DON'T FLASH YOUR TEETH
Lifelong ruler of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov has declared war on gold teeth. The former communist satrap, dressing himself up in the robes of a progressive khan, has decided that gold tooth crowns, once a status symbol in Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus, are a relic of the past. "Sebiljan, I don't want to hurt your feelings", said the Turkmenbashi to a female student during a visit to Ashgabat University. "You look beautiful with those gold teeth, but you would look even more beautiful with white ones. Go to the dentist and change your teeth." In Turkmenistan the absolute ruler's every word has the power of law. Earlier this year it was enough for him to say he didn't like beards and long hair on men for them to disappear immediately.