Seals, caviar and oil: Caspian Sea under threat from pollution

Bordered by Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan, the 1,000-kilometre-long Caspian is the world’s largest inland body of water. It is home to a range of native species — from the seals to Caspian turtles and the famed beluga sturgeon — and also to vast energy reserves, estimated at 50 billion barrels of oil. But pollution from the extraction of that oil and gas, along with declining water-levels due to climate change, has left many species under threat and the future of the sea itself at risk.

Disabled Kazakhs fight for rights amid Paralympics push

Kazakhstan ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2015 and has claimed improvements in inclusion and access for over 600,000 people registered as disabled, particularly in the last decade. But the overhaul of the Soviet approach to disability that saw handicapped people live in isolation from society has not been fast.

Kazakhs hope for the best after Nazarbayev resignation

Kazakhs in Astana praise the “peaceful transition” following the shock resignation of the country’s long-time ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev. The head of Kazakhstan’s senate, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, was sworn in as interim president, and immediately proposed renaming the country’s capital after his predecessor.

AP Top Stories March 19 P

Here’s the latest for Tuesday March 19th: Michael Cohen document dump; Kazakhstan leader steps down, Houthis say they won’t give up port city; Cow on NY highway.

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Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft gets mounted onto launchpad

The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft is mounted on the launch pad at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan ahead of its launch to the International Space Station.

Manned Soyuz rocket blasts off successfully

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency blasted off aboard a Soyuz from Baikonur in Kazakhstan to dock safely with the International Station for a six-and-a-half month mission.

Lift-off of first manned space mission since Soyuz failure

Russian, American and Canadian astronauts blast off for the first manned Soyuz mission since a frightening failed launch in October. Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency take off from Baikonur in Kazakhstan for a six-and-a-half month mission aboard the International Space Station. IMAGES of the launch