12 November 2005

This Week in The Times of Central Asia

As usual, The Times of Central Asia provided some entertainment this week. After firing the last of nearly 200 government officials in the last 14 years (usually for corruption), Niyazov (Turkmenbashi) said, "We must admit that either we cannot find worthy high officials or that high government posts corrupt the people that hold them."

Turkmenistan also celebrated Health Day. The article points out that Niyazov has banned smoking in public to improve public health. It didn't point out that he also closed all medical facilities outside the capital, a sure sign of a good health system.

The people of Turkmenistan must feel so lucky to have someone like Turkmenbashi who has not been corrupted by power and was so worthy in the first place. Or, at least someone who doesn't have anyone above him to find out.

The paper did finally confirm that the Kokaral Dike has been completed and seems to be working. It looks like it was finished in early June. Sturgeon are now being reintroduced. Some European filmmakers are working on a documentary of the project. I'm glad Kazakhstan has stuck with the project despite Uzbekistan's complaints. Uzbekistan has not almost nothing to help the Aral Sea and Kazakhstan has every reason to do the little it can even if it means the rest of the sea will dry up a little more quickly.

I've written about the Aral Sea before. For a history of it, see here, and for more information about the dike, see here.

We also missed a horse festival at Issyk Kul. It would have been fun to go. I'll have to post about Kyrgyz horses sometime; they are rather interesting. And they make kymys possible.

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