October 24-October 31, 1998
 
 
  1. Uzbekistan establishes diplomatic relations with Lebanon

  2. World Bank may lend Uzbekistan $130 Mln in 1999

  3. Artur Grigorian defends his title

  4. Uzbek President visits Turkey

  5. Uzbekistan marks 1225th anniversary of Al-Bukhari

  6. Uzbekistan marks 1200th jubilee of Al-Ferghani

  7. Kazak President to visit Uzbekistan

  8. Sugar plant completed in Uzbekistan

  9. Uzbeks, WMC may form gold venture soon

 
  Diplomatic relations with Lebanon established
  Uzbekistan has established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Lebanon. The joint coomunique was signed in London at the Uzbek Embassy between the ambassadors of both countries in the United Kingdom.
 
  World Bank may lend Uzbekistan $130 mln. in 1999
(Reuters)
  The World Bank plans to lend the ex-Soviet republic of Uzbekistan $130 million in 1999, a bank statement said late on Thursday. The bank said that $15 million was earmarked for institutional development in the financial sector, $30 million for the agricultural sector, $15 million for alleviating poverty and a further $70 million for transportation projects. Werner Roider, acting head of the World Bank mission in the capital Tashkent, told a news briefing that the bank would consider boosting its lending to the Central Asian state of 24 million people to $300 million annually if reforms were accelerated. Uzbekistan's president Islam Karimov has been criticised by western companies and institutions for his isolationist economic policy in the last two years which has dashed the hopes of several potential investors in the country. The International Monetary Fund is also critical of Uzbekistan's dual exchange rate mechanism, where the unofficial "bazaar" rate is roughly twice that of the official rate. Only a few foreign investors are allowed to repatriate their profits. The World Bank has given credits of more than $400 million to Uzbekistan since 1992.
 
  Artur Grigorian defends his title
  Who would you consider to be among the three best lightweight fighters in the world today, honestly ? Shane Mosley ? Stevie Johnston ? Angel Manfredy ? Cesar Bazan, maybe ? Arguably, most of the American boxing fans wouldn't think of WBO Lightweight champion Artur Grigorian, 24-0 (15), to belong among those guys. Maybe a large number of fans haven't even seen him before. This would be a shame, because no one of the guys mentioned above is really "better" than him. You don't think so ? Well, maybe a look at Grigorian's last defense will change your opinion. Last Saturday, the WBO champ defended against an experienced challenger, Giorgio Campanella, 26-4-1 (18). The Italian, who may be best remembered for flooring Oscar De La Hoya in their 1994 title bout and narrowly losing to former WBO Junior Lightweight titlist Regilio Tuur on points performed brave but wasn't able to win one single round against a superior opponent. Grigorian, who comes from Usbekistan but now lives in Hamburg, Germany, made one of his best fights so far. It was a technically nearly flawless performance. The right jabs, the speed, the reflexes, the ring generalship and yes, even the defense he showed that night were the stuff you usually find in boxing books. The champ utterly dominated the competent Campanella with ease, and when the challenger finally went down it wasn't from the barrage of punches Grigorian was able to land in the final seconds of the bout alone, but from nearly ten rounds in which he got hit almost constantly. The fight was stopped as soon as the challenger hit the floor, and neither Campanella nor his cornermen had any complaints about that. If you've never seen Grigorian fight before, be advised to have a look at him. It was a pleasure seeing him fight that night, and the champ still wants to improve the presence of Don Turner, the trainer of heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield, in Grigorian's corner should be an evidence of that. Artur Grigorian may not be a knockout artist, but technically he's as good as any of today's top lightweights, maybe even better.
 
  Uzbek President visited Turkey
  Uzbek President Islam Karimov visited Turkey for a two-day working visit on Wednesday. During the visit, Karimov took part in celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. The president also discussed economic, political and cultural issues. Karimov met with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel and discussed security in Central Asia and the situation in Afghanistan. No official documents were signed during the visit. Last November President Karimov was an official visit to Turkey and hosted Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz this April.
 
  Uzbekistan marks 1225th anniversary of Al-Bukhari
  Uzbekistan celebrated the 1225th anniversary of the great religious scholar of the Eastern Renaissance period, Imam Al-Bukhari, who was born in ancient Bukhara. Imam Al-Bukhari's name is very well-known in the Islamic world. He compiled over 7,000 oral sayings of the Prophet Mohammed in "Kitab al-Jami' as-Sahih" The Book of the Authentic Collection, the second most important document in Islam after the Koran. Hundreds of scholars collected the prophet's sayings into Hadis's at that time, but Al-Bukhari's collection is believed to be the most accurate one. His burial place in Samarkand, one of the holiest places in the world, has been the main place of worship and attraction for foreign tourists from Muslim states for many years, but was ignored by the Soviet leadership. Since Independence in 1991 the government of Uzbekistan has done a lot to revive historic, cultural and religious values. President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov says that a person needs to understand himself before making a pilgrimage to Mecca. And that self-understanding begins from such holy places as the Al-Bukhari Mausoleum. During the past nine months the mausoleum was completely reconstructed and improved to make it convenient for tourists. Guests from tens of countries came to Samarkand to pay homage to the scholar. The Minister of Justice and Religious Affairs of Kuwait donated half a million dollars to Imam Al-Bukhari's memorial complex. In the last two years Uzbekistan has celebrated several jubilees 660th anniversary of Great Amir Temur known in the West as Tamerlane and the 2,500th anniversaries of the ancient cities of Khiva and Bukhara. Big holidays mean big expenses especially at the time Uzbekistan is in transition to a free market economy, however the government believes that it is the right way to restore national identity and to make Uzbeks understand that they have a history to be proud of.
 
