- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 1, 2019

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) - A law sharply limiting the sale of alcohol has gone into effect in the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan, whose authoritarian president has made physical fitness a top initiative.

The law that took effect Tuesday forbids the sale of alcoholic drinks including beer on trains, airplanes and ferries and at sports facilities. It also bans the sale of alcohol on holidays when workers get the day off. The law calls for alcohol sales to be banned on Saturdays and Sundays beginning in 2021, except at bars and restaurants.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who has ruled the mostly Muslim Central Asian nation since late 2006 in an all-encompassing cult of personality, is frequently shown on state TV engaging in sports, including horse riding and weightlifting. He has vowed to make the country tobacco-free by 2025.

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