WEEKLY REVIEW. Kazakh Government to strengthen fight against alcohol, drug and tobacco abuse

ASTANA. August 17. KAZINFORM The Government of Kazakhstan is developing measures to strengthen the fight against alcoholism, drug abuse and smoking, completing work on inventory of lands allocated for individual housing construction. Today, the country celebrates the winners of the Olympic Games in London.

On Monday, August 13, Kazakh Ministry of Transport and Communications announced that 56 mobile Public Service Centers would be put into service by the end of 2012. Presently, every region of the country has a mobile Public Service Center, which visits remote areas and renders public services there in accordance with a schedule approved by the regional governors.

On Tuesday, August 14, Chairman of the Agency for Land Resources Management Kadyrkhan Otarov told the Government's session that the inventory of lands allocated for individual housing construction was fully completed. "305 land plots were inventoried," K.Otarov said. 305 thousand plots of land or 84% of the total 366 thousand land plots were subjected to the inventory. About 9 thousand land plots occupying a territory of 1 thousand ha or 20% were returned to state ownership by means of cancellation of rental treaty.

Minister of Education and Science of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Zhumagulov told the Government's meeting that 38619 Kazakhstanis were awarded state educational grants this year. "The number of grants awarded under the Bachelor's program made 31210, under the master's program - 6909, PhD program - 500," B.Zhumagulov said.

The Minister said that the number of state grants for the master's program increased by 1750 compared to the last year.

The same day, Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Yerzhan Kazykhanov took part in the OIC foreign ministers' meeting, which was held on the threshold of the fourth extraordinary OIC summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The head of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry emphasized the timeliness of the meeting, when Islamic countries must develop a response to the unprecedented challenges in the Middle East and North Africa.

"The uncontrollable cycle of violence in Syria has become a serious threat to regional stability. Kazakhstan is confident that all parties of the Syrian conflict, including the government and the opposition should not rely on weapons, but count on diplomacy for the peaceful resolution of the crisis.

Kazakhstan is firmly committed to the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of member states, and considers that these principles should be followed. In this regard, we believe that the future fate of the country should be determined by the Syrian people with the support of the international community," Kazykhanov stressed.

On the sidelines of the ministerial meeting the Kazakh Foreign Minister held bilateral talks with his counterparts from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Qatar, and Malaysia.

In the context of acute humanitarian challenges, the Kazakh Minister urged to support the proposal of President Nursultan Nazarbayev on the formation of the OIC food safety system based on genuine Islamic solidarity.

On Wednesday, August 15, the Government discussed implementation of social modernization program at an enlarged session that was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Yerbol Orynbayev with the participation of ministers and heads of the agencies, "Samruk-Kazyna" Fund. The session participants discussed the issues regarding implementation of the social modernization program put forward by the President in his article "Social Modernization of Kazakhstan: 20 Steps toward Society of Universal Labor". Special emphasis was placed on long-term and strategic character of the tasks set by the Leader of the Nation.

On Thursday, August 16, Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Yerbol Orynbayev chaired the XVІII meeting of the National Coordinating Council for Health under the Government of Kazakhstan. The meeting discussed issues of improving inter-sectoral collaboration in the fight against alcoholism, drug abuse and smoking among the population. Vice Ministers of Internal Affairs, Education and Science, Deputy Mayor of Almaty and Deputy Governor of East Kazakhstan region spoke at the meeting. The Ministry of Industry and Trade was recommended to consider the possibility of increasing the excise tax on tobacco and alcohol products. Ministry of Internal Affairs was proposed to intensify measures on observance of the national legislation on the prevention of consumption of psychoactive substances. The Ministry of Culture and Information was recommended to oblige the republican TV channels and radio stations to provide free air time for public service advertising. The Ministry of Finance was recommended to adopt tax measures to reduce tobacco and alcohol consumption by introducing a special tax on "health" - from 1 to 5 percent imposed both on producers and importers of tobacco products, which will allow to finance social projects in various sectors.

The same day, Kazakh Minister of Environmental Protection Nurlan Kapparov reported to President Nursultan Nazarbayev on the results of the UN RIO+20 Conference and prospects of developing 'green economy' in Kazakhstan.

On Friday, August 17, Kazakhstan's athletes, winners of the XXX Olympic Games in London were honored in Astana. "Our team has made an incredible breakthrough from 29th place following the Beijing Olympics up to 12th place in the medal standings of the London Olympic Games. Thus, Kazakhstan has become one of the leading sports countries of 205 national teams. This is a huge victory of all our people," President Nursultan Nazarbayev said and congratulated the athletes.

Cyclist Alexandr Vinokurov, boxer Serik Sapiyev, weightlifter Ilya Ilyin were awarded the Order of Otan. Weightlifting champions Svetlana Podobedova, Zulfiya Chinshanlo, Maya Maneza and track and field athlete Olga Rypakova were awarded the Order of Barys of the II Degree.

Head of the Kazakh Agency of Physical Culture and Sports Talgat Yermegiyayev was decorated with the Order of Parasat.

Bronze medal winners, wrestler Daniyal Gadjiyev, boxer Ivan Dychko, boxer Marina Volnova, wrestler Guzel Manyurova, wrestler Akzhurek Tanatarov and silver medal winner, boxer Adilbek Niyazymbetov were awarded the Order of Kurmet.

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