National news in brief

On Oct. 16, President Nursultan Nazarbayev attended a Senate session, where he introduced candidates for the positions of Senate speaker and chairman of the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan. Nazarbayev noted that any appointments made in the country are to further the goals of the country. Speaking at the session, the President nominated then-Senate Chairman Kairat Mami as a candidate for the position of Chairman of the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan. Nazarbayev also nominated Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as a candidate for the position of Senate chairman. In a secret-ballot vote, the Senate elected Tokayev chairman of the Senate. Nazarbayev thanked the parliament members for supporting all his initiatives. The President also said that he decreed the appointment of Bektas Beknazarov as Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council of the President. Both Tokayev and Mami had held their new positions in the past.

A regular meeting of the Commission on Citizenship chaired by Secretary of State Marat Tazhin was held in Akorda on Oct. 17. At the meeting, 439 applications for Kazakhstan citizenship were considered. About 1,000 applications for citizenship were received in 2013, the secretary of state noted. Commission members discussed the results of activity of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including issues regarding the inclusion of documents on withdrawal from citizenship of Kazakhstan in institutions abroad in the register of public services, as well as the transfer of the service to an electronic format. Following the meeting, the commission approved some resolutions and recommendations.

Kazakhstan’s Mariya Mudryak was named one of the world’s top 10 sopranos at the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The contest was held from June 28 to July 6, 2013, and involved 3,000 participants. 160 opera singers from 50 different countries reached the finals. Mudryak was the youngest participant at 19. “Mariya was upset that she only made the top 10. She is used to always being first and expected to be in the top three at least. Western newspapers wrote that the European audience received Mariya very warmly,” her father, Alexander Mudryak, said. According to him, the singer received a lot of job offers from European countries after the contest, which was her goal. “Her opera parts … are scheduled out as far as 2015 already,” her father said. He also said Maria would come to her home city of Pavlodar in Northwest Kazakhstan for the holidays. At present, she is studying at the Teatro alla Scala Academy of Lyric Opera in Italy. The singer had to choose whether to perform at the opening ceremony of Astana Opera or to participate in the Belvedere competition. President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev helped her decide by saying that in this case, it was more important to bring fame to her home country, Kazakhstan, by using her talent abroad.

Notable improvements have been achieved in the preschool education system of West Kazakhstan. The percentage of children attending preschool increased from 54.2 percent to 95.3 percent, mainly due to the opening of minicentres, which now make up 61.4 percent of all preschool education institutions. The deficit of preschool education institutions is increasing annually due to population growth. In 2011, 12,433 children were on the waiting list and on Sept. 1, 2013, their number reached 16,265. Uralsk has the greatest number of wait-listed children at 13,055. New kindergartens are being built to address the deficit. Seven kindergartens for 2,190 children have been built since 2011. Six of them were built at the expense of the national budget and one was paid for by private companies. The construction of a kindergarten for 360 children is underway in Zazhagansk village.

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