• KGS/USD = 0.01118 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09131 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01118 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09131 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 1048

Tashkent to Introduce Monthly ‘Car-Free Day’

One working day each month will now be "Car-Free Day" in the capital of Uzbekistan. The plan is to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles and encourage people to use bicycles to get around the city. Restrictions will not apply to public transportation, or emergency vehicles. Government officials have been instructed to "set a personal example by arriving at the workplace on public transportation." The idea for car-free days originated in Switzerland in 1973, during a fuel crisis, before spreading to other European countries. In 1998 the European Union initiated a campaign called "In town, without my car!," which is held from September 16 to 22 every year. The need to reduce air pollution in Tashkent is especially acute. The Uzbek capital is among the five cities worldwide with the worst air quality -- and often tops the ranking. This was the case on February 21, for example, when the content of fine particulate matter (PM2.5 measurement) in the city's air amounted to 140.3 µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter) -- which exceeded the WHO recommendations by a whopping 28.1 times (5 µg/m3). The public is sounding the alarm and calling on the Tashkent authorities to take urgent measures to prevent an ecological disaster.  Specialists believe that single actions are not enough to preserve clean air in big cities; comprehensive work is needed to address the root causes of the pollution. This critical situation has prompted the government to include measures to improve the country's ecology in the large-scale state program for implementing the "Uzbekistan-2030" strategic roadmap. For example, it plans to phase out vehicles from the capital and regional centers that do not meet Euro-5 standards by 2030, and to ban trucks weighing more than 10 tons from driving through Tashkent -- except for those of the Armed Forces and municipal services. From March 1, the population will be notified about excessive content of fine particles in the local atmosphere, and measures will be taken to protect against dust at large construction sites (500 square meters and larger) in the country. Special attention will be paid to persons with diseases of the cardiovascular system and respiratory tract. In addition, Uzbekistan plans to abandon the production of 80-octane (AI-80) gasoline by 2026, in part to help popularize the use of electric cars and electric urban transport. Currently, the only countries that still produce AI-80 gasoline are Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Medical experts believe that automotive exhaust is one of the main causes of lung cancer in humans. Yahye Ziyayev, Secretary General of the Uzbekistan Oncology Association, noted that "when AI-72 and AI-76 were banned in Uzbekistan, the incidence of lung cancer decreased over the course of ten years."

Ninety-Nine Kyrgyz Citizens Brought Home From Syria

The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry has reported that 99 citizens of Kyrgyzstan – 28 of women and 71 children – have been brought home from Syria. The mission to return them from special camps in the north-east of the country was organized with the support of the U.S. government. The ministry said: "The Kyrgyz side expresses its special gratitude to the American side and international partners for their full assistance in the special operation and logistical support for the successful implementation of the fifth major campaign for the repatriation of citizens left in a difficult situation." This is the fifth mission to repatriate Kyrgyz citizens from the combat zone in Syria. The first stage of repatriation was carried out a year ago. In total, about 130 women and 300 children have returned home on special airplanes. According to authorities, all Kyrgyz arriving from Syria are being accommodated in a rehabilitation center to receive appropriate services to help them adapt to life in a peaceful environment. According to the latest public data from Kyrgyzstan's State Committee for National Security, more than 850 Kyrgyz have traveled to the combat zone in Syria -- 150 of whom have died in fighting. Active recruitment of Kyrgyz citizens began at the beginning of the war in Syria, mainly in the south of the country, where the influence of extremist Islamic movements was strong. Both men and women were recruited. After arriving in Syria, Kyrgyz women married jihadists and lived there, while Kyrgyz men joined militant groups. At the same time, some men returned from the ATS and recruited members for terrorist groups on the instructions of the Syrian jihadists. On many occasions Kyrgyz intelligence officers have found large quantities of banned extremist literature and propaganda materials in the possession of men who came home to recruit. Today the Kyrgyz special services are still searching for those Kyrgyz who fought in Syria and haven't returned home. Investigations focusing on those people are ongoing, and if it's proven that they took part in extremist activities abroad, criminal cases will be brought against them.

