CANBERRA — Australia is expected to secure a vital free trade agreement with India before the end of the year, according to Trade Minister Andrew Robb.

There were a number of finer details to iron out, but talks with Indian government representatives were encouraging, and Australia was keen to sign a deal before 2016, Robb said. (Australia-India-FTA)
TOKYO — Japan’s consumer prices fell 0.1 percent in September from a year earlier, marking the second consecutive month of decline, the government said Friday.

The core consumer price index, which excludes volatile fresh food prices, stood at 103.4 against the 2010 base of 100, according to the data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
(Japan-Consumer Price-Fall)
CANBERRA — The “Belt and Road” initiative is being offered up by China as a vision for a more prosperous region with connectivity and interdependence, an Australian economist said.
The “Belt and Road” initiative is an entirely different model compared with old colonialism of the Western countries that was based on a foreign power controlling resources for its own benefit, he said. (Australia-China-“Belt and Road”)
SYDNEY — Increasing forest cover by up to 20 million hectares throughout the Asia Pacific by 2020, eradicating illegal logging and improving multilateral cooperation are among the APEC’s priorities for sustainable forestry practices.

APEC forestry ministers at their just-concluded meeting highlighted the importance of sustainable forest management in achieving the region’s long-term socioeconomic development.
WELLINGTON — One of the most advanced pilotless aircraft in the United States Air Force will make an appearance in New Zealand for the first time during an ongoing multinational military exercise, the New Zealand Defense Force announced Friday.

The RQ4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft system would be used during Exercise Southern Katipo 2015, a military exercise being held in the South Island over October and November. (New Zealand-U.S. Drone-Debut)
CANBERRA — Enice, a Chinese telecommunications group, was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange on Friday, underlining a trend of Asian start-ups seeking to break into the international market.
It is the latest company from the region to list on the Australian bourse as a means of gaining international exposure. (Australia-Chinese Firm-Listing)
TOKYO — The bank of Japan on Friday decided to keep its current monetary policy, forgoing fresh monetary easing measures for the time being, while downgrading its inflation and economic projections.

The decision came after government data showed that Japan’s consumer prices fell for the second consecutive month in September, with the core consumer price index excluding fresh food declining 0.1 percent from a year earlier. (Japan-Monetary Policy)
NEW DELHI — India unveiled a draft civil aviation policy on Friday with tax incentives for airlines, maintenance and repair works of aircraft to boost regional connectivity.

The policy also includes a 2 percent levy on all air tickets, Civil Aviation Secretary R. N. Choubey said. (India-Civi Aviation-Policy) Enditem

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