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Azerbaijan takes over ADB Board of Governors chairmanship for 2015
06.05.2014 00:26
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Azerbaijan has assumed the chairmanship of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the next year.

The country took over ADB chairmanship from Kazakhstan as the Board of Governors convened in Astana for its 47th annual meeting.

Entitled "Rethinking Asia's Challenges at the Crossroads of the Silk Road", the annual meeting saw much discussion on connectivity, innovation, and the need to keep up with the demands of a changing Asia and Pacific.

Participants came from ADB's 67 member countries and beyond, from government ministries and central banks, from business and finance, media, civil society, academia, and youth, cutting across professional, national, regional, and generational boundaries.

ADB President Takehiko Nakao and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev officially opened ADB's 47th Annual Meeting in Astana.

At the opening session, President Nakao spoke of the need for ADB to sharpen its focus to better serve the needs of a developing Asia in rapid transition. He also looked forward to the end of extreme poverty in the region by 2020.

Mr. Nakao reiterated that the biggest challenge in the region remains poverty reduction. With 700 million people below the poverty line, Asia is still home to more than 60% of the world's poor. Using this measure of $1.25 a day, the region is likely to see an end to poverty in the region within the next decade.

"But more than 1.6 billion people living on less than $2 a day remain highly vulnerable to job loss, health problems, prolonged recession, inflation, crop failure, and environmental dangers."

"The challenge for ADB is to help developing member countries eradicate remaining poverty, and support greater inclusiveness to address inequalities," he said. "And there are other challenges: a huge infrastructure gap, environmental degradation and climate change. There is also the question of how to tap the full potential of regional cooperation and integration."

Addressing the event, chairman of ADB annual meeting of the Board of Governors, Kazakh Minister of Economy and Budget Planning Yerbolat Dassayev noted that the next meeting would beheld in Baku as the chairmanship of the Board of Governors passed to Azerbaijan for the next year.

Azerbaijani Minister of Finance, member of the Board of Governors Samir Sharifov said Azerbaijan would try its best to use the Baku meeting to prove that it is "a trusted partner" of the Asian Development Bank.

The meeting featured the Day of Azerbaijan, which was attended by delegations of the Board of Governors member states, ADB leadership, and prominent public and political figures of Kazakhstan and other countries.

It featured demonstration of a promotional video about Azerbaijan.

Addressing the event, Minister Sharifov noted that the Azerbaijani President had already ordered the creation of the organizing committee for the 48th meeting of ADB Board of Governors to be held in Baku in May, 2015.

He highlighted the country's socio-economic development under President Ilham Aliyev.

ADB President Nakao hailed Azerbaijan's economic growth. He expressed confidence the Baku meeting would be a success.

He said that for the first time the annual meeting of ADB Board of Governors would take place in the Caucasus, adding they had been looking forward to seeing Azerbaijan's rapid development.

The website of the 2015 Baku meeting was presented at the event.

On the sidelines of the annual meeting of ADB Board of Governors, Minister Sharifov also held several meetings including with ADB President Takehiko Nakao, Secretary General Maria-Anne Birken, Vice-President of the WB Lora Tak, Director General of the Japan International Cooperation Agency Kiyoshi Kadero, and Director of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation Hirosh Vatanabe to discuss issues of expanding bilateral cooperation.
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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/12/11/ali_ahmadov_111213.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/12/11/ali_ahmadov_111213.jpg
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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/11/15/Logo_ECO_Economic_Cooperation_Organization_151112.jpg
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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/11/25/istanbul_sea_fog_251114.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/11/25/istanbul_sea_fog_251114.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

    Trend:

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  • Iran, Egypt discuss regional developments
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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/11/15/iran_egypt_flags.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/11/15/iran_egypt_flags.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/16/no_image_found.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/16/no_image_found.jpg
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    Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Chairman - Executive Secretary of the ruling New Azerbaijan party Ali Ahmadov expressed the hope that international organizations will be able to make a fair decision on the criminal case in connection with the Azerbaijani hostages.

    Ahmadov was commenting on the appeal sent to the European Court in connection with Azerbaijani citizens Dilgam Asgarov, Shahbaz Guliyev and Hasan Hasanov, taken hostage by the Armenians in the Kalbajar district, as well as filing a criminal case by the Kalbajar district prosecutor's office regarding the murder of Hasan Hasanov.

    "Azerbaijani lands are under occupation for more than 20 years," he said. "Despite the UN Security Council's four resolutions and decisions of international organizations, the Armenian side refuses to liberate the occupied lands of Azerbaijan. Therefore, even if the decisions, to be made by the international organizations, are fair, Azerbaijani people doubt that the Armenians will fulfill them."

    "This once again demonstrated Armenia's aggressive position to the world," he said.

    The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

    As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

    The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.

    Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

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    9
  • Azerbaijani customs bodies clarify seizing large batch of drugs in Georgia
    01.02.2015 14:42
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/09/19/Customs_Committee_Building_190912.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/09/19/Customs_Committee_Building_190912.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

    By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

    A truck with a large batch of drugs from Azerbaijan did not enter the territory of Georgia, the head of the Investigation Department of the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee Ulvi Zulfuqarov told AzTv TV channel.

    He said that the Georgian Interior Ministry spread the information about seizing a truck with 2.8 metric tons of liquid heroin in July 2014, which allegedly entered the territory of Georgia from Azerbaijan.

    "As a result of proceedings, initiated by the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee, it was revealed that the vehicle with drugs did not enter the territory of Georgia from Azerbaijan," he said. "Georgia's truck was seized in the Batimu customs clearance zone on July 11, 2014."

    Zulfuqarov said that the vehicle transported the cargo of the Turkish company operating in Georgia and was intended to be transported to Moldova.

    "Two citizens of Georgia Guram Tsetskhladze and Yevgeny Gorgadze, driving the truck, as well as Turkish citizen Shefik Semizoglu, who is the head of the customer-company, were detained," he said. "The investigation revealed that Tsetskhladze and Semizoglu have never crossed the border of Azerbaijan. But the third suspect Gorgadze was in the territory of Azerbaijan earlier."

    Zulfuqarov said that this incident was investigated.

    "As a result, it was revealed that Gorgadze entered the territory of Azerbaijan from Iran through the Astara border checkpoint on June 24, 2014 by driving a Mercedes Benz car with the Turkish registration plate," he said. "Some cargo consisting of liquid soap was intended for shipment in Azerbaijan and other part - in Georgia."

    Zulfuqarov said that the vehicle and goods were suspicious due to the route.

    "The truck was thoroughly checked in Baku," he said. "As a result, no violations were found. Moreover, after a batch with liquid heroin was seized in Georgia, the cargo was examined. No violations were revealed."

    Zulfuqarov said that a vehicle with cargo reached "Siniq Korpu" customs post in the Tovuz district on June 29.

    "The truck was thoroughly supervised by the customs bodies of Azerbaijan from the moment of its entering the territory of Azerbaijan till its leaving," he said. "Moreover, while crossing the border, Georgia's customs bodies inspected the cargo. No violations were revealed."

    He said that another vehicle driven by Gorgadze was detained by the customs bodies in a week.

    "A large batch with liquid heroin was revealed in the DAF truck with the Georgian registration plate," he said. "Thus, the car moving through Azerbaijan and the car seized in Batumi are different vehicles. So, the information about the vehicle loaded with drugs passing through the territory Azerbaijan is groundless."

    ---

    follow the author on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov

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    11
  • Is US playing ''good-cop-bad-cop'' with Iran?
    01.02.2015 14:27
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/11/10/usa_iran_101114.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/11/10/usa_iran_101114.jpg
    By Dalga Khatinoglu

    Amid ongoing nuclear negotiations between Iran and world powers, the US Senate Banking Committee voted 18-4 Jan.29 to advance a bill, produced by senators Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez that would toughen sanctions on Iran if international negotiators fail to reach an agreement on Tehran's nuclear program by the end of June, 2015.

    White House was against talking about any new sanctions over Iran while the nuclear negotiations continue.

    The interim nuclear deal achieved on November 2013 has been extended two times due to lack of agreement on the terms of a comprehensive nuclear deal.

    Talks between Iran and the P5 1 group (the US, UK, France, Russia, China plus Germany) has been extended until July 1, 2015 to reach a comprehensive agreement.

    The president of American Iranian Council Hooshanag Amirahmadi told Trend on Feb.1 that Senators Menendez and Kirk, like many of their colleagues, believe that sanctions have brought Iran to the negotiating table and therefore more sanction will be even more helpful in extracting concession from Iran. "Unfortunately, Hassan Rouhani's Government in Iran is to blame for this American thinking because from the start, his administration has expressed complaints about the sanctions and how they have damaged Iran's economy and harmed its people."

