Turkmenistan's President &to=http://english.pravda.ru/cis/2002/08/08/34059.html' target=_blank>Saparmurat Niyazov on Friday appointed a new oil and gas minister and ordered him to learn English in six months or be sacked.
Niyazov, who rules the Central Asian nation with an iron fist, told the new minister, former oil ministry official Gurbanmurad Atayev, that English was essential to the post, given the number of foreign delegations interested in Turkmenistan's vast natural gas wealth.
"If you can't get around without a translator, then you can't be minister. You need to argue, decide, know. Therefore, if you want to study on your own, learn at home at nights so that you know the language," Niyazov said in comments on state-run television.
Niyazov, who speaks Russian and Turkmen but whose grasp of English was not immediately known, has banned all opposition and controls all branches of government and the media. Golden statues and busts of the president are scattered across the country, and his portrait is on every bank note and coin.
In Monday, he ordered construction of a university to be named after his book "Rukhnama," which is held as a sacred text in this ex-Soviet republic and is mandatory reading for every Turkmen at schools and workplaces.
The discovery of the submarine has unveiled a few "inconsistencies." For example, how can one explain the fact that the sub was found where it needed to be searched for from the start?
When on a state visit to Singapore, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to revisit the discussion of the 1956 Declaration between the USSR and Japan regarding the issue of the peace treaty with Japan
The TurkStream, which runs along the bottom of the Black Sea from Russia's Anapa to Turkey, will consist of two lines, each with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas a year