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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 Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

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    By AzerNews

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    By Zulfiyya Gurbanova - Trend:

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    Edited by CN

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  • Halyk Finance to expand share in IPO of Kazakh state-owned energy companies, Fitch says
    29.07.2014 09:50
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 29


    Fitch Ratings has assigned JSC Halyk Finance (HF) Long term Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) of 'BB' with Stable Outlook.

    HF's Long-term IDRs are aligned with the ratings of its parent bank, Halyk Bank of Kazakhstan (HB; BB/Stable),reflecting Fitch's view of HB's high propensity to provide support to its subsidiary, if needed. Fitch classifies HF as a 'core subsidiary' according to the agency's 'Rating FI Subsidiaries and Holding Companies' criteria based on (i) HF's being an integral part of the group, wholly owned and supervised by the parent; (ii) significant reputational risks stemming from a potential default of the subsidiary; (iii) limited cost of potential support, Fitch said.

    HF is the investment banking arm of HB, focusing on the group's core clients, which are Kazakhstan's leading corporates, banks, state-controlled entities, and also other group companies, such as HB's two 100%-owned insurance subsidiaries, for which HF manages securities portfolios. HF has been and plans to be increasingly involved in some of the group's flagship projects, such as the IPOs of Kazakhstan's state-owned energy companies.

    Fitch believes HF would be supported by HB, if needed, although the company has never required support since establishment in 2004 due to sound performance. HF's small size (less than 1% of HB's total assets at end-2013 and 2.7% of net profit in 2013), its being almost fully funded by the parent bank and healthy balance sheet mean that the cost of any potential support would be low.

    Reputational costs of a failure to support could be high in view of HB's full ownership, common branding and HB's supervision of HF through the Board of Directors. However, HF is not covered by a cross-default clause as per HB's public debt issuance terms due to the subsidiary's small size.

    The company is well capitalised with an equity / assets ratio of 22% (54% including its preference share capital) at end-2013 and on the asset side exposed to decent quality securities (of the total KZT24bn book 41% were bonds rated 'BB' or above; equities, mostly of leading domestic issuers, amounted to 26% of the book) at end-1Q14. HF also had off balance sheet KZT133bn of brokerage accounts and KZT39bn of assets under management, which were mostly from related-party insurance companies.

    HF's liquidity risk is currently limited as the company is funded by the parent on favourable terms and about a third of its securities book is represented by investment-grade bonds, which are repo-able on the market. HF does not currently provide margin loans or liquidity facilities to its brokerage and asset management clients. HF's management is seeking some funding diversification, which may increase the cost of funding.

    Profitability has recently been strong with comprehensive income, equalling to 8.7% of average assets in 2013. It was mainly driven by proprietary investment portfolio income, the bulk of which was from coupons, while dividends and trading gains were not significant. Underwriting and advisory fees have had limited contribution to overall performance, but may increase in the future. Profitability is subject to volatility, as reflected by a small loss in 2011 caused mainly by securities mark-to-market adjustment, but such losses are typically unrealised.

    The Kazakh Central Bank's official exchange rate is 183,52 KZT/USD on July 29.

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  • More grain to gain for Azerbaijan
    29.07.2014 09:30
    By AzerNews

    Despite having favorable soil and climate conditions for a successful agriculture, Azerbaijan is unable to meet the grain demand of its population, especially demand for hard wheat.

    Azerbaijan, with a population of over 9.5 million people is meeting its grain demand by 75 percent. The demand is growing with the constant growth of population.

    Chairman of the Sustainable Development Research Center, Nariman Agayev believes that there can be some substantial changes in the situation within the next 20 years, as the government, namely Agriculture Ministry is working hard to increase country's grain production.

    "Still the country will be able to produce 80 percent itself. It will never be completely self-sufficient in grain production," he added.

    Last year's demand for grain totaled 5,884 million tons. It was ensured by domestic production with over 2,858 million tons and about 1,612 million tons were covered by import. The country had over 1,414 million tons of grain left from the previous periods.

    In 2013, Azerbaijan produced 2.8 million tons of grain. Nevertheless, the unutilized balances amounted to 1,624 million tons of grain in 2013. In other words, the actual consumption of grain was over 4,260 million tons last year. Consequently, the domestic production covered 67.1 percent of the real consumption of grain.

    The country mainly imports durum wheat used for pasta production from Russia and Kazakhstan and the volume of import of wheat is on the rise. Last year, this import increased by 16 percent and amounted to $395 million.

    However, the government is keen to reduce the country's dependence on import to fully ensure its food security. It continues to have intensive production by incorporating it into the rotation reserve lands of the state.

    Currently, the public funds cover comprehensive reclamation work conducted to prepare the areas for winter crop. Three large grain farms will be created this year.

    The development concept "Azerbaijan - 2020: the Vision of the Future" presuppose, that special attention will be paid to the processing of agricultural produce as one of the key areas of non-oil sector the development.

    The application of state-of-the-art technology by agricultural processing enterprises will boost production capacities and lead to the opening of new enterprises. State support for agriculture will be continued, the procedure for crediting the sector simplified and the network of private service companies expanded.

    Grain is the main and oldest agricultural production in Azerbaijan.

    Irrigated grain is planted in the lowland regions of Azerbaijan while the highlands and foothills of the country are sown with grain without irrigation.

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    Since July 2, State Material Reserves Agency under Azerbaijan's Emergency Situations Ministry has announced the acceptance of high-quality grain to the State Grain Fund that is eligible to provide grain supply of the nation.

    As of mid-July, 2,089,134 tons of grain, including 1,388,596 tons of wheat, have been lifted in Azerbaijan from 912,875 hectares, which is over 94 percent of total cultivated area in this cropping year.

    The record level of 3 million tons of grain production in Azerbaijan was achieved in 2009.
  • Azerbaijan bags 10 medals at Golden Grand Prix Final
    29.07.2014 09:15
    Azerbaijani Greco-Roman wrestlers have claimed a total of 10 medals, including four golds, on the last day of the Golden Grand Prix Final in Baku.

    The gold medals came from Taleh Mammadov (59 kg), Hasan Aliyev (66 kg), Rafig Huseynov (75 kg) and Elvin Mursaliyev (80 kg).

    Rasul Chunayev (71 kg), Saman Tahmasibi (85 kg) and Sabah Shariati (130 kg) grabbed silver medals, while Kamran Mammadov (59 kg), Rustam Aliyev (71 kg) and Shalva Gadabadze (98 kg) took bronzes.

    Azerbaijani freestyle wrestlers claimed a clutch of three golds, three silvers and seven bronzes. In the women`s event, Azerbaijan won two golds.

  • Azerbaijan amoong top 3 contenders of NatGeo award
    29.07.2014 09:10
    By AzerNews

    Azerbaijan entered Top 3 section of the National Geographic Travel Awards.

    National Geographic Traveler Awards is conducted by the National Geographic Traveler journal annually.

    Azerbaijan is among the main nominations of the category "Discovery of the Year" this year.

    The Land of Fire will strive for victory along with Iceland, Krasnaya Polyana in Russia, Crimea, and South Korea.

    The CIS countries are well represented in three out of the thirteen regional award nominations this year.

    The users of journal's website are to choose the best travel directions and services in 18 categories from June 25 to September 30.

    Azerbaijan with its ancient history and natural beauties definitely deserves to win the award.

    At present, Belarus outruns all in the category "Back to the USSR" while Kyrgyzstan is leading in category "Health Recreation" award with its lake Issyk-Kul, trekking in high mountains, swimming in the radon sources, and Kymyz treatment for tourists.

    In category "Russian tourism" the Altai Mountains leaves behind the Irkutsk region.

    Among the foreign countries in the category "The best beach vacation" Greece which leaves behind Spain and Cuba outstrips Fiji in category "Exotic Vacation"

    Another five award nominations of National Geographic Traveler Awards 2014 design for a variety of tourist services.

    The National Geographic magazine is an official magazine of the National Geographic Society functioning since 1888, inspiring people to care about the planet. The magazine shares articles about geography, history, and world culture.

    Earlier it was reported, that the National Geographic will be published in Azerbaijani by Azerbaijan's Garant Holding from September 2014.