Turkmenistan Again Takes First Place as World Leader of VPN Searches

The digital technologies information platform Techopedia has published data about virtual private network (VPN) usage around the world. At the end of 2023, 77% of users used a VPN for work, and 51% did so to maintain privacy on public Wi-Fi networks. Forty-four percent did so to protect their anonymity online, while 37% used a VPN for secure communications, and 20% used it to hide their activities from authorities. The countries whose authorities restrict human rights and freedom of speech in one way or another are in the lead in terms of online searches for VPNs. The ranking of countries where VPN use was most popular is based on Google Trends data and Freedom House's 2023 Freedom on the Net report. Internet censorship in illiberal countries is widespread, often used as a way of suppressing opposition views, or creating a certain image of the country's authorities. Consequently, the use of VPNs in some countries is limited or even totally illegal. The outright leader in the world in terms of VPN searches in 2023, as it was in 2022, was Turkmenistan, where VPNs are illegal. Turkmenistan has only one authorized internet provider, Turkmentelecom, which controls the entire flow of information and blocks content undesirable to the authorities. In addition, it has the lowest Internet penetration rate in Central Asia (38.2%), one of the lowest connectivity speeds, and one of the highest prices. Turkmenistan is one of the five countries -- along with Oman, North Korea, Belarus and Iraq -- where the use of a VPN is prohibited. When buying a new or used phone in Turkmenistan, buyers immediately ask staff to install a VPN for them, which can be done for about $5. However, under such restrictions, VPNs never work for long -- only until the next blocking by the authorities.

World Bank Says Central Asia Natural Gas Supply-Demand Dynamics Unbalanced

The World Bank released a report on February 22nd entitled "Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2060: A Sustainable Energy Future for Europe and Central Asia." The report states that the countries of Central Asia will soon have to address a widening gap between the supply and demand of natural gas, as well as challenging decisions on a number of energy and environment fronts. China is the primary destination of Central Asia’s substantial net gas exports, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for countries in the region to meet their own high domestic winter demand and fulfill their export obligations due to Central Asia’s increasing demand and stagnant gas production - especially in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The natural gas supply and demand balance in Central Asia could be improved by the formation of a “gas troika,” which Russia has proposed to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, to move gas volumes between the three countries and to export to China. However, there are concerns about the dependability of Russian gas supplies, and the appalling condition of the countries’ Soviet-era gas pipeline infrastructure. Furthermore, the report says, it's feasible to replace coal in Kazakhstan and close the supply gap in Uzbekistan by boosting gas imports from Turkmenistan and launching a regional gas trade in Central Asia. The report also states that increasing demand in Central Asia will be met with increased gas volumes.

Two Years On from Invasion of Ukraine, Attitudes Towards Russia in Central Asia Have Changed

Tomorrow will mark the two year anniversary of the start of Russia's so-called special military operation in Ukraine. In that time, many people in Central Asia have begun to openly call this action an invasion and a war. This is a war between two countries that are close in many respects, two former republics from a large union that the nations of Central Asia were also part of. How and why has the attitude of Central Asians towards Russia and Ukraine changed in the last two years? The attacks on Ukraine were felt immediately in Central Asia, from the first day when migrants suddenly started arriving from the north. These were mostly young people, sometimes in groups, and sometimes with their families. It quickly became clear that this exodus was comprised of people who did not want to fight, and there were many of them. Also from day one, even though there are many ethnic Russians living in Kazakhstan, the new migrants were noticeably different from the local Russian faces. Their behavior and mode of dress were not the same as those already residing in Tashkent, Bishkek or Almaty. From the very beginning, there were conflicts although mostly they amounted to little more than drunken brawls that were soon forgotten. In February 2022, the cost of residential rentals skyrocketed following the attack on Ukraine, but prices seem to have since stabilized. Overall, though, most locals treated their new neighbors with understanding. Nobody wants war. Especially since, in the countries of this region, people still remember or at least heard stories about the evacuation of a large number of people from Russia and Ukraine during the Second World War. In those times, many children whose parents died during the occupation of western portions of the USSR by Germany found second families and second homes. Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uyghurs, Tatars - many Central Asians who had the opportunity adopted children from war-torn republics of the Soviet Union. Perhaps the most fundamental change is felt in the attitude of Central Asian people towards Russia as something immutable and monumental. Something previously unthinkable transpired: despite all its economic and political power, this huge northern neighbor could also be viewed as vulnerable. The fact that Ukraine is obviously not alone in its war against Russia  does not change this perception. In Central Asia, it is often said that in any negative situation, one must look for positive opportunities, and in a tangential way, the years of restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic served as preparation for the trials brought by the war. A realization had come to pass that it was necessary to prepare oneself to rely solely on domestic resources. The war further complicated a precarious situation as sanctions imposed on Russia also hit Central Asia. First, the financial system went into meltdown, then trade, and then the production sector, much of which was tied to the Russian economy. However, this situation forced Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan to look for new...

