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March 3, 2014

Canada has no plans to boycott Winter Paralympics

Canada has no plans to boycott Winter Paralympics

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Monday, March 3, 2014

File photo of Mac Marcoux of Canada at 2013 IPC Alpine World Championships at La Molina in Spain. Marcoux is a member of the Canadian Paralympic team set to compete in Sochi
Image: María Sefidari.

Yesterday the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said there are no plans to boycott the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia even as Canada takes other actions in response to Russian military intervention in Crimea, Ukraine. On Saturday Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper also stated there were no plans to boycott the Games, set to start March 7.

Baird is quoted in as saying, “We don’t want the athletes to pay the price for this.[…] But politically… I don’t think there’s any way we’d want to have senior-level government leadership going there to somehow glorify Russia’s leadership.” Toronto Star Sports Columnist Cathal Kelly published an editorial on Saturday saying Canada needs to boycott the Sochi Paralympics.

Canada has already recalled its ambassador to Russia. The Canadian government is considering expelling the Russian ambassador from the country. Yesterday, Harper said the country plans to boycott meetings leading up to the upcoming Russian-chaired G8 summit. He also said Canada was working with the United Nations to monitor the situation in the Ukraine, and is exploring the possibility of offering financial assistance to the country.

In an e-mail from Canadian Paralympic Committee CEO Karen O’Neill to Kelly, the organization refused to answer direct questions about any potential boycott of the Games.

Canada has previously boycotted an Olympics in Russia. In 1980, the country boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow because of the USSR invasion of Afghanistan. They were joined by a number of other countries including the United States and West Germany.



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March 17, 2011

Libyan rebels and Gaddafi troops in battle on two fronts

Libyan rebels and Gaddafi troops in battle on two fronts

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

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Libyan government forces and rebel fighters have been fighting in two different cities Wednesday, in both the east and west of the country.

Fighting was reported in the cities of Ajdabiya, an eastern city that is the last settlement before Benghazi, the main rebel location, and in Misrata, the only town still controlled by rebels in western Libya. Rebels claimed to have held off government troops in both cities, though dozens of people are reported dead in the latest violence.

Control of Ajdabiya has reportedly shifted between government and rebel troops in the past two days. Government forces apparently captured the city during the day on Tuesday, but retreated by evening. On Wednesday, the city was under attack by airplanes, tanks and mortars. At the end of the day, the rebels still appeared to control much of the city.

According to a doctor in the city, at least 26 people have died in Ajdabiya in the past two days. On Tuesday, Libyan state TV reported that Ajdabiya was “totally controlled and is being cleansed of armed gangs.” However, a rebel official later said that “[t]here’s heavy, sustained tank shelling and earlier there were air strikes, but now the revolutionaries managed to take seven tanks from those dogs and, God willing, we will succeed.”

Rebel leaders also claimed that warplanes and a helicopter under their command had been involved in the fighting, and said they had superior weapons than government forces. Outside the city, however, government forces were reported to be amassing several hundred troops, as well as increasing supplies of ammunition and weaponry.

In Misrata, rebels claim that they had repelled government forces using tanks and other artillery weapons, though this could not be confirmed. Eleven people are reported to have died on Wednesday in Misrata.

International diplomatic efforts to resolve the situation continue. French president Nicolas Sarkozy wrote to the UN Security Council in support of a proposed resolution that includes the establishment of a no-fly zone in Libya. The international community is still split on the idea of military intervention, though; while the Arab League supports a no-fly zone, a G8 meeting on Tuesday ended without support for the idea.



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July 10, 2009

G8 leaders set new emissions target

G8 leaders set new emissions target – Wikinews, the free news source

G8 leaders set new emissions target

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Climate change

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The leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) countries are meeting in L’Aquila, Italy, from July 8 to July 11. On Wednesday, the group announced that it had agreed to a cut in carbon emissions.

Portrait of the leaders
Image: Office of the Russian President.

The G8 agreed to a target to cut emissions by 80% by 2050, though interim targets were not defined.

“I believe we’ve made some important strides forward as we move towards Copenhagen,” said United States President Barack Obama. “I don’t think I have to emphasise that climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time. The science is clear and conclusive and the impacts can no longer be ignored.”

Obama was referring to the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009, scheduled for December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“I hope tomorrow when we meet other countries we’ll follow that through and this is a very significant development, the first time it’s ever been done,” United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown said.

