BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for National Security on June 18 detained the country’s former Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiev on corruption charges.Read more: Kyrgyzstan: another former prime minister detained on corruption charges
BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for National Security on June 18 detained the country’s former Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiev on corruption charges.Read more: Kyrgyzstan: another former prime minister detained on corruption charges
BISHKEK (TCA) — The United Nations Country Team in Kyrgyzstan has made a decision to stop using single-use plastics at meetings and events supported by the United Nations. “We will work with hotels, service providers, and partners to urge them to follow our green policy. It is aimed at deepening environmental awareness about the major environmental challenges created by omnipresent global products, especially plastic bottles and plastic shopping bags,” the UN in Kyrgyzstan said.Read more: United Nations system in Kyrgyzstan refuses single-use plastic
TASHKENT (TCA) — A U.S. citizen who returned to visit relatives in Uzbekistan has been detained on suspicion of joining a terrorist group and fighting alongside Islamist insurgents in Afghanistan, authorities say, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reported.Read more: Uzbek-born U.S. citizen detained on visit to relatives in Uzbekistan
KABUL (TCA) — Afghan peace activists have arrived in Kabul after trekking some 700 kilometers on foot calling for an end to Afghanistan’s nearly 17-year war, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reported.Read more: Afghanistan: ‘Peace Convoy’ arrives in Kabul after 700-km march
BISHKEK (TCA) — Moscow police say a taxi driver whose car plowed into pedestrians and injured soccer fans near Red Square on June 16 reported that he fell asleep and confused his brake and gas pedals, RFE/RL reported.Register to read more ...
BISHKEK (TCA) — Running a marathon has been on Seitek Abdulhairov’s mind for a while. But with persistent pain and numbness in his lower back sometimes preventing him from walking or sitting, it has been impossible to plan any training. A couple of visits to the Unit – Reactiv – Farma (URFA)’s rehabilitation centre in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, he is now hopeful that he will make a full and speedy recovery, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) reported on its website.Register to read more ...
BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan’s authorities must ramp up their efforts to put an immediate end to the appalling practice of “bride kidnapping”, Amnesty International said on June 15 as details emerged that an 18-year-old woman has been abducted and raped in an effort to force her to marry her attacker.Register to read more ...
BISHKEK (TCA) — The Publisher’s note: Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Central Asia was the scene of intense geopolitical struggle and the Great Game between the British and Russian Empires, and later between the Soviet Union and the West, over Afghanistan and neighboring territories. Into the 21st century, Central Asia has become the area of a renewed geopolitical interest, dubbed the New Great Game, largely based on the region’s hydrocarbon and mineral wealth. On top of that, the region now is perhaps the most important node in the implementation of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative through which Beijing aims to get direct access to Western markets. Every week thousands of news appears in the world’s printed and online media and many of them may escape the attention of busy readers. At The Times of Central Asia, we strongly believe that more information can better contribute to peaceful development and better knowledge of this unique region. So we are presenting this Weekly Digest which compiles what other media have reported on Central Asia over the past week.
Bigger Role for Kazakhstani President at National Security Council to Ensure Smooth Transition
Nazarbayev’s expanded role at the helm of a more powerful National Security Council appears to be part and parcel of ongoing preparations for a presidential succession in the country
June 7 — “On May 31, the Kazakhstani Senate approved a bill on reforming the National Security Council (NSC) of Kazakhstan. This move marked the official end of a months-long legislative process, to be followed in the days to come by a presidential endorsement, which is the precondition for its becoming law.” READ MORE: https://jamestown.org/program/bigger-role-for-kazakhstani-president-at-national-security-council-to-ensure-smooth-transition/
Kazakhstan's New Capital Is Growing Up Quick
Only 20 years after its establishment, Astana boasts world class, futuristic architecture, with a skyline that rivals Dubai
June 8 — “Kazakhstan is celebrating 20 years since the launch of its futuristic capital city, Astana. Energy revenue is front and center in this story of rapid economic development and urban planning success. As I spoke at a conference there, dedicated to the capital’s anniversary, I reflected on the role of oil and gas in Astana’s fast rise.” READ MORE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielcohen/2018/06/08/kazakhstans-new-capital-is-growing-up-quick/#4177a411c44a
Kazakhstan opens office to shield investors from corruption risks
