Coming On Strong


PRESIDENTS ON PARADE: The leaders of, from left to right, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan in Astana for the opening this month of the Palace of Peace and Accord

O.K., it wasn't exactly the G-8. Still, when Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev hosted a summit of heads of neighboring Central Asian states in his capital of Astana earlier this month, there was a certain whiff of power being flexed, albeit arriviste power. The occasion was marked by the inauguration of the Palace of Peace and Accord — a 62-m-high pyramid of steel and pale gray granite, designed 404 Not Found

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by Norman Foster, with stained-glass panels by the artist Brian Clarke. Its art and sculpture were chosen to represent the world's major religions, to underscore the religious tolerance and respect...

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