I think these links will end up all being EurasiaNet articles…
Actually, I’ll start off with a piece about life in Turkmenistan (to the South-West of Kazakhstan). President Berdymukhamedov has, so far, not presented himself as quite as egocentric as his predecessor, but if government officials have come up with the following, without specific orders from high, then the personality cult-like environment may well not end up much different. The photo from the original (Russian language, I’d suggest using Google Chrome as it can automatically translate for you) article gives you an idea of what Eurasianet’s piece is all about, and the comments at the bottom are full of the normal “WTF” vs “Don’t dishonour our glorious nation an the president” type responses. Basically, newlyweds now appear to be required to have at least three photos of their wedding with Berdymukhamedov’s portrait in the background. Here in Kazakhstan (unless there are a lot of Western dignitaries in town), you will often see Nazarbayev on billboards with inspirational messages, but I don’t think I’ve seen any photos of him in taxis here (see the last picture here for Turkmenistan taxi requirements!)
Next up we have another horse reference. This one shouldn’t be a problem for vegetarians (though vegans don’t drink milk, I think?) as no meat consumption (or dead animals) are involved. Instead, we have an article on cosmetics research carried out by students from the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (apparently also known as KazGU or KazNU). They decided to try and solve the issue of allergic reactions to the chemicals found in many popular soaps by using Kumis (fermented horse milk) as a natural alternative. In terms of the health benefits, the oft-used buzz word of antioxidants appears, though I’d be interested if any of these are broken down/killed off by any of the processes involved with soap making. I’ll have to ask AlexC what is involved in the process. As is often the case, the comment section at Tengri News is worth a read!
How powerful people prevent the population protesting. I should probably start a local AA chapter (Alliterators Anonymous)!
It finished a little over a week ago, but the P5+1 conference held in Almaty has the potential to finally bring some good news to those of us interested in Iran’s nuclear programme. We won’t know many details until early April (and even then there is no guarantee that a) Iran and the six other nations will not only agree to, but also carry out their parts with any treaty or long term plan and b) That much detail will be revealed about any agreements made), but if you’re interested in the topic, check the articles here, here, here and also here (focuses on Kazakhstan’s background in the nuclear power/non-proliferation arena.)
OK, that is enough for now, I’ll publish this and then trawl through my bookmarks/starred RSS feed items in Google reader.