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December 19: International Human Solidarity Day.
The Week Ahead is a detailed listing of key events of the coming week affecting RFE/RL's broadcast region.

Now on Twitter! Daily updates at @The_Week_Ahead.

MONDAY, December 16:

Azerbaijan/Goorgia: Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili visits Baku (to December 17).

EU: Foreign Affairs Council opens in Brussels to discuss Iran, Eastern Partnership, Russia, Western Balkans, and other issues.

EU/Russia: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Brussels to meet with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Kazakhstan: Independence Day.

UK/Russia: Chatham House in London hosts a discussion titled "Russia's Strategic Overhaul."

U.S.: Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies hosts release of EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2014.

TUESDAY, December 17:

EU: Brussels hosts a General Affairs Council meeting.
Iran/Turkey: Iranian President Hassan Rohani is scheduled to visit Ankara.
Azerbaijan: Baku hosts the signing ceremony of the agreement on the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project, which suppose to secure natural-gas deliveries to Europe.
UK/Iran: Chatham House in London hosts a discussion titled "Iran Sanctions: After the Geneva Agreement."
WEDNESDAY, December 18:

Czech Republic: Vaclav Havel Day.
Russia: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to address the Russian parliament about the country's foreign policy.

The State Duma intends to announce an amnesty to mark the 20th anniversary of the constitution.

THURSDAY, December 19:

Russia/CSTO: The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Secretariat hosts a roundtable to discuss the interaction between the authorities and the public in the prevention of foreign interference and "color revolutions."

UN: International Human Solidarity Day.

FRIDAY, December 20:

Syria: UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi meets in Geneva with Russian and American officials to prepare for the Geneva II international conference on Syria, which is scheduled for January 22, 2014.

SATURDAY, December 21:

UK: The 25th anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster, which claimed the lives of 270 people, to be commemorated in Britain and the United States.

World: Crossword puzzle marks its 100th anniversary.
Kazakh lawmaker and amateur opera singer Darigha Nazarbaeva
Darigha Nazarbaeva, the Kazakh president's daughter, is in hot water for calling disabled children "freaks."

Nazarbaeva's proposal to discourage teenage pregnancies by organizing school visits to orphanages for children with disabilities has sparked an angry backlash online, where a video of her remarks is making the rounds.

She was speaking at a meeting of the parliamentary committee for social and cultural development on December 10, as the world marked International Human Rights Day.

"I think that from time to time children should be taken for excursions to orphanages, to institutions for disabled children, so that they see the results of an unreasoned, premature sex life," she told her fellow parliamentarians. "Show them these children, these disabled freaks, let them look at them."

WATCH: Darigha Nazarbaeva Describes Disabled Children As 'Freaks' (In Russian)

Nazarbaeva has a long track record of eyebrow-raising outbursts, including a December 9 statement that the raft of educational reforms in Kazakhstan made her "sick."

But her comment on orphans with disabilities has caused particular dismay.

"Daughters and sons of authoritarian leaders and their entourage are freaks -- vile, immoral filth," was one YouTube viewer's response.

Kazakh journalist Sapa Mekebaev suggested, tongue in cheek, that Nazarbaev's official duties, by preventing him from taking an active part in his daughter's upbringing, may be responsible for her insensitivity.

"But when children reach 50 years of age, they should understand that it's wrong to let their fathers down," he wrote on his Facebook page.

One Internet user criticized Nazarbaeva for offering to organize "freak shows" at the expense of disabled children and stressed that disabilities have nothing to do with the mother's age.

Another user advised Nazarbaeva to take lawmakers on an excursion to the site where a rocket crashed near the Kazakh city of Baikonur on July 2, releasing a cloud of highly toxic orange fumes.

"That's where the mutation of innocent people comes from," he wrote.

There have also been suggestions that the president's daughter might have been drunk when she made the remarks.

Some, however, stood up for Nazarbaeva, saying she had probably not meant to be offensive and suggested that her comments had been misunderstood.

Nazarbaeva herself has remained tight-lipped on the issue since the controversy broke out.

-- Dina Baidildaeva and Claire Bigg

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About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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