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  4 December 2017 Issue 216- Astana - The Capital of Capitals




Astana - The Capital of Capitals

Astana, the new Capital city of Kazakhstan, established in 1997, is fast emerging as a centre of reckoning in Eurasia. It represents a clear shift of the modernization of a nation steeped in ancient history of a nomadic people at the crossroads of Asian, Oriental and European cultures.

Just 20 years old, Astana has emerged as the hub of Central Asia and the pivot of Eurasia. Kazakhstan shares its borders with 5 countries including Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan a 1500km border with China and almost 7000kms with Russia. Kazakhstan is the largest land locked country in the world that extends to the Caspian Sea. It is the 9th largest country by land size.

Astana, the spectacular, state of the art, futuristic metropolis should be on every intrepid travellers bucket list. The space age city, with a penchant for new energy and traditional hospitality is fascinating as it is unforgettable.

A visit to the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan will provide context and reference that will surely enhance your travel experience. It will take you on an interactive journey of a people who were the first to tame horses and to use eagles for hunting, of woman warriors and pioneer crafters and artisans. It will give insight into a country of vast precious and mineral resources and natural abundance and beauty. The azure glass and white marble building is an attraction in itself. The hall of Astana provides a narrative of the development of the new Capital. 
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A Tax Treaty between Botswana and Belgium

On November 30 2017 the High Commissioner of Botswana to South Africa Mr. Zenene Sinombe, Ambassador of Belgium to South Africa Mr. Hubert Cooreman and General Representative of the Government of Flanders Dr. Geraldine Reymenants,  signed a tax treaty on the avoidance of double taxation between the two countries in Pretoria, South Africa.
The treaty opens a path for greater investment opportunities said HC Sinombe who was happy to see the process finalized. Botswana’s economic expansion is of importance to Belgium, especially with regards to the diamond trade, said Ambassador Cooreman.


Celebrating Navy Day Indian Naval Sailing Vessel Tarini

Photo 1: The crew on board Tarini
Photo 2: Indian Defence Advisor Captain M M Thomas, Captain Sonika Van Rooyen of the South African Navy and Indian High Commissioner Ms Ruchira Kamboj speaking via livechat to the crew of Tarini
A commemorative event celebrating the Navy Day of Indian Navy and the historic circumnavigation attempt by Indian Naval Sailing Vessel Tarini with an all women crew was held at Freedom Park, Pretoria on 30 November 2017. The event was attended by several Ambassadors and members of the Defence and Diplomatic Community. A short film on Indian Navy and on INSV Tarini was screened which encapsulated the activities of the Indian Navy and the voyage of INSV Tarini. 
The Indian High Commissioner Ms Ruchira Kamboj, introduced the crew of Tarini and explained how their exploits was fast becoming an inspiration to millions in India and across the globe.  “The six young women were drawn from different parts of India and bonded to a common dream, were flagged off on 10 September this year by India’s Defence Minister, also a woman, from Goa,” Ms. Kamboj told the audience. She stated that their mission to circumnavigate the globe in approximately 165 days exemplified the grit and determination of the modern Indian woman, and served to remind that gender did not define potential, and underscored that nothing was impossible for a woman. The event also featured a live chat with the INSV Tarini crew, who are currently at Lyttleton, New Zealand.



Solidarity with Palestine

The Honourable Dr. Nabeel Shaath, Advisor to the President of the State of Palestine on Foreign and International Relations, visited South Africa from the 27th – the 30th of November 2017. While in South Africa, Dr. Shaath met with South Africa’s President H.E. Jacob Zuma in Pretoria and presented him with a letter from H.E. President Abbas on Palestinian-South African relations and the latest developments in Palestine.
Dr. Shaath visited Luthuli House in Johannesburg where he met with Comrade Gwede Mantashe, the Secretary General of the ANC and other ANC officials. He also met with Arab Ambassadors and members of civil society organizations respectively.
Dr. Shaath also had the opportunity to give a key note address at a ceremony to commemorate the United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people observed each year on the 29th of November.
The ceremony was a joint collaboration between the Embassy of the State of Palestine, the Department of international Relations and Cooperation, the Department of Arts and Culture and the United Nations Information Centre, Pretoria. It was held at DIRCO in honour of Comrade Oliver Tambo under the title “The year of O.R. Tambo and the Palestinian Struggle under Occupation” seminar.

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