National News in Brief

Kazakhstan plans to open four new nuclear diagnostic centres in Semey, Almaty, Karaganda and Aktobe, it was announced during the first Central Asian Forum for Nuclear Medicine in Astana on May 12. At the moment, the country’s only such centre is located in Astana. Experts at the forum said the investment in nuclear medicine would almost halve the country’s healthcare costs, as radiology detects tumours and their prevalence more accurately than other methods. “This is a tremendously important issue; we are talking about the timely detection of tumours, cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases,” said Chief Physician of the Astana Cancer Centre Mukhtar Tuleutayev.

Israel and Kazakhstan have opened a joint irrigation demonstration centre in Ushkonyr, Almaty region, the Israeli Embassy in Astana announced on May 25. The Israel-Kazakhstan Irrigation Demonstration Centre will focus on demonstrating and transferring innovative irrigation technologies adapted to the local agricultural conditions. The project is being implemented by Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation and its Centre for International Agricultural Development (MASHAV-CINADCO) in cooperation with the Israeli Embassy in Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Agriculture, and KazAgroInnovation. Deputy Head of MASHAV Ilan Fluss and Ambassador of Israel to Kazakhstan Eliyahu Tasman and staff of Israel’s embassy in Astana took part in the centre’s opening ceremony on May 19.

The Baikonur Space Centre in Kazakhstan marked its 60th anniversary on June 1 with celebrations starting with a ceremony at the Baikonur Cultural Centre and an evening concert. The space centre was built during the 1950s as a test range for Soviet missiles, and went on to become the site of a number of space-race firsts, including the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, in 1957, and the first manned space mission, by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, in 1961. Russia has leased the Baikonur spaceport from Kazakhstan since 1994.

Air Astana, Kazakhstan’s national airline, commenced direct services from Astana to Seoul’s Incheon International Airport on June 2. A 223-seat Boeing 767 aircraft will fly between the two capital cities once a week, adding to the existing direct Almaty-Seoul route. Air Astana has also launched a twice-a-week service to Tbilisi, Georgia. With the new flights, Air Astana brings its network to 64 routes connecting 39 international and domestic destinations.

The Day of Kazakhstan’s State Symbols was celebrated on June 4. The state symbols were established in 1992, the year after Kazakhstan’s independence and are intended to represent Kazakhstan’s landscape, cultural and spiritual heritage, and the influences it has felt as a crossroads of Western and Eastern civilisations.

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev met with American business magnate and CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd Stephen Wynn in Astana on May 25 to discuss the development of tourism and hotel industry in Kazakhstan, the President’s press service reported. Nazarbayev and Wynn also discussed possible cooperation on joint projects. Wynn Resorts operates high-end hotels and casinos in the United States and Macau.

Air Astana will be the title sponsor of the first BKS Air Astana Marathon, to be held September 13, according to the Sports Features website. The marathon, which is being organised by the British-Kazakh Society (BKS) will meander through the Kazakh capital, Astana. There will also be 5-kilometre and 10-kilometre races on the marathon day. BKS has been organising running events in London and the Kazakh cities of Astana and Almaty since 2009.

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