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Aug 21, 2015

Banned from street protest, Kazakhstanis joke and grumble over tenge’s fall

ALMATY, Aug 21 (Reuters) – Kazakhstanis took to social media
on Friday to mock and grumble as vendors hiked their prices
after veteran leader Nursultan Nazarbayev let the tenge currency
join a global wave of devaluations.

The tenge rate tumbled by 26.2 percent on Thursday to 255.26
per dollar as the central bank and government decided to let it
float freely, seeking to support an economy hit by low world
prices for its oil and metals exports.

Aug 20, 2015

Kazakhstan joins currency war as tenge plummets after float

ALMATY, Aug 20 (Reuters) – The tenge lost more than a
quarter of its value on Thursday as Kazakhstan fired the latest
salvo in an emerging market currency war, ditching a trading
band stretched to breaking point by sharp falls in crude and
commodities prices.

Prime Minister Karim Masimov said floating the tenge would
recover ground that oil-dependent Kazakhstan has lost to
declines in the currencies of some of its major trading partners
and rivals.

Aug 20, 2015

Kazakhstan floats tenge, currency tumbles

ALMATY, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Kazakhstan’s under-pressure tenge
lost more than a quarter of its value on Thursday after the oil
producing central Asian nation, hit by a sharp fall in world
crude prices, introduced a freely floating exchange rate for the
currency.

Acting against a backdrop of devaluation and depreciation in
the currencies of some of its major trading partners and rivals,
Kazakhstan’s government and central bank said the country’s
economic policy would henceforth be based on inflation
targeting.

Jul 28, 2015

Insight – Central Asia crackdown on militant Islam risks backlash

OSH, Kyrgyzstan (Reuters) – Authorities in Central Asia’s former Soviet “stans” are taking draconian measures to stamp out militant Islam, but their harsh methods and the absence of democratic politics risk provoking a backlash that could bring even greater instability.

While the region’s authoritarian rulers have battled Islamic militancy throughout the quarter century since the Soviet Union broke up, the rise of the Islamic State group has brought what security services describe as a new, more dangerous threat.

Jul 28, 2015

Central Asia crackdown on militant Islam risks backlash

OSH, Kyrgyzstan, July 28 (Reuters) – Authorities in Central
Asia’s former Soviet “stans” are taking draconian measures to
stamp out militant Islam, but their harsh methods and the
absence of democratic politics risk provoking a backlash that
could bring even greater instability.

While the region’s authoritarian rulers have battled Islamic
militancy throughout the quarter century since the Soviet Union
broke up, the rise of the Islamic State group has brought what
security services describe as a new, more dangerous threat.

Jul 28, 2015

Some in Almaty cool on 2022 Winter Olympics bid

ALMATY, July 28 (Reuters) – Kazakhstan is aspiring to host the 2022 Winter Olympics but many in the Central Asian nation view the bid as yet another vanity project of long-ruling President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Almaty, the financial capital, will go head-to-head with the Chinese metropolis Beijing on Friday when the International Olympic Committee elects the winner at its session in Malaysia.

Jul 4, 2015

75th birthday of Kazakhstan strongman raises questions on country’s future

ASTANA/ALMATY (Reuters) – Kazakhstan’s veteran leader Nursultan Nazarbayev celebrates his 75th birthday on Monday, in good shape and vastly popular, but the expected fireworks and fanfare mask uncomfortable questions about the future of the second-largest post-Soviet economy.

Nicknamed “Papa” and officially titled “Leader of the Nation”, he extended his 26-year reign in April by another five years, “apologizing” to his critics for cornering 97.7 percent of the vote in an early election which Western observers said offered no real alternative.

Jun 11, 2015

Space trio make “textbook” landing on delayed return from ISS

ALMATY, June 11 (Reuters) – Three astronauts landed safely
in the steppes of Kazakhstan on Thursday, ending their 199-day
mission after an unexpected “bonus month” aboard the
International Space Station, NASA Television showed.

“It was a textbook homecoming for the Expedition 43 crew,” a
NASA presenter said after the descent capsule of the Soyuz
TMA-15M spacecraft touched ground amid waving feathergrass at
1944 local time (1344 GMT), some 92 miles southeast of
Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan.

Jun 11, 2015

Space trio leave orbital outpost for delayed return to Earth

CAPE CANAVERAL/ALMATY, June 11 (Reuters) – An international
space trio climbed into a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on Thursday
and left the International Space Station after 199 full days in
orbit to begin their delayed return to Earth, NASA Television
showed.

Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA, Samantha
Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency and Russian cosmonaut
Anton Shkaplerov gave a hearty hug to three crewmen remaining
aboard the ISS before sealing themselves into the Soyuz TMA-15M
spacecraft shortly after 0700 GMT.

May 28, 2015

Commander of elite Tajik police force defects to Islamic State

ALMATY (Reuters) – The U.S.-trained commander of Tajikistan’s elite police force has defected to Islamic State, he said in a YouTube video, and his former unit will issue a statement condemning him, media said on Thursday.

Colonel Gulmurod Khalimov commanded the Central Asian nation’s special-purpose police known as OMON, used against criminals and militants. He disappeared in late April, prompting a search by Tajik police.