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Country News Digest Issue #11

11/12/12-11/21/12

Proposals from Azerbaijan were added to the final resolution of NATOs Parliamentary Assembly. The Caspian Sea - South Caucasus corridor had been excluded from the discussion on troop and equipment withdrawal from Afghanistan until Azerbaijan indicated its desire to include its branch of the supply route in the withdrawal plans.

Azerbaijan

Country News Digest


Russia

News.az

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U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday accepted an invitation to visit Russia from Russian President Vladimir Putin, at a date to be agreed upon in future. During the phone conversation, President Putin congratulated President Obama on his re-election and expressed hope that the two countries could continue to cooperate constructively. Channel News Asia

Trend.az

Articles:

Washington Post

NATO and the European Union expressed concern over political rifts in Georgia since the countrys parliamentary elections in October. During the visit of President Saakashvili and Prime Minister Ivanishvili to Brussels this week, European leaders congratulated them on the peaceful transition but warned against politically motivated arrests and pressure on public broadcasting networks.

Georgia

Ukraine is planning on reducing its imports of Russian gas by more than a quarter of its current level. Ukraine is trying to lower its dependence on Russia by drawing on its own domestic sources and has signed a contract with Germanys RWE for alternative gas shipments, which could provide about 5 bcm of gas in 2013.

Ukraine

D&F Watch

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Irish Times

Financial Times

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Reuters

Hrant Bagratyan, MP from the opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC), refused to comment on negotiations between the ANC and the Prosperous Armenia party (PAP), but mentioned former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan as a possible presidential candidate for the 2013 elections. Tigran Sargsyan, Armenian prime minister and deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, doubts the two parties would be able to nominate a single candidate.

Armenia

Two low-profile opposition figures, Andrei Gaidukov and Ilya Bogdanov, have been arrested in Belarus and accused of high-treason. Both men were members of the fledgling Belarusian Christian Democratic Party but were not among highly influential members, according to reports. The maximum sentence for a high-treason conviction is 15 years in prison.

Belarus

ArmInfo

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Arka

RIA Novosti

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UPI

The Turkish Parliaments Coup and Memorandum Investigation Commission has invited Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan to testify about the February 28, 1997 postmodern coup and the April 27, 2007 e-memorandum. Turkish media has speculated Erdoan will be asked about his 2005 meeting with former Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaar Bykant at the Dolmabahe Palace in stanbul.

Turkey

A resolution calling for the resignation of first deputy speaker of parliament and member of the Democratic Party Vlad Plahotniuc failed to pass a vote in parliament on Thursday. Communist Party deputy Grigore Petrenc called for the resolution claiming that Plahotnius shady business dealings stained the reputation of the Parliament and the Moldovan state.

Moldova

Todays Zaman

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Hurriyet

Tribuna

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InfoTag

The Kyrgyz government will increase the wages judges receive in an attempt to reduce judicial corruption. Kyrgyz officials hope that the increase will make bribes less appealing. The increase follows a report last month that the actual wages of Kyrgyz workers increased by 25% last year. The judiciary is consistently criticized on human rights and corruption.

Kyrgyzstan

Country News Digest

Trend

Articles:

Pakistan released thirteen Afghan Taliban prisoners this week and is considering releasing former Taliban second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, sparking hopes that Islamabad may be willing to broker peace talks with the militants. The Afghan government believes Baradar would be more open to dialogue than many of his comrades.

Afghanistan

UPI

Reuters

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New York Times

Kazakhstan has been elected to the UN Human Rights Council for the first time. Kazakhstan will serve for the 2013-2015 term. The UN Human Rights Council was established in 2006 to replace the Humans Right Commission. The Council has forty-seven members; eighteen new member states were elected to the new term.

Kazakhstan

TengriNews

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Iran unveiled new missile and artillery systems Tuesday during its large scale Velayat 4 military exercises. Iranian media claims the new Qader missile system can be deployed in 30 minutes and the Safat system is undetectable by enemies. The military maneuvers came just one week after Iran fired on a US drone over international waters. Western experts assert Iran often exaggerates its weapons capabilities.

Iran

Trend

The Telegraph

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Reuters

A Premier League soccer match in Tajikistan ended early as the referee was attacked by players and fans alike after a controversial goal. Istaravshan FK and Energetik Dushanbe were tied 1-1 when the controversial goal was awarded. After disputing with the referee two Energetik players were sent off which set off the brawl.

Tajikistan

Turkmenistan has cut off gas exports to Iran after the countries failed to come to an agreement on pricing. Iran buys almost a third of Turkmenistans gas exports, which it relies on heavily to fuel its northern regions, and hopes to increase its imports to 40 billion cubic meters/day from the current 15-18 billion cubic meters/day. Euronews

Turkmenistan

ESPN Blog

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Business Insider

Articles: Vestnik Kavkaza

An Uzbek court has reversed an August decision allowing the seizure of Russian telecommunications company MTSs assets in the country. The court also imposed a fine of $600 million on the company that can be paid in installments over the eight months. The reversal comes as pressure from Russia on the Karimov family, especially daughter Gulnara, to release the assets increased in past weeks.

Uzbekistan

Sarah Armstrong, a mining lawyer, has been banned from leaving Mongolia. She has been repeatedly interrogated for corruption allegations within the company South Gobi Resources.

Mongolia

Washington Post

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Reuters

The Australian

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The Advocate

Estonian trade unions want to increase minimum wages by 10% to decrease the disparity between the rich and the poor. They are demanding that wages be increased from 290 euros to 320 euros.