    National Geographic Azerbaijan will become the 40th local-language edition of National Geographic magazine, in addition to the English-language edition. The new edition will publish content from the English-language edition and introduce local content of interest to the Azerbaijani readers.
  • Iran Central Bank puts inflation rate at 25.3 percent
    29.07.2014 08:35
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 28

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend: The Central Bank of Iran has announced that the inflation rate for the 12-month period that ended on the last day of the Iranian calendar month of Tir (July 22) was 25.3 percent, a 2.4 percent decrease compared to the previous month.

    The consumer goods and services index hit 196.8, a 1.4 percent rise compared to last month, ISNA reported on July 28.

    On May 28, Iranian government spokesman Mohammad-Baqer Nobakht said the government has no plans to increase the price of consumer goods, adding that the policy of curbing the inflation rate is being pursued.

    In March, Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia said the country's inflation would fall below 15 percent in Iranian calendar year 1393 (March 2014-March 2015).

    Edited by CN
  • Turkeyв's PM calls on UN to stop Israeli aggression
    29.07.2014 08:06
    The United Nations must take measures against Israeli aggression in Gaza, Turkey's prime minister and presidential candidate has said.

    Speaking at an Eid reception in Istanbul on Monday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "There is no example of a right to self-defense in history as pretended by Israel and the West to legitimize massacres of the Palestinians. Not only infants, children, mothers and other innocent people are being killed in Gaza. Humanity is also being killed."

    Erdogan condemned Israel for its actions in Gaza as well as its supporters. "One day the innocent infants and children will haunt their Israeli murderers and the people who support Israel," he added.

    Referring to opponents of the government's pro-Palestinian stance, he said such people would be "happy to see a complete eradication of the Palestinians from the face of the earth."

    Erdogan sent his Eid wishes to the Palestinian victims of the Israeli bombardment.

    Turning to Iraq, he attacked those who accused the Justice and Development Party government of doing too little to protect the Turkmen minority. He said: "No previous government has stood by the Iraqi Turkmens as we have."

    At least 1,055 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, have been killed since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 7, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

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  • US may introduce new sanctions against Russia later this week
    29.07.2014 08:05
    U.S. and the EU may introduce new restrictive measures against Russia this week over the situation in Ukraine, Tony Blinken, a deputy national security advisor told a news briefing on Monday.

    He said Washington's decision proceeded from the fact the U.S. officials had not noticed any strategic changes in Moscow's position. Washington expected that European leaders would take additional steps against Russia later this week.

    In the meantime, White House spokesman Josh Earnest refrained from going into details on whatever punitive measures and a precise date on which they could be announced. He said however the U.S. was prepared to introduce new sanctions against Russia for destabilization in Ukraine but he claimed it would be strategically wrong to disclose the sanctions now.

    The press service of the Elysees Palace said earlier the leaders of France, the U.S., Britain, Germany, and Italy were speaking in favor of new restrictive measures against Russia.

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  • Israel must ready for "prolonged" Gaza campaign: Netanyahu
    29.07.2014 07:56
    Israel's top political and defense leadership on Monday night defied international calls for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, determining to continue the massive offensive there until the risk posed by Gaza militant groups is "neutralized."

    "We must be prepared for a prolonged campaign," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a joint televised press conference with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.

    "The campaign will not end until we neutralize the tunnels whose sole purpose is killing our citizens . .. We will continue to act with force and discretion until our mission is accomplished," he said, adding that any ceasefire agreement will have to include "the disarming of terror organizations and demilitarization of the Gaza Strip."

    Earlier on Monday night, the Israeli military said that Gaza militants attempted to infiltrate into Israel from the northern Gaza Strip through a cross-border tunnel.

    Israeli media reported casualties among the Palestinian forces. A few hours earlier, a Gaza mortar shell reportedly killed four people in the regional council of Eshkol in Israel's Southern District and wounded 17 more. Hamas took responsibility for the fire.

    Netanyahu's speech shattered any hope of a swift end to the 21- day-long raging conflict between Israel and the Islamist Hamas movement, which so far has claimed the lives of more than 1,050 Palestinians, over 70 percent being civilians, and 50 Israelis.

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  • Israeli war jets destroy house of Hamas leader, no casualties
    29.07.2014 07:55
    Israeli war jets struck early Tuesday morning the house of Ismail Haneya, deputy chief of Islamic Hamas movement, in western Gaza City's Beach refugee camp, causing no casualties, Gaza's interior ministry said.

    Haneya's son wrote on his Facebook page that the house of the former Hamas Gaza prime minister was empty then.

    Hamas said that its TV station Al-Aqsa TV was also targeted but the station continued to broadcast.

    Since the beginning of the Israeli offensive in Gaza on July 8, Palestinian death toll has soared to 1,074 with at least 6,500 others wounded. The Israeli army said at least 43 Israeli soldiers have been killed in operations, while three civilians were killed during rocket attacks on Israel.

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  • China suspends $66 billion finance for Iranian projects
    28.07.2014 22:25
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 27

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend:

    The chairman of the economic committee of the Iranian parliament says China has suspended $66 billion finance for Iranian projects.

    Arsalan Fathipour added that "China wants to finance Iranian projects less than the amount Iran claims from the country. This is while it had agreed to provide Iran with double of the sum," the Tasnim news agency reported on July 27.

    Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Iran cancelled the suspension of finance by China, saying negotiations are continuing with China.

    Last November Iran announced that about $30 billion of its assets have been blocked by Chinese banks.

    Iran tries to attract Chinese companies to finance Iranian projects as an approach to return the blocked assets.

    Chinese companies are able to build wagons and railroads. But, there is an element of doubt as to whether they are capable to carry out secured high-tech railway projects successfully or not.

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  • Iran to establish SEZ to produce high-tech medicines
    28.07.2014 20:35
    Iran plans to establish its first special economic zone for the production of high-tech medicines for refractory diseases, an Iranian official says, Press TV reported.

    "Recently, [a plan] for the establishment of a special economic zone dubbed 'Barekat (Blessing)' for the production of high-tech medicines for patients with refractory diseases, including cancer, has been passed by the Center for Free and Special Economic Zones (CFSEZ)," Ja'far Ahangaran, CFSEZ's director for special zones affairs, said in a Monday interview.

    The proposal should now go to the Majlis for final approval, he said, adding that the special zone will be situated near the Iranian capital city of Tehran.

    "By establishing this zone, customs restrictions and duties for imports of raw materials and machinery will be lifted," Ahangaran noted.

    Although Iran is mainly self-sufficient in the production of its required medicines, nearly 80 percent of the foreign currency allocated for imports of some drugs is currently spent for the purchase of a few high-tech medical items, the official said.

    Iran has made significant achievements in the health sector in recent years despite unilateral sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear energy program.

    According to 2014 statistics released by several international scientific centers, Iran ranks 18th in terms of scientific production in medicine in the world.

    In April, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei issued a directive to the heads of Iran's Executive, Judiciary and Legislative branches and the Expediency Council, calling for efforts to turn the country into a medical hub in the Muslim world and Southwest Asia.

    The Leader called for adopting state-of-the-art medical and health plans, reducing the threats to public wellbeing and promoting the health standards.

    The outlined policies also include the allocation of subsidies to the health sector and providing special financial aid to the needy.

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  • No deal signed with Boeing, Iran Air says
    28.07.2014 19:45
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 27

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend:

    Iran's flag carrier Iran Air has said that it has signed no deal with Boeing to import spare parts from the U.S. firm.

    Iran Air public relations manager Shahrokh Nooshabadi said Boeing has just provided Iran Air with flight security documents and manuals, the IRIB reported on July 27.

    The two companies have made negotiations, however, no deal has been signed yet, he added.

    On July 24, AFP reported that Boeing has struck a deal with Iran Air to provide plane parts, the first time the US firm will be doing business with Iran since the US embargo of 1979.

    According to a regulatory filing published on July 23, Boeing will supply goods and services "related to the safety of flight" to Iran Air, the country's flag carrier.

    The filing says that the agreement, reached in the second quarter, includes the provision of airplane parts, manuals, navigation charts and data to the airline, in line with the US company's recommendations to customers for such things as an aircraft modification, a parts replacement or inspection.

    Boeing also reported it had discussions with the flag carrier's subsidiary, Iran Air Tours, on the potential sale of similar goods and services.

    The Chicago-based company said that it had generated no gross revenues or net profits during the second quarter in relation with those activities.

