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NEWS 2018 .
06.01.2018, 01:12 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
U.S. Hits Pakistan, Iran, Three Central Asian Nations For Religious Freedom Violations

The U.S. State Department has singled out Pakistan, Iran, and three Central Asian countries for policies violating religious freedom.

In a statement on January 4, the State Department said Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan were among a group of 10 nations redesignated as countries of particular concern (CPC) for having engaged in or tolerated violations of religious freedom.

Also on the list of 10 countries were Burma, China, Eritrea, North Korea, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia. The same 10 were designated as CPCs a year earlier.

The statement also said Pakistan had been placed on a special watch list for severe violations of religious freedom.

U.S. relations with Pakistan have been particularly strained in recent days. In a separate matter, the administration of President Donald Trump has said it will soon take specific actions against Islamabad for what it calls a lack of cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

The State Department did not break down alleged violations of religious freedoms for each country on the lists. The designations were made on December 22, it said.

The U.S. secretary of state annually designates governments it determines to have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom as CPCs.

In far too many places around the globe, people continue to be persecuted, unjustly prosecuted, or imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief, the statement said.

Today, a number of governments infringe upon individuals' ability to adopt, change, or renounce their religion or belief, worship in accordance with their religion or beliefs, or be free from coercion to practice a particular religion or belief.

These designations are aimed at improving the respect for religious freedom in these countries, the statement said, while adding that it welcomed moves by several designated countries to improve their respect for religious freedom.

The designations are part of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), pass in 1998. It requires an annual report on religious freedom to be provided to the U.S. Congress and for a list of countries of particular concern to be designated each year.

01.01.2018, 17:03 Gundogar
Turkmenistan doubles price of electricity to Afghanistan

Turkmenistan has increased price of electricity to Afghanistan by 100 percent, Afghan officials said Monday, as reported by

The price of electricity from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan has been 2 U.S. cents for each kilowatt. However, the northern neighbour is seeking 4 U.S. cents for each kilowatt, Afghan power utility Breshnas office in Herat said.

Afghan government rejected the surge and Turkmenistan stopped electricity transmission to Afghanistan after the contract ended on the last day of 2017, the company said in a notice.

Turkmenistans electricity ends up in western Herat and other provinces of Afghanistan.

Herats Breshna office said that it will seek to temporarily provide electricity to some areas in the province from Iran power line.

It also urged residents to participate in campaign against higher imported electricity prices.