Friday 4 February 2005
February 02, 2005
Central Asia: Researchers Say Polygamy Harmful to Regional Economies
Polygamy has increased in Central Asia, where economic hardship and a revival of Islam have led many women in Central Asia to become the second or third wives of relatively wealthy men. A recent study by the Center for Economic Policy Research at Jerusalem's Hebrew University indicates that polygamy has a negative economic impact in the countries where it is practiced.
February 01, 2005
Uzbekistan: EU Says Encouraged By Tashkent's Willingness To Suspend Death Penalty
European Union officials say they are encouraged by indications Uzbekistan will suspend use of the death penalty and take steps to implement democratic reforms. EU and Uzbek representatives met in Brussels today for their annual cooperation council. Although no breakthroughs were reported, Uzbek Foreign Minister Sodyq Safaev said his country is increasingly open to international scrutiny.
January 27, 2005
Central Asia: Smithsonian Label To Release Anthology Of Region's Folk Music
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, a commercial music label affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., is preparing to release a 10-compact-disc “Anthology of Central Asian Folk Music” over the next three to four years. The first two CDs are due out this summer. The project is part of a long-term collaboration between the Smithsonian, which is the U.S. national museum and research complex, and an international nongovernmental program called the Aga Khan Development Network. When complete, the anthology will consist of compact discs, DVDs, photographs, and detailed booklet notes for each volume. It will include new recordings of traditional Central Asian music as well as selected archival recordings drawn from important collections in Central Asia. The first three volumes will feature musicians from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
January 27, 2005
Central Asia: Kazakhstan Likely Leader In Regional Cooperation
Kazakhstan last year showed some of the strongest economic growth in the Commonwealth of Independent States. The gross domestic product (GDP) of the oil-rich country grew by 9.3 percent. Kyrgyzstan also enjoyed a good year, with 7.1 percent GDP growth. The two countries are considered to have the freest economies of Central Asia, and have taken steps to develop bilateral economic ties in a region where partnership and trade are the exception rather than the rule. Experts say Astana, as Central Asia's leader in economic growth, may become the driving force behind regional cooperation -- if and when the remaining capitals show sufficient political will.
January 26, 2005
East: Children In Former Soviet Union Know Little About Holocaust
A personal memorial at the Birkenau death camp World leaders gather this week to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Red Army’s liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Although the Nazis operated many deaths camps throughout Europe, Auschwitz was the largest and it has come to symbolize the horror of the regime’s atrocities in its purest form. Six millions Jews were murdered by the Nazis in World War II -- more than one million of them in Auschwitz alone. Millions of non-Jews perished alongside them -- there and in other death camps -- as part of a systematic liquidation campaign unequalled, in planning and scale, in recorded history. This is known as the Holocaust. If another Holocaust is to be avoided, historians warn, the lesson of what happened at Auschwitz and other death camps must be taught to future generations. But what do today’s schoolchildren know about the events of 60 years ago?
January 25, 2005
Middle East: Saudi Grand Mufti's Sermon On Terror Highlights Conflicting Views Of Its True Purpose
It is not uncommon for Muslim imams to use Friday prayers and Islamic holidays to speak not only on general topics but also to address issues of current relevance. Sermons delivered during Eid al-Adha -- the celebration that marked the end of the hajj -- were no exception. In one notable sermon, Saudi Arabia's top cleric used the occasion to appeal to Muslim youth, calling on them not to be used by what he called "enemies of the nation" to kill innocent people. The pointed speech caught the attention of observers both in the Muslim world and in the West. Some say the appeal was nothing unusual, while others argue that it had a political agenda behind it.
January 21, 2005
Uzbekistan: Analysts Discuss Rare Newspaper Interview With President
President Karimov (file photo) The Russian daily newspaper "Nezavisimaya gazeta" recently published an interview with Uzbek President Islam Karimov. The interview published on 14 January was the first Karimov had given to a Russian newspaper in two years and it provided some insight into the man who has led Uzbekistan since independence from Moscow in 1991. RFE/RL spoke with experts in the East and the West about the interview, which comes amid rising discontent in Uzbekistan and a growing threat of extremism.
January 21, 2005
Analysis: Nipping Orange Roses In The Bud -- Post-Soviet Elites Against Revolution
Could Kyrgyzstan see a "Yellow Revolution"? In the aftermath of Georgia's "Rose Revolution" and Ukraine's "Orange Revolution," speculation has largely focused on a logical question: Who's next, or which county in the post-Soviet world is the likely candidate for the next revolution? Nervous ruling elites from Moscow to Bishkek surely wondered as they followed events in Tbilisi and Kyiv, but the real question for them is how to prevent such unwelcome developments at home.
January 18, 2005
Uzbekistan: Rights Activists Reject U.S. Probe Into Prison Death
A team of investigators from U.S. democracy watchdog Freedom House concluded yesterday that natural causes were behind the death in prison of Samandar Umarov, an Uzbek man convicted on charges relating to terrorism and membership in the banned Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir. Umarov died earlier this month while serving the fourth year of a 17-year prison term. Family members and Uzbek rights activists have rejected the Freedom House findings, saying Umarov was tortured to death.