“The commitments expressed today at the G8 and Major Economies Forum (MEF) leaders’ meeting, while welcome, are not sufficient,”Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, said.

“For us the 80 percent figure is unacceptable and likely unattainable,” said Arkady Dvorkovich, the top economic aide to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. “We won’t sacrifice economic growth for the sake of emission reduction.”



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July 15, 2008

Italian officials found guilty of abusing G8 protestors

Italian officials found guilty of abusing G8 protestors

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

File:G8-genes-2001-02.jpg
Official G8 group portrait.

Fifteen Italians including police officers, doctors and prison guards were found guilty of abusing and beating protesters at the G8’s 27th summit in Genoa in 2001. A judge handed down jail terms between five months’ and five years’ imprisonment. The charges include abuse, fraud, criminal coercion and inhuman and degrading treatment. Another thirty defendants were cleared of charges, including assault.

In June last year former deputy police chief of Genoa, Michelangelo Fournier, belatedly admitted in court that police had “butchered” protesters. In a graphic description of the violence he said he had kept quiet until then “out of shame and a spirit of comradeship”.

The heaviest sentence was five years for Biagio Gugliotta in the penitentiary police department, the commander on duty at the camp at Bolzaneto. Twelve other police officers, eight men and four women, received jail terms of five to 28 months. Doctors Giacomo Toccafondi and Aldo Amenta were given 14 months and 10 months respectively. Dr. Toccafondi was accused of insulting detainees and failing to inform authorities after they were sprayed with asphyxiating gas in cells. The judges issued their verdicts after 11 hours of closed-doors deliberations.

All those convicted are expected to appeal and none will go to prison until the appeals process is complete, which normally takes years. The sentences totalled less than a third of 76 years what had been demanded by the prosecution. The BBC’s David Willey in Rome says it is unlikely that any of those sentenced will actually serve time in prison because their offences will have expired under Italy’s statute of limitations before the appeal process is completed. It is expected the Italian government will be forced to pay out millions of pounds to those who were victims of police brutality during their detention.

Protestors burn a police vehicle which was abandoned by police durning a clash with protestors.
Image: Ares Ferrari.

Police were accused of organised and premeditated brutality at the Diaz High School which protesters were using as a dormitory during the summit. In another ongoing trial, 28 defendants, including some of Italy’s most senior police officers, face charges related to the raid on the school. The raid left seventy-three protesters injured with three in comas. A judge ruled that there was no evidence to show any of those demonstrators had been involved in the violence in Genoa.

More than 250 of those arrested were taken to a holding camp that had been created at Bolzaneto, six miles from Genoa. The detainees at Bolzaneto included about 40 who were arrested in a raid on the Diaz school. During the trial the court heard how the holding centre had been the scene for “episodes of torture that violated human dignity.” One of the prosecutors in the case, Patrizia Petruziello, said that 40 protesters who were arrested suffered “four out of five” of the European Court’s criteria for “inhuman and degrading treatment”.

Of the 252 demonstrators who claimed abuse, strong evidence emerged in at least 209 cases considered during the trial. Demonstrators said they were strip-searched, spat at, insulted, verbally and physically humiliated, beaten and sprayed with asphyxiating gas. Some were threatened with rape and sodomy. They were denied food, phone calls or access to consulates while detained. While being held they were forced to sing songs in praise of Italy’s late fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini and other antisemitic songs about Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, which which included the line “Death to the Jews.” The prosecution claimed that this was torture.

The 2001 summit in the northern Italian city was one of the most violent in the history of the G8. Between 100,000 and 200,000 demonstrators took part in anti-globalisation protests. A 23-year-old Italian demonstrator Carlo Giuliani was shot dead by a conscript Carabiniere and hundreds more injured as two days of riots erupted at the summit in the city of Genoa that was hosted by Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi. In December 2007, 24 demonstrators were found guilty of damage to property and looting. They were given sentences ranging from five months to 11 years.

The trial has lasted nearly three years.



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Forces of Order found guilty of G8 brutality

Filed under: Crime and law,G8,Italy,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Official group portrait.

Fifteen Italians including police officers, doctors and prison guards were found guilty of abusing and beating protesters at the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001. A judge handed down jail terms between five months’ and five years’ imprisonment. The charges include abuse, fraud, criminal coercion and inhuman and degrading treatment. Another thirty defendants were cleared of charges, including assault.

