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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 AzerNews/

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    Claude Salhani is senior editor at Trend Agency and a political analyst. You can follow Claude on Twitter @ClaudeSalhani.

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    Edited by CN

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    By Seba Aghayeva - Trend:

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    By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:

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

    Edited by SI

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    05.03.2015 14:51
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    The Umag Trophy (1.2) race was held in Croatia on March 4.

    Some 33 teams, composed each of six riders took part in the competition.

    National cyclist Maksym Averin finished second in the bunch sprint finish.

    The Azerbaijani rider, with the Synergy Baku Cycling Project, was beaten only by Marko Kump of Adria Mobil. Maksym completed the race of 161 km in 03:25:16 seconds.

    The race, with its start and finish at the Stela Maris Resort was largely flat and started off very fast.

    Ioannis Tamouridis represented Synergy Baku in the dayв's break group, which had 1:45 with 50 km to go. They were caught again, however, and the expected bunch sprint was set up.The finale was marked by a series of crashes, some involving a large number of riders, but fortunately none of the Synergy Baku riders were involved. Averin stayed upright and was able to bring in his second top placing in just a few days.''Thanks a lot to my teammates for their work today,'' Averin said. ''Dennisв' great work in the lead-out gave me the result.''In his first three races of the season, Averin has finished tenth (GP Laguna), and fifth (GP Izola).''It was a very nervous race with lots of crashes, but all of our riders made it to the finish without crashing,'' said sport director Andrej Hauptman. ''In the bunch sprint, the guys did a great job, especially Dennis van Winden.''

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    However, the DOSB executive did not want to express a desired number of medals for German athletes at Baku 2015.

    "It is all about doing as good as possible and using the qualification possibilities," Mr. Vesper said.

    As opposed to some sports at Baku 2015, Table Tennis stars Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov will be fighting for a direct ticket to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

    "Unfortunately there is only one direct spot to the Olympic Games. And hopefully one of us two will get it," said Boll, who was at the DOSB press conference along with Ovtcharov.

    Germany will be represented by about 280 athletes at Baku 2015.
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    05.03.2015 14:34
    President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has visited The Saint Sofia Church as part of his official trip to the Republic of Bulgaria.

    Located in the center of Sofia, the cathedral is the oldest church in Bulgaria.

    The first church was built here in 311-313 years. Subsequently, with the support of the Emperor Constantine the cathedral was expanded. In 537, the Emperor Justinian the Great restored the affected cathedral. In the time of the Ottoman rule it was turned into a mosque for some time. In the 8th century people began to call the city ''Sophia'' by its name and in the second half of the 14th century the city became officially known as "Sophia" in the charters of the Bulgarian kings.

    President Ilham Aliyev signed the guest book of the cathedral.

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  • IBM opens representative office in Azerbaijan
    05.03.2015 14:34
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 5

    By Huseyn Veliyev - Trend:

    The US corporation IBM announced the opening of official representation in Azerbaijan March 5.

    Speaking at the opening event of representation, Azerbaijan's Deputy Minister of Communications and High Technologies Elmir Velizade noted the importance of making such a decision by the world's largest vendor.

    "IBM's introduction on the Azerbaijani market will play an important role in the development of the ICT sector of the country," Velizade said. "We are interested in participation of Azerbaijani specialists in studies conducted by the company, and we believe that IBM will also play an important role in the formation of e-government in the country, the development of technological and human potential of the republic."

    Local IBM representation expands the range of products that the company can offer. These are software and hardware systems, software solutions, analytical systems, mobile systems and technologies of "cloud" computing.

    The priority plans of the company include expansion of business in Azerbaijan. The IBM specialists will provide service maintenance and technical support.

    Edited by CN

    Follow the author on Twitter: @h_veliyev

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  • Fitch: Azerbaijan felt the effect of the devaluation of the ruble
    05.03.2015 14:29
    "Kazakhstan may also devalue the national currency."

    The slowdown in economic growth in Russia has a significant negative impact on the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), said the international rating agency Fitch.

    "The sharp slowdown in economic growth in Russia is a significant shock to the economy of other CIS states, but the effect on the creditworthiness of these countries varies considerably," the press release of the agency notes.

    The situation in the Russian economy has a direct impact on the CIS countries, with which the country has close economic ties through trade, remittances and investment flows, the analysts explain, Oxu.Az reports with reference to RIA Novosti.

    "Indirectly, the sharp drop of the ruble proved an important factor for significant adjustments of currencies in the region," Fitch says. Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan also felt the effect of the devaluation of the Russian ruble.

    "We believe that there is a high probability that Kazakhstan could also devalue the national currency", the report says.

    Russia is the main export market for goods from Armenia and the largest source of foreign direct investment and remittances of Armenian side. Therefore, a slowdown in economic growth in Russia will have a serious impact on the prospects for economic growth in Armenia, the analysts of the agency say.
  • Turkish warplane crash not related to Azerbaijan-Turkey air force drills
    05.03.2015 14:25
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 5


    The crash of a military plane in the Turkish province of Konya has nothing to do with the joint exercises of the Azerbaijani and Turkish air forces, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said in a message March 5.

    Complete staff of Azerbaijan's air forces is taking part in joint drills with Turkey's air forces, and the Azerbaijani side has had no casualties, the ministry said.

    The ministry also noted there is no information about the crash of a Turkish warplane during the exercises.

    Story still developing

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  • Ukrainian foreign ministry stops Russian media accreditation
    05.03.2015 14:18
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 5

    By - Trend:

    The ministry of foreign affairs of Ukraine announced its decision to suspend press accreditation for the Russian media, the press service of the ministry told TASS Russian news agency March 5.

    "Starting from this week, we will not accredit the Russian media [to events at the Foreign Ministry]," said the press service.

    Last week, the press service of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine notified a number of Russian media about the suspension of the accreditation of journalists to Ukrainian parliament.

    Earlier, Security Service of Ukraine approved a list of Russian media, for which accreditation at the bodies of state power will be temporarily suspended until the end of the "special operations" in Donbass conducted by Ukraine authorities. The list includes more than 100 TV channels, news agencies and radio stations that are registered in Russia.

    In mid-February 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine decided to stop accreditation of journalists and technical staff part of the Russian mass media for until the end of the "special operations" in Donbass conducted by the state authorities of Ukraine. The list of Russian media, for which the accreditation will be suspended by the state authorities, will be determined by the Security Service of Ukraine.

    Translated by EA

    Edited by CN

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Turkish military aircraft crashes, two pilots dead
    05.03.2015 14:16
    A Turkish warplane crashed during a training exercise on Thursday in the central Turkish province of Konya, killing two pilots, the military said, APA reports quoting Turkish news agency.

    In a statement, the Turkish Armed Forces said an F-4E 2020 aircraft that took off at 8:58 a.m. for training that was planned crashed at 9:50 a.m. for unknown reasons.

    An investigation into the crash is underway.
  • YARAT to present 'ISOLATION ROOM/GALLERY KIT' project in Baku
    05.03.2015 14:00
    YARAT is delighted to announce a one month collaborative project with ISOLATION ROOM/ GALLERY KIT which will take place in Baku, March 2015. The project is scheduled to coincide with American Week, organized by the US Embassy in Baku.

    ISOLATION ROOM/ GALLERY KIT is an evolving project which consists of a lsquo;gallery kit' or 7' x 7'x 9' box which can be readily constructed in any interior space. ISOLATION ROOM/ GALLERY KIT then forms a modular viewing space or gallery, complete with lighting rig, in which an individual art work can be shown. The project will host a changing series of exhibitions showing work by two artists from the United States alongside 2-3 Azerbaijani artists. Local artists were selected through an open call engaging the local art scene and promoting an exchange between American and Azerbaijani artists.

    Originally conceived by Daniel McGrath and Dana Turkovic in St. Louis, America, in July 2010 ISOLATION ROOM/ GALLERY KIT allows the artists to place a work of art into a state of quarantine, removed from any pre-existing themes or contextualisations. Forcing both the viewer and the artwork into a confined space, the project encourages spectators to engage with the work on a purely aesthetic level and re-establishes the relationship between artists, curator and audience.

    Over three and half years, ISOLATION ROOM/ GALLERY KIT has been built and experienced in a variety of local, national and international venues such as: The Fabrikken, Copenhagen, Denmark; The Lemp Brewery, St. Louis; Hunter College Galleries, New York; The Luminary, St. Louis; and has exhibited works by Ed Ruscha, Marcel Dzama and Alison Jackson.

    To accompany the work, YARAT will organise an additional lectures and discussions by Daniel McGrath and Dana Turkovic.

