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Kazakh Report: December 7, 2001


7 December 2001

U.S. STATE SECRETARY EXPECTED IN KAZAKHSTAN
According to the Foreign Ministry's Press Service, U.S. Secretary of State Secretary Colin Powell is expected to arrive in Astana on December 8 and will hold talks the same day with Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrisov on regional security, joint efforts against terrorism and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Powell will leave Astana the same day for Moscow.

INTELLECTUALS OF ALMATY HELD GATHERING.
Leaders and activists of Kazakhstan's Unions of Writers, Designers, Journalists, Musicians, Sculptors, Artists, Actors, Architects, some members of Parliament, together with activists of political parties and movements, met at Almaty's Cinema House on December 7 to discuss the results of the10 years since Kazakhstan's independence. It was mentioned at the gathering that Kazakh literature and culture has suffered from the economic hardships faced by Kazakhstan since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It was decided that a special Association of Kazakh Intellectuals will be established in order to protect the rights of Kazakhstan's writers, actors, and musicians.

DUSHANBE-ASTRAKHAN RAIL SERVICE RESUMES
On December 7 the train connecting the Tajik capital Dushanbe with Astrakhan in the Russian Federation via Kazakhstan resumed operations following a special agreement signed by railways officials of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Russian Federation earlier this week. Officials of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have also agreed to allow the train to cross their territories. The train will operate twice a week. The train service was suspended on the decision of Kazakh officials in October after start of U.S.-led anti-terrorist operations in Afghanistan in order to prevent an increase in illegal immigration from Afghanistan and Central Asian states.

INVESTIGATIONS INTO UNEXPECTED RISE OF BREAD PRICE IN ALMATY ARE OVER
Last month, just in one day, bread prices in Almaty were raised by 15 per cent, which caused concerns and anxiety among the population of the former Kazakh capital. On December 7, the press service of the Almaty City Department of Monopolies Regulation reported that the investigation into the price hike is over, and that it was caused by an illegal agreement reached by the owners of several major bakeries in Almaty who will reportedly be brought to trial.

ELDERLY CITIZEN OF SOUTH KAZAKHSTAN TRIED TO EXPOSE HIMSELF NAKED IN FRONT OF PRESIDENTIAL RESIDENCE
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Astana that on the evening of 6 December a person from Kentau City, South Kazkahstan, tried to expose himself naked in front of the Parliament building and Presidential Residence in Astana. An Astana City Police Department spokesman told RFE/RL that the man, 70-year old Victor Faleyev, was immediately detained by local policemen. Faleyev wanted to focus the attention of the country's top officials on the problems of his town. He travelled specially to Astana in order to seek a solution for the problem faced by several summer houses in Kentau. Faleyev claimed local authorities have sanctioned the "illegal dismantling of heating and electricity system" in the district where his summer house is situated. The measure was carried out in order to sell a large quantity of non-ferrous metals containing cables. He said that all his attempts to attract the local Prosecutor's attention to the problem were fruitless, and that was why he decided to go to the capital and take such an extraordinary step.

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