ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The son of Turkmenistan's president has been appointed as governor of a key province, fueling speculation the leader of the energy-rich Central Asian nation is...
Taliban kill 22 Afghan forces in attack on checkpoints
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An overnight Taliban assault on checkpoints in northern Afghanistan killed 22 troops, after some 100 Afghan forces fled heavy fighting in the country's west last week and...
Turkmenistan to open vet clinic despite harsh animal views
MOSCOW (AP) — The president of Turkmenistan, a country criticized for allegedly exterminating stray dogs and cats, has ordered the establishment of a national veterinary clinic for domestic animals.
The government newspaper Neitralny Turkmenistan reported Saturday that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said "this work is necessary for educating the younger generation in the spirit of mercy and humanism."
Turkmenistan to cut state funding for science
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan authorities say the government will gradually end state funding of the ex-Soviet nation's Academy of Sciences, another move in a series of efforts to trim spending.
A decree by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov published Wednesday in the government daily Neutral Turkmenistan says government funding for the Academy will be phased out in three years. It also envisages streamlining the Academy, a structure that includes various research institutions.
Almoez Ali scores 4 as Qatar advances at Asian Cup
AL AIN, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar thrashed North Korea 6-0 on Sunday and advanced to the knockout stages of the Asian Cup after the biggest win in this tournament so far.
Saudi Arabia, which beat Lebanon 2-0 on Saturday for its second straight victory, will join Qatar in the round of 16 from Group E. Amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries, Qatar and Saudi Arabia meet Thursday in a game which will decide the group winner.
Japan, Qatar start Asian Cup runs with narrow wins
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar and Japan won their opening games at the Asian Cup on Wednesday, but for both teams it's all about 2022. Quite literally for Qatar, which is hosting the next World Cup that year and scored its first goal at 8:22 p.m. — or 2022 — Qatar time.
Japan's quest for a record fifth title started with a 3-2 victory over Turkmenistan, while Qatar earned a 2-0 win over Lebanon amid political tension with the host nation.
New law in Turkmenistan cracks down sharply on alcohol sales
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — A law sharply limiting the sale of alcohol has gone into effect in the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan, whose authoritarian president has made physical fitness a top initiative.
Turkmenistan opens $3.4 billion chemical plant
KIYANLY, Turkmenistan (AP) — The Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan has opened a chemical plant that cost $3.4 billion to build, its latest effort to diversity its gas-dependent economy.
Turkmenistan is home to one of the world's largest natural gas deposits, and the new plant on the shores of the Caspian Sea will process gas to produce polyethylene and polypropylene to export via a new naval port.
Turkmenistan ends free utilities after a quarter century
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan's president has ordered a complete end to free natural gas, electricity and water, which residents of the Central Asian nation have enjoyed for a quarter century.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said Wednesday the move taking effect next year would help Turkmenistan more rationally use natural resources and develop a free market economy.
Turkmenistan surprised by Tajikistan’s rollback on railroad
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — A railroad project in Central Asia is apparently up in the air, with Turkmenistan saying that a Tajik envoy's statement apparently backtracking on the project is incomprehensible.
Turkmenistan opens plant to ship power to Afghanistan
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan has inaugurated a large gas-powered electricity plant that is expected to sell about 3 billion kilowatt-hours of power a year to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Saturday start of the plant near Mary in the Central Asian nation's southeast was reported by state television.
The $1.2 billion plant is part of Turkmenistan's efforts to diversify away from the natural gas exports on which the country's economy overwhelmingly depends.
1st doping case of Asian Games is Turkmenistan wrestler
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The first doping case of the Asian Games has been registered against a wrestler from Turkmenistan.
The Olympic Council of Asia issued a statement Friday saying Rustem Nazarov, who lost in the quarterfinals of the 57-kilogram division, was disqualified from the games after testing positive for the banned diuretic furosemide in a pre-games test.
Putin hosts Turkmen counterpart after signing Caspian deal
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has hosted the leader of Turkmenistan for talks following the signing of an agreement on that divides the resources of the Caspian Sea among neighboring countries.
