- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 14, 2002

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) Turkmenistan's president issued a decree yesterday that extends adolescence until age 25 and postpones old age until 85, well beyond the life span of the average Turkmen man or woman.
Saparmurat Niyazov's edict, published in the national newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan, divides life into 12-year cycles.
According to the edict, childhood lasts until age 12. Next comes adolescence, which will now last to age 25. Turkmen aged between 25 and 37 are considered youthful, while those aged between 37 and 49 years are mature.
The next 12-year cycles are divided into periods labeled as prophetic, inspirational and wise.
Mr. Niyazov, who turned 62 this year, would be in his inspirational period.
Old age begins at 85, while Turkmen who reach age 97 enter a period named for Oguzkhan, considered the founder of the Turkmen nation, who died at age 109.
According to the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy at birth for male Turkmen is 60; it is 65 for women.
Mr. Niyazov, the president for life, has left his stamp everywhere in the impoverished former Soviet republic, with cities and a meteorite named after him and his portrait gracing the currency and nearly all public buildings.
Last week, he proposed that months of the year be renamed January to be named after him and April after his mother, among others.

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