While working in Kazakhstan, investors have to increase the project costs by around 30 percent to account for corruption-related expenses, the country’s anti-corruption policy department head says
June 11 — “The Protecting Business and Investments Project Office was launched in the Kazakh capital June 8 to facilitate investing in the Kazakh economy by shielding investors from corruption risks and alleviating bureaucratic procedures.” READ MORE: https://astanatimes.com/2018/06/kazakhstan-opens-office-to-shield-investors-from-corruption-risks/
Kazakhstan among nations cheering SCO’s ‘victory’ over the G7
Kazakhstan is well-situated to take the maximum benefit from economic cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
June 12 — “The relative success of the weekend’s June 9-10 Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Qingdao, China, may have been exaggerated in some quarters given the absolute dog’s dinner the G7 summit in Canada turned into as Donald Trump stoked a series of rows with supposed allied nations—but Kazakhstan, for instance, was certainly hailing it a significant advance with Kazakh and Chinese businesses signing 40 deals worth $13bn during the event, according to June 11 reports from Kazakh media outlets.” READ MORE: http://www.intellinews.com/kazakhstan-among-nations-cheering-sco-s-victory-over-the-g7-143281/
Central Asia improves ailing road infrastructure
In Central Asian countries, roads are the main means of communication. The states allocate some funds for their construction and maintenance, but they are critically lacking. To find money, the governments decided to introduce toll roads
June 10 — “Well-developed infrastructure is a critical factor in economic development, international experts say. Motor roads in Central Asia require significant repairs, the OECD Central Asian Analytical Network reports, adding that 60% of roads in Kyrgyzstan, 54% in Kazakhstan, 48% in Tajikistan and 23% in Uzbekistan do not have asphalt or concrete cover.” READ MORE: https://timesca.com/index.php/news/26-opinion-head/19855-central-asia-improves-ailing-road-infrastructure
Uzbek Diaspora Leaders Urge Kyrgyz President To Revisit Violence Of 2010
A fresh review of the events of eight years ago, notably the case of ethnic Uzbek journalist and rights activist Azimjon Askarov, has also been called for by international rights organizations and the UN Human Rights Committee
June 12 — “Seven prominent ethnic Uzbeks who fled Kyrgyzstan in the wake of violent clashes have called on new Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov to revisit the investigations and consequences of the fighting that erupted in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/uzbek-diaspora-leaders-urge-kyrgyz-revisit-osh-violence-2010/29287473.html
Washed-up Kyrgyz official heads Tajikistan telecoms company
The official — Kadyrkulov — was tainted by some corruption scandals under former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev
June 12 — “A mobile phone company in Tajikistan has appointed a disgraced former government official from neighboring Kyrgyzstan as its general director. According to a June 11 report in Asia-Plus newspaper, Beeline Tajikistan, a mobile telecommunications operator recently acquired by Tajik company ZET Mobile Limited, will be headed by Almazbek Kadyrkulov.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/s/washed-up-kyrgyz-official-heads-tajikistan-telecoms-company
Kyrgyzstan: Looking for digital solutions to combat child labour
Despite efforts taken by the government and local NGOs, child labour remains a problem in Kyrgyzstan
June 15 — “A group of young digital specialists – supported by the ILO in Kyrgyzstan – was among the prize winners in a ‘Hackathon’ aimed at promoting children’s rights. Following a marathon 48-hour event involving 18 teams of information technology experts and their mentors, they designed an innovative application that has the potential to monitor the incidence of child labour in communities.” READ MORE: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2018/06/15/kyrgyzstan-looking-for-digital-solutions-to-combat-child-labour/
Three Days Without Unprotected Sex -- A Rule, Not The Norm For Returning Tajik Migrants
Authorities plan to set up medical booths at entry points, including airports, where blood samples for HIV will be drawn from Tajik migrants returning from Russia
June 9 — “Tajikistan is set to take strict new measures to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDs and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) that many believe have been brought to the country primarily by labor migrants returning from Russia.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/tajikistan-three-days-without-unprotected-sex-a-rule-not-the-norm-for-returning-migrants/29281608.html
Tajikistan's Banned Islamic Party Claims Former Members Hit By 'Wave Of Arrests'
The Tajik Supreme Court in 2015 outlawed the Islamic Renaissance Party, which was the only legally recognized Islamic party in Central Asia, as a "terrorist organization"
June 11 — “The Islamic Renaissance Party (IRPT) says it halted its activities in Tajikistan nearly three years ago, when it was outlawed by the Supreme Court. What hasn't stopped, the Islam-rooted party claims, is the government's persecution of its followers.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/tajikistan-s-banned-islamic-irpt-party--members-hit-by-wave-arrests/29283941.html
