Thursday 1 July 2004
June 28, 2004
Caspian: Influx Of Killer Jellyfish Threatens Fish Stocks
Ten years ago, a voracious species of plankton-eating jellyfish appeared in the Caspian Sea, posing a serious threat to already declining fish stocks. One potential solution might be introducing a second jellyfish species to prey on the first. But the Caspian's five littoral states have yet to reach an agreement on how best to handle the problem -- leaving the sea in danger of suffering irreversible damage in the meantime.
June 22, 2004
Central Asia: Drug Trafficking Has Devastating Social, Economic Impact (Part 2)
About one-quarter of Afghan heroin and opium destined for European markets is believed to be trafficked through the five Central Asian countries. The illicit trade is having a serious social and economic impact on the region, including the spread of HIV/AIDS. RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari reports in the second and final part of our series on drugs in Central Asia.
June 22, 2004
Central Asia: Drug Addiction Is On The Rise (Part 1)
Central Asia in recent years has become a major transit route for the transport of Afghan opium and heroin to Russia and the lucrative European markets. Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said during a recent trip to the region that at least 25 percent of the drugs produced in Afghanistan crosses through the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. The UN says those figures are accompanied by a worrying rise in drug use in the region. RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari reports in this first of a two-part series on drugs in Central Asia.
June 21, 2004
Archive: The End Of The Aral Sea
A new report by the UN Economic Commission for Europe says that the Aral Sea, formerly the world's fourth-largest inland body of water, is on the verge of disappearing if urgent measures are not implemented. The sea's woes go back to the 1950-60s planned Soviet economy, when huge amounts of water were diverted for cotton irrigation. But in the last decade its situation has become desperate -- the Aral Sea receives only a tenth of the water it once did and has shrunk to half its original size. The report urges the five Central Asian states to cooperate to save the body of water.
June 17, 2004
World: Desertification Threatens One-Fifth Of Global Population
Today marks the United Nations' annual World Day to Combat Desertification -- a process by which fertile land gradually turns into desert. One-fifth of the world's population is currently threatened by the impact of desertification in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and even parts of southern Europe.
June 08, 2004
Turkey: Fethullahci Schools -- A Greenhouse For Central Asian Elites?
The Nur ("light" in Turkish) movement is generally considered one of the most important Islamic reformist currents to have appeared in Turkey in the past century. One of this movement's subcommunities, founded by religious thinker Fethullah Gulen, seeks to breed a "new generation" of socially integrated Muslim believers who will eventually achieve high government positions. The collapse of the Soviet Union offered the Gulen community -- which is one of Turkey's most powerful socio-religious movements -- a unique opportunity to expand abroad, notably in Central Asia. RFE/RL correspondent Jean-Christophe Peuch reports in this second of a two-part series.
June 07, 2004
Kazakhstan: Official Vows Not To Interfere In 'Kazakhgate' Trial
Qasymzhomart Toqaev (file photo) Kazakh Foreign Minister Qasymzhomart Toqaev says Kazakhstan will not interfere in court proceedings in the so-called Kazakhgate case. Speaking to RFE/RL, Toqaev says the Kazakh government considers the proceedings a U.S., not a Kazakh, matter. The statement is significant since the case, involving a U.S. businessmen suspected of bribing Kazakh officials, could implicate Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev.
June 04, 2004
Kazakhstan: U.S. Businessman Pleads Not Guilty In 'Kazakhgate' Case
James Giffen, the defendant in a corruption case associated with top Kazakh officials pleaded not guilty yesterday to multiple charges of fraud and bribery in a U.S. federal court. The indictment alleges that Giffen, a U.S. citizen and a former consultant to the Kazakh government, funneled over $78 million from oil-concession fees to secret bank accounts in Switzerland belonging to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, his family, and other officials.