    "It is true, sanctions have harmed the Iranian people and economy but they have been also harmed with mismanagement and lack of vision," Amirahmadi said. "To just blame sanctions is to avoid acknowledging that the governments in Tehran have mismanaged the country. I believe more sanctions can harm Iran more but nations have red lines and so does the Islamic Republic. At some point, the Iranian Revolutionaries are going to say no to further concessions."

    Iran's GDP shrank by 6.6 percent and 1.9 percent in 2012 and 2013. Rouhani took office in the second half year of 2013, and according to the International Monetary Fund, Iran's GDP growth reached 3 percent in 2014. The World Bank's estimations are less optimistic than IMF, putting the country's GDP growth at 1.5 percent for 2014, but both international entities admit that Iran's economy could get rid of depression after two consecutive years. Rouhani's administration has blamed the predecessor Ahmadinejad's government on mismanagement and massive corruption.

    Coming to the US senators' effort to make more restrictive pressures on Iran, Amirahamdi said that this bill was introduced in the winter of 2013, just before the parties agreed to the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA). "It resurfaced in the fall of 2014, as the parties were closing in on the deadline for a comprehensive deal, only to announce an extension of the talks," he said. "Once again, this 14-month-old bill is making headlines, this time to pressure Iran to make maximum concessions on the political framework deal."

    Iranian-US expert Amirahmadi said that each time the bill had been introduced in the past it had led to more concessions from Iran. "The bill is essentially a pressure tactic," he said. "The White House is using the Congress as a "bad" cop so that it can present itself to Tehran as a "good" cop. President Obama is trying to use the bill both to frighten Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and buy favor from him. I am not sure if Tehran understands this game, but one thing is certain: the bill has worked in the past," he said.

    ---

    Dalga Khatinoglu is an expert on Iran's energy sector, head of Trend Agency's Iran news service. Follow him on @dalgakhatinoglu

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    9
  • Release of leaders under house arrest is not on Iranв's Supreme Security Council agenda
    01.02.2015 14:17
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/12/03/Tehran_031212.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/12/03/Tehran_031212.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

    By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

    Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) has rejected discussing the house arrest of opposition leaders next weeks.

    The claims about the agenda of the SNSC meetings are not true, Keyvan Khosravi, a spokesman with the council said, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported Feb. 1.

    Iran's Saham news portal reported on Jan. 31 that Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has requested Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the SNSC, to put the issue of opposition leaders' house arrest on the agenda of the council meetings in the next two weeks.

    Meanwhile, Khosravi emphasized that the published reports are not true, adding the agenda of the SNSC meetings is secret.

    "The council's resolutions and decisions can be published only by the SNSC's secretariat," he added.

    Khosravi also claimed that the media which has published the report are linked to the foreigners.

    The Iranian opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi have been under house arrest since 2011 due to protests against the disputed presidential election of 2009.

    After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president of Iran for the second term in 2009, the opposition leaders protested the decision, which later resulted in massive protests across Iran, particularly in Tehran. Many people were arrested.

    Last November Ali Younesi, who serves as President Rouhani's special aide for the affairs of ethnic groups and religious minorities said that releasing the house arrested leaders is beyond Rouhani's authority.

    "The government can only prepare grounds for lifting house arrest but has no authority on the issue," Younesi added.

    Iranian MP, Ali Motahari wrote an open letter to President Rouhani last October warning him that if he did not end the house arrests of the opposition leaders, he would be summoned to the parliament.

    The government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht responded that the administration was not "indifferent" on the matter but it is not going to make all its efforts in this regard public.

    Motahari also approached Iran's Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last June, saying that the detentions were harming the Islamic Republic's reputation abroad and raising tensions at home.

    Iranian hardliners argue that the opposition leaders should remain under house arrest until they "repent."

    Iran's Prosecutor General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei accused the opposition leaders of "destruction of public property", claiming that they are also responsible for the killed people.

    In mid-March the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accused Rouhani of not fulfilling campaign promises to allow greater freedom of expression and called for the release of political prisoners in Iran including Karroubi and Mousavi.

    Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh

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    5
  • Plan of events on 23rd anniversary of Khojaly Genocide approved in Azerbaijan
    01.02.2015 13:41
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2011/02/24/Xocali_240211.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2011/02/24/Xocali_240211.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

    Trend:

    Head of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration has signed an order approving a plan of events on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of Khojaly Genocide.

    Under the plan, ceremonies shall be arranged to put wreaths at memorials to Khojaly Genocide victims in Khatai district in Baku, Goranboy district and Aghjakand settlement. Azerbaijan`s embassies, missions and diaspora organizations in foreign countries shall organize commemorative events and take measures towards spreading truth about Khojaly Genocide through the mass media, including television, radio and Internet. According to the plan, commemorative events shall also be held by religious confessions and organizations, in government bodies, theatres, concert and exhibition halls, higher educational institutions and secondary schools across the country.

    The plan will also see the provision of aid to shahid families in the cities and districts where Khojaly residents live (Baku, Sumgayit, Ganja, Mingachevir, Shaki, Goranboy, Barda, Sabirabad, Goychay, Zagatala, Oguz and Balakan) with participation of heads of government bodies, MPs and intellectuals.

    A nationwide minute of science for victims of Khojaly Genocide shall be observed and national flags shall be lowered across the country at 17.00 on February 26, according to the plan of events.

    On February 25-26, 1992, the Armenian armed forces, together with the 366th infantry regiment of Soviet troops stationed in Khankendi committed an act of genocide against the population of the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly.

    As a result of the massacre, some 613 people were killed, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 old people. Eight families were totally exterminated, 130 children lost one parent and 25 children lost both. A total of 487 civilians became disabled as a result of the onslaught. Some 1,275 innocent residents were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 people remains unknown.

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    26
  • Turkey to change vehicle sale conditions
    01.02.2015 13:02
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/05/27/automobiles_270514.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/05/27/automobiles_270514.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 29

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    Turkey will change the vehicle sale conditions, Turkish newspaper Milliyet reported Jan. 29.

    A new law on vehicle sales is expected to be adopted in Turkey, the newspaper reported citing the sources in the parliament.

    It was also reported that after the law is adopted, the auto dealers will have to obtain a license.

    A special item on one-year- warranty for used cars is being considered to be included in the law.

    Currently, Turkey has no guarantees on used cars.

    It was earlier reported that four million new cars were sold in Turkey in 2010-2014 (five years), the Turkish Automotive Distributors' Association said.

    Around 2.911 million of the total account for passenger cars, while 1.112 million - commercial vehicles.

    Around 760,913 new cars were sold in Turkey in 2010- 864,439 cars in 2011 -777,761 cars in 2012- 853,378 cars in 2013- 767,681 cars in 2014.

    The number of cars hit 18,693,972 in Turkey in the first ten months of 2014, the Turkish Statistics Institute said.

    Cars accounted for 52.2 percent of the total number of vehicles in Turkey, trucks - 16.3 percent, motorcycles - 14.8 percent, tractors - 8.6 percent, buses - 6.4 percent, other vehicles - 1.7 percent, according to the Statistics Institute.

    Around 41.4 percent of vehicles in the country run on liquefied petroleum gas, 29.3 percent - gasoline and 29.6 percent on diesel fuel.

    Turkey ranks sixth in Europe for motor vehicle production.

    The cars of Ford, FIAT, Renault, Toyota, Honda, Opel, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and MAN brands are assembled in Turkey.

    Turkey also manufactures domestic brand buses, such as BMC, Temsa and Otokar.

    ---

    follow the author on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

    Edited by CN

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    33
  • Over 20% of mortgage loans in Azerbaijan issued on preferential basis
    01.02.2015 12:47
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/12/14/Birja_141212.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/12/14/Birja_141212.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

    By Azad Hasanli - Trend:

    Around 32.8 percent of the total amount of loans issued through the Azerbaijan Mortgage Fund (AMF) accounted for the citizens engaged in the public sector in 2014, the AMF statistics report as of 2014 says.

    The employees of private enterprises and firms (29.6 percent) rank second.

    The employees of the financial sector received less mortgage loans (23.8 percent of the total volume).

    Around 13.8 percent of the mortgaged housing accounted for the citizens employed in the oil sector of the economy.

    The loans amounting to 134.45 million AZN were issued through the AMF in 2014. This increased the total volume of housing financing to 633.28 million AZN. The total number of borrowers who received mortgage loans reached 15,842 people.

    The total amount of refinancing the loans issued by the banks earlier was 557.37 million AZN as of early 2015.

    Around 216 million AZN were allocated from the state budget to finance social mortgage. As of January 1, 2015, around 3,520 loans worth 130.2 million AZN were issued on preferential terms.

