calls a "Boxing Day sale" that highlights taxpayer-funded subsidies of up to 75 per cent on political donations.

Syria to spend 45% of budget on subsidies

Syria will spend nearly 45 percent of its 2014 budget on subsidies in a bid to alleviate the suffering caused by nearly three years of war, state news agency SANA reported Wednesday. Syria's economy has been eviscerated by the conflict, which has claimed an estimated 126,000 lives and displaced millions of people both within the country and across its borders. President Bashar al-Assad approved a budget on Wednesday amounting to 1.390 trillion Syrian pounds ($9.26 billion/ 6.7 billion euros), more than 44 percent of which will be spent on subsidies, SANA said.

German renewable subsidies comply with EU law: Econ ministry

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's subsidies for green energy and exemptions for some industrial firms from a surcharge to pay for them adhere to European law, an Economy Ministry spokeswoman said after the European Commission said it would open a full investigation. "We are strongly of the view that the Renewable Energy Law and rules on exemptions for power-intensive industry do not represent (state) aid and comply to EU law," she said, adding German industry had to remain competitive.

Japan to double intractable disease subsidy recipients to 1.5 mil.

Japan plans to double the number of patients with intractable diseases receiving subsidies for medical costs to 1.5 million from 2015, while asking them to shoulder some of the costs depending on their income levels, government officials said Friday. The number of intractable diseases eligible for medical cost subsidies will be increased from 56 at present to around 300, they said. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry intends to submit a bill for the plan to parliament next year.

Reid says Senate will not extend farm law despite threat of milk prices rising

WASHINGTON - Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Senate will not extend current farm law if Congress can't agree on a new farm bill before adjourning next week. House leaders have reserved space on their agenda this week for extending the current law until the end of January. Lawmakers fear that milk prices might rise sharply if dairy subsidies expire Jan. 1. The House and Senate have passed separate versions, but with widespread differences over crop subsidies and how much to cut food stamps.

China to aid ailing shipbuilders with more subsidies

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is handing out new subsidies for buying ships to help its beleaguered shipbuilders, confounding a government pledge to reduce support for sectors with over-capacity in order to reform the economy. The central government will set aside "special funds" that give shippers subsidies of 1,500 yuan per gross ton -- a unit of measure for the volume of vessels -- to replace old models with new and greener ones, a government statement said.

More than 3,300 indicted in crackdown on subsidy-related irregularities

SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) -- More than 3,300 people have been indicted on charges of siphoning off or embezzling state subsidies worth a total of 170 billion won (US$160 million), prosecutors and police said Sunday, revealing serious problems with the subsidy management system. In a six-month joint crackdown launched in June, prosecutors and police uncovered a total of 3,349 people suspected of involvement in subsidy-related irregularities. Of them, 127 were formally arrested, while the rest were put to trial without physical detention, officials said.

Malaysian PM defends new consumption tax, subsidy cut

Malaysian PM defends new consumption tax, subsidy cut KUALA LUMPUR, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday defended introduction of a new consumption tax and cut of sugar subsidy, saying the decisions are essential to consolidate public finance and strengthen the national economy. Speaking at the opening ceremony of Malaysia's ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO), Najib slammed the opposition for distorting the Goods and Service Tax (GST), which is to be implemented in 2015.

Egypt to start fuel cuts in 2014

Egypt's government will start cutting fuel subsidies before it leaves office next year, prime minister Hazem al-Beblawi said Sunday, but the ambitious reform hinges on an end to the country's turmoil. Beblawi's government, installed by the military after it overthrew president Mohamed Morsi in July, contends with a determined Islamist protest movement that the prime minister accused in an interview with AFP of trying to create a "crisis" in Egypt.

Sudan confronts politically explosive bread shortage

Sudan battled on Tuesday a politically explosive bread shortage that has forced Khartoum residents to wait hours for the staple food because a lack of foreign exchange is limiting wheat imports. "If this continues, people will not keep silent," said Khalifa Hassan, a government worker queueing with about 10 other customers at a neighbourhood bakery in North Khartoum on Monday night. AFP reporters saw lines of 15-20 people at Khartoum-area bakeries on Tuesday as well, about three days after shortages began.
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