Photo of the Week: A Turkmen for All Seasons

On a lighter note, Turkmenistan has crowned a new Master of Sports. As it happens, the honoree is the former Soviet republic’s President, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Apparently, the 60-year-old Turkmen leader was visiting a race course in the country’s Karakum Desert when he realized that his BMW fit the necessary requirements to compete. He entered the race, “easily and quickly overcame all obstacles” and “showed a real art of drifting,” before beating his next closest competitor by 12 seconds, according to state media reports picked up by BBC Monitoring.


Mr. Berdimuhamedov, who won a third term in 2017 with 98 percent of the vote, is no stranger to accolades. Six years before he pocketed his new Master of Sports certificate and racing trophy, he won the first automobile race ever staged in Turkmenistan in similar circumstances. He’s also a noted authorsongwriterequestrian, and weapons expert. Hey, if you’re going to try to top your predecessor’s personality cult, you might as well have fun doing it.

It was inevitable that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would make India's elections a referendum on Narendra Modi, and now that the vast majority of 600 million votes cast have been counted, it's clear he made the right call.

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Among the 23 men and women now seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to take on Donald Trump in next year's election, the frontrunner, at least for now, has spent half a century in politics. Former Vice President Joe Biden, first elected to the US Senate in 1972, is the very epitome of the American political establishment.

Yet, the dominant political trend in many democracies today is public rejection of traditional candidates and parties of the center-right and center-left in favor of new movements, voices, and messages. Consider the evidence from some recent elections:

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It's Friday, and Signal readers deserve at least one entirely upbeat news story.

José Obdulio Gaviria, a Colombian senator for the rightwing Democratic Center party, is an outspoken opponent of government attempts to make peace with the FARC rebel group after 50 years of conflict.

On his way into a meeting earlier this week, Gaviria collapsed. It was later reported that he had fainted as a result of low blood pressure probably caused by complications following recent open heart surgery.

A political rival, Senator Julian Gallo, quickly came to his rescue and revived him using resuscitation skills he learned as—irony alert—a FARC guerrilla. CPR applied by Gallo helped Gaviria regain consciousness, before another senator, who is also professional doctor, took over. Gaviria was taken to hospital and appears to have recovered.

Because some things will always be more important than politics.