The presidential elections in Yakutia were held against the background of a fierce fight for control of the financial flows at ALROSA, Russia's diamond monopolist. In principle, it had never subsided, but it intensifies every time top federal officials are replaced. Moreover, (incumbent President) Mikhail Nikolayev failed to obtain permission to be elected for a third term in office from the Legislative Assembly of Yakutia. Therefore, Vyacheslav Shtyrov's resignation from the post of ALROSA President had been, in fact, predetermined. The tandem of Mikhail Nikolayev and Vyacheslav Shtyrov had been fiercely resisting the federal government's attempts to gain control of the diamond company. Despite the fact that the controlling block of shares belongs to Yakutia (the government holds 32% of the shares, districts own 8%, and 23% belong to the company's staff), the federal government has retained quite powerful tools to influence the company. The federal authorities distribute the company's products as they want, define the term and volumes of export quotas. They have so far been defining and supervising the company's price policy as well, Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote.
The Turkish army has completed preparations for operations in northern Syria and is awaiting orders to launch an invasion of four Syrian cities: Manbij, Tel Tamir, Ain Isa and Tel Rifat