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Wednesday, February 20 2008, #034 (1550)

Separatist leaders give no indication of imminent recognition from Moscow

Comments after February 18 meeting between the separatist leaders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Russian officials gave no indication Moscow will recognize either breakaway region soon, with the de facto presidents speaking of a “step-by-step” quest for independence. (more)

Government unveils anti-poverty plan

Yesterday, the opposition coalition began registering volunteers pledging to take part in a mass hunger strike due to start February 22 if the government does not meet three key demands. (more)

Infamous prison at the end of its days as government seeks to relieve overcrowding

The infamous Ortachala Prison will be destroyed within 50 days. At a February 18 briefing on the state of the country’s prisons, President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered Justice Minister Nika Gvaramia to tear down the grim relic of brutal years. (more)

News in Brief

Words of the Day

Rustavi 2 and Mze demand reduction in free airtime for political commercials

The management of private television stations Rustavi 2 and Mze have addressed Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze, requesting the mandatory free airtime given to political advertisements in the run-up to elections be reduced. (more)

Market and democracy index: Ukraine most democratic state in the CIS space

Ukraine is the highest ranking Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member in the Bertelsmann Status Index 2008, which ranks countries according to their state of democracy and market economy as of spring 2007. (more)

Iran importing natural gas from Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR has been exporting natural gas to Iran since the beginning of February, vice-president of Azerigaz Nazim Samedzade said at a news conference last week. (more)

Press Scanner

“Scrap iron thief let free” (more)

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