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Ways to Help Underachieving Boys Succeed in School
11.02.2013 09:04
Re "The Boys at the Back," by Christina Hoff Sommers ("The Great Divide" series, Sunday Review, Feb. 3):

The way to deal with boys' underachievement in school is not through "boy friendly" policies like more recess, single-sex classrooms and male teachers but through strong academic climates and clear, consistent information about occupations and the educational pathways that lead to them.

After years of research for our forthcoming book, "The Rise of Women: The Growing Gender Gap in Education and What It Means for American Schools," Thomas A. DiPrete and I found that in schools where academic effort is expected and valued, boys compete for high grades and more often achieve them. Such schools reduce gender gaps and promote healthy, multifaceted gender identities for both boys and girls.

Boys also perform better when teachers and parents help them understand how their future success is linked to their efforts in middle and high school.

Rather than remaking schools in ways that reinforce gender stereotypes, we need schools that set high expectations for student achievement and treat students as individuals.


Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 6, 2013

The writer is a professor of sociology and director of graduate studies at Ohio State University.

To the Editor:

Even in the late 1950s, educators sensed that girls had advantages over boys. They're verbal, orderly, quiet, submissive and cooperative.

Boys? Polar opposites: outgoing, active, loud and unable to sit still. More boys in detention, in special education and suspended. And of course, all the teachers were women!

As a fifth-grade teacher, I found that one solution was a brisk, vigorous outdoor activity session right before lunch. If someone got restless or acted out, all I said was "save that for outside."

The results were amazing. Three boys who had suffered stomach cramps and needed medical attention refused to go to school. Their mothers fought with them every day. But in my class they raced to school. Couldn't wait to get there.

Girls benefited, too. Two who had no friends suddenly bonded with each other, then with classmates. For the first time, girls invited them to birthdays and sleepovers. One had been receiving psychiatric help and medication. Her mother later told me that she no longer needed either.

There are certainly solutions to "boys at the back." Letting boys be boys is one of them.


Hazlet, N.J., Feb. 6, 2013

The writer is a retired public-school teacher.
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    By Sara Rajabova

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    EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Herbert Salber made the remark a meeting with Chairman of "Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh" Public Union Bayram Safarov in Baku on October 23, AzerTag news agency reported.

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  • Azerbaijanв's northern region marks juicy Apple Feast
    24.10.2014 15:55

    By Amina Nazarli

    The third annual Apple Festival was held at a culture and recreation park named after Heydar Aliyev in Azerbaijan's northern region of Guba on October 22.

    The heads of regions' executive bodies, intellectuals, MPs, Guba businessmen living abroad, as well as more than 100 foreign visitors had been invited to the event.

    A parade of Azerbaijani three-colored flag, held during the event thrilled up the visitors.

    Different products reflecting national traditions in Azerbaijan were displayed and various sweets, cocktails and drinks made of apples were presented to the event participants.

    Stands featuring folklore, cuisine and the lifestyle of minorities living in the region particularly attracted the attention of foreign nationals.

    Guba Tourism Information Center's members also took part in the event, where several prizes were presented to the guests of the feast.

    The feast concluded with a concert of popular artists.

    No accident that Guba people annually celebrate this juicy and flavor festival. Guba is the edge of apple aroma. The region is often called as "apple orchard" because of the great varieties of apples that grow only there.

    The people of Guba claim that there are more than 40 different varieties of apples there, which have turned into the symbol of the city.

    Guba , being one of the major cities in Azerbaijan, is one of the favorite places of tourists , who come here to admire the magnificent mountains, forests and canyon of this picturesque region. Indeed, the sceneries of Guba are hard to describe with words. It seems the nature has collected there the brightest colors: juicy greens of the alpine meadows, white snow caps, rapid transparent-blue mountain rivers.
  • Russia still has troops in Ukraine: NATO
    24.10.2014 15:55
    Russia still has some troops in eastern Ukraine and retains a very capable force on the border despite a partial withdrawal, NATO's top military commander said on Friday.

    "We've seen a pretty good withdrawal of the Russian forces from inside Ukraine but, make no mistake, there remain Russian forces inside eastern Ukraine," U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove told reporters at NATO's military headquarters near Mons in Belgium.

    Some Russian troops stationed near the Ukraine border had left and some others appeared to be preparing to leave "but the force that remains and shows no indications of leaving is still a very, very capable force and remains a coercive capability to the nation of Ukraine," he said.
  • Expert-level nuclear talks useful: Iran official
    24.10.2014 15:42
    Head of Iranв's delegation at expert-level nuclear talks in Vienna says representatives of the Islamic Republic and the P5 1 group conducted two days of useful, explicit negotiations.

    Hamid Ba'eedinejad, who also serves as the Iranian Foreign Ministry's director general for political and international affairs, said the two sides held intensive talks in the Austrian capital to find final solutions to some topics of discussion, Press TV reports.

    The P5 1 expert-level delegation was headed by Stephen Clement, an aide to the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.

    The Iranian diplomat noted that the expert-level delegations will report on their talks to senior nuclear negotiators of Iran and the six countries - the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany.

    On Wednesday, two rounds of expert-level negotiations were held on the level of uranium enrichment by Iran, the mechanism for removing sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic, the length of a final deal over Iran's nuclear energy program and various ideas put forth during political negotiations.

    The talks on Thursday were held to delve into the two side's differences with the aim of achieving a common understanding between Tehran and the P5 1 group to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive deal.

    Sources close to the Iranian negotiating team say the main stumbling block in the way of resolving the Western dispute over Iran's nuclear energy program remains to be the removal of all the bans slapped on the Islamic Republic and not the number of centrifuges or the level of uranium enrichment.

    Tehran wants the sanctions entirely lifted while Washington, under pressure from the pro-Israeli lobby, insists that at least the UN-imposed sanctions should remain in place.
  • Azerbaijan receives first call from Hajj pilgrims on Ebola virus
    24.10.2014 15:35
    Azerbaijanв's Health Ministry has received the first call from people returning from Hajj, the annual pilgrimage of Muslims to the city of Mecca, on the Ebola virus.

    Yesterday one of the Hajj pilgrims appealed to the Republican Anti-Plague Station to pass medical examination due to the Ebola virus. Deputy Director of the Republican Anti-Plague Station of the Azerbaijani Health Ministry Shair Gurbanov told APA that the Sumgayit resident first called the hot line and then kept in touch directly with him.

    "The pilgrim said to me that he heard about the Ebola virus and wants to be examined. He was said that he must go to the local polyclinic and will be supervised within 21 days. He was also told that not every person with high temperature is considered to be infected with the virus. Since it is winter, people may catch cold and have fever. In these cases, he must consult a doctor.

    Gurbanov noted that the pilgrim had no health problems, he only wanted to be examined after returning from Hajj.

    "Other pilgrims can go to policlinics to be examined. Ebola's incubation period is 21 days. Symptoms may appear within 21 days after exposure to Ebola," he said.

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    All foreign tourists will be banned from visiting the reclusive state from tomorrow in an attempt to stop the deadly virus from reaching the country.

    Koryo Tours posted an announcement on its Twitter and Facebook pages, saying it had been told that no foreign tourists would be allowed to cross North Korea's heavily-guarded borders

    Tourists will be banned from entering North Korea from tomorrow as the country seeks to protect itself from the Ebola virus, a travel agent specialising in trips to the country said (file picture)

    Despite the secretive nature of North Korea, around 2,600 people visit the country each year.

    However, this figure is likely to drop because of the border closure, which could last for months.

    The measures do not appear to be a blanket ban on travel to North Korea, Beijing-based Koryo Tours said, with business trips likely to still go ahead.

    Nick Bonner, the company's co-founder, said: 'The situation seems to still be in flux, and while the early news from our partners in Pyongyang was that all tourists would be barred from entering, we are still hopeful of taking in three groups we have scheduled to travel for the rest of 2014.'

    Officials in Pyongyang did not comment, however the state's news agency KCNA said today that no cases of Ebola has been detected in the country.

    Visitors and luggage have been subject to stricter monitoring at airports, seaports and border railway crossings to China in recent days.

    Efforts have also been made to increase public awareness of the killer virus and its symptoms. North Korean television news on Wednesday eveningshowed a video of Ebola patients and explained the dangers of the disease.

    The move by Kim Jong-un's government makes North Korea the first country to close off its borders because of the Ebola outbreak.

    The country similarly closed its borders after the SARS scare in eastern Asia in 2003.

    The World Health Organisation says that least 4,877 people have died from Ebola this year, with nearly 10,000 cases recorded, but the true toll could be three times higher
  • Azerbaijan-Lithuania trade turnover doubled
    24.10.2014 15:19

    By Nigar Orujova

    The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Lithuania increased by 1.9 times, Taxes Minister, Fazil Mammadov said at the fourth meeting of the Azerbaijani-Lithuanian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation in Shamkir on October 22.

