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Saparmurat Niyazov's critics would disagree that a change has come over him. But Turkmenistan's president-for-life says he wants aides to stop praising him because it makes him "uncomfortable." On the other hand, a new bronze Niyazov statue has just been unveiled, joining more than a dozen already in the capital, Ashgabat. One is of gold and rotates so that it always faces the sun. His golden profile serves as the state TV logo. His image is on all currency, and he insists on the nickname Turkmenbashi - "the Father of all Turkmens."

Hail to the chiefs: visiting the presidential libraries

Attendance has picked up at the Ronald Reagan library in Simi Valley, Calif., since the nationally televised memorial service for the 40th president there June 11. The occasion reminded many Americans of the network of presidential libraries, begun in 1939 when Franklin Roosevelt donated his personal and presidential papers to the federal government. In all, there are 10 such libraries, usually in the hometowns of the presidents. Two others - for Rutherford B. Hayes and Richard Nixon - are privately operated. Bill Clinton's $165 million library is scheduled to open in November in Little Rock, Ark. The existing nonprivate libraries and locations, in order of their 2003 attendance figures:

Lyndon Johnson Austin, Texas 206,910
John Kennedy Boston 165,403
George H.W. Bush College Station, Texas 151,501
Ronald Reagan Simi Valley, Calif. 130,387
Harry Truman Independence, Mo. 105,471
Dwight Eisenhower Abilene, Kansas 89,659
Jimmy Carter Atlanta 86,087
Franklin Roosevelt Hyde Park, N.Y. 79,756
Gerald Ford Ann Arbor, Mich. 68,646
Herbert Hoover West Branch, Iowa 66,639
- National Archives

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