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Dozens Die as Cargo Jet Crashes Into Village

747 plowed through buildings in Kyrgyzstan

(Newser) - Dozens of people in a village just outside Kyrgyzstan's Bishkek airport died in a horrific crash early Monday when a Boeing 747 cargo plane apparently missed the runway. The plane plowed for hundreds of yards through the village, breaking into pieces and destroying at least 15 buildings, Reuters reports.... More »

Booze Smugglers Built Pipeline in River

Kazakhstan entrepreneurs found a way around taxes

(Newser) - It's not your usual smuggling bust: Authorities found a pipeline in the river connecting Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan used to ship alcohol, reports the BBC . Police say smugglers laid the pipe on the bed of the river Chu to move booze out of Kazakhstan, where grains are plentiful and spirits... More »

Behind Kyrgyzstan Unrest: Gold in the Mountains

Protests threatened as government debates mine's future

(Newser) - Kyrgyzstan has had two revolutions in eight years, and it's poised for a third amid anger over a gold mine at 12,000 feet. Nationalists say it's time for the Kumtor mine to return to local control after it was sold to a Canadian company in 2009; they... More »

Reporter Sues Over 'Mock Kidnapping' at Gunpoint

She allegedly stripped, uttered 'last words'

(Newser) - Some practical joke: A pair of reporters kidnapped a prominent Kyrgyzstan journalist and put a gun to her head before revealing it was all just for laughs, the BBC reports. Now Nazira Aytbekova is filing charges against the reporters, saying they held her at gunpoint and made her strip to... More »

Kyrgyz Parliament Sacrifices Sheep to Expel Evil Spirits

Central Asian nation's three-party coalition has been squabbling

(Newser) - It may not be the way to bring that "Kumbaya" feeling back to Capitol Hill, but maybe it'll work in Kyrgyzstan? Members of the country's parliament, which the AP describes as "raucous," sacrificed seven sheep this morning in an attempt to expel evil spirits from... More »

Ten Countries With Fastest Rising Food Prices

Droughts make matters worse in Brazil, Kyrgyzstan, elsewhere

(Newser) - Between June and December 2010, 44 million people across the world were pushed into poverty by rising food prices. The price of many agricultural commodities increased by more than 25%, and for many countries that rely heavily on grains such as wheat for sustenance, prices may not go back down... More »

10K Stray Dogs to Be Shot

Kyrgyzstan says it can't afford to build shelters for them

(Newser) - From bad to worse: Last year, Kyrgyzstan shot 5,000 stray dogs, unable to afford the $300,000 it would have cost to build shelters for them. This year, that figure is depressingly higher: Officials in the capital city of Bishkek say budgetary woes are forcing them to shoot the... More »

Military Handed Shady Kyrgyz Firms $1.4B

Companies possibly run by corrupt, deposed despots

(Newser) - The Pentagon has doled out $1.4 billion in no-bid contracts to a pair of mysterious foreign companies with alleged ties to Kyrgyzstan's corrupt ex-president, the military's main supply agency confirmed for Newsweek . The companies, Mina Corp. Ltd. and Red Star Enterprises, provided fuel for the US air base in... More »

Medvedev Orders Kyrgyzstan to Protect Russians

Interim government struggling to restore order after Bakiyev's ouster

(Newser) - Russia warned Kyrgyzstan yesterday that it needs to take steps to protect Russian citizens and property within its borders as turmoil continues. At least five people were killed as mobs of looters and land-grabbers targeted ethnic Russians and Turks in the Central Asian state yesterday, Bloomberg reports. More »

Kyrgyz Interim Leader: US Base Is Safe

Promises to extend lease; deal for ousted leader in works

(Newser) - The Kyrgyzstan chaos shows signs of resolution today on two fronts:
  • Interim leader Roza Otunbayeva tells the AP that the lease for the critical airbase used by the US in the Afghan war will be extended by a year in July.
  • Ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev offered to leave the country
... More »