    In April, the US government issued a license allowing Boeing, for a "limited period of time," to provide "spare parts that are for safety purposes" to Iran. Boeing is still not allowed to sell new planes to Iran.

    The license was granted by the US Treasury Department in the context of an interim deal between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program signed in November.

    In late February, another US company, General Electric, indicated it had requested permission to sell spare airliner parts to Iran.

    Washington severed diplomatic relations with Iran in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

    The United States and European nations have imposed severe economic sanctions on Iran in recent years aiming to pressure Tehran to dramatically reduce its nuclear program for a lengthy period of time to keep it from developing nuclear weapons.

    Iran has steadfastly insisted its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.

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  • North Korea denies media reports on arms supplies to Hamas
    28.07.2014 18:57
    Pyongyang on Monday denied western media reports alleging that it is planning to supply hundreds of thousands of US dollars' worth of missiles and communication equipment to Hamas, ITAR-TASS reported.

    The North Korean Foreign Ministry dismissed these reports as "a pure concoction".

    A ministry spokesperson told the country's KCNA news agency that such false reports "prove the intention of the United States and its allies to artificially link Pyongyang to events in the Middle East in order to mar the DPRK's image in the international scene and isolate" the country.

    The Foreign Ministry said such reports indicate to "the US wish to justify Israel's crimes in Gaza, which have resulted in numerous casualties".

    Washington is trying to present proof of North Korea's ties with Palestinian organisations in order to "distract international attention (from Israel) and focus the criticism on Pyongyang", the ministry said.

    The ministry added that "it is the US that is undermining global peace and stability by acting as the main terrorist state" and by "supplying heavy weapons to South Korea and trying to draw its leadership into war with the DPRK".

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  • Georgian-Russian relations discussed with Swiss senator
    28.07.2014 18:10
    Tbilisi, Georgia, July 28

    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

    Chairman of Georgian parliament, David Usupashvili held an introductory meeting with the head of the Georgian-Swiss Parliamentary Friendship Group, Senator Filippo Lombardi on July 28.

    Usupashvili expressed satisfaction with the growing friendship between the parliaments of the two countries, a source in Georgian parliament told Trend.

    The meeting participants stressed that during the meeting it will be made clear which spheres require stronger cooperation.

    The parliament speaker familiarized the guest with the activity of Georgia's legislative body in the last session and added that the parliament had a very fruitful year.

    He emphasized the ratification of the association agreement with the EU and approval of the renewed government composition.

    They also touched upon the stages that will follow the ratification of the association agreement and discussed the situation in Georgia's occupied territories.

    Lombardi said he has visited Georgia to get better acquainted with the country, as well as the positions of the politicians on improving the Russian-Georgian relations.

    "Switzerland is a mediator between the two countries, and we want to see the relationships between them become more balanced," he stressed.

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

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

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

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

    Edited by CN

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  • Kazakhstanв's Tengizchevroil reduces oil production
    28.07.2014 18:00
    Astana, Kazakhstan, July 28

    By Daniyar Mukhtarov - Trend:

    Kazakhstan's Tengizshevroil (TCO) LLP has produced some 13 million tons (104 million barrels) of crude oil since early 2014, versus 13.9 million tons (108.7 million barrels) in the same period of 2013.

    "Some 13 million tons (104 million barrels) of crude oil was produced in the first half of 2014," the company said.

    TCO exports crude oil through various routes; it exports oil to Novorossiysk via the CPC pipeline, and to Odessa, Taman, Aktau and further to Batumi and Kulevi, via a railway. The direct payments to Kazakhstan amounted to $7.7 billion as of the first half of 2014.

    Tengizshevroil, the largest oil producing enterprise in Kazakhstan, produced around 27.1 million tons of oil as of 2013, which is eight percent more than in 2012. The company conducts production at the Tengiz field discovered in 1979.

    Tengiz is one of the deepest and largest oil fields in the world.

    Tengizchevroil LLP was founded on April 6, 1993, on the basis of the agreement signed between Kazakhstan and Chevron Corporation. Currently, the partners of the TCO LLP are: Chevron - 50 percent, KazMunaiGas - 20 percent, ExxonMobil - 25 percent and LukArko - five percent.

    Edited by CN

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  • Expectations from NATO summit discussed with Canadian ambassador
    28.07.2014 17:54
    Tbilisi, Georgia, July 28

    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

    Georgia's First Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani has met with Canadian ambassador to Georgia John Holmes.

    The two sides discussed the dynamics of the bilateral cooperation, the priority issues and the prospects for intensifying the cooperation in bilateral and multilateral format, Georgian Foreign Ministry told Trend on July 28.

    They also touched upon Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic integration, as well as the significance of the association agreement signed with the EU.

    The meeting participants talked about the expectations from the upcoming NATO summit.

    The Canadian side reiterated its support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.

    Edited by CN

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  • Georgian battalion returns from Afghanistan
    28.07.2014 17:45
    Tbilisi, Georgia, July 28

    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

    The 23rd battalion of the second Infantry Brigade of Georgian armed forces has returned from Afghanistan.

    The servicemen carried out a mission at the Lezernik base for four months as part of the U.S. contingent, Georgian Defense Ministry told Trend on July 28.

    The 23rd battalion is the last Georgian unit that carried out a mission under the Georgian flag in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.

    From now on, about 700 Georgian servicemen will serve in Afghanistan; they will mainly be engaged in training the Afghan army.

    Edited by CN

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  • New deputy finance minister appointed in Kazakhstan
    28.07.2014 17:30
    Astana, Kazakhstan, July 28

    By Daniyar Mukhtarov - Trend:

    Ruslan Beketayev has been appointed new deputy finance minister of Kazakhstan in accordance with the government resolution No 830 dated July 26, Kazakh Finance Ministry said.

    Ruslan Beketayev previously served as the chairman of the Treasury Committee of the Finance Ministry.

    Beketayev became the leading expert of department of licensing and supervision of the National Commission on Securities in 1996. In different years he was the head of the inspection administration of National Bank's financial supervision department, he served in financial police bodies. He worked as the adviser of the chairman of the board of Kazakh Humanitarian and Legal University JSC.

    Edited by CN

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  • Georgian president congratulates Muslims on Ramadan holiday
    28.07.2014 17:09
    Tbilisi, Georgia, July 28

    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

    Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has congratulated the Muslims on the Ramadan holiday.

    "I congratulate all Muslims with the blessed holiday of Ramadan straight from the heart. Your joy is our joy. I join your holiday and wish you peace of mind and well-being," the head of state said in his congratulatory letter.

    Edited by CN

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  • 45,000 rally for Gaza at Jerusalem Eid prayers
    28.07.2014 17:05
    Tens of thousands of Palestinians rallied in support of war-torn Gaza Monday as they gathered to pray at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque at the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, AFP reported.

    Police put the number of worshippers at 45,000 people, with an AFP correspondent saying many were dressed in black t-shirts emblazoned with slogans reading "Gaza, supporting you is our Eid" and "We are all Gaza."

    Others wore T-shirts proclaiming support for Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, which has been locked in a 21-day confrontation with Israeli troops in Gaza.

    The conflict has so far claimed 1,036 lives in Gaza and 46 in Israel.

    Among the crowds was a young child on someone's shoulders holding up a plastic gun.

    "Kidnap more soldiers!" they chanted. "Our blood for Gaza."

    Police distanced themselves from the crowd which soon dispersed without incident, the correspondent said.

    The ongoing violence in Gaza has escalated tensions across the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem, with angry protestors clashing nightly with Israeli police and troops, AFP correspondents said.

    Figures published by the U.N. humanitarian agency (OCHA) at the weekend showed 11 Palestinians have been killed and around 600 injured in clashes since July 23. Ten of them, including a teenager, were shot dead by Israeli troops, while another was killed by an Israel settler, it said.

    Overnight, stone-throwing protesters faced off with troops until dawn in Yatta in the southern West Bank, with three injured by live fire and another three arrested, Palestinian security sources said.

    Following further clashes overnight in East Jerusalem, police spokeswoman Luba Samir said another 22 people were arrested, raising to 375 the overall number of people detained in the eastern sector of the city since July 2.

    So far, 135 people have been indicted for disturbing the peace in weeks of angry protests which erupted followed the July 2 kidnap and murder of a Palestinian teenager by a group of Jewish extremists in revenge for the abduction and murder in June of three Israeli teens.

