Separatists inhabiting Ukraine’s southeastern region of Donetsk plan to hold their own elections, elect a prime minister and allow for a future elected official to appoint his own cabinet. The announcement was made days after the last bastion of separatist, pro-Russia rebels announced their intentions to hold elections that were not “rigged,” as they have described the official election process in Ukraine.
Running for the position in the self-titled Donetsk People’s Republic is seemingly open to anyone interested in the title, with candidates offering up campaign slogans that state that senior citizens should be entitled to subsidized trips to Australia and the right to “shoot a dozen kangaroos on Safari.” Alexander Zakharchenko, the current leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic, is among those running, and features prominently throughout the city urging self-proclaimed citizens of the People’s Republic to vote for “life” by voting for him. No official election date has been scheduled.
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- The last remaining French forces have left Tajikistan. Members of the French military had been stationed in Dushanbe in order to support international coalition forces in Afghanistan and transport supplies from the airport in Dushanbe. Though French forces have officially left the country a terminal financed by the French military will remain as part of the Dushanbe airport.
- Apple has entered into talks with Iranian electronics distributors surrounding the possibility of distributing the iPhone within Iran. Doing substantive business with the Gulf nation is currently precluded by the existence of sanctions, though Apple is optimistic that a future nuclear deal will ease sanctions and allow Western companies to transact business inside Iran.
- Officials in Dushanbe announced that the National Bank of Tajikistan will undergo major infrastructure reform over the next two years. The initiative is led by the World Bank, which already contributed $10 million USD to the project, and will see the NBT replace existing gross settlement systems with automated transfer systems. The upgrades are expected to increase efficiency and outside confidence in the bank.
- Oil theft in Central Asia has raised concerns in the oil and gas rich states throughout the region. The theft of oil by means of pipeline tapping has had negative effects on the economies of oil producers and purchasers, who find that tapping leads to reduced quality, slower delivery and an overall smaller quantity of oil. The tapping of pipelines also can lead to leaks, which can have negative environmental consequences.