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Saudi King appoints Mohamed bin Salman as new prime minister

Saudi King appoints Mohamed bin Salman as new prime minister

King Salman ibn Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia has appointed Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman as prime minister. This is the first time that a Saudi King has not held himself the post of prime minister since the system of Cabinet of Ministers was first introduced. Seperating the two roles is likely to improve the process and speed of decision making in the Kingdom which in the past had seen backlogs of decisions and appointments waiting for the King's approval. The appointment formalises the authority of Mohamed bin Salman over the Saudi government, and is seen as part of the process of renewal that the Kingdom embarked on a few years back. Mohamed bin Salman, or MBS as he is sometimes called, has been a controversial figure since he was appointed as Crown Prince in 2016. The war in Yemen, the murder of Adnan Kashoggi and a heavy handed approach towards critics have made him a target of much criticism by western media. But inside Saudi Arabia itself, MBS is mostly seen as a reformer who has taken on, successfully, the conservative religious elite, that had dominated life in the Kingdom since the Saudi State was established in the early 20th century. His appointment as prime minister will help consolidate his power, and is likely to embolder him on to the next set of changes. Internationally, the appointment comes days after a Saudi diplomatic success, which saw Mohamed bin Salman negotiating the release of ten foreigners held as prisoners by Russia for their participation in the Ukraine war. 
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The man who ended an era and triggered the collapse of an empire

The man who ended an era and triggered the collapse of an empire

The eighth and last leader of the former Soviet Union Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev has died. He was 91 years old. Gorbachev is considered a giant political figure who initiated the processes that ended the Cold War that had dominated international relations in the second half of the 20th century. His attempt to reform the Soviet Union met strong resistance, including a failed attempted coup by the KGB and the Army, and finally led to both his political demise, and the dissolution of the USSR into fifteen independent states. Born on 2nd March 1931 to a peasant family in the Stavropol region in the south of the Russian SSR, Mikhail Gorbachev was the architect of the policies of glasnost' (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) that tried to reform the Soviet system from within. Many Russians, including the current leadership in the Kremlin blame Gorbachev for the Soviet Union's collapse and see him as a direct cause of Russia's problems in the 21st century, but Gorbachev was only trying to reverse the rot that had set-in at all levels of the Soviet state. He persisted with his reform programme despite the risks. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, and after leaving power spent his time as Head of the Gorbachev Foundation.
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Turkish opposition parties agree to field a single candidate against Erdogan in next year's presidential election

Turkish opposition parties agree to field a single candidate against Erdogan in next year's presidential election

The leaders of six opposition parties in Turkey have agreed to run in the next presidential elections, scheduled for next June, with a joint candidate. At their sixth meeting, held over the weekend they did not say who that candidate will be. “Our people should be assured that our joint candidate will be the president of all and not only the 13th President of the Republic of Turkey and those who vote for the political parties coming together around this table,” read a joint statement released following the meeting of the leaders of the Nation Alliance on  Sunday (21 August). “We are aware of the disappointments that our people have been suffering from for years. We will come out with eligible cadres and efficient policies to relive the people’s disappointments,” it noted. The opposition parties are expected to hold their next meeting on 2 October.