National news in brief

Kazakhstan will establish a centre tasked with studying and utilising the best global approaches in finding and creating the energy of the future, Environment and Water Resources Minister Nurlan Kapparov said on Feb. 4. Kapparov said Kazakhstan needs such an institution, which will improve the understanding of long-term prospects for energy development while minimising risks and securing the energy resources of the country. “One of the options is to establish the institute at the Centre for Energy Studies, operating under the Nazarbayev University and having a finished material and technical base, laboratories, personnel structure and established mechanism for attracting world-renowned scientists,” the minister said. Kapparov also offered two possible approaches to determining the institute’s specialisation. “The first approach envisages the search for fundamentally new forms of energy based on thermonuclear synthesis and other methods. The second approach envisages the study of development issues of known renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy and new forms of energy, as well as issues related to further improving existing technologies and the generation, storage and transportation of energy,” he said. He also noted that Kazakhstan plans to create an interdepartmental working group by involving representatives of interested organisations to develop a concrete action plan for the institute, including its financing and structure.

In 2014, Kazakhstan will launch three space vehicles from the Baikonur Cosmodrome for the first time in its history, the press service of Kazakhstan’s Kazcosmos Space Agency said. “Kazakhstan will launch three spacecraft in one year for the first time in history. One is a communications spacecraft and two others are Earth remote-sensing spacecraft,” the press statement said. According to Kazcosmos, ground infrastructure for the Earth remote-sensing system and high-accuracy satellite navigation systems is planned to be put into service as well. Karaganda’s ambulance service has refreshed its vehicle fleet, adding seven new vehicles, Deputy Director of the Regional Ambulance Station Yury Bokach said. “We received seven new specialised vehicles. They all are equipped with advanced medical equipment. They have artificial respirators and equipment for electrocardiograms. The equipment will allow us to render medical aid meeting international standards,” Bokach said. The ambulance vehicles were purchased with funds allocated from the national budget. One vehicle costs about 13 million tenge (about US$83,600). The service also received 10 new vehicles in 2013.

The akimat (city administration) of Astana will provide financially disadvantaged residents of the city with social allowances for paying utility bills. Financial assistance will be paid if utility bills exceed 8 percent of a person’s monthly income. According to Deputy Akim (mayor) Vasily Krylov, the decision was made by the maslikhat (local representative body) of the city. “This year, the city maslikhat made the decision to provide financially disadvantaged residents with financial assistance for paying for utility services,” he said at a meeting of the Mazhilis (lower chamber of the Parliament) Committee for Social and Cultural Development. “Taking into consideration the rise in tariffs, we will pay allowances to citizens in the amount of 107 million tenge (about US$688,000) starting from Jan. 1, and we also increased the number of aid recipients to 2,200,” Krylov said. Heat and electricity tariffs were increased in Astana on Jan. 1. The heating rate was raised by 8 percent per square metre and the energy rate was raised by 8.29 percent.

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