Soyuz rocket carrying Emirati blasts off for ISS | AFP

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft blasts off from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan Wednesday with an Emirati astronaut onboard who will make history by becoming the first Arab on the International Space Station.

‘Clear violation of freedoms’ in Kazakhstan vote: OSCE | AFP

Kazakhstan elects the hand-picked successor of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev with over 70 percent of the vote, in a presidential election that ‘showed little respect for democracy’ according to the OSCE.

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Kazakhstan vote ‘tarnished’ by violations of freedoms: OSCE | AFP

A presidential election in Kazakhstan won by the hand-picked successor to the country’s longtime ruler showed little respect for democracy, foreign monitors say. SOUNDBITE

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Vote counting underway in Kazakhstan’s presidential election | AFP

Vote counting is underway after polls closed in Kazakhstan’s presidential election. During the tumultous day, police arrested hundreds of opposition protesters as the country voted to elect its first new president in 30 years following the departure of historic leader Nursultan Nazarbayev. IMAGES of a local election commission count ballots at a polling station in Nur-Sultan

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Police and protesters clash as Kazakhs vote for new leader | AFP

Police in Kazakhstan clash with protesters during a demonstration, as the country is holding polls to elect the country’s first new president in 30 years following the departure of historic leader Nursultan Nazarbayev. of protest in Nur Sultan

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Police detain hundreds at Kazakh election protests | AFP

Hundreds of opposition protesters are arrested and bundled into police vans in Kazakhstan, where the first presidential election is held without the participation of its historic autocrat Nursultan Nazarbayev. IMAGES

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Nazarbayev: Kazakhstan ‘must change power, new generations must come’ | AFP

“I suspended my Presidential powers, and we constitutionally handed over power to another generation,” said the former President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. “I think that this is correct, because everything goes, everything develops, moves.” SOUNDBITE

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Tokayev says there’ll be more tolerence to different opinions | AFP

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, 66, has the backing of the party of Kazakhstan’s former ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev, making it all but certain he will win the presidential election. Tokayev says there will be “very much tolerance” of “different opinions”. SOUNDBITE

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Tokayev casts vote in Kazakhstan election | AFP

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev who has the backing of the party of Kazakhstan’s former ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev, casts his vote in the presidential election.

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Polls open for Kazakhstan’s presidential election | AFP

Kazakhs go to the polls to elect their first new leader in 30 years following the departure of ex-president Nursultan Nazarbayev with his handpicked successor set for victory. IMAGES

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Disenchanted youth demand Kazakh ‘wake-up’ ahead of polls | AFP

On Sunday, Kazakh citizens will vote in the first presidential polls in the country’s history not to feature long-reigning strongman Nursultan Nazarbayev as a candidate, but Asya Tulesova, a 34-year-old political activist, says that there are no independent elections in the Central Asian country. Tulesova started a wave of creative, youth-driven protests in Kazakhstan after a court sentenced her and another activist to two weeks in prison in April for unfurling a banner during a marathon in Almaty. The banner’s slogan, “You can’t run from the truth”, became a meme overnight across social media.

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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.

Progress MS-11 cargo spacecraft launches from Baikonur

The unmanned Progress MS-11 cargo spacecraft is launching on a three-hour flight from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station. The ship’s cargo includes compressed gas, water, fuel & food.

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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.