    The angry protests also spread across Arab towns in Israel, with police making "close to a thousand arrests", Samri said.

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  • Issues on carrying out radar reconnaissance to be worked out during CIS exercise
    28.07.2014 16:45
    Astana, Kazakhstan, July 28

    By Daniyar Mukhtarov - Trend:

    The issues on carrying out radar reconnaissance will be worked out by the armed forces of CIS member states, during the Combat Commonwealth 2015 exercise, Kazakhstan's Defense Ministry said on July 28.

    "It is planned to hold the joint exercise of armed forces of CIS member states, dubbed Combat Commonwealth 2015, from June to September 2015. The exercise is aimed at fulfilling the frequent tasks on the collaboration between the units of air defense and air forces," the ministry said.

    During the tactical exercise, the radio-radar units will work out the issues related to carrying out the radar reconnaissance, as well as detecting a symbolical enemy in the air and targeting, according to the ministry.

    The decision on the number of the troops to take part in the Combat Commonwealth 2015 exercise will be made in accordance with each case after the next meeting of the coordinating committees.

    "It is planned to hold the first stage of the exercise in the Ashuluk landfill of the Russian Federation in June-July 2015. The first stage will involve the units of the Air Force of Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan," Kazakh Defense Ministry said.

    The second phase is expected to be held in the Sary-Shagan landfill of Kazakhstan in August-September 2015.

    Astana hosted the meeting of the council of defense ministers of CIS countries with participation of delegations from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in early July.

    The meeting participants discussed the issues related to the research in the field of air defense, military education, development of military-applied sports, as well as human and financial security.

    CIS defense ministers also approved the joint action plan of the armed forces for 2015, including the Combat Commonwealth-2015.

    Edited by CN

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  • Israeli strikes on Gaza, rocket fire, break lull
    28.07.2014 16:05
    Israeli jets struck three sites in Gaza on Monday after a rocket was launched at Israel, the military said, disrupting a relative lull in the war-torn territory at the start of a major Muslim holiday.

    The strikes followed an almost 12-hour pause in fighting and came as international efforts intensified to end the three-week conflict between Israel and Hamas. The U.N. called for an "immediate" cease-fire.

    Israel's military said it struck two rocket launchers and a rocket manufacturing facility in central and northern Gaza after a rocket hit southern Israel earlier in the day. The rocket caused no damage or injuries.

    Earlier, the Israeli military said it had not carried out any attacks in Gaza since 9:30 p.m. on Sunday but that troops on the ground were pressing on with efforts to destroy the cross-border tunnels constructed by Hamas for attacks inside Israel.

    Also, the Israeli military opened artillery fire on Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza in response to the rocket fired at Ashkelon, said the office of Israel's military spokesman. "Quiet will be met with quiet," the office statement said.

    As Muslims began celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday on Monday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, there was fear and mourning instead of holiday cheer in the Gaza Strip.

    Palestinian families huddled inside their homes, fearing more airstrikes, while those who came to a cemetery in Gaza City's Sheik Radwan neighborhood to pay traditional respects at their ancestors' graves gathered around a large crater from an airstrike a week ago that had broken up several graves.

    In New York, an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council called for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire."

    And while it was the council's strongest statement yet on the conflict that has already killed 1,030 Palestinians, 43 Israeli soldiers and three civilians on the Israeli side, it was not a resolution and therefore not binding.

    Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour did not hide his disappointment. He said the council should have adopted a strong and legally binding resolution a long time ago demanding an immediate halt to Israel's "aggression," providing the Palestinian people with protection and lifting the siege in the Gaza Strip so goods and people can move freely.

    "You cannot keep 1.8 million Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip in this huge prison," Mansour told reporters. "That is a recipe for disaster. It is inhumane, and it has to be stopped and it has to be lifted."

    Israeli U.N. ambassador Ron Prosor also criticized the statement - though from a very different perspective - saying it lacked balance because it didn't mention Hamas, the firing of rockets into Israel or Israel's right to defend itself.

    Israel says it started its Gaza operation on July 8 to stop the rocket fire from the coastal territory and intensified it on July 17 to neutralize Hamas cross-border tunnels built to carry out attacks on Israeli territory.

    The pressure for a cease-fire followed new attacks launched by Israel and Hamas on Sunday despite the back-and-forth over proposals for another temporary halt to the fighting. The Security Council urged Israel and Hamas "to accept and fully implement the humanitarian cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond." It said this would allow for the delivery of urgently needed assistance.

    The council's presidential statement also called on the parties "to engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected cease-fire, based on the Egyptian initiative."

    On Sunday, President Barack Obama telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express his concern over the mounting Palestinian casualties.

    The White House said Obama reiterated that Israel has a right to defend itself and condemned Hamas' rocket attacks. Obama said a lasting peace will ultimately require a demilitarized Gaza and dismantling of terror groups. The U.S. president also pushed for an immediate, unconditional cease-fire that would allow Israeli and Palestinian civilians to return to normalcy.

    International diplomats have hoped that a temporary lull in the fighting could be expanded into a more sustainable truce to end the bloodshed.

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  • Emirates '˜re-routes flightsв' to avoid Iraqi airspace
    28.07.2014 15:40
    Emirates airlines, one of the world's biggest carriers, will stop flying over Iraq after concerns about the missile threat posed by Islamist militants, The Times reported on Monday.

    Tim Clark, president of Emirates, said he believed other airlines would follow, as the industry began to review assessing the risk of flying over conflict areas after the Malaysia Airlines disaster in Ukraine. Flight MH17 was reportedly shot down by pro-Russian separatists using a surface-to-air missile, Al Arabiya reported.

    "The horrors that this created was a kick in the solar plexus for all of us," Clark said. "Nevertheless having got through it we must take stock and deal with it."

    By the end of the year airlines will have a system through which they can share information on troubled flight routes, Clark said.

    Political sensitivities between governments should not bar input from government intelligence agencies about what airspace is considered risky, the British president of the Dubai-based airline said.

    "This is a political animal but . . . the fact of the matter is MH17 changed everything, and that was very nearly in European airspace," Clark told The Times. "We cannot continue to say, 'Well it's a political thing'. We have to do something. We have to take the bull by the horns."

    The Times reported that the United States was urgently investigating the possibility of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters in northern Iraq acquiring missiles stockpiles from neighboring Syria capable of shooting down a civilian aircraft at 30,000ft or higher.

    Hundreds of flights pass over ISIS-controlled territory in Iraq every day. A predominantly preferred route flies directly over the Iraqi city of Mosul, an ISIS stronghold.

    Clark said that he was "not comfortable" with the situation. More than 50 flights travel from and to British airports cross Iraqi airspace, most of which are operated by Emirates.

    Hundreds of Emirates flights en-route to and from major European airports received instructions to re-route flights that use Iraqi airspace daily. The changes will be implemented over the next week to ten days.

    "We can't do it all at once because we have got an awful lot going through it, but yes we will be doing that," Clark explained.

    Alternative routes being considered by the airline would take aircraft across Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea, over Cairo and finally into European airspace, adding add up to 45 minutes to flight times. Flying over Iran is another alternative being explored.

    "That is the kind of thing that will demonstrate to the public that we take this extremely seriously and that is exactly what we are doing," Clark said.

    Airline industry groups will meet tomorrow in a meeting convened by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations body that oversees civil aviation, to discuss ways to reduce the risks of flying over trouble zones.

    Clark said that heads of major airlines, joined by their operational and flight and group-safety teams would aim to meet next month to work out what more carriers could do to improve their risk assessments.

    "In the end the outcome of it will be a more refined sharing of information," he said. The Emirates boss added that he hoped any new information-sharing and disseminating system would go through the International Air Transport Association, a Geneva-based trade organization that represents about 200 global airlines.

    This kind of cooperation would be the outcome of lessons learnt from the Flight MH17 tragedy. "I was absolutely beside myself with rage and anger with what happened," said Clark, who has been in the airline business for four decades.

    "It is something that, as an airline person, it is very difficult to deal with. It is a slight on what you do. It suggests that you are not doing your job properly," he said. "From out of this ghastly, hideous mass murder if we are going to get anything out of it, it is that the airline community are minded to try and improve what they do."

