Stories about Central Asia & Caucasus from July, 2011
Ianyan pays a visit to Ashtarak, a small city just outside Yerevan, the Armenian capital, and a local barber's shop. The blog posts photographs and a brief account of the experience.
Ahead of the presidential elections to be held in Kyrgyzstan on 30 October, 2011, the Central Elections Committee (CEC) came out with a controversial decision, barring web-based news media from taking part in the campaign. Eleven news sites were denied accreditation to inform voters on the pre-election developments.
Unzipped comments on claims that Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian responsible for the 22 July terrorist attacks in Oslo and Utøya which killed at least 76 people, had online connections with extreme nationalists and neo-Nazis in many countries including Armenia. The blog says that the local security services should investigate...
Şüarımız GƏLƏCƏK! [AZ] travels to Georgia and becomes charmed by the beauty and “scent of democracy” the country offers in the region. The blogger notes that while his home country of Azerbaijan is considered to be the fastest growing economy in the South Caucasus it still lags behind from Georgia...
Avicenna says that minors in Tajikistan are prohibited from going to mosques, churches and sinagogues, as the parliament have unanimously approved a bill “On the responsibility of parents for their children’s upbringing and education”.
Nick Fielding reviews a new Afghanistan reconstruction report, which investigates the scandal of large US currency exports from Afghanistan to private bank accounts due to ineffective aid coordination, inconsistent Afghan cooperation and insufficient cash controls.
Unable to visit each other's country because of the still unresolved conflict over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh, Reader in Baku comments on meeting with Armenians on neutral ground in the Georgian capital and suggests others from both sides do the same.
Matthew Rojansky at Scraps of Moscow follows the lead of “The Cynical Dairy Farmer's Guide to the New Middle East” by constructing a dairy farmers guide to the Former Soviet Union.
Angered by remarks made by the the country's spiritual leader about the upkeep of churches and monasteries, some Armenians are using social networking sites such as Facebook to call for his resignation.
With Armenia ranking 123 out of 178 countries in a 2010 Transparency International report measuring corruption, Life in the Caucasus, a blog maintained by a Peace Corps volunteer in the country, notes that bribery take place at all levels of society and in every sphere of life.
Amnesty International has launched an online campaign calling for the release of Jabbar Savalan, a young activist in Azerbaijan who made calls on Facebook for pro-democracy protests in the oil-rich former Soviet republic. Those wishing to join the campaign can sign an online petition here.
The Tajikistan authorities have released BBC journalist Urunboy Usmonov from custody. “The international community’s appeal have been heard”, writes Tomyris.
Emerson reports that a Western donor organization awarded the Kyrgyzstan's largest library a generous grant to re-catalogue and digitize its rare book holdings.
Nick Fielding reports that civilian deaths in Afghanistan increased by 15 per cent in 2011, pointing out that the dramatic growth was mainly due to the use of landmine-like improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by the Taliban.
Nick Fielding briefly reviews a book by Britain's former ambassador in Afghanistan, Sherard Cowper-Coles, and says that it is stuffed with fascinating material.
Ianyan posts photographs and its impressions of a recent visit to Georgia, Armenia's northern neighbor. Global Chaos, another Armenian blog, also does the same.
Scary Azeri comments on the tendency for her fellow Azerbaijanis living in England to outdo each other when it comes to preparing meals for get-togethers. The blog says that this inherent competition ultimately leads to less such meetings.
Few observers are aware of Israel’s strange diplomatic dance with Turkmenistan, which has involved the Tel Aviv’s attempts to court Ashgabat as a potential lever against Iran, Emerson reports.
Information about the WordPress ban in Kazakhstan is slowly trickling out. On 15 July, it was revealed that the ban is ostensibly due to two WordPress blogs that fell afoul of Kazakh censors, Schwartz writes.
Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Eileen Fisher, Nautica, Gear for Sports, The Jones Group, Liz Claiborne and Nike are among the first companies to sign a pledge boycotting the use of Uzbekistan-sourced cotton until the International Labor Organization determines that forced child labor is no longer an issue in the country, reports Abulfazal.
KZBlog reports that famous singer Sting, who was scheduled to play for the Kazakh president's birthday and the Day of Astana (capital of Kazakhstan) festivities, cancelled his engagement after Amnesty International apprised him of the situation with human rights situation in Kazakhstan.