Martian landscapes on Earth: Kiin-Kerish Valley and Shekelmes Cape

ASTANA – Kiin-Kerish Valley and Shekelmes Cape in the East Kazakhstan region are famous for their red, orange and white-coloured landscapes that resemble the surface of the moon. Although the destinations are not easy to reach, their astounding views attract many tourists and travellers.

Kiin-Kerish Valley. Photo credit: travelbook.kz.

Kiin-Kerish Valley, located 120 kilometres from Kurshim village, occupies an area of approximately 300 hectares. The valley is a puff of tertiary clay, eroded by water and wind; unimaginable in its beauty and originality, it is called the Spirits Valley. From a distance, the red clay cliffs look like flames tearing in the wind, giving the cliffs the name Burning Rocks, reports 3d-maps.kz.

The canyon landscape is stunning in its diversity. It includes plains, salt spots and stripes of meadow vegetation adjacent to dried streams that disappear in summer.

Although it is a desert, rare animals such as Eurasian eagle owls, falcons, steppe eagles, golden eagles and Pallas’ sandgrouse inhabit the area. Unusual insects including scorpions and huge crickets can also be found.

According to Kazakh geologist Viktor Filippov, the valley includes five floristic horizons and four subtropical forests with bone remnants of the fauna of ancient vertebrates such as rhinos, crocodiles, turtles and salamanders. It also contains the remains of thermophilic palms, araucaria and magnolias. The saturation of these remnants and diversity of continental deposits at Kiin-Kerish Valley have no equals among similar natural monuments in Asia and Europe, reports e-history.kz.

The optimal trip to the valley takes three-four days by car, the first and last partially on the road. It is difficult to find it without a guide, since there are no signs and it is located in lowland like a funnel or volcano crater. As there is no drinking water in the valley and its climate is unpredictable, it is better not to stay for the night.

Shekelmes Cape. Photo credit: photosafari.kz.

Shekelmes Cape, another unique natural monument, is located 20 kilometres from Kiin-Kerish Valley. It is a micro analogue of the valley and, according to geologists, was formed by a meteorite. Because of the collision, the lower layers of the earth came to the surface, forming an unusual landscape. Pelicans, cormorants and rare species of animals like gyrfalcons, bustards, black-sprouted specks and desert shrikes inhabit the area.



Владельцев оружия в Костанайской области привлекают к ответственности

20 Февраля 2019 15:57 22

КОСТАНАЙ. КАЗИНФОРМ – В Костанайской области владельцев оружия привлекают к ответственности за нарушение правил лицензионно-разрешительной системы, передаёт корреспондент МИА «Казинформ» со ссылкой на пресс-службу департамента полиции области. 

С начала оперативно-профилактического мероприятия «Қару» уже привлечены к ответственности 42 владельца оружия. 

«За первый день операции полицейскими проверено по месту жительства 1028 владельцев гражданского оружия. В результате выявлено 50 нарушений правил лицензионно-разрешительной системы. Из незаконного оборота изъято 7 единиц, среди них 1 электрическое, 6 гладкоствольных оружий, а также 22 боеприпаса. Кроме того, к административной ответственности привлечено 42 владельца», – сообщает ведомство.

К примеру, в Житикаринском районе 19 февраля сотрудниками полиции в доме у 40-летнего жителя села Мамлютка изъято 2 гладкоствольных охотничьих ружья. Мужчина хранил незарегистрированный арсенал в кладовой комнате. 

В рамках акции также производится добровольная сдача оружия жителями региона. На сегодня сдано 19 единиц оружия, в том числе 1 газовое, 18 гладкоствольных.








Kazakh nonprofit coordinates the transportation of more than 3,000 Astana residents with disabilities per year

ASTANA – Kazakh nonprofit Invataxi coordinates the transportation of approximately 3,000 people with disabilities in Astana annually, including more than 1,000 children, reports the city akimat (administration) press service.

Photo credit: Mukhtar Zhirenov.

Invataxi acts as a dispatcher to coordinate free transportation for people with disabilities in coordination with other nonprofits. The vehicles are provided by those nonprofits and range from wheelchair accessible cars to modified vans and minibuses with ramps, lifts and hoists.

