January 3, 1998
  1. U.S.-Uzbek agreement to develop petroleum industry in Uzbekistan

  2. Five students receive presidential stipend awards

  3. Uzbekistan's financiers give a briefing

  4. Seventeen athletes found best

  5. Slovakia's Independence Day

  6. Boris Yeltsin's letter to President Islam Karimov

  7. National Security Council holds scheduled meeting

  U.S.-Uzbek agreement on petroleum
  On Tuesday December 30 Ambassador of the United States, Joseph Presel, and Deputy Prime Minister Khakkulov signed an agreement on behalf of their respective governments to work together to develop Uzbekistan's petroleum industry. The agreement itself will be implemented by the United States Agency for International Development, (USAID) and the National Corporation for Oil and Gas, who will develop a program of training and technical assistance In the oil and gas sectors of Uzbekistan. The program will assist Uzbekistan to review existing draft legislation, implement rules and regulations, develop environmental protections, create an Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, provide advice on the privatization and commercialization of the National Corporation for Oil and Gas and participate in the Advisory Committee for the President's Energy Resources to the year 2010 program.
  Five students receive presidential stipends
  An award ceremony was held at the State Committee for Science and technology. Five best post-graduate students out of 67 were granted diplomas for presidential stipends. All of them are third year students majoring in economics, sociology, medicine, history and agriculture.
  Financiers give a briefing
  What will the New Year bring us? At a briefing on the results of the country's social and economic development, the nation's principal financiers assured that the New Year will be only positive. According to Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Macroeconomy and Statistics, Bahtiyor Khamidov, in 1998 GDP is expected to grow by 5.2 %, industrial output growth will be at 6.5 % and the volume of foreign trade will increase to 9 billion dollars. Mr. Khamidov says that an average monthly inflation rate will be kept low. Last year this figure was 2.1 %. However, the reality is that since January 1, prices for some products have increased.
  Seventeen athletes found best
  Seventeen athletes from Uzbekistan have been announced the best in 1997 by a number of sports organizations. Two of them are boxers. There might have been three boxers in the list, had the boxer from Uzbekistan Farkhod Arslonov defeated the Pan Asian Boxing Association champion. Current champion Kanat Sehimbaev from Kazakstan won his title last year after beating Indonesian boxer Arigoda. This year he was challenged by Farkhod Arslonov from Uzbekistan. The fight was held in Tashkent. After the eighth round, the fighters got tired, so the rest of the time they had less attacks on each other. When the fight was over, the judges gave the victory to the defending champion.
  Slovakia's Independence Day
  The Charge de Affaires of the Embassy of Slovakia to Uzbekistan, Joseph Matischak, held a news conference on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the country's indepedence. After splitting from the Czech Republic in 1993, Slovakia made it a tradition to double celebrate January 1 as the New Year holiday and as the Indepedence Day. After the visit of President Islam Karimov to Slovakia last January, the bilateral relations accelerated, mostly in textile and pharmaceutical industries. Currently there are some more joint projects pending.
  Boris Yeltsin's letter to President Islam Karimov
  During the visit of Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to Uzbekistan, he presented President Boris Yeltsin's letter to President Karimov. The Russian President is upset that some CIS countries, including Uzbekistan, negatively refer to Russia's initiative to form various unions and confederations with CIS states as an attempt to display its imperious ambitions and intentions. President Karimov has been critical of Russia's Union with Belarus and the Union of the Four, with these two states and also including Kzakstan and Kyrgyzstan, saying that such unions are established with more political purposes rather than economic.
  National Security Council holds scheduled meeting
  President Islam Karimov held a scheduled meeting of the National Security Council to discuss concerns about the increased level of criminal situation in Namnghan oblast. The Council also discussed its future plans for 1998. The council decided to transform the Chief Staff of the Defense Ministry into a General Staff of the Armed Forces of Uzbekistan to strengthen the interaction between interior and frontier forces.

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