    11 Mar, 7:30pm - The Matroyshka Model and other Curatorial Projects , a lecture by Dana Turkovic

    13 Mar, 7:00pm - Revenge 101 Lecture , a lecture by Daniel McGrath

    YARAT is a not-for-profit organisation, based in Baku, Azerbaijan. Founded by Aida Mahmudova and a group of artists in 2011, YARAT is dedicated to nurturing an understanding of contemporary art in Azerbaijan and to creating a platform for Azerbaijani art, both nationally and internationally.

    YARAT (which means create in Azerbaijani) has commissioned over 80 projects to date, the majority in Baku, Azerbaijan. Education is at the core of YARAT's work and they hold artist residencies, workshops, lectures, and screenings and in 2014 they launched a summer school. YARAT's programme ARTIM (meaning progress in Azerbaijani supports young practitioners in the arts providing opportunities to curate and feature their work in exhibitions. In 2012, YARAT opened a social enterprise YAY Gallery, where proceeds are shared between the artists and YARAT.

    YARAT's has produced two Public Art Festivals in Baku, exhibitions in collaboration with the city's museums and international projects such as a collateral event for the 55th Venice Biennale and the IV Moscow International Biennale for Young Art.

    The organisation continues to grow; in 2014 YARAT opened a new building housing artists' studios and apartments to support their residency programme. YARAT Contemporary Art Centre opens in March 2015 and is the organisation's first permanent project space and a hub for contemporary art and art education for the Caucasus, Central Asia and neighbouring countries.

    About The Curators

    Daniel McGrath is an adjunct professor in the art department at Lindenwood University in St. Louis. In 2005, he received his Master of Arts from King's College - University of London. In 2000, he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the UCLA. He is co-director of ISOLATION ROOM/ GALLERY KIT, was co-director of Sweetboy Projects in Los Angeles and has organised exhibitions in Los Angeles, St. Louis and the United Kingdom. He is a contributing art writer for Art Papers, Art US, Review, Sculpture and St. Louis Magazine. He has published essays on the work of Korean artist Fi Jae Lee, local painter Jaime Adams, and book reviews for the Imperial War Museum in London. He has exhibited his work at Hunter College MFA Studios, New York; Office Space, Los Angeles; SweetboyProjects, Los Angeles; Pirate, Burford, UK; PSTL, St. Louis; and the Hunt Gallery, St. Louis. He lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri and is the director of duet, a curatorial project in St. Louis.

    Dana Turkovic is Curator of Exhibitions at Laumeier Sculpture Park. She is also an adjunct professor in the art department at Webster University. In 2005, she received her Master of Arts from Goldsmiths College - University of London in curatorial studies. Though she spent many years as the senior designer for the UCLA Hammer Museum, she has turned her attention to creative curatorial endeavors. She has organised exhibitions in Athens, Greece, Los Angeles at Monte Vista Projects in alternative spaces in London and Oxford in the United Kingdom and in St. Louis at the Contemporary Art Museum, Boots Contemporary Art Space, Ellen Curlee Gallery, White Flag Projects and Schmidt Contemporary Art. She has written for publications such as Art US and Review magazine. She lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri.

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  • Day 2 of Open Joint Azerbaijan Championships in Gymnastics Disciplines kicks off
    05.03.2015 13:59
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 5

    By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

    The second day of competitions within the Open Joint Azerbaijan Championships in Gymnastics Disciplines kicked off on Mar.5.

    On the second day, the competitions will be held for four sets of medals: two sets - in all-around competitions on rhythmic gymnastics (individual gymnasts' and groups' competitions) and another two sets - in combined acrobatic exercises among women and mixed doubles.

    Moreover, qualifications will be held in the competitions of mixed doubles and groups in aerobics, mixed doubles and women in tempo and static exercises in acrobatics, as well as synchronized and individual competitions on trampoline.

    Coming from 22 countries, 133 gymnasts are taking part in the competitions.

    Such stars of world gymnastics as two-time absolute world champion Yana Kudryavtseva, Olympic silver medalist Filip Ude, multiple World Cup winner in rhythmic gymnastics, two-time absolute champion of Azerbaijan and the sports ambassador of the European Games Marina Durunda and many others are among them.

    What makes this competition special is that it will be held on the same scheme with the First European Games. This will set a precedent in the history of gymnastics and a great opportunity for the masters of aerobics and acrobats to compete together with rhythmic and artistic gymnasts and trampoliners under one roof.

    Edited by SI


    Follow the author on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov

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  • Agreement reached on some controversial points in draft convention on Caspian Sea status
    05.03.2015 13:54
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 5


    The Caspian Sea countries have reached an agreement on some controversial points in the draft convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan's Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov told reporters on Mar.5.

    He made the remarks following the 39th meeting of the working group on determining the legal status of the Caspian Sea at the level of deputy foreign ministers of the Caspian Sea countries.

    The meeting was held on Mar.4-5 in Baku with participation of representatives of all five littoral states.

    During the negotiations held on Mar.4-5, broad discussions were held on the paragraphs of the convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea and the Astrakhan Declaration of the heads of Caspian Sea countries, said Khalafov.

    Story still developing

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  • Deputies of minister for development of IT and communications appointed in Uzbekistan
    05.03.2015 13:43
    Tashkent, Uzbekistan, March 5

    By Demir Azizov- Trend:

    Uzbek President Islam Karimov has signed a decree to appoint the deputies of the minister for development of information technologies (IT) and communications.

    Alisher Faizullaev, who previously served as the deputy head of the State Committee of Communication, Informatization and Telecommunication Technologies, was appointed the deputy minister, according to the decree, the Ministry for Development of Information Technologies and Communications told Trend.

    Other members of the previous management of the committee, Miradil Sangilov and South Korean citizen Kim Nam-sok have also been appointed the deputy ministers. Kim Nam-sok's position is lsquo;deputy minister - ICT consultant'.

    Moreover, Umidjon Alamov, Ibrohim Juraev were also appointed deputies of the minister for IT and communications of Uzbekistan.

    The number of deputies of the minister (including the first deputy minister) has been reduced from six to five.

    The Ministry for Development of IT and Communications itself was created in accordance with the decree of Uzbek president in early February 2015 on the basis of the State Committee of Communication, Informatization and Telecommunication Technologies. That time, the president also appointed Khurshid Mirzahidov as the minister.

    Ensuring the implementation of a unified state policy in the field of information technologies and communications, creating the "e-government" are among the main tasks and directions of the new ministry's activity.

    Working out and implementing the comprehensive programs for the implementation and development of the national information and communication system are also among these tasks.

    The ministry will also execute the functions of government regulation, licensing and control of the activities in telecommunications area and in the use of the radio spectrum.

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  • Hungary simplifies visa issuance procedure for Azerbaijani citizens
    05.03.2015 13:25
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 5

    By Seba Aghayeva - Trend:

    Hungary will open a visa center in Baku in the near future, Hungarian ambassador to Azerbaijan Zsolt Chutora told Trend March 5.

    The center will render technical services while issuing a Schengen visa for the citizens of Azerbaijan.

    "The consular department of the Hungarian embassy in Azerbaijan will charge this center with passport procedure for visa issuance. This center will be managed by a Hungarian company.

    Chutora said that the opening of the visa center would greatly facilitate a visa obtaining procedure for citizens of Azerbaijan visiting this country.

    Hungarian WizzAir airline will resume Baku-Budapest-Baku flights by late March in accordance with an intergovernmental agreement on air service.

    Until now, the direct flights between Baku and Budapest have been carried out with the memorandum of cooperation signed by the civil aviation administrations of the two countries.

    The period of the memorandum validity was extended several times. It expired October 26, 2014 in accordance with the recent decision on prolongation.

    Moreover, the embassy plans to expand the work of the consular department in connection with the influx of tourists.

    According to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Hungary amounted to $95.55 million as of 2014. Around $71.56 million accounted for Azerbaijani exports. The trade turnover increased by 2.9 times due to an increase in exports by 1,560 times compared to 2013.

    Edited by CN


    follow the author on Twitter: @Asebaa

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  • Azerbaijan plays important role as first supplier of Caspian gas to EU
    05.03.2015 13:04
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 5

    By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

    Azerbaijan plays an important role as the first supplier of the Caspian gas to the EU market, analyst at "Eurasia Energy Observer" Andrej Tibold told Trend on lsquo;This week in focus' episode. "The Southern Gas Corridor has become a priority project in the European Union," he said. "There are several reasons for that."

    "From the beginning the Southern Gas Corridor has been an alternative source of supply," Tibold said. The diversification has been the main stake here."

    Tibold said that another benefit of this project is that alternative sources of supply are good for liquidity on the gas market.

