6 January 2000
KAZAKH PRESIDENT WORKS IN ALMATY PRESIDENTIAL HOSPITAL.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev is still in the Presidential Clinic in Almaty, where he was brought from Astana on January 3 due to the cold he has caught during celebrations of the new Millennium in the Kazakh capital. On January 5, Kazakh President issued a Decree while being in the hospital, according to which Presidential National Security Advisor - Marat Tazhin was given additional responsibilities as Chairman of the Kazakh State Anti-Corruption Committee.
FORMER SPEAKER OF KAZAKH PARLIAMENT'S LOWER CHAMBER STILL IN COMA.
Marat Ospanov - former speaker of the Mazhilis - Lower Chamber of Kazakh parliament - was transported from Astana to Almaty this week. Mr. Ospanov was hospitalized on November 5 last year due to a hemorrhage of the brain. He has never been able to regain consciousness since then reportedly. Doctors of the Presidential clinic in Almaty are taking care of Mr. Ospanov currently.
AKEZHAN KAZHEGELDIN'S BODYGUARDS WILL BE BROUGHT TO TRIAL TOMORROW.
According to correspondents of RFE/RL, two former bodyguards of the former Kazakh premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin, currently known as the Kazakhstani opposition leader in exile, will officially face charges of illegal weapons possession at Almaty's Medeu District Court on January 7. Major Satzhan Ibrayev and Colonel Piotr Afanasenko were jailed by the Kazakh National Security officers earlier in December. They were moved from the National Security Committee jail to that of Almaty Interior Affairs Department this week. Both of them are known as active members of the Republican People's Party led by Akezhan Kazhegeldin. The Executive Committee of the Kazakh Republican People's Party held a press conference on January 6, where it was mentioned that the charges put forward against officers Ibrayev and Afanasenko were groundless and politically motivated. One of the leading members of the party, Editor-in-Chief of "Sol-Dat" Newspaper Ermurat Bapiy, told correspondents of RFE/RL that the Republican People's Party had sent an open letter to Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev through which they asked him to hold a National Dialogue with the opposition. The letter was sent to President Nazarbayev two months ago. There has been no answer yet.
WORKERS OF ALMATY METRO CONSTRUCTION WARNED KAZAKH GOVERNMENT.
Workers of Almaty Metro Construction held a gathering on January 6, at which they decided to hold a long-term strike starting February 5 this year, in case the Kazakh government and the former capital's administration failed to meet their demands by that time. Construction of the underground communication system in the former Kazakh capital is one of the main headaches for the Almaty Mayor. Construction on the metro istarted stumbling after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 due to economic hardships in the former Soviet Union. Currently 7,5 kilometers of the underground tunnel is ready. Workers of Almaty Metro Construction say that the Kazakh government has already spent about 68 billion Tenges for the construction of new buildings in the new capital - Astana. ($1 equals 140 Tenges). Meanwhile the administration of the former capital owes about 60 million Tenges to the workers of the Almaty Metro Construction.
FROST AND BLIZZARD IN CENTRAL, NORTH AND EAST KAZAKHSTAN CONTINUE HITTING PEOPLE.
In general, 265 inhabitants of the North Kazakhstan Oblast hit by frost were hospitalized this week reportedly. The temperature in Petropavlovsk - the administrative center of the Northern Kazakhstan Oblast - was 37 Degrees (Celsius) below zero the night of January 6. Meanwhile in Oskemen, the center of the Eastern Kazakhstan Oblast, the temperature fell to 44 Degrees (Celsius). 8 citizens of Eastern Kazakhstan were brought to hospitals as patients severely hit by the frost.
POLICE DETECTED SOME BANK NOTES STOLEN FROM TEMIRBANK.
An Iranian national was stopped by the Kazakh police and Customs officers on the Kazakh-Uzbek border this week. It turned out that the foreigner had three hundred dollars in bank notes with numbers registered as stolen from Temirbank of Taraz City, South Kazakhstan almost two months ago. The Iranian citizen explained to the police officers that he had bought the suspicious U.S currency at an exchange point in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan recently. Officials of the currency exchange office in Bishkek are being interrogated by Kazakh and Kyrgyz police currently. $200,000 worth in cash had been stolen from Temirbank in November last year.
KAZAKH MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE TO LAUNCH UNIVERSITY INSPECTION CAMPAIGN.
The Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science is planning to start a wide scale inspection campaign of all the Universities and Educational Institutes of the country, correspondents of RFE/RL report. The activities of 8 Universities of Kazakhstan were suspended by the Ministry earlier this week. It turned out that in the small town of Sary-Aghash in South Kazakhstan alone there was one private Academy and seven private Universities. The Ministry will check the level of the teaching staff and material at all the Universities of the country reportedly.
KAZAKH POLITICIANS ON RUSSIAN PRESIDENT'S RESIGNATION.
Correspondents of RFE/RL report from Almaty that a well-known Kazakh politician Nurlan Amrekulov told journalists on January 4 that Kazakhstan had to define its foreign policy clearly in order "to make ascertain if Kazakhstan was going either to take the Asian despotic system of Islam Karimov in the neighboring Uzbekistan as a model for itself, or to move towards Russia's strong man, but democratic system. According to Mr. Amrekulov, Vladimir Putin will start placing pressure upon Kazakhstan to persuade the latter to let Russian businessmen be present in Kazakhstan's economy and business scene on a wider scale. Meanwhile Amirzhan Qosanov, one of the leaders of Kazakhstan's Republican People Party, told correspondents of RFE/RL on 5 January that the change of leadership in Russia was a very important event for Kazakhstan, especially for Kazakh citizens living in the Northern areas of the country, bordering with the Russian Federation. Mr. Qosanov said that "the young Acting President of Russia would certainly play the card of ethnic Russians living in Kazakhstan during the early presidential elections scheduled for March this year".
HOUSING UTILITY FEES INCREASED IN ALMATY.
Citizens of the former Kazakh capital started the new year with bad news about the housing utilities. The fees for heating, hot water and electricity became 6-7 per cent higher starting January 1. Also fees in the city transport system were also increased. The changes were explained as measures caused by the increasein gasoline prices.
SOME CURRENCY EXCHANGE OFFICES IN ALMATY CONTINUE GETTING COMMISSION FEES.
According to information provided by correspondents of RFE/RL, the majority of currency exchange points in the former Kazakh capital continue receiving a one per cent commission fee from their clients. Kazakh Finance Ministry and Central Bank issued a Decree earlier in December, according to which all the commission fees at the currency exchange offices were supposed to be eliminated by January 1, 2000.
8 UNIVERSITIES OF KAZAKHSTAN CLOSED ON JANUARY 4.
Qyrymbek Kosherbayev - Kazakh Minister of Education and Science issued a Decree on January 4, according to which 8 Institutes and Universities of Kazakhstan were closed. The measure was caused by some facts about illegal activities of the Universities. It turned out, for instance, that one private University in South Kazakhstan invited teachers from neighboring Uzbekistan without the necessary procedures for obtaining residence and work permits. Eurasia Marketing University in Almaty adopted a rapid education program without any consultations and cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science. 50 graduate students received their diplomas through such a program illegally. Investigations are underway.