JOHANNESBURG – Taiwan’s new president makes her first trip to Africa this week to visit one of the island’s two remaining allies on the continent. Support for Taiwan has diminished in Africa over the past decade, as billions of dollars in Chinese investment have flowed into the continent. But the tiny African kingdom of Swaziland says it welcomes Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, as she makes her first visit to the landlocked kingdom that is one of Taiwan’s oldest allies. Jennifer Neves, Swaziland’s undersecretary for international cooperation in the foreign ministry, spoke to VOA on Tuesday as she headed to the airport to receive Tsai for the four-day visit. Taiwan, she said, has long funded a range of agricultural, industrial and vocational programs in Swaziland. “For 50 years, our relationship has been characterized by principled engagement, a deep sense of mutual respect, fraternity and loyalty,” Neves said. “And these are all attributes that successive heads of state of our kingdom value in our cosmetic and popular global politics.” Pressure to abandon Taiwan China claims Taiwan as its own and has, in recent years, ramped up pressure on African nations to drop their ties with Taiwan, as Taiwan has moved toward seeking formal independence from China. Source: Voice of America

Visitors to the zoo near Ashgabat notice that the territory has been neglected, there is no water supply in the facilities and the overall state is quite unhygienic.

The zoo, or the National museum of wildlife as it is called, was built in 2010 in Gekdere. At that time the official print media reported that the museum was equipped in compliance with international standards.

Sources of Chronicles of Turkmenistan report that the zoo is in poor condition and the zoo administration needs to find its own funding to fully maintain it.

The entrance fee is only 1 manat.

Fences in many places have collapsed, unable to endure the weight of large animals which rub against them.

Garbage bins are full and have not been emptied for a long time.

Sacks with cement are scattered along the pathways. It appears that the zoo staff had tried to divert torrential flooding. It stopped raining a while ago but the sacks still have not been removed.

The toilets have been destroyed with no water available.

There have been rumours around the city that stray cats and dogs, which were allegedly exterminated by public health services in Ashgabat, had been sent to the zoo to feed the predators kept there. We have failed to confirm or refute this allegation.

Let us recall that two years ago the President, accompanied by his grandchildren, visited the zoo.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan