Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazakhs Give Government Their Gold

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- About 1,000 Kazakhs have turned in their gold jewelry to the state in a campaign to help the economy, an official said.

The local administration in the Almaty region issued an appeal last week for people to "lend" their gold to the government. Organizers were floating a slogan saying "Help us in difficult times."

Though officials said the campaign was voluntary, many state workers complained that their bosses had made it plain that they had better bring some gold jewelry - even teachers and doctors who have not been paid for months.

Kazakhstan has fared poorly since the 1991 Soviet collapse, despite an abundance of natural resources.

Almaty regional governor Zamanbek Nurkadilov went on television Friday to say that some 1,000 people have turned in gold in the three days the campaign has been running. He called the drive a "wonderful undertaking."