December 12-December 19, 1998
  1. Uzbek president makes 1999 Year of Women

  2. Moldovan President to visit Uzbekistan

  3. Brief news

  4. Uzbekistan to tender metal plant

  5. Tashkent hosts Gershwin Centennial

  6. Japan offers financial assistance to Uzbek university

  7. Presidential decree

  8. Presidents awards Kyrgyz writer

  Uzbek president makes 1999 Year of Women
  Uzbek President Islam Karimov has issued a decree making 1999 the Year of Women. According to the decree, read out on Uzbek TV on Thursday 9th December, a commission is to be set up which will work out a programme designed to "increase the role of women in the family and in building the state and society, and also further improve the system for protecting their legal, social, economic and spiritual interests" . This programme should cover improved legislation to protect women's interests and proper monitoring of the implementation of such legislation, better child and maternity protection, health care, improved education and more academic study of gender problems, greater involvement of women in business and also in state bodies, unions, political parties and NGOs.
  Moldovan President to visit Uzbekistan
  Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi is to discuss the prospects for further cooperation with Uzbekistan and sign a number of documents during his first official visit to the republic beginning on Thursday 17th December, the Russian news agency Interfax reported on Tuesday 15th, quoting the Moldovan ambassador in Tashkent, Nicolae Osmochescu. Lucinschi, who will be accompanied by a large delegation of business representatives, will discuss, in particular, cooperation within the framework of the TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia) project. A joint statement on advancing cooperation as well as agreements on the avoidance of double taxation and the exchange of legal information are due to be signed. Uzbekistan is Moldova's fourth most important trade partner after Russia, Ukraine and Belarus and during the first nine months of the year, trade turnover between the two countries amounted to 6m dollars, the agency said.
  Brief news
  On November 27 the Parliament of Portugal ratified the agreement between Uzbekistan and the European Union signed in 1996 during President Karimov's visit to Florence. Portugal is the 13th EU-member-state that has ratified the agreement which will come into force after all fifteen EU member-states will have ratified it.

President Karimov appointed Ummat Mirzaqulov khokim of Tashkent province following a special session with the province's people's deputies where he criticized the province for poor economic results and corruption. Consequently the former province khokim is to blame. However Erkin Ruziev had been appointed khokim to Samarkand province a month earlier as one of the experienced leaders.

Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Russia Shoqosim Shoislamov presented his credentials to the President of Russia Boris Yeltsin on December 15.

  Uzbekistan to tender metal plant
  Uzbekistan will announce an international tender to buy a 46.5 stake, pegged at $478 million, in metals producer Almalyk Metallurgical Plant on Tuesday, a local newspaper said on Friday. "The commission on the tender will announce that on December 15, 1998 the international tender to buy 46.5 percent of shares in Almalyk will go ahead," Chastnaya Sobstvennost newspaper quoted a state property committee official as saying. The government has repeatedly postponed the sale of a large minority stake in Almalyk, whose assets were estimated last summer at 69.8 billion sums, or around $1 billion, according to the then exchange rate of the Central Bank. The Central Asian state's government holds a 51 percent stake in the plant. The plant, located near the capital Tashkent, is Uzbekistan's only producer of copper and silver and the second largest producer of gold. It also produces zinc, lead and molybdenum. The plant has said it produced 115,000 tonnes of copper, around 77 tonnes of silver and 13 tonnes of gold in 1998. The official said bids would have to be submitted by January 15 with a payment of $10,000 and proposals should be received by March 15. "In the time until May 1, 1999 the tender commission will analyse the offers," the official said, adding that the criteria for bidders would be the size of the payment and proposed development plans. Another state property committee official said earlier this year that companies interested in participating in the tender included South Korea's conglomerate Daewoo Corp, U.S. company Gerald Metals, Switzerland's Glencore AG and a consortium of Germany's Thyssen AG, Siemens AG and Sweden's Svedala. Other possible bidders include Indonesia's Bakrie Group, Japan's Mitsui & Co Ltd and several Russian companies.
  Tashkent hosts Gershwin Centennial
  The Embassy of the United States of America in Tashkent in cooperation with the National Symphonic Orchestra of Uzbekistan hosted two concerts celebrating the centennial of great American composer George Gershwin on December 11 and 12 at the "Turkistan" palace. Well-known American musical artists Daniel Washington (baritone) and John Ferguson (piano) performed Gershwin's pieces with the Symphonic Orchestra. Uzbek Government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, business circles and the local artistic community were the U.S. Ambassador's guests at the concerts. The concert was also the occasion of the world premiere of "An American in Tashkent." by Uzbekistani composer Alisher Latifzoda. The concerts are sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent. D. Washington and J. Ferguson also conducted master-classes for students of the Tashkent conservatory and Uspenskiy musical school to introduce them to the American music and culture and learn about Uzbek music. They donated a collection of musical scores of "Two Centuries of American Musical Classics" to both schools. Tickets for the concerts are available to the public at the box-offices of the Turkiston palace and Zarafshan concert hall.
  Japan offers financial assistance to Uzbek university
  The Japanese government has decided to provide financial assistance worth 39.8 million yen (around 340,000 dollars) to the Uzbek University of World Economy and Diplomacy under the Uzbek Foreign Ministry. The Japanese aid provided gratis will be used to buy equipment for lingaphone rooms and video-projectors.The equipment is meant as a teaching aid to ensure better knowledge of foreign language, and above all, the Japanese language, by university students. The equipment is expected to arrive next spring. Corresponding documents to this effect were exchanged on Monday by Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulasis Kamilov and Japanese Ambassador to Uzbekistan Koiti Obata. The University of World Economy and diplomacy was established In Uzbekistan in 1992 shortly after the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. About 1.000 students study there now, using outdated Soviet-ere equipment. According to Japanese diplomats, a decision on making disbursement to the Uzbek University was adopted at the Uzbek university' request which faces financial shortages and cannot afford technical innovation.
  Presidential decree
  President Islam Karimov issued a decree on the transformation of the Uzbek State Oil and Gas Corporation into a National Holding Company "Uzbek Oil and Gas".
  President awards Kyrgyz writer
  President Karimov awarded very well-known writer and politician from Kyrgyzstan Chingiz Aytmatov an order "Buyuk Hizmatlari Uchun" (For Outstanding Merits) in connection with his 70th jubilee.

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