A Russian ice hockey player died in Kazakhstan days after being hit in the head during a game.
Dmitry Uchaykin, who played for Pavlodar in northern Kazakhstan died from a stroke a few days after the match. He had driven himself home after taking the blow.
Read the Eurosport story here
>>Kazakhstan’s military gets a beauty pageant and a parade
STORY: Kazakh officials appear to have fallen back on old-school techniques to increase the public profile of their military.
Clearly unfussed by accusations of sexism, Kazakhstan’s Armed Forces arranged their first Miss Military competition (March 13).
Kazakhstan will also hold its first post-independence military parade on May 7, two days before the day when the former Soviet states traditionally mark their victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.
Like other countries that have grown quickly, Kazakhstan has invested cash in its military.
The Kazakh Armed Forces have modernised and professionalised over the past decade — Kazakhstan has just signed a deal with a division of European manufacturer EADS to produce an armed helicopter — and
there is much to show off.
Still, choosing to promote the military by organising a beauty and talent contest is controversial.
The 14 finalists for the inaugural Miss military had to sing songs, perform combat moves and walk across broken glass, according to the Tengrinews website, as well as pose in both uniform and evening-wear.
A parade is a more standard approach to show off military might but, although it dodges sexism allegations, columns of tanks and missiles still conjure up Soviet-era images.
This article was first published in issue 49 of the Silk Road Intelligencer, a weekly newssheet dedicated to news from Kazakhstan. To subscribe, click here
>>As the number of cars on the road increases in Kazakhstan
so do the number of accidents and related deaths
STORY: On Feb. 11 Kazakhstan’s interior ministry released data on the number of road accidents last year. They made for grim reading.
In 2012, according to the date, there were 18% more car crashes on Kazakhstan’s roads compared to 2011.
These crashes killed 3,022 people (up 12% from 2011) and injured 17,488 (up nearly 25%), the interior ministry said.
The number of cars on Kazakhstan’s streets has boomed as its economy has grown. The quality of roads, street lighting and snow clearing in winter, though, is still variable. Add into this mix the relatively poor quality of driving and the large jump in road accidents and deaths, unfortunately, makes sense.
This is a problem shared by most developing countries but there also comes a tipping point when governments have to start introducing more stringent rules to test the quality of drivers, roads and cars.
In Kazakhstan, where the debris of the previous night’s car accidents can often litter a street well into the next day, the time for improved driving and safety standards must be approaching.
This story was first published in issue 46 of the weekly Silk Road Intelligencer newssheet on Feb. 15. For details on how to subscribe, click here
A Canadian-built passenger plane carrying at least 15 passengers and five crew has crashed in heavy fog near Almaty, news agencies report.
Media quoted officials as saying that there were no survivors.
This is the second plane crash in Kazakhstan in the past five weeks. In December 27 people died when a plane crashed near Shymkent, near the border with Uzbekistan.
Read the BBC story here
Read the Reuters story here
And the AP story here
>>Opening a faster rail link between Astana and western
Kazakhstan highlights progress made to essential infrastructure
STORY: (Jan. 11, 2013) — Occupying an area roughly the size of Western Europe, Kazakhstan is the world’s ninth largest country. It’s also sparsely populated with only a handful of sizable cities lying hundreds of kilometres apart.
These two issues make improving transport and communication links vital, especially after the neglect of the troubled 1990s, immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The Kazakh authorities recognise this and have made inroads. The latest was the opening of a fast train between Astana, the remote capital on the wind-beaten steppe, and Aktobe, a brooding city near the gas fields in the north-west.
The 1,500km journey still takes around 16 hours, so while it may be faster it is still hardly a high-speed train, but it does knock 11 hours off the previous timings.
And this is important. Improved air routes link the country but rail is still the backbone, shifting thousands of people and tonnes of goods across Kazakhstan every day.
Temir Zholy, the Kazakh state railway company, is improving its service. There is still a long way to go — rusting Soviet-era trains, carriages and wagons still dominate the lines — but progress is being made.
This article first appeared on Jan. 11 2013, in issue 41 of the Silk Road Intelligencer weekly newssheet. Silk Road Inteliigencer is part of the Conway Bulletin series covering Central Asia & the South Caucasus. To subscribe for free to the newssheet, please click here
The Kazakhstan Olympic team is having a great Games. On Sunday a Kazakh athlete won the women’s triple jump, the country’s sixth gold medal. Reuters reports
Eagle hunting in Kazakhstan — CNN
Russia launches satellite into space from Kazakhstan — Turkish weekly