27/5/2008 Programme in support of invalids developed in North Ossetia

From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng  (Original Message)    Sent: 5/28/2008 5:29 PM

Programme in support of invalids developed in North Ossetia

The Ministry for Labour and Social Development of North Ossetia has designed, together with institutions of local self-government and public associations of invalids, a targeted programme on social support of invalids.

It is planned to direct special efforts in the work of the Ministry towards development of the invalids’ rehabilitation sphere, first of all, for children and young invalids with the aim to set up optimum conditions for their social self-actualization.
In 2007, to implement the measures stipulated by the National Targeted Programme “Social Support of Invalids in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania in 2007-2009″, a total of 27,992,700 roubles were allocated from all funding sources.

For the purpose of designing, erecting, reconstructing and major overhaul of social-purpose sites and for ensuring their accessibility for elderly people and invalids the project “On Measures to Form Invalid-Friendly Environment in the Republic of North Ossetia” was developed.

Now, the Republic operates four rehabilitation centres, which are rendering a complex of services to invalids, children-invalids, elderly citizens and children with the weakened health condition.

See earlier reports: “Prosecutor’s Office of Volgograd Region demands to respect the rights of invalids”.


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IWPR: Poachers Decimate Sturgeon Stocks

From: Eagle_wng

Poachers Decimate Sturgeon Stocks


Corruption, bureaucracy helps caviar poaching to flourish in the Caspian.

By Musa Musaev in Sulak (CRS No. 301, 25-Aug-05)

At the point where the river Sulak meets the Caspian Sea lies a place known as the sturgeon-poaching capital of Dagestan.

The village of Sulak looks like any thriving fishing port, with nets lining the main dusty road and boats dotting the bay. But all the fishing here is illegal.

Every day large boats called “baida”, pull up to the dock, load up with huge petrol canisters then travel more than 300 kilometres offshore. They are forced to go so far out to sea as over-fishing has decimated stocks closer to land.

“There are no fishermen here, only poachers,” one man told IWPR as he loaded his boat with supplies.

As sturgeon fishing is supposed to be a state monopoly, the poachers are secretive about their business, warning a journalist not to take photographs. However, corruption, the lure of big profits from the caviar trade, and bureaucracy make a mockery of government regulations.

Most insist they are not in this line of work by choice. The once bustling collective farm where their fathers and grandfathers worked no longer exists; the local fish cannery is still functioning, but is on the brink of bankruptcy.

Despite their professed reluctance, most are familiar with the biology of the sturgeon family, their seasonal movements, and where the caviar-rich females are to be found.

An average poaching boat costs about 10,000 US dollars, including two 200-horsepower motors and huge nets. They are equipped with acoustic tracking instruments which detect the concentration of fish under water.

For each trip out, the poachers must pay protection money of close to 1,000 dollars. The cash goes into the pockets of local gangs with ties to government officials.

Even so, the kickbacks cover them only on land – the racketeers are not responsible for anything that might happen at sea.

The work is risky and physically demanding. The poachers’ palms have turned into a thick, hard rind of calluses from hauling heavy nets out of the sea.

The number of fishermen who do not come back from sea rises each year. An average of twenty villagers from Sulak die from accidents annually, the poachers say. Their boats get stuck in ice flows or storms. Sometimes gangs looking to extort more money shoot at their motors.

Vitaly, 45, remembers the old times. “To catch sturgeon, I didn’t need to go 200 km out to sea. I did it with a fishing line and big hooks, right here from the shore,” he said.

But now a one-tonne catch of fish is considered outstanding. Usually, the fishermen are lucky if they catch just a few medium-sized sturgeon. If a fish weighs less than ten kilogrammes, the poachers say they throw it back.

Despite the hardships, skyrocketing prices for the prized black caviar – the eggs of various species of sturgeon – mean the illegal trade is still lucrative.

One kilogramme of caviar costs as much as 170 dollars in Dagestani markets. Outside the republic, the prices are far higher.

Prices for sturgeon itself also keep rising – four dollars a kilo in Dagestan and often several times that in other Russian cities.

There seems no political will to combat the poachers seriously. Government departments set up to deal with the problem are entangled in a web of overlapping bureaucracy and utter confusion.