    Mammadov, co-chair of the intergovernmental commission on the Azerbaijani side, praised the successful development of relations between the two countries, stressing the importance of the commission's activities to expand economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Lithuania.

    "The trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $25.1 million in January and June 2014, which is 1.9 times more compared to the same period of the previous year," he added.

    The minister said Azerbaijan and Lithuania further expanded bilateral ties through numerous meetings, visits and events involving the public and government agencies, as well as representatives of business circles after the previous session.

    "Cooperation is especially intensively developing in the field of culture, tourism, youth and sports. Lithuanian experts actively involved in the twinning project to strengthen the capacity of Azerbaijan tourism, funded by the EU, carried out an extensive exchange of experience concerning the establishment and management of tourist areas," Mammadov noticed.

    He also highlighted the fact that the agreement on simplification of visa regime between Azerbaijan and the EU was signed at the summit of "Eastern Partnership" in Vilnius, Lithuania, during the presidency of Lithuania in the EU.

    Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Linas Linkevicius, Co-chairman of the Lithuanian side, expressed satisfaction with the development of relations between the two countries and welcomed the role of the intergovernmental commission in it.

    He noted the great potential of bilateral relations, the deepening of economic cooperation and cooperation in other areas.

    The meeting discussed the prospects of bilateral relations, the development of the related legal framework, cooperation in energy, agriculture, environment, science and education, culture and tourism, ICT and other areas, as well as cooperation between the regions of Lithuania and Azerbaijan.

    The meeting was followed with signing of an intergovernmental protocol.

    At the meeting, eighth Azerbaijani-Lithuanian business forum was also held attended by about 70 businessmen from both sides.

    During the event, Fazil Mammadov talked about the investment climate in Azerbaijan and its macroeconomic stability and economic development.

    He also encouraged Lithuanian businessmen to cooperate with Azerbaijani counterparts.

    In his turn, Linas Linkevicius noted that such forums have turned into a tradition over the past years.

    "Despite the fact that there is a long distance between Azerbaijan and Lithuania from the geographic point of view, this does not prevent closer cooperation and signing of new partnership agreements is an indication of the parties' interest in mutual investment," he said.

    He also praised the work of the intergovernmental commission in support of business priorities in the relations between the two countries at the government level.

    The forum was also marked with presentation of the participants, as well as Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Fund.

    The event ended with bilateral meetings.

    Earlier, at the meeting with Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Linkevicius described Azerbaijan as his country's main trade partner in the South Caucasus.

    The Lithuanian side also highlighted the cooperation with the European Union as part of the Eastern Partnership initiative. He said official Vilnius is ready to contribute to the development of Azerbaijan's relations with the EU.
  • Romania intends to receive Azeri gas through Bulgaria
    24.10.2014 14:58
    This route can be a part of the "Southern Gas Corridor".

    Romanian Transgaz interested in receiving gas from Azerbaijan via Bulgaria for its further sales in Europe.

    Oxu.Az reports citing that according to Bulgarian media the statement came from the Member of the Management Board of the company Bogdan Iliescu.

    Iliescu said that after the construction of gas jumpers Bulgaria-Greece and Bulgaria, Romania, they can transport the natural gas from the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), through which the Azerbaijani gas is transported.

    "The gas can reach Romania through Bulgaria, and then - through the Romanian gas jumper - to Hungary and to reach the European market in Austria," he said.

    The Romanian company believes that this route can become part of the "Southern Gas Corridor", in which Europe will receive natural gas from the Caspian region.

    TAP project is designed to transport natural gas from the Shah Deniz field in the "Stage 2" through Greece and Albania to Western Europe. Capacity of the pipeline is 10 bn cubic meters per year, expandable to 20 bn cubic meters, depending on the demand. Azerbaijani gas supplies to TAP expected since 2019.
  • Man crawls for 3 days after car smash
    24.10.2014 14:50
    A British woman has died under anesthesia during a cosmetic procedure by an uncertified surgeon at a clinic in Thailand's capital, authorities said Friday.

    The 24-year-old patient stopped breathing after receiving an anesthetic during the operation Thursday night, said Boonruang Triruangworawat, director-general of the Health Service Support Department.

    Authorities said the woman, whose name was withheld, had undergone cosmetic surgery at the same clinic earlier this month but was unsatisfied with the results, and was having a corrective operation when she died.

    Sompob Sansiri, the doctor who performed the operations, was not certified for cosmetic surgery, Boonruang said.

    "There was an attempt to resuscitate her but ultimately she did not survive," he said. "We are looking into why it happened."

    Police arrested Sompob and pressed charges of causing death by reckless endangerment, said Maj. Gen. Ittipol Piriyapinyo, deputy chief of Bangkok police. Sompob is likely to face additional charges relating to illegal medical surgery from the Health Service Support Department.

    Boonruang said the clinic will be shut for 60 days.

    Thailand is known for affordable cosmetic procedures, but there have been several deaths from botched surgeries at unapproved clinics.
  • Azerbaijan actively fighting human trafficking
    24.10.2014 14:49

    By Mushvig Mehdiyev

    More than $150 billion is earned from human trafficking in our days. The problematic field, which is predicted to be the third most profitable business, is inflicting damages to many families worldwide, Renate Held, International Organization for Migration's Regional Director on Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said in Baku on October 22.

    Addressing the opening ceremony of the information campaign "The two little girls" organized jointly by Azerbaijan, Great Britain and IOM, she noted that the IOM is combating the human trafficking by implementing over 100 projects,В TrendВ reports.

    She said IOM has also helped more than 65,000 families, women and children victims of the human trafficking so far. The organization is also working on public awareness and organizing the protection of the victims.

    About 23 criminal cases have been filed for 104 human trafficking reports in Azerbaijan in the first nine months of 2014, including 97 cases with direct link to the trade in humans, Imran Najafov, Deputy Head of Department for Combating the Human Trafficking, said addressing the event.

    Najafov noted that 16 women and 5 men have been held liable for the criminal actions connected to the human trafficking and forced labor. Meanwhile, about 50 victims were recognized and 8 groups engaged in human trafficking were neutralized.

    Moreover, 7 out of the 23 wanted people engaged in human trafficking were arrested and delivered to judicial bodies.

    Najafov said about 33 of the victims were transmitted to Turkey, 8 to Russia and 6 to the United Arab Emirates.

    "As a result of our close ties with the law enforcement bodies of other countries, around 580 cases of human trafficking and forced labor have been registered. Meanwhile, 385 people were held liable and 157 criminal groups and organized gangs were neutralized in Azerbaijan over the past ten years," Najafov stressed.

    He went on saying that about 274 seminars dedicated to the human trafficking have been held in the cities and regions of Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, the Council on State Support for NGOs has financed 33 projects and allocated nearly $294,000 to the activities in this field.

    "Challenges of human trafficking are currently actual all over the world and Azerbaijan, as a leading country in the region, is actively fighting against it. We joined the relevant international conventions and adopted the first National Action Plan in 2004. The third consecutive action plan covering the years of 2014-2018 is currently being implemented in the country," Najafov said.

    IOM representative in Azerbaijan, Serkhan Aktopark, in turn, said the human trafficking is an actual problem in the whole world and the fight against it should be continuous.

    British Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Irfan Siddig said the movie "The two little girls" was screened in many European countries. He expressed his hope that the presented campaign will have positive effects on Azerbaijan.

    The mentioned campaign against human trafficking started in 2009 and will last until 2015. Several leading British charity organizations including Comic Relief and Tudor Trust support the campaign.

    The film "The two little girls" will be screened in local X?z?r TV. IOM will organize several events jointly with the Red Crescent Society of Azerbaijan to talk on the movie's main themes.

    Human trafficking is among the most dangerous challenges facing the modern world. Illegal trade in humans brings astronomical profits to make the business more attractive.

    Havoscope, the Global Black Market Information source posted the price list of the people trafficked in different countries. For instance, traffickers sell the children in Iraq for $300 and $5,500. Woman from Moldova are sold for $2,650. If one wants a girl from Brazil, he has to pay about $5,000 or $10,000. Babies from the North Caucasus and Russia cost at $17,500. The most expensive victims of human trafficking are in Rome which are sold for $270,000.
  • Details of upcoming presidential meeting come out
    24.10.2014 14:49
    The meeting of the presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia and France will be held on October 27 in the Г‰lysГ©e Palace, APA reports citing Agence France-Presse (AFB).

    The goal of the meeting is to provide the dialogue of the two sides on the issue of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict regulation after the tension registered two months ago.

    Besides the trilateral meeting, French President Francois Hollande will hold separate meetings with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan.

    Within the frameworks of the visit, the meeting of the Presidents with OSCE Minsk Group American, Russian and French co-chairs will be held as well.

    Dinner is expected to give in honor of the presidents of the three countries.
  • British woman dies during Thai cosmetic surgery
    24.10.2014 14:40
    A British woman has died under anesthesia during a cosmetic procedure by an uncertified surgeon at a clinic in Thailand's capital, authorities said Friday.

