From March 1st the whole of Kazakhstan will be on the time zone UTC+5. Currently only the country's western regions are in the UTC+5 zone, with the rest of Kazakhstan set an hour later at UTC +6. This means that at midnight on 29 February the central, eastern and southern parts of Kazakhstan will move an hour back. Kazakhstani scientists have claimed that the UTC +6 time zone has had a negative effect on people's biological rhythms and health, as it does not correspond to natural solar time in the country. They believe that the establishment of a single time zone will have a positive impact on people's wellbeing. The clock change will also eliminate time barriers between different regions, and simplify the running of transport and other communications. This in turn will benefit business, government work and emergency services. This switch, however, has had a mixed reception. Some people are unhappy that the reduction in daylight hours will increase their electricity bills, while others are worried that lighter mornings will affect their sleep.
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The daughter of Kazakhstan's first president, Aliya Nazarbayeva, stands accused of seizing control of a business operation worth approximately $170 million. This comes alongside similar charges brought against Valentina Rogova, the wife of the former chairman of the Constitutional Council. Businessman Nurlan Bimurzin broke the news during a press conference, claiming that these alleged transgressions began in 2003, when he and his operation were targeted by the financial police. He alleges that a representative of Nazarbayeva offered to alleviate the pressure in exchange for half the shares in his business. However, within a year, Nazarbayeva purportedly demanded the remaining shares. Bimurzin asserts that Nazarbayeva resorted to kidnapping his father and issuing death threats against his family to secure the remaining shares. Consequently, in 2003, Bimurzin and his family lost their business, comprising seven oil depots and 96 gas stations. Bimurzin also implicated Valentina Rogova in the crime, suggesting she provided protection for Nazarbayeva. For two decades, Bimurzin and his business partner, Medgat Kaliyev, kept silent out of fear for their loved ones' safety. Now, hoping that justice will prevail, they have submitted a statement to the General Prosecutor's Office, which has since been forwarded to the Asset Recovery Committee, Bimurzin told the press conference. Public figure, Zharkyn Kurentayev stated that the assets, estimated at $170 million, were listed as being worth 19,000 tenge (approximately $42) in fraudulent documents. The victims claim they did not even receive this meagre sum. In their formal petition, Bimurzin and Kaliyev requested the initiation of a criminal case against Aliya Nazarbayeva and Valentina Rogova, seeking justice for their alleged crimes. Deputy of the Mazhilis, Ermurat Bapi has also demanded that the Prosecutor General's Office conduct a full investigation.
Nurturing Global Partnerships – Opinion by the Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Sayasat Nurbek
Kazakhstan, a sprawling and culturally diverse nation nestled in Central Asia, has strategically embraced a multi-vector policy across its foreign relations, economic strategies, and governance. At the heart of this strategy lies Kazakhstan's multi-vector policy in education, a forward-thinking initiative that underscores the nation's commitment to diversification, international collaboration, and educational modernization. International partnerships form a cornerstone of Kazakhstan's educational framework, enriching its academic landscape and fostering innovation. The country has established strategic alliances with prestigious universities, research institutions, and governmental bodies worldwide. Through collaborative endeavors such as joint research ventures, student and faculty exchanges, the implementation of international educational programs, and the establishment of branches of foreign universities within Kazakhstan, the nation endeavors to harness global expertise and best practices to elevate the caliber of its education system. Multi-Vector Policy in Education Over the past year alone, Kazakhstan has witnessed the opening of eight foreign branches, bringing the total to twelve. The first foreign university established its branch is British De Montfort University. This university opened its doors for its students in 2021, offering educational programs for more than 500 students in such fields as finance, design and business. This branch attracted 16 million US dollars from foreign investors. Noteworthy among these initiatives is Kazakhstan's adoption of a strategic partnership model, which has yielded tangible outcomes. Kozybayev University's collaboration with the University of Arizona in 2022 is a prime example. With 589 students enrolled across ten specialties – spanning pedagogical, biotechnological, and IT domains – this partnership, supported by 1200 full scholarships from the government, signifies a concerted effort to enhance educational opportunities and foster interdisciplinary learning. Similarly, the formation of a consortium in 2022 with renowned German universities, operating under the auspices of the Caspian Engineering and Technology University named after Sh. Yesenov, underscores Kazakhstan's commitment to excellence in engineering education and technological innovation. Offering a diverse array of programs encompassing engineering fields, data management, artificial intelligence, and beyond, this consortium exemplifies Kazakhstan's proactive approach to equipping its citizens with cutting-edge skills and expertise. Established in 2023 at Zhubanov university, the Heriot Watt University branch offers an array of programs in vital fields such as petroleum engineering, electrical power engineering, and computer engineering, boasting an impressive enrollment of 286 students from 13 Kazakhstan regions. The Luban Workshop initiative at Serikbayev University exemplifies Kazakhstan's commitment to advancing its automotive education and training capabilities. This initiative, supported by foreign partners, aims to establish state-of-the-art laboratories specializing in automotive transport. These facilities will serve as a platform for incorporating modern Chinese technological advancements into the curriculum, thereby enhancing the quality of education for future automotive specialists. The project also seeks to foster academic and research collaborations with esteemed Chinese educational institutions, paving the way for the development of dual-degree programs, joint research projects, and other collaborative efforts that will enrich the automotive sector's expertise and innovation. The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has sparked discussions about its potential impact on the workforce and society at large. In response to this...