    As of January 1, 2015, the loans amounting to 435.2 million AZN were issued through the AMF as part of conventional mortgage. The conventional mortgage is delivered from the funds raised from the placement of mortgage bonds.

    The maximum amount of a conventional mortgage through the AMF is 50,000 AZN at a rate of 8 percent and a maturity of 25 years. The amount of a social mortgage is 50,000 AZN at an annual rate of 4 percent and the term of 30 years. The initial payment under the social mortgage is 15 percent, while for a conventional loans - 20 percent.

    Mortgage terms are as follows: loans must be issued in national currency, AZN, and only to the citizens of Azerbaijan, the subject of the mortgage can only be an apartment or private house, the amount of the mortgage should not exceed 80 percent of the market value of the property, the monthly payment for a loan must not exceed 70 percent of monthly income of the borrower, the presence of an agreement on life insurance and other conditions.

    Preferable conditions are granted to members of families of war victims, families of National Heroes of Azerbaijan, internally displaced persons, civil servants with at least a three years' experience, candidates and doctors of science, persons making special contributions to sport, as well as the military with at least a three-year service term. Each family having the right to such a mortgage loan can use the opportunity only once.

    Today the authorized banks of the AMF are 28 banks. The participants of the mortgage market are also 21 insurance companies and 16 appraisal organizations.

    The official exchange rate is 0.7844 AZN/USD Feb. 1.

    ---

    follow the author on Twitter: @AzadHasanli

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    15
  • Azerbaijani State Customs Committee clarifies statistics discrepancy with Georgia
    01.02.2015 12:16
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/09/19/Customs_Committee_Building_190912.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/09/19/Customs_Committee_Building_190912.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

    By Azad Hasanli - Trend:

    The imports of cars from Georgia are not registered in the customs statistics of Azerbaijan, Head of the Department of Statistics and Information Technology of the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee Igbal Babayev told AzTv TV channel.

    The goods imported into the country are registered in the statistics of the producing country, rather than in the statistics of the importing country, according to the Azerbaijani legislation.

    "The vehicles in the amount of $93.9 million were imported from Georgia to Azerbaijan in 2014," he said. "But according to Georgia's statistics, this index was $269.8 million in the trade turnover with Azerbaijan. Only 34.8 percent of these goods are produced in Georgia. According to the Azerbaijani statistics, this is registered in the trade turnover data with this country. The rest cars are registered in the trade turnover with the producing countries."

    He said that for example, some cars imported from Georgia are produced in Germany. So they are registered in Germany's trade turnover, rather than that of Georgia.

    Babayev said that such a discrepancy in the customs statistics is observed in many countries worldwide.

    "The difference in the statistic data on trade turnover between the US and China amounted to $ 48 billion in 2000, $ 72 billion - 2004, $84 billion in 2006," he said.

    According to the Georgian Statistics Service, the trade turnover between Georgia and Azerbaijan amounted to $1.182 billion in 2014 (10.3 percent of total foreign trade of Georgia), which is 13 percent less than in 2013.

    The share of cars in Georgia's total exports to Azerbaijan amounted to 49.22 percent during this period.

    The volume of exports of cars from Georgia decreased by 33.19 percent and in quantitative terms - by 133,110 cars compared to 2013.

    ---

    follow the author on Twitter: @AzadHasanli

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    17
  • Azerbaijani ruling party prepares for parliamentary election
    01.02.2015 11:36
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2008/06/10/logo YAP-big.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2008/06/10/logo YAP-big.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

    By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:

    The ruling New Azerbaijan Party as always begins preparing for the election long before the election date, Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Chairman - Executive Secretary of the ruling party Ali Ahmadov told reporters Jan. 31.

    "This is one of the reasons for the party's victory.

    Ahmadov was commenting on the ruling party's preparation for the parliamentary election.

    "A number of issues will be solved during the preparation," he said. "The candidates who will represent the ruling party in the election have been also determined."

    Ahmadov said that at present, the activity of many MPs representing the ruling party in the Azerbaijani parliament suits the party and the voters.

    "Of course, this will be taken into account," he said. "We have always tried to nominate such candidates who will be able to represent the ruling party with dignity and to gain the trust of voters."

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    19
  • Iran sees US presidentв's responsibility for potential failure of N-talks
    01.02.2015 11:32
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/01/12/Ali_Larijani_120113_4.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/01/12/Ali_Larijani_120113_4.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

    By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

    Iran's parliament speaker, Ali Larijani said that the US President Barack Obama is responsible for any failure of the nuclear talks.

    President Obama tries to divert the costs of any breakdown in the negotiations towards the Islamic Republic, Larijani said, Iran's Fars news agency reported Feb. 1.

    The US president can not make reasonable decisions due to domestic problems, Larijani said, adding Iranian people and administration have made reasonable flexibility in the negotiations.

    The Iranian speaker further said that Iran will never accept the US side's irrelevant demands in the nuclear talks.

    The US president should understand that Iran will never give up and his wrong policies may lead to failure of the negotiations.

    Talks between Iran and the P5 1 group have been extended until July 1, 2015 to reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement.

    After the sides failed to meet the 24 Nov. 2014 deadline they also extended the Geneva nuclear deal, which was signed in November 2013 for providing Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities.

    The US and its west allies suspects Iran of developing a nuclear weapon - something that Iran denies. The Islamic Republic has on numerous occasions stated that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons, using nuclear technology for electricity generation and medical purposes instead.

    Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh

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    10
  • Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 64 times in a day
    01.02.2015 10:43
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/06/07/Karabax_01_albom_070612.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/06/07/Karabax_01_albom_070612.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

    Trend:

    Over the past 24 hours, Armenian military 64 times violated ceasefire on various parts of the contact line between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said Feb. 1.

    Armenian armed forces stationed in Paravakar village of Ijavan district, Voskepar village of Noyemberyan district of Armenia, fired at the Azerbaijani armed forces' positions in Kohnegishlag village of Agstafa district, Ashagi Askipara village and the nameless heights of Gazakh district.

    Armenian armed forces stationed in Chinari, Mosesqekh and Aygepar villages of Berd district of Armenia fired at the Azerbaijani armed forces' positions in Kohanebi, Agdam and Alibayli villages of Tovuz district.

    Azerbaijani armed forces located in the nameless heights of Gedabey district also took fire from the nameless heights in Krasnoselsk district of Armenia.

    The Azerbaijani military also came under fire from positions near Goyarkh, Chileburd villages of Terter district, Tapqaraqoyunlu village of Goranboy district, Shuraabad, Bash Gervend, Shikhlar, Sarijali, Javahirli and Kangarli villages of Aghdam district, Kuropatkino village of Khojavand district, Gorgan, Horadiz, Ashagi Seyidahmadli villages of Fizuli district and Mehdili village of Jabrayil district.

    Meanwhile, Azerbaijani positions took fire from the positions located at the nameless heights of Goygol, Goranboy, Khojavend and Fizuli districts.

    The opposing side was silenced with return fire.

    The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

    As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

    The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.

    Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

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    16
  • Iran says gas transfer from Caspian Sea to EU is not economically justified
    01.02.2015 10:02
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/06/19/iran_flag_190614.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/06/19/iran_flag_190614.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 31

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Iran says transferring natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe is not economically justified.

    Azizollah Ramezani, the director for international affairs at the National Iranian Gas Company, said some European countries are planning to import gas from Turkmenistan via a Caspian Sea pipeline, Iran's IRNA news agency reported on Jan. 31.

    "We suggest that Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan transit natural gas via Iran to Turkey and export to Europe," he said. This is the safest and the most viable route for exporting gas to Europe, he added.

    For the time being, European governments do not intend to import gas from Iran due to political reasons, but European parliaments are pursuing the issue, he noted.

    Turkmenistan has signed an outline deal with Turkey to supply gas to the proposed Trans-Anatolian natural gas pipeline project (TANAP).

    TANAP envisages carrying 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas a year from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea, one of the world's largest gas fields, which is being developed by a BP-led consortium. TANAP's capacity is set to rise to 23 bcm by 2023 and to 31 bcm by 2026.

    However, to join the pipeline Turkmenistan will have to lay another pipeline across the Caspian Sea.

    Iranian energy officials say the Islamic Republic is prepared to export natural gas to European countries seeking to diversify their energy sources and gas supplies.

    European countries can import Iran's gas through three separate routes.

    A pipeline meant to transfer natural gas from Iran to Europe through Turkish soil is the most viable option. The second pipeline project could be a route that crosses several countries, including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, to transport Iran's gas to Europe.

    The third route would be a pipeline that runs through Armenia, Georgia and under the Black Sea.

