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Eastern Europe

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  • BEIRUT/ CAIRO, Dec 27- Syria said on Saturday it was willing to participate in "preliminary consultations" in Moscow aimed at restarting talks next year to end its civil war but the Western-backed opposition dismissed the initiative. Syrian state television quoted a source at the foreign ministry saying: " Syria is ready to participate in preliminary...

  • BEIRUT/ CAIRO, Dec 27- Syria said on Saturday it is willing to participate in "preliminary consultations" in Moscow aimed at restarting peace talks next year to end its civil war. Syrian state television quoted a source at the foreign ministry saying " Syria is ready to participate in preliminary consultations in Moscow in order to meet the aspirations of Syrians...

  • Belarus replaces prime minister, central bank head Saturday, 27 Dec 2014 | 8:11 AM ET

    MINSK, Belarus— Belarus' authoritarian president on Saturday replaced his prime minister, the head of the national bank and an array of other top officials as the country weathers economic troubles. Belarus has retained a Soviet-style command economy to a large degree and concerns are rising that it will suffer from a spillover of the economic crisis in...

  • Ukraine says Crimea transport halt temporary Saturday, 27 Dec 2014 | 7:50 AM ET

    KIEV, Ukraine— Ukraine's suspension of transport connections with the Russia-annexed Crimean Peninsula is expected to be only a temporary measure, a Ukrainian security official said Saturday. Ukraine blocked rail and bus travel Friday between the mainland and the peninsula, which Russia seized in March. Ukrainian police were investigating three fatal...

  • BEIRUT, Dec 27- Syria said on Saturday it is willing to participate in "preliminary consultations" in Moscow aimed at restarting peace talks next year to end its civil war. "Syria is ready to participate in preliminary consultations in Moscow in order to meet the aspirations of Syrians to find a way out of crisis," state television said, quoting a source at the Syrian...

  • MOSCOW, Dec 26- Russia will introduce a duty on wheat exports from Feb. 1, the government said, adding to other restrictions with which it is battling a rise in domestic grain prices. Russia, expected to be the world's fourth-largest wheat exporter this year, has been exporting record volumes from a large grain crop of 105 million tonnes as the rouble's plunging...

  • Russia's ruble ends 5-day rally, drops 4 percent Friday, 26 Dec 2014 | 6:44 AM ET

    MOSCOW— The Russian currency on Friday ended its five-day rally and declined 4 percent as the markets remain jittery over the outlook of the Russian economy. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announced on Thursday that the ruble seems to have finally found its fair value. Predicting problems for the economy for years ahead, Siluanov on Friday lamented...

  • MOSCOW— Pro-Kremlin activists are distributing condoms on the streets of Moscow with the images of opposition leaders whom they blame for the collapse of the Russian currency. The LifeNews TV channel late Thursday showed activists handing out condoms with pictures of Alexei Navalny, tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and others on the packets.

  • Russia offers support to North Korea amid Sony hack Thursday, 25 Dec 2014 | 10:39 AM ET

    MOSCOW— Russia on Thursday offered sympathy to North Korea amid the Sony hacking scandal, saying the movie that sparked the dispute was so scandalous that Pyongyang's anger was "quite understandable." Washington failed to offer any proof to back its claims of Pyongyang's involvement in the hacking, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich...

  • KIEV, Dec 25- Ukraine's parliament gave preliminary approval on Thursday to a law that would simplify tax legislation and impose additional duties on imports, in an effort to raise revenue amid economic crisis. Ukraine's foreign currency reserves have more than halved since the start of the year to a 10- year low, due to gas debt repayments to Russia and efforts...

  • Russia's Putin scraps New Year's holidays for ministers Thursday, 25 Dec 2014 | 7:24 AM ET

    MOSCOW— Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday scrapped New Year's holidays for government ministers because of the unfolding economic crisis. Russian company employees throughout the country are entitled to holiday from Jan. 1 to Jan. 12 when Russians celebrate the New Year, the main holiday in Russia, as well as Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7.

  • Snowstorm in Moscow delays over 150 flights Thursday, 25 Dec 2014 | 5:05 AM ET

    MOSCOW— A massive snowstorm in Moscow on Thursday caused delays to more than 150 flights and brought traffic to a standstill. The snowstorm began early Thursday morning and the Russian Meteorological Office said it expects up to 4 inches of snow to fall in Moscow in a single day. The Yandex traffic monitoring service said the congestion in Moscow reached the...

  • DIARY -Emerging Markets Economic Events to Jan 8 Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 7:02 PM ET

    JERUSALEM- Bank of Israel announces interest rate decision- 1400 GMT. PRAGUE- Czech National Bank to release the minutes of December policy meeting- 0800 GMT. PUNE, India- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will meet chiefs of the nation's banks.

  • MOSCOW, Dec 24- Russian gas giant Gazprom, hurt by Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis and a long-running dispute with Kiev over prices, expects to produce the lowest amount of gas in its history this year. More recently Gazprom has also ended the South Stream gas pipeline project aimed at avoiding Ukraine to bring in 63 bcm of Russian gas to Europe via the...

  • *Rouble dips after S&P threatens Russia with junk status. *Brent oil drops back to $60 a barrel. Most Asian markets had edged up overnight and Europe was looking to close the Christmas week up 1 percent despite a subdued day on Wednesday.

  • ALMATY, Dec 24- Kazakhstan's government promised on Wednesday to prevent sharp volatility in the tenge currency in 2015, it said in a statement. The oil-rich Central Asian nation devalued the tenge by 19 percent in February to ease pressure on its economy. Kazakhstan's competitiveness has been hurt by a sharp slide in the Russian rouble.

  • UPDATE 2-Russia's grain exports stop - farm lobby Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 7:59 AM ET

    *About 3 mln T of grain are now stuck in Russia- Union. *Wheat futures rise on Russia export curbs. Russia's main wheat buyers are Turkey, Iran and, very vulnerable to supply disruption, Egypt.

  • Russia in offer to help firms with foreign debts Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 5:04 AM ET

    MOSCOW— With inflation showing clear signs of picking up, Russia's central bank said Wednesday it will look to help companies with their foreign debts— a move it hopes will ease the pressure on the national currency. Following on from other measures to stabilize the ruble, such as a big increase in its key interest rate to 17 percent, the Central Bank said it will...

  • *Rouble dips after S&P puts Russia on junk downgrade warning. LONDON, Dec 24- The strongest growth for the world's largest economy in over a decade meant there was plenty of pre-Christmas cheer in global markets on Wednesday, as stocks continued their strong run and the dollar hovered at an 8-1/ 2 year high. The data drove both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 benchmark...

  • UPDATE 1-Russia may fail to supply wheat to Egypt in Jan Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 4:49 AM ET

    MOSCOW, Dec 24- Russia may fail to supply wheat to Egypt's state buyer GASC in January as its exports have been effectively suspended by informal government curbs, Arkady Zlochevsky, the head of Russia's Grain Union, said on Wednesday. Russia's government imposed informal curbs with tougher quality monitoring and limits on railroad loadings earlier this...