In a little noticed mistake last week, John Kerry, the new secretary of state, seems to have made up the country of "Kyrzakhstan":

"The newly minted diplomat was referring to Kyrgyzstan, a poor, landlocked nation of 5.5 million, which he appeared to confuse with its resource-rich neighbour to the north, Kazakhstan," the British Telegraph claims.

"The State Department kindly omitted the error in the official transcript of Wednesday's speech, which Mr Kerry delivered on the eve of his first foreign trip as secretary of state. Mr Kerry's flub was all the more awkward, because Kyrgyzstan is a key ally in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan and a major recipient of US aid, which totalled $41 million (£27 million) in 2011."

Kerry left yesterday on his first foreign trip as head of the State Department.

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