National news in brief

The Mazhilis of the Kazakh Parliament recently approved amendments to the nation’s CriminalСode that are meant to prevent extremism, terrorism and the spread of radical ideologies.The amendments stiffen penalties for extremism and terrorism and make spreading radical ideologies a criminal offense. The confiscation of property was excluded as a form of additional punishment from 45 articles of the CriminalCode. AsFirst Deputy Prosecutor General Johann Merkel notedearlier, an important part of the Criminal Code addresses criminal liability for disseminating false information. According to Merkel, the newly-approved amendments strengthenlaws relating to terrorism and extremism and also make it illegal to do unsanctioned archaeological work.The amendments are also expected to reduce the number of prison inmates by increasing the use of fines and public service penalties.Additional amendments are also expected to be introduced that would combat organised and specialised crime, including in the field of information technologies and medicine.The goal of the draft law is to update the Criminal Code, including the elimination of contradictions and conflicts between acts regulating the basis of administrative and criminal liability, as well as the order of execution of administrative penalties,criminal penalties and legal restrictions related to criminal liability.The amendments had already been approved by the Kazakh Senate, so they are now considered to be fully adopted. The bill on the amendments must be signed into law by the President of Kazakhstan before they enter into force.

The Mazhilis also passed several amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences and the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) at its June 18 meeting. The amendments are intended to simplify and accelerate investigations of crimes while protecting the rights of the accused and apply international standards in Kazakhstan’s justice system. The amendments to the CPC include implementing the Presidential Decree on establishing a State Security Service, protecting the rights of minors to have cases considered in juvenile and family courts, introducing the figures of investigating judges and prosecuting attorneys to criminal investigations and allowing the possibility of plea bargains for defendants who cooperate with crime investigations.

With the commissioning of the KazSat-3 satellite, the formation of a closed Kazakh satellite communication system will reduce the import of communication services by 4 billion tenge (US$21.8 million) a year, Chairman of the Kazakh National Space Agency (KazCosmos) Talgat Mussabayev said at a June 23 government hour in the Mazhilis, the lower chamber of Parliament.“KazSat-2 and KazSat-3 satellites will provide mutual backup, which creates favourable conditions for the transition of Kazakh operators to KazSat satellites,” he said.He recalled that KazSat-3 was launched April 28 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, successfully entering its orbit May 28. After completion of the required tests in September, the satellite will be accepted into service.The current communications satellite KazSat-2 is operating in normal mode. Its utilisation rate is about 66 percent of the total volume of satellite capacity leased to 12 Kazakhstan operators, amounting to over 3.5 billion tenge (US$19.1 million).

The Tourism Industry Committee of the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan jointly with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), plans to develop a programme for the development of airports in Kazakhstan, the ministry’s press service said. This decision was made June 19 at a working meeting of Marat Igaliyev, chairman of the committee, and Jordan Karmalakov, IATA country manager for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.As part of the adopted concept of development of the nation’s tourist industry through 2020, the sides discussed issues of cooperation in the implementation of promising tourism projects that would receive significant competitive advantage.IATA expressed interest in contributing to the regulation of Kazakhs air carriers’ charter programmes. In particular, the association presented the product called MarketIS and the report on the movement of passengers, which aims to determine the most popular passenger routes. In addition, the association represented the system to verify the authenticity of visa requirements called TIMATIC.

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