Citywide, Invataxi is able to coordinate the use of five vehicles for wheelchair users, seven vehicles for people with visual impairments and 11 vehicles for children with disabilities. Among the organisations whose vehicles Invataxi helps coordinate to provide transportation are the Confederation of People with Disabilities, Meyirim and Kazakh Society for the Blind.

Drivers are often trained to assist people with disabilities using their services. More than 670,000 people in Kazakhstan are registered as having a disability.

Invataxi began operating in 2009 when the Saby Charity Foundation purchased 14 vehicles for Almaty’s Society of People with Disabilities. Invataxi began receiving governmental support in 2011 and now coordinates the use of more than 183 vehicles in 20 cities in the country.

“Since 2014, people with visual impairments have also had the opportunity to use Invataxi,” Astana Association of Parents of Children with Autism Chairperson Saltanat Yesmaganbetova told the city’s press service. “Today, people with disabilities can lead a more active life and find work in public and private organisations.”

To use Invataxi services, individuals must make a request to the company’s call centre between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. and at least a day before commuting so dispatchers may map out routes for efficiency and maximise the amount of accepted requests for rides. Passengers with disabilities must also provide an application form, national identification card copy, disability certificate, No. 035/U certificate and an individual rehabilitation programme document to their local employment and social services centre so that their details may be entered into the taxi service database. Invataxi coordinates rides between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. The organisation will arrange to pick up individuals and appointed time for transfer to their destination.



Cost, travel logistics remain barriers to maritime cruise popularity in Kazakhstan

ASTANA – Maritime cruises have never been as popular in Kazakhstan, a landlocked nation, as they have in other more ocean-accessible countries. But some domestic travel officials hope that will change.

“The cost of a Vietnam-Malaysia cruise for 10 days will cost 3,900 euros (US$4,409) per person. This is a high cost for local consumers and most Kazakhs often choose a more acceptable and popular form of recreation,” said Travel Club Kazakhstan partner Askar Tuleyev, as reported by Kapital.kz.

Cruises are not the most inexpensive pleasure for locals. Prices depend on foreign currency rates and Kazakhstan’s location – very far from any open sea or ocean.

“In Kazakhstan, cruises are not very popular because they are expensive. In addition to the cost of the cruise itself, you need to pay for the flight. It is beneficial for Kazakh travel agencies, but it seems that our clients are not ready for this yet,” he noted.

An average family can vacation in Turkey beginning at approximately $3,000, he said. Cruise prices start at $4,000 per person.

“This is a specific product that needs to be promoted. The fall of the tenge rate directly affects the increase in the cost of tours, as they are bought in dollars or euros. I do not think that in the next two or three years there will be a rush on cruise travel. It is easy to enter into an agreement with the company; it will take about a week. We can organise a cruise and advise good companies, but we will not develop this particular direction, because it will not pay off. The funds invested in the advertising should pay off,” he added.

China, Dubai, Egypt, Southeast Asia and Turkey, as well as countries in Europe and the U.S., are still the most popular destinations for Kazakh tourists.

“If everything goes well with the economy, the market of cruise tours will develop, because people will get bored with beach rest and they will switch to other forms of tourism. This is actually an interesting product. You can see several countries in one trip,” said Tuleyev.

Premium Travel Director Evgeniya Khokhlenko said her company has seen annual sales growth.

“Many travel companies from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan buy cruises for their clients from our company. If 15 years ago cruise companies started selling 10 cabins a year, now sales go every day. We have contracts with cruise companies from around the world. We carefully select them. Not all companies approach the Kazakhstan market and the Asian market in general,” she said.

Cruises offer year-round vacations to endless destinations and most tourists board for seven-12 days. In summer, the most popular region is the Mediterranean Sea; in winter – Asia, Australia and the Caribbean. Ships change their main regions based on seasonality and there is always a choice of location.

“Kazakhs prefer standard rest instead of a cruise for several reasons. One of the main ones is fear of the open sea – our people do not feel comfortable in such conditions. Also, there is no such clarity and relaxation, so it is not suitable for everyone,” said Zhetisu Travel owner Yelena Bekboeva.

