Monday, November 27, 2006

Report #29: Borat - Cheap Advertisement for Kazakhstan

On weekends I downloaded Borat! Cultura Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Well, the move actually makes fun of Americans and their ignorance of the world. Kazakhstan and Kazakhs should not be upset at all. In fact, no country in the world likes the way it is represented abroad. It is the cheapest advertisement for Kazakhstan. In five years everyone will forget Borat, but the name "Kazakhstan" (and Azamat, Borat's friend in the movie...) will stick.

In general, the movie is worth downloading off the internet, but does not worth paying for it.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Question #1: Who is next?

First it was Anna Politkovskya. Now it is Aleksandr Litvinenko. Who is next?

Report #28: Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Yesterday Aisuluu and I went to Nazgul and David's house for a Thanksgiving Day dinner. Great turkey! Met up with many friends I had not seen in awhile.

It has been snowing for a few days in Bishkek. I also heard that several skiing places are opening coming week. Big goal for this winter is go to Karakol, at least 3 times.

Some of you know Aida Sulaimankulova. She has great pictures. Here is one of Elnura, the new movie star.

Remember Boris took some pictures in Alamedin Gorge? Pictures below.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Report #27: A trip to mountains I missed

I should have gone on this trip. Instead I slept. It was a perfect day for a hike. Meder shared pictures from the Alamedin Gorge to make me even more jealous. He succeeded.

As you can see, it was a perfect day.

This is Elya, Meder's girlfriend. Boris, in the back, is going crazy with his Nikon. I hope he shares his pictures with us.

(L-R) Asyla, Meder, Boris, Asel (Elya's sister), and Elya.

Report #26: Wasn't there an embargo?

The Guardian: Dissidents blew American 'aid' millions on luxuries for Cuba
Richard Luscombe in Miami
Thursday November 16, 2006

Cuban dissidents who were given millions of dollars by the US government to support democracy in their homeland instead blew money on computer games, cashmere sweaters, crabmeat and chocolates, which were then sent to the island.
A scathing congressional audit of democracy assistance programmes found "questionable expenditure" by several groups funded by Washington in opposition to President Fidel Castro's rule on the communist Caribbean island.

The Miami-based Acción Democrática Cubana spent money on a chainsaw, Nintendo Game Boys and Sony PlayStations, mountain bikes, leather coats and Godiva chocolates, which the group says were all sent to Cuba. "These people are going hungry. They never get any chocolate there," Juan Carlos Acosta, the group's executive director, told the Miami Herald.

He also defended the purchase of a chainsaw he said he needed to cut a tree that had blocked access to his office in a hurricane, and said the leather jackets and cashmere sweaters were bought in a sale. "They [the auditors] think it's not cold there," Mr Acosta said. "At $30 [£16] it's a bargain because cashmere is expensive. They were asking for sweaters."
The audit analysed $65m of spending by the US Agency for International Development (USAid) from 1996 to 2005 and concluded that poor management was to blame for the waste. "There were weaknesses in agency policies and in programme office oversight, and internal control deficiencies," the report states.

None of the 36 groups that received money were identified in the report, but others admitted to the Miami Herald in advance of its publication on Wednesday that they had been investigated.

Frank Hernández-Trujillo, executive director of Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia (Group for the Support of Democracy), said his organisation received more than $7m from USAid, a programme that has been a central part of President George Bush's policy on Cuba.

"I'll defend that until I die," Mr Hernández-Trujillo said of his decision to spend part of his group's allocation on boxes of computer games. "That's part of our job, to show the people in Cuba what they could attain if they were not under that system."

Most of the items were distributed to dissidents in Cuba by US diplomats in Havana, who were sometimes unaware what was in the shipments. The US government, however, has previously accused the Cuban government of hijacking consignments sent to its mission.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Report #25: Би-2 in Bishkek

After a long week in Bishkek, I decided to go to the live concert of Bi2, a rock band from Russia. I took around 250 pictures at the concert, and this is the selection of best of them. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Report #24: Bishkek protests

The last 7 days were mostly the time of passions. Kyrgyzstan won. I give the opposition credit for making sure that illegal activities did not happen at night. Everybody was expecing lootings, but nothing happened. In fact, only one night closer to the end of demonstration, there was a slight panic. Stored had moved out their good, long lines in groceries, etc.

Although a new constitution was signed, there remain many other issues to be solved. I hope that progressive minds in the opposition and the government will have enough guts and will power to implement deeper reforms.

I took this picture with Kyrgyz special forces and AUCA in the background. It is a keeper - the soldier in the right giving me a finger.

The picture below (courtesy of shows how tents and yurts are being removed from Alatoo square.
You can also see some excellent pictures HERE.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Report #23: Another Report?

I came accross an interesting blog - KyrgyzReport. It seems to have been launched very recently. It has a lot of the latest pictures from the current events in Kyrgyzstan.

You can also see live pictures fom Bishkek's Alatoo Square here. Pictures are updated every 4 seconds. Whoever did this is a genius.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Report #22: Search for Talent

The Economist (October 5, 2006) published an excellent Survey of Talent. This survey (not all the articles are available without subscription) analyzes the lack of educated people who have the talent to lead in the age of globalization. It looks at brain drain and migration, head-hunters, education, corporate management, population, economy, and many other important issues.

I believe everyone - government officials, university faculty or staff, young business leaders, or a talented young person planning to study abroad - will find something useful in the survey. Kyrgyz government needs to translate it into Kyrgyz and Russian and distribute it among government officials, especially the President.

If you do not have access to the newspaper, let me know and I will forward you the 15-page survey in a word file.