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    17
  • Kim Jong Un: North Korea ready to confront any war, including nuclear conflict
    01.02.2015 09:46
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/01/26/kim_jong_un_260114.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/01/26/kim_jong_un_260114.jpg
    Kim Jong Un was in command of drills held by military formations of the Air Force and the Navy from the Korean People's Army, local papers reported on Sunday.

    The North Korean leader noted that the country "is ready to fight any war, including a nuclear one."

    War games focused on drills of a surprise strike by the Air Force and the Navy, including submarines, on an aircraft carrier of an imaginary enemy, if a warship appears on operational direction of the Korean People's Army, TASS reported.

    North Korean military forces "should stage intensive military exercises seeking to destroy an imaginary aircraft-carrying strike grouping of aggressive forces of American imperialists."

    "To sink a U.S. aircraft carrier down to the sea bottom is quite probable," papers quoted Kim as saying.

    The North Korean leader, who heads the country's armed forces in the rank of marshal, was accompanied by a large group of military commanders at the drills.

    The area of military exercises was not specified.

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    9
  • Housing construction growth in Kazakhstan in 2014 amounts to 10%
    01.02.2015 08:12
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/01/28/astana_100714_100714_alb.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/01/28/astana_100714_100714_alb.jpg
    Astana, Kazakhstan, Feb.1

    By Daniyar Mukhtarov - Trend:

    Kazakh construction companies in 2014 commissioned 7.5 million square meters of new housing, which is a historical maximum in the number of proposals on the primary housing market of the country, said a statement of analytical service Ranking.kz.

    "In 2014, Kazakh companies commissioned 672,200 square meters of housing (10 percent) more than in 2013," said the statement.

    The positive construction trend is observed in 15 regions of Kazakhstan, according to the report. More than one third of the constructed housing in Kazakhstan accounted for megalopolises.

    An absolute record in terms of construction belongs to Almaty. The annual growth in the commissioning of housing in Almaty has reached 60 percent (from 498,800 square meters to 1.3 million square meters).

    The second place belongs to Pavlodar region, where the increase amounted to 24 percent. It is followed by Mangistau region, where 586,400 square meters of housing (10 percent growth) were commissioned.

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    45
  • U.S. general says Syrian town of Kobani taken from Islamic State
    01.02.2015 06:56
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/10/07/kobani_071014.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/10/07/kobani_071014.jpg
    Kurdish ground forces, helped by U.S. and allied air support, have retaken the Syrian town of Kobani from Islamic State militants, U.S. Lieutenant-General James Terry said on Saturday, Reuters reported.

    Supporting what Kurdish forces said earlier this week, Terry, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force that has been leading air strikes against Islamic State, said in a statement issued by the U.S. military: "Kurdish ground forces, supported by our air component, were successful in retaking the town of Kobani."

    A monitoring group and Syrian state media reported Kurdish fighters took full control of Kobani on Monday, but on Tuesday a U.S. official said the town on the Turkish border had not been fully retaken.

    Saturday's statement said Kurdish forces had pushed Islamic State out of Kobani on Tuesday.

    "Kurdish forces continue to expand their positions to surrounding areas outside of Kobani by seizing key terrain and access routes," it said.

    The United States and allies have launched more than 700 air strikes against Islamic State in and around Kobani since Aug. 8, destroying more than 280 fighting positions, nearly 100 buildings, more than 60 technical vehicles and other equipment, it said.

    Islamic State, which has seized parts of Syria and Iraq, launched an assault on the predominantly Kurdish town last year, using heavy weapons seized in Iraq and forcing tens of thousands of residents into exile.

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    18
  • Turkey 'in Europe's future,' Turkish PM says
    01.02.2015 06:53
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/06/30/ahmet_davutoglu_300613.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/06/30/ahmet_davutoglu_300613.jpg
    Turkish people are an essential part of Europe, Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said late Saturday in his address to the nation, Anadolu agency reported.

    Davutoglu has addressed Turkish citizens and expatriates in his "On the Path to New Turkey" speech televised on Saturday.

    "A European history cannot be written without Turkish archives. And its future will not be written without us, either."

    Pointing to the obstacles in Turkey's EU membership, Davutoglu said those adopting anti-Muslim and anti-Turkish stances would not be able to overshadow either the historical realities or Turkey's willpower.

    The Turkish PM stressed that Turkey embraces all ethnicities, languages, and religions including Islam, Christianity, Judaism, as well as Sunni, Alewi, Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Balkan and Caucasian peoples.

    Davutoglu reiterated that he met religious representatives of non-Muslim and Alevi people earlier this month and that they exchanged views on the common cultural riches of the Turkish land.

    "This land is a place that inspires mercy," he stressed.

    Referring to the recent deadly Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, which killed 12 people, Davutoglu said:

    "When we were walking together in Paris with all the world leaders, our aim was to show that no terror act around the world could be identified with Islam (...) But we will also not remain silent over any type of insult against our Prophet Muhammad."

    He underlined Turkey's fight against terrorism. Terrorist acts have never been tolerated in the country, he said.

    Turkish PM also spoke about his attending the World Economic Forum in Davos as the holder of G20 term presidency.

    Turkey assumed the G20 presidency on Dec. 1. The first G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Deputy Governors' level meeting will be held in Istanbul on Feb. 8-9.

    "Turkey, with the G20 presidency, will be a bridge to justice between the least and the most developed countries," Davutoglu said, repeating the word justice three times.

    "If there will ever be an international peace and tranquility, and brotherhood for humanity, the magic word is justice."

    Justice and mercy go hand in hand, he stressed, and said the country's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, or AFAD, is a great success story for Turkey.

    "AFAD carries our mercy all across the world," he said voicing gratitude to the institution, which he said has become one of the leading aid organizations in the world.

    Referring to the developments in Turkey's defense industry, PM said the first national warplane prototype will have been produced by 2023.

    He said that countries that cannot defend themselves and do not have a national defense industry will only be "chanting slogans" on their independence.

    "A country's future is ensured through its defense industry in a similar way as peace and stability is ensured through economy," Davutoglu said, adding that inflation, current account deficit, and interest rates are decreasing while production has been increasing in Turkey.

    He also explained in detail the recent reforms in labor and family planning.

    Labor reforms announced last Wednesday are targeted at reducing the informal economy as well as boosting employment, and supporting women's participation in the workforce.

    Earlier in January, Davutoglu also announced new incentives for working women to have children.

    "We will provide mothers with the opportunity for part-time work after they use up the normal paid maternity leave of 16 weeks," Davutoglu said as he launched the government initiative titled "Program on Protection of Family and Dynamic Population Structure."

    The Turkish PM said those are all signs of Turkey's turning into a global power and that they will be noticed first within the country and later in Europe, Asia, Africa, and all across the world.

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    13
  • Iraqi Kurdish forces, police regain control of oil field
    01.02.2015 06:52
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/12/17/oil_171213.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/12/17/oil_171213.jpg
    Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and security forces have regained control of a small oil field in the northern part of the country hours after Takfiri ISIL terrorists seized the facility, Press TV reported.

    "Peshmerga forces and police cleared the Khabbaz (oil) field a little while ago and were able to enter it after surrounding it for hours," police Brigadier General Sarhad Qader said on Saturday evening, adding that they also retook eight villages.

    The ISIL militants had seized the field, located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southwest of the city of Kirkuk, early on Saturday.

    They had also taken 24 workers captive, who were freed later, Peshmerga Major General Westa Rasul said.

    An ISIL sniper killed Peshmerga Major General Hussein Mansur during the Saturday battle, Colonel Kawa Gharib said.

    Moreover, a Peshmerga major lost his life and four more fighters were injured in an explosion on Saturday.

    The oil field had been controlled by the Peshmerga forces of Iraq's Kurdistan region since June 2014. The facility, with a maximum production capacity of 15,000 barrels per day (bpd), was producing around 10,000 bpd before the ISIL attack.

    The Takfiri terrorists have captured several oil fields in Iraq and neighboring Syria. They use revenues from illegal oil sales to fund their terrorist activities.

    The ISIL started its campaign of terror in Iraq in early June 2014. The heavily-armed militants took control of Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul before sweeping through parts of the country's Sunni Arab heartland.

    Iraqi soldiers, police units, Kurdish forces, Shia volunteers and Sunni tribesmen have recently succeeded in driving the terrorists out of some areas in Iraq.

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    8
  • Kerry calls Kobaniв's liberation a big deal
    01.02.2015 04:27
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/11/09/john_kerry_091113.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/11/09/john_kerry_091113.jpg
    US Secretary of State John Kerry says recapturing the Syrian town of Kobani by Kurdish forces was a "big deal", Press TV reported.

    Kerry made the remarks during a trilateral meeting with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts in Boston on Saturday.