In June last year former deputy police chief of Genoa, Michelangelo Fournier, belatedly admitted in court that police had “butchered” protesters. In a graphic description of the violence he said he had kept quiet until then “out of shame and a spirit of comradeship”.

The heaviest sentence was five years for Biagio Gugliotta in the penitentiary police department, the commander on duty at the camp at Bolzaneto. Twelve other police officers, eight men and four women, received jail terms of five to 28 months. Doctors Giacomo Toccafondi and Aldo Amenta were given 14 months and 10 months respectively. Dr. Toccafondi was accused of insulting detainees and failing to inform authorities after they were sprayed with asphyxiating gas in cells. The judges issued their verdicts after 11 hours of closed-doors deliberations.

All those convicted are expected to appeal and none will go to prison until the appeals process is complete, which normally takes years. The sentences totalled less than a third of 76 years what had been demanded by the prosecution. The BBC‘s David Willey in Rome says it is unlikely that any of those sentenced will actually serve time in prison because their offences will have expired under Italy’s statute of limitations before the appeal process is completed. It is expected the Italian government will be forced to pay out millions of pounds to those who were victims of police brutality during their detention.

Police were accused of organised and premeditated brutality at the Diaz High School which protesters were using as a dormitory during the summit. In another ongoing trial, 28 defendants, including some of Italy’s most senior police officers, face charges related to the raid on the school. The raid left seventy-three protesters injured with three in comas. A judge ruled that there was no evidence to show any of those demonstrators had been involved in the violence in Genoa.

More than 250 of those arrested were taken to a holding camp that had been created at Bolzaneto, six miles from Genoa. The detainees at Bolzaneto included about 40 who were arrested in a raid on the Diaz school. During the trial the court heard how the holding centre had been the scene for “episodes of torture that violated human dignity.” One of the prosecutors in the case, Patrizia Petruziello, said that 40 protesters who were arrested suffered “four out of five” of the European Court’s criteria for “inhuman and degrading treatment”.

Of the 252 demonstrators who claimed abuse, strong evidence emerged in at least 209 cases considered during the trial. Demonstrators said they were strip-searched, spat at, insulted, verbally and physically humiliated, beaten and sprayed with asphyxiating gas. Some were threatened with rape and sodomy. They were denied food, phone calls or access to consulates while detained. Others were made to join in chants in praise of Italy’s late fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini. Another chant, lauding Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, ended: “Death to the Jews.” The prosecution said they were tortured.

The 2001 summit in the northern Italian city was one of the most violent in the history of the G8. Between 100,000 and 200,000 demonstrators took part in anti-globalisation protests. A 23-year-old Italian demonstrator was shot dead by a conscript Carabiniere and hundreds more injured as two days of riots erupted at the summit in the city of Genoa that was hosted by Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi. In December 2007, 24 demonstrators were found guilty of damage to property and looting. They were given sentences ranging from five months to 11 years.

The trial has lasted nearly three years.


Sources

  • “15 Officers Guilty in Genoa Beatings”. The New York Times, July 15, 2008
  • Ariel david “Italian officials convicted of abuse at G-8 summit”. Associated Press, July 15, 2008
  • “Prison sentences for the ‘butchers’ of Genoa”. Euronews, July 15, 2008
  • Gavin Jones “Italian police officers convicted of G8 violence”. Reuters, July 14, 2008
  • John Hooper “Rape threats, beatings and racist chants: 15 Italians jailed for abuse of G8 Genoa protesters”. The Guardian, July 14, 2008
  • Nick Pisa “Italian police officers found guilty over G8 protest brutality”. The Daily Telegraph, July 14, 2008
  • “Italians jailed over G8 protest”. BBC News Online, July 14, 2008
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

July 9, 2008

G8 members release statement on Zimbabwe

G8 members release statement on Zimbabwe

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

An official photograph of the G8 leaders plus EC president José Manuel Barroso.

A statement has been released by member states of the G8 expressing ‘grave concern’ over the current situation in Zimbabwe.

In the first section of the statement, the leaders wrote that they “deplore the fact that the Zimbabwean authorities pressed ahead with the presidential election despite the absence of appropriate conditions for free and fair voting as a result of their systematic violence, obstruction and intimidation.” Furthermore, the G8 member nations noted that they do “not accept the legitimacy of any government that does not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people.”

