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Ambassador meets with EXPO Oman General Commissioner in Muscat
Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Oman, Yerzhan Mukash, met with EXPO Oman General Commissioner and Deputy Trade and Industry Minister of Oman Mohsin bin Khamis Al Balushi on Oct. 29 to discuss bilateral cooperation between the two countries, including preparations for the international exhibition EXPO 2017 in Astana.
Mukash briefed Al Balushi on the results of the first meeting of the EXPO 2017 international participants, held on Oct. 22-23 in Astana.
Al Balushi said Oman would provide any assistance in preparing for and conducting the important international event. He also expressed interest in establishing business contacts with Kazakhstan’s EXPO Commissioner Rapil Zhoshybayev, and proposed holding bilateral negotiations within the Milan forum scheduled for Dec. 1-3. (mfa.gov.kz)
Kazakhstan becomes co-founder of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
Kazakhstan became a co-founder of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in an effort to strengthen its bid for a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2017-18 and contribute more to regional and international peace and security.
Through the AIIB, developing Asian states will be able to create infrastructure and maintain rapid, stable and sustainable economic growth, while developed countries will get an opportunity to expand their demands in capital expenditures and stimulate economic recovery. The AIIB’s key mission is to provide additional assistance to Asian states by combining the efforts of its member states.
Any state that observes the AIIB memorandum and receives its co-founders’ support can become a co-founder of the bank and earn the right to participate in negotiations on the AIIB Charter.
The memorandum on establishing the AIIB was signed in October at a meeting of its founding states in Beijing. The AIIB’s co-founders include Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, with the headquarters to be in Beijing. The AIIB Charter is to be signed and enter into force in 2015, while the bank is to officially open toward the end of 2015. (mfa.gov.kz)
Kazakhstan and Argentina go visa-free
On Nov. 1, an agreement between the governments of Argentina and Kazakhstan entered into force, allowing citizens of the two states to make reciprocal visits without a visa for up to 30 days.
Relaxing visa requirements for Kazakhstan’s citizens is one of the country’s Foreign Ministry’s priorities. Over the last year, Kazakhstan has relaxed or completely abolished visa regimes with six Latin American countries: Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Mexico. Kazakhstan’s citizens can also now get five-year visas to the United States.
This summer, Kazakhstan and South Korea also established visa-free travel for their citizens with an agreement signed during the visit of Korean President Park Geun-hye to Kazakhstan. Visa liberalisation with the European Union is also underway, though the new agreement on enhanced partnership and cooperation between Kazakhstan and the EU that, among other things, facilitates visa procedures.(mfa.gov.kz)
Researchers from Kazakhstan create cheap method of DNA analysis
Researchers in Kazakhstan have developed an affordable and efficient PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test system that can be operated without expensive PCR cyclers, using a conventional fuser or water bath.
Bauyrzhan Aytuov, biochemist Adilbek Zholzhasov and geneticist Bulat Sultankulov developed the new system. The main issue with PCR systems in Kazakhstan was that they were not produced domestically and had to be imported, he said, and conducting PCR analyses required multi-million dollar equipment, primarily PCR cyclers.
The team’s final products are ultra-precise diagnostic kits for the entire spectrum of viral infectious diseases of humans and farm animals. This affordable test system can be used in urban diagnostic centres and rural hospitals, which often cannot afford to purchase expensive equipment. (astanatimes.com)
Astana 2017 Company, Chinese Chamber of Tourism sign agreement during Tourism Economy Forum
The third Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF) took place in Macau on Oct. 27-28. Kazakhstan’s delegation, headed by First Deputy Foreign Minister Rapil Zhoshybayev, reported on the upcoming EXPO 2017 and Kazakhstan’s tourism potential.
A special session devoted to tourism in Kazakhstan and EXPO 2017 provided information about the upcoming international specialised exhibition and sights of Kazakhstan.
A memorandum of cooperation between the Astana EXPO 2017 National Company and the Chamber of Tourism of China was signed during the forum. Membership of the state-owned company in the Pacific Asian Travel Association (PATA) was agreed upon and a memorandum of cooperation was signed.
Another point of interest at the forum was a face-to-face session between private sector global leaders and tourism ministers from Europe and Asia. At the session, Zhoshybayev described trends in world tourism and measures undertaken by the government of Kazakhstan to improve the tourism climate, as well as plans to develop infrastructure. Zhoshybayev, who also serves as the national EXPO 2017 commissioner, stressed that EXPO 2017, to be held in Astana in from June to September 2017, will drive tourism in the country.
Zhoshybayev held talks with the ministers of tourism of Cambodia and Croatia, as well as Director of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Márcio Favilla and Chairman of PATA Scott Supernaw. Kazakhstan and the UNWTO agreed on a joint action plan, which will include training volunteers from Kazakhstan and developing research to improve the country’s visa policy. Following the meeting, Zhoshybayev invited participants to visit Kazakhstan. (astanatimes.com)
Air Astana signs code-share agreement with Air India
Kazakhstan’s largest airline, Air Astana, signed a free flow code-share agreement with state-run airline and Star Alliance member Air India on Oct.28 in New Delhi. Air India will be a marketing carrier while Air Astana operates daily flights on the Delhi-Almaty route.
“As a state-run airline and Star Alliance member carrier, Air India feels honoured to enter into this code-share agreement with Air Astana. This agreement has enabled Air India to reach out to the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] and eastern European market,” said Chairman and Managing Director of Air India Rohit Nandan.
The agreement means a customer can purchase a ticket from any of the parties, while the flight is conducted by only one of them. It facilitates routing for customers, as cooperating airlines strive to synchronise their schedules and coordinate luggage handling, making transfers between connecting flights less time-consuming. The cooperating airlines also share the responsibility for late luggage and subsequent missed flights resulting from delays by one of the partners. (astanatimes.com)
Shabyt international arts festival kicks off in Astana
The 17th Shabyt International Festival of Creative Youth started at the Palace of Peace and Accord in Astana on Nov. 3 and will run through Nov. 8.
The event was organised by the Astana city administration, the Culture Department of Astana City and the Kazakh National Arts University. According to organisers, most applications to the festival came from the North Kazakhstan region and Shymkent. This year’s festival has two new nominations: folk music and chamber choir.
In addition to the competition, festival participants can take master classes by internationally-renowned musicians and performers. (inform.kz)
Astana to host first Eurasian Congress of Construction Industry
On Dec. 2-3, the first Eurasian Congress of the Construction Industry will kick off in Astana, providing an opportunity to compare positions on economic development issues in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia; discuss problems and prospects of the construction industry; seek new solutions and ideas for the development of construction in the three countries and negotiate a plan for Astana’s preparations for EXPO 2017.
An exhibition at the congress will present the latest developments in building technologies, equipment and goods and services, as well as large-scale construction projects. Projects on EXPO 2017, green technology, architects and designers, highly intellectual solutions for industry and high-tech industries and investment will be presented.
The congress is to be attended by representatives of the construction industry; leading experts of the Eurasian Economic Union; heads of government agencies, construction companies, industry associations and unions; manufacturers of materials and equipment and representatives of educational and scientific and financial institutions.
The event was founded Kazakhstan’s National Chamber of Entrepreneurs and is being organised by the KazExpoService Company. (inform.kz)
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