“As for the difference in price between all-inclusive and a cruise, I would not compare them at all. This is a rest for different needs. They can be chosen by the same people, but at different periods of life,” she added.



Kazakh retailers see positive dynamics in online shopping, plan to strengthen customer service

ASTANA – The government anticipates e-commerce will account for 2-3 percent of the retail market by 2021. The figure is currently approximately 1.9 percent of the total trade market, according to the Kazakhstan Internet Business and Mobile Commerce Association. 

The Ministry of National Economy reported the 101-billion tenge (US$270 million) e-commerce market represented 2.9 percent of the total retail turnover for the first half of 2018, a two-fold increase compared to 2017.

Last year, 250 new e-commerce entities were registered and approximately 1,700 online stores operate. The number of customers increased to 1.5 million.

The tax code provides tax benefits for entrepreneurs who began operating through an online store or online platform in 2018. Legal entities are exempt from paying corporate income tax and individual entrepreneurs from individual income tax until 2023. The entrepreneur must conclude the contract with the buyer online, use cashless payment and have his or her own delivery service or an agreement with a company engaged in transportation, shipment and delivery of goods.

Major online retailers, while cognizant of the challenges facing their growth, see positive dynamics and promising future of online commerce.

Launched in 2007, Flip.kz, one such retailer, offers more than 400,000 items from 200 suppliers, including books, toys, cosmetics, household appliances and electronics. The company, which opened its first brick and mortar store in Almaty in 2016, now has its own logistics system and courier service operating in 16 cities.

“Positive dynamics are observed entirely in the industry. People now use online shopping more often. Last year, the figures increased by more than 50 percent compared with 2017. This is a positive trend, but we know that it is possible to grow at even faster rates,” Flip.kz Director Alexander Sokolov said in an interview for this story.

The company is distinguished by excellent and fast service, according to social media reviews. As a result, improving service is always a priority.

“At the moment, we are doing everything to make it easy for our customers to make purchases. It is the most important task of our team. When the customer faces some problems, it becomes a challenge for the whole team. We solve this issue starting from the contact centre and other departments. I personally read comments on products and responses to publications on social media, so I control most of the situations that arise,” he noted.

The company employs more than 300 people, with the staff growing in proportion to the number of customers and orders.

“There’s still low confidence in online commerce in our country. This is one of the main challenges. We are glad that this indicator decreases with time. We work to increase the range of items and improve the quality of customer service,” he added.

Lamoda.kz, one of the largest online stores, launched Lamoda Market for independent clothing manufacturers and designers in 2016. The store promotes local brands and welcomes new partners.

“We are delighted to see a positive growth trend every year. According to the analytical department of Lamoda.kz, the number of orders increased by an average of 10 percent. By the number of orders, November leads both in 2017 and 2018. This is undoubtedly due to the most anticipated sale of the year, Black Friday,” said Lamoda Kazakhstan General Manager Molder Ryssaliyeva.

Lamoda Kazakhstan General Manager Molder Ryssaliyeva

The company has 282 employees including office staff, sales representatives and employees at points across Kazakhstan.

“We are constantly working to improve our service. We pay special attention to the new alternative methods of delivery,” she noted.

The company conducts trainings with call centre employees and sales representatives. Logistics, however, remains the main challenge for any Kazakh online company.

“Our company was founded seven years ago. Since that time, we significantly changed the service and market conditions. On-time order delivery is important for the customer, but logistics is still expensive for a company in Kazakhstan. The remoteness of cities is one of the main disadvantages for e-commerce. The percentage of people who shop online is still high. All the Internet platforms are interested in increasing the number of online consumers,” said Ryssaliyeva.

Most customers prefer paying in cash when receiving orders, a tendency observed in online clothing shops. Many want to try clothes on before purchasing them.

“We intend to increase the network of points for issuing orders. We will plan to develop the marketplace model – when third-party sellers can use the website as a platform for selling their goods. Now, we are attracting new partners and we are planning to attract large brands to the Lamoda.kz website by the end of 2019,” she added.



E-services transition in public procurement exceeds state budget plan, says Kazakh Minister of Finance

ASTANA – The Kazakh government is fulfilling 117.9 percent of budget revenues, according to the January monthly report presented at a recent government meeting.