  Uzbekistan marks 1200th jubilee of Al-Ferghani
  In two days Uzbekistan celebrated the jubilees of two prominent scholars of the Eastern Renaissance period, who lived in the area what is now Uzbekistan. Following the 1225th jubilee of religious scholar Imam Al-Bukhari, celebrations took place in Ferghana for Ahmad Al-Farghoni in Latin known as Alfrahanus. 1200 years ago Ahmad Al-Farghoni was born in Ferghana. He was fond of astronomy, mathematics and engineering and traveled a lot to enrich his knowledge. Under his direct supervision two astronomic observatories were built in Baghdad and Damascus. Al-Farghoni determined the geographical locations of the largest localities of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Central Asia. In 861 he came to Egypt and built an equipment to measure the level of water in the Nile which was used in the next 1,100 years. The Europeans got to know this invention only in the 18th century during Napoleon's intervention to Egypt. Al-Farghoni's book on the basics of astronomy served as the text book for many other scientists. His name was given to one of the Moon's craters. Al-Farghoni's hometown Ferghana hosted the scholar's 1,200th anniversary with great joy. With the government's help the town was renovated. The National Park named after Al-Farghoni was completely reconstructed with the scholar's new and huge monument erected in the center. Because no images of Al-Farghoni have come down to us, during the creation of his monument, his image was created based on the pictures of old men from Ferghana. In the last two years Uzbekistan has celebrated several anniversaries commemorating great sons of this ancient land. And these holidays are not just homage to our great ancestors or scheduled cultural programs. They are a revival of a part of the history of Uzbekistan that was misinterpreted by Soviet historians.
 
  Kazak President to visit Uzbekistan
  President of Kazakstan Nursultan Nazarbaev will pay an official visit to Uzbekistan October 30-31 at the invitation of Uzbek President Islam Karimov. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are expected to clinch a package of economic deals at their summit on Friday. Visiting Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev is due to meet with his counterpart Islam Karimov behind closed doors and then continue talks in expanded format. The presidents will discuss prospects for bilateral relations and opportunities to develop economic and political cooperation. A number of cultural documents will be signed as well. Karimov and Nazarbayev who is arriving for a two-day official visit, are also expected to discuss international and regional security issues and the situation in Afghanistan. The sources said the parties were planning to thoroughly review the Aral Sea problem and the environmental situation in the region. Two-way trade between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan reached 300 million US dollars in 1997. In the first quarter of this year, it totaled 100 million dollars. Uzbekistan exports to Kazakhstan fuel, oil, petroleum products and electric equipment. It imports Kazakh grains, ores, slags, ash and flour. Kazakhstan is Uzbekistan's third largest trade partner following Russia and Ukraine.
 
  Sugar plant completed in Uzbekistan
  A Turkish consortium grouping Turk Seker and Yuksel Insaat A.S. has completed construction of Uzbekistan's first ever sugar refining plant. This is the first sugar refinery in Uzbekistan. The cost of the project is estimated at over 100 million dollars. The plant, located in the Khorezm region some 700 kilometers east of the capital Tashkent, has the capacity to process 3,000 tons of sugar beet a day. It plans to work for 120 days a year, yielding around 40,000 tons of refined sugar annually. Uzbekistan provided the bulk of the finance for the plant, contributing $83 million in financing. Another $25 million was put up by Turkey's Eximbank. The Agriculture Ministry wants to supply domestic beet to the plant, requiring annual production of around 350,000 tons. Uzbekistan's annual refined sugar consumption is 600,000 tons. France's Deleplanque also wants to build three small sugar refineries in the ex-Soviet republic of 24 million. The total cost of the plants is estimated at $42 million, and overall capacity is pegged at 24,000 tons of refined sugar.
 
  Uzbekistan & WMC may form gold venture
(Reuters)
  Uzbekistan and Australia's Western Mining Corp (WMC) may agree to form a gold venture "in the nearest future", an official from the ex-Soviet state's geology and mineral resources committee said on Tuesday. "Negotiations will resume on November 8-9. We suppose an agreement will be reached then. It may be signed in the nearest future," the official told Reuters. He said that WMC had asked the Uzbek government a few days ago to wait until November when it would determine its position. In February 1996, WMC won a tender for rights to develop Uzbekistan's Zarmitan gold field in the east of the country. The date of the charter agreement signing had been repeatedly put off, and in March this year WMC announced it would suspend work on the feasibility study for the project, worth around $170 million, due to low world gold prices. The Central Asian state's government, however, has insisted that work on the project goes on, threatening it would find a new partner otherwise. According to official data, Zarmitan's reserves are estimated at 25 million tonnes of auriferous ores with an average concentration of gold of 10 grams per tonne. The joint venture, expected to be set up on a 50-50 basis, would process around two millions tonnes of ore a year.

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