    "The markets targeted by the Southern Gas Corridor are mainly located in the South-East Europe, which are not really liquid," Tibold said. "More liquidity, more diversity - that is what the Southern Gas Corridor can bring to the European market."

    He said that the increased tensions between the EU and Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, has made it even more necessary to not only look for alternative gas supply sources for Europe, but also to develop renewable energy sources and increase of energy efficiency.

    The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. The project is aimed at diversification of routes and sources of energy supply and thereby increase EU's energy security. It envisages the delivery of gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas and condensate field to Europe.

    The gas to be produced as part of the second stage of the field's development will be exported to Turkey and European markets through the expansion of the South Caucasus Pipeline and the construction of Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

    While talking about the new Turkish Stream project initiated by Russia instead of the failed South Stream, Tibold said that the new project is not much different from the previous one.

    The volumes of the Russian gas supplies are still the same," he said. "The location where gas enters Europe has not changed much."

    Tibold said that Russia will not accept failure with Turkish Stream, since it has already invested a lot in creating its own infrastructure for the South Stream.

    In particular, he said Russia has already invested in creating its own "South Corridor" on its territory for gas supply to compressor station Russkaya.

    During the talks in Turkey on December 1, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin talked about ceasing the South Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Bulgaria. A new Turkish Stream project was immediately initiated.

    In December 2014, Russian company Gazprom and Turkish company Botas signed a memorandum of understanding to construct a gas pipeline across the Black Sea to Turkey. The pipeline's transportation capacity is projected to stand at 63 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

    Of these, some 14 billion cubic meters of gas is intended for delivery to Turkey and the remaining volumes, about 50 billion cubic meters of gas, will be delivered to the border of Turkey with Greece.

    The gas pipeline is projected to run on 660-kilometer section of the route, on which it was planned to build the South Stream, and on 250-kilometer section in a new corridor towards the European part of Turkey.

    It is also planned that the first line of the pipeline, with a pumping capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas per year, will be stretched to Turkey in December 2016.

    You can follow the program on Twitter or Facebook. The program has its own channel in Youtube.

    Follow the author on Twitter: @AygunBadalova

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  • Armenian minister forgets to look in mirror
    05.03.2015 12:52
    /By AzerNews/

    By Mushvig Mehdiyev

    An ardent plea by Armenia's foreign minister condemning terrorism at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva has sparked criticism from the political elite.

    A surprising statement from Edward Nalbandyan showed that Armenia's terror activities worldwide remain far from his sight as he enthusiastically commented on global terror.

    Looking back through Armenia's recent history we can see how Armenian terror organizations have insidiously pushed to promote their "greater Armenia" agenda through violence.

    Global terrorism as a phenomenon contains a part related to Armenia's history since Armenia conducted terrorism itself - for example the notorious ASALA group committed atrocities.

    Armenian terror's footprints have been visible all over the world, from Azerbaijan to Turkey and Switzerland.

    And since the foreign minister of Armenia tries to teach the world about anti-terrorism, telling the world what to do while turning a blind eye to Armenian-rooted terrorism, it maybe time for Armenia to hold a mirror to its own crimes.

    Nalbandyan has apparently forgotten to look in the mirror before calling on the international community to take firm actions against terrorism and other dangerous threats.

    Either Nalbandyan pretends to be unaware of ASALA's contribution to international terrorism or he is just playing a word game, trying to deflect attention from Armenia in relation to terrorism.

    Who is ASALA? ASALA stands for the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia. It's an internationally recognized terror organization. The U.S. Department of State included ASALA in its list of terrorist organizations in the 1980s. The National Counterterrorism Center of the U.S. said ASALA committed 84 terror attacks, 46 killings and 299 injures worldwide.

    A century-long aggression of Armenian terror resulted in numerous bloody atrocities, including 30 terror attacks committed via direct participation of Armenia-rooted terror groups, according to Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry.

    Armenian terror organizations, headed by the flagman ASALA arranged 373 terror operations against Azerbaijan in the first years of independence. Armenian terror claimed 613 lives in Azerbaijan's Khojaly city subjecting the people to a genocide based on ethnic hatred.

    "Nalbandyan's words about global terrorism match completely the vandalism Armenians carried out against Azerbaijanis, and material and cultural heritage of Azerbaijan in the occupied territories," Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Hikmet Hajiyev said.

    ASALA Fighters, successor of ASALA, named Turkey, Azerbaijan and Zionists as the main enemies of the Armenian people.

    ASALA's numerous terror actions committed between 1970 and 1980 around the world against Turkish diplomats resulted in the deaths of more than 40 Turkish diplomats.

    Broken promises from European countries to help Armenians attain their dream of creating a "greater Armenia" has pushed ASALA to commit four consecutive terror acts in Switzerland in July 1981, targeting the federal parliament, Zurich Airport, a Lausanne department store and a Geneva bus station, killing one and injuring 31.

    Nalbandyan's statement comes up as Azerbaijan sets to commemorate the victims of a terror attack in Baku. Sadval, a Lezghin terrorist group, organized a deadly blast in the Baku metro in March 19, 1994, killing 14 and injuring 49. Further investigation into the attacks exposed Armenia's then authorities as the main sponsor in term of money and arms to the terror group.

    As the global community braces itself for severe fights against terrorism, the Armenian terror still poses a threat to the peace and stability, both in the world and in the region.
  • Europeв's security depends on Karabakh conflict settlement - Polish ambassador
    05.03.2015 12:47
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 5

    By Seba Aghayeva - Trend:

    The security of entire Europe depends on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, Polish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Marek Calka told Trend.

    He said that Poland is concerned by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

    "Taking into account the developments in the Russian-Ukrainian relations, as well as those between East and West, we understand that in this regard, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a precedent," the diplomat said.

    "The internationally recognized borders of one country have been violated in Nagorno-Karabakh for the last quarter of the century," the diplomat said. The conflict broke out there for the first time. It has not been resolved up till now. In fact, Europe's territory was occupied. And the occupation has been continued for a quarter of the century. Of course, this question is one of the most painful in the European policy. At least, this is the official point of view of the Polish side."

    "Historically, the people fighting with each other resettled in Europe," the ambassador said. "The borders of the countries changed. But later the unchanged boundaries were defined among the European countries."

    The diplomat said that later the conflicts occurred in the Balkans, the post-Soviet area, including Nagorno-Karabakh, which has not been resolved up till now.

    The ambassador said that if there is a negative precedent and a win-win decision is not made, it does not mean one should start a war or the borders.

    "All this reminds the events of 18th and 19th centuries, the practice of the totalitarian regime of 1930-1940s of the last century," the diplomat said. "The people were exposed to the "brown" and "red" terror and subsequently turned out to be in Auschwitz and Siberia.

    He said that all crimes of this century trace their roots back to the events of those days.

    "Today, all of us in Europe need to think about our borders, peace, stability and prosperity," the ambassador said.

    "Azerbaijan is the leading country in the region," said Calka. "We must build a strategic relationship with this country. Poland will always contribute to the preservation of the sovereignty and independence of Azerbaijan."

    He said that Poland, as a member of the EU and the OSCE, as far as possible will help restore the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, using, of course, political and diplomatic methods.

    He said that Poland supports the activity of the OSCE Minsk Group and wants to make it more effective.

    "But it is not in our diplomatic competence," said the ambassador.

    The OSCE Minsk Group includes several large players, and one has to reckon with their views, according to the diplomat.

    "I hope that all of us will be able to come to such a decision on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which will suit its sides, the peoples of the South Caucasus and bring peace and stability to the region," said Calka.

    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 the author on Twitter: @Asebaa

    Follow us on Twitter @
  • Azerbaijan to export weapons to some Arab countries
    05.03.2015 12:47
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 5

    By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:

    The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense Industry will export weapons, ammunition and other defense goods to a number of Arab countries, AzeriDefence magazine reported with reference to Azerbaijani Minister of Defense Industry Yaver Jamalov.

    Jamalov said that Azerbaijan has received appropriate orders from a number of Arab countries at the international defense industry exhibition IDEX-2015, held in Abu Dhabi February 22-28.

    "Today, the Arab region is a promising market for the defense industry worldwide," he said. "Azerbaijan is also interested in this market."

    He said that a number of Arab countries are interested in acquiring weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition.

    "The relevant export contract will be signed among Azerbaijan and these countries in the near future," he said.

    The great interest was shown to the ministry's goods presented at the International Defense Industry Exhibition IDEX-2015, held in Abu Dhabi, the ministry told Trend earlier.

    In particular, sniper rifles "Д°stiqlal-1T", "Mubariz", "Yalquzaq", "Yirtici", "Simsek-10" machine gun, various types of ammunition were demonstrated. A 5.56mm caliber rifle, meeting the NATO standards, was presented for the first time.

