KERMIT COMES TO ASHGABAT! (PLUS SOME MAJOR CULTURAL LANDMARKS GET FLATTENED, BUT WHAT THE HELL, KERMIT COMES TO ASHGABAT I TELLS YA!)
Today, President of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Turkmenbashi the Great* held a session of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan. Officials of numerous ministries and agencies of Turkmenistan, as well as mass media were invited to the meeting.(*Not to be confused with Saparmurat Turkmenbashi the Pretty Average Frankly, who runs a mini-cab service in downtown Krasnovodsk).
Saparmurat Turkmenbashi the Great said that the building of the Opera and Ballet Theater should be quickly demolished and a new Trade Center should be constructed near the bazaar. The President instructed to plant trees on the territory of the former Pushkin Theater and the new premises of the theater should be repaired if necessary. A monument to Pushkin should be erected in front of the new building of the Pushkin Theater at the Silk-winding Factory. The Theater of a Young Spectator should be built on the eastern side of the National Museum. A Muppet Theater is expected to be built on the territory of Disneyland.
Doesn't do weddings or bar mitzvahs...
From BBC News.
Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov has banned the playing of recorded music at all public events, on television and at weddings...This issue close to Turkmenbashi's heart. In 1988, he headed that great triumph for global justice, the United Nations Special Investigation into Milli Vanilli.
Mr Niyazov's decree was published in the official daily newspaper Neitralny Turkmenistan (Neutral Turkmenistan).
It banned sound recordings "at musical performances on state holidays, in broadcasts by Turkmen television channels, at all cultural events organised by state... in places of mass assembly and at weddings and celebrations organised by the public".
The president was quoted by the newspaper as saying the move aimed to "protect true culture, including the musical and singing traditions of the Turkmen people".
And in comments broadcast on state television, Mr Niyazov told his cabinet:
"Unfortunately, one can see on television old voiceless singers lip-synching their old songs.
"Don't kill talents by using lip-synching... create our new culture."
On the road with the Turkmenbashi
Forget Jack Kerouac, once again the Rukhnama covers all your literary needs. From BBC News:
In most countries passing a driving test is determined - unsurprisingly - by the candidate's ability to drive.
But in Turkmenistan, knowledge of the highway code and control of the steering wheel are no longer enough.
Candidates now have to pass an exam in President Niyazov's spiritual writings, contained in a book named the Ruhnama.
"The exam in the Ruhnama is needed to educate future drivers in the high moral principles of Turkmen society," an official told the AFP news agency.
Mr Niyazov, Turkmenistan's "president for life" whom correspondents say is at the focus of a flourishing personality cult, wrote the Ruhnama as a moral guide to his six million people.