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  • Iraq army kills 17 in anti-jihadist raid
    28.07.2014 14:50
    An Iraqi government raid on jihadist targets in a flashpoint town southwest of Baghdad killed 17 people on Monday, including at least three civilians, medical and tribal sources said, according to Agence France-Presse.

    "Bombardment targeted the Fadhiyya district at 1:00 am (2200 GMT on Sunday)," Sheikh Mohammad al-Janabi, a tribal chief from Jurf al-Sakhr, a town 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Baghdad said.

    Janabi said two women and a child were among the dead, a toll confirmed by a doctor at the main hospital in nearby Iskandariyah, Al Arabiya reported.

    Both said that 12 people were also wounded and that some of them were transferred to the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah in the neighbouring province of Anbar.

    That suggests some of the casualties of the raid were jihadist fighters from the Islamic State or one of its allied Sunni militant groups, although none of the sources could say how many.

    A lieutenant in the Iraqi army said "the Iraqi forces used a variety of weapons to target insurgent bases in Jurf al-Sakhr overnight".

    The mainly Sunni town, which lies in the north of Babil province, is the scene of almost daily fighting between pro-government forces and Sunni militants.

    Islamic State jihadists launched a sweeping offensive in northern Iraq on June 9, conquering the second city Mosul and large parts of the country's Sunni heartland.

    Jurf al-Sakhr lies on the edge of what became known during a previous wave of sectarian bloodshed eight years ago as the "triangle of death".

    The army and allied Shiite militia such Asaib Ahl al-Haq take up positions in the town during the day but often pull back at night, which allows insurgents to plant roadside bombs.

    The loss of Jurf al-Sakhr would threaten government control over one of only two main roads linking Baghdad to the southern Shiite heartland, including the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf.

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  • Syrian army retakes gas field from fighters
    28.07.2014 14:00
    The Syrian army has recaptured a gas field east of the central city of Homs that was seized by fighters from Islamic State earlier this month, according to state media and opposition activists.

    Syrian television showed footage of soldiers running and deploying in a vast desert area which it said was the Shaer gas field in the desert region of Palmyra, Al Jazeera reported.

    Mahmoud al-Homsi, an activist opposed to President Bashar al-Assad's government, confirmed to Al Jazeera via Skype from Homs that the army was now in control of the field.

    The Syrian army, in a statement on Sunday, said it retook the field after a "precise operation in which dozens of terrorists were killed".

    However, a source from the Islamic State said the fighters pulled out after destroying the gas field's equipment and capturing at least 15 tanks and dozens of rockets which were used to guard the facility.

    "We pulled out because it was no longer good for us to stay. The goal was to get the tanks and rockets present at the field and we did," he told the Reuters news agency.

    "There is no point in staying there and become an easy target for the regime and its warplanes."

    Homsi told Al Jazeera that the recapture of the gas field dealt a blow to the Islamic State.

    "The Shaer field is an important military base that the army used to protect nearby villages that are loyal to Assad," he said.

    Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera that Islamic State fighters were forced to withdraw as a result of intense shelling by regime troops.

    The Islamic State, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, has advanced in Syria and taken over large expanses of territory in neighbouring Iraq in what it has described as a bid to establish an Islamic caliphate.

    At least 1,100 soldiers and pro-Assad fighters have been killed since the Islamic State intensified its attacks against government forces this month, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

    During the assault on the field, Islamic State fighters killed at least 270 soldiers, guards and staff and also killed at least 85 soldiers when they captured an army base in the province of Raqqa on Friday, the Syrian Observatory said.

    The fighters said they decapitated most of the soldiers and hung several heads outside the base gates.

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  • Saudi Arabia produces 17 percent of world's dates
    28.07.2014 13:59
    Deputy Agriculture Minister for Agricultural Affairs Dr. Khalid Al-Fehaid said that Saudi Arabia's production of dates reached around 1.1 million tons, while producing palm trees cover an area of 157,000 hectares, Saudi Gazette reported.

    He said the number of palm trees reached more than 25 million and the Kingdom is considered the world's second largest dates producer and it exports around 5 percent of the produce.

    "The Ministry of Agriculture has published a book about 160 famous types of dates produced in the country," he said.

    He explained that dates, like any other agricultural produce, are subject to supply and demand, and as such prices increase during Ramadan.

    This story was first published in the Saudi Gazette on July 28, 2014.

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  • Downing of MH17 'may amount to a war crime' says UN
    28.07.2014 13:55
    The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 "may amount to a war crime," the U.N. said Monday, adding that fighting in east Ukraine had claimed over 1,100 lives with both government and rebel forces using heavy weaponry in built-up areas, AFP reported.

    U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned the "horrendous shooting down" of the Malaysian passenger jet in rebel-held territory that killed all 298 people on board, and demanded a "thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigation."

    "This violation of international law, given the prevailing circumstances, may amount to a war crime," she said in a statement.

    "Every effort will be made to ensure that anyone committing serious violations of international law including war crimes will be brought to justice, no matter who they are," Pillay said.

    The Red Cross officially said last week that Ukraine was now in civil war - a classification that would make parties in the conflict liable to prosecution for war crimes.

    The U.N. said that latest figures showed that more than 1,100 people have been killed in fighting on the ground in east Ukraine as both government forces and rebels have increasingly used heavy weapons in built-up areas.

    "As of 26 July, at least 1,129 people have been killed and 3,442 wounded," the U.N. statement said.

    The latest toll marks a sharp rise from that given a month ago on June 18, when the U.N. said at least 356 people had been killed since April.

    Pillay described reports of increasingly intense fighting in rebel bastions Donetsk and Lugansk regions as "extremely alarming" and said both sides were "employing heavy weaponry in built-up areas, including artillery, tanks, rockets and missiles."

    "Both sides must take great care to prevent more civilians from being killed or injured," Pillay said.

    Some 100,000 people have now fled the conflict zone in the east for other areas of Ukraine, the U.N. said in the report released Monday.

    The report also accused rebels controlling swaths of territory of conducting a brutal "reign of terror" in the areas they control, including the abduction, torture and killing of civilians as the rule of law has collapsed.

    "These groups have taken control of Ukrainian territory and inflicted on the populations a reign of intimidation and terror to maintain their position of control," the report said.

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  • Possibility of sabotage on power transmission line not ruled out by Georgian minister
    28.07.2014 13:14
    Tbilisi, Georgia, July 28

    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

    Georgian Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze didn't rule out the possibility of sabotage on the Imereti power transmission line and added that this fact should be investigated.

    The minister thanked the country's power engineers for managing to restore the power supply to the population quuickly.

    He went on to add that such a large-scale power outage occurred due to the cutoff of three power transmission lines: Imereti, Kolkheti-2 and Paliastomi 1.

    Kaladze also thanked Armenia's energy minister who ensured the supply of electricity to Georgia during the outage.

    Almost the entire territory of Georgia lost power on July 27, at 22:30. The accident on the Imereti and Kolkheti-2 power transmission lines caused the outage.

    The cause of the accident is being studied.

    Hundreds of passengers that got stranded in the Tbilisi subway were taken out. And, due to the disruption in the power supply, trains arrived at their destination three hours late.

    Edited by CN

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  • Filipino extremists kill at least 18 villagers
    28.07.2014 13:00
    Abu Sayyaf gunmen killed at least 18 villagers, including women and children, in a road attack Monday as the civilians traveled in two vans to visit relatives and celebrate the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in the southern Philippines, military officials said.

    The brazen attack on the civilians, one of the bloodiest by the Abu Sayyaf in recent years, also wounded about a dozen other villagers, officials said.

    About 40 to 50 Abu Sayyaf militants, armed with assault rifles, staged the attack in a coastal village in Talipao town in predominantly Muslim Sulu province, where the militants have survived in jungle encampments despite years of U.S.-backed Philippine military offensives, marine Brig. Gen. Martin Pinto and other military officials said. Sulu, about 950 kilometers (590 miles) south of Manila, is one of the country's poorest provinces, Associated Press reported.

    The militants opened fire on the vans, killing 16 villagers. Two children among 13 wounded villagers later died in a hospital, Pinto said.

    The motive for the attack was not immediately clear, but Pinto said it may have been sparked by a family feud involving some of the militants.

    Among those killed were at least four members of a Talipao civilian security force called Barangay Police Action Team that has been helping the military fight the jungle-based militants in recent months, Pinto said.

