Author: Manzura Ghaffarova

DUSHANBE — Exorcism is a key source of income for Sabohiddin Shodiev, a popular cleric in his rural community on the outskirts of Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. Shodiev — not his real name — says that every week he treats about 15 clients who ask him to expel what they believe is an evil spirit, or jinni, possessing them, or to rid them from “an evil eye.”The 53-year-old cleric has been practicing exorcisms — which he learned to do from his father — for more than two decades. Most of Shodiev’s clients come from Dushanbe and nearby districts, but…

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French MEP Valérie Hayer will become the new president of Renew Europe with “overwhelming consensus” after current interim President Malik Azmani failed to gather enough support following widespread worries about his party’s involvement with coalition talks with the far-right in the Netherlands. Though the formal election will be on Thursday (25 January) at 8 am, hers is the only official candidacy. As such, she will be elected by acclamation, just like her predecessor Stéphane Séjourné, who left the group’s presidency to become France’s new foreign affairs minister. The formal announcement of Hayer’s candidacy was confirmed to Euractiv by a Renew…

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The proposed law, which has been endorsed by the French far right, faces its biggest test yet on Thursday A controversial new French immigration bill which has sparked popular protests will come before the country’s Constitutional Council on Thursday. On Sunday, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate against President Emmanuel Macron’s legislation, which the National Assembly passed last month by 349 votes to 186. Critics say it bears all the hallmarks of the far-right. Despite the bill’s hefty margin of success, 27 members of Macron’s governing coalition voted against the bill – and another 32 abstained. In…

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MOU on visa exemption for holders of diplomatic, official and service passports is set to be signed between the two nations Bilateral discussions were held yesterday (19) between President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Vice President of the Republic of Benin Ms. Mariam Chabi Talata, yesterday (19) on the side lines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Kampala, Uganda. Diplomatic ties between Sri Lanka and the Republic of Benin was established in 2012, took centre stage, with a focus on advancing economic and trade connections. Vice President Talata, identified the Republic of Benin as a notable cotton exporter, highlighted investment opportunities for…

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Authorities in Uzbekistan have created a register aimed at tracking individuals convicted of crimes against minors, specifically sexual violence. Individuals included on the register will be barred from any line of work involving children, Tanzila Narbayeva, the chairwoman of the upper house of parliament, wrote on her Telegram account on November 18. Narbayeva framed this initiative as a continuation of landmark legislation adopted earlier this year that provided women and children with greater protections against gender-based violence. Other provisions of that law, which was approved by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on April 11, envision fines or prison time for people found guilty of assaulting a current or…

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The Uzbekistan National Championships was one of the highlights in the previous days, following their women’s finals, the men boxers also decided the titles in Tashkent. Ruslan Abdullayev, Khavasbek Asadullayev, Turabek Khabibullayev and Lazizbek Mullojonov won the most important weight categories in Tashkent. The Uzbekistan Elite National Championships served as the main selection competition in nine weight categories for the upcoming 1st World Olympic Boxing Qualifying Event which will be starting in Busto Arsizio, Italy on February 29. Three of their male stars secured their spots through the Asian Games such as the Olympic Champions as Hasanboy Dusmatov (51kg) and Bakhodir…

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Sanoat Qurilish Bank (SQB) signed a $50 million senior convertible loan to support Uzbekistan’s privatization of state-owned banks, which will strengthen the banking sector, contribute to economic growth and job creation. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are parallel lenders. The loan proceeds will be used to help SQB expand its financing to underserved micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), including those owned or led by women (WMSMEs). Portfolio diversification will contribute to SQB’s transition into a fully universal commercial bank by serving a broader customer…

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Samarkand hosted a meeting with the participation of Chairperson of the Art and Culture Development Foundation of Uzbekistan Gayane Umerova and SUEZ Director General for Europe and Central Asia Paul Bourdillon, UzA said. A Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation was signed between the two organizations. The document is intended to strengthen partnership within the framework of the Aral Culture Summit in climate, nature, and social development. The Aral Culture Summit, initiated by the Art and Culture Development Foundation of Uzbekistan, aims to solve the environmental and social problems of the Aral Sea region through the implementation of large-scale educational, scientific,…

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TASHKENT — Officials in the Uzbek capital have closed down nearly a dozen restaurants that don’t serve alcohol, the owners claim, adding they were told their businesses could reopen if they agreed to sell liquor. The actions are the latest in a series of steps in recent months curbing freedom of religion for Muslims amid what appears to be government concern about a wave of “religious radicalization” in Uzbekistan. Several restaurant owners told RFE/RL their establishments — all identified as halal — were shut down this month after surprise raids by police, security services, tax officials, and health and food-safety…

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On November 10, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Uzbekistan’s Sanoat Qurilish Bank (SQB) signed a senior convertible loan of $50 million to support Uzbekistan’s privatization of state-owned banks, which will strengthen the banking sector and contribute to economic growth and job creation, Azernews reports, citing Kun.uz news agency. The Manila-based bank said the International Finance Corporation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development are parallel lenders. The ADB said the loan proceeds will help SQB expand its financing to underserved micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Portfolio diversification will contribute to SQB’s transition into a fully universal commercial bank by…

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