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Country News Digest Issue #9

10/27/12-11/02/12

Wednesday, Azerbaijans state energy consortium, SOCAR, bought Georgian gas supplier Itera-Georgia. The new arrangement will allow SOCAR to sell gas directly in Georgia and makes the Azerbaijani company the sole distributor everywhere but in Tbilisi.

Azerbaijan

Country News Digest


Russia

Reuters

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The Federation Council passed a new bill expanding the definition of treason on Wednesday, after the Duma approved the same proposal last week. Treason now includes giving information to international organizations which threaten Russias security, including NGOs. President Putin is expected to sign the bill into law next week. RFE/RL

Bloomberg

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Voice of America

Economic and cultural exchange between Russians and Georgians are being planned, including British backing of student and activist exchanges and tours of Georgian artists in Russia. However, steps are expected to remain on the grassroots level for now, as Georgias new Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze stated this week that formal diplomatic relations are still out of the question.

Georgia

After the Ukrainian election, Ukrainians are becoming more concerned about their currency. Official data showed that dollar purchases by Ukrainians were the highest in a year in September, in anticipation of a weaker currency after the ballot. Their concern follows Yanukovichs party victory.

Ukraine

Trend.az

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RFE/RL

Reuters

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BusinessWeek

Nato week was launched in Gyumri, Armenia on Thursday and will run through the 8th of November. The goal is to inform Armenian society about the NATO-Armenian relationship. Armenia and NATO signed an Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) in December 2005 and Armenian troops have participated in peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo.

Armenia

The authoritarian president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko publicly went on a rant against the Sports Minister Oleg Kachan and Sports Deputy Igor Zaichkov before firing them this week. He blamed them for Belarus poor performance in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Belarus won only 12 medals in London this summer, compared to 19 in Beijing.

Belarus

ARKA

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ArmenPress

The Star

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Global Times

After rumors circulated that President Abdullah Gul told Ankaras governor to allow the celebration of Republic Day to precede, Prime Minister Erdogan stated that the double-headed rule would not benefit the country, possibly signaling a growing rift between the two men. Recent polls suggest President Gul is the more popular of the two.

Turkey

Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat and Turkish President Abdullah Gul held a meeting Thursday in Ankara. Turkey ranked sixth in terms of trade volume and ninth among Moldovas export partners. Turkish officials stated they are interested in investing in the Moldovan energy market. Currently there are 232 Turkish companies operating in various Moldovan markets.

Moldova

Hurriyet

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Reuters

All Moldova

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Tribuna

Russia will write off nearly $500 million of Kyrgyz debt by 2026 under a new agreement signed by both states. As part of the agreement RusHydro, Russias state-controlled hydroelectric power producer, will build four hydroelectric power stations in the Central Asian republic.

Kyrgyzstan

Country News Digest

24 News Agency

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The Afghan Election Commission has set the presidential election date as April 5, 2014. The announcement has assuaged concerns that President Karzai, constitutionally barred from running for a third term, would seek to delay the elections. Provisional elections will be held on the same date, and parliamentary elections will be held in 2015.

Afghanistan

Reuters

New York Times

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CS Monitor

Kazakhstan has enlisted the help of ranchers from North Dakota in an attempt to revive its cattle industry. North Dakota cattle has been shipped to the former Soviet republic and Kazakh cowboys have been receiving instruction on raising cattle from North Dakota ranchers.

Kazakhstan

Israeli Defense MInister Ehud Barak told the British Daily Telegraph newspaper that a crisis was avoided earlier this year when Iran diverted three quarters of its enriched uranium to civilian purposes. Barak was quoted as saying the decision allows contemplating delaying the moment of truth by eight to ten months.

Iran

BusinessWeek

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Bismark Tribune

The Telegraph

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Reuters

The WTO has said that it will likely accept Tajikistans application to join the group later this year. Tajikistan has been trying to join the WTO since 2001. The Tajik government has vowed to undertake a series of reforms to tariffs and legislation limiting the import of goods.

Tajikistan

Turkmenistan is planning to launch its first national satellite in 2014, to be built by the Franco-Italian space technology company Thales Alenia and launched from a Chinese site. President Berdimukhamedov met with VP Michel Ricard on Wednesday to discuss the projects progress.

Turkmenistan

Central Asia Online

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RFERL

Space News

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Trend.az

The government controlled energy firm Uzbekenegro has hit the deadline for repaying its nearly $20 million power bill to the Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company. Uzbekenegro was to pay off half of the debt by the end of September, which did not occur, and complete the payment by October 30.

Uzbekistan

Mongolian Central Bank is trying to raise $1.5 billion by selling government bonds in order to finance the development of the countrys infrastructure. This move comes as Mongolia, which is a resource-rich country, is trying to encourage more foreign investment.

