Europe since 1945: An Encyclopedia - Vol. 2

By Bernard A. Cook | Go to book overview
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Tabone, Vincent (Censu) (1913-)

Maltese politician. Vincent (Censu) Tabone was born at Victoria on Gozo on March 30, 1913. He studied at the University of Malta and at Oxford. After serving in the Royal Malta Artillery during World War II, he held the senior ophthalmic post at several Malta hospitals. Dr. Tabone did several consultancies for the World Health Organization, especially in southeast Asia and Taiwan, and was instrumental in the antitrachoma campaign against the viral eye disease, rampant in parts of the developing world, which often leads to blindness. In 1961 he became a member of the executive committee of the Nationalist Party. He served as its secretary general (1962-72), its first deputy leader (1972-77), and its president (1978-85). He was elected to parliament in 1966 and became minister of labour, employment and welfare in Dr. Borg Olivier's administration. In the 1987 election, the Nationalists won 50.9 percent of the vote and were able to form a government. From 1987 to 1989, Censu Tabone served as foreign minister and, in contrast to the policy of the previous Labor government, pursued a pro-EC policy. In 1989, Tabone was chosen the president of Malta. In April 1994 he was succeeded by another Nationalist, Ugo Mifsud Bonnici.

Bernard Cook

Tajikistan, Republic of

Independent successor state to the Tajik (Tadzhik) Soviet Socialist Republic of the former USSR. The Republic of Tajikistan, the smallest of the Central Asian states, consists of 57,250 sqare miles (143,100 sq km). It is surrounded by China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. A long projection along its northern frontier extends into Uzbekistan and part of the agriculturally productive Fergana valley through which the Syr Darya river flows. Ninety percent of Tajikistan is mountainous. It contained the highest point in what was the former Soviet Union, the 24,585-ft Communism Peak. Only 6 percent of Tajikistan's area is cultivated, and only 23 percent is pasture. Much of its arable land is devoted to the monoculture of water-intensive cotton, which makes large-scale irrigation a requisite. In the 1980s, Tajikistan was, despite its small size and limited arable land, the third largest producer of cotton in the USSR.

Excessive irrigation has led to the salinization of the soil and the depletion of water in the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers, which are also used for irrigation by other Central Asian states and that ultimately serve as the sources for the Aral Sea. To control mountain runoff, a large number of dams have been constructed. The quality of some is uncertain, and others are threatened by the proximity of fault lines. In March 1987 a dam in the Kulab region collapsed. The resulting wall of water killed thirty-six and left 500 people homeless. The largest dam in Central Asia is located just east of Dushanbe, the capital.

The population of Tajikistan is approximately 5.7 million, of whom 62 percent are Tajik, 23 percent Uzbek, and 7 percent Russian. The Uzbeks live predominantly in the northwestern part of the country. Another 8 percent consists of Ukrainians, Tartars, Germans, Kyrgyz, and Jews, all of whom reside primarily in the cities. The capital, Dushanbe, has 602,000 inhabitants. A total of 900,000 Tajiks live in Uzbekistan, and three million in Afghanistan.

Because of the mountainous terrain, more than half of the country is higher than 10,000 feet above sea level and divided into isolated valleys.

The Tajiks are divided into rival tribes with disparate dialects. The two most important subdialects are Yaghn

Tajikistan, Republic of


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