Last week Turkmen’s authoritarian president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov received Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus, a country which has often been labeled “the last dictatorship in Europe,”and whose president told Reuters in an interview
Turkmenistan has chosen a privately made US rocket to launch its first satellite, an American official has said.
US ambassador to Turkmenistan Robert Patterson told a Turkmen-US business forum on November 12 that the telecoms satellite would travel aboard a Falcon 9 rocket made by California-based SpaceX in late 2014, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported.
French firm Thales Alenia Space is designing the satellite and training specialists from Turkmenistan’s National Space Agency, which was set up up in 2011, RIA Novosti said.
The satellite is expected to provide broadcasting, Internet and telephone communication and video conferencing services. Internet and mobile communications are tightly controlled in the gas-rich authoritarian country.
If the project is successful, Turkmenistan will be the second nation in Central Asia to build and launch its own satellite. Neighboring Kazakhstan launched a Russian-made KazSat satellite in 2006 but lost communications with it in 2008. In 2011, it launched the KazSat-2 satellite, designed by Russia and equipped by France.
As RIA Novosti points out, though this is Turkmenistan’s first satellite, in 2005 it launched a copy of the former president’s soporific spiritual guide, the Rukhnama, into space aboard a Russian rocket.
Migration issues discussed in Ashgabat
Ashgabat hosted a seminar with the participation of a delegation from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to review the program activities of the IOM in Turkmenistan. The IOM Regional Programme Manager for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Mark Richmond, attended the seminar.
Turkmen Civic Solidarity Group Announced New Human Rights Campaign
The Turkmenistan Civic Solidarity Group announced the beginning of its international campaign, “Prove They Are Alive!” The goal of the campaign is to uncover the truth about the fate of hundreds of people who have disappeared in Turkmen prisons as the result of massive repression that took place in the 2000s.
Turkmenistan’s chief health fanatic led by example on this year’s state-wide Day of Health, state television footage shows, dispelling opposition reports the omnipotent president is suffering health problems.
State-run television showed Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov riding a horse, cycling, playing volleyball and pumping iron on the November 2 holiday, Russia’s Mir TV reported.