World Newsbits for September 19, 2013
Canberra (AFP) — Tony Abbott was sworn in as Australia’s new Prime Minister on Wednesday and immediately ordered the scrapping of the nation’s carbon tax and the halting of asylum-seeker boats. The 55-year-old conservative launched straight into work with a cabinet meeting after the ceremony at Government House in Canberra where his Liberal/National government officially brought six years of Labor rule to a close. ‘’Today is not just a ceremonial day, it’s an action day. The Australian people expect us to get straight down to business and that’s exactly what this government will do,’’ said, Abbott, a political hardman who has worked to soften his macho image in recent months.
Yerevan (AFP) — A decision by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian to sign up to a Russian-led Customs Union has slammed the brakes on closer ties with Europe and prompted soul-searching about the future direction of the former Soviet state. Sarkisian’s surprise announcement earlier this month that Armenia will sign up to the project championed by Russian President Vladimir Putin stunned many Armenians, who see the southern Caucasus state as part of Europe. After lengthy negotiations, Armenia; along other ex-Soviet states including Georgia and Moldova, had been set to pencil a free trade deal and take the first step towards future EU integration at a conference in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius in November.