The head of the Dagestani interior ministry’s department for the fight against water-resource crimes, Colonel Gaibek Gajibalaev, told IWPR, “There are about ten departments which deal with protection. Generally these are subdivisions of [Russian] federal bodies. I think that the work of the various departments is coordinated, but just not at the right level.”

“It is hard to count how many unnecessary departments there are in Russia for the protection of fish reserves, none of them accountable to anyone,” agreed Pir Musaev, head of the department of the Caspian Scientific Research Centre at the Institute of Fishing. “They all do what they like.”

The lack of a serious approach among Caspian littoral states to stopping poachers – particularly with neighbouring Azerbaijan – is seen as another big hindrance. Scientists are also concerned by an increase in ctenophora, invertebrates commonly called sea walnuts, which eat the food base of the sturgeon.

As a result, sturgeon numbers in the Caspian plummeted from 145 million in 1976 to 42 million in 1998, and there are believed to be even fewer now. Adult stocks have been significantly reduced, said Musaev, who is working with an institute in Astrakhan, a town on the northern shore of the Caspian, rearing stocks for fish farms in an effort to slow the decline.

Experts say the lack of a coordinated government effort to combat poaching makes any attempts at enforcement ineffective. Legal regulations are also poorly developed, according to the commander of the Caspian border department of Russia’s FSB security service, Colonel Alexander Komul.

“Let’s say there is a six metre-long boat in someone’s garden which borders on to the river, with two 200 horsepower motors. But the law is such that we don’t have the right to seize it,” he said. “We can only catch the poachers red-handed. And chasing each boat while it is fishing illegally doesn’t justify the cost.”

Still, Dagestan’s interior ministry claims some success. It said that from the beginning of 2005 to July 15 alone, 16 large vessels, including seven not registered in Russia, and 157 smaller boats were detained. Almost 337,000 roubles, about 12,000 dollars, were handed out in fines, with 35 tonnes of illegally caught seafood were confiscated.

Musa Musaev is an IWPR contributor in Dagestan.


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The “Voice of Beslan” insists on re-examining terror act victims’ bodies

From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng  (Original Message)    Sent: 3/20/2008 1:06 AM

The “Voice of Beslan” insists on re-examining terror act victims’ bodies

Today, the “Voice of Beslan” All-Russian NGO has lodged a cassation complaint to the Promyshlenny Court of North Ossetia against the decision of this Court upholding the legality of victims’ bodies’ examination.

The complaint shall be considered within a month.

The “Voice of Beslan” is asking to cancel the Court’s decision and send the case to a new consideration by a new composition. Besides, the cassation complaint asks to take into account the experts’ conclusion.

“The experts should have given their conclusion on the reason of hostages’ death. According to their version, it was inexpedient to hold a comprehensive examination since the reason was evident. In this case, one of Federal Laws and Russian Criminal-Remedial Code were breached,” Ella Kesaeva, leader of the “Voice of Beslan”, has told to the “Caucasian Knot” correspondent.

On March 13, the Promyshlenny Court of North Ossetia rejected the complaint of the “Voice of Beslan” All-Russian NGO claiming to recognize the outcomes of examination of the bodies of terror act victims to be illegal.

See earlier reports: “Court in North Ossetia rejects complaint of “Voice of Beslan”.”


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Caucasian Knot: Dagestan On Fire

From: Eagle_wng

Dagestan on fire

So-called targeted pre-emptive activities have started in Dagestan aiming to ensure law and order in the republic.

The press service of the republican Internal Affairs Ministry has today confirmed this information to Caucasian Knot. When asked in what districts and cities in the republic this operation is conducted, the interlocutor said, “You will not be mistaken if you say that it is conducted throughout Dagestan.” The press service also confirmed that police forces from some of the republic’s neighbouring regions had been sent to Dagestan. Interfax says the Russian Defence Ministry is also involved in the operation.

On 8 June, Dagestan’s Security Council Secretary Ahmed-Nabi Magdigajiyev denied reports by some media that special forces were sent to the republic allegedly to prevent possible conflicts between residents of Dagestan and representatives of Chechen law enforcement and security agencies after a cruel special operation in Borozdinovskaia, Shelkovskaia district, Chechnya, where mostly Dagestanis live.

