A new, high-speed Chinese freight train has arrived in Belgrade, declaring the arrival of China's Global Belt and Road Initiative to Serbia. "Chinese companies are active in building in all parts of our country," Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told a welcome ceremony at the New Belgrade train station on October 24.
As winter looms, the United Nations is urging Bosnia to urgently relocate migrants and refugees from a squalid camp near the city of Bihac.
Fourteen Kazakh citizens accused of fighting alongside the Islamic state extremist group in Syria have gone on trial in Kazakhstan's capital, Nur-Sultan.
On October 23, 1956, Hungary rose up against communist rule. It was the first armed revolution against an Eastern Bloc regime. The uprising was crushed, and the return to democracy delayed until the Hungarian Republic was declared in 1989.
A Russian court has extended until December 29 the detention of Paul Whelan, the former U.S. Marine accused of espionage. Whelan asked for the recusal of the presiding judge and the prosecutor, saying they were ignoring complaints about violations of his rights. His request was denied.
A Paris appeals court has rejected Russian efforts to suspend an arbitration decision requiring Moscow to pay $1.3 billion to the Ukrainian state bank Oschadbank for expropriation of its assets in Crimea. The ruling by the International Investment Arbitration Tribunal in the dispute is subject to enforcement in 154 foreign countries. (Ukrainian Service)
Russian rights activists have warned of a backslide on political freedoms after Russian President Vladimir Putin overhauled the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights earlier this week, removing several critics and replacing its head, Mikhail Fedotov, with a former TV presenter many see as a Kremlin loyalist.
Maria Butina, the Russian gun-rights activist convicted in the United States for acting as an unregistered foreign agent, is scheduled to be released on October 25 from prison in Florida and deported to Russia.
A TV channel affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church is putting out a call for applications for a reality show with a spiritual twist: its setting will be an island monastery on a lake halfway between Moscow and St. Petersburg. "Find yourself and learn about the world of monastery life," an online advertisement for the show, named Ostrov, (Island), says.
Chechnya’s law enforcement agencies are investigating Islam Kadyrov, the nephew of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and a former mayor of the autonomous republic’s capital city, Grozny. The probe is in response to published footage portraying the young Kadyrov abusing local residents, including by using a stun gun against a woman to force a confession. He was removed from the mayor’s post in 2017. (in Russian Current Time TV)
Schemes (Skhemy), the investigative unit of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, together with Ukraine’s public broadcaster UA:Pershy television, has protested an October 17 Ukrainian court ruling granting the State Bureau of Investigations (DBR) wide-ranging access to the group's internal communications and documents.
Ukraine's largest lender, PrivatBank, should not be returned to its former owners in any scenario, according to a statement on President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s website. Ukraine's international lenders, foreign investors, and corruption watchdogs are monitoring the bank's plight as a test of the president’s pledge to eradicate graft and weaken the influence of oligarchs on the country’s economy and political system.
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has awarded 3,600 euros to Nelya Shtepa, the former mayor of the Ukrainian city of Slovyansk in the Donetsk region, whom Kyiv accuses of fomenting separatism. The October 24 ruling found that criminal proceedings against Shtepa had been "unreasonably long" and that her pre-trial detention had been "lengthy and unjustified."
The Chamber of Appeals of Ukraine’s Supreme Court on October 24 upheld a ruling denying the reinstatement of former Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin. Shokin was appointed Ukraine's prosecutor-general in 2015, and was fired from the post in April 2016.
Serbia's president has confirmed that Russian S-400 and Pantsir-S air-defense missile systems are being deployed in joint Serbian-Russian military exercises planned for October 29 at a military base outside the Serbian capital, Belgrade. It is the first time that an S-400 battalion and a Pantsir-S battery will appear in military drills outside Russia, a Russian Defense Ministry statement said.
Bulgaria's Supreme Judicial Council has overwhelmingly approved Ivan Geshev as the country’s new chief prosecutor, despite months of protests and concerns by judiciary-reform and human rights groups about his professionalism, integrity, independence, and links to oligarchs.
A decree announced on October 23 allows Uzbek citizens to take up to $10,600 in cash with them when traveling abroad, to open foreign bank accounts without any limitations, to conduct cash transfers between banks in Uzbekistan and abroad, and to own securities and payment vouchers supported by foreign currencies or gold.
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