Kazakh capital changes name to honor longtime leader
MOSCOW (AP) — Kazakhstan has renamed its capital to Nur-Sultan, in honor of the country's longtime leader who resigned this week.
The order to change the city's name from Astana was issued...
20 detained at protests in Kazakhstan
MOSCOW (AP) — Media reports say that more two dozen people have been detained in Kazakhstan's capital over a proposed name change.
The parliament in this Central Asian nation voted earlier...
Kazakh activist decries official pressure in China spat
MOSCOW (AP) — A prominent activist from Kazakhstan who is campaigning for the release of ethnic Kazakhs in China says he was forced to sign blank documents while under house...
Kazakhstan comes to defense of skier arrested for doping
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) — The government of Kazakhstan has come to the defense of a skier arrested in the Austrian doping raids, saying he didn't use performance-enhancing drugs even though he...
BEIJING (AP) — A prominent activist campaigning for the release of ethnic Kazakhs caught in a sweeping crackdown on Muslims in China has been arrested in the Kazakh city of Almaty, his wife and a...
Kazakhstan says 4-time Olympian arrested in doping raids
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) — Four-time Olympian Alexei Poltoranin was among five skiers arrested in Austrian police raids targeting an alleged doping network centered on a doctor who once worked with...
UN: No progress on forming Syria constitutional committee
MOSCOW (AP) — Syria's warring sides and the mediators meeting in Kazakhstan failed to agree on the formation of a committee meant to draft a new constitution which is key to ending the seven-year civil war, the U.N. special envoy to Syria said Thursday, calling it a "missed opportunity."
Staffan de Mistura was in the Kazakh capital of Astana where Russia, Turkey and Iran are holding talks with the Syrian government and the opposition on steps to bring peace to the country.
Air Astana plane lands safely after emergency over Portugal
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — An Air Astana plane with six crew on board and no passengers declared an emergency over Portugal on Sunday after experiencing problems with its command and control system but landed safely just over an hour later, a senior Portuguese Air Force officer said.
Lt. Gen. Manuel Costa told The Associated Press the plane, made by Brazilian manufacturer Embraer, landed at Beja air base, about 180 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Lisbon, on Sunday afternoon.
Kazakhstan coach leaves after winless World Cup qualifying
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) — Alexander Borodyuk has left his post as coach of Kazakhstan's national soccer team after failing to win a game in World Cup qualifying.
Kazakhstan finished last in its group under Borodyuk, who oversaw six losses and one draw during his 11 months in charge. In that time, Kazakhstan scored only three goals and conceded 15.
Russia to host Syria talks in Sochi in late January
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed Friday to hold Syria peace talks in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi next month, a move that the U.N. Special envoy for Syria said should be assessed based on its contribution to the mandated political process under the United Nations in Geneva.
AC Milan advances in Europa League, Arsenal tops group
Andre Silva scored in each half to help AC Milan beat Austria Vienna 5-1 on Thursday and book a spot in the knockout stage of the Europa League.
Arsenal clinched top spot in Group H with a game to spare despite a 1-0 loss at Cologne, the London club's first defeat of their campaign. Arsenal already had a place in the knockout stage.
Baron Cohen to pay fine for Czechs sporting Borat mankinis
PRAGUE (AP) — Comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen has offered to pay the fines for six Czech tourists who were reportedly detained by authorities in Kazakhstan's capital Astana for dressing up as his character Borat.
Sporting lime green "mankinis" and black wigs, the men had hoped to take a picture in front of the "I Love Astana" sign earlier this month.
But local police fined them some $68 each for committing minor hooliganism, according to local media.
Czech tourists fined for sporting ‘Borat’ mankinis in Kazakhstan
PRAGUE — Six Czech tourists who dressed up in skimpy swimsuits made famous by Sacha Baron Cohen's "Borat" have reportedly been detained by authorities in Kazakhstan's capital Astana.
Sporting lime green "mankinis" and black wigs, the men had hoped to take a picture in front of the "I Love Astana" sign.
But local police took action, detaining them on Friday and fining them 22,500 tenge ($68 US) each for committing minor hooliganism, according to the Kazakh news website informburo.kz.
Astana wins 4th straight Kazakh league title
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) — FC Astana won the Kazakh Premier League title on Sunday after the title race went down to the final day.
Astana beat Akzhayik Oral 2-0 on Sunday to secure the title, with its closest rival Kairat Almaty finishing one point behind to take second place for the third year running.
The Kazakh league system is played on a calendar-year basis because of the harsh winters in the Central Asian nation.
The Latest: Russia to host Syria talks on Nov. 18
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
Russia says it will host Syrian talks next month aimed at reaching a political settlement.