EBRD implementing projects in financial system of Tajikistan
The EBRD could help in stabilizing and rebuilding trust in the troubled banking sector in Tajikistan
June 14 — “The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will implement seven projects in the financial and banking system of Tajikistan in 2018. This was stated by the director of the EBRD in Central Asia, Neil McCain, at a meeting with the first deputy chairman of the national bank of Tajikistan, Jamoliddin Nuraliyev, in Dushanbe on June 13, Asia Plus reported.” READ MORE: https://www.azernews.az/region/133505.html
Turkmenistan’s mommy issues
In its ‘Akhal-Teke: A Turkmenistan Bulletin’, Eurasianet reviews the main news and events in the Central Asian country for the previous week
June 12 — “A headline in Turkmenistan’s state media declaring the bouncing health of the nation’s economy did more than just announce figures. It encapsulated the government’s entire gravity-denying policy-making ethos. “The results from January to May are testament to the stable development of the Turkmen economy,” read the header of an article that went on to reveal 6.2 percent growth over that period.” READ MORE: https://eurasianet.org/s/turkmenistans-mommy-issues
Spinning Its Wheels: With Turkmenistan In A Skid, Berdymukhammedov Pedals On
Residents of Turkmenistan are facing price rises, unemployment estimated at more than 50 percent, and severe food shortages
June 13 — “Turkmenistan's president proudly led 3,246 bicyclists as they pedaled to a Guinness world record on June 1, a few days before World Bicycle Day, which was established by the UN General Assembly on Ashgabat's initiative.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/turkmenistan-in-a-skid-berdymukhammedov-pedals-on/29289107.html
Queues for sugar formed again in front of Ashgabat state-run stores
Shortages of staple foods have become commonplace in the gas-rich Turkmenistan
June 14 — “Turkmenistan is still experiencing sugar deficit. A restriction of 1 kilo per person sold at 7 manats applies in state-run stores. Correspondents of “Chronicles of Turkmenistan” report that queues have formed in front of retail outlets. In order to conceal the queues, sugar is sold exclusively from rear entrance of the stores (employee entrance).” READ MORE: https://en.hronikatm.com/2018/06/queues-for-sugar-formed-again-in-front-of-ashgabat-state-run-stores/
Student In Turkey 'Tricked Back' To Turkmenistan And Imprisoned
The Prove They Are Alive campaign, a coalition of rights organizations, has documented 113 people who have "disappeared" after being taken into custody in Turkmenistan
June 15 — “Just six months ago, Omriuzak Omarkulyev was a successful university student in Turkey. Now he is in a Turkmen prison serving a long sentence. A citizen of Turkmenistan, Omarkulyev had founded a "community of Turkmen students" in Turkey while he was studying at Osmaniye Korkut Ata University.” READ MORE: https://www.rferl.org/a/turlmenistan-turkey-student-omarkulyev-imprisoned/29292029.html
India, Uzbekistan to route their trade though Chabahar
The two countries aim to supplement their connectivity through the Chabahar port with the establishment of industrial parks and an investment zone in Uzbekistan
June 10 — “India and Uzbekistan are set to route their trade through the Iranian port of Chabahar as part of New Delhi’s growing engagement with resource-rich Central Asia.” READ MORE: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/india-uzbekistan-to-route-their-trade-though-chabahar/article24127666.ece
Investment hub to appear in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan is committed to creating favorable conditions to attract foreign investments
June 13 — “Uzbekistan’s first investment hub will be created in the near future in the Fergana region of the country. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev got acquainted with investment projects that will be implemented in the Fergana region, the presidential press service said.” READ MORE: https://www.azernews.az/region/133415.html
EU supports export of Uzbek food products to Europe, development of ties with Afghanistan
The EU will assist Uzbekistan in increasing the export of agricultural products to EU member states by developing a certification system for food products
June 14 — “The European Union (EU) intends to support a number of projects and initiatives of Uzbekistan, Uzbek media outlets reported referring to the results of the meeting of the Subcommittee on Economy, Trade and Investments “Uzbekistan-EU” held in Brussels.” READ MORE: https://www.azernews.az/region/133502.html
Taking the U.S.-Uzbekistan relationship to the next level: Mirziyoyev's historic visit
The recent successful visit of Uzbekistan’s president to the United States has helped to strengthen Uzbekistan’s role in the politics of Central Asia region and Afghanistan
June 14 — “President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s visit to Washington was historic, being the first official visit of an Uzbek president since 2002. Mirziyoyev’s reception, and the breadth and width of agreements signed, constitute an acknowledgement of the reform process in Uzbekistan, as well as of the country’s newfound regional role and in particular its constructive approach to resolving the problem of Afghanistan.” READ MORE: https://timesca.com/index.php/news/26-opinion-head/19875-taking-the-u-s-uzbekistan-relationship-to-the-next-level-mirziyoyev-s-historic-visit
