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From the article:
The Kremlin is planning to rig the results of Russia’s parliamentary elections on Sunday by forcing millions of public sector workers across the country to vote, the Guardian has learned.

Local administration officials have called in thousands of staff on their day off in an attempt to engineer a massive and inflated victory for President Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party. Voters are being pressured to vote for United Russia or risk losing their jobs, their accommodation or bonuses, the Guardian has been told in numerous interviews with byudzhetniki (public sector workers), students and ordinary citizens.

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From the article:
Iraq and the United States have concluded a long-term security accord that would lead to a stable bilateral relationship over time.

On Monday, President George Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki signed the U.S.-Iraq Declaration of Principles for Friendship and Cooperation, which officials termed the first step toward a normalized, bilateral relationship.

“Although the nature of our engagement will transition significantly over time,” Brett McGurk, director for Iraq in the U.S. National Security Council, said. “And as the months of the years go by, far less military, far more economic, diplomatic, political.”

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From the article:
President Vladimir Putin Monday accused the United States of trying to taint the legitimacy of upcoming Russian parliamentary elections by pressing a group of prominent independent election observers to abandon their attempts to monitor the campaign.

Putin contended that the election monitors, who are deployed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, had canceled their plans to monitor the parliamentary balloting because of pressure from the State Department in Washington.

Putin’s statements in recent weeks have taken on an increasingly nationalistic tone as he has sought to muster support for his party in the balloting on Sunday. Speaking to reporters Monday in St. Petersburg, he once again criticized what he suggested was foreign meddling in Russia’s affairs.

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From the article:
China has refused permission for a U.S. aircraft carrier and accompanying vessels to visit Hong Kong for a long-planned Thanksgiving holiday visit, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday.

The Kitty Hawk group and its crew of 8,000 U.S. airmen and sailors had been expected in Hong Kong on Wednesday, but will now spend the holiday on the South China Sea.

Hundred of relatives of crew members of the USS Kitty Hawk had flown to Hong Kong to celebrate Thanksgiving with their loved ones. Hong Kong has been a regular port of call for U.S. sailors on “R & R” (rest and recuperation) since the Vietnam War.

The Chinese move comes as a surprise just weeks after a visit to China by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, which he said he hoped would lead to a long-term dialogue.

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From the article:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez brought his revolutionary zeal to the cartel that controls 40 percent of the world’s oil, urging fellow members at a weekend summit to fight against “imperialism” and “exploitation.”

Chavez used the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to advance a struggle for the soul of the cartel. Countering him was the conference host, Saudi King Abdullah, who said the organization’s goal was simply to produce prosperity.

Their contrasting visions elbowed aside the usual OPEC talk about production quotas and currency fluctuations. In the short term at least, Abdullah’s vision is likely to prevail, said Ihsan Bu-Hulaiga, who runs a private business consulting firm in Riyadh and advises the Saudi government.

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From the article:
He had all-American cover – born in Iowa, college in Manhattan, army buddies with whom he played baseball.

George Koval also had a secret. He was a top Soviet spy, code named Delmar, trained by Stalin’s ruthless bureau of military intelligence.

Atomic spies are old stuff. But historians say Koval, who died last year in Moscow and whose name is just coming to light publicly, appears to have been one of the most important spies of the 20th century.

On Nov. 2, the Kremlin startled Western scholars by announcing that President Vladimir Putin had posthumously given the highest Russian award to a Soviet agent who in World War II penetrated the Manhattan Project to build the atom bomb.

The announcement hailed Koval as “the only Soviet intelligence officer” to infiltrate the project’s secret plants, saying his work “helped speed up considerably the time it took for the Soviet Union to develop an atomic bomb of its own.”

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From the article:

The leaders of veteran allies Russia and India agreed Monday to launch a joint unmanned mission to the moon during Kremlin talks on boosting military and trade ties.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced the plan after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during which the two discussed projects for a more than twofold increase in trade by the end of the decade.

“The symbol of our cooperation is the joint agreement to send an unpiloted space ship to the moon for scientific investigation,” Singh said in comments broadcast on Russian state television after the meeting.

Russia’s space agency Roskosmos said it had signed an agreement with the Indian space agency for joint lunar exploration through 2017, including the construction of a module that will orbit the moon “for peaceful purposes.”

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From the article:
China roiled financial markets around the globe yesterday when it asserted that the dollar is losing its luster as the world’s reserve currency and that Beijing will swap some of its $1.4 trillion in reserves out of U.S. dollars and into stronger currencies like the euro and Canadian dollar.

China’s verbal assault on the dollar helped trigger a 360-point plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and came as French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned in a speech to Congress that the “disarray” caused by the dollar’s steep fall could lead to “economic war.”

“The world’s currency structure has changed,” Xu Jian, a central bank vice director, said in a Beijing conference, according to wire service reports. The dollar is “losing its status as the world currency,” he said.

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From the article:
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao arrived in Moscow on Monday for talks with Russian leaders on prospects for the development of bilateral relations.

On Tuesday, Wen Jiabao will take part in a ceremony of closing Year of China in Russia and meet his Russian counterpart Viktor Zubkov for talks on cooperation in different fields.

The two sides are expected to sign 10 inter-governmental, inter-departmental and commercial agreements in such areas as nuclear power engineering and finances, in implementing joint projects in science and technologies, small and medium-size business.

In an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass, Wen said, “My meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov will focus on sincere and substantial exchange of views on bilateral issues, international and regional problems.”

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From the article:
The U.S. Navy launched a series of exercises in the Gulf to enhance skills required in any war with Iran which, according to British press reports, could occur in early 2008.

The U.S. Fifth Fleet conducted a crisis response exercise that included amphibious, air and medical forces. The five-day exercise by the USS Wasp, led by Commander Task Force 59, was scheduled to end on Nov. 5.

The U.S. Fifth Fleet has been operating two strike groups in the Gulf. The USS Enterprise and USS Kearsarge have also been training in the region.

Britain plans to send an aircraft carrier, HMS Illustrious, to the region in early 2008. Illustrious would be accompanied by the Type 42 destroyer HMS Edinburgh and the Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster.

A British Defense Ministry spokesman said the Royal Navy deployment was not linked to the emerging Western crisis with Iran. But the London-based Daily Telegraph asserted that the ships might be preparing for war with Teheran in the first half of 2008.

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Diplomacide Mothballed

Diplomacide has been mothballed.
November 2007
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