One way to spoil a national "health and happiness week" is to take away the one thing that makes people happy (before they become hungover and miserable): Alcohol.

Turkmenistan authorities this week ordered business owners to remove all alcoholic beverages from their stock—just in time for the official "Week of Health and Happiness":

The holiday was created this year to mark the "era of power and happiness" recently announced by the nation's authoritarian and fitness-mad president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.

The shopkeepers in Ashgabat, the capital, say the ban will remain in force until Wednesday, but some are still selling liquor under the table. They requested anonymity to avoid government reprisal.

In other news, I just canceled my annual spring break trip to Turkmenistan.

[AP. Photo: monkey_business /]