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August 9, 2009

Wikinews Shorts: August 9, 2009

Wikinews Shorts: August 9, 2009 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: August 9, 2009

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A compilation of brief news reports for Sunday, August 9, 2009.

Indonesia’s most wanted man believed to be killed

File:NoordinTop-FBI.jpg

Photo of Noordin Mohammed Top from FBI wanted poster.
Image: FBI.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Indonesia is to carry out DNA tests on the body of a man killed in the Temanggung district of Central Java. The body is believed to be that of Noordin Mohammed Top. Born in Malaysia, Top is believed to have been behind a string of terrorist attacks in Indonesia since 2002, including the 2002 Bali bombings and the bombing of the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels this July.

After a 16-hour siege, Indonesia’s elite Detachment 88 stormed a building in Beji village that police intelligence officers believe was occupied by Top and his group.

In an unrelated police raid two would-be suicide bombers were also killed; the target of their truck bomb was believed to be a residence owned by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Sources

Iran holds second mass trial

Following a mass trial on August 1, at which critics of the Ahmadinejad regime were tried for sedition, Iran has on Saturday initiated a second mass trial of those it accuses of attempting to destabilise the Iranian state. Amongst the dozen accused are staff members of the British and French embassies and a French national. Both France and Britain have protested, with British officials calling the situation “completely unacceptable” and the French saying that the Iranian allegations were “absolutely baseless”.

In what have been described as show trials, opposition leaders have confessed to crimes against the state.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject:
2009 Iran poll protests trial

Sources

Ronnie Biggs released to die a free man

Great train robber Ronnie Biggs has been released from prison custody on compassionate grounds by British Secretary of State for Justice Jack Straw. Biggs, aged 80, is suffering from pneumonia and is said to have just days to live.

His release comes on the day of his birthday and the 46th anniversary of the crime that made him infamous.

Sources

Laos transfers drug-charge Briton to serve life sentence in UK

Samantha Orobator, a British 20-year-old from Peckham, London has been returned to the United Kingdom to serve out the remainder of a life sentence for drug smuggling. Convicted in Laos of attempting to smuggle 680g of heroin, Orobator initially faced execution by firing squad, which she escaped only when she became pregnant.

The circumstances of her trial and the circumstances of how she came to be pregnant has led to human rights organisation Reprieve to call for the quashing of her conviction. However the British government has indicated that it will honour its prisoner repatriation agreement with Laos.

Sources

News Corporation to charge for online content

In a move championed by its chief executive officer, Rupert Murdoch, News Corporation announced it will charge for online content across all its titles by the end of the year. News Corporation owns the publications The Times and The Wall Street Journal amongst other media interests.

The move comes after a collapse in advertising revenues and US$3.4 billion of losses in the fiscal year just ended. Murdoch explained “…quality journalism is not cheap” and said his plan will “save journalism”. He says he is confident that competitors will follow his lead.

Sources

Obama: “we’ve rescued our economy from catastrophe”

Buoyed by better then expected unemployment figures for July, President Barack Obama claimed on Friday that the United States economy is “pointed in the right’ direction and that “we’ve rescued our economy from catastrophe”.

His speech comes in the wake of Bureau of Labor Statistics figures indicating that 200,000 fewer jobs were lost in July then in June.

Sources

Hong Kong Disciplined Services continue to demand pay parity

Five of Hong Kong’s six Disciplined Services continue to press the territory’s government for pay parity with the Hong Kong Police Force. Although industrial action is for the time being unlikely unions representing officers from correctional services, customs and excise, fire services, immigration and government flying services will hold a mass meeting later this month to put pressure on the government.

Similar rank and grade structures are used through out the six services, however despite the claim that customs and police officers having similar duties and workloads, a police officer will receive up to HK$7,900 more than a custom officer of the same rank.