    The 24-year-old patient stopped breathing after receiving an anesthetic during the operation Thursday night, said Boonruang Triruangworawat, director-general of the Health Service Support Department.

    Authorities said the woman, whose name was withheld, had undergone cosmetic surgery at the same clinic earlier this month but was unsatisfied with the results, and was having a corrective operation when she died.

    Sompob Sansiri, the doctor who performed the operations, was not certified for cosmetic surgery, Boonruang said.

    "There was an attempt to resuscitate her but ultimately she did not survive," he said. "We are looking into why it happened."

    Police arrested Sompob and pressed charges of causing death by reckless endangerment, said Maj. Gen. Ittipol Piriyapinyo, deputy chief of Bangkok police. Sompob is likely to face additional charges relating to illegal medical surgery from the Health Service Support Department.

    Boonruang said the clinic will be shut for 60 days.

    Thailand is known for affordable cosmetic procedures, but there have been several deaths from botched surgeries at unapproved clinics.
  • Cigarette prices may further drain wallets
    24.10.2014 14:35

    By Amina Nazarli

    Anti-smoking advocates and health experts hailed the recent government proposals that aim to decrease the number of smokers in Azerbaijan.

    Musa Guliyev, a member of the Parliamentary Committee has offered to fine people who smoke at home near children and in the doorways of houses.

    Guliyev underlined the necessity of adopting a law restricting smoking in public places along with the law "On tobacco and tobacco products", which was adopted in Azerbaijan in 2001.

    Tobacco is one of the main sources of a number of chronic diseases, including cancers, lung and cardiovascular diseases. A number of countries have already adopted legislations to restrict tobacco advertising, and regulating who can buy and use tobacco products, and even where people can smoke.

    Most of the smoking population in Azerbaijan are men. About 50 percent of men in the country smoke daily, 40 percent of them smoke at least one or two packs of 20 cigarettes per day.

    Experts assure that the growing price of tobacco products has also turned into an effective measure against smoking in the world.

    World Health Organization framework convention on tobacco control, the participants almost unanimously voted to increase the share of excise duty on the cost of a pack of cigarettes to 70 percent (excluding VAT).

    Rufat Guliyev, a Chairman of the European Tobacco Baku (ETB) Company (Azerbaijani producer of tobacco production) said Azerbaijan may also join this campaign in the future.

    "Active integration into Europe and the world economy, as a whole, will certainly affect the prices of cigarettes. In any case, this is the government which should take the final decision about. However, in my opinion, Azerbaijan will soon face the need to raise the price of cigarettes. Talking about the exact timing is not possible yet," the chairman noted.

    The share of excise duty on the price of a cigarette pack of 12.5 percent, while in Russia it reaches 40 percent and in Great Britain, up to 70 percent.

    Guliyev stressed that growth of cigarette prices within the countries-importers will not spark a particular concern in Azerbaijan.

    "In Azerbaijan local production covers up to 20-25 percent of its own consumption of tobacco products, whereas the potential capacity of European Tobacco allows to cover the consumption at 80-85 percent.

    The chairman supposes that the issue is rooted in the cigarette's brand. Last year Azerbaijan imported cigarettes of an amount of 146 million dollars from Russia."As the welfare of population is growing, people prefer expensive cigarette brands. I think that it should not affect import prices, as the increase in the share of excise duty usually affects the prices in the domestic market," Guliyev said.

    The expert points to the increasing price of raw material as the main reason behind the rise in cigarette price.

    "In Europe, tobacco planting is forbidden and tobacco production moves to Latin American and African countries. As the raw materials are getting expensive, delivering costs are also increasing. So, the producers have to raise the price of their products," he cited.

    Increase of tobacco production depends on several factors such as agreements with multinational cigarette manufacturing companies, market demands and prices of raw materials.
  • Turkish expert: IS wants to attack Azerbaijan too
    24.10.2014 14:29
    Extremists have expressed the intention to reach our country.

    Extremists of "Islamic state" expressed intention to reach Azerbaijan too, but at the moment the threat is not serious.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to "Interfax" that it was stated by the Turkish political analyst Ekrem Guzeldere.

    "Theoretically, Azerbaijan is among the countries where the militants of IS, according to their own statements, are going to get. However, because of the republic's large geographical remoteness from the coverage of the group, as well as the location in this space of few countries with large armies allow us be skeptical about this threat," the expert said.

    "At the moment I would not have worried about it," he added.
  • Romania intends to buy Azerbaijani gas
    24.10.2014 14:29
    Romanian Transgaz Company intends to buy Azerbaijani gas, to be sold to Europe, through Bulgaria.

    The statement came from Chairman of the Board of Directors of Transgaz Bogdan Iliescu in his interview to Bulgarian media.

    Iliescu noted that after construction of Bulgaria-Greece and Bulgaria-Romania interconnectors in the future, it will be possible to transport Azerbaijani gas via these lines too: "Gas transported through Bulgaria can be delivered to Romania. Thereafter, this gas will be transported to Hungary, then to Europe through Austria via one more interconnector".

    He thinks that this route may a part of the Southern Gas Corridor.
  • Solar eclipse expected tonight
    24.10.2014 14:12
    The second solar eclipse of 2014 is expected tonight.

    Deputy Director of Shamakhy Astrophysical Observatory named after Nasraddin Tusi of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) Khidir Mikayilov told APA that the solar eclipse will start at 00:40 Baku time and end at 04:52 on October 24.

    The eclipse will last for 4 hours 12 minutes. The eclipse will reach maximum at 02:46. The solar eclipse will be observed in North America and Russia's regions nearby Alaska. As it occurs at night, the solar eclipse will invisible in Azerbaijan.

    Mikayilov said that this will be the second solar eclipse of 2014.

    He informed that two solar eclipses and two lunar eclipses were expected in this year. One solar eclipse and two lunar eclipses have already occurred. The first lunar eclipse occurred on April 15, the second on October 8 and the first solar eclipse was recorded on April 29.
  • Qarabag FC makes history in Kiev
    24.10.2014 13:39

    By Mushvig Mehdiyev

    Azerbaijan's Qarabag FC defeated Ukraine's Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1-0 in the third group stage game of UEFA Europa League in Kiev.

    Qarabag FC's striker Muarem Muarem accomplished a blistering counter attack with a goal in the 21st minute of the game. Driving into the box from the left flank, Muarem curled the ball into the far corner to score the winning goal.

    The game was a milestone for Gurban Gurbanov`s side as they made a history to win a game in a UEFA Europa League group stage game as the first Azerbaijani football club.

    Qarabag Fc's Manager Gurbanov said the game was one of the hardest one his side played ever. "We deserved the victory. Unfortunately, the stadium was not full of our fans. If they were, the game would be more interesting," he noted.

    He added that he is now thinking of the game with Dnipro in Baku. "Dnipro will ,of course, get ready for next game. That's why we should concentrate on the return game," Gurbanov said.

    Qarabag FC is now the runner-up with four points in Group F behind the Italian FC Internazionale which is the group leader with seven points after a goalless draw with French Saint-Etienne. The French club is third with three points, while Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk is the group's outsider with one point.

    Qarabag FC will lock horns with its Ukrainian rival in the fourth group stage game in Baku on November 6.
  • Poznan opens bas-relief to Azerbaijani official
    24.10.2014 13:29

    By Amina Nazarli

    A bas-relief to former Polish Prime Minister Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Speaker of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic Parliament (ADR) Alimardan bey Topchubashov has been inaugurated at the Academy of Music in Poznan, Poland.

    Addressing the opening ceremony, Rector of the Academy Halina Lorkowska highlighted the life and activities of Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Alimardan bey Topchubashov.

    Azerbaijani Ambassador, Hasan Hasanov for his turn, hailed Azerbaijani-Polish relations.

    The diplomat said the opening of the bas-relief demonstrates that "the Azerbaijani people never forget their friends."

    Ambassador Hasanov and rector Lorkowska cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the bas-relief.

    Alimardan bey Topchubashev was born in Tbilisi on May 4, 1863. In early year of his young hood, he entered politics. After taking the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, he was elected as the Speaker of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic Parliament and headed the Azerbaijani delegation in the Paris Peace Conference.

    Topchubashev held meetings with Clemenceau, Wilson, Francesco Nitti and other outstanding politicians of his time.

    He actively participated in many international conferences. Topchubashev always highlighted that the only way out of plight for Azerbaijani people is to gain independence.

    His desire was realized in 1991 when Azerbaijan restored its independence.
  • Cloud' lifts Microsoft earnings above expectations
    24.10.2014 13:29
    Microsoft on Thursday reported quarterly profits ahead of most expectations, as revenues got a boost from its Xbox consoles and Internet "cloud" services for enterprises.

