Conversion to the Latin Alphabet in Post-Soviet Asia

The end of the Soviet Union left its newly-independent republics free to pursue their own linguistic policies for the first time. Four of the five predominately Turkic-speaking countries of the former Soviet Union (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) looked to follow the lead of Turkey, which adopted the Latin alphabet under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk back…

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Google Sightseeing: Standing But Not Operating (Abandoned Theme Parks)

‘Standing but not operating’, or SBNO for short, is the term in the amusement industry for theme parks and rides that remain intact but are no longer in use. In my latest article over at Google Sightseeing, you’ll get a glance at some of these downtrodden wonders. For longtime TBG readers, Japanese Disneyland knock-off Nara Dreamland…

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Google Sightseeing: Street View Competitors

I grew up in the West Kootenay, a unique region of Canada where both French and Russian are taught in the public school system as second languages of instruction thanks to the tens of thousands of people who descend from the thousands of Russian Doukhobors who arrived in the region between 1908 and 1912.  I…

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Vostochny Cosmodrome

When the Soviet government constructed the Baikonur Cosmodrome as the centre of its insurgent space program in the late 1950s in the centre of Kazakhstan, international jurisdiction was the furthest issue from their minds. The Kazakh SSR, as it was known at the time, was after all an integral part of the Soviet Union. Upon…

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Border Bonanza

It appears that India and Bangladesh are finally trying to solve the matter of the infamous Cooch Behar enclave cluster – 106 tiny pieces of Indian land lying on the Bangladeshi side of the border, and 92 pieces of Bangladeshi land lying on the Indian side of the border, often embedded within each other. A…

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