    The Kurdish fighters retook the strategic town, located on the border with Turkey, from the ISIL Takfiris on January 26, after more than 100 days of fierce fighting with them.

    The ISIL terrorists, however, are still scattered in Kobani's southeastern and southwestern countryside.

    Kerry further noted that the terrorist group was "forced to acknowledge its own defeat."

    "We have a long way to go in the overall campaign, but Daesh - ISIL as some know it - has said all along that Kobane was a real symbolic and strategic objective," he said. "So pushing them out of there is a big deal. And make no mistake, we will also use the same tools that we used to get there - the tools of cooperation and support - to defeat violent, transnational criminal organizations, and ensure that the rule of law thrives for all of our people."

    Since September 23, the US and some of its Arab allies -- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates -- have been conducting airstrikes against ISIL inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.

    Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011 with ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently controlling parts of it mostly in the east.

    Reports say more than 200,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the foreign-backed militancy plaguing the Arab country.

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    51
  • Turkey ministry denounces Armenia president remarks
    01.02.2015 03:47
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2009/07/16/Turkey_flag_160709.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2009/07/16/Turkey_flag_160709.jpg
    The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan's statement in regards to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's invitation for the commemoration of the Battle of Canakkale, Anadolu agency reported.

    In mid-Jan, the Turkish President sent invitation letters to more than 100 leaders, including the Armenian President Sargsyan, to participate the commemoration of the Battle of Canakkale on April 24.

    President Sargsyan reportedly denounced President Erdogan's invitation as a "short-sighted" attempt to overshadow the hundredth anniversary of the events of 1915 to be held on the same date, according to ArmeniaNow.com.

    "We condemn this style, which is unbecoming of a neighboring country leader or the representative of the ancient Armenian nation," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    The ministry said that it is not surprising that radical Armenian circles referred to this historical issue with outdated rhetoric. "What is surprising is the similar attitude taken by those who are responsible for managing the state," the ministry said.

    The ministry said that in the Battle of Canakkale all the people composing the Ottoman Empire, including Armenians, experienced deep anguish and that the Turkish president's invitation to his counterpart was also to commemorate the Armenians who died in that battle.

    The statement recalled the historical "condolence message" that Turkey sent to Armenia on April. 23, 2014, and said that Turkey knows and shares the sorrow of Armenian people.

    The foreign ministry invited Armenian authorities to pursue common sense, and shove aside any attempts to turn 2015 into a year of hatred against Turkey and Turks.

    During the First World War, the Ottoman Empire approved a deportation law for Armenians, amid their uprising with the help of the invading Russian army. As a result, an unknown number of people died in civil strife.

    Armenian diaspora and state of Armenia term the incidents as "genocide" and ask for compensation, whereas Ankara says while Armenians died during deportation many Turks also died due to the attacks by Armenian gangs all around Anatolia.

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    14
  • ISIL militants release video claiming to have killed Japanese hostage Kenji Goto
    01.02.2015 01:47
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/01/27/isil_270115.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/01/27/isil_270115.jpg
    Violent jihadists have posted a video online apparently showing the murder of Kenji Goto, a Japanese journalist, ending days of deadlock over his fate, The Telegraph reported.

    The one-minute video, posted by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, features the same masked man with an English accent nicknamed Jihadi John who has appeared in previous films.

    The Japanese government is trying to verify the authenticity of the footage.

    In the clip, Mr Goto kneels before his captor, who says: "To the Japanese government: You, like your foolish allies in the Satanic coalition, have yet to understand that we, by Allah's grace, are an Islamic Caliphate with authority and power, an entire army thirsty for your blood.

    "Abe, because of your reckless decision to take part in an unwinnable war, this knife will not only slaughter Kenji, but will also carry on and cause carnage wherever your people are found. So let the nightmare for Japan begin."

    No mention was made about the fate of Mu'adh al-Kasasibah, a Jordanian pilot who has been held since his plane crashed last month.

    A spokesman for the US National Security Council said: "We have seen the video purporting to show that Japanese citizen Kenji Goto has been murdered by the terrorist group ISIL. We are working to confirm its authenticity. The United States strongly condemns ISIL's actions and we call for the immediate release of all remaining hostages. We stand in solidarity with our ally Japan."

    Isil had threatened to kill both captives unless a would-be suicide bomber being held on death row in Amman was handed over by sunset on Thursday.

    The apparent murder of Mr Goto, 47, followed the killing last week of his fellow captive Haruna Yukawa, 42.

    Mr Goto is believed to have travelled to Syria to try to persuade Isil to release the man he had befriended on previous visits to the region.

    On Thursday, his wife broke her silence to plead for his release.

    "I fear that this is the last chance for my husband and we now have only a few hours left to secure his release and the life of Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh," said Rinko Goto. "I beg the Jordanian and Japanese Government to understand that the fates of both men are in their hands.'Ё

    But as the clock ticked on, past Thursday's deadline, Japanese officials prepared for the worst.

    Fumio Kishida, Foreign Minister , said in Tokyo on Saturday that the situation was unpredictable and that anything could happen, NHK reported.

    "Anything could happen," he said. "We can't predict it at all. While preparing for every situation, I want to make every effort for Mr Goto's release."

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    51
  • Erdogan claims Gulen movement cooperates with Mossad
    01.02.2015 00:27
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/05/02/erdogan.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/05/02/erdogan.jpg
    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dropped on Saturday yet another bombshell in his incessant fight against "parallel structure," his term to refer to the Gulen movement inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen, declaring this time that the movement is cooperating with Israel's intelligence agency Mossad, Today's Zaman reported.

    In a speech dedicated almost entirely to his cause against "parallel structure" in Д°stanbul, Erdogan addressed "honest people at the base of the parallel structure," meaning the followers of the movement, and warned there "could be no excuse" for them "to remain under this roof."

    "Honest people at the base of the parallel structure should please see whom this structure is in cooperation with," he said.

    "Shame on them if they still don't see that this structure works in cooperation with Mossad," he said, without elaborating on his claim.

    He said those who fail to join the fight "are doing injustice to their country, conscience and religion."

    Erdogan has launched a war against the Gulen movement, or Hizmet, after a scandalous corruption investigation targeting people in his inner circle that became public with a wave of detentions on Dec. 17, 2013. Erdogan blamed police officials, judges and prosecutors he claimed are linked with Gulen movement for the investigation, which he branded as a "coup attempt."

    The investigation stalled when the prosecutors overseeing the case were removed and thousands of police officials, judges and prosecutors were reassigned or removed as part of his fight against the "parallel structure" since then.

    He has already alleged that the movement is a "pawn" of "foreign imperial powers" and of an obscure "greater mind" plotting to undermine Turkey but Saturday's remarks mark the first time he alleged links with the Israeli intelligence.

    Gulen, based in the US, denies any link with the corruption probe.

    The war against Gulen movement comes amid a rollback of reforms that alarmed both domestic critics and international rights groups.

    In its annual freedoms report released last week, US-based watchdog Freedom House has stated that Turkey has drifted further from democratic reforms, with former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rising to the presidency and overseeing government attempts to quash corruption cases against his allies and associates as well as with greater interference in the media and judiciary.

    The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, has criticized the government handling of the corruption probe and called for transparency in addressing the graft claims.

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    47
  • Swiss police: 4 dead after avalanche hits group of skiers
    31.01.2015 23:18
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/01/31/switzerland_snowboarding_310115.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/01/31/switzerland_snowboarding_310115.jpg
    Police in Switzerland say four people are dead after an avalanche hit a group of skiers in the southeast of the country, The Associated Press reported.

    Police in Graubuenden canton (state) say the avalanche on the slopes of the Piz Vilan mountain Saturday afternoon swept away seven members of a nine-strong group of skiers.

    Rescuers recovered three bodies and four seriously injured people, who were flown to hospitals in St. Gallen, Zurich and Chur. Police say a fourth person later died at a hospital.

    There was no immediate word on what triggered the avalanche.

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    15
  • Egyptв's President Sisi vows to defend Sinai against militants
    31.01.2015 22:27
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/06/11/abdel_fattah_al_sisi_110614.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/06/11/abdel_fattah_al_sisi_110614.jpg
    Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has vowed to defeat militants fighting against government forces in the troubled Sinai Peninsula, Press TV reported.

    On Saturday, Sisi promised that his government is ready to brace for a long fight to defeat extremists after a wave of attacks on security forces in the troubled region. The president said the fight will be long but Egyptian forces will not give the Sinai to the militants.

    "We will never leave Sinai," media outlets quoted Sisi as saying, adding, "Sinai is ours. Sinai will not separate from Egypt unless all of us are killed."

    The remarks come two days after at least 45 people were killed in militant attacks across the volatile Peninsula.

