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(MENAFN - AFP) The World Bank on Sunday announced $57 billion in financing for sub-Saharan Africa over the next three fiscal years.

Of that total, $45 billion will come from the International Development Association, the World Bank fund that provides grants and interest-free loans for the world's poorest countries.

The package will also feature an estimated $8 billion ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a staunch joint defence of free trade Sunday, as the United States pushes towards greater protectionism.

"We want free and open markets," Merkel said in a speech in Hanover, a day before the world's biggest computer trade fair, CeBIT, kicks off in the central German city. The event ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" shattered box office records in its opening weekend, taking a monster $175.7 million in North America and $357 million in total, according to industry data released Monday.

The film, featuring "Harry Potter" star Emma Watson as Belle to the frightening Beast played by Dan Stevens of "Downton Abbey" fame, set a number of benchmarks, ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Egypt has received its first two oil shipments from Saudi giant Aramco after deliveries were suspended for several months over political differences, an oil ministry spokesman said on Sunday.

"On Friday and Saturday, we received the first two deliveries after a resumption of the contract with Aramco," oil ministry spokesman Hamdi Abdel Aziz told AFP.

"We ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Brazil tried to reassure the world Sunday that its huge meat industry poses no threat -- with President Michel Temer even inviting ambassadors to a steak dinner -- despite allegations that corrupt exporters sold tainted products.

Temer smiled as he invited diplomats to a traditional Brazilian meat restaurant called a churrascaria, saying "if you accept the ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Sunday announced a new tournament structure, with increased prize money, as it looks to raise the sport's profile and ramp up revenues.

The new tour series, which features six levels, will kick off next year and run until 2021, with at least a million dollars in prize money up for grabs in each of its top four events.

Federation ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The last large coal-fired power plant in Beijing has suspended operations, with the city's electricity now generated by natural gas, the state news agency reported as smog enveloped the Chinese capital this weekend.

The shuttering of the Huaneng Beijing Thermal Power Plant comes on the heels of China's annual legislative sessions, where Premier Li Keqiang promised ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Mansions owned by maids, gardeners and drivers until now have aroused little suspicion in India, where the wealthy have long hidden fortunes in the names of lowly-paid staff to avoid paying tax.

But as the government broadens its crackdown on corruption, a new law promises to end the widespread practise and hundreds of suspicious bank accounts are under investigation. ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) When Sadegh married his college sweetheart, he never thought he'd end up as one of those Iranians facing ruin and even prison because of huge sums demanded by his wife's family.

But the "mehrieh" ("affection") system, in which future husbands agree to pay a certain number of gold coins to the bride in the event of divorce, has left thousands of men in Iran ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) From hotels with segregated swimming pools to jelly made from seaweed instead of pig bones, Buddhist Thailand is chasing halal gold as it welcomes Muslim visitors and touts its wares to the Islamic world.

Inside the cavernous dining hall of the five-star Al Meroz hotel in a Muslim suburb of Bangkok, an elderly man with a wispy beard recites verses of the Koran ...

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