External news in brief

Kazakhstan ranked 69th in 2019 Social Progress Index among 149 countries, improving its position from 71st place in 2018. Kazakhstan performed within the expected range in access to Nutrition and Basic Medical Care, Basic Knowledge, Advanced Education, as well as Information and Communications. The country slightly underperformed in Personal Freedom and Choice. According to the report, the country needs more work in areas such as Inclusiveness, Environment Quality, Health and Wellness, among others. The world’s average score has improved 2.31 points since 2014. Norway, scoring 90.95, leads the rating.

Kazakhstan and the United States signed Jan. 6 an agreement on air traffic under the open skies regime, reported the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development press service. The agreement will establish the legal framework for direct regular flights between the two countries. This is Kazakhstan’s first open sky agreement. It provides opportunities for carriers planning to fly between the countries, in which the parties can fly without restrictions on the number of carriers, destinations and frequencies, including those with the fifth degree of airspace freedom. The opening of direct flights is expected to contribute to the development of political, economic, cultural relations and tourism, as well as transport accessibility of the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC).

Kazakhstan and South Korea will build a plant to produce high-voltage electrical equipment in Nur-Sultan, liter.kz reports. The products are to be sold on the local market and exported to other countries. Nur-Sultan Akim (Mayor) Altay Kulginov discussed Jan. 14 the establishment of the joint venture between Kazakh Alageum Electric company and South Korean Hyosung Heavy Industries during his trip to Seoul. The project will help solve the problem of fast-growing cities in providing safe and stable electricity in tight spaces. The first products will be released in 2021.

Kazakhstan tightened control at all checkpoints with China due to their pneumonia outbreak, Committee for Quality Control and Safety of Goods and Services Chair Lyudmila Byurabekova announced during the Jan.13 press briefing. The first case of the disease was registered Dec. 8, the last on Jan.  3. The incidence is more associated with people who worked in a seafood market in Wuhan or were regular visitors there, she said. The Chinese authorities announced the pneumonia outbreak of unknown origin in Wuhan in late December. As of Jan. 5, 59 cases of infection were registered. Chinese experts’ preliminarily established Jan. 9 that a new type of coronavirus became the causative agent of the disease.

Kazakhstan and China agreed on 30 percent of the text of the draft agreement on water allocation on transboundary rivers, reported inbusiness.kz. The Kazakhstan version of the document provides for standards that take into account the needs of the ecosystems of Balkhash, Ile, Zaysan and Irtysh  rivers. The parties created a joint commission on the use and protection of transboundary rivers, as well as a working group of experts. The water relations between the countries have been regulated by an agreement on cooperation in the use and protection of transboundary rivers of 2001.

Kazakh singer Dimash Kudaibergen will perform his first stadium concert in Russia March 9 at the Megasport Sport Palace. The 26-year-old artist will present a large-scale solo programme for the first time. At the upcoming performance, Dimash (as he is known by his fans) will perform his best compositions in Kazakh, Russian, Spanish, English, French and other languages. Concert details and names of special guests will be announced soon. The Russian public discovered Dimash after his victory at the Slavic Bazaar in 2015.

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