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OSCE to deploy first-ever election observation mission to Uzbekistan



BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec. 14

By Fakhri Vakilov – Trend:

More than 50 observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly are going to Uzbekistan for observing the 22 December parliamentary elections, Trend reports citing OSCE’s press service.

It is the first time for the OSCE PA observing an election in Uzbekistan.

OSCE PA President George Tsereteli (MP, Georgia) will serve as Special Co-ordinator and leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission, following an appointment by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak. Tsereteli has led a number of observer missions in the past, including to Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Moldova, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

“As we are deploying for the first time a full-fledged observation mission to the country, this is also the first time that Uzbekistan’s new reforms are really put to the test. We hope to see good-faith implementation in line with OSCE election-related commitments,” said Tsereteli.

Tsereteli has appointed OSCE PA Vice-President Kari Henriksen (MP, Norway) to lead the OSCE PA observer delegation.

“As observers, we will look at all aspects of the election system, as well as the media environment and political climate, and will offer a fair and balanced assessment,” said Henriksen. “Our election observation is a check on progress and part of a larger process in supporting democratic development across the OSCE area.”




For the 22 December parliamentary elections, the OSCE PA will work closely with observers from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. They will deliver the post-election statement of preliminary findings and conclusions at a press conference in Tashkent on 23 December.

The elections will be assessed for their compliance with commitments found in the 1990 OSCE Copenhagen Document.

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Squamish Nation approves $3-billion housing project in Kitsilano


Squamish Nation voted 87 per cent in favour of moving ahead with the project in partnership with Westbank Development to build 6,000 rental housing units in 11 towers on a 11.7-acre parcel of land in Kitsilano.

The development of the reserve lands at Sen̓áḵw, which is adjacent to the Burrard Bridge and Vanier Park, represents the single largest development on First Nation lands in Canada, according to the Squamish Nation. The city of Vancouver will have no power to regulate what is built.


Artist renderings of the 6,000-unit Senakw development proposed for Squamish First Nation lands in Kitsilano adjacent to the Burrard Bridge.

Revery Architecture /

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“The Squamish Nation Council is thrilled with the outcome of this referendum, which was approved by a landslide. This is truly a landmark moment in our Nation’s history. The Sen̓áḵw Project will transform the Squamish Nation by providing immense social, cultural, and economic benefits to Squamish Nation members for generations to come,” said Squamish Nation councillor Khelsilem, in a statement on Facebook.

Construction on the first phase is expected to begin in 2021.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said earlier this year that this is what reconciliation looks like, and that the prospect of new rental units in Vancouver is “exciting.”

There are two other major real estate projects in Vancouver in planning that involve First Nation groups: the 90-acre Jericho Lands in West Point Grey and a plan for 2,500 homes on 21 acres at the Heather Land in the Cambie Corridor.

In 2014, city council designated Vancouver as a City of Reconciliation and set as its goal the creation of “sustained relationships of mutual respect and understanding with local First Nations and the urban Indigenous community.”



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UK economy at its lowest point since 2009



The British economy had its worst quarter since 2009, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported on Tuesday.

The economy flatlined month-on-month in October, after two months of decline.

Services expanded by 0.2% from August-to-October, offsetting a 0.7% contraction in manufacturing and 0.3% in construction.

Reflecting a drop in manufacturing exports, Britain’s goods trade deficit widened to £14.5bn in October, up from £11.5bn in September.

The pound shrugged off the low growth, gaining both against the dollar and the Euro. The pound broke over €1.19 on Monday, for the first time since May 2017. The rally seems to respond to polling, which suggests the Conservatives have a strong lead, betting on an orderly exit which removes the risk of a cliff-edge exit.



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Saudi Aramco becomes world’s biggest listed company as shares surge 10% – business live | Business


A screen advertising Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Aramco with Arabic reads, “promising future” in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this week

A screen advertising Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Aramco with Arabic reads, “promising future” in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this week Photograph: Amr Nabil/AP

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

It’s a massive day on the Saudi stock market as oil giant Aramco finally makes its debut — becoming the biggest listed company in the world.

Saudi Aramco is floating today, after raising $25.6bn through its sometime troubled IPO. That valued the company at $1.7trillion – even more than Apple ($1.2 trillion).

The opening auction on the Tadawul is underway as I type, so we’ll soon know if the float is a success.

If Aramco’s shares rally today, then the $2trillion valuation craved by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could be in sight again.

But it’s an usual float – just 1.5% of Aramco’s stock is actually floating. The rest is owned by the Saudi state.

That scarcity could help push the stock higher, after international investors proved reluctant to back the IPO.

Human rights concerns, the climate crisis, and corporate government concerns all forced the Saudis to rein in their ambitious plans for the float, and restrict it to Middle East investors.

As my colleague Jillian Ambrose explains:


It was originally expected to sell about 5% through a dual-listing on the Saudi market and on a major international stock exchange.

The IPO lost the support of international investors, which are sceptical of the company’s valuation. Investors are also wary of Aramco’s close ties to the Saudi regime, which is embroiled in geopolitical conflict and whose behaviour has raised human rights concerns.
Among local investors demand for Aramco shares was almost three times oversubscribed after the Saudi government encouraged Middle Eastern investors and wealthy Saudi families to support the IPO.

Aramco’s shares were sold at 32 riyals each. The stock should start trading soon, so we’ll see if it spikes or slides…..

Also coming up today

The City is becoming more anxious about tomorrow’s general election.

A closely-watched poll from YouGov showed Boris Johnson’s likely majority has narrowed – from 68 seats to just 28. A hung parliament is still a real possibility, which knocked sterling a little last night.

The pound is trading around $1.3135 this morning, having hit $1.32 last night (before YouGov hit the wires).

Plus, America’s central bank is holding its last (scheduled) meeting of 2019, but we’re not expecting fireworks.

The agenda

  • 12.30pm GMT: US inflation: Expected to rise to 2.0% per year, from 1.8%
  • 3.30pm GMT: US weekly oil inventories
  • 7pm GMT: US Federal Reserve decision: expected to leave interest rates unchanged



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Uzbekistan has potential to become second economy after Russia



BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec. 3

By Fakhri Vakilov – Trend:

Uzbekistan’s economy may become the second in the post-Soviet space, said Russian Minister of Economic Development Maksim Oreshkin, Trend reports citing the Uzbek media.

At a meeting at the Higher School of Economics National Research University in Moscow Oreshkin noted that reforms were underway in Uzbekistan’s economy, and when Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev came to power, there were many problems.

“Now they are being solved step by step, however, many problems remain,” said Oreshkin.

“However, in fact, I believe that Uzbekistan’s economy will be able to become the second economy in the post-Soviet space after Russia in about 20 years,” Oreshkin said.

The head of the Ministry of Economic Development also suggested students to visit Uzbekistan.

“I recommend everyone to visit Tashkent. Uzbekistan is a very beautiful country, so visit it in spring during student vacations.”

The fact that Uzbekistan is considering the issue of joining the EAEU became known during the October visit to Tashkent of the Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russia Valentina Matviyenko.




Later, the first deputy chairman of the Senate of the Parliament, Sadyk Safayev, said that Tashkent has been studying the possibility of joining the EAEU. He emphasized that no one exerts pressure on Uzbekistan in this matter.

In March 2019, Oreshkin at a meeting with President Mirziyoyev praised the ongoing large-scale reforms in the country.

The parties noted that the new multi-level format of the dialogue – the creation of a Joint Commission on bilateral cooperation at the level of prime ministers of the two states – will contribute to the development of mutually beneficial cooperation.

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