    Net profit in the quarter dipped to US$4.5 billion (S$5.74 billion) from US$5.2 billion in the same period a year ago, but topped most analyst forecasts.

    Revenue rose above US$23 billion, its best ever for the fiscal first quarter.

    The better-than-expected results pushed shares of the US technology titan up 2.75 per cent to US$46.30 in after-hours trade.

    "We are innovating faster, engaging more deeply across the industry, and putting our customers at the centre of everything we do, all of which positions Microsoft for future growth," Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said in a release.

    Microsoft said revenue hit a record high for its first fiscal quarter, aided by the popularity of its Xbox video game consoles and Surface tablet computers, along with businesses turning to software offered as services in the Internet "cloud." "Customers are embracing our latest technologies from Surface Pro 3 and Office 365 to ("cloud"-based) Azure and SQL Server" for corporate customers, Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner said.

    Revenue in Microsoft's Devices and Consumer unit grew 47 per cent to US$10.96 billion, with the company bringing in nearly US$1 billion from sales of its Surface Pro 3 tablet computer.

    Xbox sales more than doubled to 2.4 million in the quarter, which saw the newest version of the console release in 28 new markets.

    Revenue was up 10 per cent when it came to commercial offerings, with "cloud" services such as Office 365 and Azure growing 128 per cent, according to Microsoft.
  • Serena Williams receives Tarpishchevв's apology
    24.10.2014 13:19
    U.S. tennis player Serena Williams has confirmed the receipt of written apology from Shamil Tarpishchev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation, for his TV joke, the USA Today reported on Thursday.

    Tarpishchev was a guest at the Vecherny Urgant (Late Urgant) show on Russiaв's Channel One last week. He remembered that Serena Williams was Maria Sharapovaв's tennis rival at the 2012 Olympic Games. Recalling that match, he incidentally referred to Serena Williams as to ''one of the Williams brothers''(Serena Williams has a sister called Venus who is also a tennis player). Serena Williams described the joke as ''sexist'' and ''racist''. Tarpishchev later apologized for his words.

    The Womenв's Tennis Association (WTA) disqualified Tarpishchev for a year for his joke last Saturday. He was also fined for 25,000 U.S. dollars.

    Serena confirmed that Tarpishchev had apologized to her and her sister in writing. She, however, did not say whether she had accepted the Russian tennis functionaryв's apology.

    World number one Serena Williams is 18-times Grand Slam winner. Her sister Venus has won seven Grand Slam titles.

    Serena is currently defending her championв's title at the 2014 WTA Finals that kicked off on
  • Conference on human rights held in Baku
    24.10.2014 13:03
    SIA reports that as part of Azerbaijanв's chairmanship in the CE Committee of Ministers the international Conference titled ''The role of national judges in the application of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms within the country'' is being held in Baku.

    The chairman of the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan Ramiz Rzayev, chairman of the European Court of Human Rights Dean Spielmann, head of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration's Department for Work with Law-Enforcement Agencies Fuad Alasgarov attended an opening ceremony.

    The conference will end on October 24-25. The session on "Enforcement of judgments", "Dialogue between judges as part of the convention system" and other topics will be held.
  • Sharp weather deterioration expected in Azerbaijan in coming three days
    24.10.2014 12:49
    The weather will sharply change and the temperature will fall by 10-12 C in Azerbaijan from tomorrow evening.

    Senior hydrologist of the National Hydrometeorology Department of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources Asif Verdiyev told APA that windy weather will be observed in Baku and Absheron peninsula from the evening of October 25 and during the day of October 26. Rainfall is predicted on October 25-26. The wind speed will increase on the night of October 25-26. The temperature will be 8hellip;12 C in the daytime on October 26-27.

    Rain is expected in Azerbaijan's northern and western regions after on October 25. The temperature will be 9hellip;14 C in the low-lying areas and 1hellip;6 C in the mountainous areas.

    The temperature will be 8hellip;12 C on October 27, falling by 10-12 C compared to the previous days.

    The unstable weather in the country will last for the next 3 days - the evening of October 25 and October 26-27.
  • David Beckham and Robbie Williams unite to protect children in danger
    24.10.2014 12:44
    David Beckham and Robbie Williams have united to highlight a new Unicef UK campaign which aims to protect children from violence, disease, hunger and the chaos of war and disaster.

    Speaking about the new campaign, Unicef's Goodwill Ambassador David said:"If you saw a child in danger, any child you would instantly step up and protect that child from whatever threat they were facing. Millions of children around the world are facing dangers every day - violence, disease and disasters.

    "We need to grab this opportunity to step up and protect them now. Join me in supporting Unicef's Children in Danger campaign and we can all help keep these children safe," he continued.

    Robbie Williams, a Unicef UK Ambassador, revealed that becoming a dadhas given him more reason to support the cause.

    "I've met children around the world who are facing all kinds of dangers '" kids in Haiti who lost everything in the earthquake and little children in Mexico at risk of violence and abuse.

    "Since becoming a dad I realise more than ever how much these children need someone to protect them. With your help Unicef can keep these children safe, please sign up to their Children in Danger campaign."

    To mark the launch of the campaign, Unicef UK has also released a powerful 90 second film that tells how children are facing an epidemic of violence. The film asks the viewer to imagine what it would be like if there was a 'violence vaccine' that could protect children and ensure they were safe.

    To date the film has already been shared on social media by Unicef Ambassadors and supporters including Andy Murray, Cat Deeley, David Walliams,Emma Bunton, Ewan McGregor, Lewis Hamilton, Nicole Scherzinger, Stephen Fry, Tom Daley and Tom Hiddleston.

    Unicef UK is calling for a target to end violence, exploitation and abuse of children to be included in the worldв's new development agenda in 2015. The UK and other governments must act now and commit to keeping every child safe.

    The public can join Unicef UKв's Children in Danger campaign and help end violence at #Endviolence.
  • Criminal case launched on offshore platform accident in Azerbaijan
    24.10.2014 12:39
    A criminal case has been launched on offshore platform accident, press service of Prosecutor General's Office told APA.

    The criminal case has been launched on the fact under article #162.2 (violation of labor safety, which on imprudence brought to death of a person) of the Criminal Code, investigation is underway.

    The structures collapsed at the faulty platform #441 of the Narimanovneft oil and gas production department of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) during the repair works at 12:00 Oct. 23.

    As a result of the collapse, a workers' locker room on the platform fell into the sea. The fire occurred as a pipeline with a diameter of 700 mm over the platform was broken. The fire was extinguished at 12:45.

    At the moment of the collapse, there were 41 workers at the site. Thanks to the operative measures taken by a rescue team, 37 workers were evacuated from the site to the shore on Orion-15 and PSK-52 vessels.

    The dead bodies of 3 of the 4 workers, missing after an accident, have been found and taken to the shore.

    The search for another missing worker is underway.
  • Repairs of Baku - Boyuk Kesik railway launched
    24.10.2014 12:39
    Repair work will continue for 5 days.

    Repair of Baku - Boyuk Kesik railway continues as part of the "State Program on development of the railway system in 2010-2014".

    According to Oxu.Az, the press service of "Azerbaijan Railways" JSC reported that today the overhaul on section extending to 7 km started on the Salahli- Poylu block.

    500 meters of the old road dismantled during morning hours.

    The repair works are implemented by "Demiryolservis" CJSC of "Azerbaijan Railways".
  • Schumacher could recover in one to three years
    24.10.2014 12:35
    It may take Michael Schumacher any time between one and three years to recover, a French doctor who treated him after his skiing accident has revealed, SIA reports quoting the Hello Magazine.

    Jean-Francois Payen, who cared for Michael while he was in hospital in Grenoble, added that the Formula 1 champion was making some progress but that it would take time.

    The doctor was speaking to French radio station RTL and Le Parisien newspaper when he gave updates about Michael's health on Thursday.

    "It's like for other patients, we are on a timescale which goes from one year to three years and we need to be patient," said Dr Jean-Francois.

    Michael, 45, is being cared for in his family home in Lausanne, Switzerland with a team of 15 carers, according to reports. It is understood that he is immobile and unable to speak.

    Dr Jean-Francois has been visiting the driver to check up on his progress and tell Michael's wife Corinna and the family about any changes.

    Praising the athlete's wife for her "extraordinary willpower," Dr Jean-Francois added: "Immediately she understood the seriousness of the situation and the long journey that lay before them. She sees things very clearly and will do anything and give everything to improve the condition of her husband."

    Michael Schumacher's doctor Jean-Francois Payen treated him in December 2013

    Michael suffered his skiing accident shortly before New Year's Eve last year when he was in the French Alps on holiday. The world champion from Germany fell and hit his head on a rock, leaving him with severe head injuries.

    Michael was immediately treated in Grenoble and placed in a medically induced coma, and was later moved to a facility in Lausanne, Switzerland. Just last month he was moved to continue his rehabilitation process at home.

