top of page
Online Payment
Azerbaijan takes over ADB Board of Governors chairmanship for 2015
06.05.2014 00:26
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.
Dear User, please take into the consideration the fact that all news are posted to our portal automatically by the system and no human factor is used to estimate the content of information, therefore if you consider this article non-ethical, offensive, illegal or incorrect, we kindly ask you to inform us about this issue.
Popular news
  • Housing construction growth in Kazakhstan in 2014 amounts to 10%
    01.02.2015 08:12
    Astana, Kazakhstan, Feb.1By 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
  • Turkey to change vehicle sale conditions
    01.02.2015 13:02
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 29By 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 ...
  • Azerbaijan's role as alternative gas supplier grows
    01.02.2015 22:04
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.1By Aygun Badalova - Trend:The role of Azerbaijan as an alternative supplier of gas to European markets grows, the research assistant of the Center for the Study of Central Asia and Caucasus of the Institute of Oriental Studies (Moscow) Stanislav Pritchin told Trend."Long-term ...
  • Azerbaijani youth must be bearer of national ideas
    01.02.2015 15:42
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:Much work has been conducted in the areas of development, education, youth employment since celebrating the Youth Day in Azerbaijan on February 2, Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Chairman - Executive Secretary of the ruling New Azerbaijan party Ali Ah...
  • Construction of Iranв's only LNG plant suspended
    01.02.2015 16:43
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 31By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Construction of Iran's only liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant is still suspended.Alireza Kameli, the managing director of National Iranian Gas Company, said that a German company has signed a contract to manufacture equipment for the LNG plant, ...
  • Plan of events on 23rd anniversary of Khojaly Genocide approved in Azerbaijan
    01.02.2015 13:41
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1Trend: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 ...
  • Iranв's FM leaves for tour of African States
    01.02.2015 17:42
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1By Umid Niayesh - Trend:Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif left Tehran on Feb. 1 for Nairobi, Kenya as the first step of an official visit to four African states.Heading a high ranking delegation Zarif also will visit Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania, the Islamic Repub...
  • Azerbaijani ruling party prepares for parliamentary election
    01.02.2015 11:36
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1By 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 o...
  • U.S. general says Syrian town of Kobani taken from Islamic State
    01.02.2015 06:56
    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...
  • Obama to send $4 Trillion budget request to Congress
    02.02.2015 03:07
    US President Barack Obama will submit a $4 trillion budget proposal for 2016 to a Republican-controlled Congress that will include increased spending in areas such as middle-class economic policies, precision medicine, infrastructure and national security, along with increased taxes on the wealthy, ...
  • China-Russia cooperation strengthens global stability - Ambassador
    02.02.2015 05:37
    Cooperation between China, Russia and India complements the BRICS format, contributing to global and regional security, RIA Novosti reported the statement of Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui.

    "Cooperation between China, Russia and India is an important factor that determines security and stability both in the region and in the world. This format has existed for over 10 years, in that time it has become an important platform for coordinating stances, developing consensus solutions and finding ways of cooperation," Hui said.

    "This format completes the BRICS mechanism and is an important instrument of active multilateral international cooperation between developing economies that increases their role in the global economic system," he added.

    According to the ambassador, China, Russia and India have similar positions on a number of international and regional issues and maintain constant dialogue that increases the level of trust in their relations.

    "Practical cooperation between our states contributes to real growth of the world economy. Our strategic partnership makes a contribution to the strengthening of this world and global and Eurasian stability," Hui stressed.

    On Monday, the foreign ministers of Russia, China and India will hold the 13th meeting in the format in Beijing. According to Hui, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will also hold bilateral talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

    Russia, China and India are the founding members of the BRICS group of emerging economies, which also includes Brazil and South Africa. Moscow and New Delhi are considering using their national currencies in bilateral trade to reduce their dependency on the dollar. In late 2014, Russia and China agreed on a national currencies swap to shore up the depreciating Rouble and said they were working to increase the number of mutual payments in Roubles and Yuan.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Riots occurred in Nagorno-Karabakh, occupied by Armenia
    02.02.2015 05:20
    "Hundreds of police and soldiers started beating women and children"

    Baku-APA. Trying to hold a rally Armenian movement "100-year anniversary without regime" was prevented by the police and the army. APA reports with reference to website.