Country News Digest

Estonia

Bloomberg

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Prime Minister Necas and the Civic Democrats have begun to moderate their rhetoric in reference to harsh austerity measures that they earlier proposed in order to reduce the budget deficit. After sound defeats in regional elections and a close call in a recent confidence vote, Necas says that he will revisit the plan to reduce the deficit once growth is higher. Reuters

Czech Republic

Baltic Times

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Bloomberg

Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius stated his support for the Visaginas nuclear plant, which was rejected in the referendum. In an interview he stated, If we do not build our own nuclear power plant, then our money, the money of our consumers, our residents, which we pay for the import of electricity, will go for the construction of the nuclear power plant in [Russias] Kaliningrad Region.

Lithuania

Slovakia is preparing to finalize a deal with Spain, in which Spain would receive 22 million tons worth of carbon credits in exchange for cash that is intended to reduce Slovakias budget deficit. After the recent recession, several governments in the EU have been left with excess carbon credits, which they are free to sell to other countries. Slovakia is reportedly also eyeing a similar deal with Austria.

Slovakia

RIA Novosti

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Business Week

Bloomberg

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Argus Media

In the third quarter of 2012 Latvia showed the highest European growth rates with a 5.3 percent increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Eurozones GDP decreased 0.6 percent from the second quarter of 2012. At the same time Standard & Poors increased Latvias credit rating from BBB-/A-3 to BBB/A-2 and Latvias transfer and convertibility (T&C) assessment from A- to A.

Latvia

The head of Hungarys banking association, Mihaly Patai, has resigned in protest over new government impositions on the banking sector. Prime Minister Viktor Orbans government recently reneged on its promise to cut its bank tax - the highest in Europe - in half, and has doubled other levies on Hungarys banks.

Hungary

The Baltic Course

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The Baltic Times

Financial Times

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Reuters

Independence Day celebrations in Warsaw this week devolved into violence, when nationalist protesters began to shoot fireworks at the police police and pelt them with stones. The police pacified the situation using tear gas and rubber bullets. In all, 22 police officers were injured and 176 protesters were detained.

Poland

Romanias GDP is estimated by the National Institute of Statistics to have fallen by 0.5% in the third quarter of the year. Estimates from the European Commission predict that Romania will see its GDP grow this year by 0.8% and 2.2% the next. Weak agricultural output and Eurozone problems adversely affected Romanias growth this year.

Romania

Washington Post

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Russia Today

RTTNews

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Business Review

Bulgaria signed an agreement with Gazprom on Thursday finalizing the South Stream pipeline deal. Bulgaria was the final country to sign on to the investment agreement. Construction is planned to start next month and the first gas deliveries are scheduled for December 2015. The Bulgarian portion of the pipeline is projected to cost $4.2 billion.

Country News Digest


Croatia

Bulgaria

Novinite

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BusinessWeek

Thousands gathered in Zagreb cheered as the convictions of Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were overturned by a war crimes court in The Hague. The two men had been charged of partaking in a criminal conspiracy led by late Croatian President Franjo Tudjman to permanently and forcibly remove the Serb civilian population from Krajina. Articles: BBC Telegraph President Filip Fujanovic has signalled that Milo Djukanovich will return as Prime Minister of Montenegro. Djukanovich has held both the posts of President and Prime Minister of Montenegro in the past, and since then, he has headed the Democratic Party of Socialists, which received the most votes in a recent parliamentary election and now faces the challenge of forming a ruling coalition with other parties.

World Bank released a statement saying that Czech Utility CEZ could walk out of Albania in the upcoming months. CEZ stated that it has not been able to resolve its dispute with the government over tariffs and extraordinary taxes.

Albania

Montenegro

BNE

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Reuters

Associated Press

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Radio Free Europe

Russias energy minister, Alexander Novak, stated that Serbia has requested a loan for $1 billion. Serbia wants 300 million by the end of the year, and 700 million by 2013.

Serbia

A second round of talks took place this week between the Prime Ministers of Kosovo and Serbia . Despite vocal protests from opposition groups in both countries, many concrete agreements were realized on such issues as freedom of movement, recognition of diplomas, and trade.

Kosovo

Reuters

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Focus-Fen

SE Times

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Balkan Insight

N i k o l a To d o r o v, Macedonias Minister of Health, has made it known that he is looking to hire certified geniuses as personal advisors. Those without an IQ exceeding 140, a college degree, and proficiency in two foreign languages will not be considered for the position. Authorities in Macedonia are investigating whether the IQ requirement constitutes a discriminatory hiring process.

Macedonia

Washington Post

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Social Democrat and former prime minister Borut Pahor unexpectedly won the first round of voting in the presidential elections on Tuesday with 40 percent of the vote. Current president Danilo Turk received 35 percent and the conservative ruling Democratic Partys candidate Milan Zver received just 24 percent, as his popularity declined due to a painful austerity program. Pahor and Turk will face a runoff on December 2.

Slovenia

Radio Free Europe

CS Monitor

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Euractiv

Country News Digest


Valentin Inzko, the Bosnia & High Representative for Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina, addressed the Security Council this week and sharply criticized the leaders of the autonomous Serbian republic for undermining the state. Mr. Inzkos remarks included quotations of leading Bosnian Serbs calling for the dissolution of the state. Russia criticized the report and blamed recent tensions on the Bosniaks. The Province

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Chicago Tribune

The Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies is a U.S. Department of Education Title VI-funded National Resource Center (NRC) that strives to increase understanding and appreciation of the cultures and challenges of the region stretching from Central Europe to the Pacific and from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas

Box 571031, ICC 111, Washington, DC 20057-1031 Email: ceres@georgetown.edu Tel.: (202) 687-6080 Fax: (202) 687-5829