Sorry, thrill seekers - after attracting the notice of a small number of tourists and a large number of YouTube armchair adventurers, the "hells gate" gas fire has attracted the attention of Presdient Berdymukhamedov. He has ordered the fire extinguished to facilitate the exploitation of the nearby gas fields.
Turkmenistan continues to strengthen its cross-border ties with Iran. A high level delegation attended the April 17th summit, "Nuclear Energy for All, Nuclear Weapons for None" convened in Tehran by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who praised the "unbreakable ties" between the two nations.
Turkmenistan.ru reports that the "Altyn Asyr" cellular telephone network now has 500,000 subscribers. The semi-official news outlet also reports that the Russian MTS cellular service boasts another 1.82 million subscribers.
In a visit to a Ruhabat farm, the President Berdymukhamedov urged Turkmen parliamentarians to remember the needs of villagers.
ConocoPhillips may be coming to (or at least near) Turkmenistan. After losing a bid with Lukoil to drill for oil in a Russian sector of the Caspian sea, the energy company teamed with Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development Co. to develop Turkmenistan's seabed reserve. In other hydrocarbon news, the Turkmen government increased its estimate of the South Yolotan gas reserves.
Doctors Without Borders published a report on April 12th which is critical of the Turkmen health system. However, an online Lancet report dated April 12th indicated that Turkmenistan has made marked improvement in maternal mortality. The rate fell from 77 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1980 to 22 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2008, a decrease that puts Turkmenistan in the category of highest improvement.
Turkmenistan has yet to publicly respond to the developments in the Kyrgyz Republic.