Summary of news stories up to 16 September 2013
Russia and the United States had agreed a plan to eliminate chemical weapons from Syria, reducing the likelihood of imminent US-led air strikes. The deal has widely been seen as a victory for Russia, and Putin’s opinion piece in the New York Times made use of the political capital won. Putin criticised America for its ‘exceptionalism’ and suggested that the USA is not the model of democracy it thinks itself to be. It has since been reported that US Republican Senator John McCain will submit a reply to Pravda.ru (an internet news portal, not linked to the Communist-owned newspaper of the same name).
On Thursday Jacek Zalek became the third MP in less than a month to quit Poland’s ruling coalition. Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform now has 232 votes in the 460-seat lower house; a majority of two. Tusk has dismissed the idea of a minority government and so further defection would likely prompt a snap election, which the Guardian reports would most likely be won by the rival Law and Justice Party.
Source: The Guardian
A trade row between Macedonia and Kosovo was ended on Sunday when Macedonia cancelled its ban on imports of wheat and flour from Kosovo. In reply Kosovo lifted a ban on imports of all Macedonian goods introduced last week. The row stems from Macedonian protectionist measure implemented in July, which blocked imports of wheat and flour from all signatories of the Central European Free Trade Agreement.
Kyrgystan – The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Bishkek focused on the situation in Afghanistan and economic cooperation among members. Afghanistan’s neighbours are aware of the security implications of NATO troop withdrawal due by the end of 2014.
A coalition of Tajik opposition groups has nominated its presidential candidate ahead of November’s elections. The Union of Reformist Forces has selected human rights activist Oynihol Bobonazorova. She will run against incumbent, Emomali Rakhmonov, who is presently serving his third term. The OSCE denounced the previous election in 2006 as ‘flawed, unfair, but peaceful.’
The 2013 Ig Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenka for a 2011 ruling that made it illegal to applaud in public. A parody of the Nobel Prizes, also announced at this time of year, the Ig Nobel Prizes recognise ‘achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.’
Source: The Ig Nobel Prize