    Edited by CN

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  • Georgian military road closed again due to adverse weather
    05.03.2015 12:46
    Tbilisi, Georgia, Mar. 5


    The Georgian military road connecting Russia with the Caucasian countries was once again closed due to snowfall and a threat of snow avalanches in Georgia, the Ministry of Emergency Situations of North Ossetia told RIA Novosti.

    "The road has been closed from 8:00 Moscow time (UTC/GMT 4 hours)," the ministry said.

    Last time the road was closed on February 17 at the Upper Lars checkpoint, located on the North Ossetian section of the Russian-Georgian border.

    Edited by CN

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  • Azerbaijan, Czech Republic discuss prospects for cooperation
    05.03.2015 12:35
    Azerbaijan`s Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov has met a delegation led by Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic Jan Mladek in Baku.The Azerbaijani Minister praised political and economic relations between the two countries and said there were greater opportunities for the development of these relations, as well as stressed its necessity.Samir Sharifov briefed on the current socio-economic situation and achievements in Azerbaijan.In his turn, the Czech Minister noted that his country attaches great importance to developing relations with Azerbaijan and shared his views on prospects for cooperation in various fields.The sides had comprehensive exchange of views on expansion of the relations in the economic, energy, reconstruction of railway transport, mutual investment, trade, development of small and medium-sized enterprises and agricultural fields./By AzerTac/
  • The First lady attends the ceremony
    05.03.2015 12:35
    Azerbaijan`s first lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Chair of the Baku 2015 European Games Organising Committee Mehriban Aliyeva attended a ceremony has been held in Rome to present Baku 2015 European Gamesthe.

    Co-organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Azerbaijan`s Embassy to Italy, the event was attended by Italian public, political and culture figures, representatives of the international sports community and other high-level guests.

    Azerbaijan`s first lady, Chair of the Baku 2015 European Games Organising Committee Mehriban Aliyeva, vice president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva and Arzu Aliyeva arrived at Italy`s National Gallery of Modern Art.

    The guests first viewed an exhibition of bronze statues by Azerbaijani sculptors devoted to Baku-2015. Called ''We Together'', the exhibition featured over 20 works related to various types of sports.

    The guests were handed various publications of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation about Azerbaijan, including Baku 2015 Games.

    The host of the presentation ceremony provided an insight into the first European Games, and highlighted Azerbaijan`s history, rich culture, traditions and tolerance.

    Azerbaijan`s first lady, Chair of the Baku 2015 European Games Organising Committee Mehriban Aliyeva addressed the ceremony.

    The event then featured demonstration of a film about preparation for Baku-2015.

    Italian Minister of Education, Universities and Research Stefania Giannini hailed Mehriban Aliyeva`s contribution to developing various areas of life, particularly sport. The Minister said Italy will also contribute to ensuring excellent organization of the Games in Baku.

    President of the European Olympic Committees Patrick Hickey praised the leadership of First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva in her role as Chair of the Baku 2015 European Games Organising Committee.

    President of the Italian National Olympic Committee Giovanni Malago stressed the importance of Baku-2015 as itwill offer qualification opportunities for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

    Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino hailed the relations between Italy and Azerbaijan in the fields of culture and sports. He expressed confidence that the Baku Games will be successfully organized.

    President of the European Olympic Committees Patrick Hickey presented Azerbaijan`s first lady Mehriban Aliyeva with a keepsake marking the start of the 100 Days To Go countdown to Baku-2015.

    Baku was awarded the Games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012. The Baku European Games Operations Committee (BEGOC) will organise and run the Games in co-operation with the EOC.

    There will be a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports. More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe will be representing their nations over 17 days of competition.
  • Azerbaijan to continue measures against radical religious groups
    05.03.2015 12:34
    ''This is the requirement of the society and the Islamic values we lean on''.

    "We take and will continue to take preventive measures against the activities of radical religious groups in the country," said Chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations Mubariz Gurbanli, commenting on the statement issued by the National Security Ministry in connection with the detention of members of an organized group intending to establish a religious state in the country, APA reports.

    The committee chairman said that Azerbaijan has Islamic values and national traditions.

    "We must protect those values that are passed down from generation to generation. President Ilham Aliyev is also doing much to protect these values, and relevant state authorities continue activities as well.

    We don't and won't allow any radical groups to operate in our country. This is the requirement of the society and the Islamic values we lean on. In recent years, much work has been done to eliminate the activities of radical religious groups in Azerbaijan, and they are yielding results today. Thus, works carried out by the National Security Ministry, ideological organizations produce important results. This fight won't stop for a moment, and we will continue these activities as long as the activities of radical religious groups are not completely interrupted in the country," he noted.
  • PACE co-rapporteurs visit Ministry of Justice
    05.03.2015 12:15
    Azerbaijani Minister of Justice, Chairman of the Judicial-Legal Council Fikrat Mammadov has met co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for Azerbaijan Pedro Agramunt and Tadeusz Iwinski.According to press service of Ministry of Justice, emphasizing the fruitful cooperation with the European Council, the Minister noted successful chairmanship of Azerbaijan in Committee of MinistersВ of theВ Council of Europe last year and the organizationв's Action Plan for Azerbaijan adopted for upcoming 2014-2016 years. Congratulating T. Iwinski on his appointment as a new co-rapporteur, the Minister wished him success in his activity.The Minister informed the PACE co-rapporteurs about reforms carried out in judicial-legal system under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, as well as ensuring the independence of judicial power, increasing the number of judges, expanding the competence of the Judicial-Legal Council, the application of electronicВ court, the work done on the modernization of infrastructure.The development of the penitentiary system, improvement of prison conditions and other issues were also discussed at the meeting.Recalling his visit to Azerbaijan and the meeting with national leader Heydar Aliyev, Mr. Iwinski noted that he was well informed about Azerbaijan and democratic processes carried out there.The co-rapporteurs praised the achievements of the judicial system and expressed their gratitude for effective cooperation with the Ministry of Justice.The sides also exchanged views on improvement of legislation, development of civil society, human rights and other issues.Council of EuropeВ Secretary General's Special Representative to Azerbaijan Ms.В Dragana Filipovic was present at the meeting.

    /By AzerTac/
  • Norway shooting for three medals at Baku 2015
    05.03.2015 12:15
    One hundred days ahead of the Baku 2015 European Games, Norway is hoping to take home three medals."The medal aim is to take at least three medals and have at least five additional top-eight finishes," Norway's Baku 2015 Chef de Mission Mr. Tore Ovrebo said on the website of Olympiatoppen, which is part of the Norwegian Olympic Committee responsible for training the country's elite athletes.Mr. Ovrebo said Norwegian athletes from wrestling, karate, boxing, cycling, archery, triathlon and shooting all have the potential to reach the podium.There are Rio 2016 Olympic Games quota places up for grabs at Baku 2015 in shooting and triathlon."The goal is that Norway will take two quota places in Baku,"Mr. Ovrebo said."Norway has a squad with great versatility in regards to talent level, ambitions and age. Some sports go to Baku with leading athletes with medal potential. Others go there to get championship experience and lay the groundwork for future elite ambitions."Mr. Ovrebo continued by saying that competition also will serve as part of an evolutionary process for some of the country's young athletes."The European Games for the youngest athletes, especially the juniors in swimming, is purely a developmental arena for young performers," he said."The Federation and Olympiatoppen agree that we should not have targets for the juniors at the European Games. The common goal should be inspiration, motivation, learning and development."

    /By AzerTac/
  • World's oldest person turns 117
    05.03.2015 12:02
    The world's oldest person Misao Okawa, a mother of three, grandmother of four and great-grandmother of six, turned 117 on Thursday in western Japan.

    Okawa, one of only a handful of people born in the 19th century and still alive "is looking in good shape," an official at her Osaka nursing home told AFP.

    Okawa, who came into the world five years before the Wright brothers achieved the first powered human flight, celebrated her birthday a day early, surrounded by family.

    Guests included her oldest son Hiroshi, 92, and a two-year-old great-grandchild.

    Local official Takehiro Ogura also stopped by with a bunch of flowers for Okawa, whose birth coincided with the outbreak of the Spanish-American war as the old empires gave way to new.

    "Happy birthday to you," Ogura said into her ear. "Was it (the past 117 years) long?"

    "It was short," said Okawa, dressed in a pale pink kimono with a cherry blossom pattern.

    Asked if she has discovered the secret of living a long life, Okawa wasn't telling the assembled media, answering coyly: "Well, I don't know."

    Japan, known for the longevity of its people, is also home to the world's oldest man -- 112-year-old Sakari Momoi.