Exclusive: Breaking Down Kazakhstan’s $21.6 Billion Claims Against International Oil Consortiums

The total amount of claims brought against the consortiums, North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) and Karachaganak Petroleum Operating (KPO) is the largest in the history of Kazakhstan. In March 2023, PSA LLP, the authorized state institution overseeing these projects, brought forward claims in international arbitration in relation to Kashagan and Karachaganak for $13.5 billion and $3.0 billion, respectively. In addition, the Atyrau Region environmental regulator filed a claim for $5.1 billion against the NCOC consortium for storing too much sulfur on site, discharging wastewater without treatment, etc. The claims of PSA LLP cover the period 2010-19 and relate to the oil consortiums’ costs for carrying out large projects, as well as tenders and insufficient work completed. The shareholders of NCOC, which is developing the offshore Kashagan Field, include: KMG Kashagan (16.877% stake), Shell Kazakhstan Development (16.807%), Total EP Kazakhstan (16.807%), Agip Caspian Sea (16.807%), ExxonMobil Kazakhstan (16.807%), CNPC Kazakhstan (8.333%) and INPEX North Caspian Sea (7.563%). Their total investments over the period have not been disclosed, but, according to various estimates, exceed $60 billion – meaning the state is currently calling into question about 23% of all costs. The KPO consortium is Shell (29.25%), Eni (29.25%), Chevron (18.0%), Russia’s Lukoil (13.5%) and Kazakhstan’s state-owned KazMunayGas (10.0%). Investments in this oil and gas condensate field are estimated at $27 billion, hence the filed claim is significantly smaller both in absolute terms and as a percentage of costs, standing at about 11%. A production sharing agreement was signed in 1997 for Karachaganak and in 1998 for Kashagan, with the contracts to be in effect for 40 years. In 2022, the sole participant in PSA LLP became Samruk-Kazyna Trust Corporate Fund, part of the state holding National Welfare Fund Samruk-Kazyna, while Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Energy is currently entrusted to run PSA LLP. Say two, but mean three? NCOC and KPO dominate the industry through control of three fields. Tengiz, Kashagan and Karachaganak are the largest oil and gas fields in Kazakhstan. The country’s oil and gas condensate production in 2023 amounted to 89.9 million tons (about 1.8 million barrels per day), with the share of the “three whales” – as these projects are called – accounting for 67% of oil production: Tengiz with 28.9 million tons, down 1% versus the 2022 level; Kashagan with 18.8 million tons, a 48% increase; Karachaganak with 12.1 million tons, up 7% year-on-year. The stabilization contract for Tengiz was one of the first signed at the dawn of Kazakhstan’s independence in 1993, also for a term of 40 years, meaning it should be the first to expire in 2033. The shareholders of the Tengizchevroil JV are Chevron (50%), ExxonMobil (25%), KazMunayGas (20%) and Lukoil (5%). After completion of its FGP (Future Growth Project), Tengiz should produce about 900,000 barrels per day, a significant figure even by world standards. It is surprising that Kazakhstan has not yet raised or voiced any claims against TCO, even though the FGP budget has swelled from an initial $12 billion to $25 billion...

Start typing to see posts you are looking for.