A new transport and logistics terminal has been opened in the Chinese dry port of Xi'an. It is the latest link in China's 'One Belt, One Road' initiative, in which Kazakhstan has become a leading partner. The terminal includes an innovation center created by Kazakhstan's national rail company, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), in partnership with Huawei. The center is part of the One Belt, One Road initiative's new 'Smart Railway' project. At its opening ceremony, Kazakhstan's president Kassim-Jomart Tokayev commented: "This project will give a new impetus to the development of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor, as well as strengthen trade and economic cooperation in Eurasia". Xi'an, China's largest dry port, connects the city of Shaanxi with Central Asia and Europe. The capacity of Kazakhstan's terminal in Xi'an is more than 66,500 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) per year. This will allow Kazakhstan to become an even bigger transit hub in Eurasia.
The North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) has been issued a billion-dollar fine, after it was found to have violated environmental laws at its Kashagan field. Last spring the Department of Ecology for the Atyrau region, where the field is located, conducted an investigation at Kashagan that uncovered a number of violations of environmental legislation. These include the storage of 1.75m tons of sulfur at the field, twice as much as the permitted 730,000 tons. NCOC was also found to have failed to implement environmental protection measures, discharged waste water without the necessary permit, and other infringements. The operator denied all charges, and filed an appeal at a court in Astana to challenge the results of the inspection. After lengthy proceedings the court found that the results of the inspection by the Department of Ecology were legitimate. The judicial panel concluded that restrictions on the volume of sulfur storage annually cannot be considered cumulatively. NCOC can now either appeal this decision in an international arbitration court, or admit its guilt and pay the state the billion-dollar fine.
The plan for the agglomeration of Astana through to 2028 was approved by the government of Kazakhstan on February 27th. The country’s capital since 1997, Astana has since grown and developed into one of the most modern cities in Central Asia. In addition to the city, the agglomeration will include more than 40 nearby towns and villages. Over the past 10 years, the population of Astana has increased by 46%. Records show that in January 2024, it exceeded 1.43 million and by 2035, is expected to grow to 2.3 million people. The key aims of the Astana agglomeration are the improvement of urban development, the modernization of social, engineering and transport infrastructures, environmental sustainability and safety, and safeguarding against emergencies. A unified urban planning policy will enable the synchronization of plans for the development of the capital and adjacent Akmola region, including the creation of eco-towns on an area of over 940 hectares. The new transport and logistics infrastructure will comprise six logistics complexes, a service centre for the maintenance of electric locomotives, and subsidies for suburban routes. Over 400 km of existing roads will be repaired, and 300 km of new roads and four bridges built in agglomerated towns and villages. To attract investment and supply food, 25 facilities to produce food and 12 for industrial goods will be built in an industrial zone covering 300 hectares. At the meeting, Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Olzhas Bektenov highlighted the fact that the main problem to be addressed by the agglomeration is the sharp population increase in the suburbs and the daily migration to the capital and back, which significantly impacts the entire infrastructure of Astana, its ecology and safety. In recognition of ongoing problems faced by many suburban villages, such as water supply, waste disposal, a stable electricity supply, and the condition of roads, the prime minister stated: "I believe that the implementation of the plan should solve these pressing issues. Moreover, we need to create permanent jobs in the suburbs. Astana as the core of the agglomeration creates prerequisites for sustainable development of the adjacent territories. This will help smooth out the existing imbalance between the living standards in the capital and neighboring settlements."