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11/4/13-11/8/13

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Country News Digest Y Y Y Vol.3, Issue #10


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Editor: Eugene Imas

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Contributors: -Risa Chubinsky -Glyn Cozart -Joseph Gates -Thomas Hyde -Katharine Quinn-Judge

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Azerbaijan

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Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed this week to hold talks on Nagorno-Karabakh for the first time in three years. Ilham Aliyev hosted the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, representatives of France, the US, and Russia, in Baku on Tuesday. After the meeting, the co-chairs issued a joint statement announcing the two sides plan to meet later this month. The time and place of the meeting have yet to be determined. Articles: Trend.az Bloomberg

Country News Digest


Russia

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Representatives of the Russian government failed to attend a UN Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on Wednesday, after the Dutch government appealed to the court petitioning for the release of 30 Greenpeace activists detained in Russia. Russia views their detainment as an internal matter over which the tribunal has no authority. New York Times

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Time

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On Saturday, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili named Interior Minister Irakly Garibashvili to succeed him when he leaves his post this month. Garibashvili is a member of Ivanishvilis Georgian Dream Party. It is assumed that his election will be confirmed by Dream-controlled Parliament and newly elected Dream president Georgy Margvelashvili, thereby cementing the partys dominance.

Georgia

Global Post

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Ukraine announced it was not prepared to sign an agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for technical reasons. The initiative, designed to fight corruption and improve the countrys business climate, would set up an independent body to examine company complaints about tax and customs officials, as well as courts. The EBRD invests about $1 billion a year in Ukraine.

Ukraine

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Businessweek

Reuters

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Financial Times

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On November 5 Armenian authorities arrested 38 people in Yerevan following clashes between police and a group of nationalists led by Shant Harutiunian, leader of the nationalist opposition Tsegakron political party. Harutiunian and his followers were reportedly throwing firecrackers and marching on the presidential office when arrested.

Armenia

RFE/RL

Articles:

On November 4, President Lukashenka has authorized the construction of Belaruss first nuclear power plant. Rosatom subsidiary Atomstroyeksport will build the facility in northwest Belarus near the Lithuanian border, in Astravyets. The plant will have two Russian reactors capable of generating 2.4 gigawatts of electricity, and will be launched in 2017. Russia is loaning Belarus $10 billion to pay for construction costs.

Belarus

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Asbarez

Voice of Russia

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RFE/RL

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After a 3.5 year hiatus, the EU and Turkey have resumed membership talks this week. Although Turkey signed an association agreement with the EU in 1963, further negotiations are still ongoing due to a number of issues, including concerns over freedom of speech, democracy, and religion. The most recent stall was due to Turkeys strained relations with Cyprus.

Turkey

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BBC

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ABC

Tens of thousands of Moldovans are reported to have attended a government-organized rally in support of EU membership on Saturday. Moldova is due to initial an Association Agreement with the EU in Vilnius on November 28-29. Results of a national survey of just under 2,000 Moldovans published this week found that 46% would vote for EU integration in a hypothetical referendum, while 52% believe the upcoming agreement is crucial to the country. Articles: RFE/RL Moldova.org

Moldova

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On Tuesday, members of Kyrgyzstans parliament made plans to appeal to the Duma over the treatment of Kyrgyzstani migrant workers in Russia. On the same day, protestors outside Russias consulate in Osh voiced concerns about night raids and negative media coverage of migrants. These events followed Russian authorities confirmation of this weeks murder of a Kyrgyzstani migrant in St. Petersburg. Articles: 24.kg Azattyk

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Kyrgyzstan

Country News Digest

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned a US drone strike that killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban this week, citing its potential to undermine peace negotiations. Pakistan and Afghanistan hope to negotiate a peace settlement with Taliban forces in each country in order to ensure stability following the planned withdrawal of US forces next year. Articles: CNN NBC

Afghanistan

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Suspected terrorist Sayan Hayrov was sentenced on Thursday to 11 years in prison after a three-week trial in Almaty. He was found guilty on five counts, including the illegal procurement of weapons and explosives, and involvement in a 2012 mass stabbing that left 12 dead in Almaty oblast. Hayrov pled guilty to only one of the charges: crossing the KazakhKyrgyz border illegally. Hayrov was apprehended in Kyrgyzstan in May.