Putin's talks with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov followed Sunday's summit in Kazakhstan, where Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan signed a convention aimed at ending decades-long uncertainty over resource exploitation.
5 nations sign deal on Caspian Sea water, fishing rights
MOSCOW (AP) — Leaders of the five countries along the Caspian Sea have signed a convention aimed at ending decades-long uncertainty over exploitation of its resources.
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The son of Turkmenistan's president has been appointed a deputy foreign minister, deepening speculation that the president aims to form a dynastic system of power in the Central Asian nation.
Turkmenistan votes for rubber-stamp parliament
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Voters in authoritarian Turkmenistan on Sunday chose a new parliament in an election that included candidates from three parties and some independents, but no real opposition to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.
The 125-seat Mejlis is largely a rubber-stamp body for Berdymukhamedov, who as president since 2007 has established a personality cult that reaches all levels of society, styling him as the Arkadag (protector).
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan says the Iranians who were shot by border guards in the Caspian Sea were trying to smuggle in narcotics.
Iran's semi-official ILNA news agency said two fishermen were killed and two others detained in the Tuesday incident. But the Turkmen Foreign Ministry said Friday that they were smuggling in "a large consignment" of narcotics.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's semi-official ILNA news agency has reported that Turkmenistan border guards opened fire, killing two Iranian fishermen and detaining another two for trespassing.
Wednesday's report says the incident happened on Tuesday night when the four young fishermen were sailing near the edge of Iranian territorial waters in the Caspian Sea.
The report did not identify the fishermen but said they ignored frequent warnings by Iranian authorities to observe the borderline.
Af-Pak officials inaugurate long-awaited gas pipeline
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's president and Pakistan's prime minister launched a 1,814 kilometer (1,130 mile) gas pipeline on Friday that will feed Turkmenistan gas to Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan and eventually to India.
The first part of the inauguration took place in Turkmenistan, on the border with Afghanistan's western province of Herat, followed by a ceremony in Afghanistan. The launch was shown live on Afghan television.
Turkmenistan to go to arbitration over gas dispute with Iran
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan's state-controlled gas company says the Central Asian nation will go to arbitration to settle a gas dispute with Iran.
The energy-rich Central Asian nation halted shipments of natural gas to Iran at the year's start, citing Iranian's debt for previous supplies.
Leaders gifting live animals uncommon, but not unheard of
BERLIN (AP) — Turkmenistan's president brought Russian President Vladimir Putin a very cute present for his 65th birthday — a Central Asian shepherd puppy. While China is known for practicing "panda diplomacy" — sending indigenous giant pandas to other nations as a symbol of warm diplomatic relations — leaders gifting each other animals is less common. Official gifts do sometimes come with four legs, though not always with the best results. Here's a look at some recent ones:
Russia’s dog-loving leader gets another puppy as gift
MOSCOW (AP) — Another summit, another dog.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday added a puppy to the litter of canine companions he's received as gifts. This one is a Central Asian Shepherd bestowed by the president of the ex-Soviet nation of Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov presented Putin with the puppy as a birthday gift. Putin, an avid dog lover, turned 65 over the weekend.
Turkmenistan’s president ends welfare subsidies
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan's president on Tuesday ordered an end to free natural gas, electricity and water, which residents of the ex-Soviet nation have enjoyed for a quarter century.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said the move would encourage a more rational use of the Central Asian nation's resources. The decision comes as the gas-rich desert nation has faced economic troubles because of a slump in global energy prices.
Russia’s Putin in gas-rich Turkmenistan on rare visit
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting with the president of Turkmenistan on a rare visit to the gas-rich Central Asian nation.
Putin on Monday arrived in the capital, Ashgabat, for talks expected to focus on the energy ties between the two former Soviet republics.
Video games in the Olympics? Here’s how it might work
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The future of the Olympics may just be in a basement in Turkmenistan.
With leading Olympic figures considering a possible role for competitive computer games — known as esports — at the 2024 Games in Paris, a pan-Asian competition in the ex-Soviet state offers a possible vision of the future.