Alexander Lavrentyev, the head of Russia's delegation at the talks between the Syrian government and the opposition in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, said the so-called Congress of National Dialogue will be held in Sochi on Nov. 18.
The Latest: UN envoy announces new Syria talks on Nov. 28
GENEVA (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
The U.N.'s top envoy for Syria says new talks between Syria's government and opposition will start Nov. 28 and is urging those with influence to press both sides to be ready "to negotiate substance."
Turkey’s president announces operation in Syria’s Idlib
ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey's president announced Saturday that the country has launched a "serious" operation in Syria's northwestern Idlib province with Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces, following international efforts for de-escalation in the war-torn country.
Davis Cup: Kazakhstan wins doubles to lead Argentina 2-1
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) — Kazakhstan is on the verge of sending last year's Davis Cup champion Argentina out of the top-tier World Group after winning Saturday's doubles rubber.
Timur Khabibulin and Alexander Nedovesov recovered from losing the first set to beat Argentina's Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni 5-7, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 in just under 3 1 /2 hours.
That gives Kazakhstan a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five match.
Davis Cup: Argentina and Kazakhstan 1-1 in playoff
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) — Argentina and Kazakhstan finished the first day of their Davis Cup World Group playoff at 1-1 on Friday.
Kazakh veteran leader Mikhail Kukushkin lost the first set against Guido Pella but responded strongly to win the opening singles 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-4 in nearly four hours.
Pella was consistently strong in the first two sets before mistakes crept into his game, the Argentine posting 23 unforced errors in the fourth against 14 for Kukushkin.
Russian FM says Saudi Arabia backs Syria truce deals
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Saudi Arabia has assured Russia that it supports a gradual process of negotiating local cease-fires and setting up "de-escalation zones" in Syria, Russia's foreign minister said Monday, a day after meeting with Saudi leaders.
Cramer to attend global energy expo in Kazakhstan
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer says he'll join federal Energy Secretary Rick Perry and others on a trip to Kazakhstan.
Members of the presidential delegation will attend an energy expo in the city of Astana later this month.
Cramer says he'll work to promote American energy at the Expo 2017 global fair.
Draw for the Champions League Playoffs
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Draw made Friday for the Champions League playoffs:
Tuesday, Aug. 15
Qarabag (Azerbaijan) vs. Copenhagen (Denmark)
APOEL Nicosia (Cyprus) vs. Slavia Prague (Czech Republic)
Hoffenheim (Germany) vs. Liverpool (England)
Sporting Lisbon (Portugal) vs. Steaua Bucharest (Romania)
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA hit Polish football club Legia Warsaw with a disciplinary charge Friday after its fans displayed a vast banner commemorating Poles killed by the Nazis.
Legia fans displayed the banner, which was the width of an entire stand, during Wednesday's Champions League qualifier against Kazakh team FC Astana.
It marked the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, when Polish resistance fighters captured large parts of the capital city but were eventually crushed by occupying German forces.
RODEZ, France (AP) — There is only one thing certain at the Tour de France: Nothing is certain.
Following two frenetic days of racing in the Pyrenees, no one would have bet a cent on a change of leadership on Saturday after Stage 14, a rolling 181.5-kilometer (113-mile) ride with no major difficulty.
But a short and steep climb to the finish in the southern town of Rodez was enough for Chris Froome and his mighty Sky team to recover the yellow jersey they lost two days before in the mountains.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian strategic bombers on Wednesday struck the Islamic State group in Syria with cruise missiles, the military said.
The Defense Ministry said that Tu-95 bombers launched Kh-101 cruise missiles on IS facilities in the area along the boundary between the Syrian provinces of Hama and Homs. The ministry said three ammunition depots and a command facility near the town of Aqirbat were destroyed.
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):
China's U.N. ambassador says the Security Council is ready to encourage any positive developments from Russia-sponsored cease-fire talks on Syria in the Kazakhstan capital, Astana, starting Tuesday and peace talks in Geneva next week.
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DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Syrian military said Monday it has temporarily halted combat operations in the south ahead of Russian-sponsored cease-fire talks with the rebels.
The announcement came after a large Syrian rebel faction in the south said it would not attend the talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, because the government was not abiding by previous cease-fire agreements.
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
Russia has proposed July 4 as the start of a two-day round of Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan's capital Astana.
"We suggested these dates and it seems as if everyone has welcomed then," Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Saturday in remarks carried by the TASS news agency.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is encouraged by the peace process seeking to put an end to the war in Syria.
Russia along with Turkey and Iran sponsored talks in the Kazakh capital Astana bringing together the Syrian government and the opposition and focused on reducing violence. The next round of the talks is set for later this month.
