Five candidates squared off yesterday in an election for the presidency of Abkhazia, all sharing a commitment to keep their breakaway region from submitting to Georgian rule. \nPrime Minister Raul Khadzhimba, backed by outgoing President Vladislav Ardzinba and by neighboring Russia, was the front-runner, but opposition candidate Sergei Bagapsh posed a strong challenge. \nPolls opened at 8am and were scheduled to close at 8pm. \nYesterday's vote was the first time Abkhazians cast ballots since Ardzinba, 59, took the helm of the Black Sea region more than 15 years ago -- when Abkhazia and Georgia were still part of the Soviet Union. Ardzinba was legally prohibited from seeking another term. \nThe election underscored tensions with Tbilisi, which, under President Mikhail Saakashvili's leadership, has sought to rein in renegade regions. \nAbkhazia's languishing economy -- crippled by sanctions from Tbilisi and a lack of international recognition -- has been the focus for much of the candidates' campaigning. Most Abkhazians are unemployed. \nBagapsh, head of the Chernomorenergo state energy company and leader of the United Abkhazia opposition movement, has campaigned on promises of raising the average wage and combatting rampant crime. \nGeorgian media have ignored the election, which Georgian officials insist is illegal. \n"What's to be said about the situation? Foremost that there is no justice. They threw us out of our homes there," said Lado Adamiya.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of