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Trial of fugitive banker Ablyazov begins in Kazakhstan

Almaty - The trial in absentia of Mukhtar Ablyazov, a fugitive banker and Kazakh opposition figure wanted on embezzlement charges by Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine began Friday, a court in the Central Asian country said."The process began on March 17 at 10.

Syria, key powers meet in Astana for talks without rebels

Astana - The Syrian regime and key powerbrokers on Tuesday tried to shrug off the absence of rebel groups as they gathered for talks on the six-year conflict, but the opposition's refusal to attend appeared a body blow for any hopes of progress.

Kazakh leader limits his powers, but keeps firm grip

Astana - Kazakhstan's autocratic President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Friday signed off on constitutional changes limiting the powers of his office, though he is expected to retain supreme authority in the Central Asian country.

Key powers push Syria truce as regime, rebels make no progress

Astana - Syrian regime and rebel representatives failed Thursday to make any breakthroughs at talks in Kazakhstan, as key powerbrokers Russia, Turkey and Iran sought to shore up a shaky ceasefire.

Syria talks delayed due to 'technical reasons': Kazakhstan

Astana - Kazakhstan said Wednesday a new round of Astana talks on the Syria conflict led by Russia, Turkey and Iran scheduled to begin February 15 would be delayed by a day due to unexplained "technical reasons".

Kazakhstan seeks to leap onto ballet world stage

Astana - In the snowy foreground of a brand new steel and glass building in Kazakhstan's capital Astana, a dancer in national dress stands frozen in a dramatic flourish, her body arching towards the sky.

Russia says draft of new Syria constitution handed to rebels

Astana - Russia has given rebels a draft version of a new constitution for Syria drawn up by Moscow to speed up political negotiations to end the conflict, the Kremlin's envoy said Tuesday.

Three-way bid to boost Syria truce after Astana talks

Astana - Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed Tuesday to bolster a fragile truce in Syria but rebels and Damascus made no progress towards a broader settlement to end the war after two days of talks.

UN Syria envoy says Astana talks 'not far from final declaration'

Astana - The UN envoy for Syria said Tuesday that a final declaration was close to being achieved at indirect talks between Syrian rebels and Damascus in the Kazakh capital Astana."We are not far from a final declaration," Staffan de Mistura said.

Syria rebels vow to keep fighting if Astana talks fail

Astana - Syrian rebels vowed Monday to keep fighting if peace negotiations with the government of President Bashar al-Assad fail, as talks between the two sides in Kazakhstan got off to a rocky start.

Syria regime, rebels set for first face-to-face at Astana

Astana - Syria's government and rebel fighters will on Monday sit down at the negotiating table for the first time in nearly six years of war, the latest diplomatic push to end the hostilities.

25-year independence anniversary bittersweet for Central Asia

- In 1991, as one provincial Kazakh town embarked on a journey through independence that would see it transformed into a state-of-the art capital, another hurtled towards collapse.

Three astronauts blast off to ISS

Baikonur - A trio of astronauts soared into orbit aboard a Soyuz spacecraft Friday as they headed to the International Space Station for a six-month mission.

Foie gras, saxophone blast into space with astronauts

Baikonur - A trio of astronauts soared into orbit Friday bound for the International Space Station, with their Soyuz spacecraft delivering some fancy French food, a saxophone and the future female commander.

Two Russians, one American blast off to ISS

Baikonur - Two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut soared into orbit in a Soyuz spacecraft Wednesday at the start of a two-day journey to the International Space Station.

Golovkin likely to face Jacobs before overdue clash with Canelo

Gennady Golovkin has given up the idea of facing Canelo Alvarez this year as he is about to finalize a deal to face mandatory challenger Daniel Jacobs on Dec. 10 following Alvarez' statement that he is done with boxing this year due to injury.

Last Soviet boss standing, Kazakh leader still lacks heir

Astana - As he laid flowers recently at the grave of Uzbek strongman Islam Karimov, neighbouring Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev could have been forgiven an extra pause for thought.

Kell Brook suffers first career defeat against Gennady Golovkin

Unbeaten British IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook succumbed to Gennady Golovkin's awesome punching power after his corner threw in the towel in the fifth round of their middleweight title fight Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, England.

Uzbekistan interim leader rules out military alliances

Almaty - Ex-Soviet Uzbekistan's new interim president Shavkat Mirziyoyev has ruled out military alliances, the government said Friday, following the same course as the late veteran strongman Islam Karimov.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev: Uzbekistan's chosen one?

Almaty - As ex-Soviet Uzbekistan waits anxiously for a presidential vote following the death of Islam Karimov, one man has a clear lead in the race to succeed the long-reigning autocrat.
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