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Turkmen prez sacks 30 for TV news cockroach outrage

State station purged

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Turkmenistan's prez Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has shown the UK's TV watchdog how it's done by sacking 30 staff from the main state television channel after a rogue cockroach performed an unscheduled scuttle on the nightly news.

According to the Guardian, citing news website Kronika Turkmenistan, viewers were treated to a large brown cockroach doing a swift circuit of the newsreader's desk during the 9pm broadcast of Vatan. This evidently escaped the attention of the crew, because the programme was reaired at 11pm.

That no one realised what had happened appears to be due to the fact that the newly-founded ministerial supervisory committee tasked with overhauling the Communist-era station was only keeping its eye on the ball during its working hours of 9am to 6pm.

Accordingly, "horrified" officials from the ministry of culture didn't discover the outrage until 9am the next day. An angry Berdymukhamedov, demonstrating the admirable Communist-era tendency to vent one's spleen with a quick purge, duly gave the 30 workers - including camera operators, directors, journalists, and technical staff - their marching orders.

This is not the first time state TV workers have incurred the wrath of the powers that be. Former Turkmenistan big cheese Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in 2006, sacked several officials after plastered technicians failed to broadcast his New Year address to the nation, eventually sobering up enough to get it on air at 3am. ®

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