National news in brief

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev met April 2 with Kazakh Minister of Internal Affairs Kalmukhanbet Kassymov in the Akorda. The minister briefed the President on the country’s crime rates and prevention efforts, according to the Akorda press service. The President noted recent crime prevention successes, including a 17 percent reduction in serious crimes, a 52 percent reduction in robberies and a 3 percent reduction in home burglaries. Nazarbayev emphasised the need for better public disclosure of minor offences and to make punishment for them inevitable. Kassymov elaborated upon efforts being taken to increase traffic safety, in particular, on the installation of street surveillance cameras and “smart” traffic lights in Astana and Almaty and for tougher implementation of a zero tolerance crime policy. At the end of the meeting, the President gave a number of specific instructions on strengthening law and order and public safety, as well as on observing discipline and law by law-enforcement officers.

At a March 31 Central Communications Service (CCS) briefing, Chairman of the Board of the Astana EXPO 2017 Company Talgat Yermegiyayev said the cost of EXPO 2017 would be announced in two weeks. Yermegiyayev is convinced the exhibition will benefit the country. He said about $1 billion in investments were attracted during EXPO 2008 in Zaragosa, Spain.

Tourists will one day be able to walk among the Saka burial mounts in Issyk, 50 kilometres from Almaty, said archaeologist Bekmukhanbet Normukhanbetov, as reported by Tengrinews on March 26. Issyk has more than 100 burial mounds made by the Saka people; most of them are still unexplored. Saka artefacts in the town date to the fifth century BC. Normukhanbetov said the construction of underground walkways will be carried out along with excavations, and treasures and artefacts found in the tombs will be left there for visitors to view as they were deposited centuries ago. The archaeologist said there is much work to be done before the site will be ready for tourists. He welcomed volunteers to come take part in the excavations.

Kazakhstan has suspended Russian rocket and missile testing on its territory after a meteorological rocket launched from the Kapustin Yar test site in Russia exploded and crashed near the Kazakh village of Shungai. The crash in the western part of the country occurred on March 27. No casualties or major damage were reported, according to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Defence, which issued a statement on the crash. “The Defence Ministry of Kazakhstan has suspended tests at military fields rented by Russia in Kazakhstan until the causes of the incident are clarified,” the statement said. The Russian Defence Ministry blamed the crash on an engine system failure. The rocket was supposed to reach a testing ground that Russia rents in Kazakhstan. The Kapustin Yar test site extends from southern Russia into parts of western Kazakhstan and is used for testing a variety of rockets and missiles.

The Universiade Village will be donated to and available for use by Almaty students after the 28th University Games, President of the National Federation of University Sports Kairat Zakiryanov said at an April 3 Central Communications Service (CCS) media briefing.“Two big sports facilities will be built in Kazakhstan for the University Games. One will include 12,000 seats and the other will hold 3,000. A Universiade Village for athletes will be built as well. After the Games, this village will be at the disposal of the students of Almaty,” he said. “These projects have already been approved. Necessary finances are being provided for their construction. As Almaty Akim (Mayor) Akhmetzhan Yessimov said at our meeting with the FISU president, the construction of Universiade facilities will start in April,” Zakiryanov said.

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