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EU extends sanctions on Russia for another six months

EU extends sanctions on Russia for another six months

The European Council has announced that it will extend sanctions on Russia for another six months, until 15 September 2023. In a statement released on Monday (13 March), the Council announced: "The existing restrictive measures provide for travel restrictions for natural persons, the freezing of assets, and a ban on making funds or other economic resources available to the listed individuals and entities. Sanctions will continue to apply to 1,473 individuals and 205 entities, many of which are targeted in response to Russia’s ongoing unjustified and unprovoked military aggression against Ukraine."The statement continued: "After 24 February 2022, in response to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, the EU massively expanded sanctions against Russia with the aim of significantly weakening Russia's economic base, depriving it of critical technologies and markets, and significantly curtailing its ability to wage war."
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Turkish opposition nominate Kemal Kilicdaroglu to challenge Erdogan

Turkish opposition nominate Kemal Kilicdaroglu to challenge Erdogan

After weeks of fierce negotiations between an alliance of six opposition parties from across the political spectrum, the so-called "Table of Six" officially nominated Kemal Kilicdaroglu on Monday (6 March) as their candidate to challenge incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May's presidential elections. Kilicdaroglu, who has led the center-left Republican People's Party for over a decade, is an understated 74-year-old former bureaucrat from the country's social security authority. There has been some criticism that he lacks the flair and charisma needed to topple Erdogan's populism after 20 years of rule. In speech in Ankara announcing his nomination, Kilicdaroglu said that the opposition coalition would "run the country in consultation and agreement with one another". The group has pledged to reverse many of the changes that Erdogan has brought about since becoming prime minister in 2003, including returning the country to a parliamentary system.
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Opinion
Tourism in the Gulf is a game changer

Tourism in the Gulf is a game changer

The process of opening-up Saudi Arabia to the world is going on in earnest. As a part of the Vision 2030 blueprint, masterminded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi government is implementing a plan, which, amongst many other things, aims to turn the Kingdom into a popular tourist destination by the end of the decade. Other GCC countries, but particularly UAE, Qatar and Oman, also seek a growth in tourism, and see the industry as one of the potential pillars for their post oil economies. In many countries, tourism is a major economic activity that contributes to economic prosperity. It is also an industry which generates revenues that quickly seep downwards to the very grassroots of society, and so everyone benefits from it. But apart from the economic and financial gains, tourism can also be an instrument of change within societies, opening up conservative, inward looking communities to the outside world. Several Arab Gulf countries have the ambition of turning themselves into major tourist destinations, and some have already considerable success. The potential is great, but there are also some risks.
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Ukrainian authorities raid tycoon's home amid corruption crackdown

Ukrainian authorities raid tycoon's home amid corruption crackdown

Ukrainian authorities have raided the home of the prominent business tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky amid a nationwide anti-corruption crackdown. On Wednesday (1 February) the home of the former interior minister Arsen Avakov was also searched, and the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers fired the heads of the customs and tax agencies too. Kolomoisky is an erstwhile ally of President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose TV channel gave Zelensky his break with the comedy series Servant of the People, in which Zelensky played a history teacher who ends up becoming president after a student posts a video online of an expletive-laden rant by Zelensky's character about the state of politics in the country. Kolomoisky also backed the former actor's real-life bid for the presidency. He was also the governor of the wider Dnipropetrovsk region from 2014 to 2015, and played a key role in funding volunteer battalions in response to Russia's initial invasion of Ukraine in 2014.
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EU and Uzbekistan officials meet to discuss ties, promise to expand cooperation

EU and Uzbekistan officials meet to discuss ties, promise to expand cooperation

The Uzbek Minister of Investments, Industry and Trade Laziz Qudratov hosted the head of the delegation of the EU in Uzbekistan Charlotte Adriaen on Monday (30 January) to discuss ways to advance bilateral ties in trade, economic and investment spheres. The parties explored the opportunities for expanding the main areas of bilateral financial and technical cooperation, and discussed the EU's Multi-Annual Indicative Programme for Uzbekistan (MIP), the implementation of which has been allocated €76m for the period 2021-2024. Additional funds for the same time frame were also earmarked for Human Rights support (€3.6m), and Civil Society Organisation (€3.4m). The MIP 2021-2027 has three main priorities, namely effective governance and digital transformation; inclusive, digital and green growth, and the development of a smart eco-friendly agri-food sector.
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Georgian GDP booms by more than 10% in 2022

Georgian GDP booms by more than 10% in 2022

Georgia's GDP boomed by 10.1% in 2022, according to figures released by the National Statistics Office of Georgia, Geostat, on Tuesday (31 January). The country's economic performance was particularly strong towards the end of the year, registering a year-on-year increase of 11% in December 2022. According to the report published by Geostat, growth was registered in construction, manufacturing, transportation and storage, financial and insurance activities, trade, hotels and restaurants. Meanwhile a decline was registered in real estate activities, professional, scientific and technical activities, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply. Georgia imported US$134.5bn of goods in 2022, 33.2% more than last year. Meanwhile exports also rose by 31.8%, totalling almost US$56bn. Another notable statistic from the report concerns the number of newly registered enterprises, at 6,436 in December alone. This marks a year-on-year increase of 41.4%.