Mongolia

UniversalNewsWire

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Central Asian News

The Australian

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WSJ

Estonias unemployment level is slightly below that of the EU. The EUs unemployment rate is 10.6%, while Estonias unemployment rate is 10%, coming drastically down from 11.4%.

Country News Digest

Estonia

The ruling party of the Czech Republic, the Civic Democrats, has splintered over a bill that proposes raising taxes in order to reduce the budget deficit. Prime Minister Necas has delayed the vote, which he has linked with a vote of confidence, into next week in an effort to better his chances of winning. Trust Law

Czech Republic

Baltic Business News

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Oracle

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Orlando Sentinel

Chevron has entered Lithuania by acquiring a 50% stake in local company LL Investicijos. The US-London company looks to invest in shale gas exploration. The Lithuanian government has set a goal for energy independence from Russia.

Lithuania

A regional court in Slovakia has ruled that the segregation of Roma children in elementary schools constitutes discrimination, and the practice must be done away with. School officials argued that the separation of students was based not on ethnic background but was due to the childrens socially disadvantaged origins.

Slovakia

WSJ Blog

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Reuters

Slovak Spectator

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CNN

The Latvian Supreme Court has convicted businesswoman Inara Vilkaste of complicity in bribing Riga City Council officials and has sentenced her to two years in prison. Vilkastes attorney said they would be appealing the case. The sentence for Raimonds Janita was reduced to the amount of time he has already spent in jail and was released in the courtroom.

Latvia

Hungarys government announced a new plan to lower its debt and encourage investment in the country this week. Foreigners may acquire Hungarian citizenship if they agree to invest at least 250,000 euros in its economy by buying government bonds with five-year maturities.

Hungary

Leta

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The Baltic Course

WSJ

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RT

Polish authorities have refuted reports that residue from explosives was found on the wreckage of the plane that crashed in 2010, killing the Polish President Lech Kaczynski and many other important officials. Conspiracy theories have abounded after the tragedy, especially since Kaczynskis twin brother Jaroslaw, has insisted that it was an assassination.

Poland

Romania will conduct a 1.5 billion sale of 7-year Eurobonds. Romania last conducted a bond sale 16 months ago, and despite the recent commendation of the IMF the bonds are set to cost Romania roughly the equivalent of what Spain is paying for similarly matured bonds.

Romania

WA Today

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Globe and Mail

WSJ

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Reuters

President Rosen Plevneliev has threatened to veto the new Water Supply Act if municipalities do not move to consolidate water utilities. Bulgaria faces the potential of a serious water shortage and the current network supply system is estimated to waste 60-65%.

Country News Digest


Croatia

Bulgaria

Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic says he is willing to meet his Croatian counterpart Ivo Josipovic. He then added: I am ready to meet Josipovic once Croatia shows interest in two presidents to meeting.

OOSKA News

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Novinite

Croatian Times Montenegro has made Lonely Planets list of the top ten destination countries of 2013. The Balkan country ranks second after Sri Lanka. The article cites beautiful beaches as well as great hiking country as reasons to visit Montenegro.

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A former political prisoner in Albania who was seeking speedier government compensation has died three weeks after he set himself on fire during a hunger strike, activists say.

Albania

Montenegro

Boston.com Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Serbs to accept that they cannot change Kosovos borders, and pressed both countries to normalize relations. After meeting with Kosovos prime minister, Hashim Thaci, and Kosovos president, Atifete Jahjaga, she stated, We oppose any discussion of territorial changes or reopening Kosovos independent status.

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Fox News

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SE Times

Serbia

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Kosovos capital city of Pristina this week. She declared that Kosovos independence was not up for discussion and urged Kosovo and Serbia to improve relations, an act that she believes is possible without Serbias formal recognition of Kosovo.

Kosovo

NY Times

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BusinessWeek

Voice of America

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EU Business

A large protest against Nikola Gruevski and his VRMO DPMNE Party took place in Skopje this week. Opposition leaders have accused his party of reducing freedom of speech and press, while also pursuing costly policies such as building hundreds of monuments throughout the capital that many have derided as kitsch.

Macedonia

Slovenian President Danilo Trk called on the government to withdraw or delay the enactment of the bad bank and sovereign holding acts after opposition party MPs submitted a request to hold a referendum on the two acts. Slovenians will likely vote down the bad bank acts, as it is estimated 56 percent of the population opposes them.

Slovenia

Washington Post

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Eurasia Review

Slovenian Times

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Balkans.com

Country News Digest


U.S. Secretary of State Bosnia & Hillary Clinton visited Herzegovina the country this week and urged the countrys leaders to work together or risk falling behind their neighbors. Secretary Clinton had harsh remarks for the Bosnian Serb nationalist leaders as they continue to entertain the idea of dissolving the country. Washington Post

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New York Times

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