Politics

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday ruled out making an apology to Turkey over an Israeli military raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that killed eight Turks and one American of Turkish descent, the Turkish news agency Hurriyet reports. "We will not apologize, but express our regrets to Turkey," the Israeli leader said in an interview with the private television network Channel 10.

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has downplayed sanction resolutions against the Islamic Republic, saying Iran has now become a nuclear country, the Iranian news agency Press TV reports. The United States and its allies have been exerting political and propaganda pressure and have issued resolutions against the Iranian nation. All their efforts have failed and Iran has now become a nuclear country, President Ahmadinejad said in an address to the people of the northern city of Karaj on Tuesday.

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Stepan Gregoryan: “Azerbaijan sends positive impulses to Armenia”

The Armenian Parliament has declined to ratify the bill on the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic's independence proposed by the opposition ‘Heritage’ group, seeing it as an inappropriate one for the moment. Only 13 MPs voted for the bill and none of the coalition parliamentary groups took part in the vote at all. Stepan Gregoryan, the chairman of the board of administration of the Analytical Center, shares his opinion on the matter with VK Media agency.- How could you comment on the recent vote in the Armenian Parliament on the Karabakh issue?

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  The head of Chechnya, Ramazan Kadyrov, said that the republic's leadership and the clergy had won the ideological fight against Wahhabism and that the youth had seen the true face of radical currents in Islam, and ceased replenishing the ranks of the militants, RIA Novosti reports.    

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 The Turkish President, Abdullah Gul will visit Iran next month. During the visit, the heads of the two countries will discuss development of bilateral relations, said the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, news.am reports referring to the Iranian news agency MEHR.  

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 The head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, has become the  head of the headquarters for the development of the city of Argun,  was announced today at a meeting in Argun between Kadyrov, state officials and managers of contracting organizations, Yuga reports.  

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 A State Duma deputy, Ashot Yeghiazaryan, has been charged with fraud and put on the international wanted list, RIA Novosti reports, referring to the official representative of the Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin. 

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'Vestnik Kavkaza' continues to present its readers the New Year moods of political analysts, experts on the Caucasus and representatives of public organizations and national associations. According to the executive director of the Russian Congress of Azerbaijanis, Eldar

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a law forbidding regional legislative councils to have 'State Duma' word combinations in their titles, ITAR-TASS reports. Two Russian regions, Astrakhan and Tomsk, have their own State Dumas. Regional, gubernatorial and other dumas can be found in 25 other regions. They will not be renamed.

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An article headlined "Azerbaijan needs bipartisan support" was published by The Washington Post on December 26. According to the author, Azerbaijan has registered no political progress in the past 10 years, the Aliyev regime is extremely corrupt and the country isn't democratic. At the same time, the author admits that the country's elite is trying to improve the image of Azerbaijan. The country's

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Abdulaziz Sultanov was taken to the traumatological hospital inMakhachkala with a gunshot wound, RIA Dagestan reports.He was attacked by unknown assailants at the crossing of Engels andAgasiyev Streets in the Dagestani capital. The police found two masksand a 9mm shell.

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Cultural education will become a priority for the Armenian Ministry ofCulture, Armenian Minister of Culture Artur Pogosyan said, NewsArmenia reports.Pogosyan said that they have many programmes supporting giftedchildren and youth. This year the ministry conducted a lot of workwith the educational plans for arts schools.

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Customs Union to have common visa

The Customs Union consisting of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, may have a single visa, similar to Shengen. The Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Andrey Slepnev, said that the initiative will be discussed next year and is expected tocome into force in 2012.

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A terrorist group of four was killed in the Dagestani town of Derbenton Sunday night, RIA Novosti cites the information center of theNational Counter-Terrorism Committee.Road police killed the militants, who were driving two vehicles and opened fire.

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Pyatigorsk will receive over 450 million rubles from the federalbudget for road reconstruction in 2011.The city's mayor, Lev Travnev, said that they plan to reconstruct thedistrict and yard roads in 2017. He said that in 2011 they will launcha municipal program on 'City Sidewalks'. The program is planned for 5years and will cost over 230 million rubles. Approximately 100,000square meters of sidewalks will be reconstructed, starting from the'Dedy' park.

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The Kazakh People's Assembly supports the initiative of a referendumon extension of the presidential terms of Nursultan Nazarbayev untilDecember 6, 2020, Kazakhstan Today cites the text of the assembly.Last Thursday a republic meeting was held on initiating a referendumfor prolongation of Nazarbayev's presidential terms inUst-Kamenogorsk.

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