Kyrgyzstan Unrest Bears Putin's Fingerprints

How about a stop to the meddling, pleads Simon Tisdall

(Newser) - Vladimir Putin’s “sardonic” acknowledgment of the interim regime in Kyrgyzstan yesterday is just another clue that the Russian government was involved in ousting president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Simon Tisdall writes. It’s obvious: Putin essentially paid off Bakiyev to boot the US from a Kyrgyz air base, which ended... More »

Kyrgyz President Flees

Opposition forms new administration in Bishkek

(Newser) - The government of Kyrgyzstan appeared to collapse today, as the president left the capital amid citywide riots. The opposition party announced it was forming a new government as chaos reigned in the streets. Riot police used live ammunition and tear gas on protesters, leaving at least 41 people dead and... More »

Police Fire on Protesters in Kyrgyzstan

Anti-government rallies sweep country; 17 dead

(Newser) - Police fired into a swarm of thousands of protesters storming the main government building in the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek today, killing at least 17 and wounding at least 180. Police first used tear gas and stun grenades to try to disperse the crowd, but turned to live rounds when... More »

Kyrgyzstan Sheep Will Get Passports

Nation of 5 million humans will track 4.25 million animals

(Newser) - Kyrgyzstan is about to launch a program that will issue passports to millions of residents of the largely rural country—its 4.25 million sheep. "From their birth to their slaughter, it will be possible to recognize a sheep's pedigree by using laser scanning," the first deputy PM... More »

Kyrgyzstan Issues Eviction Notice to US

Forces have 6 months to leave; Uzbekistan offers new supply route

(Newser) - Kyrgyzstan has issued an eviction notice giving US forces six months to depart an air base key to the transit of troops and supplies to the war in Afghanistan, the AP reports. But in spite of its rocky relationship with the US, nearby Uzbekistan has offered an alternative route for... More »

Kyrgyzstan Votes to Shut Critical US Airbase

Military must leave Central Asian republic in 180 days

(Newser) - The parliament of Kyrgyzstan voted nearly unanimously to close a critical American military base in the country, dealing a blow to Barack Obama's efforts to reinforce troops in Afghanistan. The vote, 78-1, means that the US has 180 days to remove its airplanes and equipment, reports the Guardian. Kyrgyzstan's president... More »

Kyrgyzstan Calls Closure of US Base 'Final'

Russia offers help to US with transport to Afghanistan

(Newser) - The decision to close an American air base in Kyrgyzstan was "final," the Kyrgyz government said today, contradicting claims from Washington that discussions are ongoing. The Manas Air Base is a vital stopover for US and NATO flights to Afghanistan, but this week Kyrgyzstan suddenly decided to shutter... More »

Kyrgyzstan to Shut Only US Air Base in Central Asia

Announces as Russia offers billions in aid

(Newser) - The fate of America's only military base in Central Asia was in doubt today after the president of Kyrgyzstan announced plans to shut the facility, reports the New York Times. The Manas Air Base serves as a refueling station for NATO fighter jets traveling to Afghanistan. But during a visit... More »

Hackers Zap Kyrgyz Internet

Latest Russian assault in cyber warfare

(Newser) - A Russian "cyber-militia" has shut down access to the Internet in Kyrgyzstan, the Wall Street Journal reports. Service providers in the former Soviet republic have been swamped with traffic during the past several days, in a denial of service attack that has downed websites and crippled email delivery. Motivations... More »

The Weirdest Sporting Events

How oddballs compete, from pole-sitting to goat polo

(Newser) - If curling strikes you as a strange sport, you've obviously never heard of wife carrying or bottle kicking. The London Times explores the weirdest pastimes from across the globe:
  1. Wife-carrying, Maine, USA: Wives hang on for dear life as husbands tote them through an obstacle course, upside-down. Winners receive the
... More »

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