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Archive for December 2010

Dayton Peace Accords signed 15 years ago

December 14, 2010 - PARIS

The 15th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords, initialed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, in the United States on 21 Nov 1995 and signed in Paris on 14 Dec 1995, invites more trouble in fragile and ethnically-partitioned Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH). The date can be counted on to heat up the rhetoric of Serbian and Croatian nationalists in BiH, who demand an end to the international civilian and military oversight put in place by the accords.

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EU ministers meet ahead of summit

December 13, 2010 - BRUSSELS

The December meeting of foreign and general affairs ministers of the European Union will be expected to have everything prepared for the EU leaders to discuss one week later. The hard won Lisbon Treaty is likely to be the stickiest issue. European leaders reluctantly agreed to reopen the Treaty in order to pave the way for a permanent eurozone crisis fund at the October summit. Wariness to the idea of reopening the Treaty and concerns about the changes promise to keep the issue alive.

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Ecuador hosts OPEC meeting

December 11, 2010 - QUITO

Ecuador, one of Latin America’s largest oil exporters but the smallest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, hosts the 158th Extraordinary Meeting of OPEC oil ministers as 2010 president of the 12-country cartel. OPEC confidence appear high, but the organization foresees market challenges. The meeting moves into the spotlight Ecuador’s position as an oil producer that doesn’t receive the full benefits of its oil wealth

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Nobel prizes presented

December 10, 2010 - STOCKHOLM

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded at a ceremony in Oslo, presided over by King Harald V of Norway, to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. The dissident won’t be at the ceremony because he is in jail in China. On the same date in Stockholm King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden will present the Nobel prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Economic Sciences.China angrily condemned the decision to award the Peace Prize, arguably the most prestigious prize in the world, to Liu Xiaobo.

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Private company tests SpaceX cargo spacecraft

December 7, 2010 - UNITED STATES

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) plans the first test flight of its Dragon cargo spacecraft from its Florida launch pad for no earlier than 7 Dec. The mission will be an up-and-down trip to low Earth orbit (LEO). The company plans a demonstration flight to the International Space Station in April, and there’s a chance the April and December missions could be combined. With the demise of the shuttle program, NASA loses its workhorse for resupplying the ISS. SpaceX is one of several companies with eyes on NASA contracts for filling in the gap.

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French court delivers Concorde verdict

December 6, 2010 - FRANCE

A four-month trial in Pontoise aimed at apportioning blame for the Jul 2000 crash of an Air France Concorde ended in May, and the court will deliver its verdict on Dec 6. The crash, which killed 113 people, led to the grounding of the plane and ended the era of supersonic jet travel. The ruling could mean a hefty fine for United States carrier Continential Airlines and a suspended sentence for Henri Perrier, regarded as the father of the Concorde program.

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Sir Paul McCartney among five recipients of Kennedy Center honors

December 5, 2010 - NEW YORK

Five luminaries from diverse artistic backgrounds receive awards on Dec 5 at the 33rd Kennedy Center Honors for their contributions to society. President Barak Obama will present the awards. The recipients are former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, country music’s Merle Haggard, TV hostess Oprah Winfrey, choreographer Bill T. Jones and Broadway’s Jerry Herman. Selecting honorees can be a challenge: they can’t be from the same artistic field or the same gender — and they must be willing.

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FIFA might vote on World Cup hosting bids

December 2, 2010 - ZURICH

The 24-man FIFA Executive Committee that decides on host countries for the World Cup planned to choose the winners on Dec 2 for hosting the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. Allegations that two officials offered to sell their vote throws the date into question: the voting could be suspended until the issue is probed. England, Russia, Spain/Portugal and the Netherlands/Belgium want the 2018 tournament. Australia, Qatar, Japan, South Korea and the United States want the 2022 event.

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Finals begin for hit televised poetry contest in Arab world

December 1, 2010 - ARAB EMIRATES

The finals of the Prince of Poets competition are due to begin in December. The televised competition for classical Arabic poetry is described as a hit and the Arab world’s answer to American Idol. As in the talent show in the United States, contestants are eliminated each week. Some 7000 poems were entered in this year’s contest. Thirty-five poets will compete in the final. Seventy million people watched previous Prince of Poets episodes, according to one unconfirmed estimate.The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage inaugurated the The Prince of Poets contest in 2007. The program will alternate yearly with the Million’s Poet contest. The winner receives the Poetry Standard and UAE dirhams 1 million (US $272,000). The program is aired by Abu Dhabi TV each season and is broadcast around the world.

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Rare OSCE summit to focus on Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan ;

December 1, 2010 - ASTANA

ASTANA 1-2 Dec 2010 Rare OSCE summit to focus on Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe holds its first summit in 10 years. It brings together the heads of 56 member states from Europe, Central Asia and North America to tackle problems in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, and to address any perception that the 35-year-old body is on its last legs. The brief war of 2008-2009 between Georgia and Russia, both OSCE members, left the transatlantic security body looking frail.

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European Union sets target launch date for diplomatic service

December 1, 2010 - BRUSSELS

The body intended to give coherence to the European Union’s foreign policy, the European External Action Service (EAS), will be launched in December if some final sticking points are resolved in time. Experts close to the negotiation speculate it will happen on Dec 1, the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which gave rise to the EAS. Issues that have delayed the launch of the service to date include finances and accountability.

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