    Egyptian security officials said over 80 others were injured after militants carried out attacks on army and police targets as well as an office of a daily newspaper in Sinai.

    A state of emergency has been declared in the northern part of the peninsula since a militant attack on an Egyptian army checkpoint killed more than 30 soldiers in October 2014.

    Sisi has claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood has a secret agenda for Egypt and it wants to spread lsquo;terrorism.'

    "I've said it before and I will say it again, we are fighting the strongest secret organization of the last two centuries," he noted.

    Egypt has cracked down on Brotherhood supporters since Sisi toppled former president, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013. The current president was the head of the armed forces at the time.

    Sisi is accused of leading the suppression of Morsi's supporters, as hundreds of them have been killed in clashes with Egyptian security forces over the past months.

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    17
  • Iran planning gas exports to Persian Gulf
    31.01.2015 21:32
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/06/06/gas_pipeline_060612_3.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/06/06/gas_pipeline_060612_3.jpg
    As Iran is discussing with the P5 1 over a final nuclear deal that would lead to the lifting of sanctions against the country, officials are already talking about scenarios for post-sanction economic activities, Press TV reported.

    For a country that sits on huge reserves of natural gas, planning to diversify the range of clients for the crucial fuel appears to be already a priority.

    Iran's media reported on Saturday that National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC) is currently engaged in talks with several Persian Gulf littoral states over the exports of natural gas.

    "The top priority for Iran today is to export gas to Persian Gulf countries due to the short distance involved," said Alireza Kameli, the managing director of NIGEC. "Iran can establish a pipeline of 200 kilometers and feed a large number of those countries," he was quoted as saying by the Persian-language newspaper Jahan-e San'at.

    Iran has the world's second largest conventional gas reserves after Russian. The bulk of the country's gas reserves are located in South Pars energy in Persian Gulf waters. The country produces over 600 million cubic meters (mcm/d) of gas from the existing projects in South Pars and officials have already emphasized that production will rise to above 700 mcm/d within the next three years.

    "The solution for Iran over exports of natural gas to Persian Gulf countries is using seasonal export deals," Kameli said.

    "Iran's gas consumption drops in the summer by at least 350 million cubic meters per day compared to the winter hellip;This is while the need for imports of natural gas for the Persian Gulf countries becomes very intense in summers."

    NIGEC chief further emphasized that Iran is currently negotiating with the UAE, Kuwait and Oman over the exports of natural gas.

    Iran's next gas export priority, Kameli said, is Europe. Nevertheless, he did not mention India - that had been for long been a favorite destination to receive Iranian gas through Pakistan - in NIGEC's post-sanctions export plans.

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    46
  • Turkey increases gas import
    31.01.2015 20:06
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/06/06/gas_pipeline_060612_2.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/06/06/gas_pipeline_060612_2.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.31

    By Emil Ismayilov - Trend:

    Turkey's Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS) imported almost 40 billion cubic meters of gas from various sources in 2014, compared to 36.1 billion cubic meters in 2013, a message posted on the website of BOTAS said.

    Azerbaijan is one of such sources. Turkey imports gas from Azerbaijan via the South Caucasus pipeline (Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum). Turkey has a contract on purchasing 6.6 billion cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas condensate field per year.

    Around 644 million cubic meters of gas accounted for the export operations of BOTAS in 2014, compared to 694 million cubic meters in 2013, according to the message.

    Some 40.81 billion cubic meters of gas was sold in Turkey's domestic market in 2014, compared to 37.96 billion cubic meters in 2013.

    Edited by SI

    ---

    Follow the author on Twitter: @Emilsmail

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    49
  • Italy parliament elects Sergio Mattarella as president
    31.01.2015 19:06
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2007/02/27/Italy_Flag-270207-big.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2007/02/27/Italy_Flag-270207-big.jpg
    The Italian parliament has elected constitutional court judge, Sergio Mattarella, as the country's new president, Press TV reported.

    On Friday, the Italian lawmakers elected the 73-year-old as president in the fourth round of voting.

    In the first three rounds of voting over the past two days, Mattarella failed to acquire the necessary two-thirds majority. However, he managed to garner 665 votes from the 1,009 electors in the final round.

    Mattarella had been nominated by the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. His nomination sparked fury among the parties in the Italian coalition government who accused Renzi of imposing his choice on them.

    The candidate also faced opposition from the lawmakers from the center-right party of Italy's former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, who protested that they had not been consulted on the nomination.

    Mattarella has become Italy's 12th president since World War II and succeeds Giorgio Napolitano, 89, who resigned two weeks ago due to "signs of fatigue."

    Mattarella has already served as Italy's deputy prime minister, education and defense minister and joined the Democratic Party in the early 2000s.

    In 1980, his brother was killed by the mafia while holding the position of governor of Sicily.

    The presidential position is mostly a ceremonial role in Italy as the prime minister is in charge of the government. However, the Italian constitution grants the president the power to choose the prime minister, dissolve the parliament and call snap elections at times of crisis.

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    45
  • Congressmen urge Turkey to stop passage of ISIL terrorists to Europe
    31.01.2015 18:27
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/11/26/usa_congress_261114_01.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/11/26/usa_congress_261114_01.jpg
    Senior members of the US Congress have slammed Turkey for allowing ISIL terrorists to enter the country from Iraq and Syria and travel to Europe to conduct terror attacks, Press TV reported.

    In interviews with BuzzFeed News, leading members of the Senate and House of Representatives warned Turkey that the country's government must take aggressive steps to stop the passage of ISIL militants to Europe.

    "I think the Turks have a lot of work to do, in terms of the level of their cooperation. This is a war. And they certainly aren't treating it that way," Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr said.

    Reports say the ISIL terrorist group has been sending its members to Turkish port cities where, posing as refugees, they use boats or hide in cargo ships to travel to Europe.

    The ISIL has threatened to conduct attacks on targets in Europe and the US. Turkey has long been criticized for its stance towards the terror group.

    "We are certainly very concerned with the exodus of foreign fighters from Syria and Iraq," House Intelligence ranking member Adam Schiff said.

    "We continue to have a problem along the Turkish border, specifically with ISIS's ability to move money and fighters across the border largely unmolested," Schiff added, using another acronym for ISIL.

    Schiff said the Turkish border remains "far too porous," and that US officials are in talks with the Turkish government to try to prevent ISIL movements through the country.

    Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a leading hawk on Capitol Hill, also called on Turkey "to step up its game" and stop the flow of terrorists through its borders. "The key to this is Turkey," he said.

    The ISIL terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, are engaged in crimes against humanity in the areas under their control.

    Late last year, the Turkish government agreed to let US-led coalition forces use its military bases for operations against ISIL terrorists, as well as train some 4,000 "moderate" militants fighting the Syrian government, US officials said in October.

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    13
  • Georgia, EU mull co-op in military sphere
    31.01.2015 17:56
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/10/15/Georgia_EU_151012.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/10/15/Georgia_EU_151012.jpg
    Tbilisi, Georgia, Jan.31

    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

    Georgian-EU relations were discussed during the meeting of Georgian Defense Minister Mindia Janelidze with Herbert Salber, EU special representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, the country's Defense Ministry told Trend on Jan.31.

    The sides discussed the participation of Georgian contingent in the peacekeeping operations under the EU auspices.

    They focused on the Geneva talks and the situation in Georgia's breakaway regions.

    Large scale military action was launched between Georgia and Russia in South Ossetia on August 8, 2008.

    Later, Russian troops occupied Tskhinvali and expelled the Georgian military.

    Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in late August.

    In response, Tbilisi ended diplomatic relations with Moscow and has called the two unrecognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia occupied territories.

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    16
  • Politics must not get involved in Iranв's scientific centers
    31.01.2015 17:41
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/01/09/Ali_Khamenei_090113_3.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/01/09/Ali_Khamenei_090113_3.jpg
    Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Iranian scientists not to let politics get involved in scientific and research centers, the official IRNA news agency reported Jan. 31.

    Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting with academics, researchers and officials working in the field of nanotechnology.

    Earlier in the day, the Iranian leader visited an exhibition on the latest achievements Iran has made in the field of nanotechnology.

    "The Progress made in the field of nanotechnology has indicated that tangible breakthrough can be made by mobilizing a team of caring and skilful professionals," Khamenei said.

    The Supreme Leader advised the scientists to adopt "precise planning, management stability and identifying superior talents in the field of nanotechnology" to make further advancements in the field of nanotechnology.

    He further urged the need to accelerate rhythm of Iran's scientific progress noting that in order to reach the necessary authority, Iranians must strengthen themselves on a daily basis.