    The Abu Sayyaf, which has about 300 armed fighters split into several factions, was organized in the early 1990s in the south, but it has been crippled by government operations and endures largely due to huge ransoms from kidnappings.

    Abu Sayyaf now holds about 10 hostages, including two German tourists seized in April and two birdwatchers, one Dutch and the other Swiss, who were kidnapped two years ago.

    The Abu Sayyaf is one of about four smaller Muslim insurgent groups outside of a peace deal signed by the Philippine government in March with the main rebel group, the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front that calls for the creation of a more powerful and potentially larger autonomous region for minority Muslims in the south of the largely Roman Catholic country.

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  • Iranв's President congratulates Muslims on Eid al-Fitr
    28.07.2014 12:55
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 28

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend:

    Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has expressed his felicitations to the heads of state and people of Muslim countries on the auspicious occasion of Eid al-Fitr.

    In his message, President Rouhani expressed hope that friendship bonds among all Muslims would be further strengthened on the basis of Islamic teachings, spirituality, moderation, wisdom and the establishment of lasting peace and security, ISNA reported on July 28.

    He also said it is unfortunate that people around the world witnessed the cruelty of Israel against Palestinian people in Gaza as well as sectarian conflicts and terrorist attacks in Iraq and Syria.


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  • Armenian soldiers' lives deemed worthless
    28.07.2014 12:50
    By AzerNews

    The Armenian authorities' indifference towards the lives of army soldiers has sparked outrage among ordinary people.

    Local media reports that Armenian soldier's dignity, psychological conditions, health, or lives mean little or nothing for commanding officers. The situation in the army is deteriorating daily, which is confirmed by the high number of suicides and killings among soldiers.

    "Annually dozens of soldiers are killed in non-combat conditions. The number of died soldiers is unacceptably high. Even the Defense Ministry has admitted this fact," media report noted. "There are many other soldiers who have returned home as disabled persons. Most of them face violence and undignified treatment in the army," local media reported.

    In 2013, 16 Armenian servicemen lost their lives due to top commanders' negligence. Eight of them died as a result of suicide, four due to illness, three as a result of murder, and one service man died due to violation of rules for handling weapons, the ombudsman's report show.

    Twenty six soldiers have died since the beginning of 2014 - some of them lost their life in non-combat conditions. The society believes that the figure is underestimated.

    Local media said that the Defense Ministry hides the real number of killed soldiers in non-combat conditions.

    "In our country, when a soldier kills his co-servicemen, no official measures are taken to tackled the problem. Instead, the authorities try to hide the real number of killings," media report underlined.

    The reports further noted that in civilized countries, not only killings in the army, but also cases of abuses or undignified treatments in the military are deemed as a nation-wide emergency.

    "These cases usually become a reason for creating special parliamentary commissions, retirement of military officers of various ranks, and even growing distrust against political force, which appoints the Defense Minister. But the stroy is different in Armenia," the report underlined.

    Another negative fact reasoning protests in the Armenian society is that country's law provides only $10.000 as compensation for the family of killed soldier. It means that a soldier's life worth only $10.000. This is the state's only obligation to the families who have lost their sons, media report said.
  • Armenian armed forces violate ceasefire over 90 times in past 24 hours
    28.07.2014 12:50
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 28

    By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:

    Armenian armed forces violated the ceasefire with Azerbaijan 92 times in different locations of the contact line between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops last night, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported on July 28.

    Armenian Armed Forces opened fire from the positions located in the villages of Barekamavan, Savarshavan and Dovekh of Armenia`s Noyemberyan region at the Azerbaijani side located at the nameless heights, in the villages of Ferehli and Kemerli of the Gazakh region, and from the nameless heights of Armenia`s Berd region opened fire at Azerbaijan`s positions located in the village of Kokhanabi in the Tovuz region.

    Also, Azerbaijani positions took fire from the positions located in the nameless heights in the territory of the Krasnoselski region and in the nameless heights of the Gedabay region.

    Azerbaijani positions were also fired upon from positions near the villages of Shikhlar, Javahirli, Yusifjanly, Merzili, Sarijali, Shuraabad, Bash Gervend of the Aghdam region, Ashagi Seyidahmedli, Asagi Veyselli, Garakhanbeyli, Horadiz of the Fizuli region, Chilaburt, Goyarkh, Gizil Oba villages of the Terter region, the village of Kuropatkino of the Khojavend region, Mehdili village of the Jabrayil region and in the nameless heights in the Goranboy and Goygol regions.

    The Armenian Armed Forces violated ceasefire in different directions on the contact line of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops 80 times on July 26 and the night of July 27.

    Armenian units fired from the Berkaber village of Armenia`s Ijevan region at the Azerbaijani positions located in the Gizilhajili village of the Gazakh region and from Armenian positions in the village of Chinari of Berd region fired upon the Azerbaijani Armed Forces located near the villages of Agdam and Kohanebi in Tovuz region.

    Also, Azerbaijani positions were fired upon from the positions located in the nameless heights and near the villages of Shikhlar, Javahirli, Yusifjanly, Merzili of the Agdam region, Ashagi Seyidahmedli, Ashagi Veyselli, Asagi Abdurrahmanli, Garakhanbeyli, Gorgan of the Fuzuli region, Chilaburt, Goyarkh villages of Terter, Kuropatkino of the Khojavend region.

    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 U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.

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

    Edited by CN

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  • Electricity supply completely restored in Georgia
    28.07.2014 12:39
    Tbilisi, Georgia, July 28

    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

    The electricity supply throughout Georgia was completely restored on July 28, the country's Energy Ministry told Trend.

    Almost the entire territory of Georgia was de-energized on July 27, at 22:30. The accident on the Imereti and Kolkheti-2 power transmission lines caused the power outage.

    The cause of the accident is being studied.

    Hundreds of passengers that got stranded in the Tbilisi subway, were taken out and due to the disruption in the power supply, trains arrived at their destination three hours late.

    Edited by CN

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  • Worldв's most expensive RV sold in Dubai
    28.07.2014 12:30
    Not all rides need to be powerful to be bold. Some are bold just for their design and, in the case of one RV that recently sold in Dubai, for being the worldв's most expensive.

    Thatв's the claim being made for the 40-foot-long eleMMent Palazzo, from Austrian company Marchi Mobile. It sold for a purported asking price of $3 million. That is somewhat understandable considering its outside is supposedly covered in gold.

    But it is still a lot of money for something that could be considered a lot of ugly '" at least on the outside. It looks like one of those creatures of the deep caught on camera during the raising of the Titantic. To drive something this hideous you need to have some deep pockets.

    However, as your mom used to tell you (unless she was really shallow) beauty is on the inside. Thatв's where the element Palazzo shines. It comes with its own, as CNN describes it, ''portable, push-button, pop-up rooftop terrace.'' It also features a pop-up cocktail lounge, a fireplace, a master bedroom, and underfloor heating.

    Itв's also a double decker. Both the master bedroom, with an ensuite bathroom, and the cockpit are on the second floor. Its most appealing feature is it can even clean itself after a dusty day of motoring through the desert.

    Speaking of motoring, most surprisingly, you could drive this beast down the desert motorways and not tie up traffic '" at least for its speed. It tops out at 93 mph.

  • China says may have citizens fighting in Iraq
    28.07.2014 12:30
    Muslim extremists from China's far western region of Xinjiang have gone to the Middle East for training and some may have crossed into Iraq to participate in the upsurge of violence there, China's special envoy for the Middle East said on Monday.

    China has repeatedly expressed concern about the upsurge in violence in Iraq and the march of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has seized much of the north of the country as Baghdad's forces there collapsed, Reuters reported.

    ISIL has renamed itself the Islamic State and proclaimed the establishment of a caliphate on land it has captured in Syria and Iraq.

    Wu Sike, who has recently returned from the region, told reporters that China was extremely worried about the role of extremist groups in the fighting in Syria and Iraq.

    "Several hot spot issues in the Middle East have provided living space for terrorist groups, in particular the crisis in Syria has turned this country into a training ground for extremists from many countries," he said.

    "These extremists come from Islamic countries, Europe, North America and China. After being immersed in extremist ideas, when they return home they will pose a severe challenge and security risk to those countries," added Wu, who has 40 years of diplomatic experience in the Middle East and speaks Arabic.

    Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people who speak a Turkic language, has been beset by unrest for years, blamed by Beijing on Islamist extremists who want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.

