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April 2004 Country Archive



Spring is traditionally the time for new beginnings, 'dustbusters' and eccentric behaviour. This months Overview starts with perhaps the world's most eccentric nation.

Deep Throat at the time of WATERGATE said "follow the money" - good advice, but try it out with the hermit Republic of NORTH KOREA. We describe how to deliver a national budget with no figures!

Putin had a walkover in RUSSIA. His problem was always to get a quorum of 50 percent turnout of the voters without which he would have been out of office. Read about how he did it and how 'democracy' works in Russia. Now he is free to pursue his Greater Russia strategy. GEORGIA, the only non-Russian space through which Caspian oil can reach the west, is through shrewd manoeuvring already effectively in vassalage to Moscow - not good news for investors in the Tbilisi - Ceyhan pipeline!

Just when it was thought that the Balkans were now settling down, it is again looking decidedly fraught, as readers of SERBIA, CROATIA, ALBANIA, BOSNIA, MACEDONIA can find out.

Trouble in the Balkans may be nothing new, but how are Bush's 'Axis of Evil' and 'Rogue States' doing right now? The positive change is in sanitised LIBYA where following Tony Blair's benediction delivered in person on Qadhafi, BIG OIL is now hurrying back. Also we report on the little known significance of Libya in the fight against al-Qaida in Africa.
To keep up, IRAQ, IRAN, NORTH KOREA, SYRIA, current reports are all there, as is AFGHANISTAN.

Elections are now coming up in INDIA, the world's largest democracy, where 675 million qualified voters may go to the polls over four phases in a totally automated election (look out Florida). Our report helps to better understand its complications. Elections are also due in SOUTH AFRICA and are only the third for Africa's most important nation. Next month it will be the PHILIPPINES turn, but the hot, as yet unresolved election story, is that from TAIWAN where we explain the full background.

Clive Lindley - Publisher 

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