After the fight: Afghanistan as a strategic opportunity
While peace is not around the corner, it is time for Washington to begin to think about what comes after peace arrives in Afghanistan, a retired U.S. Army colonel says
June 12 — “For the first time in nearly 20 years, there is a serious interest in peace in Afghanistan. President Ghani and the Taliban leadership have published invitations, and there have been feelers from many Taliban leaders in the field to provincial authorities. Afghan religious leaders — the Ulema Council — have called on the Kabul government and the Taliban to stop fighting and begin negotiations.” READ MORE: http://thehill.com/opinion/international/391543-after-the-fight-afghanistan-as-a-strategic-opportunity
Abdullah Abdullah: ‘Nobody promised Afghanistan will be paradise in 2, 3 years’
Afghanistan’s Chief Executive on the situation in the war-torn country
June 13 — “On widespread corruption and human rights abuses in Afghanistan, the country’s chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, said: "Nobody had promised that Afghanistan will be paradise as a result of the two, three years of the unity government but we have promised to take steps, which we have done." He admitted earlier this year that his National Unity Government (NUG) had failed to fulfill some of its commitments, leading to a loss of trust in the government.” READ MORE: http://www.dw.com/en/abdullah-abdullah-nobody-promised-afghanistan-will-be-paradise-in-2-3-years/a-44211801
A Grass-Roots Afghan Peace Movement Grows, Step by Step
Afghanistan’s most striking grass-roots movement for peace in recent years started with just eight people — and keeps growing
June 15 — “As they march for peace through Afghan villages laced with roadside bombs and bottomless heartache, their numbers keep growing. They come from all walks of life, ages 17 to 65. Among them is a high school student who went home to complete his final exams before rejoining the others; a poet who still carries in his chest one of the four bullets he was shot with; a bodybuilding champion who abandoned his gym and has lost 20 pounds of muscle on the journey.” READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/15/world/asia/afghanistan-peace-march-.html
Islamic State emboldened in Afghanistan
As the Islamic State’s arm in Afghanistan has now strengthened, its threat to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries to its north will much depend on the Taliban’s relationship with the militant group
June 16 — “From its establishment in September 2014, Islamic State’s arm in Afghanistan, its Khorasan province entity (IS-K), found itself the target of attacks by Afghan Taliban forces and strikes by the U.S. military in conjunction with the Afghan security forces.” READ MORE: https://timesca.com/index.php/news/26-opinion-head/19882-islamic-state-emboldened-in-afghanistan
India Makes Waves, Courts Central Asia at the SCO Summit
India is taking efforts to expand its substantive engagement with wider Central Asia
June 12 — “Last week’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) annual summit in Qingdao in China was the first SCO summit since the grouping’s expansion, when India and Pakistan were included as full members at the Astana summit in Kazakhstan last year.” READ MORE: https://thediplomat.com/2018/06/india-makes-waves-courts-central-asia-at-the-sco-summit/
The Next Great Game: The Clash over Central Asia
To keep China’s ambitions in check, the Central Asian states are seeking mutually beneficial relations with all major powers, including Russia
June 13 — “Xi Jinping seemed uncharacteristically sanguine after his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sino-Russian relations are at their “best time in history,” the Chinese leader boldly proclaimed after a two-day state visit to Russia last year. Indeed, though China and Russia make a strong team when it comes to counterbalancing the United States, their apparent unity betrays fierce competition over a region that both countries have long regarded as their natural sphere of influence: Central Asia.” READ MORE: http://harvardpolitics.com/world/the-next-great-game-the-clash-over-central-asia/
TASHKENT (TCA) — The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors on June 15 approved $198 million in additional financing to scale up its support in enhancing horticulture value chain development in all 12 regions in Uzbekistan as well as in the autonomous region of the Republic of Karakalpakstan.Register to read more ...
KABUL (TCA) — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he has confirmed the death of Pakistani Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah, calling it a "great step toward building trust" between Kabul and Islamabad, RFE/RL reported.Register to read more ...
BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan is one of the most seismically active countries in Central Asia, and constantly at risk of earthquakes – with more than 300 registered annually. A recent study estimates that earthquakes in the country lead to economic losses of over US$ 280 million (or 4.3% of GDP) per year because of damaged buildings, property and infrastructure, the World Bank reported on its website.Register to read more ...
