Author: Urvasi Sirasikar

Tashkent 24/2/ (50). In Tajikistan, over 20% of the population lives in poverty, and millions of citizens have emigrated to Russia to find work. Meanwhile, a feudal elite under President Emomali Rahmon has ravaged the country with corruption, nepotism, and massive drug smuggling of Afghan heroin to Russia and Europe. Although Rahmon’s successor and son, Rustam Emomali, has been increasingly in the headlines, adopting a presidential look, his stiff and awkward appearance reveals a man seemingly afraid of his shadow. Sources inside the country’s security apparatus report that he is in conflict with his powerful sisters, including Ozada, the head…

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When Chaudhary realised his son Manjit was one of the 41 construction workers trapped in a collapsed tunnel in northern India, he travelled almost 600km (372 miles) from his village in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, to be closer to him. Chaudhary, 50, has been at the tunnel site for the past 11 days. He is staying with men who know his son and is sleeping in barracks made for the labourers. Two years ago, he lost his eldest son in a construction accident in Mumbai. He says he cannot face the grief of losing another son. “I pray to God……

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Toronto, Atlanta (28/11 – 20) A wise old expression intones “Behind every bad borrower is a bad lender”. Like many such cute, amusing aphorisms, it is accurate as far as it goes … but what if? What if a loan approval is held up, then granted, after a couple of phone calls from the office of the Vice President? What if the borrower is a crony or relative of Mr. Big, which is what practically bankrupted Indonesia, when the Soeharto vampire children took out multi-hundred-million-dollar “loans” (wink wink) for projects whose profit-making potential was near zero? What is the potential…

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Rome (16/11 – 57) Sri Lanka is mired in a deep political and economic crisis and the country’s then President Rajapaksa has flown out of the country, days after a huge crowd of protesters stormed his residence in July 2022. Protesters for months have demanded the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose government has been blamed for chronic mismanagement of the country’s finances. The island nation of 22 million people has suffered months of lengthy blackouts, acute food and fuel shortages, and galloping inflation in its most painful downturn on record. Here is how the crisis unfolded: April 1: State of emergency Rajapaksa declares a temporary state of emergency, giving security forces sweeping powers to arrest and…

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Brussel, Frankfurt (16/11 – 23) A levying of embargoes and export bans, the imposition of sanctions, erection of fearsome “license” (= restriction) protocol: there’s nothing new about this back-and-forth in world trade, in the eternal jousting for advantage among markets and nations. The clever Chinese imagined they had the world tea market all locked up until an earnest Scottish botanist carrying the telling name of “Robert Fortune” snuck into the Middle Kingdom to observe their agriculture, steal tea plants, and pick up tricks of tea processing. The Chinese global tea monopoly was busted wide open. The fortunate Mr. Fortune was…

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London (15/11 – 67) The streets in Colombo, Sri Lanka, erupted into celebration on July 13, 2022 after weeks of peaceful protests forced then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country. Rajapaksa, long implicated in war crimes when he was defense secretary, had presided over an economic catastrophe amid allegations of widespread corruption and impunity. But a year later, despite some superficial changes, there is no sustained improvement in the country’s economic situation that impinges many people’s human rights. The acute shortage of fuel that was the most visible feature of the economic crisis has eased. But more than six million people – nearly 30…

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The Sverdlovsk District Court of Belgorod arrested for two months, until November 19, 28-year-old Kaliningrad resident Ilya Chubukov in the case of arson of the Z-installation, Sota reports . Chubukov was charged with vandalism motivated by political hatred (Part 2 of Article 214 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and illegal possession of explosives (Article 222.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). During the court hearing, the man, as reported by RusNews, said that the deputy head of the police department and other security officials tried to force him to sign a confession. He did not admit his guilt in the…

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California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill banning caste discrimination. Advocates had argued the bill would protect people of South Asian descent who had been treated unfairly. Mr Newsom said the state already banned discrimination based on religion, origin and other characteristics. “Because discrimination based on caste is already prohibited under these existing categories, this bill is unnecessary,” he said in a statement. The caste system in India, which dates back more than 3,000 years, divides Hindu society into rigid hierarchical groups. India banned caste discrimination more than 70 years ago, although biases persist, especially against the Dalits,…

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London (04/11 – 67) US district judge, Denise Cote yesterday granted Sri Lanka’s request for a six-month halt on a creditor lawsuit against the country. Hamilton Reserve Bank, an obscure and tiny St Kitt’s bank with interesting ties, says it has accumulated a big chunk of one of Sri Lanka’s now-defaulted bonds and had been suing it for immediate repayment. Sri Lanka had asked for a stay on these legal proceedings to let it restructure its overall pile of debt in some peace and quiet, and had gotten heavyweight support from the UK, France and the US government. Judge Cote ruled, “The Court recognizes that…

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Brussels (27/10 – 50) Just in September this year, ten “distinguished” people in Tajikistan have been awarded general ranks. The decree on conferring general ranks was signed by the country’s president, Emomali Rahmon, on September 7th. According to this decree, there are now three more generals in the Agency for State Financial Control and Anti-Corruption. The rank of Major General of Justice was awarded to the head of the Finance and Economic Department, Fazliddin Khodjazoda, the head of the Special Operations Department, Abdurakhmon Davlatzoda, and the head of the Agency for GBAO, Zoir Gafurzoda. The rank of Major General of…

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