Niger passes slightly increased $3.22 bln 2015 budget

NIAMEY (Reuters) – Parliament in Niger, one of Africa’s newest oil producers, adopted on Friday a budget of 1.7 trillion CFA francs ($3.22 billion) for 2015, an increase of nearly 2 percent from this year, according to the text of the budget bill. Investment spending will also increase by over 3 percent to 1.02 trillion CFA francs, making up nearly 60 percent of the total budget. Priority spending areas include security, food security, energy, education and health, Finance Minister Gilles Baillet said in his budget expose. Niger’s economy is on track to expand by 6. …

South Africa’s rand falls to week lows on wide trade deficit

New South African bank notes featuring an image of former South African President Nelson Mandela are displayed at an office in JohannesburgJOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa's rand fell to a week's low against the dollar on Friday, losing ground after the trade deficit widened sharply in October. The latest blow to Africa's most advanced, but struggling, economy was softened by the energy department announcing that fuel prices would drop from next week because of falling global oil prices. The trade deficit widened to a record 21.33 billion rand ($1.9 billion) in October, from 3.04 billion rand in September, as exports fell nearly 2 percent while imports soared by 18 percent, the revenue service said. …

Blockbuster Josh Donaldson Trade Shows Jays All-in for 2015, A’s Retooling … – Bleacher Report

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Blockbuster Josh Donaldson Trade Shows Jays All-in for 2015, A's Retooling
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Credibility Gone, Roger Goodell Faces Demise by His Own PR Devices – Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report
Credibility Gone, Roger Goodell Faces Demise by His Own PR Devices
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Vienna city guide: what to do, plus the best cafes, restaurants and hotels

It’s home to great art and music, but the city of spies and Sigmund Freud also has an edgy vibe – and a new buzz, discovers Kevin Rushby

• Your shout: readers’ tips on Vienna

For a perfect winter break, you need more than just a schmaltzy Christmas market. With its atmospheric coffee shops, opulent museums and galleries, food markets and a revitalised underground music scene, Vienna is a city that comes into its own in the colder months.

Until 1918 it was capital of that oddball confection, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, ruled over by the Habsburgs who spent centuries collecting palaces, horses and paintings. The modern visitor gets one of the world’s greatest concentrations of artefacts and art, spread across several museums, but there’s a lot more besides. Vienna was always a city on the edge – Metternich quipped: “The East begins at the Landstrasse,” the city’s south-east side. Perhaps that edgy vibe helped Freud develop his theories of human psychology, it was also where spies like Philby learned their trade in the 1930s. The cold war cemented the city’s reputation as a shadowy outpost, but local youth and an influx of people from overseas has added vitality to the old city.

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