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Georgia's president, Mikhail Saakashvili, on Wednesday night declared a 15-day state of emergency following six days of violent clashes between riot police and protesters in the state capital of Tbilisi. The demonstrators were demanding the president resign, and the protests are seen as the most serious challenge to Saakashvili since he came to power in the peaceful 2003 Rose Revolution.
However, in an apparent response to criticism of his actions, president Saakashvili on Thursday announced special presidential elections for Jan. 5, reports The New York Times. A referendum would be held the same day for the timing of parliamentary elections, Saakashvili said.
On Wednesday, authorities said the president had declared the emergency because of "an attempt at a state coup," reports German news site Deutsche Welle. The government also announced restrictions "on public gatherings and the media, closing all television networks except state-controlled stations."
Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke has warned that the US economy will slow noticeably before the end of the year.
He blamed the slowdown on the credit crisis, which has made it harder for banks and individuals to borrow money.
He said that there was likely to be more "financial restraint on economic growth as credit becomes more expensive and difficult to obtain".
Pakistan will hold elections before 15 February, President Pervez Musharraf has announced.
Gen Musharraf has been under pressure to honour the parliamentary poll date, originally scheduled for January, since imposing emergency rule on Saturday.
He said he declared the state of emergency because of militant violence and an unruly judiciary.