Sources

Twitter victim of Russian-Georgian hostility

Social networking site Twitter is the unlikely victim of the ongoing hostility between Russia and Georgia. However, on the anniversary of the South Ossetian war, Russian hackers launched a mass denial-of-service attack aimed at silencing Cyxymu, a Georgian economics professor critical of Russia. In addition to Twitter other sites at which Cyxymu posted were also attacked, however being a smaller operation the attacks caused a complete outage of Twitter while the other sites were merely slowed.

Sources

Pakistan Taliban leader dies in succession battle

Pakistani intelligence service sources state that Hakimullah Mehsud leader of Fedayeen al-Islam has been killed in a fight for the leadership of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) an al-Qaeda ally.

The statement comes a day after public speculation of the death of TTP leader Baitullah Mehsud in a drone attack on the 5th of August. Baitullah and Hakimullah are cousins with Hakimullah serving as a deputy to Baitullah. The TTP is a coalition of disparate groups and without the charisma and leadership of Baitullah, appears to have fallen victim to internal feuding. According to sources Hakimullah Mehsud met with rival Taliban leader Waliur Rehman to determine the succession, word at the shura became heated and led to a gunfight that resulted in the death of Hakimullah and the serious wounding of Rehman.

Hakimullah had earlier issued statements denying Baitullah’s death.

Sources

Felicia weakens to a tropical storm

5-day forecast track map of Felicia
Image: NHC.

Hurricane Felicia has weakened to a tropical storm, but residents of Hawaii are continuing to monitor the storm’s progress as it approaches the islands.

Tropical storm watches were posted for portions of the state, and some beaches have been closed in anticipation of high surf. Meanwhile, emergency supplies were selling rapidly at local stores: “Things are just flying out”, said Vicki Lebowitz, manager of The City Mill in Oahu.

The storm, once a Category 4 major hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, is expected to further weaken before making landfall on Hawaii.

Sources



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August 8, 2009

Wikinews Shorts: August 8, 2009

Wikinews Shorts: August 8, 2009 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: August 8, 2009

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A compilation of brief news reports for Saturday, August 8, 2009.

Leader of Pakistan Taliban may have been killed in drone attack

Pakistani and United States intelligence services believe that the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan may be dead. The home of Baitullah Mehsud’s father-in-law was attacked on Wednesday with missiles fired by CIA operated drones. Taliban sources have confirmed the death of Mehsud’s second wife but initially denied that Mehsud himself has been killed.

Mehsud is the leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) a group affiliated with al-Qaeda, his group is reckoned to have up to 20,000 fighters and to be responsible for 80% of the militant violence in Pakistan. The TTP has been blamed for the attack which killed Benazir Bhutto, though the group denies this.

Sources

Hillary Clinton arrives in South Africa

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in South Africa for the second leg of an eleven day, seven nation tour of Africa. Whilst in South Africa she will meet with current President Jacob Zuma and former President Nelson Mandela. Talks will center around business ties and HIV, although the situation in Zimbabwe will likely also be discussed. Hillary Clinton will hope to rekindle the close co-operation and rapport between the United States and South Africa established by former presidents Bill Clinton, her husband, and Mandela.

Hillary Clinton’s first stop was Kenya where she met with President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed of Somalia’s unity government, pledging both military aid and support. Somalia will receive money, weapons and ammunition in its fight against al-Shabaab, which controls much of the country. Eritrea was also warned that the US would take “action” if it continued to back the Islamic group. Eritrea denies supporting al-Shabaab and described Clinton’s comments as “very disappointing” and said that the United States had “failed to learn mistakes of the previous US administration.”

Sources

Anniversary of Georgian War marked by mutual accusations

The anniversary of the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia has been marked with saber-rattling and accusations. The Russians have accused the Georgians of re-arming for a new conflict and the Georgians have accused the Russians of further territorial ambitions, both sides have accused the other of firing rockets into the territory of the other. However, European Union observers report of no evidence of such attacks.

Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been recognised as independent states by Russia and have become increasingly dependent on her.

Sources

Police in the United Kingdom ordered to review policing of demonstrations

Police in the United Kingdom have been ordered by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the police watchdog in the UK, to review its policing of demonstrations. This follows an investigation by the IPCC that an environmental protestor might have miscarried after being struck by the police.

The unnamed protester was “manhandled” by the police at the climate camp protest held during the G-20 summit earlier this year might and began to suffer from vaginal bleeding so heavy that she feared for her life. Despite this, for five hours she was not allowed out of the police cordon, and said that she felt “completely dehumanised” by her treatment by the police and their reaction to her injuries.

The woman’s physician, examining her the next day, initially feared that she was a victim of domestic abuse and urged her to report her injuries. The IPCC have only been able to publicly comment on this case because the woman did not wish to pursue a prosecution. A senior police officer of the Metropolitan Police Service has offered to meet the woman to apologise.

Sources

Son of missing Japanese actress Noriko Sakai found safe

The son of missing Japanese actress Noriko Sakai has been found safe in the care of friends of the actress in Tokyo. Sakai, age 38, and her son have been missing since August 4, after the arrest of her surfer husband Yuichi Takaso on drug charges. Illegal stimulants were subsequently found at their home, and the actress was asked to voluntarily report to the police. Sakai remains missing. Signals were detected from her mobile phone in Yamanashi on Tuesday.

Noriko Sakai was popular throughout East Asia in the 1990s as a singer and actress.

Sources

Seven coalition troops killed within 24 hour period in Afghanistan

Three British paratroopers of 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment have been killed and a fourth remains critically wounded in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The paratroopers were operating in support of Special Forces when their Jackal armoured vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb on Thursday afternoon.

Today, four United States servicemen fell victim to improvised explosive devices, bringing the number of International Security Assistance Force troops killed in the first week of August to 18.

Sources

Hong Kong government to begin school drug testing trials in December

Following concern that local drug dealers are targeting school children, authorities in Hong Kong have announced plans to introduce tests in the territory’s schools for the use of narcotics. Trials will initially begin in the Tai Po District.

The testing is being described as voluntary, with students being allowed to refuse to be tested. However, the plan has been criticised for creating mistrust between students, teachers and parents.

Sources

Nine killed in Belgium care home fire

Nine retirees have been killed in a fire at a care home in Melle, Belgium. The care home with some 90 residents caught fire when an electrical fault in a fan or television set fire to a mattress on Thursday night. Although confined to a single room, the victims seven women and two men succumbed to smoke inhalation. Four other residents remain hospitalised, one in critical condition.

Sources

India and China resume border talks

India and China have begun the latest round, the 13th in 28 years, of negotiations over their disputed border. The meeting will be co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Indian National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan from August 7 to 8 in India. Mistrust lingers from the 1962 Sino-Indian War with both sides unlikely to offer concessions. The talks seek to form a framework for future negotiations.

Sources

President Kennedy’s sister Eunice Kennedy in critical condition at hospital

John F. Kennedy’s sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver is in a critical, yet stable, condition at a Massachusetts hospital according to a family spokeswoman. She was born July 10, 1921 in Brookline, Massachusetts and is currently aged 88.

According to recent reports, she has been in hospital for about one week. Her family has been flown in to be beside her. Shriver is also known for founding the Special Olympics in the 1960s, an organization that helps aspiring athletes with an intellectual disability develop self-confidence, social skills and a sense of personal accomplishment.

Her spokeswoman, Robin Lord, declined to give any further details on her condition. “The family is grateful for the prayers of her many friends,” Lord said.

Her advocacy was largely influenced by the challenges faced by her older sister, Rosemary Kennedy, who was mentally impaired.

