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North Bergen unveils $88 million budget

NORTH BERGEN: The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously this week to introduce an $88.4 million budget for 2016 that benefits from a renewed interest among developers in building in the township but strains under a 7 percent increase in health insurance costs. The total amount to be raised through taxes will increase by about 2 percent to $63.5 million, representing ... Read More »

Edgewater budget includes $29 tax cut

EDGEWATER: The budget that the Borough Council introduced this week includes a $29 tax cut for the average property owner, thanks in part to new revenue generated by nearly $78 million in construction that was completed in the last year, officials said. The $28 million budget, which the council introduced in a unanimous vote on Monday, represents a nearly 5 ... Read More »

Kenyan shilling firm this year as deficit shrinks

NAIROBI: Kenya’s shilling has held firm against the dollar this year, supported by a shrinking trade deficit, higher transfers from workers abroad and an economy that has escaped the beating taken by others in Africa from weak commodity prices. The shilling has been a sturdy performer among the main traded currencies on the continent in 2016, and weakened less than ... Read More »

Japanese inflation flat in year to Feb

TOKYO: Japan’s consumer inflation was flat in the year to February as low energy costs and weak consumption put a lid on price growth, government data showed on Friday. A separate index calculated by Japan’s central bank to strip out the effects of energy and fresh food prices showed consumer inflation at 1.1 percent in the year to February, unchanged ... Read More »

Florida’s unemployment rate dips below 5%

TALLAHASSEE: Florida’s unemployment rate is below 5 percent for the first time in eight years. The state’s employment agency announced Friday that unemployment in February was 4.9 percent, down 0.2 percent from the revised January rate of 5.1 percent. Monroe County had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.1 percent, followed by St. Johns County at 3.5 percent and Lafayette County ... Read More »

Ogun customs warns rice smugglers

WASHINGTON: The Ogun State Customs Area Command has declared a zero tolerance for rice smuggling. Speaking during an interactive session with reporters at the Idiroko Customs Area Command, Comptroller of Customs in Ogun State, Mr Waindu Multafu said the grace period given to importers who have already initiated import processes ended yesterday. He said:”In October 2015, the Comptroller-General of the ... Read More »

Iowa unemployment rises for first time since 2009

WASHINGTON: Iowa’s long-envied unemployment rate increased in February for the first time in seven years, echoing other signs of a weakening state economy. The state’s February rate of 3.7 percent was two-tenths of a percent higher than in January, according to figures released Friday by Iowa Workforce Development. That’s a marked departure in a state where unemployment has held steady or ... Read More »

Customs impounds N360m contraband

ABUJA: The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operation Unit Zone `A`, on Friday said it impounded vehicles and other contraband with Duty Paid Value (DPV) estimated at N360.19 million. The Area Controller of the unit, Comptroller Mohammed Umar, announced this in a statement issued by the Zonal Public Relation Officer, Mr Uche Ejieseme, and made available to the News Agency ... Read More »

Wuhan customs seizes 25 kg of khat from Africa

WASHINGTON: Wuhan customs announced on Friday that a total of 25 kilograms of the narcotic plant was discovered in packages recently. Khat, containing an amphetamine-like stimulant, is illegal to plant, possess, sell or consume in China. The recipient of the packages — a Yemeni student studying in Wuhan City — has been detained. He said the drug was ordered online ... Read More »

Colorado unemployment rate drops to 15-year low

WASHINGTON: For the first time in nearly two decades, Colorado’s unemployment rate is at 3%; which is well below the national average. On top of an unemployment rate drop, Colorado has also added 2,500 news jobs since the month of February. Colorado’s unemployment rate has hit 3 percent for the first time in 15 years. Mesa County however is still ... Read More »

Arkansas’s unemployment rate continues to drop

WASHINGTON: Arkansas’s unemployment rate has tied its all time low, according to numbers released Friday by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services. At 4.2 percent for the month of February, the rate is the same as the lowest number recorded in 2000.  It is down from 4.4 percent in January of this year. Kathy Deck, an economist at the University of ... Read More »

Nicaragua tourism revenues surge 18.7%

WASHINGTON: Nicaragua’s tourism industry continues to grow aggressively, according to the latest data by Nicaragua’s Central Bank, with revenues from tourism increasing 18.7 percent to US $528.6 million in 2015 from US $445.4 million the year prior, due in large part thanks to longer stays. According to the Central Bank, foreign tourists spent an average of $41.50 per day, essentially ... Read More »

Copper falls more than 2%

LONDON: London copper has fallen, pressured by a stronger US dollar after hawkish comments from US Federal Reserve officials and as investors locked in recent gains. Trading volumes in most metals were lighter than usual, as investors held off taking positions ahead of Easter and opting for caution following Tuesday’s bombs in Belgium. A stronger US dollar, following comments supporting more ... Read More »

Oman invests $11.4 bln in oil, gas sector

MUSCAT: Oman has invested $11.4 billion in developing the oil and gas sector last year. However, the government was able to reduce its total budgeted expenditure in the oil sector by $1.3 billion during the period, mainly due to enhanced efficiency. Some of the reduction in expenditure was due to increased efficiency. “Companies were able to reduce expenditure,” said Salim ... Read More »

Bangladesh’s GDP growth in 2015

DHAKA: Despite political agitation early in 2015 that adversely affected transport services, exports, and private investment, growth in Bangladesh held up well because of brisk domestic demand, boosted by higher worker remittances, private sector wages, and public investment. Inflation moderated in FY2015 much as forecast in ADO 2015 from 7.4% a year earlier, reflecting large public stocks of food grains, ... Read More »

Finland retail trade sales up by 2.3% in Feb

HELSINKI: The sales in retail trade went up by 2.3 per cent year-on-year in February 2016, according to Statistics Finland’s retail trade flash estimate. Over the same period, the volume of retail trade sales, from which the impact of prices has been eliminated, grew by 3.9 per cent. In daily consumer goods trade, sales also grew by 2.9 per cent ... Read More »

Nepalese PM embarks on weeklong china visit

KATHMANDU: The visit comes a month-and-a-half after India ended over four months of calibrated fuel and trade blockade on landlocked Nepal.On the first day of Prime Minister KP Oli’s official visit to China, Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Thapa signed an agreement to this effect with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing on Monday. “The meeting focused on strengthening bilateral ... Read More »

Poland’s minister approves logging in pristine forest

WARSAW: Poland’s environment minister has approved a deeply contested plan to allow extensive logging in Europe’s last pristine forest, arguing that the decision will help save it from bark beetle, a kind of woodworm. Following weeks of deliberations and protests, Jan Szyszko said Friday said he has approved the logging of some 180,000 cubic meters (6.4 million cubic feet) of ... Read More »

Drug detection scanners a plus for Fiji

WELLINGTON: As the hub of the Pacific, the introduction of drug detection scanners at our two international airports this weekend is crucial in efforts to secure our borders. Thanks to the Australian customs authorities, the Nausori and Nadi Airports will be equipped with drug detection scanners which have been proven successful in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. With the ... Read More »

UAE rental car firm invests $1.36m in VIP fleet

ABU DHABI: Najd Rent-a-Car, a UAE-based car rental firm, has announced that it has invested a further AED5 million ($1.36 million) on the acquisition of eight new luxury cars. The move is part of the company’s continuing efforts to expand its operations in Dubai, it said in a statement. The company said its acquisition of new vehicles comes as it has ... Read More »