    "Considering the severe injuries he suffered, progress has been made in the past weeks and months," his manager Sabine Kehm said in a statement. "There is still, however, a long and difficult road ahead."

    The motor legend retired from F1 for a second time in 2012 having won seven world championships and secured 91 race victories during his 19-year career.
  • Azerbaijani climber dies in Himalayas
    24.10.2014 12:04

    By Nigar Orujova

    Azerbaijan's famous mountain climber Murad Ashurly has died in the Himalayas.

    The news of his death has shocked Azerbaijani sports community.

    Ashurly, 42, made a successful ascent to the mountain Ama Dablam (6856 m) as part of a commercial exhibition of the Seven Summits Club along with eight other climbers. He went missing during the descent.

    Later, one of the participants of the exhibition talked about the death of Azerbaijani climber.

    Noel Hanna wrote in a social network: "The last 30 hours were the worst in my life. Yesterday morning at 9:30 am we went from Camp 2 on Ama Dablam, to descend to Camp 1. I went first, the rest of the group was behind me. I was coming down for about 30 minutes, and then this nightmare happened. I just finished the descent on the rope (a lot of old ropes and a new one) and went to the next, when the rope on which after me went down after my friend Murad, broke up. Murad fell down to 300-400 meters to the rocks and snow. We started the rescue work immediately, but the weather was very bad. Early this morning I brought his body out of the mountains to Kathmandu on a rescue helicopter. I lost my favorite partner-climber and my friend. My condolences to Olga and the entire family of Murad."

    Murad Ashurly was working as a top manager of one of the leading telecommunications companies in the United States. He was a member of Azerbijan's Mountaineering Federation and experienced climbers.

    In 2007, he successfully conquered McKinley the highest peak of North America. He was the third Azerbaijani to climb Mount Everest and Kangchenjunga, completing the Seven Summits challenge in 2013.

    Murad was the cousin of Israfil Ashurly , the first Azerbaijani who climbed Mount Everest and Kangchenjunga.
  • Facebook new app reminiscent of Internet's early days
    24.10.2014 11:58
    Facebook launched a new standalone forum app Thursday called Rooms, a project that has been rumored about for months.

    The app allows users to post on discussion boards using pseudonyms, a decided shift from Facebookв's insistence on true identities for users on its social network.

    Many assumed Rooms would be like Snapchat or Secre '"explosively popular social media apps that revel in anonymity and ephemerality.

    Instead, Rooms actually harkens back to the forums and chat rooms of the early Internet. The focus is built around discussions about specialized topics. The app is updated for our image-obsessed digital culture, though, and encourages users to share pictures or video in their posts.

    Rooms is only available on mobile devices, too, a departure from the chat rooms of yesteryear.

    For each discussion forum, participants simply need a user name different from others on the same thread, but a pseudonym can change from forum to forum.

    The app asks for more information as security measures, but doesnв't require anything more than a user name.

    Rooms was spearheaded by Josh Miller, who was brought on as a product manager at Facebook after it acquired his startup, Branch, for $15 million earlier this year. Branch, which builds ''social products'' that allow for online discussions among small groups of people, was a clear inspiration for Rooms.

    ''Identity isn't a product goal,'' Miller tweeted after rumors broke about the project earlier this month. ''Focus should be on what human desire you want to enable, not anonymity as the focal point.''

    Testing has been tightly controlled, with only Facebook employees and a select group of outsiders invited to use the app. Several of the discussion threads already available range from makeup tips to mountain biking to fans of the pug breed of dog.

    Rooms is currently available for free on Apple iOS devices.
  • Armenia's economy deteriorates amid domestic, foreign challenges
    24.10.2014 11:48

    By Mushvig Mehdiyev

    Armenia's foreign exchange reserves dropped below the red line over the last years. The country failed to follow the international experience since there is a negative balance between the international reserves and national imports.

    Foreign exchange reserves are the assets held by central bank in different reserve currencies, mostly in the U.S. dollar. The bank uses those money to back its liabilities.

    Levon Zurabyan, the head of the Armenian National Congress's parliamentary fraction said Armenia has spent its international reserves to ring the alarm bells. "The volume of Armenia's national imports was nearly $4.5 billion in 2013, in the other words; it was about $2.3 billion for six months. At the same time, its foreign exchange reserves was slightly over $2,1 billion in early 2014, nonetheless, it dropped to $1,6 billion in September," Zurabyan noted.

    The economic crisis in Armenia is seemingly inflicting the country's external reserves after it pushed its domestic reserves into a disastrous condition. The former Soviet country's economy is well-known for the lack of competitiveness. Internal economic troubles have not bypassed Armenia's foreign exchange reserves amid the considerable decrease.

    "The Central Bank's international reserves decreased by $550 million only in six months. Current amount of the reserves is $557 million below the recognized red line which is an important factor for Armenia's economy," Zurabyan said.

    The situation in Armenia's domestic economy is not good, as well. The price of oil and oil products in the country is not inclined to drop on the backdrop of oil's decreasing price in the world markets.

    Analysts say the unchanged price of oil in Armenia is the result of monopolistic economy. Moreover, local media reports that Russia's giant oil company Rosneft controls the current oil price in the country.

    Though today's oil price is roughly $86 per barrel in the world markets, the importers of the oil products in Armenia are not willing to change the prices.

    Vahan Khachatryan, economist and the member of the Armenian National Congress Party, said the oil prices in Armenia didn't change because of the monopolistic rule in this field. "There is only explanation for that trend: monopoly. If there is not competitiveness in the economy, then the events in the world markets are unable to affect it," he noted.

    Armenia continues to see its economy dependent on foreign companies and money. Unlimited privileges possessed by the overseas companies including the businesses from Russia, Britain, the U.S. and etc. is depriving the country of the ability to rule the economic developments.
  • 40 more girls abducted in Nigeria's Adamawa
    24.10.2014 11:43
    Forty girls have been abducted in multiple raids in Nigeria's northeast Adamawa State by suspected Boko Haram insurgents, local sources said, SIA reports.

    "Some insurgents who rode on motorcycle raided some communities at Waga Mongoro district of Magali local government and took away up to 40 girls late Wednesday," a senior police officer told Anadolu Agency on Thursday, requesting anonymity for not being authorized to talk to the media.

    Isa Tukur, a resident of Kwabapale, one of the attack communities, said the gunmen they believed to be Boko Haram militants had supervised the emptying of food silos in the communities before ordering the girls to board their vehicles.

    "We are talking about over 40 girls taken. Earlier over the weekend, many women had also been seized" he told AA Thursday night by phone.

    Up to 60 women were kidnapped in Adamawa on Saturday, with locals fingeringBokoHaram militants.

    Adamawa is among the three northeast states currently under state of emergency imposed since December 2012 to help fight the Boko Haram insurgency. The other states are Borno and Yobe.

    Last Friday, Nigeria announced that it had reached a cease-fire withBokoHaram.

    The deal reportedly stipulated the safe return of over 200 schoolgirls abducted by the group over six months ago in exchange for detained militants.

    But since the announcement, BokoHaram insurgents have attacked several communities in Borno and Adamawastates, leaving scores dead.

    The purported cease-fire continues to draw widespread skepticism, particularly after the recent eruption of fresh hostilities.

    Government sources, however, insist the cease-fire is genuine, stressing that talks with Boko Haram were still underway in Chadian capital Ndjamena.

    Nigeria has battledBokoHaram for the past five years, with thousands killed and millions displaced by the violence, which has been limited largely to the country's volatile northeastern region.
  • Prime Minister of Republic of Lithuania congratulates Caspian Energy journal on 15th anniversary
    24.10.2014 11:43
    Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania Algirdas ButkeviДЌius has congratulated the readers and the editorial staff of the Caspian Energy International Media Group on the 15th anniversary of activity carried out at the world information markets.

    ''This year, Lithuania celebrated the 24th anniversary of the restoration of its independence. October 2014 marks the beginning of the operation ''Independence'' in the energy field as well. The LNG terminal in Klaipeda seaport, as well as current electricity projects, represents Lithuaniaв's fundamental endeavour towards energy diversification in line with the common EU energy policy'', Prime Minister of Lithuania Algirdas ButkeviДЌius noted.

    ''Energy security is critical. It also leads towards an open, competitive, and stable economy. Today Lithuania is particularly focused on closer cooperation with the countries of the Caspian and Black Sea Region, and is ready to use the cooperation potential for the development and successful implementation of joint projects in energy, transport, and infrastructure. It is only by knowing each other and expanding our current cooperation ties, that we will be able to build better future for us all'', the head of the Lithuanian government said.

    ''Dear readers of the Caspian Energy, congratulations on the 15th anniversary of the Caspian Energy journal! I wish you every success!'', Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania Algirdas ButkeviДЌius emphasized.

    Read an exclusive interview of Prime Minister of the Lithuanian Republic Algirdas ButkeviДЌius in one of the following issues of the Caspian Energy journal.

