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Country News Digest Issue #8

10/19/12-10/26/12

The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to re-start peace talks over Nagorno-Karabakh in Paris this weekend. This renewed effort may have been prompted by OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zanniers expression of concern over the lack of progress toward a resolution in the region earlier this week.

Azerbaijan

Country News Digest


Russia

Trend.az

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Rosneft, Russias state oil company, announced its decision to buy BPs 50% stake in its Russian venture TNK-BP in a deal estimated to be worth $26 billion. President Vladimir Putin stated he had misgivings about the deals impact on Russias privatization plans, but said he hoped it would increase Rosnefts transparency. RIA Novosti

Armenia Now

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SF Chronicle

Georgias Parliament confirmed Bidzina Ivanishvili as Prime Minister on Thursday this week in its new location of Kutaisi, Georgias second-largest city. Animosity between members of Ivanishvilis Georgia Dream coalition and President Mikheil Saakashvili continues as Prime Minister Ivanishvilis inconsistent and laid-back demeanor raise questions about his readiness to lead the country.

Georgia

Ukraines parliamentary elections are to be held this Sunday, and are being interpreted as a litmus test for the countrys democratic potential. Western officials are hoping that the elections will be free and fair, but they are already citing concerns.

Ukraine

BBC News

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RFE/RL

Bloomberg

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BBC

On Wednesday at an Armenian parliamentary meeting, opposition MP Levon Zurabyan alleged the Armenian government has sold has sold its 20 percent stake in ArmRusGasprom to Russias Gazprom, who already owns 80% of the joint Russian-Armenian gas company. Armenian energy minister Armen Movsisyan denied the accusation and stated the Armenian government is still negotiating the price of gas imports with Gazprom.

Armenia

After the European Union renewed sanctions against Belarus for human rights violations, the President Lukashenko suggested that Europe does not fairly compensate Belarus for acting as a bulwark against the movement of illegal migrants westward. He claimed to have stopped about 10,000 migrants a year from making it into the EU, a policy that he is considering abandoning. due to Europes sanctions.

Belarus

ARKA

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ArmInfo

Washington Post

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Daily Bulletin

At a roundtable discussion with Turkish academics on Tuesday, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. James Winnefeld, implied the US will not get involved in creating a safe haven inside Syria. Also this week US Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling stated the US has a relatively few number of US army personnel in Turkey, but that the US and Turkey have been sharing intelligence.

Turkey

Enlargement & European Neighborhood Commissioner tefan Fle has called Moldova the Eastern Partnerships most prominent member and stated that Moldova deserves the prospect of EU membership. This year, for the first time, EU assistance to Moldova will surpass 100 million.

Moldova

Hurriyet

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Todays Zaman

EU Neighbourhood

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Baltic Course

The Kyrgyz National Security Committee along with the Russian FSB broke up a drug smuggling operation transporting drugs from Tajikistan to Russia via Kyrgyzstan. The joint forces arrested a Tajik national with 4kg heroin and 6kg hashish. The case will be heard in Russia.

Kyrgyzstan

Country News Digest

24 News Agency

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Special Af-Pak rep., Marc Grossman, caused a stir in Afghanistan when he stated that the US views the Durand Line established by British India and Afghanistan in 1893 as the modern day border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Afghan foreign ministry critisized the statement. Afghanistan has rejected the Durand Line since 1947.

Afghanistan

RIA Novosti

RFERL

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Reuters

The Kazakh government has lowered its estimate for GDP growth from 5.8% to 5.4%. The fall is partially due to the fall in demand, prices for metal exports as well as the severe drought that impacted grain exports. In May President Nazarbayev had forecasted a 7% increase, similar to last years level.

Kazakhstan

Bloomberg

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Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, has barred President Ahmadinejad from visiting a jailed former aide at a Tehran prison. In response Ahmadinejad accused Larijani of protecting certain people from corruption charges. The aide - Ali Akbar Javanfekr was Ahmadinejads press advisor and head of the official Islamic Republic News Agency until his imprisonment in September for insulting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran

Business Recorder

New York Times

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Business Week

The Human Rights Watch has condemned the governments move to close down Amparo. Amparo consists of more than forty activists who work on a range of issues including allegations of torture and army conscripts rights. The group was found by a court in northern Tajikistan to have been operating without a license.

Tajikistan

Turkmenistans President, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov issued pardons to 2,000 prisoners this week in honor of his countrys 21st anniversary of independence on Oct. 27th. This continues a practice begun by former President Sarparmurat Niyazov, who issued such pardons once per year during Ramadan. Trend.az

Turkmenistan

Human Rights Watch

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RFERL

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RFE/RL

Last week Uzbekistan finished its annual cotton harvest and hosted the 8th International Uzbek Cotton and Textile Fair. President Karimov said that the harvest amounted to over 3.35 million tons of cotton. Uzbekistan has emerged as a major global cotton exporter but is still hounded by international groups for its utilization of child labor during the harvest.

