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Daily Archives: December 19, 2007

Adapt to climate change,World Bank tells developing nations

Sample Image   China and other developing countries must place a much greater
priority on adapting to climate change, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said yesterday.

Ukraine parliament approves Tymoshenko as premier

by Anya Tsukanova* Ukraine's parliament yesterday narrowly approved Orange Revolution leader Yulia Tymoshenko as prime minister, in the ex-Soviet republic's latest bid to emerge from months of political turmoil.Deputies in the single-chamber Rada voted 226-0 in favour of Tymoshenko, proposed by pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko — the absolute minimum for a vote to pass in the 450-seat Rada. The opposition boycotted the vote.Cheers erupted from supporters of Tymoshenko following her victory, which came a week after a first parliament vote failed to pass by just a single deputy.On this occasion deputies voted one by one in a show of hands to avoid a repeat of the previous week when Tymoshenko's allies claimed that tampering with the electronic system had been responsible for her defeat.However, in a dramatic demonstration of the divisions in this country of 46 million people, the pro-Moscow forces controlling just under half of the parliament did not take part in the vote.Ukraine, which is sandwiched between Poland and Russia, is a key transit route for Russian natural gas to the European Union and has had strained relations with President Vladimir Putin's Kremlin since the rise of Yushchenko.Tymoshenko's victory in parliament marked a stunning political comeback for the country's most colourful leader, who rose to fame as leader with Yushchenko of the 2004 Orange Revolution.Famous for her white clothes, traditional braided hair-do and a passionate speaking style, Tymoshenko is adored by supporters in western Ukraine, but vilified by her enemies, many of whom live in the pro-Russian east of the country.Yushchenko and Tymoshenko together led the 2004 pro-democracy protests which forced the re-run of a rigged presidential election victory by arch rival Viktor Yanukovych.Yushchenko won the re-run but his partnership with Tymoshenko soon collapsed amid infighting and Yanukovych made a comeback as prime minister, causing political gridlock and leading to snap parliamentary elections this September.The Orange team won a razor thin majority in the September election, but have so far failed to resolve the political crisis.Underlining the strains between Ukraine's pro-Western leadership and Moscow, Russian energy giant Gazprom warned on Sunday of a risk of "tensions" with Ukraine's future government.Ukraine relies heavily on Russian gas imports and has baulked in the past at steep price rises. A price dispute in 2006 led to Russia briefly cutting supplies, with a serious knock-on effect across Europe.Problems could arise "if a new government is elected that tries to modify the accord signed" earlier this month concerning the price of gas deliveries to Ukraine, said Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kuprianov."There have been statements in that regard by the Ukrainian party and that worries us," he added, alluding to comments by Tymoshenko's party.