    Caspian Energy is spread in 50 countries of the world. Interviews of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the CIS and EU countries, as well as heads of relevant international organizations, large transnational companies, reviews and analytical materials of leading experts are published in the journal.

    Interviews of Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria Plamen Oresharski, President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of the Swiss Confederation Didier Burkhalter, President of the Czech Republic MiloЕЎ Zeman, President of Croatia Ivo Josipovic and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan were published in the previous issues of the Caspian Energy journal through 2014.

    According to various estimates, the Caspian Energy journal is one of top 5 leading editions of the Caspian-Black Sea and Baltic regions and the landmark for many investors in determining their activity in the Caspian-Black Sea and Baltic regions.
  • Expert: Every second able-bodied citizen is the bank debtor
    24.10.2014 11:35
    "In this case three credit histories are opened for each borrower."

    In Azerbaijan, the number of citizens who have received credit, rises beyond 2 000 000, while the number of working-age population is more than 4 000 000 people. In this regard, almost every second able-bodied citizen of Azerbaijan is the bank debtor."

    Oxu.Az reports referring to the "Echo" newspaper that the statement came from the expert of "Assistance to Economic Initiatives" public unit Samir Aliyev.

    According to him, the number of credit histories is more than 7 000 000.

    "In fact, this means that each borrower accounts for 3.5 credit in Azerbaijan. The problem is that bank loans became the settlement of current problems of citizens. They take credit for solving problems for the first time. Next comes a moment when they can not repay the loan, so they ask for a new one. As a result,they gradually are in debt, and the volume of non-performing loans are rising, "- said S.Aliyev.

    It should be noted that the problem of non-performing loans in Azerbaijan was more relevant in the years of 2007-2009, when the overdue loans increased 3 times and in 2009 reached AZN 303m. However, in contrast to the banking systems of many countries, Azerbaijani banks escaped "minor injury." Even before the crisis the CBA held consultations with banks, as a result they refused to excessive risk.

    However, statistics shows that non-performing loans, in 2009-2013,increased by 2.6 times and by the end 2013 amounted to AZN 792m.
  • Joint Working Group on Human Rights resumes activities in Azerbaijan
    24.10.2014 11:33
    Baku, October 24, AzerTAc

    Joint Working Group on Human Rights has resumed its activities in Azerbaijan initiated by President Ilham Aliyev and Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjoslash;rn Jagland.

    Founded in 2005, the group halted its activities in 2008.

    The working group includes MPs, officials of the Presidential Administration, representatives of Azerbaijan-based international NGOs having a consultative status in UN agencies.

    The working group held its first meeting on October 22.

    Members of the working group, referring to the Memorandum signed in 2005, confirmed the intention of the Azerbaijani society to effectively address human rights issues through dialogue with civil society.
  • Baku 2015 European Games begins '˜European Games For Everyoneв' Regional Schools Tour
    24.10.2014 11:20
    The Baku 2015 European Games today begins a nationwide tour of Azerbaijanв's schools called 'European Games For Everyoneв' to educate and inform pupils about next summerв's inaugural event.

    A team from the Baku 2015 European Games Operations Committee (BEGOC) will travel to the nationв's 57 regions for a series of presentations, lectures and sporting displays over the next eight months.

    Baku 2015 plan to visit more than 500 schools to inspire the countryв's 14 to 17 year olds with details about the biggest sporting event ever to be held in Azerbaijan.

    Mr Simon Clegg, Baku 2015 Chief Operating Officer, said: ''Part of the lasting legacy of the inaugural European Games will be to excite the next generation of budding Azerbaijani athletes. ''By taking the messaging of Baku 2015 around the country, the Regional Schools Tour will help to share the anticipation that is already building within the host city. ''The whole of Azerbaijan will be proud of what is achieved by Baku 2015, so it important that we help educate and inform the countryв's youth about all aspects of the European Games.''

    Mr Elchin Safarov, Corporate Director of Baku 2015, said: ''The Baku 2015 European Games are a very important moment in the history of Azerbaijan, so we are keen to share our excitement and news of our progress with all of the regions. ''Our young people will have the unique opportunity to enjoy elite sport in world-class venues for the very first time, and we want to ensure they feel connected to the European Games.''
  • Microsoft co-founder Allen pledges $100 mn Ebola
    24.10.2014 10:59
    Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen said Thursday he was boosting his donations to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to $100 million.

    Allen, who has made earlier donations to the health effort, said his latest pledge would include funding the development and manufacture of two medevac containment units to allow the US State Department to evacuate medical professionals from hard-hit West Africa.

    Allen will also donate to the World Health Organization "to increase its capacity to coordinate the logistics required to transport international aid workers," according to a statement.

    "The chilling reality of Ebola should motivate us to safeguard society and take action to stop this pandemic. Ebola is not somebody else's problem. It is ours," said Allen, who helped found the software company with Bill Gates and sat on its board of directors until 2000.

    "The entire global community needs to step up now with resources that match the speed and scale of this growing outbreak."

    Allen said individuals, corporate donors and others should do their part to contain the threat from the disease.

    "If you are an individual who wants to be a part of the solution, please donate what you can," he said, citing a contribution website,

    "And, if you are a major donor, corporation or foundation that is in the unique position like me to give generously, let's partner. We know from history that with timely and coordinated action, we can start to contain this disease."

    Allen, who also is an owner of several sports franchises, is the latest member of the tech community to pledge funding to fight the deadly disease.

    He has previously donated at least $15 million, according to US media.

    Gates, through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has offered $50 million to fight Ebola, while Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have offered $25 million.
  • Second International Ashiq Festival due in Baku
    24.10.2014 10:59

    By Amina Nazarli

    The second International Ashiq Festival will be held in Azerbaijan on November 10-18.

    To be co-organized by Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Culture and Tourism Ministry Ashiqs Association, the festival is aimed to promote the art of Azerbaijani Ashiq in the world, to increase the role of Ashiq in the development of the national culture and to bring together performers of Ashiq music throughout the world.

    Some outstanding performers from Turkey, Iran, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Russia as well as all regions of Azerbaijan will give splendid concerts.

    The festival will be held in Azerbaijan State Musical Theatre on November 12. During the period of November 13-17 Azerbaijani regions including Yevlakh, Gadabay, Shamkir, Qazakh, Tovuz and Ujar will host the grandiose event.

    The first International Ashiq Festival was held in Azerbaijan in 2010 attracting lots of attentions.

    The art of Azerbaijani Ashiqs was included in the UNESCO`s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009, as a symbol of national cultural identity that embodies various artistic spheres practiced by poets, composers, singers or actor-narrators, thus uniting in one artistic expression the communities of the entire country.

    The art of Azerbaijani Ashiqs combines poetry, storytelling, dance and vocal and instrumental music into a traditional performance art that is a symbol of Azerbaijani culture. Characterized by the accompaniment of the saz, a stringed musical instrument, the classical repertoire includes 200 songs, 150 literary-musical compositions known as dastans, nearly 2,000 poems in different traditional poetic forms and numerous stories.

    The regional variations may include other musical instruments, but all are united by a common national language and artistic history. Ashiqs take part in weddings, friendly parties and festive events throughout the Caucasus and appear on concert stages, radio and television, sometimes synthesizing classical melodies with contemporary ones as they continue to recreate their repertoire.

    Their art is considered a symbol of national identity and the guardian of Azerbaijani language, literature and music. Ashiqs also help to promote cultural exchange and dialogue.
  • Four ways for OPEC to react amid falling oil prices
    24.10.2014 10:49
    By Aygun Badalova

    Oil prices keep on falling on the world markets with Brent now at slightly over $86 per barrel and WTI at almost $83 per barrel. This is roughly a 25-percent decline from their peak in June ($106 per barrel) and at the same time a four-year low.

    Descending tendency in oil prices has already caused concerns among OPEC member states and the countries that are highly dependent on oil exports. Only some countries may be exception from the list, and Saudi Arabia is among them.

    The country '" the worldв's largest oil exporter - with its huge oil reserves ad incomes may remain invulnerable to low oil prices. Saudi Arabia is no longer united with other OPEC members in their decisions regarding oil production quotas. This time the country again refused to cut its oil production level in order to enable for oil prices to slightly recover.Russia and Iran are the countries whose economies will feel the most negative effect of the low prices. In particular, Russiaв's 2014 budget was calculated proceeding from the oil price of $93 per barrel. In September the countryв's ministry of finance said that Russiaв's economy lost two percent of GDP in the third quarter as the result of a drop in oil prices from $110 to $93 per barrel.

    However, Iran, which always considered $100 per barrel as the ideal price for oil, this time changed its position by saying that it can live with lower oil prices.

    The Islamic Republic's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh recently said that there is no need and plan for OPEC to hold an emergency meeting regarding the fall of oil prices. At the same time Iranв's ex-OPEC governor Mohammad-Ali Khatibi said that the organization needs to take action in order to prevent oil prices from falling any further."Oil revenues are vital for Iranв's economy, therefore we need to increase prices by any means," he said.

