• Kazakhstan today lifted a state of emergency in its riot-torn Caspian Sea town of Zhanaozen, where clashes between striking oil workers and police left at least 16 dead last month. 
  • Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev ordered the state of emergency to last until 7 am, local time, today. He announced Friday it would not be extended because the "situation had taken a normal course." 
  • The violence in Zhanaozen and the wider Mangistau region on the Caspian Sea, where the Central Asian country pumps much of its oil, was the bloodiest in Kazakhstan's post-Soviet history. 
  • Strongman Nazarbayev initially blamed the bloodshed on militants, but he later sacked several energy executives and even his son-in-law Timur Kulibayev, who headed a state holding firm with stakes in the companies hit by strikes.