    In 2013, life expectancy for women in Japan was 86.61, the longest in the world, while for men it was 80.21, the fourth longest, according to the health ministry.
  • Russian budget to be adjusted based on oil price of $50
    05.03.2015 11:55
    Russiaв's federal budget it to be adjusted in terms of the 2015 projections and for the subsequent two-year planning period.

    This issue, in particular, is put on the agenda of Thursday's government meeting.

    On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin said that a new version of the federal budget was drafted based on the oil price of $50 a barrel and the dollar exchange rate at the level of 61 rubles. He also said that the amendments to the budget law should envisage the possible unavailability of funds borrowed from abroad.

    According to the amendments, the budget revenues are cut by 2.6 trillion rubles ($42 billion) and expenditures mdash; by 300 billion rubles ($4.85 billion). The budget deficit is planned at 2.8 trillion rubles. "In terms of GDP, it increases from 0.6% to 3.8% of GDP," Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said.

    The amendments to the federal budget will be ready for submission to the State Duma lower house of parliament during the week.
  • DiCaprio to make documentaries
    05.03.2015 11:45
    Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio is working with Netflix to produce a series of documentaries with an environmental and conservation focus, the online streaming giant said Wednesday.

    The 40-year-old will serve as producer or executive producer on fact-based programs under the partnership deal between Netflix and his production company Appian Way.

    DiCaprio and the pioneering streaming service first worked together on "Virunga," a documentary set in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which was nominated for an Oscar this year.

    "Working with Netflix on 'Virunga' has sparked a shared vision about projects that we want to develop and bring to viewers," said DiCaprio, in a statement announcing the plans for programs to premiere exclusively on Netflix.

    "There's never been a more critical time for our planet or more of a need for gifted storytellers to help us all make sense of the issues we face.
  • ''Endless Corridor'' on CNN-Turk TV
    05.03.2015 11:43
    Documentary titled Endless Corridor translated into Turkish as part of the Justice for Khojaly campaign initiated by Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva was showcased by CNN Turkey, the European Azerbaijani Society (TEAS) said. The documentary will also be displayed on other TV channels in the coming months.As part of the Justice for Khojaly campaign, the presentation of the film Endless Corridor was held in cities Istanbul, Ankara, Rome, Vilnius, London, Paris, Dublin, Berlin, Bern and Luxembourg. Originally in English, the documentary was translated into the Azerbaijani, Turkish, French, Italian, and German languages in subtitles, and dubbed in Russian as part of TEASв's Justice for Khojaly campaign.Note that, the premiere of the documentary was held on July 1 last year at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Gerald Rafshoon (US), a Grammy Award winner, and Aleksandras A. Brokas (Lithuania) are the documentary's producers.Narrated by renowned British actor Jeremy Irons, the documentary includes memorable video materials from the meetings of Lithuanian journalist Richard Lapaitis, an eyewitness of the Khojaly tragedy, with the survived Khojaly witnesses after he came to Azerbaijan 20 years later, stories based on his interviews with persons directly involved in the arrangement of the tragedy and those on the historical and cultural importance of Nagorno-Karabakh for Azerbaijan. The film refers to some new facts, documents and footages and photos about the Khojaly genocide, and the realities of the massacre are conveyed to the viewers in an impressive way.

    /By AzerTac/
  • Ankara interested in Turkmen energy supply to world markets
    05.03.2015 11:43
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, March 5

    By Huseyn Hasanov- Trend:

    Turkish partners show great interest in joint supply of the Turkmen energy resources to the world markets, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said March 4, Turkmen Altyn Asyr TV channel reported.

    President Berdimuhamedov paid an official visit to Turkey on March 3-4.

    President Berdimuhamedov confirmed the huge prospects available for the cooperation between the two countries in the above-mentioned area, which are of strategic importance.

    He said that at present, the international legal framework is being formed to implement these projects.

    It was reported in November 2014 that during the official visit to Ashgabat, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) project could count on Turkmen gas supplies to Europe.

    Then, following the high-level talks, Turkmengas state concern and Turkish Atagas company signed a framework agreement on cooperation in natural gas purchase and sale.

    Turkmenistan is one of the key players on the gas market in the Caspian region and Central Asia.

    Turkmenistan's international investment forum opened in Istanbul March 4, Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper reported.

    Dozens of companies from Turkey, the US, as well as Europe and Asia attended this forum.

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  • Baku Passenger Station under reconstruction
    05.03.2015 11:43
    There is a need to conduct reconstruction to ensure compliance of the Baku passenger railway station with all modern requirements.

    According to Oxu.Az, the spokesman of "Azerbaijan Railways" JSC Nadir Azmammadov told APA that the reconstruction of the Baku railway station has already begun.

    The facade of the main building of the station will be upgraded while maintaining the architectural style, the building will be completely renovated inside. Ticket offices, luggage, passenger platforms will be repaired in a modern style, escalators will be replaced with new ones.

    The Baku Passenger Station is an architectural monument, which was commissioned in 1884. The author of the first project of the station building, represented in the Moorish style, was Bruni, Drittenpreys was an artist, architect -N.L.Glebov, architect for construction work - L.Z.Rossi.

    Baku railway station is an original architectural complex, reflecting the era and combining the elements of European and Oriental architecture.

    The detailed information will be provided after the completion of major repairs and reconstruction.
  • Iranian parliament gives final say on next yearв's budget
    05.03.2015 11:31
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sara Rajabova

    Iranian lawmakers have given their final approval to the budget bill proposed by the government for the next Iranian calendar year, starting from March 21.

    The MPs approved on March 3, the IRR 8,440 trillion (nearly $300 billion) budget bill with 144 votes in favor, 33 against and 6 abstentions, Press TV reported.

    The overall budget for next year shows a 4 percent growth compared with the current year.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani presented the administration's draft of the national budget bill to the parliament last December.

    Lawmakers said the dependency on oil exports in the overall budget bill has dropped to 25 percent. The Iranian government has been trying to increase non-oil exports in a bid to slash its reliance on oil revenue.

    The bill will now go to the top oversight body Guardian Council, whose approval is required for the bill to be signed into law.

    It will be sent back to parliament for amendments if it is voted down by the Guardian Council. In case, the MPs insist on their own version, the top arbitration body Expediency Council will intervene.

    Also, an additional $1 billion was allocated in the upcoming fiscal year to the defense budget to strengthen the armed forces, which reinforces the countryв's Supreme Leaderв's call to build up the regimeв's military capabilities.

    Moreover, the budget bill cuts subsidies from roughly $15 to $14 billion. Parliament passed next fiscal yearв's budget bill implementing reduced cash and non-cash subsidies, after reviewing the provisions of the costs of the bill.

    Subsidies for high-income families in particular will be cut. The subsidies are designed to help needy families as well as provide assistance to the manufacturing sector.

    Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, Head of Iran's Management and Planning Organization said earlier that the government intends on cutting cash subsidies to financially-fit Iranians and those who live overseas.

    The elimination of state subsidies to rich Iranians was on the agenda of President Hassan Rouhaniв's administration for some time. However, a lack of a comprehensive database hindered efforts to identify those rich people in receipt of such payment. Therefore, implementing measures to regulate subsidies were delayed.
  • UNDP, Japan to assist in upgrading Tajik-Afghan border checkpoint
    05.03.2015 11:19
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sara Rajabova

    The United Nations Development Programme and Japanese government supported the cross-border cooperation between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

    The UNDP, the Tajik and Japanese governments, as well as Japan International Cooperation Agency signed a new, two and half year project on March 3, the Times of Central Asia reported.

    The $4.2 million project will see 160,000 people from Tajikistan and Afghanistan using the target border crossing points and cross border markets benefit from a safer and better run border.

    The objective of the project is to create favorable conditions for effective management of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, including modernization of border checkpoints.

    The project provides for the construction of a new border crossing point in Langar, in Tajikistanв's South East, the upgrading of five other border crossing points nearby and training for Tajik border and customs officials.

    The Japanese government, through the JICA will contribute $3.9 million and UNDP Tajikistan will make up the remaining $0.3 million to implement the project, the UNDP office in Tajikistan said.

    Alexander Zuev, UNDP resident representative said with the funding from Japan, this project will help strengthen border management and stability, and make cross-border trade easier for communities in both Tajikistan and Afghanistan. He added that around one hundred border guards and customs officials from Tajikistan will be trained to build more modern, efficient border management systems.

    UNDP will work with Tajikistanв's foreign ministry, the main department of border guards of the state committee on national security and local governments in the Khatlon and Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous regions of Tajikistan.

    Sirojidin Aslov, Tajikistanв's foreign minister said well managed Tajik-Afghan border is not only in the interests of Tajikistan, but also the entire CIS region.