    While many experts outside of China doubt these groups have anywhere near the abilities Beijing accuses them of, some Uighurs have made their way to Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years.

    Wu would not put a number on how many Chinese citizens may be in the Middle East either fighting or being trained, saying that he understood from foreign media reports the figure to be about 100.

    "Mostly they are East Turkestan elements," Wu said, adding that this was one of the topics he talked about on his trip, especially when he was in Turkey, which is home to a large exiled Uighur population.

    "They won't necessarily all return [to China]. Some will remain to participate in the conflict, perhaps crossing into Iraq," he said, without elaborating.

    U.S. intelligence agencies estimate around 7,000 of the 23,000 violent extremists operating in Syria are foreign fighters, mostly from Europe.

    China would do all it could to help Middle Eastern countries fight terror as this was also in China's best interests, Wu added.

    "China is a victim of extremist, terrorist activities, and our support for fighting terrorism in this region is beneficial to us too. As a result China and those countries are in a closely knit community of shared interests."

    China is Iraq's largest oil client, and its state energy firms, which include PetroChina, Sinopec Group and CNOOC Ltd, together hold more than a fifth of Iraq's oil projects after securing some of its fields through auctions in 2009.

    Wu, who studied in Iraq in the 1970s, said that despite the violence he was confident in the country's future and China's involvement in its energy sector.

    "In the long-run China has confidence in the political reconciliation and economic development of Iraq, so we have confidence in the future of this [energy] cooperation," he said.

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  • Tanker catches fire amid clashes in Libyan capital
    28.07.2014 12:20
    The Libyan government is appealing for "international help" after several oil tankers caught fire amid clashes over the country's international airport in the capital, Tripoli, AP reported.

    In a statement posted on its website on Monday, the interim government says the fighting between rival militias caused the huge blaze, which could trigger a "humanitarian and environmental disaster."

    Libyan TV stations are calling on residents to evacuate areas near the airport. Social networking sites posted images of billowing black smoke over Tripoli skyline.

    The battle for control of the airport began two weeks ago when Islamist-led militias - mostly from the western city of Misrata - launched a surprise assault on the airport, under control of rival militias from the western mountain town of Zintan.

    The fighting has killed dozens of people.

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  • Cristiano Ronaldo goes it alone
    28.07.2014 12:15
    The most significant item of news that emerged from the after-match training session in Los Angeles was the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo following his arrival in the United States. He was working with Santi Lozano, the club's physical trainer, away from all the other players with a view to making a satisfactory recovery from his injury.

    He doesn't want to run any risks, and to do things one step at a time, until he returns to his best form, and therefore he is doing a series of personalised exercises, with gentle runs and stretching, until he can join up with the rest of the players in the daily training routines.

    Ronaldo got injured in the final stretch of last season and was not really himself in the Champions League final nor in the World Cup in Brazil. Others training for the first time were Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, FГЎbio Coentrao and ГЃlvaro Arbeloa, who joined the Real Madrid tour in the middle of last week. Also training with them were reserves who were not picked for the game against Inter Milan in Berkeley, which Real Madrid lost on penalties.

    Those players who started in Real Madrid's first pre-season match had a slightly lighter training session, divided between the gym and the swimming pool, focussing on recovering for the next match, in Dallas, on Tuesday, 29th, where they will be going all out for their first win of the summer, against Roma.

  • Turkish trucks waiting to pass through Iran border as Iraqв's is insecure
    28.07.2014 12:05
    Baku, Azerbaijan, July 28

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend:

    A queue of Turkish trucks, as long as 12 kilometers, is waiting to pass through the Iran border- crossing of Bazargan as militants of the terrorist group ISIL have caused instability on the Iraq border.

    Security problems in Iraq have forced Turkish truck drivers to use the Bazargan-Gurbulak border point with Iran for the transit of goods instead of joint borders with Iraq, IRNA reported on July 28.

    On July 27, Iran and Turkey agreed to expand the Bazargan-Gurbulak border point in order to facilitate their customs trade.

    The agreement was reached between Iranian Customs Administration head Masoud Karbasian and Turkish Customs Minister Hayat Yazici in Ankara.

    In April, Iranian Ambassador to Ankara Alireza Bigdeli said the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey have set a target of nearly $16 billion in the volume of their bilateral trade transactions during the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21), Press TV reported.

    Bigdeli said that Iran-Turkey trade turnover stood at $1.2 billion in the first quarter of the year 2014 given the released monthly reports, adding that the figure would rise to $20 billion once a preferential trade agreement signed by the two countries is enforced, IRNA reported.

    Iran and Turkey have signed a preferential trade agreement which could pave the way for a hike in bilateral trade.

    The agreement was signed during Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Tehran in January. At the time, Erdogan said the goal is to boost trade between the two neighbors to $30 billion by 2015.

    The Iranian ambassador further stated that the incumbent Iranian administration plans to engage in talks with Turkish officials in order to set up a joint free trade zone in Salmas city near the border with Turkey in order to further increase economic interactions.

    On January 23, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said Turkey is determined to boost the level of its bilateral trade volume with Iran.

    He said Turkey imported $7.6 billion worth of Iranian natural gas and crude oil in 2013, which is a huge figure.

    The figure, Yildiz further noted, included $4.5 billion worth of natural gas and $3.1 billion of crude oil.

    Turkey seeks to raise the level of its trade transactions with Iran within a logical and legal framework, he pointed out.

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  • Armenian servicemen on wanted list for terrorist acts against Azerbaijanis
    28.07.2014 12:00
    By AzerNews

    Azerbaijan has declared wanted about 300 Armenian soldiers over committing terrorist acts and other crimes against Azerbaijanis.

    Azerbaijan's Deputy Prosecutor General and military prosecutor, Lieutenant-General of Justice Khanlar Veliyev made the remark at a meeting at the Republican Military Prosecutor's Office on July 25 on the results of the works done in the first half of year and the upcoming challenges, the Military Prosecutor's Office said.

    Veliyev went on to say that 296 people should be brought to criminal responsibility under Article 103 and other articles of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan, over genocide, terrorism and torturing of hostages and other crimes against the Azerbaijani people in Khojaly, Garadagli, Mesheli and Baghanis-Ayrim.

    He said currently investigative and operational activities are underway in this regard.

    Earlier, Veliyev said the Prosecutor's Office and other law enforcement bodies of Azerbaijan have conducted investigations into separate criminal cases regarding serious crimes committed by the Armenian armed forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and other Azerbaijani occupied territories since 1988.

    Veliyev said as a result of Armenia's aggression, thousands of Azerbaijani citizens have been killed and more than 50,000 people injured. Meanwhile, 900 settlements, 100,000 houses, more than 600 educational and 250 medical establishments, and hundreds of industrial and agricultural enterprises and factories were destroyed. According to him, more than 17,000 square kilometers of the country (20 percent of Azerbaijan) have been occupied, and up to one million Azerbaijanis have become refugees and IDPs.
  • Former Azerbaijani Deputy of Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada, mayor of Kremenchuk Oleh Babayev murdered
    28.07.2014 11:47
    Kyiv. Mubariz Aslanov '" APA. Former Azerbaijani Deputy of Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada, the mayor of the central Ukrainian town of Kremenchuk Oleh Babayev was murdered at 10:00 today in front of his house.

    Chairman of the United Ukrainian Azerbaijanis Congress Rovshan Tagiyev told APA.

    Oleh Babayev, was killed when a car pulled up to his own, and an unidentified person fired three shots from a gun with a silencer. Investigation on fact is underway.

    O. Babayev, who is from Azerbaijan's Ganja city, was member of Ukrainian parliament during the period of Viktor Yushenko's presidency. He also had great business opportunities in Ukraine.

    Remind that Rovshan Tagiyev, businessman, chairman of the United Congress of Azeris of Ukraine sustained a gunshot wound in Kyiv on May 14. He prepares appeal to Ukrainian General Prosecutor's Office about these events.
  • Some 156 golfers to compete in European Challenge Tour event in Guba
    28.07.2014 11:46
    The European Challenge Tour is coming to Azerbaijan for the first time this summer, bringing together 156 golfers.

    The tournament will take place over four days: August 30 and July 1st, 2nd and 3rd at the National Azerbaijan Golf Club in Guba, the headquarters of the Azerbaijan Golf Federation.