    It is worth to admit that low oil pricesв' negative effect on Iranian economy will be significant. The countryв's current year budget envisages the price of $100 per barrel.The issue of whether to keep or cut OPECв's oil production quotas will be discussed in late November. Cartelв's current production quota amounts to 30 million barrels per day (mbd). OPEC holds 60 percent of the worldв's oil reserves and 30 percent of supplies.

    To stabilize prices at current levels or push them higher, there needs to be a supply adjustment from the OPEC members, analysts from the U.S. bank JP Morgan believe.''However, since OPEC adopted a collective target of 30 mbd in November 2011, no producer can be held accountable for deterioration in the market conditions. Thus OPEC members are jointly responsible for ensuring market stability, and recent pricing decisions by MEG (Middle East Gulf) OPEC members may be seen as forcing the issue of burden sharing onto the negotiating table in the November meeting,'' the analysts said in a report obtained by Trend.

    Competition to preserve market share raises the prospect that OPEC members will be unable to reach an agreement on how to share the burden in an egalitarian manner, said analysts.

    If OPEC can agree to withdraw production from the market, the analysts estimate a cut of one mbd would be necessary.

    However, given the inevitable time lag between a decision and its implementation, and the risk that OPEC fails to agree how to share any reduction in the output, further downside price risks remain, they believe.

    JP Morganв's analysts think that the likelihood of OPEC agreeing to reduce output in November is around 60 percent.

    Failure to do so would suggest continuation of the over-supplied market conditions that have characterized third quarter of this year and contributed to weaker prices.

    ''The crucial question is who cuts production and by how much. In recent years, most OPEC members have had little or no spare capacity. Thus, increased demand for crude, either due to demand growth, or loss of supplies elsewhere, e.g. from Syria, South Sudan, Iran or Libya, has been largely met by Saudi Arabia. In the third quarter of 2010, when OPEC last produced 29.4 mbd, Saudi Arabia's output was 8.3 mbd - 1.2 mbd below our 4Q 2014 estimate,'' the analysts said.

    Overall, the experts see four scenarios for the upcoming OPEC meeting. First one is that no agreement will be reached, which will cause further decline of oil prices with the probability to reach $65 per barrel.

    The second scenario is that OPEC agrees to reduce production by 0.5 mbd. In this case oil prices could fall further in the short-term, but likely by less than $5 per barrel. Depending on the speed of implementation, prices may go up slightly later and remain within the range of $80-$90 per barrel broadly through the first quarter of 2014.

    The third scenario is that OPEC agrees to cut production by one mbd. In that case prices will likely tick up higher than $10 per barrels.

    And the last scenario is that OPEC agrees to cut by 1.5 mbd. Such scenario could potentially lead to the prices reaching $100 per barrel at the end of Q3 of 2015.

  • ICT sector developing day by day
    24.10.2014 10:39

    By Nigar Orujova

    Energy rich Azerbaijan is striving to develop its non-oil sector and the development of Information and Communication Technology sphere is of particular importance for the country.

    Over the past five years, the information technology sector of Azerbaijan has increased two fold. As figures show, revenues of the ICT sector in Azerbaijan increased by more than 12 percent in the nine months of 2014.

    Currently, the internet penetration rate of Azerbaijan stands at 70 percent. The broadband Internet penetration among the population stands at 50 percent.

    Operators in Azerbaijan provided services totaling 1140.5 million manats in January-September 2014, which is 12.6 percent higher than the same period of 2013, State Statistics Committee reports.

    Over 72 percent of the total volume of information and communication services was given to ordinary people with 58.8 percent of the total income received falling on mobile services.

    The total income received from the mobile services in the country for the mentioned period amounted to 671.1 million manats, which is 7.3 percent higher than in January-September, 2013.

    Mobile sector is one of the well developing spheres of the ICT sector in the country, the mobile phone penetration in the country stands at 110 percent, thanks to services by its three main mobile operators.

    Despite this, 55,900 mobile phones and tablets were imported into the country in January-September. Thus, about 7,000 phones were brought to the over 9.5 million people.

    However, the market remains stable as the number of imported phones decreased by 4.8 percent in comparison with the same period of 2013.

    Today, Azerbaijanis prefer portable computers to personal ones. The market share of PCs decreased by about 20 percent, while the share of notebooks raised by about 50 percent in January-September. The interest in tablets has also increased by 39 percent.

    Moreover, with the development of the broadband Internet infrastructure in the capital and the regions, the Internet penetration in the country will increase.

    The cost of this 'Fiber to the home' project is estimated to reach more than 450 million manats ($573 million). The ultimate goal of the project is to provide the whole country, including remote rural settlements, with high-speed Internet in the range of 30-100 Mbit/s, and bring the number of broadband Internet users up to 85 percent from the current 70 percent.

    This will allow Azerbaijan to enter the club of developed countries by 2017.

    The volume of consumed incoming Internet traffic on the network of the Azerbaijani primary provider company Delta Telecom increased by 20 percent and amounted to 120 gigabits in September, compared with August.

    ICT is supposed to enter every sphere of life in Azerbaijan.

    From e-health cards to e-contracts, e-signature, e-wallet, e-commerce, and many other sectors are now switches to the electronic format. With launching of the first telecommunication satellite Azerspace-1, the country would switch to the digital broadcasting.

    The total investment made in the development of information, communication and mail sector amounted to 62.5 million manats or 0.8 percent of the total investment in the country's economy in the first half of 2014.

    Last year the country invested about 202.2 million manats (over $257 million) in the ICT sector and postal services. Investment in the development of the ICT sector in Azerbaijan is expected to increase to $4 billion by 2020.

    Azerbaijan ranks 49th in the Global Information Technology Report 2014 in terms of the Network Readiness Index (NRI) compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The country also holds a leading position in the CIS in terms of the number of broadband internet subscribers.

    The Land of Fire ranks 48th in terms of the number of fixed broadband connections per 100 inhabitants, being ahead of Russia that stands at 50th place and Turkey at 69th.

    At present, Azerbaijan is the leading country of the region in terms of ICT development, which technically helps other countries.

    The country has launched a project to create a platform of broadband connection TASIM, which is endorsed by the ITU and supported by the three resolutions of UN General Assembly.

    The TASIM project envisions the creation of a major transit link from Frankfurt to Hong Kong. The line will connect the major centers of information exchange in Europe and Asia together, stretching through China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and Germany. A reserve North transit line will traverse the territory of Russia, Ukraine and Poland.

    Thus, with all these and future projects, the ICT may become one of the profitable sphere of the non-oil sector in the near future.
  • First Ebola case hits New York
    24.10.2014 10:24
    A doctor who recently returned to New York from treating Ebola patients in Guinea tested positive for the deadly virus Thursday, US news reports said.

    The doctor, Craig Spencer, was taken to Bellevue Hospital and placed in isolation, The New York Times said, calling it New York's first diagnosed case of the deadly disease.

    He had been rushed by ambulance from his home in Harlem to Bellevue suffering from a 103-degree Fahrenheit (39.4 degree Celsius) fever and nausea, The New York Post reported before his case was confirmed as Ebola.

    Bellevue is one of three hospitals in Manhattan and eight in the state of New York equipped to handle patients diagnosed with Ebola.
  • Armenians fire on positions of Azerbaijani Army
    24.10.2014 10:23
    The ceasefire was violated 15 times in various directions of the frontline within a day.

    APA reports quoting the Defense Ministry's website that Armenian armed units fired on the positions of Azerbaijani Armed Forces from their posts near Ashagi Seyidahmadli, Horadiz and Garakhanbeyli villages of Fuzuli, Kuropatkino village of Khojavand, Mehdili village of Jabrayil region and nameless uplands of Fuzuli, Jabrayil and Khojavand regions.

    The enemy was silenced by retaliation fire.
  • Concerns rise over change in structure of Turkish gendarmerie
    24.10.2014 10:08
    Turkey's gendarmerie forces are set for reform, amid the government's contentious new security package.

    The government is preparing to reshape the country's 175-year-old gendarmerie forces, but some observers have raised concerns about plans to link the complex military branch totally to the Interior Ministry.

    There are concerns about creating a politicized gendarmerie force, according to sources, who say the branch might be more open to political intervention if the appointments and registries of the gendarmerie are controlled by a civil body, not its traditional military hierarchy.

    Another major concern is that such a move might reveal security weaknesses, particularly amid the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in neighboring Syria and Iraq. Besides, the soldiers who have fought against outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in the east and southeast are usually from the gendarmerie or the land forces. The chain of command might be negatively affected if one of these arms is connected to a civil body, sources said.

    The plans also risk the number of qualified soldiers, they added, according to Hurriyet Daily.

