Britain voting to join the Euro by a very close margin. Love the video game culture with the WTC intact in GTA III
Niko: Ahhhhhhh!However for GTA IV, without 9/11 being a thing, I can definitely see that game's version of Liberty City having their version of the Twin Towers. They'd probably wouldn't serve much purpose in the game other than a possible place for players to have fun by having Niko Bellic jump off of them (similar to how player like having Niko jump off the Rotterdam Tower, which is Liberty City's version of the Empire State Building).
Oh God! I can hear Niko scream as I speak.Niko: Ahhhhhhh!
Nice update, Iwanh! Nice to see what's going on in the country of Georgia.Part L
Since Mikael Saakashvili was swept to power off the back of a popular revolution in Georgia, he set out an ambitious agenda to reform the post-soviet economy and dense bureaucracy into a modern streamlined European democracy. The country was rife with gang violence, stagnant wages, widespread corruption, decaying infrastructure and dysfunctional public services needed to be confronted with the hammer that Saakashvili sought to wield.
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3rd President of Georgia Mikael Saakashvili
His anti-corruption crusade transformed the nation's institutions, as hangers-on of the old regime were systematically forced out; corrupt politicians, public officials and police were investigated and arrested at such crippling speeds that some civil rights groups were concerned about an overreach of power, but Saakashvili brushed aside such complaints as getting “in the way of the post-revolutionary Georgia”.
Civil servant pay was boosted to discourage bribery and a ‘state building’ campaign commenced to revamp Georgia's withered public services, combatting tax evasion, and deregulating industry to attract outside investment. There was a marketable improvement, as millions of dollars and euros began to flood into the country as entrepreneurs and speculators were keen to invest in what looked like the world’s freshest thriving democracy.
Water, electricity, hospitals, and schools received renovations at dramatic speeds, there still remained lagging problems of poverty and lingering unemployment but to many, hope had finally been restored to the country.
Of course, there were still major tensions in the nation, most prominently the unruly provinces, South Ossetia, Abkhazia (both separatist-controlled) and Adjara (de facto independent). Saakashvili made restoring Tbilisi’s control over the provinces a top priority but had so far been blocked by the consistent intervention of neighbouring Russia into the debate, which had sent tacit backing to the province’s rulers in the guise of 'peacekeepers'. While maintaining a military base in Batumi the provincial capital of Adjara.
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Map of Georgia, separatist regions in orange, Adjara in blue
Saakashvili had tried to utilize popular support to force Adjara to capitulate to the central government but the plan failed when the Adjara chairman Aslan Abashidze used loyal militia and security forces on top of supportive Russian riflemen to hold back protesters and prevent Georgian intervention.
Saakashvili and the Tbilisi government decided to wait Abashidze out, with local elections scheduled for March 2005, Saakashvili believed that he could be forced from office after a resounding electoral defeat, the government initiated a campaign to counter any potential rigging, sent aid to the government's supporters including undercover officers to the region for security and commenced a propaganda campaign to expose Abashidze corruption.
This all arrived as relations between Tbilisi, Moscow and the northern breakaway regions deteriorated. Following the 4/9 attacks in Russia and the escalating spats between the countries Georgia refused to participate in CIS security meetings and Saakashvili either did not attend (or was not invited) to the attacks memorial or the upcoming 60th great patriotic war victory parade. Additionally, clashes between Georgian forces and South Ossetia increased, while Saakashvili continued to reach out to the United States for military training and economic aid.
While the nations of the world gathered to hear the thumping bombast of the red army orchestra, Saakashvili made his journey to Adjara to celebrate the upcoming reclamation, following his parties victory (over 60% of the vote) in the local election and to witness the inauguration of a close ally into the chairman’s position, a major victory in his quest to reunite Georgia.
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(Left) the President attends Georgias 2nd World War ceremony, (Right) Saakashvili campaigning
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Georgia's President killed by grenade
By Michael Dobbs
May 13, 2005
Mikael Saakashvili, the Georgian President and the leader of the Rose Revolution that peacefully toppled the country's strongman leader Eduard Shevardnadze, was attacked and killed today by an explosive as he approached a crowd of supporters outside the regional parliament in the coastal city of Batumi.
The Georgian government has immediately declared a state of emergency, suspending all political activity in the year-old republic and has now imposed a strict media blackout to ‘prevent misinformation’. Local Police and security forces are on a massive manhunt for Saakashvili’s killer or killers setting up roadblocks and more army troops have entered the province on the back of trucks and tanks.
The President had a fierce rivalry with the region's leader Aslan Abashidze who has so far refused to acknowledge the new governments control over the region and barred most government officials from entering the territory, but as Abashidze's term of office was due to expire, Saakashvili came to promote his preferred replacement.
The Georgian Government has said that the killing resulted from a grenade being thrown at the feet of the President by a still unidentified assailant, but suspicion has fallen on pro-Abashidze militia groups or members of his loyal state security. Interior Minister Merabishvili said of the groups “they known for their militant opposition to the government [in the capital] and the President,[they are against his efforts to eliminate organized crime and unite Georgia under democracy”.
Saakashvili was a close ally of Washington and supported further integration with the European Union and NATO.
News reports in Tbilisi have reported that Georgian Military forces have entered the Adjara region to enforce an order of martial law requested by acting-president Nino Burjanadze. The murder has further eroded Georgia’s political stability and it follows the death of Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania last February from carbon monoxide poisoning though some within the country are suspicious of potential foul play.