Photo credit: bnews.kz.

The main factor for timely fund disbursement is simplified public procurement procedures that have been fully converted to electronic format.

Revenues exceeded the budget plan at all levels. State budget revenues (without transfers) in January were 593 billion tenge (US$1.58 billion), 130 billion tenge (US$346.47 million) more than last year. Corporate income and value-added tax were the main revenue sources, said Minister of Finance Alikhan Smailov at the Feb. 12 government meeting.

Kazakhstan experienced 2.9-percent growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) in January. The slightly lower economic growth than last year’s average was “mainly due to the decline in the manufacturing industry and construction, as well as a slowdown in investment activity,” said Minister of National Economy Timur Suleimenov.

January’s main growth source was continued demand in the consumer market and extractive industries. The highest growth indicators are in light industry (17.5 percent), beverage production (15.6 percent) and rubber and plastic goods production (14.3 percent).

The investment volume in fixed assets decreased by 2.5 percent.

“The decline is associated with the completion of work on the modernisation and reconstruction of the Shymkent refinery and the Aksu Ferroalloy Plant,” he added.

Monthly inflation was 0.5 percent and by Jan. 14,  annual inflation had slowed to 5.2 percent. The National Bank kept the base rate at 9.2 percent, reported its Chairman Daniyar Akishev.

The current base rate level should keep inflation at 4-6 percent, provided there’re no shocks. The exchange rate of the tenge, which strengthened by 1.4 percent against the dollar during the month, is associated with the favourable situation in the oil market and strengthening of the Russian rouble. As of Feb. 8, the rate was 378.73 tenge per dollar.

The National Bank will continue to adhere to the free floating exchange rate regime, Akishev said.

The financial market is seeing gradual improvement. Bank assets increased by 4.5 percent to 25.2 trillion tenge (USD$67.16 billion) and insurance organisations’ assets grew by 13 percent to one trillion tenge (US$2.67 billion).



Kazakh tennis player wins one leg of ATP Challenger Tour

ASTANA – Kazakh tennis player Alexander Bublik won the 2019 Hungarian Challenger Open, an Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Challenger Tour tournament, held Feb. 4-10 in Budapest.

Alexander Bublik. Photo credit: informburo.kz.

Bublik beat Italian Roberto Marcora in the finals 6-0, 6-3. During the 55-minute game, the 21-year-old served five breaks and seven aces, making just two mistakes. Marcora, 29, made three aces and the same number of faults, reported sports.kz.

The meeting was the first between the two. At the time of the game, Bublik was 172nd in the ATP ranking; Marcora, 283rd.

This title was Bublik’s fourth on the Challenger Tour, bringing him a career total 80 rating points. The first-place finish was his eighth tournament win, including the International Tennis Federation and ATP Challenger tours.

The tournament, held since 2016, was previously won in single draws by Canadian Vashek Pospisil (2018), Austrian Jürgen Melzer (2017) and Romanian Marius Kopil (2016). This year’s prize fund was 64,000 euros (US$72,294).

Bublik debuted in the Davis Cup last week for the Kazakh national team, winning both matches, and his team defeated Portugal to reach the final stage. The finals will be held in November in Madrid.

According to the recent ATP ranking, Kazakh tennis player Mikhail Kukushkin improved his position by two lines to 53rd place. After the Hungarian tournament, Bublik improved to 144th and Kazakh player Alexander Nedovesov from 190th to 188th.

Novak Djokovic (Serbia) leads the ATP ranking, followed by Rafael Nadal (Spain) and Alexander Zverev (Germany).

Players who succeed on the international men’s ATP Challenger Tour earn ranking points to become eligible for the main draw or qualifying draw entry at ATP World Tour tournaments.



Kazakh President decrees reshuffles in government and administration

ASTANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev appointed the heads of Syrbar Foreign Intelligence Service, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the new Secretary of the Security Council, the Ak Orda press service announced Feb. 13 on their Twitter page.

Photo credit: primeminister.kz.