BEIRUT (AP) — Intense clashes broke out in Syria's Daraa on Monday between government forces and insurgents with both sides shelling parts of the southern city that has been declared a safe zone under a recent Russia-sponsored deal, opposition activists and state media said.
Daraa, the site where Syria's crisis began in March 2011 with anti-government protests, is one of four "de-escalation zones" announced earlier this month in during cease-fire talks in Astana, Kazakhstan.
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments regarding Syria (all times local):
A Russia-backed deal to set up "de-escalation zones" in mostly opposition-held areas in Syria has come into effect.
The implementation of the deal, backed by Turkey and Iran but opposed by Syria's opposition, began at midnight Friday.
BEIRUT (AP) — Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to establish "de-escalation zones" in Syria, signing on to a Russian plan under which President Bashar Assad's air force would halt flights over designated areas across the war-torn country.
The agreement, which a Russian delegate said would go into effect on Saturday, is the latest attempt to reduce violence in the Arab country. But the full details of the proposal were not made available and prospects for its success appeared bleak.
BEIRUT (AP) — The latest on the conflict on Syria and the agreement reached on Russia-led talks in Kazakhstan (all times local):
The United States says it has "reason to be cautious" about the chances for success of an agreement signed by Turkey, Iran and Russia calling for "de-escalation zones" in Syria.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says it appreciates the efforts by Russia and Turkey. She says the U.S. supports any effort that can lower violence.
BEIRUT (AP) — The presidents of Russia and Turkey said on Wednesday they support the creation of safe-zones in war-torn Syria as a delegation of Syrian rebels walked out of cease-fire talks with the Damascus government underway in Kazakhstan, citing repeated violations of a similar truce agreed on in December.
FILOTTRANO, Italy (AP) — The funeral of former Giro d'Italia winner Michele Scarponi will be on Tuesday in his hometown of Filottrano, near Ancona.
Scarponi, who won the Giro in 2011, died after a collision with a van while training near his home on Saturday. He was 37.
A service will be held in the town's football stadium and will be officiated by Ancona cardinal, Edoardo Menichelli.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on events in Syria (all times EDT):
The president of the United Nations General Assembly says the U.N. hopes there will be "no further escalation" following Thursday's missile strikes on Syrian targets by the United States.
Russia and Iran discuss energy ties, Syrian settlement
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia and Iran agreed Tuesday to boost their energy ties and continue joint efforts to help reach peace in Syria and Afghanistan.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said after the Kremlin talks with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani that Moscow and Tehran will continue to "strengthen cooperation in the fight against international terrorism."
Syrians meet in Kazakhstan ahead of Geneva peace talks
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government officials sat face-to-face with rebels for the second time in three weeks in Kazakhstan on Thursday, as diplomats stepped up efforts to lay the groundwork for U.N.-brokered peace talks next week.
The Latest: Russia says group formed to preserve Syria truce
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the Syrian conflict (all times local):
A leader of the Russian delegation at Syrian talks in Kazakhstan says an agreement has been reached to form a permanent contact group of Russia, Turkey and Iran to "preserve and strengthen the cessation of hostilities."
Russia says Syrian contact group established
MOSCOW (AP) — A leader of the Russian delegation at talks on resolving the war in Syria says agreement has been reached to form a permanent contact group of Russia, Turkey and Iran to "preserve and strengthen the cessation of hostilities."
Sergei Vershinin made the statement Thursday after the second round of talks in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. The meeting was attended by representatives from Russia, Turkey and Iran, as well as the Syrian government and Syrian opposition.
Kazakhstan says biathletes tested clean after doping raid
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) — Kazakhstan's top sports official says the country's biathletes passed doping tests following a police raid which seized medical equipment and drugs at the world championships.
Austrian police raided the Kazakh team's hotel on Thursday after finding an abandoned cardboard box last month containing used medical equipment and team accreditations for major biathlon events. The team was then tested for performance-enhancing drugs.
Kazakhstan denies doping after police raid biathlon team
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) — Kazakhstan's government has denied its national biathlon team has been doping after Austrian police raided the team's hotel and seized medical equipment.
Elsiyar Kanagatov, who chairs the government's Sports and Fitness Committee, has told local media "all the medicine which our team has is not banned," and has accused an unnamed team doctor of "negligence" for failing to properly dispose of used items.
Syria war seethes despite cease-fire
BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's fronts are on fire despite a cease-fire reached in December between the rebels and the government.
Though the two sides sat face-to-face in the Kazakh capital of Astana a month later, the government has pressed offensives against rebels around the capital, Damascus, and recently escalated its air campaigns in Homs and Idlib.