The opening of the first segment of the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline last month is only one in a series of recent events in Caspian Sea basin energy developments. It signifies Turkmenistan’s first real moves to break its dependence upon Gazprom and the Russian state for international sales of its energy resources. These developments are to the detriment of Europe, which remains dependent upon Russia and Turkey as transit countries and has been unable to push forward the implementation of its Nabucco pipeline project.
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Ukraine's run-off election between Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and rival Viktor Yanukovych, to be held on Sunday, may decide the future of a pipeline that could be used to deliver Caspian Sea oil to Europe, bypassing both Russia and Turkey.
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Of the "newly independent states" of the former Soviet Union, Kazakhstan continues to lead the economic recovery from the continuing global financial crisis, based in part on an innovative approach to financial restructuring of the banking sector that statutorily limits the prerogatives of creditors.
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Headline stories have announced that China is no longer the largest holder of United States Treasury holdings. As Bloomberg News noted, for example, "China's Treasury holdings peaked at $801.5 billion in May, and net sales in November and December were the first consecutive months of reductions since late 2007." However, Chinese concern over US Treasury holdings is hardly new. Nine months ago, Premier Wen Jiabao publicly expressed worry over the safety of the country's China's Treasury holdings, and other officials have continued to air concerns about the increasing US fiscal deficit.
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The EU has affirmed itself as the last resort to save Greece’s finances, but without making any specific promises and insisting that Greece must first do much more on its own.
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Viktor Yanukovych came first in the presidential elections in Ukraine, but Yuliya Tymoshenko has instructed lawyers to bring to the courts evidence of voting irregularities to put Yanukovych’s margin of victory under question. Even if the latter is able to muster a negative majority to oust her from office and form his own parliamentary majority, he may be forced to call new parliamentary elections. Nevertheless, he has already moved on the energy front through floating new proposals, if not yet able to offer them formally for legislative consideration. The elections in Ukraine change the odds also for other projects in the east-west energy corridor from Central Asia and the Caucasus to Europe.
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