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by Euro Reporter
2010-07-19 09:37:57
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Finnish MP to head probe of deadly ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan has accepted European proposals for an international investigation into interethnic violence that killed hundreds in the south of the country last month and named a Finnish parliamentarian to lead the probe, the government said.

Violent clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan broke out in the city of Osh on June 11 and then spread to the neighbouring Jalalabad region. Unofficial estimates put the death toll at about 2,000 people, while half a million may have been made homeless by the violent pogroms, which saw thousands of homes burned. "After the tragic events that occurred, the foreign ministries of the Nordic countries initiated the creation of an independent international commission to investigate the causes of the tragic events that took place in the Osh and Jalalabad regions," a Kyrgyz government spokesman said.

He added that President Roza Otunbayeva had taken into account "the goodwill of the European countries" and accepted the proposal that the commission be headed by Finnish MP Kimmo Kiljunen, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's special envoy for Central Asia. Otunbayeva noted the need for an international commission to work with the national commission to study thoroughly the causes and consequences of the violence and draw conclusions on what should be done to resolve the problems, the spokesman said. Rights activists in southern Kyrgyzstan say Uzbek residents have been victims of police abuses as part of investigations into the earlier violence. There were also reports of security forces involvement in the June violence.


Finnish Consumer Price Inflation Eases

Finnish consumer price inflation eased in June from the preceding month, a report by the Statistics Finland showed on Wednesday.  The consumer price index, or CPI, rose 0.9% year-on-year in June, but slightly slower than 1% in the previous month. It was mainly due to fall in food prices and interest rates. Consumer prices increased for the fifth consecutive month. A year earlier, the CPI decreased 0.1%.

The rise in consumer prices was mainly influenced by increase in liquid fuels prices. The growth was also influenced by increases in prices of owner-occupied dwellings and real estate, restaurant and cafe services and alcoholic beverages from the previous year, the statistical office said.  On a monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.2% in June, compared to a 0.1% fall in the previous month.

Meanwhile, the harmonized index of consumer prices, or HICP, rose 1.3% on an annual basis in June, slowing from 1.4% in May. At the same time, the rate of inflation in the EMU countries eased to 1.4% from 1.6%. Month-on-month, the HICP grew 0.2%, after falling 0.2% in May. Further, the HICP at constant taxes rose 1.7% annually in June and was up 0.2% compared to the preceding month.


True Finns gain record support

The True Finns Party would win 10.1 percent of the votes if an election were held today, according to a poll commissioned by YLE in July. This is the first time over ten percent of respondents said they would back the right-wing party. The True Finns overtook the Green League as the fourth most popular party. According to the poll carried out by pollster Taloustutkimus, the conservative National Coalition Party (NCP) continues to lead in popular support. A total of 23 percent of respondents said they would vote for the NCP. Support rose by 1.1 percentage points from June. Trailing the NCP are the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Centre Party with 20.5 percent and 19.7 percent support respectively. Since June, support for the SDP has declined by 0.6 percentage points. However, the Centre Party has gained ground with a rise of 0.5 percentage points.

The Euro-sceptic True Finns saw an upswing in support in May after government approved a bailout plan for Greece, which was deeply unpopular in its ranks. Juho Rahkonen of Taloustutkimus says that growing feelings of resentment toward the EU and stronger conservative principles are behind the shift. Meanwhile, fewer people backed the Greens. Support for the Green League stood at 9.5 percent, a drop of 1.1 percentage points from June. Rahkonen says the NCP and Greens compete for the same voters.

A total of 7.8 percent of respondents said they backed the Left Alliance, a fall of 0.3 percentage points since June. Support rose by 0.1 percentage points for both Christian Democrats and the Swedish People’s Party to 4.3 percent and 4 percent respectively. Taloustutkimus interviewed 1,931 people in the poll. The margin of error was 2.5 percentage points. Another poll, published on Saturday by the daily Helsingin Sanomat, showed the True Finns remaining in fifth place with 9.1 percent support, the same as in June. However the paper says its Gallup poll is not directly comparable with YLE's.

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