    According to report, initially scheduled for 9-January rally was disrupted by representatives of the separatist regime of Nagorno-Karabakh to justify their actions by saying that the rally could undermine the "trust and confidence" to the official Yerevan Armenians settled in the territory of Azerbaijan, occupied by Armenia.

    Nevertheless, the organizers decided to hold the rally. However, representatives of the separatist regime prevented the entry of 43 cars occupied by Armenians in the Azerbaijani city of Shusha.

    According to the rally participant Susan Simonyan, at a height on a convoy attacked by armed masked men, who were joined by hundreds of police.

    "When Jirayr Sefilyan and others out of the car to talk to them, suddenly there were thousands of police officers as well as soldiers started beating women and children, beaten journalist, our machines, in which sat the children threw stones, broke, we were trying to pull out of the vehicles were selected phones, car keys, mother. This was not even on the 1st March, it was even more violent repetition of the 1st March, now the Moscow correspondent of the newspaper "Noah's Ark" - Anushava Shahnazaryan being taken to the hospital. He has a head injury, covered in blood", - she said.

    According to the report, Jirayr Sefilyan and other participants of the rally were injured.
  • World doesn't need military conflict between US, Russia
    02.02.2015 04:29
    Engaging in a military conflict with Russia would be unwise, the US President Barack Obama told CNN Feb.1, according to RIA Novosti.

    "I don't think that it would be wise for the United States or the world to see an actual military conflict between the United States and Russia," Obama said.

    According to the president, NATO member states bordering with Russia are being reinforced to make it "clear that that line is one that cannot be crossed because we would have to take military action to protect our allies" following Crimea's reunification with Russia.

    Obama stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin had not been "stopped" due to the size of Russian military and the fact that Ukraine does not have a NATO membership, hence there are limits to what the US can do in a military manner.

    Relations between NATO and Russia have been tense since early 2014, as the bloc accused Moscow of interfering in the Ukrainian conflict. Moscow has firmly denied the claims, expressing concern over the alliance's military expansion near Russian borders.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Obama to send $4 Trillion budget request to Congress
    02.02.2015 03:07
    US President Barack Obama will submit a $4 trillion budget proposal for 2016 to a Republican-controlled Congress that will include increased spending in areas such as middle-class economic policies, precision medicine, infrastructure and national security, along with increased taxes on the wealthy, which Republicans are expected to strongly oppose, RIA Novosti reported.

    Obama's budget, which is projected to include $3.9 trillion in total expenditures and $3.5 trillion in revenues, leaving an annual deficit of $467 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), will likely face stiff resistance from Republicans who are against spending, deficits and tax increases.

    The US president and Congress must come to an agreement on a fiscal budget or else the US government could face another partial shutdown of operations as it did in 2013.

    "To make these common-sense investments in our future without adding to our deficits, we need to turn the page on the manufactured crises that have defined the debates over our budget in recent years. Our recovery was held back when Congress shut down the government and risked the full faith and credit of the United States. We can't afford to do that again," Obama said in a blog post on Jan.30.

    Obama's budget also calls for doing away with a budget reduction mechanism called sequestration, put in place as part of a reluctant compromise between the White House and Capitol Hill in 2011, which automatically cuts defense and domestic programs based on set limits.

    "If Congress rejects my plan and refuses to undo these arbitrary cuts, it will threaten our economy and our military," Obama stressed.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Poroshenko, Merkel, Hollande disappointed over lack of Minsk talks progress
    02.02.2015 01:07
    The leaders of Ukraine, Germany and France expressed disappointment over the lack of progress during Minsk talks on Ukrainian reconciliation, RIA Novosti reported the statement of the press service of Ukrainian President Petro Peroshenko.