BISHKEK (TCA) — On June 14, the State Registration Service of Kyrgyzstan with the support of the UNDP, the Government of Switzerland and OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek opened the training centre with the aim to capacitate the staff of the SRS and the Central Election Committee (CEC) in preparations of elections in the Kyrgyz Republic. The Centre will become a platform for professional growth of the staff involved in the election and updating their skills and knowledge on digital innovations, the Embassy of Switzerland in the Kyrgyz Republic reported.Register to read more ...
ASHGABAT (TCA) — U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Assistant Administrator for Central and South Asia, Javier Piedra, visited Turkmenistan as part of his first official visit to Central Asia. Piedra visited Turkmenabat and the capital Ashgabat to see first-hand how USAID programs are benefiting Turkmenistan by strengthening the investment climate and supporting the private sector in the country, the US Embassy in Ashgabat said on June 14.Register to read more ...
ASTANA (TCA) — At the Government meeting on June 12, Minister of National Economy of Kazakhstan Timur Suleimenov reported on the country’s socio-economic development during the first five months of 2018, the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.Register to read more ...
ASTANA (TCA) — Italy’s Eni on June 12 said it has taken the Final Investment Decision to build, develop and operate the Badamsha plant, a 50 MW wind farm located in the northwest of Kazakhstan. This project represents the first large scale investment in wind technology for the company.
The construction works of the plant, which is located in the Aktobe Oblast, will start in the coming months and the commercial operation date and the connection to the grid is expected by the end of 2019. The wind farm will provide the Region with an annual power generation of about 198 GWh. Eni’s current renewable energy portfolio includes investments in solar, wind and hybrid projects worldwide for 1.2 billion euros over the next four years.
The Badamsha project represents the first material step of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Eni, General Electric (GE) and the Kazakh Minister of Energy, Kanat Bozumbayev, to promote the development of renewable energy projects in Kazakhstan. Last June Eni signed a number of strategic cooperation agreements both in the upstream and renewable energy sectors with the aim of supporting the sustainable economic growth of the country.
Eni has been present in Kazakhstan since 1992. Eni is joint operator of the Karachaganak field and is an equity partner in various projects in the Northern Caspian Sea, including the giant Kashagan field. In 2018 Eni became joint operator in the exploration block Isatay, with the national company KMG.
TASHKENT (TCA) — To deliver an environment conducive for foreign tourists to visit Uzbekistan freely and at ease and simplify the procedure for registering with bodies of the interior, those arriving in the country now have the opportunity to independently register in the form of a notification using a specialized electronic automated program via the internet, the official Jahon information agency reported.
In accordance with new regulations, for foreign citizens on an independent journey, living in tent camps or land transport adapted to stay, within three days after their arrival in Uzbekistan, they will notify by self-filling in data with indication of settlements along the route through the mentioned program. In the meantime, independent tourists are responsible for registration in the order established by the legislation of Uzbekistan.
Meanwhile, travelers can apply to tourist information offices or nearby accommodation facilities. In this case, the administration of tourist information bureaus and accommodation facilities are required to send a notice to the internal affairs bodies with the completion of the data of independent foreign tourists on the basis of their application.
Also, the Resolution of Uzbekistan’s Cabinet of Ministers of May 29 introduced amendments to the existing rules as to simplify and clarify the procedure for collecting tourist (hotel) fee from foreign citizens in Uzbekistan.
Now, the tourist (hotel) fee is collected from foreign citizens by means of accommodation and medical institutions for each day of their residence. For an incomplete day of accommodation, a tourist (hotel) fee is charged as a full day. At the same time, a tourist (hotel) fee for children under the age of 16 is ruled out. Also, this fee is charged by travel activity entities (tourist agents) from the guests who arranged their accommodation in tent camps and ground transport converted for accommodations for overnight stay.
In addition, a tourist (hotel) fee for foreign citizens staying in Uzbekistan for up to 30 days is paid by individuals who accept and provide their living space for non-commercial purposes. Foreign citizens making an independent trip, living in campgrounds and ground transport converted for accommodation, pay for the tourist fee themselves.
TASHKENT (TCA) — Raising awareness and formulating policy recommendations on the need to engage and empower youth in preventing violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism (VERLT) was the focus of a two-day international conference that ended on June 12. The event, organized by the OSCE in co-operation with the upper house of the parliament, the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and the United Nations, was held in Tashkent and Samarkand, respectively.Register to read more ...
BISHKEK (TCA) — The Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General's Office has rejected a request for a retrial of opposition leader Omurbek Tekebaev, who was sentenced in 2017 to eight years in prison on corruption charges that he denies, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.Register to read more ...