Explore the personal stories of Syrian refugees in Lebanon
Ghana's mixed fortune as a dumping ground for e-waste
06 Nov 2013 11:16 GMT
A ballot box is placed in a polling station in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, for the November 6 presidential elections. The former Soviet republic, population eight million, will choose among six presidential candidates.
President Emomali Rakhmon is expected to win a new seven-year term, extending his rule to nearly three decades. The five other candidates who qualified are little-known and are loyal to Rakhmon. The international community has previously criticised Rakhmon, saying elections failed to meet democratic standards.
President Rakhmon took power in 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rakhmon is often seen on state television surrounded by well-wishers who sing him odes and address him as "your highness."
Tajikistan(***)s former imperial master Russia opened a military base here in 2004. Last month, Rakhmon ratified a deal with Russia to extend Moscow\(***)s military presence until 2042.
MAXIM SHEMETOV / POOL/EPA
Tajiks are ethnically close to Persians, and their language is similar to Farsi. Ethnic Tajiks make up 84 percent of the population, Uzbeks 12 percent, Kyrgyz 0.8 percent and Russians 0.5 percent.
Tajikistan is the poorest of the 15 post-Soviet nations. It became a member of the World Trade Organization in March 2012. Monthly wages average just $135.
Forty-seven percent of Tajiks live below the poverty line, according to World Bank data, and the country\(***)s per capita gross domestic product was just $860 in 2012 - putting it on par with many countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
More than half of Tajikistan\(***)s labour force works abroad, mostly in Russia, and sends home remittances to support their families - like Shadi Madaminov, above.
Tajikistan\(***)s economy is highly dependent on agriculture. Cotton is the most important crop, and its production is closely monitored, and, in many cases, controlled by the government, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Tajikistan is the only former Soviet state with Islam as its official religion. Sunni Muslims make up 96.6 percent of the population and Shia Muslims 2.8 percent.
Tajikistan is one of the main routes for Afghan heroin entering Russia and Europe. But the government aggressively pursues drug traffickers.
Tajikistan has good relations with its neighbours, especially with China. In 2012, the two countries signed agreements for China to extend $1bn in direct investment to Tajikistan.
The United States is leading secret negotiations with 11 other countries over the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
Asia Pacific, New Zealand, Health
An alarming number of young UK offenders with criminal records were previously in the care of local authorities.
Europe, Child rights, Law
Caught in cycle of poverty feeding off the informal labour market, Mexico poor grow old on the job, have no retirement.
Human Rights, Latin America, Mexico
Forgiveness, reconciliation and an arms embargo are key ingredients for peace in South Sudan, says Bishop Paride Taban.
War & Conflict, Africa, Sudan
The devastating impact that war and living under the constant threat of drones has had on the people of Afghanistan.
War & Conflict, Health, Afghanistan
Eyal Weizman explains architecture's key role in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the evolution of urban warfare.
Human Rights, Israel, Palestine
An investigation into the role of one of the most influential banks in the world.
Business & Economy, Greece, US & Canada
There is a unique and dangerous commerce system at work in Amazonia, where children risk their lives for a few pennies.
Business & Economy, Latin America, Brazil