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CERES News Digest - Week8, Vol.4, March 3-7

CERES News Digest - Week8, Vol.4, March 3-7

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CERES News Digest is a weekly publication that collects blurbs and article links of the top news headlines from 33 countries in Eurasia.
CERES News Digest is a weekly publication that collects blurbs and article links of the top news headlines from 33 countries in Eurasia.

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03/11/2014

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Country News Digest  Vol.4, Issue #8
03/03/14-03/07/14
 Editor: Eugene ImasContributors:-Risa Chubinsky-Glyn Cozart -Joseph Gates-Tomas Hyde-Katharine Quinn-Judge
 
Country News Digest 
On Friday the chair of the Azerbaijani Parliament’s Committee for Security
 AzerbaijanGeorgia Russia
and Defense Ziyafat Asgarov announced plans to amend the country’s current anti-terrorism laws. According to Asgarov, the new amendments would increase penalties for those involved in a range of terrorist activities, including the planning and financing of terrorist acts.On uesday, President Putin discussed Russian intervention in Crimea, maintaining that the unmarked troops occupying the peninsula were members of local self-defense groups rather than Russian troops. Te Russian parliament voted unanimously to allow Russian military intervention in Crimea, which is populated by an ethnic Russian majority.
 Armenia Moldova BelarusUkraineurkey
 ensions in Ukraine remain high, as Crimea declared on Tursday that it would hold a referendum on March 16 on whether or not to join Russia. Ukrainian officials have denounced the referendum, calling it illegal and unconstitutional. Te referendum signifies a growing pro-Russia, pro-Ukraine split in the country, which western countries have begun trying to de-escalate through sanctions and freezing assets of former Ukrainian leaders. Te last surviving Belarusian to have been awarded the Soviet title of People’s Poet died March 2 at the age of 79. Ryhor Baradulin was the author of about 70 books of poems, his  works have been translated into 40 languages, he translated  writings by Shakespeare, Neruda, Khayyam, and others into Belarusian, and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1996. Tousands showed up to commemorate him at his funeral in Minsk on Tursday.Having banned the import of Moldovan wine last September, Russia’s sanitary inspection agency said in a Wednesday press release that it would consider allowing wine imports from the autonomous regions of  ransnistria and Gagauzia. International observers linked the September ban to Moldova’s plans to sign an EU Association Agreement, and some have connected this  week’s announcement to the autonomous republics’ vocal opposition to said agreement.On a uesday meeting in  bilisi, EU Minister of Enlargement Štefan Füle assured Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze that the EU would support Georgia should it come under pressure from neighbors while preparing to sign its anticipated Association Agreement. Fule also emphasized that the terms of the agreement and the Georgian elite’s opposition to gay marriage were mutually compatible, as
the agreement was economically, not culturally binding.
At the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting on Wednesday, Russian On Monday, the urkish Air Force scrambled eight F-16 fighter jets because a President Putin announced that Armenia has successfully adopted and implemented the necessary economic plan of action to begin treaty preparations for accession to the Eurasian Union. On March 11, Armenian, Russian, Belarusian, and Kazakhstani leaders will meet in Moscow to begin drafting the agreement.Russian surveillance plane flew parallel along the Black Sea coast. Te Russian plane remained in international airspace, but heightened tensions because Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula juts into the north of the Black Sea  while urkey, a NAO member, forms the southern coastline.
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Country News Digest 
 wo Chinese metallurgical companies are completing deals to buy at least half
 Kyrgyzstan
 Kazakhstan
a million tons of coal per year from Celsius Coal Ltd, an Australian firm operating in Kyrgyzstan. Baosteel, China’s largest steel producer, will ship coal to Xinjiang province, near the border of Kyrgyzstan. Tese non-binding memorandums of understanding should lead to production in two to three years. On Tursday, a NAO airstrike killed five Afghan soldiers and wounded eight, making it one of the worst incidents of friendly fire throughout the entire Afghan war. Officials explained that the attack in Logar Province was a result of poor coordinator between drone operators and personnel on the ground. Te area is frequented by many insurgents, and drone strikes are relatively common.
 Mongolia Iran
Government delegations from ehran and the six  world powers concluded two-day long negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program on Friday at the United Nations complex in Vienna. At the end of negotiations an Iranian Foreign Ministry official stated the talks were “substantive and useful,” though more would be needed before reaching a final agreement. Tis week the Government of urkmenistan reported a 10.3% growth rate in the country’s GDP in January-February 2014. Some of the highest rates of growth occurred in industry (8.9%), construction (15%), and transport and communication (14.8%) sectors of the economy. Tis growth reflects a slight increase from the 10.2% average GDP growth rate for 2013. hings are looking up for those who wish to invest in Mongolia. A Mongolian mines minister suggested that the current moratorium on exploration licenses might be lifted during parliament’s spring session. his news comes amid rumors that Rio into is close to a deal with the government of Mongolia to begin work on the second expansion phase of the massive Oyu olgoi mine. Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called  Wednesday for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Crimea, saying both sides should swear off the use of force. Speculating about the cautious nature of the statement, Kazakhstani analysts suggested Nazarbayev’s status as an authoritarian leader hostile to protest on the one hand, and as the leader of a country  with a predominantly Russian-speaking north on the other, necessitated a highly neutral stance. Human rights activist and former presidential candidate Oynihol Bobonazarova was given the US State Department’s annual Women of Courage award in Washington on uesday. ajikistan’s opposition selected her to challenge Emomali Rakhmon in elections last November, but she failed to gain enough signatures to officially register her bid - due, she said, to official harassment. She is credited with using her brief candidacy to shed spotlight on human rights abuses.Uzbekistan is planning to ban imports of non-iodized salt by the end of the year to help combate diseases caused by iodine deficiencies that occur in the population. Te country has been facing issues related to a lack of iodine since the fall of the Soviet Union. Tis import ban is part of the government’s “Year of the Healthy Childproject and works in tandem  with its May 2007 law on “Protection Against Iodine-Deficiency Related Diseases”.
ajikistanUzbekistan Afghanistanurkmenistan
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