Sources



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October 10, 2008

France claims Russia has violated some terms of ceasefire with Georgia

France claims Russia has violated some terms of ceasefire with Georgia

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Other articles on the war
  • Wikinews Shorts: August 9, 2009
  • Wikinews Shorts: August 8, 2009
  • France claims Russia has violated some terms of ceasefire with Georgia
  • IMF and EU approve aid for Georgia
  • Russian troops advance into Georgia, violating truce
Georgian sniper during South Ossetia war.jpg

The above file photo (2004) shows a sniper taking aim at Ossetian rebels in South Ossetia to allow the Georgian Army forces to move forward Photograph: Jonathan Alpeyrie
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French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner has claimed that Russia has failed to honour obligations agreed as part of a ceasefire brokered by the European Union. The deal ended a war with Georgia.

In August, Russian troops joined on South Ossetia‘s side after Georgia moved in in an attempt to regain control of the breakaway region. Russia also moved troops into Abkhazia and nearby areas to create security zones. These buffer zones were vacated by troops this week, and today Russia was due to completely withdrawal from Georgia.

France – who lead the brokering efforts as the EU’s current presidential nation – say that Russian troops remain in the South Ossetian towns of Akhalgori and Perevi. According to the ceasefire, troops were supposed to return to their positions before the five-day conflict. However, Kouchner’s phrasing was optimistic as he spoke to reporters today.

When asked if Russia had withdrawn, he said “I think so, but partly. This is not complete. This is not perfect. It’s just the beginning. This is not the end,” and that “Not everything has been achieved… That’s why we’ll continue talks in Geneva.”

However, Russia’s President, Dmitry Medvedev, says Russia has fully complied with the terms agreed on. “We have met all the obligations we accepted in the first document, the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan, and the second document, which was agreed on not long ago in Moscow,” he told reporters. Russia has recognized South Ossetia as an independent nation, and had entered into a supporting military alliance.



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September 16, 2008

IMF and EU approve aid for Georgia

IMF and EU approve aid for Georgia – Wikinews, the free news source

IMF and EU approve aid for Georgia

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The International Monetary Fund and the European Union approved aid packages to help Georgia recover from its conflict with Russia, which occurred in early August. The IMF approved a US$750 million loan which will allow Georgia to rebuild its currency reserves. The European Union also approved an aid package of €500 million in aid by 2010, which is expected to help internally displaced people (IDPs) and economic recovery in the form of new infrastructure. Only €100 million of the EU aid will be given to Georgia this year.

These loans are aimed to restore confidence in Georgia’s economy and send a signal to international investors that Georgia’s economy is sound. According to the IMF, international investors have been “critical to Georgia’s economic growth in recent years.”

IMF Headquarters in Washington D.C.

Takatoshi Kato, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chairman of the IMF executive committee, said the loan will “make significant resources available to replenish international reserves and bolster investor confidence, with the aim of sustaining private capital inflows that have been critical to Georgia’s economic growth in recent years.”

Georgia has requested $2 billion in international aid to help it recover from the conflict. So far, the United States has pledged $1 billion in aid. Further assistance and loans to Georgia are expected from other organizations. Kato noted that “…Georgia is expected to receive financial assistance from multilateral and bilateral donors and creditors in support of the reconstruction effort.” It is expected that an international donors’ conference will take place next month to solicit more aid for the country.

Georgia’s government expects that economic growth will be more than cut in half as a result of the conflict. Last year, Georgia’s GDP increased 12.4% and it is predicted by the IMF that growth will be less than 4 percent in the coming year.



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August 30, 2008

South Ossetia says it will join North Ossetia-Alania as a federal subject of Russia

South Ossetia says it will join North Ossetia-Alania as a federal subject of Russia

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

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The above file photo (2004) shows a sniper taking aim at Ossetian rebels in South Ossetia to allow the Georgian Army forces to move forward Photograph: Jonathan Alpeyrie
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As the parliament of Georgia voted to approve closing the nation’s embassy in Moscow and severing diplomatic ties with Russia, officials in the breakaway territory of South Ossetia are stating that their ultimate goal is not independence, but to be absorbed into Russia.

