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On this day June 18, 1979

The United States and the Soviet Union signed in Vienna the SALT II treaty, placing specific limits on each side’s stock of nuclear weapons.

Carter and sign SALT II treaty in Vienna

Treaty sign in Vienna

The treaty was signed by Leonid Brezhnev and President of the United States Jimmy Carter. In response to the refusal of the U.S. Congress to ratify the treaty, a young member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, met with the Soviet Foreign Minister Andrey Gromyko, “educated him about American concerns and interests” and secured several changes that neither the U.S. Secretary of State nor President Jimmy Carter could obtain. Read More…

Fischer is re-elected President of Austria

Heinz Fischer is re-elected President of Austria beating Barbara Rosenkranz by scoring 78.94% of the vote. Rosenkranz received 15.62%. Rudolf Gehring came third by scoring 5.44%.

Heinz Fischer

Opinion polls had placed Fischer in a good position on the day of the election.

Fischer thanked the nation on television: “I am extremely happy and thank the Austrian population for having so much confidence in me”.

Poor voter turnout – only 49.2% voted – led again to calls by leaders of the extreme-right for the post to be abolished.

Born in Graz, Fischer received a humanistic education,and studied law at the University of Vienna, earning a doctorate in 1961. Apart from being a politician, Fischer also pursued an academic career, and became a Professor of Political Science at the University of Innsbruck in 1993.


Eurozone growth lowered to zero

According to revised official figures, the economy of the eurozone, the sixteen European countries using the euro, did not grow at all in the final quarter of last year. Eurostat reports that the number was revised from an initial figure of +0.1%.

Eurozone 2010

Meanwhile, the eurozone’s lost more than 2.2% in a year-on year comparison, more than the initial estimate of 2.1%.

According to the numbers, Ireland saw an output drop of 2.3% in the last quarter of 2009, while Greece, the country in the eurozone with the most debt, had its economy contract by 0.8%. Italy was down by 0.3%, Germany saw no gain, but France posted a 0.6% quarterly growth.

The Associated Press reports the stagnation was unexpected by analysts, and will only reinforce expectations that the European Central Bank will keep the key interest rate at one percent for most of 2010.

On this day January 1, 2002

Euro banknotes and coins become legal tender in twelve of the European Union’s member states.

euro_banknotesThe euro (currency sign: ; currency code: EUR) is the official currency of fifteen member states of the European Union (EU).

The states, known collectively as the Eurozone are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain. Read More…

On this day September 10, 1898

In an act of “propaganda of the deed”, Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni fatally stabbed Elisabeth of Bavaria, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia in Geneva, Switzerland.

Elisabeth of Bavaria 1860 Luigi Lucheni

In a concept that promotes physical violence against political enemies as a way of inspiring the masses and catalyzing revolution Lucheni sought to kill a member of what he felt was an elite and oppressive upper class,.

In his diary, Lucheni penned, “How I would like to kill someone – but it must be someone important so it gets in the papers.” Read More…

EC and US to provide financial backing for Nabucco Project

Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Turkey sign an intergovernmental agreement on the construction of the Nabucco natural gas pipeline from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten an der March, a major natural gas hub in Austria, diversifying the current natural gas suppliers and delivery routes for Europe.

Pipeline Map

Pipeline Map

On 27 January 2009, the Nabucco Summit held in Budapest.

At the summit, the heads of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said, that they are prepared to provide financial backing for the Nabucco gas pipeline.

On 28 January 2009, the European Commission proposed €250 million as a part of its Economic Recovery Plan to be contributed through the EIB towards funding the Nabucco pipeline. Read More…

Yukiya Amano nominated Director General of IAEA

Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano is elected as Director General for the International Atomic Energy Agency.

On September 2008, Japanese government announced that it nominated Yukiya Amano to the next Director General of the IAEA. He was elected by the the Board of Governors as Director General for the IAEA in the sixth round of voting defeating South African representative Abdul Samad Mintyrival.

On 3 July 2009, all 145 IAEA member states will formally appoint Yukiya Amano “by acclamation” and he will be officially named after approving by simple majority of votes at the IAEA’s General Conference in September 2009. He will begin his term on 30 November 2009.

Yukiya Amano (天野之弥, Amano Yukiya b. 9 May 1946) is a Japanese diplomat and international civil servant for the United Nations and its subdivisions. He is the ambassador and resident representative of Japan to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the elected Director General for the IAEA.

Natural gas crisis hits Austria and Turkey

With freezing temperatures, combined with snow over the past few days Russia halted the natural gas flow to Ukraine, and therefore to subsequent countries such as Bulgaria, Austria, Turkey, Poland, Romania and Hungary.

The Russian natural gas pipeline is the primary source of natural gas for some countries such as Ukraine, Austria and Turkey.

Ukraine is currently in negotiations with Russia in order to restart the gas flow, however Russia has increased the prices from US$179.50 per 1,000 cubic meters to $250 per 1,000 cubic meters for Ukraine. Read More…