As global temperatures rise, desert climates have spread north by up to 100 kilometres in parts of Central Asia since the 1980s, a climate assessment reveals1.
The study, published on 27 May in Geophysical Research Letters, also found that over the past 35 years, temperatures have increased across all of Central Asia, which includes parts of China, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In the same period, mountain regions have become hotter and wetter — which might have accelerated the retreat of some major glaciers.
Such changes threaten ecosystems and those who rely on them, says Jeffrey Dukes, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, California. The findings are a “great first step” towards informing mitigation and adaptation policies, he says.
Riots flared up in several cities of Kazakhstan on January 2. Later they erupted in other cities, including in Almaty, the largest city in the country, and on January 5, the riots snowballed into mass riots and violence, along with looting and attacks on state buildings. The rioters beheaded 2 police officers. At least 18 security officers were killed by the rioters. Over 3,000 people have been detained. 26 armed rioters have been killed. Government offices, police headquarters and stations, TV centers, police vehicles were torched.
Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has requested assistance of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a post-Soviet security bloc. The first units of peacekeepers have started fulfilling their assigned tasks in Kazakhstan.
A state of emergency has been declared all across Kazakhstan.
In the mid-1980s, Soviet officials saw a need to open up their economy in hope of achieving Western-style innovation and productivity. That was the decade in which Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were sponsoring the neoliberal pro-financial policies that have polarised the U.S., British and other economies and loaded them down with rentier overhead.
The Soviet Union followed a privatization policy far more extreme than anything the social-democratic West would have tolerated. It agreed in December 1990 to adopt the neoliberal blueprint presented in Houston by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to transfer hitherto public property into private hands. The promise was that the privatisers would find their interest to lie in producing abundant new housing, consumer goods and prosperity.
The Soviet leaders believed that the neoliberal advice they received was about how to follow the path by which the advanced industrialised nations had developed and made their prosperity seem so attractive. But the advice actually turned out to be how to open up their economies and enable U.S. and other foreign investors to make money off the former Soviet republics, by creating client oligarchies of the sort that U.S. diplomacy had installed in Latin American and other puppet states. The Cold War’s isolation of the former Soviet Union gave way to turning its republics into prey for financial and natural-resource exploitation by U.S. and other Western banks and corporations.