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Ukraine KIEV: Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Monday accepted the resignation of his close ally Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and the entire government, the presidency said.   The surprise move comes as a new parliament prepares to meet after October 28 legislative elections which raised new concerns about democratic standards under Yanukovych.   The ministers will remain in their posts until a new government is formed, the presidency said in a statement.   "President Viktor Yanukovych accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, satisfying the demand of the latter," the statement added.   It noted that according to Ukranian law, whenever the prime minister resigns the entire government must do so alongside the government chief.   The presidency explained the mass resignation by saying that Azarov had decided to take up a parliamentary seat rather than staying on as prime minister.   Under Ukrainian law, deputies have to cease their former work in order to take up their seats in the parliament.   Along ...

French right-wing in last-ditch bid to end leadership war PARIS: The two politicians engaged in a shambolic battle to lead France's right-wing opposition met Monday in a last-ditch bid to reach a deal ahead of a deadline imposed by ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy if they don't stop squabbling.   Jean-Francois Cope the twice-declared winner of last month's vote for the leadership of the UMP party met with former prime minister Francois Fillon in the National Assembly.   If they do not come to an agreement on when to hold a ...
Russia urges North Korea to reconsider rocket launch MOSCOW: Russia on Monday urged North Korea to reconsider its plan to launch a rocket later this month, saying Moscow regretted the move.   "We vehemently ask the North Korean government to reconsider the decision to launch the rocket," the foreign ministry said, adding it had heard of the news of the plan "with regret".   Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012 ...
Disabled protest in Spain over austerity measures MADRID: Thousands of disabled people and their families marched in Madrid on Sunday against benefit cuts, joining Spain's swelling protest movement over austerity measures.   Many were in wheelchairs. They carried signs saying "SOS" and chanted "Disabled people, abandoned" as they made their way through the centre of the capital.   The ruling centre-right government has introduced more than 60 billion euros' ($78 billion) worth of spending cuts since it took power at the end of last year, which ...
Russian drivers stuck in snow for days in giant traffic jam MOSCOW: Thousands of trucks and cars have been stuck, some for more than two days, in a traffic jam dozens of kilometres (miles) long caused by heavy snow northwest of Moscow, Russian media reported on Sunday.   Police in the Tver region said field kitchens were operating on the road, but many drivers complained supplies never reached them and they were running out of gasoline to keep their engines running and heating on in subzero temperatures.   "Drivers help ...
French right hunts for compromise after Sarkozy ultimatum PARIS: France's right-wing opposition UMP scrambled on Sunday to end a damaging feud ahead of a deadline to party heavyweights who have both claimed victory in a shambolic leadership vote to reach a compromise or face disqualification.   Former president Nicolas Sarkozy emerged from his election defeat to issue the ultimatum to his ally Jean-Francois Cope the twice-declared winner of last month's UMP vote and his former prime minister, Francois Fillon.   If the two men do not come ...
Slovenia chooses new president amid social tensions  LJUBLJANA: Slovenians voted Sunday in a presidential run-off with opinion polls favouring former premier Borut Pahor, despite his support for government austerity plans that have brought thousands of protesters on to the streets. Pahor, 49, pulled off an upset in the first round on November 11 when he won almost 40 percent of the vote ahead of incumbent President Danilo Turk, 60, with almost 36 percent.   On Sunday, he was expected to win just 60 percent ...


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