Friday 8 April 2005
March 03, 2005
Turkmenistan: Is President Trying To Euthanize Health Care?
Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov this week announced his plan for a massive shutdown of regional hospitals, forcing the sick and elderly to the capital Ashgabat for all but the most rudimentary treatment. The plan could translate into a death sentence for those unable -- for financial or other reasons -- to make the difficult journey to the capital. It appears to be another step in what some observers say is an attempt to dismantle the country's already ailing health-care system.
February 25, 2005
South/Central Asia: Women Dying In Childbirth At High Rate
Afghan refugees receiving medical care (file photo) Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are a leading cause of death among women of reproductive age in developing countries. It is estimated that more than 500,000 women die each year from such causes, mainly in Africa and Asia. RFE/RL reports that the situation in Afghanistan and Central Asia is also bad.
February 23, 2005
Analysis: Central Asia Provides Window On Russia-U.S. Relations
When U.S. President George Bush meets with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Bratislava on 24 February, Central Asia will not be an agenda-topping item. But as a region where U.S. and Russian interests intersect, Central Asia provides a window on the dynamics that dominate the two countries' uneasy relationship in the former Soviet Union.
February 23, 2005
Central Asia: Sport Program Ending, But Legacy Remains
After three hectic years, a U.S.-financed initiative to involve Central Asian young people in healthy team sports is coming to an end. The Central Asia Sport and Health Education Program has brought some 22,000 school pupils, both boys and girls, into contact with such games as soccer (eds: football), volleyball and basketball. The scheme was designed to give a constructive leisure time activity to young people who might otherwise fall into crime or other difficulties.
February 17, 2005
Kyrgyzstan: Women Say Their Opportunities Are Shrinking Ahead Of Polls
Observers say women in Kyrgyzstan have traditionally enjoyed more freedom than those in neighboring Uzbekistan or Tajikistan. Post-Soviet independence brought them even more rights and opportunities. Although ordinary Kyrgyz are still reluctant to see a woman rise to prominence in either politics or business, Kyrgyzstan is the first post-independence Central Asian state to have appointed a woman as a foreign minister and ambassador. But recent amendments to the country's electoral law means women may have little chance of being elected in this month's parliamentary ballot.
February 17, 2005
Turkmenistan: Circumstance Of Niyazov's Birthday Surrounded By Plenty Of Pomp
Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov file photo) The dual holidays of Flag Day and President Saparmurat Niyazov's 65th birthday, which both fall on 19 February, will dominate the news in Turkmenistan this week. The country traditionally stages lavish birthday celebrations for its leader, whom admirers hail as Turkmenbashi, or head of all Turkmen. RFE/RL reports on how the importance of the event has grown along with the president's cult of personality.
February 16, 2005
Afghanistan: India Looks To Kabul For Better Ties With All Of Central Asia
Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran says officials in New Delhi are looking forward to next week’s visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that aims to improve diplomatic and economic ties. Saran said after meeting Karzai in Kabul yesterday that New Delhi sees Afghanistan not only as a partner for bilateral trade, but also as an important economic link with all of Central Asia.
February 11, 2005
Central Asia: New Report Warns Of Social Cost Of Region's Reliance On Cotton
For decades, cotton production has been the main economic activity in Uzbekistan -- and, to a lesser extent, in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. But the sharp decline in world prices for raw cotton fiber is now posing a considerable economic challenge for the Central Asian states. The International Crisis Group, a nongovernmental organization focused on conflict prevention, warns in a new report that continued reliance on cotton will pose social, political, and environmental risks in the region. The report says cotton economies lead to forced labor, environmental waste, and the potential for social unrest.
February 08, 2005
Central Asia: Presidents Say 'Yes' To Privileges But 'No' To Stepping Down (Part 2)
Will Uzbekistan's Karimov ever step down? There has not been a single change of a president in Central Asia since those five countries gained independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Although every other former Soviet republic has changed its leader at least once, the Central Asian presidents have amended their country’s constitutions and held dubious referenda in order to extend their terms for as long as possible. They have, however, prepared legislation on the benefits they would receive upon leaving office. So, why are they so reluctant to step down? Is it an obsession with power, a lack of a successor or some other reason? Also, see Part 1: "What Happens To Post-Soviet Presidents After They Leave Office?" --> /featuresarticle/2005/2/A5FF78A5-816C-4B92-AEC1-AE007C6D3A87.html