Kazakhstan

On Thursday delegations from Iran and the P5+1 began a two-day conference in Geneva to negotiate Irans nuclear program. US Secretary of State John Kerry will join the negotiations Friday. His Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, has said that he expects an agreement to be made by the end of the meetings.

Iran

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Tengri News

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Azattyq

New York Times

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CNN

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On Wednesday Emomali Rahmon was re-elected president of Tajikistan for a fourth term with over 83% of the vote, with his closest competitor obtaining 5%. While the countrys election commission reported 86.6% voter turnout, the election has been wrought with allegations of corruption, voter harassment, and lack of press freedom. Rahmons strongest challenger, human rights lawyer Oynihol Bobonazarova, was disqualified on spurious technical grounds.

Tajikistan

The president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko has concluded an arms deal with Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov to jointly produce drones. Turkmenistan is not the only nation that has cooperated with Belarus on unmanned armed vehicle development. Vietnam agreed to buy drones from Belarus earlier this year. RFE/RL

Turkmenistan

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Guardian

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Al Jazeera

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Defense News

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Independent sources reported that Shavkat Majidov, first deputy head of national holding company Uzbekneftogaz, was fired without warning Thursday evening. Sources connect his dismissal to ongoing state investigations into suspected illicit fuel sales and money laundering at the Fergana Oil Processing Plant. Observers say the investigations are part of the recent spate of crackdowns on assets controlled by President Karimovs daughter Gulnara. Articles: Ozodlik Ferghana.ru

Uzbekistan

Following a high-profile corruption investigation of former officials in Mongolias Mineral Resource Authority, the Mongolian government annulled 106 mineral exploration licenses this week. International investors have condemned the move as anti-business. Governmental sources have not yet commented.

Mongolia

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Reuters

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Mining.com

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The Ukrainian wing of Anonymous launched a cyber attack against the Estonian Defense Ministrys website on November 1. In a message taking credit for the event, Anonymous said the attack was a way to protest Ukraines cooperation with the EU, NATO and Russia, and that Ukraine should be independent from Euro-Atlantic institutions. Estonias Ministry of Defence reports that damage from the attack was minimal. Articles: RIA Novosti ERR News

Country News Digest

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Estonia

The Czech Republics intelligence service released its 2012 annual report Thursday. The report warns of the dangers of rising corruption, and describes increasing links between the business and public sectors. It suggests that in the context of the countrys recent economic downturn, corruption may be strengthening xenophobic and far-right movements.

Czech Republic

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Ceske Noviny

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Radio Praha

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On Thursday the Lithuanian government announced that it would be granting reparations of $622 to each of the countrys 1,800 Holocaust survivors. The Jewish population in Lithuania today numbers around 5,000. Ninety-five percent of its pre-1939 Jewish population of 250,000 was murdered during the Holocaust.

Lithuania

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JTA

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In order to help Bulgaria manage an influx of Syrian refugees, Slovakia has donated 100,000 euros to the Bulgarian Red Cross. Slovakia has already provided 30,000 euros worth of materials, including beds and blankets. Slovenias donation is read as a sign of solidarity among eastern EU countries. Bulgarian President Plevneliev thanked Slovakia for its true gesture of friendship during what has been a difficult few months for Bulgaria.

Slovakia

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Times of Israel

Focus

Articles: Wall Street Journal

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Exiled Russian chess superstar Garry Kasparov has applied for dual citizenship with Latvia. Kasparov desires Latvian citizenship so that he can return to Russia without fear of political persecution, with the goal of running for president of the World Chess Federation against incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Latvia

Bloomberg

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Rival protests broke out in Budapest this week between far-right and antifascist groups over the unveiling of a statue of Miklos Horthy, a World War II leader who allied Hungary with Nazi Germany. The statue has been condemned by the United States and the World Jewish Congress. It has also been viewed as an emblem of increasing anti-semitism in Hungary, spurred by the anti-semitism of the far-right Jobbik party.

