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Georgia opposition calls for dialogue with Saakashvili TBILISI: Georgia's opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili said on Wednesday he was ready for dialogue with President Mikheil Saakashvili and stepped back from his call for his rival to step down after losing elections.   Ivanishvili said that he had suggested Tuesday that Saakashvili quit after his party's shock defeat in Monday's parliamentary polls because "resignation could have been the best way out of the situation for the president".   But the Georgian Dream coalition leader insisted that he was not issuing any "political ultimatums".   "As far as my opinion expressed yesterday at a press conference concerning the president's resignation, this is not my or the coalition's political demand," he said in a written statement.   "We are ready for constructive relationships with representatives of the current authorities, including with the incumbent president."   Saakashvili's United National Movement party warned earlier Wednesday that attempting to force a resignation could cause "crisis and confrontation".   "Speaking about snap presidential polls today shows disrespect ...

Secret papers found in Vatican butler   VATICAN CITY: Vatican police testifying on Wednesday at the trial of Pope Benedict XVI's former butler said they had found documents in code, research on spying and papers the pope had marked "Destroy" in his apartment.   More than 1,000 documents including copies and originals out of 82 boxes of material seized from Paolo Gabriele's flat were considered relevant to the investigation into what has been dubbed the "Vatileaks" scandal.   The documents were many more than have been ...
Catalonia president says bailout for Spain BARCELONA: Catalonia's president Artur Mas said Wednesday a sovereign bailout for Spain is unavoidable, and Madrid should ask for it without long delays.   "External aid will be inevitable, so it would be better to face it without a lot of delays," said the head of the northeastern region, who is pushing for greater financial independence from the rest of Spain.   The bailout prediction flies in the face of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's studious refusal to say ...
NATO hopes for BRUSSELS: NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Wednesday called for "even stronger" ties with Georgia in the future while hailing the country's elections as a major step on the path to democracy.   "I congratulate the Georgian people on completing free, competitive and peaceful parliamentary elections," Rasmussen said at a news conference, referring to Monday's poll victory by the Georgian Dream opposition coalition headed by tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili.   "These elections were a litmus test and Georgia has passed ...
Rasmussen wins fifth and final year as NATO chief BRUSSELS: NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Wednesday won a fifth and final year at the helm of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the alliance said.   "Following a process of consultations, Allies approved today Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's fifth year in office, thus extending his mandate until July 31st 2014," it said in a statement.   Rasmussen, 59, served as premier of Denmark from 2001 to 2009 and is NATO's 12th secretary-general.   The statement announcing the extension of ...
Cypriot President rejects bailout with privatisations  NICOSIA: Cyprus will not accept a bailout from international lenders on the current terms being offered, President Demetris Christofias said on Wednesday, with the indebted government set to propose alternative savings.   Setting the tone for tough negotiations with lenders, Christofias said he would never sign a bailout deal which called for the sell-off of profitable state-owned enterprises, or which would abolish inflation-linked salary increments.   A draft economic adjustment programme prepared by the European Commission, the ECB and ...
Small Irish jobless fall keeps unemployment rate at 14.8  DUBLIN: The number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Ireland fell by just 400 in September to a seasonally adjusted 435,200, keeping the standardised unemployment rate at 14.8 percent, the Central Statistics Office said on Wednesday.   While data last month showed that the unemployment rate fell a touch to 14.7 percent in August, that figure was revised up along with the previous two months where the jobless rate is now seen to have hit a crisis-high ...


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