June 27-July 4, 1998
  1. Tashkent hosts week of Tajik Culture

  2. Court issues verdict over Wahabists

  3. Kazakstan-Uzbekistan Liquidate Six Customs Check Points

  4. NATO official visits Uzbekistan

  5. Wages rise. So do prices.

  6. Bukhara and Samarkand to start flights to Moscow

  Tashkent hosts week of Tajik Culture
  Tashkent hosted a week of Tajik culture. On June 30 President of Tajikistan visited Tashkent on this occasion and met with his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov. Mr. Karimov said his country would help Tajikistan to restore normalcy after its five-year civil war. Rakhmonov thanked Karimov, saying "We are starting a new page in our relations." During the Week of Tajik Culture a large group of artists, singers, dancers from Tajikistan presented performances nationwide.
  Court issues verdict over Wahabists
  The Uzbek Supreme Court has handed down verdicts against eight Wahhabites, members of a radical Islamic movement, aged from 17 to 42 years. The eight people, all residents of Namangan, were kept in an iron cage in the courtroom. All of them were convicted of attempting to undermine the constitutional system, igniting ethnic and religious animosity, illegal possession of weapons and drugs, and terrorism. One of the eight, Talib Mamadzhanov, was sentenced to death after he was also convicted of killing five people, including policemen, creating a rebel group and sending young people to Afghanistan and Tajikistan for training at local Wahhabite centers. Mamadzhanov said his actions showed his opposition to the Uzbek leadership's policy on religious beliefs and abuses by police. The other seven were sentenced to prison terms varying from three to ten years. They were convicted of helping criminals and illegally possessing arms and drugs. The court's meeting Monday ended a series of public trials over the events in Namangan last December. During the night of December 2-3, 1997, several armed people broke into the house of a traffic police officer and killed and beheaded him. The severed head was put in a plastic bag and was nailed to the door of another police officer. Another three policemen were killed December 17 while pursuing criminals. The Uzbek authorities blamed the killings on Wahhabites and has said they were an attempt to undermine the country's political system.
  Kazakstan-Uzbekistan Liquidate Six Customs Check Points
  Itar-Tass reports that Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have liquidated six customs check points on the border. As a result, residents of border areas of the two countries were offered an opportunity for unimpeded transportation of cargoes. The customs check points were liquidated in the wake of an agreement reached between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan on mutual use of border roads around 25 kilometers long for a trem of ten years. Border roads three times overlap into the territory of Uzbekistan in the Maktaaral district in south Kazakhstan Therefore, passengers and drivers going this way had to go through customs check points six times. The fact of liquidating customs check points on the Kazakh- Uzbek border in border areas actually means establishment of a customs transport corridor between the two countries, which is expected to boost mutual freight traffic.
  NATO official visits Uzbekistan
  The Chairman of NATO's military council, Klaus Naumann, concluded his visit to Uzbekistan on July 2. Naumann was in Uzbekistan to review preparations for the NATO military exercises in Central Asia involving troops from Uzbekistan, Kazakstan and Kyrgyzstan as well as NATO and scheduled for September.
  Wages rise. So do prices.
  President Islam Karimov has issued a decree raising the average minimum monthly wage in Uzbekistan from 750 soums (about $9.5) to 1,100 soums as of July 1. Pensions and benefits for the disabled have also been increased. However, the same day the price for electricity and rents for housing doubled, while public transportation fares in Tashkent city rose by 50 percent, bread by 42% and gasoline by 25 percent.
  Bukhara and Samarkand to start flights to Moscow
  On July 6 the newly purchased A-310 passenger airplane of Uzbekistan Airways made its first flight to Moscow from Bukhara. The flying time was three hours 40 minutes. For now the plane will operate one flight per week on Mondays. At the same time a flight Samarkand-Moscow was put into schedule.

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