    UNDP and JICA launched the 'Livelihood Improvement in Tajik-Afghan Cross-border Areasв' project in March 2014 to enhance livelihoods and business development through promotion of cross border cooperation between the Tajik and Afghan communities. The new border management project will give a boost to these existing efforts in the border communities.

    Tajikistan and UNDP also signed the fourth phase of project to support to institutional development of the Tajik foreign ministry.

    The project is aimed providing assistance for the young workers of the diplomatic services of Tajikistan.
  • German FM rules out extension of Iran nuclear talks
    05.03.2015 11:19
    Germany's foreign minister has ruled out a further extension of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5 1 group over Tehranв's nuclear program.

    "Talks will not be extended. What cannot be reached in the upcoming three or three and half months cannot be achieved," Frank-Walter Steinmeier told his country's parliament (Bundestag) in a speech on Wednesday, Press TV reports.

    Steinmeier refused to talk about the state of the negotiations, saying only that no one wants a "bad deal."

    In February, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also echoed the stance about the extension of the talks.

    "I do not think another extension is in the interest of anyone, as I do not believe this extension was either necessary or useful," Zarif said.

    Iran and the P5 1 countries - Britain, France, China, the United States and Russia plus Germany - are seeking to seal a comprehensive nuclear deal by July 1. The two sides have already missed two self-imposed deadlines for inking a final agreement since they signed an interim one in the Swiss city of Geneva last November.

    On Wednesday, Zarif and his American counterpart John Kerry wrapped up a third day of intense negotiations between Tehran and Washington in the Swiss city of Montreux.

    Speaking to reporters, Kerry said tough challenges remained to seal a nuclear deal with Iran.

    "We've made some progress from where we were and important choices need to be made," Kerry told reporters after the talks, with a senior US State Department official saying that "tough challenges" had yet to be resolved.

    Meanwhile, Zarif expressed optimism that "despite existing differences, a final deal is not too far off", warning that the issue of sanctions against the Islamic Republic risked torpedoing a nuclear deal.

    "The Western countries, and especially the United States, must decide whether they want a nuclear deal or to continue the sanctions," he said.

    Representatives of Iran and the United States had also held three rounds of intense negotiations in the Swiss city of Geneva on February 22-23 to bridge their differences ahead of the July 1 deadline.

    The next round of ministerial talks will be held from March 15 to 20. The venue is yet to be specified.

    Deputy ministers from Iran and the three European countries of the P5 1 group wrapped up a day of nuclear negotiations in Montreux on Wednesday.

    Iran's top nuclear negotiators, Seyyed Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi, took part in the talks held in the lakeside city's Plaza Hotel on Wednesday night.

    Hans Dieter Lucas from Germany, Simon Gass from Britain and Nicolas de Riviere from France represented their respective countries at the deputy level talks, which will continue on Thursday.
  • US concerned over escalation of tension on frontline - Ambassador
    05.03.2015 11:08
    Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the State Committee for Work with Refugees and IDPs Ali Hasanov met with newly-appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan Robert Cekuta on March 4, the State Committee told APA.

    Hasanov said that Azerbaijan has always had good relations with the United States and these relations are developing today.

    The Committee chairman informed the Ambassador about the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, history of the problem and situation of refugees and IDPs in the country.

    He said that Armenia is unable to pursue an independent policy today. Hands of current rulers of this country are stained with blood of the Azerbaijanis. Therefore, this regime doesn't accept the return of the lands through the peace agreement. So the OSCE Minsk Group can't yield any results.

    Speaking about the Azerbaijan-US relations, Cekuta said that his purpose is to contribute to the development of relations between the two friendly countries.

    The diplomat said the U.S. seriously approaches the solution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and makes efforts for a peaceful resolution of the problem.

    "We are concerned over the recent escalation of tension on the frontline. The sides should refrain from the steps that lead to aggravation of the situation. In our turn, we try to achieve progress in the resolution of the conflict working either with the Azerbaijani side or the Armenian side", he said.

    The ambassador said that the US government has provided Azerbaijan with humanitarian aid in the amount of $115 million for 20 years to assist the people suffering from the conflict. The total amount of the assistance in the field of security is approximately $53 million and this amount was allocated for fight against terrorism, training and other purposes.

    The sides exchanged views on several issues of mutual interest.

    Following this, the Ambassador familiarized himself with the condition in the block built for 760 IDP families in Masazir settlement of Absheron district and met with internally displaced persons.
  • Kazakhstanв's auto market struggles as Russia's economic crisis spills out
    05.03.2015 11:03
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sara Rajabova

    Kazakhstanв's largest trade partner '" Russia's economic slump negatively impacted the automobile industry of this Central Asia country.

    The macroeconomic situation of Kazakhstan has started to deteriorate in autumn following Russia's economic recession due to the Western sanctions over the Ukrainian crisis, and a significant drop in oil prices.

    The weakening of the ruble had a strong negative impact on the Kazakh market.

    Kazakhstanв's auto market first experienced difficulty when its economy began to slow down as a result of Russia's troubles. Reports that devaluation would hit the national currency-tenge made matters worse, putting the auto industry in a state of alert.

    Rumors of devaluation have increased in February as the tenge devalued twice in the last six years, both times in February. The Central Asian economy experienced a 22 percent devaluation of its currency in February 2009 and then a one-step 19 percent devaluation of its currency in 2014, also in February. However, the government could prevent the tengeв's sharp devaluation, which could dramatically worsen the economic situation in the country.

    Following, the worsened economic situation in the country, some Kazakhs have rushed to the Russian automotive market in order to buy suddenly depreciated cars.

    This had a negative impact on the automotive industry in Kazakhstan. Kazakh car dealers suffered great losses from such a trade "tsunami" in Russia. They had to lower the price of cars by 20-30 percent in order to save their business from collapse.

    The Kazakh government has allocated 20 billion tenge ($108 million) to support its domestic auto industry as an anti-crisis measure.

    Andrei Lavrentiev, the president of the Association of Kazakhstan Auto Business, said in an interview with Kazakh media that the money will be primarily used to subsidize loans for buying domestically-assembled vehicles.

    ''During the first half of this year, we expect to sell about 30 percent of production volumes through the subsidy scheme, which will offer favorable conditions for consumers,'' Laventiev said.

    Although the car dealers decreased prices, some financial players have increased their interest rates.

    Realizing that in the pursuit of cheap cars, the individuals will take on new loans, second-tier banks raised interest rates by 6 percent. This fact also negatively affected the auto market in the country as Kazakhs still eye the Russian car market.

    The Kazakh government also struggles with so-called "gray" (illegal) import of motor vehicles to Kazakhstan.

    Lavrentiev said the share of 'grayв' dealers accounted for about 25 percent of all sales in the national auto market.

    ''The largest share of 'grayв' market is represented by Russian companies that do not pay taxes, do not invest in infrastructure, or do not develop the servicing network,'' he said.

    Lavrentiev went on to say that the Association of Kazakhstan Auto Business proposes to introduce a temporary license to tackle the problem.

    ''We and our Russian colleagues are saying that all deliveries of vehicles should only continue through official channels to avoid consumer fraud and trademark violation,'' he said.
  • Azerbaijanв's 2015 folk art capitals named
    05.03.2015 10:51
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    The towns of Shamakhi and Gakh have been named the folk art capitals of Azerbaijan for 2015.

    Shamakhi has been named the literature capital, while Gakh has become the national cuisine capital of Azerbaijan.

    The ceremony of folk art capitals was held at the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum on March 4.

    Addressing the event Abulfaz Garayev, the culture and tourism minister noted the country pays great attention to the preservation and development of Azerbaijani intangible cultural heritage.He explained that the measure aims to preserve such cultural heritage as folk, local history and crafts.

    ''The intangible cultural heritage of Azerbaijan is based on trends of species and forms of modern societyв's popular culture. To preserve it the government prepares special projects. As "Capitals of folk art in 2010-2014" program has given positive results. So, within the new program in 2015, Shamakhi was declared ''Literature capital of Azerbaijan'', and Gakh ''National cuisine capital of Azerbaijan,'' he said.

    Vugar Mammadov, the adviser of folk art and the intangible cultural heritage department of the ministry talked about the measures held in 2014, when Azerbaijani region Gabala was named the capital of legends, Balakan region was named the capital of folklore and Absheron region was the capital of crafts.

    Later, representatives of Shamakhi and Gakh executive powers gave information about numerous ceremonies, national and international scientific conferences, round tables, concerts, competitions, festivals, exhibitions, fairs, and info-tours to be held.

    The activities within the framework of the "Capitals of folk art in 2010-2014" program are held as a tradition.