Znaur Gassiyev, the speaker in the parliament of South Ossetia, said today in Tskhinvali, the capital, that the region will be annexed by Russia “in several years” or earlier. He further went on that this was the position of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity, who met earlier this week to discuss the future of South Ossetia. Ultimately, South Ossetia would be joined with the Russian federal subject of North Ossetia-Alania.

Ethnic map of the Caucasus region.
Image: Pmx.

“We will live in one united Russian state,” Tarzan Kokoiti, one of Gassiyev’s deputies, said. However, a Russian government spokesperson said there was “no official information” on the talks.

The Vice Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Gigi Tsereteli, warned the areas, which are “autonomous republics” within Georgia, that absorption into Russia would ultimately destroy them as territorial entities.

“The regimes of Abkhazia and South Ossetia should think about the fact that if they become part of Russia, they will be assimilated and in this way they will disappear,” Tsereteli said.

On August 26, Russia voted to diplomatically recognize South Ossetia, as well as other another semi-autonomous region of Georgia, Abkhazia. So far, no other member of the United Nations has recognized these republics.

“We found ourselves in an awkward situation when a country militarily invading and occupying our country, then recognizing part of its territories, is trying to create a sense of normalcy,” Georgian Foreign Minister Ekaterine Tkeshelashvili said while in Sweden.

“Breaking off diplomatic relations with Tbilisi is not Moscow’s choice, and the responsibility lies with Tbilisi,” Andrei Nesterenko, a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said.

Russia’s efforts to get other nations to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states hit a snag when the People’s Republic of China and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation balked at recognition.

Hugo Chávez, the president of Venezuela, said that he supports the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but did not say if Venezuela formally recognises the republics.

“Russia has recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We support Russia. Russia is right and is defending its interests,” Chavez said.

Russia and South Ossetia continue to work on an agreement to install permanent Russian military bases in the breakaway territory. The agreement is scheduled to be signed on September 2.

Russian military forces continue to occupy nominal Georgian territory in defiance of the European Union-brokered ceasefire agreement.



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August 29, 2008

Russia intends to annex South Ossetia

Friday, August 29, 2008

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The above file photo (2004) shows a sniper taking aim at Ossetian rebels in South Ossetia to allow the Georgian Army forces to move forward Photograph: Jonathan Alpeyrie
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As the parliament of Georgia voted to approve closing the nation’s embassy in Moscow and severing diplomatic ties with Russia, officials in the breakaway territory of South Ossetia are stating that their ultimate goal is not independence, but to be absorbed into Russia.

Znaur Gassiyev, the speaker in the parliament of South Ossetia, said today in Tskhinvali, the capital, that the region will be annexed by Russia “in several years” or earlier. He further went on that this was the position of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity, who met earlier this week to discuss the future of South Ossetia. Ultimately, South Ossetia would be joined with the Russian federal subject of North Ossetia-Alania.

Ethnic map of the Caucasus region. Image: Pmx.

Ethnic map of the Caucasus region.
Image: Pmx.

“We will live in one united Russian state,” said Tarzan Kokoiti, one of Gassiyev’s deputies. However, a Russian government spokesperson said there was “no official information” on the talks.

The Vice Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Gigi Tsereteli, warned the areas, which are “autonomous republics” within Georgia, that absorption into Russia would ultimately destroy them as territorial entities. “The regimes of Abkhazia and South Ossetia should think about the fact that if they become part of Russia, they will be assimilated and in this way they will disappear,” he said.

On August 26, Russia voted to diplomatically recognize South Ossetia, as well as other semi-autonomous regions, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Transnistria. So far, no other member of the United Nations has recognized these republics.

“We found ourselves in an awkward situation when a country militarily invading and occupying our country, then recognizing part of its territories, is trying to create a sense of normalcy,” said Georgian Foreign Minister Ekaterine Tkeshelashvili while in Sweden.