Eleven villagers were arbitrarily detained, four houses burnt down, and a 77-year-old village resident was killed in the “clean-up” operation.

The official version of Chechnya’s law enforcement agencies is as follows: the activity was conducted in compliance with the law without any incidents. They have nothing to deal with the fire and the killing of the local resident.


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The Peninsula: Georgia warns of crisis over border closure

From: MSN Nicknamepsychoteddybear24  (Original Message)    Sent: 7/2/2008 7:43 AM
Georgia warns of crisis over border closure
Web posted at: 7/2/2008 1:49:31
Source ::: AFP
TBILISI • Georgia yesterday called on the separatist region of Abkhazia to reopen its border with the rest of the country, warning of a “humanitarian catastrophe” for thousands of Georgians trapped inside.

Abkhazia closed its border crossings with the rest of Georgia yesterday following a string of explosions in the region that injured 10 people. Abkhaz officials blamed Georgia for the attacks, but Tbilisi denied any involvement. “This will cause a humanitarian catastrophe that will only increase tensions in the region,” Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said.

A narrow strip of land on the Black Sea, Abkhazia has recently become a centre of tensions between pro-Western Georgia and its giant neighbour Russia, which Tbilisi accuses of propping up the rebels.

Utiashvili said the border closure would have a devastating effect on thousands of ethnic Georgians living in Abkhazia’s eastern Gali district.

The region’s residents, who are prevented by Abkhaz authorities from travelling to other parts of Abkhazia, rely on trade and connections with Georgian-controlled territory to survive, he said.

“If this continues, there will be starvation in Gali-they will not be able to get food or medical supplies,” Utiashvili said. Abkhazia has closed the border before, but never for more than a brief period, he said.

“We hope the international community will put pressure on the Abkhaz and the Russians to have the border re-opened,” he said.

Ruslan Kishmariya, Abkhaz leader Sergei Bagapsh’s representative in Gali, confirmed that the border was closed as of yesterday morning.

He said many local residents were unaware of the decision and were turned away at the main border crossing, over the Inguri River.

“Unfortunately, not all local residents watch television so some did not know about the decision…. There were groups of people hoping to cross this morning but they returned to their villages after explanations from border guards,” he said.

Kishmariya said the ban on cross-border travel would not apply to international organisations or Russian peacekeepers operating in the area.

Bagapsh told Russia’s Interfax news agency that a decision on reopening the border will depend on the security situation.

“We will see how events unfold and if the situation stabilises an appropriate decision will be made,” he said.

Abkhaz officials say this week’s attacks were aimed at disrupting the holiday season in the separatist territory, which hosts thousands of Russian tourists along its Black Sea coast every year.

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Andrei SMIRNOV: [Beslan: What The Authorities Aren’t Telling Us]

From: Eagle_wng

Bridge blown up in Dagestan

“The main version investigators have with regard to the explosion of the car bridge across the Aktash River is an assassination attempt on the acting head of the Khasavyurt district administration, Alkhamatov,” Novosti news agency’s interlocutor says.

On 29 March, at about 9:30 am MSK, unknown people triggered an unidentified device under the car bridge across the Aktash River which is part of the Khasavyurt-Babayurt republican road. The capacity of the bomb is estimated at 20 kilograms of trinitrotoluene equivalent.

The blast completely destroyed one span of the bridge.

Investigators found a storage battery and parts of a hand-made bomb at the scene.


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Two servicemen die in clash with gunmen in Chechnya

From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng  (Original Message)    Sent: 8/19/2008 11:56 PM

Two servicemen die in clash with gunmen in Chechnya

19.08.2008, 10.19

GROZNY, August 19 (Itar-Tass) — A serviceman of Interior troops died during a clash with a group of gunmen in Chechnya.

As ITAR-TASS learnt at the law enforcement bodies of the republic, “on the eve, while servicemen of Interior troops were holding a reconnaissance and search operation, an armed clash with a group of 5-10 gunmen occurred in a forest near the settlement of Niki-Khita of the Kurchaloi region.” As a result, a contract serviceman died from wounds on the spot, another one was hospitalised.

Besides, also during the holding of a reconnaissance and search operation by servicemen of Interior troops, an identified explosive device went off in mountain woodlands near the settlement of Kharachoi of the Vedeno region. A contract serviceman died in the blast.

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