Sunday 19 December 2004
December 17, 2004
2004 And Beyond: Madrid, Beslan Show Terror War Far From Won
With the third full year of the war on terror coming to an end in 2004, it's hard to say whether that war is being won. Optimists point to the relatively low number of catastrophic attacks -- aside from Madrid and Beslan -- during the year. Pessimists say the chances of a major attack might be falling, but that the "jihadist" ideology remains a strong and dangerous force.
December 17, 2004
2004 And Beyond: The Year’s Most Dramatic Stories -- In Quotes
Madrid train bombings, 11 March Dramatic and historic stories filled the news in 2004. The terrorist attacks in Madrid and Beslan, European Union expansion, the war in Iraq and the election fraud drama in Ukraine were just a few of the events that made headlines and caught listeners' ears.
December 16, 2004
Analysis: How Real Are Prospects For Free And Democratic Elections In Uzbekistan?
Uzbekistan will hold parliamentary elections on 26 December. At President Islam Karimov's initiative, the newly elected legislature will be bicameral. But many Western and local observers believe that these elections will be neither fair nor democratic because no opposition groups and parties will be represented.
December 15, 2004
Central Asia: New Report Says Banking Woes Hurting Some Central Asian Economies
A new report by the international credit rating agency Standard & Poor's sheds an unflattering light on the banking systems of Central Asia. The report says Kazakhstan has the region's most advanced banking system and accounts for 5 percent of banking assets in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). But the report says the rest of Central Asia lags far behind due to the failure of governments to enact economic and regulatory reforms.
December 13, 2004
East: Yushchenko One Of Many Leaders To Seek Foreign Health Care
Viktor Yushchenko (file photo) On 11 December, doctors announced that Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko has been suffering from the effects of dioxin poisoning. The news appeared to put an end to months of speculation about the mystery illness that has disfigured Yushchenko's face. But it did not come from doctors in Kyiv. It came from Vienna, where Yushchenko has sought medical care since falling ill on the presidential campaign trail in September. His case, however, highlights numerous other examples of leaders in the former communist world who travel abroad for medical care. Why do they do it? Is it simply due to decrepit post-Soviet health care? Or are these leaders worried about their citizens discovering the true state of their frail health?
December 10, 2004
Central Asia: Pakistan Says Militants Kidnap Central Asian Boys For Training
How did a 15-year-old Tajik boy get arrested earlier this year in Pakistan's South Waziristan region, which borders Afghanistan? The boy says he was kidnapped. But the Pakistani military says the youth might also have been part of a network of foreign Islamic militants operating in the wild tribal areas of northwestern Pakistan.
December 10, 2004
Central Asia: Trend Is Away From Capital Punishment
The Grand Duchy of Tuscany is noted for being the first sovereign state to abolish the death penalty, in 1786. Today, more than 130 countries have stopped executing prisoners in practice, and of those, around 80 have abolished capital punishment completely. Even in Central Asia, a region not known for its attention to human rights, the death penalty has been on the decline. As the world marks Human Rights Day today, RFE/RL looks at progress being made to rid Central Asia of what Amnesty International calls the "ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights."
December 07, 2004
Uzbekistan: More Women To Run For Parliament Under New Gender Quota
Uzbekistan is set to hold parliamentary elections on 26 December. According to a recent amendment to the country's election laws, at least 30 percent of the candidates nominated for parliament must be women. As of the end of the registration period, all five parties have met that requirement. Still, experts and observers believe there is little hope that female candidates, if elected, will be able to effect major changes in Uzbek politics, as the role of parliament remains largely nominal.
November 30, 2004
Central Asia: Attitudes, Abuse Contribute To Spread Of AIDS (Part 3)
People around the world with HIV/AIDS are often treated as social outcasts, deprived of human dignity as they battle not only the disease, but also religious, social, and cultural stigma. In Central Asia, however, the challenges are often even tougher for those with HIV/AIDS. In some countries, prejudice is actually contributing to the spread of the disease. And reports of abuse are widespread. For example, prisoners in Uzbekistan have reportedly been threatened with injections of the HIV virus for misbehavior. In the third of a four-part series on AIDS in Central Asia, RFE/RL looks at the attitudes of government and religious officials, as well as society in general, to the disease.