BISHKEK (Reuters) – A leading candidate to become Kyrgyzstan’s next president said on Friday that “millions” would rise to overthrow the leaders of the Central Asian republic if Sunday’s election was rigged.
The presidential election threatens to expose a north-south cultural divide in the mainly Muslim country of 5.5 million as it attempts to complete its first experiment with parliamentary democracy after two decades of authoritarian rule.
ALMATY (Reuters) – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a tough religion law Thursday including a ban on prayer rooms in state buildings, aimed at stamping out Islamist militancy but criticized by Kazakhstan’s top Muslim cleric and the West.
Nazarbayev, 71, has ruled Kazakhstan for more than 20 years as a secularist autocrat. Until this year, the 70 percent Muslim country largely avoided the Islamist violence seen in other central Asian ex-Soviet states like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
ALMATY, Oct 6 (Reuters) – A U.S.-based media watchdog
demanded on Thursday the release of a radio journalist jailed
for five years in Turkmenistan, saying his sentence was
punishment for his independent reporting.
Dovletmurad Yazguliyev, a local correspondent for the
Turkmen service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was sentenced on Wednesday on
charges of inciting a relatives’s suicide attempt, the New
York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a
Kazakhstan’s top Muslim cleric hit out on Friday at a tough new law on religious activity and warned that the restrictions it imposed on pious Muslims could spur extremism. Article 7 of the bill, which was passed by the Senate on Thursday and has already been approved by the lower house, bans prayer rooms in all state institutions.
ALMATY, Sept 12 (Reuters) – The European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development said on Monday it had
adopted a new three-year strategy to support Kyrgyzstan’s
economy which has been hit by a year of political upheaval.
In April last year a bloody revolt deposed President
Kurmanbek Bakiyev and in June 2010 southern Kyrgyzstan saw
ethnic riots in which more than 400 people died.
ALMATY (Reuters) – The U.S.-based human rights body Freedom House has demanded the immediate release from prison of a Kazakh labor lawyer, saying trumped-up accusations were used to punish her for supporting striking oil workers.
A court in western Kazakhstan sentenced Natalya Sokolova on Monday to six years in jail for “inciting social unrest” and “organizing illegal gatherings” at a Sino-Kazakh oil venture hit by a strike that began in May.
ALMATY, Aug 9 (Reuters) – A court in Kazakhstan has jailed a
lawyer who advised striking oil workers on their rights, leading
human rights bodies to accuse the authorities of stifling
dissent and quashing labour union activity.
The city court of Aktau in western Kazakhstan sentenced
labour union lawyer Natalya Sokolova to six years in jail on
Monday after finding her guilty of “inciting social discord” and
“organising illegal gatherings”.
ALMATY, Aug 8 (Reuters) – KazMunaiGas Exploration Production
(KMGq.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Kazakhstan’s No. 2 oil producer, said on Monday it can
see a workers’ strike cutting its output cut by some 800,000
tonnes, or 6 percent of its consolidated production in 2011.
“Oil exports can decrease by an average of around 120,000
tonnes a month until a normal production process is restored,”
the company said in written answers to questions by Reuters.
ALMATY, July 7 (Reuters) – KazMunaiGas Exploration
Production (KMGq.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Thursday blamed emergency power cuts and
a strike as it reported a 3 percent year-on-year fall in crude
oil output in the first half of this year.
London-traded KMG EP, majority owned by Kazakh state oil and
gas firm KazMunaiGas , said that according to
preliminary data it produced 6.31 million tonnes of crude in
January-June, 216,000 tonnes less than the first half of 2010.
ASTANA, June 17 (Reuters) – Spanish energy company Repsol
(REP.MC: Quote, Profile, Research) will join KazMunaiGas (KMG) in exploring an oil block
in western Kazakhstan and could offer the Kazakh state company a
role in its international projects, KMG’s head said on Friday.
The companies will explore the Adai block in Atyrau region,
KMG Chief Executive Kairgeldy Kabyldin told reporters after
signing a memorandum of understanding with Nemesio
Fernandez-Cuesta, executive director of Repsol’s Upstream unit.