Including esports could give the Olympics a younger audience and a huge revenue boost from a rapidly growing market, but would be deeply controversial.
Turkmenistan shuts Russian mobile communications provider
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Russian mobile communications provider MTS says it has suspended operations in the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan after a state telecommunications company cut its access to services.
MTS said it was forced to suspend communication services in Turkmenistan on Friday due to the state-owned company Turkmentelekom cutting its access to international and long-distance communication services and internet.
Olympic Council of Asia: Oceania in Asian Games unlikely
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The hopes of Australia and other Oceania countries being allowed to compete in the Asian Games have been diminished by the head of the Olympic Council of Asia.
Speaking at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games which are continuing in Ashgabat, OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah said with the Asian Games already operating at full capacity, allowing nations from Oceania to join the event was "unlikely to happen."
Isolated Turkmenistan holds lavish opening ceremony
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — With a glitzy sports show and a multi-billion-dollar spending spree, isolated Turkmenistan wants to show itself to the world.
Turkmenistan, a gas-rich former Soviet nation in Central Asia, has comparatively little contact with the outside world and sees few foreign visitors. Its authoritarian government is regularly criticized by human rights organizations.
Turkmenistan creates its 1st animal shelter ahead of games
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan has moved to officially open its first animal shelter as it prepares to host a major international athletic competition next month.
The shelter, founded by a resident at her home outside Ashgabat, has been registered by the state and will receive government assistance, according to Monday's report in Neutral Turkmenistan.
Liquor stores closed in Turkmenistan’s capital until October
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Liquor stores have been closed down and alcoholic products taken off the shelves of food stores in the capital of Turkmenistan ahead of a major international athletic competition next month.
Merchants at several stores told The Associated Press on Saturday that authorities had ordered alcohol sales halted until October, after the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games conclude. The competition in Ashgabat, the capital, takes place Sept. 17-27.
Turkmenistan tightens entry rules before sports event
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The Central Asian country of Turkmenistan has tightened entry rules as part of enhanced security for an international sports event.
The restrictions effective Thursday have been announced by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. They will last through the end of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games set for Sept. 17-27.
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The Central Asian country of Turkmenistan on Saturday banned most residents in its major cities from using their cars for a day in a bid to promote cycling and a healthy lifestyle.
Residents of the capital, Ashgabat, and regional cities were told not to use their vehicles between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday without express permission as the government staged mass cycle rides that were to include top officials.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian state TV is reporting a strong magnitude 5.7 earthquake has left three people dead and about 200 injured in a remote area in the country's northeast.
The quake that struck late Saturday jolted the town of Pishqaleh, a farming region close to the Turkmenistan border, with a population of about 2,000 people, some 800 kilometers (498 miles) northeast of the capital Tehran.
President aims for tobacco-free Turkmenistan by 2025
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan's president has signed a program aimed at pushing forward his goal of making the Central Asian country tobacco-free by 2025.
The move by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov was reported Saturday by the state newspaper Neitralny Turkmenistan. It said the program orders measures to be taken over the next five years, but did not give details.
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan has made a song performed by its authoritarian president the anthem of an international sports competition.
President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov performed the patriotic song Friday before an audience of international sports officials while unveiling an ice arena in the gas-rich ex-Soviet Central Asian nation.
Longtime ruler of Turkmenistan sworn in for new term
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The longtime leader of Turkmenistan has been sworn in for a new term after winning nearly 98 percent of the vote against rivals who had all declared their support for his government.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has ruled the gas-rich ex-Soviet Central Asian nation since late 2006, when he assumed power after the death of his eccentric predecessor who had named the months of the year after his family members.
Turkmenistan’s leader wins presidential election
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan's incumbent president has won re-election in a widely anticipated landslide victory, election authorities said on Monday.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov garnered nearly 97.7 percent of the vote in the gas-rich Central Asian nation, Election Commission chairman Gulmurat Muradov told reporters. Muradov said the results from Sunday's election are preliminary and that election authorities still have to count ballots cast in Turkmenistan's embassies abroad.