    According to the new regulations, the Interior Ministry and provincial governors will have a say on the gendarmarie's non-military duties, authorizations and responsibilities, Interior Minister Efkan Ala confirmed in a televised interview late on Oct. 22.

    The move is part of a new security package, which has been criticized by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and many others, as a step back in terms of democratic rights. "The package clarifies the responsibilities and duties of the gendarmerie and coastguard organization, which serve public order," Ala said.

    The regional gendarmerie posts headed by a brigadier general will be removed, and the provincial commanderships will be directly linked to governors, who will also be named as provincial commanders and who will also be the superior for the forces, according to the new regulation, sources said.

    The dismissal of staff will also be undertaken by the ministry, while the Armed Forces will lend a full general to the gendarmerie and the head of the gendarmerie will keep his seat at the National Security Council.

    The draft also foresees a change in the uniforms of the gendarmerie. The present green uniforms will be switched to either blue or dark blue, as seen in European Union members, which will give the new uniform a more "civil touch," Minister Ala said.

    The final touches to the draft will reportedly be made after final talks with the General Staff.

    Speaking more broadly about the controversial new security package, Ala was keen to stress that the it would "not violate the rights of any citizens that obey the law," adding that it would include some regulations increasing the effectiveness and capabilities of the ministry regarding institutions that it cooperates with.
  • Priests in dance-off become web sensation
    24.10.2014 09:58
    The Rev David Rider, 29, and the Rev John Gibson, 28, were filmedduring a fundraiser at an elite US seminary near the Vatican.

    Father Rider, of Hyde Park, New York, first dazzled the crowd with a tap-dance routine, only to be upstaged by the fleet-footed Irish dance of Father Gibson, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    The pair then begin battling it out to impress the crowd in the clip, shot at the North American College in April.

    Journalist Joan Lewis recorded the event and posted it on YouTube, where it has had some 260,000 views.

    Most of the comments were overwhelmingly positive, though one or two felt it was disrespectful to dance under a crucifix and a portrait of Pope Francis.

    The men in cloth with moves have drawn comparisons with a nun who won an Italian television talent show in June.

    SisterCristina Scucciasigned a record contract after her triumphant performances in full habit on The Voice.
  • Co-chairs about upcoming presidential meeting in Paris
    24.10.2014 09:48
    The co-chairs refused to comment on the appointment of a trial of Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilgam Asgarov by separatist Nagorno Karabakh regime.

    The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group expect the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents to have a serious discussion in Paris about the key issues of a settlement, said OSCE's press service said in its statement to APA.

    "The Presidents' recent meetings in Sochi and Wales revitalized the most important channel of communication between the sides. We expect the Presidents to have a serious discussion in Paris about the key issues of a settlement. We also hope the Presidents will agree to measures that can increase trust and transparency between the sides. The Co-Chairs stand ready to help in whatever way we can", said OSCE's press service.

    "The OSCE Minsk Group is the only format the sides trust to mediate a lasting settlement to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. The leadership in Armenia and Azerbaijan has publicly expressed their support for the Co-Chairs' efforts, and we are ready to assist the sides to reach a peaceful resolution. A resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict depends on the political will of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and not on treaties or alliances. The Co-Chairs hope with the recent contacts between the Presidents they will commit themselves to a settlement", the statement said.

    The co-chairs refused to comment on the appointment of a trial of Azerbaijani hostages - Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilgam Asgarov by separatist Nagorno Karabakh regime on October 27.
  • Attempts to isolate Russia futile: Kremlin
    24.10.2014 09:18
    Attempts to isolate Russia are futile, as real sanctions could be imposed only by the United Nations (UN), while the rest is pure pressure, Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said Thursday.

    "You know, maybe it sounds a little harsh, but I really think so - it is impossible to isolate Russia, and the world is not going to do so. It is not the entire world that is isolating us. So-called sanctions are imposed [on Russia]. I say 'so-called' because real sanctions could only be imposed by the UN Security Council, and the rest is pure pressure, not sanctions," Ivanov said.

    Western countries have introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russia, accusing Moscow of escalating the crisis in Ukraine, although Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations. The sanctions implemented by the United States, the European Union and some other countries target certain individuals, as well as Russia's largest banks, defense and energy companies.

    Russia has consistently expressed its support for the peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis and pointed out it was not involved in the conflict. Moscow called the language of sanctions counterproductive and said that such restrictive measures posed a threat to international stability.
  • Kalbajar hostageв's daughter: I miss my dad
    24.10.2014 08:57
    Employees of website visited the house of Shahbaz Guliyev who was captured by Armenians in Kalbajar, and talked to his family members.

    Shahbaz Giliyev's daughter, fourth former Elza says her biggest wish is to see her father back:

    "I am happy when he is at home (cries). I want to know when my father is back. I love him very much, he is so dear to me. I want my father back (cries). I miss him. It has already been the fourth month that I don't see him. I am waiting impatiently for the day he comes and we are all together. When he is back home, I will tell him: lsquo;Don't go so far anymore'. I miss him very much, I want to hug my dad".

    Shahbaz's brother Ilham said he did not know that his brother visited Kalbajar:

    "I learned about his capture from journalists. He was captured by kafirs, and everything is so bad. When there is no brother, there is no support to family. I am grateful to our state, they help us. May Allah open the doors for Shahbaz and Dilgam. They both are our brothers".

    Shahbaz's wife Albina:

    "It is very hard for us to read his letters. We want him to be with us. It is hard for me to hear our daughter Elza asking about him, asking him back (cries). Elza is the only child in our family. She is crying every day. We ask President Ilham Aliyev. My only dream is to see Shahbaz with us".
  • Czech president to visit Azerbaijan
    24.10.2014 08:52
    The president of the Czech Republic will pay a visit to Azerbaijan in February-March 2015.

    Azerbaijani Ambassador to the Czech Republic Farid Shafiyev told a group of journalists who are on a visit to Prague, APA reports.

    He said the Czech minister of industry and trade too will visit Azerbaijan in early December: "There's going to be a business forum during that visit".

    F.Shafiyev added that relations between Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic are successfully developing: "The president of the Czech Republic is scheduled to make a visit to Azerbaijan next year. Economic issues are the top priority. Agricultural and industrial relations are a priority as well. The two countries have friendly relations".
  • Qarabag Agdam beat Ukrainian Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, become first Azerbaijani club to win UEFA Europa League group stage match
    24.10.2014 03:27
    Baku, October 24, AzerTAc

    Azerbaijani football club Qarabag Agdam have defeated Ukrainian Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1-0 in the third round of the UEFA Europa League group stage in Kiev.

    Muarem Muarem`s 21st minute goal was enough for Gurban Gurbanov`s side to make history as the first Azerbaijani club to seal a victory in an UEFA Europa League group stage.

    With 4 points, Qarabag are now runners-up in Group F behind Italian Internazionale Milano who have 7 points after being held to a goalless draw by French Saint-Etienne.

    The French club are third with 3 points with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk remaining at the bottom with 1 point.

    Qarabag will take on the Ukrainian club in the fourth round when they clash in Baku on November 6.
  • Wenger admits gamble paid off
    23.10.2014 23:58
    ArsГЁne Wenger admitted it had been difficult to foresee Arsenalв's late recovery against Anderlecht in Brussels, where they had trailed 1-0 in the final two minutes. But goals from Kieran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski manufactured a stunning turnaround and allowed the club to reignite their Champions League hopes.

    Wenger finished with six attack-minded players on the field and he talked afterwards of a ''gambling situation'' in which he somehow came up trumps. The drama went some way to making up for a generally uninspiring performance was pock-marked by errors and a defensive switch-off for the Anderlecht goal.

    ''I know by experience that the nerves play a part in the last five minutes in the Champions League,'' Wenger said. ''And that we had to get into those five minutes without conceding the second goal. If they had scored the second goal, it was game over. I had hope. It didnв't look likely but it happened. We took all the risks and, in the end, it paid off. Itв's a little bit of a gambling situation that happens in this kind of game and it worked tonight. It did not look obvious, that is for sure.

    ''The turning point was not to concede the second goal. They had a good chance that they didnв't take and, in the end, the quality of the players who came on and our experience made the difference, unexpectedly. As long as we didnв't concede the second goal, I thought we had a chance to take at least a point.

    ''Itв's a bit unexpected to take the three, considering the quality of the match that Anderlecht played.''

    Wenger was asked whether he gave credit for his teamв's spirit or was worried about the overall performance. ''Both,'' he replied. ''We had the spirit but it was disappointing that we didnв't create more. I put that down to the fact that Anderlecht defended very well.''

    Podolski entered as an 83rd-minute substitute and the timing of his first goal of the season could hardly have been better. ''He is frustrated and I understand that,'' Wenger said of the forwardв's lack of playing time. ''But we know he can always score. It took him a while to get back to a good physical level [after the World Cup] and now, heв's nearly there. Itв's not a coincidence that he has over 100 caps for Germany. He is a guy who you want to have the ball in the box.''
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