External news in brief

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed into law an agreement between Kazakhstan and Lithuania on the reciprocal transfer of persons sentenced to imprisonment and persons who require court-ordered medical treatment, the Akorda announced. After a request for transfer is submitted, the period of time to be served needs to be at least six months. Transfers will not be made if they are judged to be a threat to sovereignty or public order, if they violate the laws and interests of either country or if the person to be transferred has not paid damages. 

Tassybay Abdikarimov has received the first ever Virtus et Fraternitas (Virtue and Brotherhood) medal honouring 20th-century rescuers who saved ethnic Poles or people of Polish citizenship from death or oppression. Abdikarimov helped Walenty Jabłoński, a Pole exiled deep in the Soviet Union, and has been taking care of the graves of Polish people who died in exile in Kazakhstan. “The medal is a distinction for an extraordinary gift of the heart dedicated to the Polish community, as well as the symbol of being approved by this community. You are our sisters and brothers,” said Polish President Andrzej Duda at the June 19 ceremony at Warsaw’s Polish Theatre.

Air Astana earned a four-star service excellence rating and retained the accolade of Best Airline in Central Asia and India at the Skytrax World Airline Awards for the eighth year in a row. More than 21 million travellers were surveyed about their experiences with airlines on the ground and in the air over a 10-month period. The survey measured passenger satisfaction across a wide range of performance indicators of airline front-line product and service, including check-in and boarding, seat comfort, cabin cleanliness, food and beverages, in-flight entertainment and staff service. The survey covered 300 airlines, from the largest international airlines to smaller domestic carriers. “Skytrax is the Gold Standard for airline service so we are delighted to have yet again won our regional league, which covers a vast area of the globe and includes many excellent airlines. I am very grateful to our customers and to my colleagues,” said President and CEO of Air Astana Peter Foster. 

Kazakhstan will export lamb to the LuLu retail hypermarket chain in the UAE, reports the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Facilitating the promotion of Kazakhstan’s exports is one of the top priorities for the ministry.  “Export always has certain risks, but this market is attractive due to the price and consumer demand for high-quality food products. Ambassador of Kazakhstan in the UAE Madiyar Menilbekov supported us. The Chamber of Commerce helped local entrepreneurs organise an official visit to this country. As an entrepreneur, I just used the opportunities that were created for us,” said Optograd Company Director Almat Berdenov.

The Saltanat Kazakh State Dance Ensemble took part in the 36th International Folklore Festival in Saint-Gillen, Belgium. “We came to present the culture of the Kazakhs and our traditional musical instruments. We express national culture in the language of dance with the works created by folk and modern composers. We also performed at a folklore festival in Roche-la-Moliere, France. We received ovations. French people especially liked our melodies,” said ensemble soloist Denis Vitchenko, according to Kazinform.

Ermek Tursunov’s film “Shyrakshy” (“Guardian of the Light”) premiered June 19 at the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival. The film tells the story of a soldier who returns from war with an old film projector, a gift from an old German man he rescued. Until the end of his days, the soldier does not part with the film projector. The Kazakh film took part in the main competition of the Shanghai Film Festival for the first time.