Mikheil Saakashvili loses presidency of Georgia in parliamentary election; four Chinese ships re-enter disputed waters in South China Sea; North Korea warns of possible nuclear war on Korean Peninsula; Syria says refugee crisis invented by foreign foes; US withdraws all government personnel from Benghazi; and more
Top of the Agenda: Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili Concedes Election Defeat
President Mikheil Saakashvili on Tuesday gave a live televised announcement admitting his party's defeat (BBC) in Georgia's parliamentary election to the Georgian Dream bloc of his main rival, billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, marking the first democratic transfer of power in Georgia's post-Soviet history. Saakashvili, who has led the country since its 2003 Rose Revolution, will remain in power until presidential elections next year.
"The last time an oligarch threatened Saakashvili it was Badri Patarkatsishvili, who died suddenly from a heart attack in London and whose assets (he kept much of them under different people's names) were divided up between Saakashvili's allies and former business partners. Badri, though, it should be said, was a flashy, rollicking adventurer, not the careful operator that Ivanishvili seems to be…That said, Ivanishvili is a very smart man with a ton of money, a formidable opponent to Saakashvili and another twist in the tale of post-Soviet Georgia," writes Wendell Steavenson for the New Yorker.
"As a political figure, Ivanishvili seems to be everything Saakashvili is not. Whereas the Columbia-educated Mr. Saakashvili groomed himself for the presidential role, Ivanishvili, a proverbial rags-to-riches billionaire worth an estimated $6.4 billion, was a recluse. While Saakashvili ran the country, Ivanishvili quietly funded the restoration of historical landmarks and supported national artists. He bought a fleet of new police cars, uniforms for the army, and paid parliamentarian's salaries," writes Paul Rimple for the Christian Science Monitor.
Chinese Ships Back in Disputed Waters
Four Chinese maritime surveillance ships entered waters (AFP) around the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands on Tuesday, a week after they last left and days after heated exchanges between ministers at the UN General Assembly.
NORTH KOREA: North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Pak Kil-yon blamed South Korea (Yonhap) for "the worst" inter-Korean ties, warning on Monday at the UN General Assembly of a nuclear war on the peninsula.
Syria says refugee crisis invented by foreign foes