Thursday 1 July 2004
June 30, 2004
Turkmenistan: Hidden Resurgence Of Plague Threatens
Say the word "plague" and what immediately comes to many minds are three dreadful scourges of Black Death that killed nearly 200 million people in Europe and China in the fifth and sixth centuries, between the eighth and 14th centuries, and in the mid-19th century. Modern antibiotics have stripped the plague of much of its virulence, but it retains its dread.
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 18, 2004
Central Asia: Uzbek Family Finds Itself Suddenly Straddling Turkmen Border
A joint Turkmen-Uzbek commission recently finished demarcating the two countries' northern border. The agreement clarifies what was previously a poorly marked area. But it may not satisfy all the residents of the border region. RFE/RL looks at one family that finds itself suddenly divided.
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.
May 07, 2004
Turkmenistan: State Workers With Foreign Degrees To Be Dismissed
As of 1 June, state workers in Turkmenistan holding degrees of higher education received outside the country since 1993 will be dismissed from their jobs. Analysts say the move is the latest in a long series of educational restrictions imposed in the Central Asian republic.
May 03, 2004
Central Asia: Report Says Journalists' Work Difficult And Dangerous
The Paris-based media-monitoring group Reporters Without Borders has issued a report pointing to the grim state of media freedoms in Central Asia. Death, torture, censorship -- all are part of the journalist's lot in that part of the world. RFE/RL looks at the report, which was issued to coincide with World Press Freedom Day.