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Turkmen Leader Publicly Admits To Heart Problems

President Saparmurat Niyazov (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) October 20, 2006 -- Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov today admitted for the first time that he has a heart condition.

Niyazov told a world congress in Ashgabat of ethnic Turkmen that he cannot fast during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan because he has to take medication prescribed to him "after a heart ailment."

Niyazov's health is surrounded by the utmost secrecy. Twice this year, however, state-controlled media said he had to undergo medical checkups.

(, AP)