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Kazakh Leader Changes National Anthem

President President Nazarbaev (file photo) (epa) 6 January 2006 -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has decided to change the music and the wording of Kazakhstan's national anthem.

The old national anthem is being replaced with 'My Kazakhstan', a song written in the 1950s. Nazarbaev inserted words to the text of the song, and is now officially a co-author of the anthem. Kazakh lawmakers passed the changes today.

Explaining the changes, Nazarbaev said the anthem should reflect "the heroic centuries-long struggle" for Kazakh independence.

Lawmakers also passed a law obliging everyone to stand and press the palm of their right hand to the left side of their chest when the national anthem is performed in public.

Nazarbaev won a presidential election in December, extending his 16-year-rule of the oil-rich country with another seven-year term.


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