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Thursday 17 January 2019

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A.M. Agenda 09.07.2017

Moldovan soldiers stand in a formation before their departure to the Rapid Trident maneuvers in Ukraine

NATO Chief Sees No ‘Imminent Threat’ In Russian War Games

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says he sees no "imminent threat" from Russia's upcoming military maneuvers with Belarus, which Moscow says will involve some 12,700 troops. Lithuania and Estonia say that as many as 100,000 soldiers could take part in the Zapad 2017 exercises overall, which are set to begin on September 14. Poland and the Baltic states, forming NATO’s most eastern border, have raised particular concerns about the impact of the exercises on their security.

Expert Contacts:

Irina Lagunina, Editor of RFE/RL’s Russian service

LaguninaI@rferl.org , Location: Prague Headquarters

Brian Whitmore, Editor of RFE/RL’s Power Vertical blog

whitmoreb@rferl.org, Location: Prague Headquarters

*****

Moldova To Join NATO Countries In Military Drills, Despite President’s Opposition

The Moldovan Defense Ministry has announced that its troops will take part in September 8-23”Rapid Trident” multinational military exercises in Ukraine, overruling a decision by pro-Russian President Igor Dodon to keep them out of the drills. The dispute underscores divisions in Moldova, where Dodon is frequently at odds on foreign policy with a government that favors closer ties with the European Union and the United States.

Expert Contacts

Vasile Botnaru, bureau cheif of RFE/RL’s Moldovan service

botnaruv@gmail.com , Location: Chisinau, Moldova

Oana serafim, Director of RFE/RL’s Moldovan service

SerafimO@rferl.org , Location: Prague Headquarters

*****

Kazakh Journalist Convicted Of Money-Laundering

During a high profile hearing today in Almaty, Kazakh journalist Zhanbolat Mamai, often a critical voice of the government, was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to three years of "limited freedom," similar to parole. The court also ordered that Mamai's property be confiscated, and barred him from journalism for three years.

Expert Contacts

Torokul Doroov, Director of RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service

DoorovT@rferl.org ; Location: Prague Heaquarters

Galym Bokash, Editor of RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service

BokashG@rferl.org , Location: Prague Headquarters

*****

Tajik Officials Tighten Circumcision Rules

The Tajik government is adding a new item to its book of unusual rulings, apparently targeting the religious values of its majority Muslim population. The most recent move addresses the tradition of circumcision, and comes against the backdrop of many similar measures, including a ban on Islamic clothing in government buildings, requirements for traditional Tajik garb during official functions and events, and a crackdown against the outlawed Islamic Renaissance party followers.


Expert Contacts

Sojida Djakhfarova, Director of RFE/RL’s Tajik Service

DjakhfarovaS@rferl.org , Location: Prague Headquarters

Farangiz Najibullah, RFE/RL’s Central Asian Affairs Correspondent

NajiballahF@rferl.org , Location: Prague Headquarters

A.M. Agenda 09.06.2017

Veteran Iranian traditional singer, Shahram Nazeri, during one of his concert in Isfahan.

Report Looks At Use Of U.S. Drones In Ukraine War

RFE/RL’s Donbas Realities unit reports on Ukraine’s use of American drones in its war with Russia-backed separatists in its eastern region, and how their use affects the debate over whether the U.S. should provide arms to support Ukraine’s forces.

Eepert Contacts

Rostyslav Khotin, Editor of RFE/RL’s Ukraine Service

KhotinR@rferl.org , Location, Prague Headquarters

*****

Serbia’s Vucic To Visit Sarajevo

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina on September 7 and 8 for an official visit. The trip, marking the first such presidential visit in six years, is being watched for indications of improved bilateral relations between the two countries, and greater regional stability in the Balkans.

Expert Contacts

Dragan Stavljanin - Editor of Balkan Service

StavljaninD@rferl.org , Location: Prague Headquarters

Dzenana Halimovic, Correspondent of RFE/RL’s Balkan Service

HalimovicD@rferl.org , Location: Sarajevo

*****

Iranian Family Launches Protest Over Concerts Canceled By Hard-Liners

In recent years, dozens of officially sanctioned concerts and cultural performances have been abruptly called off in Iran following pressure by hard-liners who claim such events undermine Islamic values. But in a rare show of opposition against the clergy a family of four is protesting the trend in a campaign they plan to continue until the start of the school year in Iran on September 23.

Expert Contacts:

Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL’s Senior Correspondent

esfandiari@rferl.org , Location: Prague Headquarters

Niusha Boghrati, Editor of RFE/RL’s Radio Farda

boghratim@rferl.org , Location: Prague Headquarters

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