“Breaking off diplomatic relations with Tbilisi is not Moscow’s choice, and the responsibility lies with Tbilisi,” said Andrei Nesterenko, a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Russia’s efforts to get other nations to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states hit a snag when the People’s Republic of China and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation balked at recognition.

Hugo Chávez, the president of Venezuela, said that he supports the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but did not say if Venezuela formally recognises the republics.

“Russia has recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We support Russia. Russia is right and is defending its interests,” Chavez said.

Russia and South Ossetia continue to work on an agreement to install permanent Russian military bases in the breakaway territory. The agreement is scheduled to be signed on September 2.

Russian military forces continue to occupy nominal Georgian territory in defiance of the European Union-brokered ceasefire aggrement.


Sources

  • Enrique Andres Pretel and Frank Jack Daniel “Chavez backs Russian recognition of Georgia regions”. Reuters, August 29, 2008
  • David Blair “Georgia conflict: South Ossetia seeks to merge with Russia”. The Daily Telegraph, August 29, 2008
  • Associated Press “Georgia to Cut Diplomatic Ties with Russia”. Fox News Channel, August 29, 2008
  • Associated Press “War of words over future of South Ossetia”. CNN, August 28, 2008
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August 26, 2008

Russia recognises the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

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The above file photo (2004) shows a sniper taking aim at Ossetian rebels in South Ossetia to allow the Georgian Army forces to move forward Photograph: Jonathan Alpeyrie
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Russian Federation formally recognizes the independence of Republic of South Ossetia and Republic of Abkhazia, the two enclaves in Georgia whose separatist aspirations stirred the fierce conflict known as the 2008 South Ossetia war.

On 26 August, 2008 President of Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev recognized the two breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in a unilateral act amidst the ceasefire during the 2008 South Ossetia war and appealed to all other countries to follow this step.

Dmitry Medvedev announced the recognition after meeting top ministers and defense chiefs on the Georgia crisis, ignoring warnings from Western powers against the move.


Sources

  • “Russia recognises Georgian rebels”. BBC, 26 August, 2008
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Russia recognizes the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

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The above file photo (2004) shows a sniper taking aim at Ossetian rebels in South Ossetia to allow the Georgian Army forces to move forward Photograph: Jonathan Alpeyrie
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Russian Federation formally recognizes the independence of Republic of South Ossetia and Republic of Abkhazia, the two enclaves in Georgia whose separatist aspirations stirred the fierce conflict known as the 2008 South Ossetia war.

On 26 August, 2008 President of Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev recognized the two breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in a unilateral act amidst the ceasefire during the 2008 South Ossetia war and appealed to all other countries to follow this step.

Dmitry Medvedev announced the recognition after meeting top ministers and defense chiefs on the Georgia crisis, ignoring warnings from Western powers against the move.


Sources

  • “Russia recognises Georgian rebels”. BBC, 26 August, 2008
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August 21, 2008

Former Georgian Minister accuses Saakashvili of war mongering

Former Georgian Minister accuses Saakashvili of war mongering

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Other articles on the war
  • Wikinews Shorts: August 9, 2009
  • Wikinews Shorts: August 8, 2009
  • France claims Russia has violated some terms of ceasefire with Georgia
  • IMF and EU approve aid for Georgia
  • Russian troops advance into Georgia, violating truce
Georgian sniper during South Ossetia war.jpg

The above file photo (2004) shows a sniper taking aim at Ossetian rebels in South Ossetia to allow the Georgian Army forces to move forward Photograph: Jonathan Alpeyrie
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Georgij Chaindrawa, a former minister of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s government, who was in charge of dealing with the conflicts with Abkhazia and South Ossetia until 2006, has accused Saakashvili of undemocratic behaviour and war mongering.

Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili

In an interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel, Georgij Chaindrawa accuses the United States administration of spreading the false idea that Saakashvili’s government is democratic and turning a blind eye on his totalitarian behaviour.

According to Chaindrawa, Saakashvili’s government bears little resemblance to a democracy. Rather, Chaindrawa claims that the government of Georgia is an authoritarian regime that suppresses civil liberties and the freedom of the press, similar to the Russian government policies of Vladimir Putin. Chaindrawa states that Saakashvili tried to close down an independent TV station (Imelda TV), declared a state of emergency in 2007 against mass protests of the opposition, and committed election fraud. Chaindrawa also asserts the politics of Saakashvili’s government as a cause of the current war with Russia. He says: “He wanted a victory parade in Zchinwali and got Russian troops marching toward Tbilisi”.

When asked why he was dismissed from the government in 2006, Chaindrawa stated that he tried to avoid military adventures in the conflict with South Ossetia and that he was highly critical of Saakashvili’s failed 2004 attempt to conquer Zchinwali.

Map of Georgia

On the question of what the West should do, Chaindrawa replies that the West should support the Georgian population, its civil society, and its institutions rather than the Saakashvili government. He continues to say that Georgia needs politicians who are pursuing reconciliation and compromise rather than confrontation.

In an article in The Washington Times, Tsotne Bakuria, a former member of the Georgian parliament and now a senior fellow at Global International Strategic Group in the U.S., formulates a similarly harsh criticism of Shakasvili’s government. She calls its government a “reign of terror” and says that the country has no independent judiciary and that Saakashvili uses trumped-up criminal charges (alleged money laundering) to silence and suppress members of the opposition. She describes the leader of the opposition Shalva Natelashvili being forced to ask NATO secretary Javier Solana for asylum for his wife and two daughters after they had received death threats. Natelashvili himself was threatened with arrest by a government member and is facing money laundering charges, as are other members of the opposition.



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August 19, 2008

Biden\’s Georgia visit raises speculation about VP nod

Biden’s Georgia visit raises speculation about VP nod

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2008 United States Presidential Election
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Senator Joe Biden (D-DE)
Image: United States Senate.

Ssolbergj & Pmx

Upon the request of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware made a visit to the Republic of Georgia, which is currently under siege by Russia. Biden is considered to be a top choice on Barack Obama’s list for presidential running mates because of his foreign policy expertise and 35 years of experience in the United States Senate. His trip increased speculation about Obama’s selection, although Biden stated that the aim of the trip is “to get the facts first-hand and to show [his] support for Georgia’s people and its democratically-elected government.” Obama staffers confirmed that they had discussed the trip with Biden staffers before he left.

Biden met with President Saakashvili to discuss Georgia’s situation, thereby allowing Biden to gather and transmit the information obtained during that meeting to the Senate as part of his duty as the Foreign Relations chairman. Georgia was invaded by Russia over the disputed territory of South Ossetia. The two nations signed a cease-fire and Russia has claimed that it has started to withdraw its troops to South Ossetia. Georgian and American officials have doubted this claim. So far in the armed conflict, 197 Georgian soldiers and 74 Russian soldiers have been reported dead. As many as 115,000 people have been displaced because of the fighting.

Biden ran for president of the United States of America in 1988 and again in 2008, but each time fell short of obtaining the Democratic Party nomination. In 1988 he was forced to withdraw his candidacy after claims of plagiarism and left the race in 2008 after unpromising results in the Iowa Caucus. Biden is among a list of possible Democratic vice-presidential candidates that includes Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana and former Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia. The trip was seen as a boost to Biden’s prospects as a vice-presidential candidate, accentuating his foreign policy credentials. Biden returned from the visit on August 18. He is scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention on August 27, the same day the vice-presidential nominee is scheduled to speak.

John McCain backers and possible Republican vice-presidential nominees Senators Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman were expected to visit Georgia as well.



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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
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