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Kazakh Report: June 8, 1999


8 June 1999

RAILROAD COMMUNICATION MINISTERS OF 27 COUNTRIES MEETING IN ASTANA TODAY.
RFE/RL correspondents report from Astana that Chiefs of Railroad communication Ministries and boards of 27 countries are meeting on June 8, in Astana for the 27th session of the International Railroads Union. At the opening ceremony, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev highly appreciated what he called "mutual understanding and cooperation of all the countries neighboring Kazakhstan in railroad communications and transits". He also called on participants to pay attention to the creation of common railroad tariffs for all the countries cooperating with each other.

MASS MEDIA LAW DISCUSSED AT THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE.
Kazakhstan's new law on mass media currently is being discussed at the sessions of the Kazakh Parliament's Committee on Social Development held by deputy Naubet Qaliyev. Mr. Qaliyev told RFE/RL correspondents that the discussion of the new mass media law had been concentrated in many issues, including problems of pornography printing, advertisement of tobacco and alcoholic beverages, etc. He also noted that the requirement that at least 50 percent of the mass media's material should be in the Kazakh language, the state language of Kazakhstan, was one of the biggest problems. In a draft law this issue had been omitted, he said. Meanwhile, the Kazakh Law on Languages says that all the newspaper, journals, electronic mass media and other periodicals have to have at least 50 percent of their materials published or broadcast in the Kazakh language. The Committe is also discussing the defense of journalists' rights.

PRESIDENT NURSULTAN NAZARBAYEV MET TOP OFFICIAL OF HURRICANE HYDROCARBON COMPANY OF CANADA.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev held talks with Robert Caplan, Chairman of the Canadian Hurricane Hydrocarbons Company's Executive Council. on May 7, on the future perspectives for the Canadian company's activities in Kazakhstan. Mr. Caplan noted that his company had initially faced many problems while working in Kazakhstan's oil production sector, adding that the situation was getting much better recently. He said that Hurricane Hydrocarbon's affiliate, the Kazakh-Canadian joint Venture called Hurricane Kumkol, was going to start working on using the Oil Refinery in Shymkent, South Kazakhstan.

OTAN PARTY CALLS THE KAZAKH PARLIAMENT TO EXPRESS DISTRUST TO THE CURRENT CABINET.
RFE/RL correspondents report from Astana that at the session of the Kazakh Parliament's Committee on Social Development on 7 June, Kazakh Premier Nurlan Balghymbayev reported about the main problems currently faced by the Kazakh economy, noting that international prices for copper, metals, oil and gas had fallen recently. Mariyam Zhuyriktayeva, one of the leaders of the Parliamentary faction of OTAN party, called the Kazakh Parliament members to express vote of no confidence in Balghymbayev's government. 44 of 67 deputies of the Kazakh Parliament's lower Chamber - Mazhilis - are known to be OTAN party members. The OTAN Party itself is a pro-Nazarbayev party led by politicians loyal to the current president of Kazakhstan.

HUNGER STRIKERS OF SHYMKENT PHOSPHORUS PLANT CONTINUE THEIR ACTION DESPITE CLASHES WITH POLICE.
RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty quote leaders of ORLEU movement as reporting that hunger strikers at the Phosphorus Producing plant in Shymkent are continuing their action of protest despite "threats and violent actions of police". The hungers strikers have been demanding their overdue social allowances and salaries since May 3. On June 5 and 6, local police tried to disperse them, using brute force and threats. Several strikers were reportedly jailed for couple of days at the police stations. Some of them were wounded by police.

ALMATY MAYOR MARKS ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE ANTI-CORRUPTION CAMPAIGN.
RFE/RL correspondents report from Almaty that Almaty City Mayor Victor Khrapunov held a special session in order to mark the first anniversary of the Kazakh State anti-corruption campaign. Mr. Khrapunov said at the special session of the City's leaders on 7 June that in one year, the criminal situation in Almaty had become much worse in spite of the measures called "campaign against corruption and organized crime." Erghaliy Merzadinov, Almaty City Procurator, said that in one year of the struggle against corruption only minor crimes had been revealed, while the "number of criminal cases among the upper ranks of power was getting higher and higher every day.".

CAMPAIGN TO COLLECT GOLD JEWELRY IS UNDERWAY IN ALMATY OBLAST.
A campaign called "Deposit Gold to Golden Fund" is underway in Karasai district of Almaty oblast. The campaign started after President Nursultan Nazarbayev, speaking at an International Investments Summit held recently in Almaty, said that once, South Korea launched this kind of campaign in order to save its economy. That was enough for the local administration in Karasai district of Almaty oblast (President Nazarbayev's native district) to start a new campaign to collect gold from the citizens. An RFE/RL correspondent in Almaty quotes Deputy Prime Minister Oraz Dzhandosov as saying that jewelry collected during this kind of campaign is not sufficient to save the economy.

55 YEARS SINCE DEPORTATION OF CHECHENS AND INGUSHS FROM CAUCUSUS TO KAZAKHSTAN.
According to an RFE/RL correspondent in Almaty, a Chechen-Ingush delegation is visiting Kazakhstan to mark the 55th anniversary of deportation of the Chechens and Ingushs from to Kazakhstan. On June 5, the Chechen-Ingush delegation as well as representatives of several ethnic minorities held a special meeting in Enbekshi Kazakh District of Almaty oblast to commemorate the anniversary of deportation.

DIPLOMATIC NEWS.
RFE/RL correspondents in Astana reported on 6 June that the new Brazilian Ambassador to the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan, Mrs. Tereza Maria Machado Wintell, has handed her credentials to Kazakh State Secretary Abish Kekilbayev.

Meanwhile, Kazakh Ambassador to Kuwait Baghdad Amreev met Sheikh Jaber Akhmad as-Sabah in El-Kuwait. RFE/RL correspondents quote the Foreign Ministry as reporting that two sides discussed bilateral relations.

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