    "Petro Poroshenko, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande expressed disappointment with the fact that the Trilateral Contact Group [on Ukrainian reconciliation] failed to make any progress during the recent meeting in Minsk," the statement published on Ukrainian president's official website said.

    The Ukrainian leader also stressed the need for Moscow's official reaction to the failure of negotiations.

    On Jan.31, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, OSCE envoy Heidi Tagliavin, as well as the representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk "people's republics" Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego held a fresh round of peace talks in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

    The Contact Group on Ukrainian crisis, however, failed to reach any agreement.

    Kiev and representatives of the breakaway republics blamed each other for failing the reconciliation talks in Minsk. Kiev's negotiator Leonid Kuchma argued that the independence supporters had broken the talks down, since the "leaders" of Donetsk and Luhansk did not show up. In response, Pushilin and Deinego noted that Kuchma was not even officially appointed as a Ukrainian representative at the talks.

    Kiev and independence supporters managed to reach a ceasefire deal during the September 5, 2014 Minsk talks. However, the confrontation between the warring parties intensified severely in the beginning of 2015.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Azerbaijan's role as alternative gas supplier grows
    01.02.2015 22:04
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.1

    By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

    The role of Azerbaijan as an alternative supplier of gas to European markets grows, the research assistant of the Center for the Study of Central Asia and Caucasus of the Institute of Oriental Studies (Moscow) Stanislav Pritchin told Trend.

    "Long-term projects that are being implemented within the framework of the Southern Gas Corridor are very important for Europe in terms of the fact that Azerbaijan will act as an independent supplier," said Pritchin, adding that there will always be support for these projects at the level of the European Commission.

    Pritchin said that Azerbaijan's energy policy is maximum aimed at the use of all available opportunities.

    Speaking about the Turkish Stream project proposed by Russia, the route of which has been recently defined by Gazprom OJSC, Pritchin said that there are quite real chances for the increase of the gas transportation to Turkey.

    "The ground infrastructure in Russia has already been built, it received 4.6 billion euros, and in fact, all the design work on the underwater part is ready," said Pritchin. "Contracts for the supply of pipes have already been concluded. And everything is ready so that Turkey would receive the initial gas in the volume of 15 billion cubic meters as part of this project."

    There are more questions regarding the further development of events and the fact whether the EU and Gazprom will be able to find common ground, according to Pritchin.

    "Gazprom's strategy envisages the creation of such infrastructure by 2020 in order to exclude Ukraine as a transit country," said Pritchin.

    He said the main consumers of Russian gas, which have signed the contract, are Eastern European countries bordering Ukraine.

    Here, the EU will need to create a certain infrastructure from Turkish borders to its member's states, Pritchin added.

    At the same time, the expert believes that the supply of Russian gas to Turkey within this project will compete with Azerbaijani gas.

    "Contract on the Azerbaijani gas to be produced within Stage 2 of development of Shah Deniz field has already been signed - Turkey will get 6 billion cubic meters," he said. "Azerbaijan and Russia carry out the supply within their own contracts."

    Gazprom this week defined the route of the Turkish stream pipeline along the bottom of the Black Sea. The capacity of four lines of the pipeline will be 63 billion cubic meters of gas annually. The gas pipeline will pass 660 kilometers in the old corridor of South Stream and 250 kilometers in the new corridor in the direction of the European part of Turkey.

    Gazprom sent a note with a request for implementation of design and survey work on the new Turkish maritime sector on Jan.28.. Gazprom will implement the marine part of the project on its own. Transport capacities in Turkey will be created together. The shares of participation will be determined through further negotiation.

    Plans are for the first line, with capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas, to arrive in Turkey in December 2016.

    Edited by CN


    Follow the author on Twitter: @AygunBadalova

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Egypt says acting to suspend pro-Brotherhood channels
    01.02.2015 21:32
    The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Feb.1 that it was making contacts with some European governments to convince them to take some pro-Muslim Brotherhood satellite channels off the air, Anadolu Agency reported.

    It said these channels incited hate, violence and terrorism.