Hungary

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Moscow Times

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Reuters

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US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Poland this week to discuss defense and surveillance issues with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. Kerry stressed the importance of finding a balance between security and privacy, and Sikorski stated that trade issues should be evaluated separately from surveillance issues.

Poland

Fox News

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Voice of America

A research team at BabesBolyai University believes it has created a successful recipe for artificial blood. The team has transfused the blood substitute into mice without any side effects. Lead scientist Dr. Silaghi-Dumitrescu says they will continue with animal studies in preparation for human trials. Artificial blood is considered a medical holy grail in the science community for its potential to assist trauma patients. Articles: Times Live Smithsonian

Romania

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There are now a reported 9,567 refugees and illegal immigrants in Bulgaria, which is reportedly straining state resources. The Bulgarian government has announced an action plan, under which migrants with no grounds for refugee status will be expelled within three days. Mothers and children will be given priority for refugee status.

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Country News Digest


Croatia

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Bulgaria

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Novinite

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Standart News

Croatian Deputy Prime Minister Vesna Pusic has held meetings in China this week with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. The meetings emphasized increased cooperation between the two nations in areas such as trade relations, tourism, and cultural exchange. Pusic also stated that she hopes for stronger relations between China and Central and Southern Europe as a whole. Articles: China.org Xinhuanet The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development is loaning Codra Hospital, Montenegros largest private hospital, 1 million euros to build a new maternity ward for neonatal and post-delivery care. This is the EBRDs first loan in Montenegros health sector and its second loan to the country. Codra was founded in 2001 and has expanded to become the largest private hospital in Montenegro.

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Seven people were killed in two mine accidents in Albania Friday. Two employees at a nickel mine in Librazhd district were killed by falling rocks, and three young men were asphyxiated in a non-operational coal mine in the Korce region while collecting scrap metal. The latter incident has been attributed to the lack of government funding to guard non-working mines.

Albania

Montenegro

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Top Channel TV

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Reuters

Balkans Business News Articles:

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EBRD

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After local elections in Kosovo were disrupted by violence last weekend, Kosovos prime minister, Hashim Thaci, announced that he did not think that Serbia provoked tensions. The violence occurred in the northern town of Mitrovica, which has an ethnic Serbian majority.This announcement, along with Serbias call for ethnic Serbs to participate in elections, is widely seen as a sign of improving relations between the two countries.

Serbia

Kosovo says the results of last weeks historic elections are valid, despite low ethnic Serb turnout and attacks on polling stations in the ethnically divided northern city of Mitrovica. Nearly 48% of eligible voters are reported to have turned out in polls whose preliminary results gave a strong edge to the ruling Kosovo Democratic Party. A second round, to be held December 1, will be required in 24 of 38 municipalities.

Kosovo

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Wall Street Journal

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The Star

Balkan Insight

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Economist

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The Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) has announced that it will not support current president Gjorge Ivanov, a member of Macedonias leading VMRO DPMNE party, if he decides to run for a second term in the March elections next year. DUI leader Ali Ahmeti has cited Ivanovs mediocre performance as the main reason why the party will not support his candidacy.

Macedonia

The European Commission released its autumn forecasts for Slovenia this week, revealing that the southeastern European nation will face a larger budget deficit than earlier anticipated. Despite this news, experts have reiterated that a Eurozone bailout package for Slovenia is still avoidable, provided that it continues repairing its financial sector and implementing fiscal austerity measures.

Slovenia

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Balkan Insight

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Focus

Bloomberg

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Country News Digest


On Tuesday the Bosnian Bosnia & government released Herzegovina the official results of its October census, its first since the countrys 1992-1995 civil war. While official results on Bosnias ethnic makeup will not be released until next year, the results showed a population drop of 585,411, around 13%.

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Business Standard

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RFE/RL

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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

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2013 by Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies; School of Foreign Service; Georgetown University * CERES is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

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