Bangladesh parties apply to run in December polls

Dhaka - A total of 107 political parties have applied to register with Bangladesh's Election Commission for eligibility in December's general election, officials said Monday.

Russia's Medvedev to begin two-day official visit to Armenia

Moscow/Yerevan - President Dmitry Medvedev began a two-day visit on Monday to Armenia, caught in a precarious security deadlock in the Caucasus following Russia's recent war with Georgia.

The trips marks Medvedev's fifth meeting this year with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, a firm Moscow ally.

"The main provision on the agenda of Medvedev's visit will be talks in the tete-a-tete and extended formats talks with Sarkisian,"

a Kremlin official said on customary condition of anonymity Monday. "This vividly proves the high level of political dialog aimed at the further strengthening of strategic partnership."

The official added that trade and economic relations were the primary topics of discussion.

US Fed Chief Bernanke warns about Slow growth for "several" quarters; stimulus needed

Washington - US growth will remain weak for "several" quarters as the world's largest economy works through a financial and housing crisis that has sharply reduced spending, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Monday.

Amid fears that the US has already dipped into a recession, Bernanke told a congressional hearing that a second fiscal stimulus package could help kick-start the economy.

Congress passed a 150-billion-dollar stimulus package in the spring, offering tax rebate cheques that raised consumer spending and helped boost growth in the second quarter.

European Stock Markets close higher as Investor sentiment improves

Frankfurt - Signs of confidence returning to share markets emerged Monday as stocks in Europe and Wall Street gained ground following solid rises across Asia.

Iceland seeks rescue package from IMF and Central Banks

Reykjavik/Stockholm - Iceland was reported Monday to be inching closer to secure support for a rescue package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and several central banks.

Trial starts in Bulgaria against 9 persons for embezzling millions from EU Aid Funds

Sofia - A Bulgarian court on Monday launched a trial against 9 people accused of embezzling millions from European Union aid funds.