    "Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry instructed Egypt's embassies in some European countries to begin pursuing the matter," the ministry said in a statement.

    It added that the move came in the light of Egyptian efforts to fight terrorism.

    The ministry accused what it called "pro-Brotherhood channels" of broadcasting material that blatantly incited violence and terrorism.

    The ministry did not specify the European states it was contacting in this regard.

    The Egyptian government designated the Brotherhood, the movement from which ousted President Mohamed Morsi hails, as a "terrorist organization" in late 2013.

    The group has consistently denied accusations of violence and says it is committed to peaceful activism.

    After Morsi's ouster in July of 2013, Egypt took several Islamist channels off the air, accusing them of inciting hatred.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Uzbekistan to allocate $2.3B in 2015 to complete 130 projects
    01.02.2015 19:27
    Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Jan. 29

    By Demir Azizov - Trend:

    Uzbekistan will allocate $2,292 billion in 2015 for completion of 130 major investment projects with a total project cost of $7.442 billion, a representative of Uzbekistan's Economy Ministry told Trend on Jan. 29.

    The interviewee said that this year it is planned to complete the construction of 45 new factories with a total project cost of $4,902 billion, as well as 87 projects worth $2.54 billion in the modernization of existing facilities.

    In particular, the national holding company Uzbekneftegaz and a consortium of South Korean companies led by Kogas plan to complete the construction of the $4.1 billion worth Ustyurt gas and chemical complex in the country's northwest, while the state joint stock company Uzbekenergo plans to complete the construction of a $512 million worth 370 MW steam-gas plant at the Tashkent thermal power plant.

    Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Complex (NMMC) will complete 5 projects to modernize the production worth $157.8 million until the end of 2015, Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Complex (AMMC, Tashkent region) - the modernization of the copper plant worth $117.7 million, Uzhimprom will implement the extension of soda factory in Kungrad (north-west of the country) worth $110 million.

    The projects are implemented within the framework of the investment program approved by the government of Uzbekistan. Their funding is implemented by the state budget of the Fund for Reconstruction and Development and the extra-budgetary funds, own funds of enterprises and foreign investments.

    In total, Uzbekistan plans to draw 40.6 trillion UZS for implementation of 340 investment projects within the framework of the investment program.

    The official exchange rate on January 29 is 2436.16 UZS / $1.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Iranв's FM leaves for tour of African States
    01.02.2015 17:42
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

    By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif left Tehran on Feb. 1 for Nairobi, Kenya as the first step of an official visit to four African states.

    Heading a high ranking delegation Zarif also will visit Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania, the Islamic Republic's official IRNA news agency reported.

    The Iranian top diplomat's visit came upon official invitations by his African counterparts.

    He is scheduled to meet counterparts and also negotiate with high-ranking officials in his visit to Nairobi, Kampala, Bujumbura and Dodoma.

    The issues of mutual interests as well as regional and global developments will be discussed during the visit.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Construction of Iranв's only LNG plant suspended
    01.02.2015 16:43
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 31

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Construction of Iran's only liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant is still suspended.

    Alireza Kameli, the managing director of National Iranian Gas Company, said that a German company has signed a contract to manufacture equipment for the LNG plant, Iran's Mehr news agency reported on Jan. 31.

    Although the company has received some money to manufacture the equipment, but the international sanctions have hindered the company to deliver the equipment to Iran, he added.

    The first phase of the plant (65-percent complete) includes a 1,100-megawatt power plant, storage facilities for LNG and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as well as offshore docks.

    The capital investment needed for Iran's first LNG plant is estimated at $5 billion. The facility would start its early production if half that sum is provided.

    The plant would be able to produce 10.5 million metric tons per year of LNG, earning the country more than $20 million a day.

    In March 2014 Iran LNG Company (ILC) filed a lawsuit with an international tribunal against the European Union (EU) for its "unilateral and illogical" ban on Iran's mainstream producer of liquefied natural gas.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Azerbaijani youth must be bearer of national ideas
    01.02.2015 15:42
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

    By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:

    Much work has been conducted in the areas of development, education, youth employment since celebrating the Youth Day in Azerbaijan on February 2, Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Chairman - Executive Secretary of the ruling New Azerbaijan party Ali Ahmadov said Jan. 31.

