A senior Turkish minister’s call to turn Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia from a museum back into a mosque is stoking a dispute between Turkey’s Islamist-rooted government and the country’s Orthodox Christian community.
It’s not often that Calvin Coolidge’s name is invoked these days in Washington. But the long-dead 30th president is figuring in a controversy involving several Armenian-American organizations, the Smithsonian Institution and the White House.
When Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, rang the bell to open trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in late November 2006, he was symbolically ushering in a new era. Companies flush with cash from Kazakhstan’s energy-driven economy were flocking to list in London, where they were welcomed as rising stars.
Two of the most despotic leaders in the world sit atop the governments of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, according to rights groups. But in sharp contrast to the way they regard their respective peoples, Turkmenistan’s Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and Uzbekistan’s Islam Karimov seem to treat each other with courtesy and respect when they get together.
For Georgia, the signing of an association agreement marks a major stride toward the European Union. But the pact should not be construed as an insurance policy against continued meddling by Moscow, experts say.
Two recent criminal cases concerning Muslim religious leaders promising mystical cures are helping to focus attention in Tajikistan on the phenomenon of faith healing. The cases in question involved a “possessed” teenager who was bled and beaten to death, and a woman who was sexually molested while seeking fertility treatment.
The Armenian government wants to increase salaries of senior leaders and MPs by over 200-percent, while eliminating unemployment benefits. Officials contend that such measures are needed to combat corruption and improve the state’s financial picture.
The Georgian Dream coalition, which controls the parliament in Georgia, seems to be playing fast and loose with parliamentary procedure, at least when it comes to its efforts to relocate the legislature.
After 26 years of frustration over its start-and-stop bid to join the European Union, would Turkey ever consider joining a rival regional bloc led by the Kremlin? Few observers believe it likely, but it’s not completely out of the question.