The statement continued by asking for the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change to co-operate with ZANU-PF, the party in power. “We strongly urge the Zimbabwean authorities to work with the opposition to achieve a prompt, peaceful resolution of the crisis,” they said. They did, add, however, that “it is important that any mediation process respect the results of the March 29, 2008 election. “

In addition, the G8 members expressed concern at the humanitarian situation in the country. “Zimbabwean authorities must allow the immediate resumption of humanitarian operations and full and non-discriminatory access to humanitarian assistance to prevent the suffering of the most vulnerable people in Zimbabwe.”

The G8 summit is an annual gathering of the leaders of France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada. This year, the 34th G8 summit took place in Tōyako, Japan.



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June 8, 2007

US President George W. Bush falls ill during G8 Summit

US President George W. Bush falls ill during G8 Summit

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Friday, June 8, 2007

US President George W. Bush at the G8 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

United States President George W. Bush has fallen ill and has missed the morning session of the G8 Summit, but has returned to the day’s events.

“The President had a good rest this morning. He’s feeling better, not 100 percent, but he feels good enough to rejoin the meeting. He just left his suite a short while ago, so we are back on schedule,” said a spokesman for the White House, Tony Fratto.

Earlier Dan Bartlett, the White House counselor stated that Bush was dressed and ready for the meeting when he began to feel sick and that his condition is likely a “stomach virus, a light touch of food poisoning or something else” and called the situation “not serious.”

“Not sure if it’s a stomach virus yet or something like that, but (he’s) just not feeling well in the stomach, and guess he didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of his father in Asia,” added Bartlett.

Despite being ill, Bush still taped his weekly radio address to the people of the U.S., and managed to meet with Nicolas Sarkozy, the newly elected president of France, but only on a private level and in Bush’s hotel room.

“I have just come out of a meeting with president Bush who is slightly unwell. He will join the working session when he can,” said Sarkozy to reporters as he was leaving the meeting with Bush.

The illness did not change the travel plans Bush has for the day, but doctors “are still keeping an eye on him,” added Bartlett, who also said that “he [Bush] feels terrible about any disruption he may have caused.”

George H. W. Bush, a former President of the U.S. and the father of the current President, threw up and collapsed during a dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa at the Prime Minister’s residence in 1992.



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G8 reaches deal on African aid for health issues

G8 reaches deal on African aid for health issues

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Friday, June 8, 2007

G8 leaders in Heiligendamm, Germany on Thursday, June 7, 2007

G8 leaders at the 33rd G8 summit have announced a deal pledging US$60 billion in aid to Africa. The deal, to which all the leaders agreed, called “Growth and Responsibility for Africa” is a commitment to fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria on the continent. It is similar to the pledge made at the G8 at Gleneagles two years ago.

The communique says the G8 will “implement a package for HIV prevention, treatment and care” to achieve “as close as possible to universal access to treatment for all those who need it by 2010.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “We are aware of our responsibility and we will honour our commitments.”

Critics have noted, however, that the document, “Growth and Responsibility for Africa,” estimates that it will “support life-saving anti-retroviral treatment through bilateral and multilateral efforts for approximately five million people.” The United Nations says that 9.8 million people need such care, 7 million of whom live in Africa.

Groups advocating for Africa aid say it falls short of United Nations targets. “While lives will be saved with more money for AIDS, this represents a cap on ambition that will ultimately cost millions more lives,” said Steve Cockburn of the Stop AIDS Campaign.

“Do they think we can’t read or count?” asked musician/activist Bono. “We are looking for accountable language and accountable numbers: we didn’t get them today.”

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June 7, 2007

Post-Kyoto agreement is subject of G8 debate

Post-Kyoto agreement is subject of G8 debate

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Bush and Merkel met yesterday at the Kempinski Grand Hotel in Heiligendamm.

Leaders from the 7 richest industrialised countries and Russia will have to deal with climate issues at the 33rd G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. While France and Germany are calling for quantifiable greenhouse gas emission cuts, the U.S. and Japan believe that growing economies such as India and China would need to join in on such efforts.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G8 summit yesterday said the two main topics were climate change and combating poverty in Africa. She said her first talks with president Bush were good, and added: “I trust that we will work out joint positions on that.” Bush acknowledged that he has “strong desire to work … on a post-Kyoto agreement.”