    He was delivering speech at an event organized by the party on the occasion of the Youth Day.

    Deputy Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament Bahar Muradova, Deputy Executive Secretary of the ruling party, MP Siyavush Novruzov, chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations Mubariz Gurbanli, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Intigam Babayev, chairman of the Youth Association of the ruling party Seymur Orujov, MPs, young activists and media representatives attended the event.

    Ahmadov said that the foundation of the youth policy was laid by the national leader Heydar Aliyev.

    "President Ilham Aliyev successfully continues this policy," he said. "We are proud of our young people. The Azerbaijani youth's tasks are to protect our country and to contribute to the strengthening of Azerbaijan's power. The Azerbaijani youth must be the bearer of national ideas and values. The ruling party is always ready to support young people in this activity."

    Muradova congratulated the youth.

    "The initiator of celebrating the Youth Day - the national leader Heydar Aliyev conducted much work related to the future of young people," she said.

    Muradova wished young people successful implementation of their tasks.

    The photos dedicated to the activity of the Youth Association of the ruling party for 2014 were demonstrated to the participants.

    The young people, distinguished in 2014, were awarded.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • ECO experts meeting opens in Tehran
    01.02.2015 15:42
    The sixth high level experts meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) opened in Tehran, Iran on Feb. 1, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported.

    The meeting is aimed at creating a platform for ECO member states to consult on activating the Regional Institute for Standardization, Conformity Assessment, Accreditation and Metrology (RISCAM).

    ECO is an intergovernmental organization involving seven Asian and three Eurasian nations, part of the South-Central Asian Union.

    The 10 members of ECO include Iran, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • All sea voyages cancelled in Istanbul due to bad weather
    01.02.2015 15:33
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1


    All sea voyages in Turkey's city of Istanbul were cancelled due to bad weather, the Turkish news agency Anadolu said Feb. 1.

    The voyages were cancelled due to snowfall and sea storms.

    Earlier, a number of flights were cancelled by the Turkish Airlines.

    Around 65 domestic and 59 international flights were canceled.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Iran, Egypt discuss regional developments
    01.02.2015 15:32
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

    By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

    Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, on the sidelines of the 24th African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Iran's Fars news agency reported Feb. 1.

    The two sides discussed the latest regional developments, emphasizing Tehran-Cairo's shared stance towards fighting terrorism in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

    Amir Abdollahian also underlined the importance of all political groups' participation in political process in Egypt and national unity in the country.

    The Iranian diplomat further condemned the recent terror attack in Egypt's Sinai peninsula which left dozens killed. At least 26 Egyptian soldiers were killed in the attack which took place on Jan. 29 at a checkpoint in Sinai. The bomb blast was one of the deadliest attacks in Sinai for months.

    It should be noted that Iran and Egypt cut formal diplomatic relations in 1980 after Tehran was angered by Egypt's admission of the deposed Shah of Iran and Egypt's recognition of Israel.

    Iran welcomed the 2011 uprising in Egypt that led to the downfall of autocratic President Hosni Mubarak. Under Mursi, the ties between the two countries seemed to improve, with the then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad becoming the first Iranian leader to visit Egypt in more than three decades.

    When the army ousted Mohamed Mursi from power last July, Tehran criticized this move.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Azerbaijan hopes for international organizationsв' fair decision concerning hostages
    01.02.2015 15:12
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

    By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:

    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Azerbaijani customs bodies clarify seizing large batch of drugs in Georgia
    01.02.2015 14:42
    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

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Is US playing ''good-cop-bad-cop'' with Iran?
    01.02.2015 14:27
    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

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Release of leaders under house arrest is not on Iranв's Supreme Security Council agenda
    01.02.2015 14:17
    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

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Plan of events on 23rd anniversary of Khojaly Genocide approved in Azerbaijan
    01.02.2015 13:41
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1


    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Turkey to change vehicle sale conditions
    01.02.2015 13:02
    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

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Over 20% of mortgage loans in Azerbaijan issued on preferential basis
    01.02.2015 12:47
    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

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Azerbaijani State Customs Committee clarifies statistics discrepancy with Georgia
    01.02.2015 12:16
    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

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Azerbaijani ruling party prepares for parliamentary election
    01.02.2015 11:36 YAP-big.jpg 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."