    The measure aims to preserve Azerbaijani intangible cultural heritage, achieve international recognition of folklore bands and performers, craftsmen, national traditions and customs, and support Azerbaijani regions and cities, as well as develop domestic and international tourism.

    Shamakhi, rich with its mountain forests and meadows lies 122 km west of the capital city.

    In its history eleven major earthquakes have rocked Shamakhi, but through multiple reconstructions it maintained its role as the economic and administrative capital of Shirvan and one of the key towns on the Silk Road. The only building to have survived eight of the eleven earthquakes is the landmark Juma Mosque of Shamakhi, built in the 10th century.

    The region is famous for its traditional dancers, and also for giving its name to the Soumak rugs.

    Shamakhi since ancient times has been famous as Azerbaijan's carpet weaving center. A carpet factory still operates here. The favorable climate of the region is also favorable for wine growing.

    Gakh is a pleasant and tranquil provincial town, northwest of the countryв's Sheki region.

    The town's name translates as "fortress". Historical sites abound in Gakh region. Artificial hills suggest that the region was already inhabited in the Bronze Age.
  • Azerbaijani climbers to compete in Kirov World Cup
    05.03.2015 10:47
    Azerbaijan`s national ice climbing team will compete in the UIAA World Championships, in Kirov, Russia on March 6-8, AzerTag reports.

    Azerbaijan will be represented by a delegation of the Azerbaijan Federation of Air and Extreme Sports (FAIREX) of 7 people.

    Members of Azerbaijani team will test themselves in the three-day competition in speed climbing among women and men.
  • Iranian security forces release kidnapped diplomat in Yemen
    05.03.2015 10:45
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 5

    By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

    The Islamic Republic security forces have released an Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen in 2013.

    "The security forces released the kidnapped diplomat, Nour Ahmad Nikbakht after a series of complex operations in a certain region of Yemen," Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iran's deputy foreign minister in Arab and North African Affairs said, Iran's Mehr news agency reported March 5.

    Nikbakht returned home on March 5 morning after detained in Yemen for more than 1.5 year.

    After Nikbakht was kidnapped, a special committee was established in the foreign ministry to secure his freedom, Amir Abdollahian said.

    Nikbakht was on his way to work from his home in the diplomatic quarter of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on July 21, 2013, when unidentified gunmen blocked the road, forced him out of his vehicle and abducted him.

    In January 2014, another staff member at the Iranian Embassy in Sanaa, Abolqasem Asadi, was gunned down by gunmen outside the Iranian ambassador's residence in the Yemeni capital.

    The assailants first tried to kidnap the Iranian diplomat, but when they faced resistance, opened fire on him. The diplomat who was seriously injured passed away in hospital.

    Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh

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  • Construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway to be completed in late 2015
    05.03.2015 10:39
    ''Construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be completed in late 2015'', Turkish Minister of Transportation, Maritime and Communication LГјtfi Elvan said at the press conference in Istanbul while answering APAв's question.

    Commenting on delay of the project, the minister said: "Length of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project in Turkey is 79 km. Turkey has completely finished all its works. We'll put the railway into use at the end of 2015. This line will be one the significant steps for reviving historical Silk Road. Now, I can say that the project will not be delayed this time and be launched at the end of 2015".
  • Azerbaijani Defense Minister meets with Commander of Turkish Air Force
    05.03.2015 10:39
    Defense Minister of Azerbaijan, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov has received Commander of the Turkish Air Force, General AkД±n Г-ztГјrk, who is on a visit to Azerbaijan, said the Ministry, APA reports.

    At the meeting, Z.Hasanov stressed that the cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey is based on the ties of friendship and brotherhood and these ties are constantly developing.

    Mentioning that the joint exercises of the Air Forces held in Azerbaijan in 2014 and in Turkey at present according to the military cooperation plan between the two countries are important in terms of gaining experience, the Defense Minister emphasized that the relations in this field should be further developed.

    Touching upon the military-political situation in the region, Hasanov said that Armenia is the main threat to regional stability and stressed the importance of a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the international law.

    Mr. Öztürk noted that the relations between the two countries are based on historical roots and friendship and Turkey is an important partner to Azerbaijan.
  • Kerry arrives in Saudi Arabia for key talks
    05.03.2015 10:18
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia early Thursday for talks with Gulf allies on Middle East turmoil and the battle against jihadists, Al Arabiya reported.

    Kerry was to brief Gulf foreign ministers about his latest negotiations with Iran to seal a nuclear deal which the United States believes will make the region and the world safer.

    He arrived from Switzerland where he spent three days in talks with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

    Sunni Gulf nations are wary about the growing rapprochement between Shiite-dominated Iran and Washington, which is seeking the deal to rein in Tehran's nuclear program.

    With instability sweeping much of the region from Syria to Iraq, Libya and Yemen, Kerry's talks in Saudi Arabia will focus on "things that we can do together to strengthen our joint security framework," a senior State Department official told reporters.

    The so-called P5 1 group of Britain, China, France, Russia, the U.S. and Germany is trying to strike an accord that would prevent Tehran -- Riyadh's regional rival -- from developing a nuclear bomb.

    In return, the West would ease punishing sanctions on Iran which insists its nuclear program is purely civilian.

    Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations belong to an international coalition brought together by the United States to fight Sunni militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, which has captured a swathe of territory in Iraq and Syria.

    Kerry will meet with new Saudi King Salman following up on their first talks after the January 23 death of his predecessor late King Abdullah.

    The top U.S. diplomat was part of a heavyweight delegation led by President Barack Obama which held talks in Riyadh five days after Salman acceded to the throne.

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  • Armenians violate ceasefire
    05.03.2015 10:18
    Armenian armed forces have fired at Azerbaijani positions 33 times on different sections of the front.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to the Ministry of Defense that over the past day the Armenian armed forces fired at Azerbaijani positions on nameless heights of Gedabey from their posts on the nameless heights of Krasnoselsk.

    Azerbaijani positions were also fired on from positions near Tapqaraqoyunlu village of Goranboy, Chilaburt, Chayli, Goyarkh, Gyzyl Oba villages of Terter, Yusifjanly, Sarijaly, Javakhirli, Kengerli, Shuraabad villages of Agdam, Kuropatkino village of Khojavand, Horadiz, Ashaghy Seyidahmadli village of Fizuli, Mehdili village of Jabrayil, as well as nameless heights of Goranboy, Khojavand, Fizuli and Jabrayil.

    The enemy was silenced by retaliatory fire.
  • One percent of Iranian students consume narcotics
    05.03.2015 10:00
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 4

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend: One percent of Iranian students consume narcotics, Alireza Jazini, deputy director of the country's Anti-Narcotics Headquarters, stated.

    He added that over 60 percent of the students receive narcotics from students of the same age for the first time, Iran's ISNA news agency reported March 4.

    Statistics show that the use of narcotics in the country is on the rise, he said, adding that 1.325 million people in Iran are below 15 years of age.

    Two years ago, 5 percent of women in Iran consumed narcotics, but the figure has risen to about 10 percent currently, he noted.

    Annually about 450 metric tons of opium is consumed in Iran, Rouzbeh Kardouni, the head of Social Vulnerabilities Office at the Ministry of Cooperatives Labor and Social welfare said Feb. 16.

    The figure is equal to 42 percent of total opium consumption in the world, Kardouni said.

    The official further said that over 1.3 million people suffer drug addiction in Iran.

    He added that the number of people who use narcotics has increased by 70 people per day in the last five years.

    According to official estimates, the fight against drugs annually cost Iran about $1 billion.

    About 237 metric tons of various drugs, including 190 metric tons of opium, 35 metric tons of hashish, 5.4 metric tons of heroin, 5.3 metric tons of morphine, and one metric ton of methamphetamine were seized in Iran in the first half of the current Iranian fiscal year (March 21-Sept. 22, 2014).

    It was reported that some 500 metric tons of drugs were seized in the country during the last Iranian fiscal year (March 21, 2013 to March 21, 2014).

    Edited by CN

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  • Hamas' Haniyeh calls for better ties with Egyptian people
    05.03.2015 10:00
    Leading Hamas member Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday that his group was open to proposals for improving relations between the Palestinian and Egyptian people Anadolu Agency reported

    In a phone conversation with Arab League Assistant Secretary-General Mohamed Sobeih, Haniyeh described relations between Hamas and Egypt as "strategic."

    According to a Hamas statement, Haniyeh added that neither Hamas nor the Palestinian people had ever interfered in Egypt's affairs.

    "Egypt's national security is a priority for Hamas," Haniyeh told Sobeih, according to the statement.