Authoritarian leader is favorite in Turkmenistan election
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Nearly everyone in Turkmenistan showed up Sunday to vote in the presidential election in which the authoritarian incumbent was the overwhelming favorite against eight nominal opponents, according to the country's elections commission.
The commission said turnout exceeded 97 percent of the electorate for the election, the first to feature candidates from non-government parties on the central Asian country's ballot.
Turkmenistan’s leader set to win re-election
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The authoritarian president of Turkmenistan is set to sail to victory in Sunday's election where eight other candidates are on the ballot, but all praise his polices.
President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has been the overwhelmingly dominant figure in the former Soviet republic since late 2006, when he assumed power after death of his eccentric predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov.
Turkmenistan restricts gas exports to Iran
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The energy-rich Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan said Tuesday that it has restricted natural gas deliveries to Iran over unpaid debts.
Turkmenistan's foreign ministry said that its ability to maintain its gas transportation infrastructure has been compromised by Iran's failure to continue paying off old debts since 2013. Officials say gas deliveries were restricted on Jan. 1, but did not specify if they have been halted altogether.
Iran says Turkmenistan cuts of gas shipments over past debts
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran says Turkmenistan has cut off shipments of heating gas over past debts.
The Iranian Oil Ministry's website reported the dispute Sunday, urging consumers to limit their use to guard against shortages. The website did not provide further details on the amount of the debts.
Correction: Golf Notes story
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — In a story Dec. 13 about Jack Nicklaus planning to attend the presidential inauguration, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Nicklaus received the Congressional Medal of Honor. He received the Congressional Gold Medal.
Cold weather kills 20 in north Afghanistan; 2 die in attacks
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Cold weather and freezing temperatures that engulfed a remote northern province in Afghanistan this week killed at least 20 people, all of them internally displaced and including several children, Afghan officials said Friday.
The deaths occurred in Jawzjan province's district of Darzab, which has seen heavy snowfall, with half a meter, or almost two feet of snow on the ground, according to provincial police chief Rahmatullah Turkistani.
IMF warns of slow growth in Central Asia, Caucasus
WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund warned Friday of weak growth prospects in Central Asia and the Caucasus and called for active reforms to energize the post-Soviet economies.
In a report, the 189-nation IMF forecast economic growth in the region in 2016 at just 1.3 percent, the lowest estimate since 1998.
Turkmenistan sets presidential election for 2017
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan's parliament has set the date for a presidential election in which opposition parties can field candidates for the first time.
But the election set for Feb. 12 is unlikely to present real competition for autocratic President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who has ruled for a decade and established a personality cult nearly as pervasive as that of his eccentric predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov.
Desert nation of Turkmenistan announces its golf dreams
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The president of the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan says he's going to build the first golf course in this desert nation.
The country's state-owned Neutral Turkmenistan daily said on Thursday President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has met with an American former professional golfer to discuss plans to build Turkmenistan's first golf course. The firm founded and run by Jack Nicklaus designs and constructs golf courses around the world.
Turkmenistan, low on visitors, opens striking new airport
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — The capital of Turkmenistan, a country largely closed to outsiders, has opened a $2.3 billion terminal at its international airport in the shape of a flying falcon.
The terminal, whose roof in profile resembles a bird with spread wings, adds to Ashgabat's vast array of idiosyncratic buildings.
The terminal that officially opened on Saturday is designed to process at least 1,600 passengers every hour.
Turkmenistan does away with age cap for president
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Lawmakers in the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan on Wednesday adopted amendments to the country's constitution which pave the way for a life-long presidency for the incumbent leader.
Turkmenistan to discuss letting foreign envoys visit jails
BERLIN (AP) — Turkmenistan is discussing the possibility of giving foreign diplomats access to its prisons.
Human rights groups say the authoritarian government is holding dozens of dissidents in its jails without contact to the outside world.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after meeting Turkmenistan's leader in Berlin on Monday that it was "desirable for diplomats to have access to prisons."