    The tournament will have prize money of $300,000 at stake (pound;179,000/euro;220,000).

    The event will be the 16th stop on the 28-stop European Challenge Tour. It began in the Kenyan capital Nairobi in March, and has already visited Spain, Turkey and Austria.

    Other stops include Ukraine and Kazakhstan in September, before the Tour Grand Final in Dubai from November 5 to 8.
  • Aircraft from Istanbul makes emergency landing in Astana airport
    28.07.2014 11:44
    Astana, Kazakhstan, July 28

    By Daniyar Mukhtarov - Trend:

    An aircraft from Istanbul made an emergency landing in Astana, the press service of the capital`s airport reported on July 28.

    "An aircraft on the Istanbul-Novosibirsk route made an emergency landing in Astana airport. The emergency landing was made due to a dense fog. There was not any serious damage or failure," the press-service said.

    In total, the flights of six routes from the Novosibirsk Tolmachevo Airport were delayed and three aircrafts had to make landing at alternate airports, due to the dense fog, the media reported.

    Due to bad weather conditions on the night of July 28, the flights from St. Petersburg and Antalya made an emergency landing in Kemerovo, and the aircraft arriving from Istanbul, sat on the alternate airport in Astana, the press-service reported. The flights which had to make emergency landing in Kemerovo have already arrived in Novosibirsk. The arrival flight from Astana is expected at 10:30 local time.

    Edited by CN

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  • Science and Medical Library after academician Zarifa Aliyeva presented in Ukraine
    28.07.2014 11:41
    A Science and Medical Library after academician Zarifa Aliyeva has been presented in Ukraine. The library was founded by Kiev-based International Medical Research Center after academician Zarifa Aliyeva.

    In an interview with AzerTAc, director of the center Aydin Salmanov said the library would hold materials that support study and research in the field of medicine. "The collection of the library will include works by prominent Azerbaijani scholars in Azerbaijani, Ukrainian, English, Russian and other languages."

    "The library is the first ever Azerbaijani library of medical literature abroad set up by Azerbaijani scholars," he said.

    Mr. Salmanov said: "The library currently features more than 1,000 documents, including electronic material. And the collection will be expanded on a constant basis. We ensured access to the materials of the library through an electronic catalogue."
  • U.N. Security Council calls for immediate cease-fire in Gaza
    28.07.2014 11:39
    With more than 1,000 people killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict, the U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting in New York early Monday and announced "strong support ... for an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" in Gaza, CNN reported.

    The cease-fire would allow for the delivery of "urgently needed assistance," the Security Council said.

    The 15-nation council also proclaimed its support for "a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders as envisioned in Security Council resolution 1850 (2008)."

    The call for a cease-fire came after Hamas and Israel began firing again at each other Sunday after a temporary cease-fire failed.

    A temporary truce in the conflict Saturday had enabled medical supplies to be brought into Gaza, families to emerge from shelters and people to dig out the dead from piles of rubble.

    But Sunday, Israel said that because of "incessant rocket fire" out of Gaza, it had restarted its Operation Protective Edge, even as Hamas said it agreed to a 24-hour U.N.-mediated cease-fire.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the call by Hamas for a cease-fire, saying the group violated its own call for a brief stoppage in violence.

    "We hope we can get a sustainable quiet as soon as possible. I think the only path to do that is by adopting the Egyptian initiative" and by addressing two underlying issues, he told CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley."

    He said those issues are peace for Israel through demilitarizing Gaza, and social and economic relief for the residents of Gaza.

    Hamas, the militant group that is in control of the besieged Palestinian territory, began firing rockets again Sunday afternoon, blaming a "lack of commitment" from Israel.

    The Israeli Security Cabinet had agreed to a U.N. request late Saturday to extend a cease-fire that started Saturday morning until midnight Sunday (5 p.m. ET Sunday), on the condition that its military could keep dismantling and destroying Hamas' tunnels, according to senior Israeli officials.

    West Bank erupts in deadly demonstrations U.N.: There's no excuse for firing at shelters Israeli amb. blames Hamas for school hit

    Israel said it resumed its offensive because it was still being attacked.

    "Following Hamas' incessant rocket fire throughout the humanitarian window, which was agreed upon for the welfare of the civilian population in Gaza, the IDF will now resume its aerial, naval and ground activity in the Gaza Strip," the IDF said.

    A poll of 504 Hebrew-speaking Israelis suggests that an overwhelming majority want the offensive to continue, the Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.

    It said the poll, sponsored by a political strategist who used to work with Netanyahu, indicated 86.5% responded that Israel shouldn't accept a cease-fire.

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  • IMF forecasted lower economic growth this year
    28.07.2014 11:30
    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lowered its forecast for global economic growth this year, from 3.7% to 3.4%.

    The reduction reflects a weak start to the year in the United States and a number of downgrades to the outlook for several other individual economies.

    However there were uplifts for some countries, the largest being the UK.

    The global forecast for 2015 is unchanged, with growth predicted to be 4%.

    Several countries do receive an upgrade and the largest for 2014 is for the UK - from a 2.8% to a 3.2% expansion of the economy.

    It is the latest in a string of upgrades from the IMF and others.

    There is a smaller uplift to the IMF forecast for the UK for next year.

    Introducing the new forecasts, the IMF's chief economist Olivier Blanchard said: "The recovery continues, but it remains a weak recovery, indeed a bit weaker than we forecast in April."

    Nonetheless he said that the headline - the revision for this year - "makes things look worse than they really are".

    That is because, he said, "it largely reflects something that has already happened".

    The weakness at the beginning of 2014 in the United States - the economy contracted sharply in the first three months - will affect the figure for the whole year.

    That was due to bad weather and firms meeting demand by running down stocks of goods to a greater extent than had been expected.

    There were downward revisions for several emerging economies, with the largest being for Russia, reflecting what the IMF calls "geopolitical tensions".

    That country's growth projection for this year is now just 0.2%, a downgrade from the previous World Economic Outlook forecast of 1.3%.

    But the IMF referred to that same figure at the end of April, so it cannot fully reflect the most recent intensification of the international political crisis following the loss of the Malaysian airliner.

    Brazil's outlook is also markedly weaker, due to a lack of confidence among businesses and consumers.

    There is also an upward revision for Spain, one of the countries at the centre of the Eurozone financial crisis - by 0.3 and 0.6 percentage points this year and next.

    Even so, the forecasts for Spain are still fairly sluggish by pre-recession standards: 1.2% this year and 1.6% in 2015.

  • Armenia struggling with economic depression
    28.07.2014 11:05
    By AzerNews

    As newly-released macroeconomic figures show Armenia didn't have any positive developments in the first half of 2014.

    During the reported period, Armenia achieved only a 3.4 percent economic growth which was lower in comparison with the similar period last year.

    The indicators also show that there has been no growth in all leading economic sectors during this period.

    "The agriculture increased by only 1.4 percent, and construction by 0.4 percent," official statistics show.

    The country's trade turnover didn't achieve any significant growth. The export increased by only 0.8 percent, while import by 1.1 percent.

    Member of Parliament and Former Prime Minister Grant Bagratyan said that the progress amounted to only 0.3 percent during the first half of 2014.

    "We expected more. How the current government can claim that it has improved the economic situation?," he wrote on his Facebook page.

    He said that the new government lacks a new approach to develop the economy. "The government has only implemented some episodic reforms which are unacceptable," Bagratyan noted.

    The economic situation in the country keeps deteriorating. The government recently acknowledged its failure to ensure a 5.2 percent economic growth set in the state budget for 2014.

    President Serzh Sargsyan is expecting the new government to stabilize the economy. This comes as Prime Minister Ovik Abramyan has slashed the economic forecasts.

    Local experts doubt that Abramyan's government will be able to ensure a four percent economic growth by the end of 2014. The absence of large economic projects, as well as foreign investment have led the country to a fully deadlock situation.
  • Some 4.9 mln tons of cargo transported via sea in Azerbaijan
    28.07.2014 10:59
    4.9 mln tons of cargo were transported via sea in Azerbaijan in January-June 2014.

    The State Statistical Committee says 57.8% of cargo was oil cargo, 42.2% - dry cargo. All transportations were carried out on foreign connections. 6.1 mln tons of shipping and unshipping works carried out via sea ports. International transit cargos made 86.1%".
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