Latest blog articles
Prime minister: It's Russia vs. the West in Montenegro vote
PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — Montenegro's election Sunday will decide whether the small Balkan state continues on a Western course or becomes "a Russian colony," the prime minister said as he faced the toughest challenge yet to his 25-year rule.
Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic told supporters at a pre-election rally that the ballot is his country's most important since its vote for independence from Serbia a decade ago. The outcome could jeopardize NATO and European Union enlargement in southeastern Europe and could prove decisive in Moscow's bid to regain influence in the strategic region.
"Everyone is aware that the fate of the state will be decided ... whether Montenegro will become a member of the EU and NATO, or a Russian colony," Djukanovic said Friday.
The vote pits Djukanovic's long-ruling Democratic Party of Socialists against a cluster of pro-Russian and pro-Serbian opposition groups that staunchly oppose the country's NATO bid.
The latest polls suggest that Djukanovic's party will gain a majority in Montenegro's 81-seat parliament. But if it does not get enough seats to rule alone, analysts say Djukanovic will have tough time forming a ruling coalition.
"Uncertainty is the characteristic of this election, because for quite some time ... we did not have elections in which the outcome and the postelection coalition was so uncertain," said political analyst Daliborka Uljarevic.
The scenic country of 650,000 people, squeezed between the Adriatic Sea and towering mountains, is deeply divided among those who favor and oppose Western integration. Until recently, Montenegro had been a faithful ally of Russia. But after splitting with Serbia in a 2006 referendum, Montenegro took a strong turn toward Euro-Atlantic integration.
Russia strongly opposes the expansion of NATO in European ex-communist countries it considers part of its "strategic interests." Wary of Russian influence in the still-volatile region, which was engulfed in bloody civil wars in the 1990s, the West wants Montenegro in NATO.
Djukanovic has accused the Kremlin of meddling in the election process by secretly financing the opposition parties — something their leaders strongly deny.
The opposition groups are accusing Djukanovic of corruption, nepotism and economic mismanagement and have pledged to lift Western sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine if they win.
New startup investments aim to stem Canadian tech brain drain
By Solarina Ho and Matt ScuffhamTORONTO (Reuters) - Some of Canada's largest corporations and top executives launched two separate initiatives this week, investing millions of dollars into startup programs they hope will help stem a brain drain in fields like artificial intelligence and financial technology.NextAI, which was unveiled on Wednesday, and Diagram, announced on Tuesday, both aim to halt the loss of the country's best technology talent by helping to launch new Canadian-based… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Ho Chi Minh City maintains growth momentum: officials
This information was announced at a meeting on October 28 by the municipal People’s Committee to review its economic situation in the first ten months of 2016. At the event, officials said that trade and investment promotion both at home and abroad continued to meet the development and integration demands of the local business community, creating favourable conditions in which for them to maintain and develop towards sustainable production. According to Su Ngoc Anh, Director of the Department… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Lai Chau to invest US$4.8m in growing macadamia
Macadamia is expected to become an important cash crop in the northern mountain province of Lai Chau. - Photo zing.vn The information was released at a seminar on the potential of growing macadamia in the province on Sunday. Beneficiaries of the fund, to be invested from now till 2030, will include businesses, co-operatives, households and individuals who have 50 hectares or more of concentrated macadamia plantations. Authorities said they are working to create favourable conditions, including… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Papadakis and Cizeron open big lead at Trophee de France
PARIS (AP) — World champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron delivered a commanding performance for a nearly 10-point lead in the ice dance at the Trophee de France on Friday.Competing in their first ISU Grand Prix event this season, the French skaters scored a personal best of 78.26 points in the short program and were 9.54 points ahead of Russia's Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin.Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were in third place, with 66.77.The Trophee de France… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
VN Central Bank to change foreign currency lending rules
The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) is drafting a new circular on foreign currency lending. Under the draft circular, credit institutions and foreign bank branches will be allowed to continue giving loans in foreign currencies to some borrowers till the end of 2017 instead of early 2017.The draft circular will replace the existing Circular 07/2016/TT-NHNN that was issued early last year.According to Circular 07/2016/TT-NHNN, credit institutions and foreign bank branches were allowed to consider… chat_bubble_outline Read More...