Cquote1.svg We all can make major strides, and yet there won’t be a reduction until China and India are participants Cquote2.svg

—United States President, George W. Bush

Merkel had proposed a 50% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, helping to keep global temperature rise to no more than 3.6°C. White House adviser James Connaughton however said that “At this point in time we are not prepared to adopt that proposal.”

President George W. Bush finds himself in a position between the pressure from France and Germany, but on the other hand he wants to urge countries like India and China to join climate efforts. He told reporters that: “The United States can serve as a bridge between some nations who believe that now is the time to come up with a set goal … and those who are reluctant to participate in the dialogue. … We all can make major strides, and yet there won’t be a reduction until China and India are participants.”

President Bush will defend his plan today to organise a separate conference on global warming with the 15 biggest polluters to set their own goals, and to rely on technological innovations to achieve part of the emission targets. When asked about the U.S. plans, Merkel said in a television interview that she didn’t expect the differences to disappear overnight. At the G8 summit she said stated: “I think we all know that the goals agreed by the European Union cannot be accepted by the entire world.”

Thousands of protesters have gathered in Heiligendamm to show their disagreement with the plans of Shinzo Abe (Japan), Tony Blair (U.K.), George Bush (U.S.), Angela Merkel (Germany), Nicolas Sarkozy (France), Romano Prodi (Italy), Vladimir Putin (Russia) and Stephen Harper (Canada) (Oxfam protesters dressed as and wearing masks of the G8 leaders, from left to right).
Image: Craig Owen/Oxfam.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters: “On climate change …We agreed that Japan and the United States would be working together for the creation of an effective framework which is flexible, and that we would be cooperating to achieve that end in the future.”

The new President of France Nicolas Sarkozy wants the U.S. to increase their efforts on climate issues. He told reporters yesterday: “We need quantifiable targets in the final text. It is an extremely important point and I intend to talk to the president of the United States about it as early as this evening. … President Bush has made a first effort, but we need to set ourselves targets to clearly show the determination of the G-8 to act and to obtain results… If we don’t act now, it will be too late to avoid a disaster. It will cost less than if we wait.”

The G8 Summit was preceded by mass demonstrations, such as the one in Rostock, where several hundred protesters were arrested.
Image: Salvatore Barbera.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin called the U.S. plans to deal with global warming “very pragmatic and interesting.” Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi recognised that “the American president has made comments in the last few days that have been more open than in the past.” Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair also welcomed the U.S. engagement for “substantial” reductions, which the U.S. is aiming for, according to a recent U.S. draft G8 document.

President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso at the G8 summit said he thought the E.U. was taking a leading role in the climate debate, also by influencing the position of countries like the U.S. and China. He believes a global agreement to follow Kyoto is needed, possibly by 2009. He stressed that, as this was a problem created by all nations, effecting all, it had to be tackled within the UN-framework, and that agreements made by only a number of states would fall short of what is needed. He also doubted the possibility that hard numbers on emissions cuts would result from this summit.

Other topics at the G8 Summit will be development in Africa (including the fight against AIDS and malaria), the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization, and the U.S. plans to set up a missile defence shield in Europe.

The U.S. is the only G8 country that has not ratified the Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012.

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May 31, 2007

Tensions between the U.S. and Russia flare before the G8 Summit

Tensions between the U.S. and Russia flare before the G8 Summit

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

A working session at the G8 Summit in Strelna, Russia, July 16, 2006.

Ahead of the G8 summit next week, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. starting an arms race and called it an “imperial power.” “We are not the initiators of this new round of the arms race,” Putin said during a joint Kremlin news conference.

On Tuesday, Russia test-fired a new missile with multiple warheads and a new cruise missile, which Russian generals say are sufficient to ensure the country’s security for the next 40 years.

President Putin defended the missile technology saying that it is: “aimed at maintaining the balance of forces in the world.”

Putin, alarmed by U.S. plans to deploy parts of its global missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic said: “There is a clear desire by some international players to dictate their will to everyone without adhering to international law,” Putin said. “International law has been replaced by political reasons.”

“In our opinion it is nothing different from diktat, nothing different from imperialism,” he added.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice fired back saying Russia’s fears are “ludicrous.” The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov responded to Rice’s claims by saying that “There is nothing ludicrous about it”

Putin, who has been faulted both in Russia and abroad for curtailing civic freedoms, is in his second term as President of Russia. The term will expire in 2008.

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