    "The enemies of Iran are mounting their bullying and hostility to the Islamic Republic for its political, social and ideological independence. Therefore, the country must proceed with empowerment day by day in order to reach the status in science and technology and thwart their hostility to Iran in different ways," Khamenei said.

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    11
  • Turkish parliament supports changing OSCE MG format
    31.01.2015 17:39
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2009/08/05/turkey_parliament_050809.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2009/08/05/turkey_parliament_050809.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.31

    By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:

    The Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict hasn't been resolved so far due to the unsuccessful policy pursued by the OSCE Minsk Group, a member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Sinan Ogan told Trend.

    He said the policy pursued by the Minsk Group is unsuccessful because there is a strong Armenian diaspora in the co-chairing countries (the US, Russia and France).

    All these three countries are under Armenian pressure, therefore none of them sought to resolve the conflict, according to Ogan.

    He said the problem should be resolved at the current stage, adding that a strong international organization is necessary for this. "Unfortunately, OSCE Minsk Group has completely lost respect."

    He added that the proposal put forward by Azerbaijani MP Azay Guliyev is ideal. "The organization should consist of the council of five co-chairs, according to this proposal. Additionally, it is proposed to include Turkey and Germany in the list of the co-chairs."

    If these two countries join the Minsk Group, there will be balance, according to Ogan.

    He said both Germany and Turkey will join this mission with great pleasure. "This will be an important, well-thought-out and significant strategic step for Azerbaijan and Turkey, since we regard this not only as Azerbaijan's, but also Turkey's problem."

    There is a very strong Turkish diaspora in Germany, said the member of Turkish parliament, adding that unfortunately, it is not represented in political circles.

    Ogan believes that perhaps, OSCE Minsk Group will be able to achieve something for the first time in such format. "It is a very important proposal; we support and will support it."

    He added that this proposal should be worked out by Turkey's Foreign Ministry as well. Turkey and Azerbaijan should together raise this issue at the international level, according to Ogan.

    The parliament member said that Azerbaijan has good relations not only with Turkey, but also with Germany. He added that the country has special relations with Russia, as well as it has relations with the US and France.

    He believes that the new format will be more balanced which will help resolve the problem.

    Ogan added that Turkey will have an opportunity to fairly resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.

    Earlier, the Deputy Chairman of the OSCE PA's Committee on Political Affairs and Security, Azerbaijani MP Azay Guliyev said he plans to raise the issue of increasing the number of OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs from three countries - the US, Russia and France - to five, including Germany and Turkey.

    Guliyev said he will raise the issue at the winter session of the OSCE PA, to be held in Vienna.

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    12
  • Georgian government pays off debt to UNESCO
    31.01.2015 17:17
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/07/01/tbilisi_070514_002.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/07/01/tbilisi_070514_002.jpg
    Tbilisi, Georgia, Jan.31

    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

    Georgian government has paid off the 12,449 euros worth debt to UNESCO for holding an event dedicated to the country's Independence Day in the organization's headquarters on May 27, 2009.

    Georgian Foreign Ministry was allowed to pay 12,549 euros to UNESCO in accordance with the order of the country's Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.

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    16
  • Samsung Electronics to buy a firm
    31.01.2015 17:01
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457687.jpg
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457687.jpg
    South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Saturday that it would acquire Brazilian printing solutions company Simpress, the latest deal by the tech giant to bolster its business-to-business operations.

    The acquisition comes as Samsung searches for ways to stabilise earnings. The maker of Galaxy smartphones reported its first annual profit decline in three years as contributions from its erstwhile cashcow mobile division fell sharply.

    One of the tech giant's responses to the uncertain smartphone outlook has been making acquisitions to strengthen its business offerings for corporate clients.

    Samsung in November acquired U.S. based server-side caching software company Proximal Data. The Korean firm also acquired U.S.-based Quietside, distributor of heating, ventilation and air conditioning products, and Canadian mobile printing solutions company PrinterOn.

    A Samsung spokeswoman declined to comment on how much the firm is paying to acquire Simpress.
    13
  • A teenager accidentally shot friendв's in the penis.
    31.01.2015 16:53
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457622.jpg
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457622.jpg
    In the US a teenage boy was hospitalised after a friend accidentally shot him in the penis.

    In a frantic 911 call, the unnamed 15-year-old, from Collier County, Florida, can be heard telling police how he received injuries to his arm and penis after the weapon accidentally discharged.

    Police have said that while the teen initially refused to cooperate with their investigation, he eventually admitted that his friend had accidentally fired the weapon, but told him to leave so he would not get in trouble.

    The friends of the injured boy finally told police what had happened after five hours of questioning, with one of the teenagers arrested for obstruction of justice.

    The victim was flown to Lee Memorial Hospital with serious injuries, but has since been discharged.
    14
  • Israeli president says Khojaly tragedy among massacres
    31.01.2015 16:52
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/136826.jpg
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/136826.jpg
    Reuven Rivlin:''Are we shedding too many tears, and taking too little action?''

    In his speech at the event dedicated to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the UN General Assembly, President of Israel Reuven Rivlin said the Khojaly tragedy is among genocide and massacres committed all over the world, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

    Speaking of the anti-Semitism, chauvinism and crimes against humanity, the Israeli president said are we shedding too many tears, and taking too little action?

    "On this day we must ask ourselves honestly, is our struggle, the struggle of this Assembly, against genocide, effective enough? Was it effective enough then in Bosnia? Was it effective in preventing the killing in Khojaly? Of Afghans by the Taliban? Is it effective enough today in Syria? Or in the face of the atrocities of Boko Haram in Nigeria? Are we shedding too many tears, and taking too little action?" the president added.
    37
  • Google to change privacy policy
    31.01.2015 16:49
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457650.jpg
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457650.jpg
    Google has agreed to better inform users about how it handles their personal information after an investigation by Britain's data protection regulator found its privacy policy was too vague.

    The Information Commissioner's Office said in a statement that it required Google to sign a "formal undertaking" that it would make the changes by June 30 and take further steps in the next two years.

    The ICO investigation stems from a privacy policy implemented by Google in March 2012 that consolidated some 70 existing privacy policies into one and pooled data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and its social network Google .

    Regulators in Spain and France have fined Google 900,000 euros ($1.02 million) and 150,000 euros respectively over the privacy policy, small penalties relative to Google's scale.

    Google's annual revenue in 2013 was $55.52 billion.
    12
  • '˜Armenian genocide monumentв' picture on planner dedicated to Г‡anakkale battle
    31.01.2015 16:48
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/136843.jpg
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/136843.jpg
    The Turkish Foreign Ministry has mistakenly published a picture of an ''Armenian Genocide Monument'' on an official day planner, prepared to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Г‡anakkale, APA reports quoting the Hurriyet Daily News.

    An investigation has been launched into the mistake, the official said, adding that most of the day planners have yet to be distributed.

    Armenians are going to commemorate the 100th anniversary of so-called "genocide" on April 24, when the 100th anniversary of the Çanakkale Victory will be celebrated.

    The planner included pictures of the Çanakkale Victory and other events held in this regard. A picture of the monument in Yerevan included on the April page of the planner was shot years ago during the anniversary of "genocide".
    9
  • HambГјchen skipping European Championship to focus on Baku 201
    31.01.2015 16:47
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457678.jpg
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457678.jpg
    Germanyв's Horizontal Bar double Olympic medallist and former world champion Fabian HambГјchen will be skipping the 2015 European Artistic Gymnastics Championship to concentrate on the Baku 2015 European Games.

    It will be the first time that the 27-year-old HambГјchen, the Beijing 2008 bronze medallist and London 2012 silver medallist, will voluntary miss the continental championship. The 2015 European Championship will take place in Montpellier from 13-19 April, 2015.

    ''Fabian is no longer the youngest, and we have to focus on certain competitions. Thatв's why the focus will be on the world championship in October in Glasgow and the European Games in June in Baku,'' the 2007 world championв's father and coach Wolfgang HambГјchen said.

    HambГјchen will start his season at the 2015 American Cup in Arlington, Texas on March 7 at the ATamp;T Stadium.

    ''It will be a motivating push for him to get into the new and important season. And you really canв't have a more attractive start as an athlete. There are tens of thousands of spectators, an amazing arena, a full house ... What more do you want,'' the coach HambГјchen was quoted on GymMedia.de.

    HambГјchen is expected to also compete in a tournament in S
    10
  • Ali Ahmadov: For achieving a fair solution on this conflict Azerbaijani side will do its best
    31.01.2015 16:46
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    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457666.jpg
    ''Azerbaijani side has filled an appeal to European Court of Human Rights in connection with the ''judgment'' passed by the separatist regime on Azerbaijanis taken hostages in occupied lands of Azerbaijan. I hope international organizations will approach fairly to this issue.'' Deputy Prime Minister , Deputy Chief of the New Azerbaijan Party Ali Ahmadov told, SIA reports.

