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Astragal gets bored reading all those cobbled-together features on what's in store for us during the next 12 months. But one article that readers may well have overlooked among all the dross is a little gem released by Kazakhstan's information agency. The former Soviet state's news bureau has drawn up a list of the 12 'outstanding historic events' which the country's citizens 'will witness in the oncoming year.' At the top of the table is the official inauguration of Kazakhstan's new president Nursultan Nazarbayev who, remarkably, recently received 91.15 per cent of the national vote. Nipping in just behind this momentous occasion is another highly significant event - the opening of Norman Foster's Palace of Peace in the capital Astana in July. The completion of the pyramid-shaped building has been given a higher billing than the 15th anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence from Russia. Norman Wisdom conquered Albania. Now Foster is taking on the former USSR.

Comrade Grimsdale!

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