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Mudslides, earthquakes in Afghanistan, Tajikistan

Mudslides, earthquakes in Afghanistan, Tajikistan

10:00 a.m., April 2-Flooding that began March 27 has resulted in the death of more than 80 people and the displacement of hundreds of people in one-third of Afghanistan's provinces.  Mudslides and flooding also killed ten and displaced many in Tajikistan two days ago; today, earthquakes at 6.2 on the Richter scale have affected Dushanbe and outlying areas.  […]

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Govern Well, Make Money!

Can good governance be encouraged through financial incentives? Sudanese businessman Mo Ibrahim believes it can be and he has established a prize in his name to do so.  Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan will head the committee making the award, which “will go to former presidents and prime ministers from sub-Saharan Africa who left […]

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Russia tightens illegal immigration

Russia's new law that bans illegal migrants from working in city marketplaces and other retail jobs has just gone into effect. As reported by the World Bank, most temporary migrants in Central Asia move to Russia to find work.  Russia is the second largest destination for migration in the world.  Migration statistics show that Kazakhstan sends […]

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Wait, you missed one: The Western Checklist

Wait, you missed one: The Western Checklist

Last week at Central Asian Voices, Martha Brill Olcott wrote that we have expected Central Asian Republics to assimilate Western concerns, but not the other way around.  In short, by grafting human rights concerns onto Realist theory, we made a checklist of activities we want Central Asian states to accomplish, but have ignored the prime domestic drivers […]

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Tajikistanibashi update-news & comments

Tajikistanibashi update-news & comments

In last week's entry on Tajikistan, I summarized what I considered to be the potential foreign policy fallout of President Rakhmon's name change and most of all, his directive that others also have their surnames recorded in official documents with the Russianized ending removed.  Some great insights came out of the comments:  First, the issue of the […]

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SADC = Sad Sack

In what has to be among the most disappointing news from southern Africa in a long time, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has chosen to acquiesce to Robert Mugabe's rule. A meeting that beforehand was hailed as preparing to take a stance against a regional despot instead ended up asking "The West" to ease […]

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Rumi is 800 this year

Rumi is 800 this year

The poet Rumi, who is celebrated now in American poetry circles for his poems of love, would be 800 this year.  Jalal ad-Din Rumi was born in the year B.C.E. 1207 (that's a politically-correct A.D., more or less) in what is now Afghanistan; his family moved from Afghanistan during the Mongol invasions, travelling through Central Asia to […]

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What’s In A Name?

One of the mandates of the New South Africa was to try to Africanize many of the names of places and institutions. After all, in that predominantly African country, why would the new, non-racial democracy want to perpetuate the names of the heroes of the white regime, the very people who had disfranchised Africans, who had […]

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The Congo’s New Start

The New York Times has a feature on the Democratic Republic of the Congo's adjustment to its election six months ago. Not surprisingly, a half a year has not done much to overcome decades of misrule. Congo has long stood as the emblematic example of African chaos. It is far too early to be optimistic about […]

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WaPo Travels to Africa

The Washington Post's travel section recently emphasized Africa. Among the countries featured were Zambia, Namibia, and Angola.

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SADC Tightens The Noose on Mugabe

First off, I want to apologize if any of you feel as if I have allowed the crisis in Zimbabwe to hijack the South Africa blog. But all along I have cinceived of this as a blog about Southern Africa, with South Africa at the center. Right now the events in Zimbabwe are arguably the […]

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We won't hear much from Uzbekistan

We won't hear much from Uzbekistan

Just a six-month partial review of media and human rights issues in Uzbekistan: March 26, 2007: Ferghana.ru reports that yet another journalist with international ties is being prosecuted in Uzbekistan.  Die Deutsche Welle journalist Natalya Bushuyeva has had criminal charges pressed for income tax evasion over the last five years.   Ms. Bushuyeva is also being charged […]

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Tajikistanibashi? or, non-strategic realignment…

Tajikistanibashi? or, non-strategic realignment…

Last week, President of Tajikistan Ehmomahli Rakhmonov announced that he wanted to return to the traditional (non-Slavic) spelling and pronunciation of his name.  Today, President Rakhmon dictated that the entire nation will follow him in this move.  New birth certificates, graduation papers, and other official documents will now be issued in non-Slavic spellings, whatever the preference […]

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New Human Rights report on OSCE states

The International Helsinki Federation on Human Rights regularly comments on Central Asia's humanitarian issues.  So far I’ve just glanced through the report and the Country Studies for each state look much more specific and useful than the general pages on Central Asia. One reason the general pages are not as good: domestic policies in the different states really […]

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SADC Speaks

Members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have broken their silence on Zimbabwe. Regional cooperation all along has presented the greatest hope for promoting change by taking the responsibility away from individual leaders such as Thabo Mbeki. Traditionally regional leaders, with memories of colonialism on the ground and the manifestations of apartheid and similar policies […]

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