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(MENAFN - AFP) Surrounded by ochre rubble, Pannakaji beds down on a mattress wedged between Buddha statues at Kathmandu's "Monkey Temple", hoping to deter looters from the quake-ravaged site where his ancestors have served as priests for 1,600 years.

The hilltop Swayambunath Temple complex, one of Nepal's oldest and most sacred religious monuments, was partly reduced to debris ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Mountaineering companies Sunday called off their spring expeditions to Mount Everest, marking the second year with virtually no summits after an quake-triggered avalanche killed 18 on the world's highest peak.

The 7.8-magnitude quake left a trail of death and destruction when it erupted around midday on April 25, bringing down buildings in the capital Kathmandu ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Asian markets made cautious gains on Monday after a long holiday weekend, after Wall Street finished last week on a positive note, but with mixed news on the China economic front.

Hong Kong stocks opened up 0.14 percent, Seoul tracked up 0.38 percent and Shanghai made marginal gains at the opening bell following official data last week that showed China's manufacturing ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) China's manufacturing activity recorded its worst contraction in a year in April, a survey by HSBC showed on Monday, as subdued domestic demand weighed on growth in the world's second-largest economy.

The British bank's final purchasing managers' index (PMI) came in at 48.9, below the breakeven point of 50 and the weakest since 48.1 in the same month last year, ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Australian banking heavyweight Westpac posted a first-half net profit of Aus$3.61 billion (US2.82 billion) Monday, unchanged from the same period last year with solid mortgage lending growth offset by its institutional arm taking a hit.

The cash profit of Australia's second largest bank, the industry's preferred measure which strips out volatile items, was ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Train drivers for German rail operator Deutsche Bahn announced a week-long strike to start Monday, their eighth work stoppage in 10 months of bitterly contentious wage negotiations.

The drivers' union GDL on Sunday called on workers to down tools from 3:00 pm Monday (1300 GMT) for freight and 2:00 am Tuesday for passenger trains, with the strike to end for ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) It struggled for years to sell its Rafale jets abroad but French defence group Dassault has finally scored several lucrative deals, thanks in part to anti-US suspicion in the Middle East, experts say.

Egypt was the first buyer, ordering 24 planes in February. India followed suit with 36 fighter jets in early April.

On Monday, wealthy Qatar will sign a ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Greece and its European creditors are finally making progress only days after combative Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was effectively sidelined from talks on its enormous debt, EU sources told AFP Sunday.

Negotiators said there were "encouraging" signs from meetings over the weekend in Brussels on reforms which Athens must push through in exchange for 7.2 ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Players greeted like rock stars, cheering fans and a spectacular set; the Zenith concert hall in Paris was transformed into a giant play room this weekend for a global tournament devoted to the blockbuster "Call of Duty" video game.

The eight best teams in the world -- three of them American, three British and two French -- were disputing the title of Electronic ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) After the media, the oligarchs and the opposition, Vladimir Putin's Russia is turning up the heat on the arts, with a "blasphemous" opera, a raunchy teen dance show and an "insulting" Hollywood film all taking fire.

Claiming a mission to protect the sensibilities of the Russian people, the Kremlin and the Orthodox Church are leaning on artists to imbue their ...

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