It has been just over a year since Saakashvili won his overwhelming Presidential victory, leading a pro-democratic and pro-western coalition of politicians into power, and he made powerful enemies in the process, from organized crime to separatist organizations, former communists and dissident groups within the police and army. Saakashvili survived an apparent assassination last year when several gunmen were detained by the President's supporters outside a rally.
Well-liked by western governments, including the United States, President Edwards said: “History will remember President Saakashvili for his strong leadership in Georgia’s successful struggle to peacefully liberate itself and build a new democratic future.”
The death of the President sparked a major political crisis and spawned a state of emergency in Georgia. Immediately, military and police forces responded as the units crossed the Adjaran border to quell potential unrest. The interior ministry put forward the demand that Abashidze immediately resigns his office, and condemn any attempt to subvert the military order. Abashidze complied, resigning his position as Georgian troops instituted martial law and strict curfews encountering no real resistance apart from the occasional disapproving scowl.
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3rd President of Georgia Mikael Saakashvili
The most important group’s opinion was those of the residents of the '12th Military Base' outside Batumi. The 89th Rifle Division stayed quiet and remained on base at the time of the assassination making no manoeuvres to counter the military directive, their influence seemingly evaporating following Abashidze’s resignation.
In the days that followed the assassination, the nation mourned en masse. Despite growing numbers of detractors, Saakashvili was still enormously popular throughout the country, as the man who ended the decrepit Shevardnadze era looked upon by many as the new father of the nation. Politicians of all stripes even those of the old regime stood in mourning as the coffin clad in the cross of Saint George was carried through the street. Followed by his widow and children, flanked by his political comrades including acting President Burjanadze.
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State funeral of Mikael Saakashvili
Following his death, military forces and police detained hundreds of suspects still searching for the person responsible for the assassination, one of the detained included the now-former Adjara Chairman Abashidze, held on a dozen charges relating to abusing his power while in office. A sudden turn for the man who only weeks ago had ruled the region as a personal fiefdom, expecting to be allowed to leave the country at the end of his tenure with a hefty endowment in his back pocket.
The interior ministry additionally placed a 250,000 Iari ($130,000) reward on information leading to the assassin's capture and the minister Merabishvili gave routine televised updates on the government’s pursuit. Weeks into the manhunt, following a tip-off, in a live broadcast senior ministry officials and officers led a raid on the suspect’s home. Military units surrounded the house engaged in a gunfight and captured the suspect, one Vladimir Arutyunian, an ethnically Armenian Georgian with links to the Democratic Revival Party Abashidze’s political party, but more concerning was his manner of dress at the time of the capture, a Russian military uniform. Russia was swift to deny that Arutyunian had ever served in the Russian military and the Georgian government admitted that it wasn’t hard to get a Russian uniform in Georgia, but it still fed into the widespread belief that Russia was continually undermining Georgia's sovereignty, Artunyian himself admitted to being the assassin but refused to provide a motive.
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(Left) Interior Minister Merabishvili (Right) Saakashvili assassin Artunyian following arrest
With the immediate security crisis resolved, the country was allowed to move on to its political crisis, the need to replace Saakashvili. To fix this, an emergency election was scheduled for June, but it became clear swiftly who the next President would be when the acting-President and Speaker of the Parliament Nino Burjanadze the only surviving member of the Rose Revolution trifecta declared her intention to contest the upcoming election.
A key figure in the Georgian government for the last decade, Burjanadze was widely seen as a key figure of the revolution though with less personal popularity than the outspoken Saakashvili or Zhvania. She was the first woman to sit in the Georgian Parliament and exemplified the professional revolutionary as opposed to her public-facing more populist compatriots, possibly owing to her background as a ‘bread heiress’. She eulogized the former President “We will not let the enemies of the revolution of roses erase our achievements, nor will spilt blood intimidate us, we will not allow our country to be disintegrated” and committed to fulfilling Saakashvili’s vision “We will continue to walk the path of democracy, of unity, of stability, security … and we seek to open the door to Europe and NATO to reach out to our transatlantic friends to solve our conflicts by peaceful means.”
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(Centre) Nino Burjanadze only surviving member of the revolutionary triumvirate (Left) Saakashvili, (Right) Zhvania
The following week Burjanadze fielded a phone call with the American President Edwards where for the first time he expressed his endorsement of Georgia joining NATO a major acknowledgement of the nation’s goals. However cold water was thrown on that good news as yet another flare-up began in South Ossetia, as reports of separatists kidnapping Georgians came to her.
I recall Outkast's Bombs Over Baghdad being very popular around campus that spring (completely missing the point of the song, but what do you expect from 18-21 year olds?, at least it replaced that god-awful Toby Keith song).
Bagpipes From Baghdad is most definitely butterflied as the Iraq War doesn’t happen.What about the Eminem song Bagpipes from Baghdad? Did that one get butterflied away?
Em's feud also extends to Tipper Gore too.
It was? Really? Did Tipper want Gore to run in 04 IOTL? Also from what I understand, while Al & Tipper are divorced, they're still on good terms with each other and still see each other with their family at Christmas.Probably not, considering he ran in 2004 ITTL, it's likely they're still together. A little known fact is that Gore's divorce from Tipper was the main reason for him not running 2004 OTL.