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Iran sees US presidentв's responsibility for potential failure of N-talks
    01.02.2015 11:32
    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

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 64 times in a day
    01.02.2015 10:43
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1


    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @TRENDNewsAgency

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Iran says gas transfer from Caspian Sea to EU is not economically justified
    01.02.2015 10:02
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Kim Jong Un: North Korea ready to confront any war, including nuclear conflict
    01.02.2015 09:46
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Housing construction growth in Kazakhstan in 2014 amounts to 10%
    01.02.2015 08:12
    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

    "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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • U.S. general says Syrian town of Kobani taken from Islamic State
    01.02.2015 06:56
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Turkey 'in Europe's future,' Turkish PM says
    01.02.2015 06:53
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Iraqi Kurdish forces, police regain control of oil field
    01.02.2015 06:52
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Kerry calls Kobaniв's liberation a big deal
    01.02.2015 04:27
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Turkey ministry denounces Armenia president remarks
    01.02.2015 03:47
    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

    "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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • ISIL militants release video claiming to have killed Japanese hostage Kenji Goto
    01.02.2015 01:47
    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."

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Erdogan claims Gulen movement cooperates with Mossad
    01.02.2015 00:27
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Swiss police: 4 dead after avalanche hits group of skiers
    31.01.2015 23:18
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Egyptв's President Sisi vows to defend Sinai against militants
    31.01.2015 22:27
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Iran planning gas exports to Persian Gulf
    31.01.2015 21:32
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Turkey increases gas import
    31.01.2015 20:06
    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

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Italy parliament elects Sergio Mattarella as president
    31.01.2015 19:06
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Congressmen urge Turkey to stop passage of ISIL terrorists to Europe
    31.01.2015 18:27
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Georgia, EU mull co-op in military sphere
    31.01.2015 17:56
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Politics must not get involved in Iranв's scientific centers
    31.01.2015 17:41
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Turkish parliament supports changing OSCE MG format
    31.01.2015 17:39
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Georgian government pays off debt to UNESCO
    31.01.2015 17:17
    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.

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Samsung Electronics to buy a firm
    31.01.2015 17:01
    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.
  • A teenager accidentally shot friendв's in the penis.
    31.01.2015 16:53
    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.
  • Israeli president says Khojaly tragedy among massacres
    31.01.2015 16:52
    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.
  • Google to change privacy policy
    31.01.2015 16:49
    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.
  • '˜Armenian genocide monumentв' picture on planner dedicated to Г‡anakkale battle
    31.01.2015 16:48
    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".
  • HambГјchen skipping European Championship to focus on Baku 201
    31.01.2015 16:47
    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

    HambГјchen is expected to also compete in a tournament in S
  • Ali Ahmadov: For achieving a fair solution on this conflict Azerbaijani side will do its best
    31.01.2015 16:46
    ''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.
  • First Lationo princess, Disney introduces
    31.01.2015 16:45
    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.
  • Standard Poors credit rating for Azerbaijan stands at BBB
    31.01.2015 16:45
    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.
  • Panasonic closes TV plant in China
    31.01.2015 16:44
    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.
  • Coal mine flooding in China, 7 dies
    31.01.2015 16:44
    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.
  • Johnny Depp to marry next weekend
    31.01.2015 16:43
    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".
  • Ukraine peace talks delayed
    31.01.2015 16:42
    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.
  • Azerbaijani wrestlers claim 5 medals in Iran
    31.01.2015 16:42
    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.
  • Re-opening of schools delayed again
    31.01.2015 16:41
    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.
Exchange Rates of Central Bank