    According to him, Armenia has occupied Azerbaijani lands more than 20 years and decisions on this occupation made by international organizations have not been fulfilled yet. Armenian side disregards those decisions.

    ''For achieving a fair solution on this conflict Azerbaijani side will do its best'' stressing Ali Ahmadov added that this process once more proves aggressive positon of Armenia.
    22
  • First Lationo princess, Disney introduces
    31.01.2015 16:45
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457681.jpg
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457681.jpg
    Disney will introduce its first Latina princess, Elena of Avalor, an olive-skinned beauty who will make her debut in a special episode of "Sofia the First," the Disney Junior hit TV show, and then will go on to have her very own spin-off.

    If the news sound vaguely familiar itв's because a little over a year ago there was a lot of buzz when Sofia the First was mistakenly introduced as Hispanic. Despite the Spanish spelling of the name, it all turned out to be a misunderstanding, with President and CEO for the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) Alex Nogales playing a central role in clarifying the issue.
    17
  • Standard Poors credit rating for Azerbaijan stands at BBB
    31.01.2015 16:45
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/136827.jpg
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/136827.jpg
    Standard Poors credit rating for Azerbaijan stood at BBB-.

    Moodys rating for the country`s sovereign debt is Baa3, AzerTag reports. Fitchs credit rating for Azerbaijan is BBB-. In general, a credit rating is used by sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and other investors to gauge the credit worthiness of Azerbaijan thus having a big impact on the country's borrowing costs.
    10
  • Panasonic closes TV plant in China
    31.01.2015 16:44
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457679.jpg
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457679.jpg
    Panasonic has closed its last remaining TV manufacturing factory in China and is to sell its plant in Mexico as part of a restructuring plan aimed at stemming losses, a newspaper said Saturday.

    The Japanese electronics giant was forced to pull the plug on local production in the two countries due to a sharp decline in TV prices in North America and China, the Nikkei newspaper said.

    The move will see Panasonic cutting back overseas production by 700,000 units a year, representing about 10 percent of worldwide output, the business daily said.

    In China, the firm stopped production at an 80 percent-owned joint venture in Shandong Province on Friday, the newspaper said. The company plans to liquidate the venture with the several hundred workers there likely to be laid off, the daily said.

    It will continue to sell TVs in China by outsourcing production for the roughly 200,000 units a year that it used to manufacture in-house, it said.

    In Mexico, Panasonic is expected later this year to sell a plant that has annually churned out about 500,000 units mostly shipped to the US market, the Nikkei said.

    The company now plans to focus more on high-resolution models and other high-value-added TVs, it added.

    Panasonic has been struggling to boost earnings in the TV segment, which has been losing money over the last six years.

    The TV business logged a loss of 46.5 billion yen ($396 million) for the fiscal year to March last year.

    Panasonic expects to sell roughly seven million TVs worldwide this fiscal year, excluding those under the Sanyo brand.

    No one at Panasonic was immediately available to comment on the report.
    18
  • Coal mine flooding in China, 7 dies
    31.01.2015 16:44
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457675.jpg
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457675.jpg
    The death toll from a coal mine flooding in east China's Anhui Province has climbed to seven, with one more body retrieved by rescuers Saturday.

    The accident happened at the Zhuxianzhuang coal mine in Yongqiao District, Suzhou City, at 6:55 p.m. Friday when 34 miners were working underground. Twenty-seven miners managed to escape while seven others were trapped, according to the Huaibei Mining (Group) Co. Ltd., the owner of the coal mine.

    The last body was found in the shaft by rescuers around 11 a.m. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

    The Zhuxianzhuang coal mine is a key state-owned coal mine that started operation in the 1980s.
    18
  • Johnny Depp to marry next weekend
    31.01.2015 16:43
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457638.jpg
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457638.jpg
    Johnny Depp will reportedly tie the knot with his fiancГ©e Amber Heard at a ceremony held next weekend on his private island in the Bahamas. According to the New York Post's Page Six, the Mortdecai star and Amber will marry in an intimate service in front of around 50 guests, including the actress' family and Johnnyв's two children, Lily-Rose, 15, and 12-year-old Jack.

    The wedding will take place at the actor's 45-acre Little Hall's Pond Cay island home, where accommodation is so limited that many of the invitees will apparently be staying on Johnnyв's yacht during the celebrations.

    Johnny, 51, and Amber, 28, first met while making the 2011 film The Rum Diary, and got engaged in December 2013 after a year of dating. They are said to have chosen their wedding date '" the weekend of 7-8 February '" because of their busy work schedules.

    "She's filming a movie in London and he's getting ready to film the next Pirates of the Caribbean in Australia. So this is the only time that everyone could get together," a source revealed.

    The insider also said that Amber has chosen a wedding dress designed by Stella McCartney for her big day.

    ohnny bought his tropical paradise while shooting Pirates of the Caribbean in 2004, for $3.6million. The island, which is only accessible by seaplane or boat, has six beaches, which the actor chose to name after important people in his life '" Paradis, after his then partner Vanessa Paradis, Lily Rose and Jack, after his children, Gonzo, after his friend Hunter S. Thompson, and Brando, after Marlon Brando, another mentor.

    "I don't think I'd ever seen any place so pure and beautiful," Johnny told Vanity Fair in 2009 about the island. "You can feel your pulse rate drop about 20 beats. It's instant freedom".
    41
  • Ukraine peace talks delayed
    31.01.2015 16:42
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457626.jpg
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457626.jpg
    Civilians were killed on both sides in heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine on Friday, while an attempt to reopen peace talks in neighboring Belarus was aborted before it began.

    Rebel delegates flew to the Belarus capital Minsk, only to announce that no talks would take place on Friday and they were flying straight back to Moscow. Any talks would be the first since a five-month-old ceasefire collapsed with a new rebel advance last week.

    The main rebel stronghold Donetsk echoed to the sound of heavy artillery fire, including salvoes from multiple rocket launchers and heavier thuds from artillery coming from the direction of the airport, a constant battlefield.

    A Reuters cameraman in Donetsk saw four covered bodies near a cultural center that had been hit by artillery while residents were queuing outside for humanitarian aid. A fifth body lay in a badly-damaged car nearby. A woman was weeping by one of the bodies. A kilometer (half mile) away, a sixth dead person lay where a trolleybus had been hit.

    The separatists said the total death toll in those two strikes was seven, blaming government forces. Kiev said the shelling was carried out by the rebels to ruin the chance of peace talks. Both sides have made similar allegations throughout the conflict, which are impossible to verify.

    "We are already used to this artillery and there's nothing we can do about it. Our boys are defending us," said Alla, a shopkeeper in downtown Donetsk.

    In Debaltseve, east of Donetsk, seven civilians were killed on Friday by separatist shelling of their homes, regional police chief Vyacheslav Abroskin said in a Facebook post. Earlier he reported another seven civilians killed in and around the town in the previous 24 hours. The government-held town is a key rail and road junction in the east. It and nearby Vuhlehirsk have come under fierce attack from rebels encircling government garrisons there, with water and electricity supplies cut off.
    16
  • Azerbaijani wrestlers claim 5 medals in Iran
    31.01.2015 16:42
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/136831.jpg
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/136831.jpg
    Azerbaijani Greco-Roman wrestlers have won five medals in the Yadigar Imam Cup in Mashhad, the Islamic Republic of Iran, AzerTag reports.

    Freestyle wrestlers Shahin Mukhtarov, Aliabbas Rzazade gained silver, while Fazil Hasanov and Orkhan Abbasov scooped bronze medals.

    Jeyhun Nasirov claimed bronze medal in the Greco-roman event.
    14
  • Re-opening of schools delayed again
    31.01.2015 16:41
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457612.jpg
    http://img.sia.az/news/2015/siaphoto_457612.jpg
    Liberia has delayed planned re-opening of schools, saying they are not not yet fully prepared to prevent the spread of Ebola, SIA reports with refernece to BBC.

    The schools - closed in July - had been due to open on Monday, but teaching will now begin on 16 February.

    The BBC's Mark Doyle says several schools he has seen are woefully unready to prevent Ebola infection. They are lacking chlorinated water for hand-washing and thermometers to check pupils don't have fever.

    Some schools were used as Ebola treatment offices or holding centres, our correspondent adds.

    Liberia - alongside with its West African neighbours Sierra Leone and Guinea - has been hardest hit by the outbreak of the deadly virus.

    In Liberia alone, more than 3,600 people have been killed.

    However, Liberia appears to be beating Ebola, as there now only five confirmed cases across the country.
    39
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