    Earlier Wednesday, Sobeih had said the Arab League would not recognize a recent Egyptian court ruling designating Hamas as a "terrorist" group.

    "The Arab League does not recognize decisions issued by local courts in particular countries," he told journalists.

    On Feb. 28, an Egyptian court designated Hamas a "terrorist" organization.

    The lawsuit was filed by an Egyptian lawyer who accused Hamas of carrying out attacks on Egyptian troops in the Sinai Peninsula and contributing to Egypt's current instability.

    The ruling sent shockwaves across the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and stunned Islamist parties across the region.

    In January, an Egyptian court likewise designated the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, a "terrorist" organization.

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  • Georgian government, IMF agree to reduce budget spending
    05.03.2015 10:00
    Tbilisi, Georgia, March 5


    The government will have to reconsider the macroeconomic forecasts, Georgian Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri said following the negotiations with the IMF, Georgia Online reported.

    "The government will reduce the current budget spending for this year.

    Khaduri will be able to talk about the forecast and budget decrease only after the ministry finalizes the specific document.

    The minister also said that the Georgian authorities agreed to coordinate work with the IMF.

    "We agreed that the current budgetary expenditure for the current year will be reduced," he said. "Perhaps, we will have to reconsider the macroeconomic projections. I think that given the external shocks, Georgia's economic growth will decrease by about 2 percent."

    The Georgian government predicted a five percent economic growth in 2015 before the currency crisis.

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  • Azerbaijan, Bulgaria sign documents
    05.03.2015 09:54
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 5


    The Azerbaijani-Bulgarian documents were signed in Sofia following the expanded meeting of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov March 4.

    Azerbaijan`s Minister of Communication and High Technologies Ali Abbasov and Bulgarian Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Ivaylo Moskovski signed the Agreement on Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria in the field of electronic communication, information technologies and electronic governance.

    Azerbaijani Ambassador to Bulgaria Emil Karimov and Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Tourism Irena Georgieva signed the Protocol on the Expansion of Cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria in the field of Tourism.

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  • ISIL destroys Islamic civilization, Turkish President ErdoДџan says
    05.03.2015 09:54
    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is trying to destroy everything in Islamic culture, President Recep Tayyip ErdoДџan has said, likening its acts to the burning of 36 libraries in Baghdad during the Abbasid era by the Mongols, and the burning of 1 million Islamic books in Andalusia upon an order by a Spanish cardinal.

    "Today, a terrorist organization active in Syria and Iraq is taking the same path, trying to destroy everything in our civilization, culture and roots," ErdoДџan said during the opening of a classical arts exhibition in Istanbul, referring to ISIL, Hurriyet Daily reports.

    "A library in Mosul, which was holding 8,000 rare works, was unfortunately set alight by the organization. A similar thing was also practiced in Timbuctoo [in Mali, Western Africa]," he said.

    "Our civilization has managed to sustain its existence against all such cultural massacres and attempted genocides. God willing, we will continue to do so," ErdoДџan said.

    "Our civilization attaches a great importance to knowledge and learning, books and libraries," he said, adding that the Prophet Muhammad preached that Muslims must keep learning until the last day of their life.

    "Maybe it was the Chinese who discovered paper, but it was our ancestors who used it deservedly and then took it to the West and other places," he said.

    In his speech, ErdoДџan thanked Mehmet Çebi, the curator of the exhibition, its sponsor DoДџuЕџ Holding, the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts Academy and the Istanbul Art Museum Foundation, for their contributions to the exhibition.

    The show was organized by the Islam and Culture Arts platform and includes precious calligraphic works of Quranic verses, in addition to other artifacts.

    President ErdoДџan also revealed that a large center for Islamic artifacts would be opened on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, alongside the under-construction mosque on ÇamlД±ca Hill.

    A 5 million-book library will also be opened inside the gargantuan new presidential palace in Ankara, he also stated.
  • Azerbaijan to allocate $1m to fight Ebola
    05.03.2015 09:37
    Azerbaijan is to allocate $1m to fight Ebola in Western Africa as a donor-country.

    According to UN Radio, the statement came from head of the agency for international development of Azerbaijan Ashraf Sheikhaliyev:

    "We are trying to define who will get this money. This will likely be the two UN structures that will implement jointly coordinated programs to fight Ebola. We do not set the goal to focus these funds on any country. We are currently consultations and define the format of using this aid".

    Today Azerbaijan's assistance goes to nearly 30 countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • Chinese company restarts working to build freeway in Iran
    05.03.2015 08:23
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 3

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend: A Chinese company has recently restarted work to build the Tehran-Shomal freeway in Iran without naming the Chinese company, Iran's Mehr news agency reported Mar. 3

    The company, which had begun the work a couple of years ago, stopped the work due to lack of funds but it resumed work ten day ago.

    However, Deputy Director of Iran's Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructure Company, Hassan Ahmadi-Nouri, said on Jan. 7 that China's SPA Company was previously in charge of construction of the first section of the freeway.

    The first section of the freeway to the length of 32 kilometers will come on stream in two years, he added.

    Tehran-Shomal freeway is among the top priorities of Iran's Roads and Urban Development ministry.

    Several contractors, including Bonyad, Khatam-ol-Anbia headquarters, and Chinese firms, have signed agreements to carry out the project over the years, but little progress was made.

    Edited by CN

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  • Chinaв's GDP growth to amount to 7%
    05.03.2015 07:13
    China's GDP growth is expected to reach 7 percent in 2015, which is 0.4 percent lower than in the previous year, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in an annual report released ahead of Premier Li Keqiang's parliament address.

    Li, who is presenting the report to China's National People's Congress on Thursday, said that this year will be harder for his country than the previous one in terms of economic challenges and stressed the need to restructure the economy and deepen reforms.

    The premier also vowed to fight corruption and pollution in China, with NDRC expected to implement policies aimed at reducing coal consumption and increasing the use of cleaner fuels and renewable energy resources this year, according to the report.

    The NDRC report said that China will aim to cut energy intensity, which is the amount of energy used per unit of GDP growth, by 3.1 percent in 2015. In 2014, the rate fell by 4.8 percent.

    China's GDP growth amounted to 7.4 percent last year, while the government's target was about 7.5 percent.

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  • US ambassador to South Korea injured in attack
    05.03.2015 05:13
    US envoy to Seoul Mark Lippert was taken to hospital after the attack that followed a lecture Thursday morning, reported the Yonhap news agency.

    Lippert is the United States ambassador to the Republic of Korea. He previously held senior positions in the Department of Defense from May 2012 until September 2014.

    Televised pictures showed Lippert bleeding heavily. A suspect was arrested, though officials have not made a statement on his identity or motives.

    According to South Korean media, witnesses at the scene said the attacker shouted his name, Kim, several times during the attack. "Kim" reportedly has a criminal record and was last in prison in 2010 for throwing a concrete sculpture at the Japanese ambassador.

    Reports say "Kim" used a razor blade to attack the ambassador and shouted "No drills for war," an apparent reference to ongoing South Korea-US military exercises.

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  • Turkish PM reassures investors on stability
    05.03.2015 01:58
    Turkey is an "island of stability" with a vision for the future and consistent economic growth, Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reported.

    In a meeting with a group of Goldman Sachs investors in New York, Davutoglu said political and economic stability are interdependent and Turkey has both.

    The Turkish economy has enjoyed a strong growth rate of almost 5.5 percent since 2002, fueled by trade and foreign investment. The growth has been faster than much of the industrialized world.

    Turkey's GDP -- the broadest measure of economic output and growth -- has increased to $840 billion from the modest figure of $230 billion recorded in 2002, when the ruling AK Party came to power.

    "If you don't have political stability, even if you have an excellent economic vision, you cannot realize it. If you don't have economic stability, even if you have the best brains of the country, you cannot have the political stability," Davutoglu said. "These two are the assets of Turkey."

    Davutoglu said Turkey has seen three general, three local and two presidential elections, as well as two referenda, in the last 12 years and in all these polls the AK Party won with clear majorities.

    Turkey retained its political and economic stability even after the presidential election in August 2014, after which there was a significant change in the higher echelons of the government, he said.

    "This was the first time ever in Turkish democracy that a ruling party changed its chairman and its prime minister when they were in the government," he said.

    He said the latest opinion polls ahead of the June 7 general election indicate that his party stands at 48 to 52 percent while the nearest opposition party is estimated to get 22 to 25 percent.

    "Getting a strong base for democratic stability towards the general elections in June, we have a clear vision for all sectors through reforming our economy and making a qualitative change," Davutoglu said.

    The recent move by the leadership of the terrorist group PKK to invite its militants to lay down arms was "historic," he said, and another indication of Turkey's stability in a region beset by war and conflict.

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