According to the decree, the President reappointed Gabit Baizhanov as the Director of Syrbar Foreign Intelligence Service. Baizhanov served as Assistant to the President, the Secretary of the Security Council of Kazakhstan from Sept. 19. Prior to that, he served as the director of the foreign intelligence service since 2015. Baizhanov worked as Deputy Director of the Barlau Service of the National Security Committee in 2006. From 2009 to 2015, he was the first deputy director of the Syrbar Foreign Intelligence Service.

Now former Director Issatai Sartayev was reappointed to his past post as Deputy Director of Syrbar. He had been working as the director of the intelligence service for almost half a year. Before that, he served as the deputy director of the intelligence service from 2009 to 2015. Then, he was the first deputy director of the Syrbar for three years.

Kalmukhanbet Kassymov, the longest-serving Minister of Internal Affairs in the country’s independent history, took Baizhanov’s post as the Secretary of the Security Council and Assistant to the President. Yerlan Turgumbayev, formerly Deputy Minister since 2012, took the Kassymov’s post as the Minister of Internal Affairs.

The Syrbar Foreign Intelligence Service is Kazakhstan’s special state body directly subordinate to the President, which is an integral part of the nation’s security and sovereignty system. The President established the service with a Feb. 17 decree in 2009, after the disbandment of its predecessor, the Barlau service.



Когда завершат газификацию Кызылординской области

13 Февраля 2019 21:00 64

КЫЗЫЛОРДА. КАЗИНФОРМ – Три оставшихся района в Кызылординской области будут газифицированы в 2019 году, передает МИА «Казинформ» со ссылкой на пресс-службу областного акимата.

По информации ведомства, сегодня в регионе газифицированы город Кызылорда и 4 из семи районных центров области. В результате уже 64% населения получили возможность потреблять природный газ. В 2018 году газ доведен до оставшихся 3 районных центров – Жосалы, Теренозек и Жалагаш, в 2019 году будут начаты работы по строительству внутрипоселковых газовых сетей.

«В этом году газ в поселки Жосалы, Теренозек и Жалагаш мы заведем и начнем строить внутрипоселковые газопроводные сети. Таким образом, уже в октябре т.г. первые потребители этих райцентров, в том числе и социальные объекты, смогут начать использовать газ. Далее начнем газификацию 16 опорных населенных пунктов. Акимы должны обеспечить подготовку соответствующих проектов», – сообщил Крымбек Кушербаев.

Отметим, в 2015 году было газифицировано 4 районных центра (город Аральск, поселки Айтеке би, Шиели, Жанакорган). В 2017 году подан газ в город Байконыр.




Какие новые медицинские объекты построят в Туркестанской области

8 Февраля 2019 15:00 22

ТУРКЕСТАН. КАЗИНФОРМ – В Туркестанской области на 4,3% снизился показатель смертности, а уровень смертности матерей – на 35,9%. Об этом сообщил руководитель управления здравоохранения области Мукан Егизбаев, передает корреспондент МИА «Казинформ». 

По его словам, медицинские учреждения городов и районных центров стопроцентно оснащены Интернетом. Полностью обеспечить Интернетом сельские округи планируется ближе к 2021 году.

«В этом году за счет областного бюджета приобретено 5 728 компьютеров. В Туркестанской области создано 1 909 744 электронных паспорта здоровья. 19 220 медицинских сотрудников обучены медицинской информационной системе. На сегодняшний день 441 717 человек пользуется мобильными приложениями. В результате с помощью электронной системы около 2 млн человек побывали на приеме у врача, 1 млн 783 человека обращались за иной медицинской помощью. 64 253 человека получили в электронном формате больничные листы. Помимо этого, в районных, городских поликлиниках открыты 20 постов цифровой помощи, здесь обучились свыше 558 тысяч человек», – сказал руководитель управления.

В прошлом году на материально-техническое снабжение медицинских организаций региона выделено 8,1 млрд тенге, что составило 65,75% от требуемого. В службе оперативной медицинской помощи внедрена автоматизированная система управления «Көмек». Все машины оснащены GPS-навигацией.

Отметим, в будущем планируется построить Туркестанскую городскую поликлинику, областную многопрофильную больницу на 610 мест, противотуберкулезный и онкологический центры. А также ожидается, что будет реконструирована областная станция скорой медицинской помощи.


Автор: Айнур Акбаева

Перевод: Сабина Биржанкызы