Uzbekistan

Fibre2Fashion

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U.S. Coal Miner Peabody Energy is eager to resume talks with Mongolia over developing the western block of the Tavan Tolgoi deposit. Peabody was part of a consortium that was to develop this area, but talks broke down after the Mongolian Security Council rejected the bid. State-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi has invited Peabody Energy during the interim period.

Mongolia

Times of C.A.

MAD Mongolia

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Reuters

As of Friday, healthcare workers in Estonia have ended their strike. According to the agreement that they signed,physicians will get paid for the full 40 hours they work instead of the current 32, minimum wage will increase, and workloads will be reduced in outpatient care by 20% and inpatient care by 13%.

Country News Digest

Estonia

Baltic Times

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The ruling center-right ODS party had another setback this week when they suffered a sound defeat in Senate elections at the hands of the Social Democratic party (CSSD). Although the ODS party no longer holds the majority in the upper house, its majority in the lower house allows it to remain in power but will make planned fiscal cuts more difficult. Noviny

Czech Republic

ERR

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Wall Street Journal

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

The EU Court of Justice found for Slovakia in its dispute with Hungary over alleged violation of the free movement agreement. In 2009, the sitting President of Hungary attempted but was not allowed to attend the unveiling of a monument in Slovakia on the anniversary of military intervention by Warsaw Pact troops (including Hungarians) to quell the Prague Spring uprising of 1968.

Slovakia

WSJ Blog

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Reuters

New Europe

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The Star

The Riga Central District Court ruled Constitutional Court Judge Vineta Muizniece is guilty of forgery, and has been ordered to pay a fine worth ten minimum wages - LVL 2,000. The sentence will be available on November 8, after which Muizniece will have 10 working days to file an appeal.

Latvia

Demonstrators burned an Israeli flag in front of Europes largest synagogue on Tuesday in Budapest, Hungary. Hungarys nationalist party Jobbik is suspected, and the partys leadership has spoken out against Jewish business interests in Hungary. The Hungarian government strongly condemned the flag burning and the sentiments behind it.

Hungary

Leta

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BNN

Haaretz

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PressTV

The Polish Minister of Sport resigned this week after a controversial incident in which a World Cup qualifying match between Poland and England in Warsaw had to be rain-delayed. The facility that hosted the match is equipped with a retractable roof, which those in charge of the event failed to close despite heavy rain.

Poland

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Romanias economic recovery is in a fragile state. The country is expected to grow at 0.9% in 2012 and 2.5% in 2013.

Romania

Ria Novosti

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SBS

Financial Times

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Romania Insider

The question of whether to halt construction of the Belene nuclear power plant will go to a referendum. The Bulgarian government earlier this fall had said it would scrap plans to construct the plant; this drew numerous payment demands from the proposed plants Russian builder, Rosatom Corps.

Country News Digest


Germany wants Croatia to join the EU by summer 2013. Merkel says that she looks forward to Croatia joining the EU by July 1st.

Bulgaria

Croatia

Reuters

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BusinessWeek

Balkans

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Croatian Times

After 31 days of camping out, the group of Communist-era dissidents are officially ending their hunger strike, citing exhaustion and political pressure. They will not give up their fight and have stated that they will continue protesting in other ways.

Albania

Reuters

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A riot erupted shortly before the scheduled tipoff of a basketball game between Partizan and Buducnost in Montenegros capital city, Podgorica. According to reports, Partizan fans taunted Buducnost fans with chants who then responded by invading the court. Riot police quickly regained control of the situation. Twenty-one fans and four police officers were injured in the incident.

Montenegro

VOA News Blog

Ultras-Life

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B92

Illegal immigration into Britain has worsened as droves of immigrants from Serbia and Macedonia have entered the country requesting asylum. Europe does not impose a visa-regime, and visa-free travel is key for these immigrants to try and find a better life.

Serbia

After committing to a thaw in relations in order to hasten integration into the European Union, the Prime Ministers of Kosovo and Serbia met officially for the first time in history this week. In response to the move, opposition hardliners in Kosovo held a protest that escalated into violence and was only dispersed when police deployed tear-gas on the crowd.

Kosovo

Telegraph

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Reuters

Chicago Tribune

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Gulf Times

Macedonian authorities are seeking to pass a new law governing defamation and libel. Although the law decriminalizes libel, it raises the minimum fine for libel to a much higher level. NGOs claim this law will lead to widespread self-censorship and discourage people from becoming journalists. The law would also heavily fine internet service providers who enable users to post libelous material.

Macedonia

The European Commission has referred Slovenia to the European Court of Justice over its failure to completely implement the EUs electricity and gas directives into its legislation in regards to the use of pesticide, landfills and rail interoperability. Slovenia previously received warnings in September 2011 and June of this year.

Slovenia

Balkan Insight

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Tech President

Slovenian Times

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STA

Country News Digest


The city of Srebrenica Bosnia & elected Camil Durakovic Herzegovina as its new mayor this week; continuing Muslim rule of the city since after the 1995 massacre. Mr. Durakovic enjoyed significant support from absentee voters, who for the first time were not organized by Bosnias international peace overseers.

Reuters

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PressTV

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