National News in Brief

Kazakhstan’s newest airline, Qazaq Air, was presented on July 6 at Astana International Airport. The airline is fully owned by the Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Welfare Fund and will fly to 12 destinations within Kazakhstan. Flights will begin on Bombardier Q400 Aircraft. Many of the nonstop routes the new airline will connect are currently not served by other airlines, Qazaq Air officials noted at the presentation, according to RTT News. Qazaq Air joins existing Kazakh airlines Air Astana, Air Company MEGA, Avia Jaynar, Bek Air, Berkut Air, Euro-Asia Air, Excellent Glide, Irtysh-Air, SCAT, Semeyavia, Zhetysu, and Zhezkazgan Air.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) supported a high-level National Preparatory Meeting to the 23rd Economic and Environmental Forum on Water Governance in Astana on July 2, which drew some 120 international participants to discuss Central Asia’s challenges and opportunities in light of climate change and the threat of desertification, and to propose sustainable solutions, the OSCE reported. The Agriculture Ministry and the Ecological Forum of Kazakhstan co-organised the event, with support from the government of Switzerland. Participants included parliamentarians, government and judiciary branch officials and representatives of civil society, academia and the business and environmental communities. Experts from Europe shared their experiences in waste water treatment, efficient use of water resources and sustainable land and water management. Representatives of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the OSCE, the World Bank, the International Foundation for the Aral Sea and the Regional Environmental Centre of Central Asia presented projects on water management in Central Asia. A set of recommendations were drafted for Parliament and other state agencies. They include proposals to ratify a number of international legal documents, to improve current national legislation, to increase the voice of water basin councils and to strengthen the safety of hydrotechnical installations.

The concept for Astana’s new train station has been approved, the city press office reported. The new station will be near Mynzhyldyk Alley, west of Khan Shatyr. Construction is to be finished before the summer of 2017, and the station is to be capable of serving 12,000 passengers a day. In addition to the train station, two new bus stations and a new airport terminal are to be built to handle the anticipated flow of visitors for EXPO 2017.

Minister of Health and Social Development Tamara Dyussenova announced that $53.6 million will be allocated for 2015–2018 to improve the lives of the disabled in Kazakhstan at the presentation of the new draft legislation “On changes and amendments to some legislative acts on protection of rights of disabled people” in the Mazhilis (lower chamber) of Parliament in early July. The funds will be used to improve disabled access to medical and rehabilitation services, inclusive education and preventative measures, she said. Six hundred thousand Kazakh citizens have special needs, the minister said.

More than 50 Kazakh “Mobile Government” services are available online, head of the Mobile Government project of the National Information Services national company Gulmira Issabekova announced, the website of the prime minister reports. One hundred e-services will be available in 2016, she said, and so far, more than 1 million Kazakhs have accessed mobile-friendly public services. Every citizen should be able to receive government services through smartphones and tablets, she said. One of the newest innovations in Kazakhstan’s e-government is “My Account,” an application that announces the availability of documents online, and can register traffic violation penalties and other services.

First Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev was elected by the board of the Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund as the new chairman of National Atomic Company Kazatomprom. Members of the board are elected for one-year terms.

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