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(MENAFN - AFP) Marching in dragon dances, cheering on buffalo fights, singing folk songs with villagers, an enamoured traveller ticked off the sights during a three-week tour of Chinese ethnic minority festivals.

The man -- who flew across the country to southwestern Guizhou province to see the colourful traditions -- represents both the benefits and downsides of ethnic ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) A growing black market economy in North Korea is increasingly allowing private citizens to engage in illicit activity that funnels hard currency to the regime, a US-based group said Tuesday.

In a new report, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) pointed to mounting evidence that Pyongyang's notorious monopoly on such activity is loosening.

And ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) More and more young Spaniards, forced to leave home by crippling unemployment, are attracted to London by the prospect of work and the chance to learn English -- but often run into a fresh set of problems.

While debate is raging in Britain about newcomers from eastern Europe, this group has arrived almost unnoticed.

More than 51,000 Spaniards, most ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) China's bank lending surged in March from the previous month, the central bank said Tuesday, but analysts dismissed the possibility of monetary easing.

Domestic banks granted 1.05 trillion yuan ($168.7 billion) in new loans last month, down 12.4 billion yuan from a year earlier, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement.

The March lending ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) China's annual demand for gold could jump around 20 percent by 2017 as more of its increasingly wealthy population seek new ways to make money, the World Gold Council predicted on Tuesday.

The forecast by the WGC comes after China became the world's largest gold-consuming nation in 2013, overtaking India.

Annual demand for gold in the form of jewellery, ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) China's economic expansion slowed in the first three months of this year, according to an AFP survey, and remains on track for its worst annual performance in nearly a quarter-century as reform priorities trump growth concerns.

Gross domestic product (GDP) in the January-March period expanded 7.3 percent from the same period last year, the median forecast ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) Japan has finished slaughtering 112,000 chickens after confirming its first bird flu infections for three years, with authorities stepping up efforts to swiftly contain the latest outbreak, officials said Tuesday.

Workers on Sunday started culling 56,000 chickens kept at a poultry farm in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan, where DNA tests confirmed the H5 strain ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) The Australian government was Tuesday expected to give the go-ahead to build a second international airport for Sydney, reports said, ending decades of indecision in a bid to boost the economy.

Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport is the main gateway into Australia but suffers from capacity limits, with a former transport minister describing it as "built in ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto posted a fall in first-quarter iron ore production on Tuesday, blaming bad weather over western Australia.

January-March output of 66.4 million tonnes of ore was below most forecasts and six percent, or four million tonnes, down on the last three months of 2013.

The world's second largest mining company pointed ...

 

(MENAFN - AFP) Malta's parliament passed a law Monday legalising same-sex civil partnerships and giving gay couples the right to adopt.

The Mediterranean island country's parliament passed the bill by a vote of 37-0.

The opposition abstained because it opposes gay adoption but not gay unions, said its leader Simon Busuttil.

Thousands of supporters cheered the ...

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