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Bets on for who will be next pope
14.02.2013 08:55
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As soon as Pope Benedict XVI announced he was resigning at the end of February, British bookmakers were giving betting odds on his possible successor.

There are 118 eligible members of the College of Cardinals who can attend the Papal Conclave in March to choose the next Bishop of Rome from among their numbers.

And while some predictions have been accurate вЂ" Joseph Ratzinger was widely tipped by bookmakers in 2005 вЂ" no-one anticipated his predecessor Karol Wojtyla’s surprise election in 1978.

/HurriyetDailynews/
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  • Iran, six powers demand mutual concessions in tense nuclear talks
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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/01/12/Iran_nuclear_program_120113_6.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/01/12/Iran_nuclear_program_120113_6.jpg
    Major powers and Iran were pushing each other for concessions on Friday ahead of an end-March deadline for a preliminary nuclear deal, with Tehran demanding an immediate end to sanctions and freedom to continue sensitive atomic research, Reuters reported.

    Tehran and six major powers -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- are meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, to hammer out a political framework accord by the end of this month that would lay the foundations for a full deal by June 30.

    Under a final settlement, Tehran would halt sensitive nuclear work for at least a decade and in exchange, international financial and oil sanctions on Iran would be lifted. This would aim to end Iran's 12-year nuclear standoff with the West and reduce the risk of war in the Middle East. While all sides agree they are moving closer to a deal, there are major disagreements.

    Tehran insists on the freedom to continue research on advanced centrifuges, machines that purify uranium for use in nuclear power plants or, if very highly enriched, in weapons, at the underground Fordow site, and immediate lifting of all U.N. sanctions and the most severe U.S. and European Union sanctions.

    "There has been massive progress on all the issues," a senior Iranian official told Reuters. "There are still disputes over two issues -- Ramp;D (research and development) and U.N. sanctions."

    A Western official close to the talks confirmed that centrifuge research and enrichment in general remained the most difficult unresolved issue.

    The foreign minister of France, which negotiators say has demanded the most stringent limits on future Iranian nuclear activity if it is to support a deal, made clear there was more work to do while playing down the importance of the deadline.

    "The important thing is the content not the deadline," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters at the United Nations in New York. "There has been some progress, but there are things which are not yet solved."

    Fabius is due to arrive in Lausanne on Saturday. His British and Russian counterparts have also confirmed that they will join the talks over the weekend. The Republican-led U.S. Congress has threatened to impose new U.S. sanctions on Iran if there is no March deal, against the advice of

    President Barack Obama, who has threatened to veto any such moves.

    The United States and European partners are reluctant to allow Iran to operate centrifuges at the Fordow site, Western officials said, adding that the issue was unresolved.

    An Iranian government website said in November that Washington could let Iran keep some 6,000 early-generation centrifuges, down from nearly 10,000 now in operation.

    After meeting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters outside the 19th century hotel where the talks are taking place that it was unclear if there would be a deal in the coming days.

    "We think an agreement is still possible but when is another story," Zarif said. "Our feeling is that we certainly will be able to reach an agreement, but that will need political will on the other side."

    Zarif added that the issue of the Saudi-led military operations against Yemen's Houthi fighters, which Tehran has backed, had come up on the sidelines, though the Lausanne talks were exclusively focused on the nuclear issue.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke with his French, Russian, British and Chinese counterparts on Thursday in an attempt to break the impasse. He also sent a letter to the leaders of all six powers, including Obama, though officials said the letter did not suggest Tehran was ready to compromise.

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  • Arab FMs to discuss Yemeni crisis in Cairo
    27.03.2015 20:42
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    http://apaholding.az/upload/images/photos/apa_logo.png
    Baku-APA. The highly inflammatoryYemeni crisis will be high on the agenda of a Arab foreign ministers' meeting due on Thursday ahead of an Arab summit, theEgyptian foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/27/germanwings_ads_27032015.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/27/germanwings_ads_27032015.jpg
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    The company immediately asked for all of their advertising to be removed following Tuesday's incident, which claimed the lives of all 150 people on board the flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.

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  • Germanwings co-pilot may have hid illness from employers
    27.03.2015 16:51
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/16/no_image_found.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/16/no_image_found.jpg
    Alps crash co-pilot Andreas Lubitz hid the details of an existing illness from his employers, German prosecutors say, BBC reported.

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    But German media have said aviation authority documents suggested he suffered depression and required ongoing assessment.

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    Mr Lubitz and 149 passengers and crew died when Germanwings flight 4U 9525 crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday.

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    In their statement, prosecutors said they seized medical documents from Mr Lubitz's two residences - his Duesseldorf flat and his parents' home north of Frankfurt - which indicated "an existing illness and appropriate medical treatment".

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    Germanwings, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, refused to comment on the new information, the Associated Press reported.

    Earlier on Friday, German media reported that Mr Lubitz's notes say he suffered a serious depressive episode when he finished training in 2009.

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  • Georgia doesn't forecast building Khudoni Hydro Power Plant in 2015
    27.03.2015 16:28
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/05/23/Rogun_ges_230512.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/05/23/Rogun_ges_230512.jpg
    Georgia doesn't forecast the start of building of the Khudoni Hydro Power Plant, said the country's Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze, Georgia-Online reported.

    Kaladze told journalists that following the governmental meeting, first the preparatory work must be carried out.

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    Regarding the construction itself, Kaladze said it is hard to say if it will begin this year, most likely after the preparatory work is done.

    Khudoni HPP is a projected power plant on Inguri River, in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Georgia that has 3 turbines with a nominal capacity of 233.3 MW each having a total capacity of 700 MW.

    The power plant is associated with a planned 200.5-metre (658 ft) tall concrete double-arch-gravity dam. According to the Georgian government-commissioned and the World Bank-supported study the construction of Namakhvani, Paravani and Khudoni hydro power plants are the most attractive scenarios for the development of Georgia's energy sector.

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  • Iranв's foreign minister slams Erdogan over recent remarks on Islamic Republic
    27.03.2015 16:10
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/16/trend_muhammad_javad_zarif_160215.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/16/trend_muhammad_javad_zarif_160215.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 27

    By Khalid Kazimov - Trend:

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has severely criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyep Erdogan over the latter's recent remarks against the Islamic Republic.

    "Those who have inflicted irreparable damage with their strategic mistakes and high ambitions would better adopt wise policies to use existing potentials in preserving regional peace and integrity," Zarif said,Fars news agency reported March 27.

    Zarif said that Iran highly regards its strategic relations with Turkey in different spheres, adding that under the current circumstances all countries must work toward establishing peace and preventing insecurity in the region.

    Turkey's president earlier accused Iran of trying to dominate the Middle East and its efforts have began to annoy Ankara, as well as Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab countries. Prior to that, Turkey said it supports the Saudi-led military operation against Houthi forces (a Shia group) in Yemen and called on the militia group and its "foreign supporters" to abandon acts which threaten peace and security in the region.

    "Iran is trying to dominate the region," Erdogan, who is due to visit Tehran in early April, said at a press conference. "This is really not tolerable and Iran has to see this."

    Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched air strikes on the Houthi (local Shia group) militia forces in Yemen Mar.25, in a move to oust President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. While Turkey and some Arab states have accused Iran of supporting the Houthis, Tehran has denied the allegations.

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    5
  • Azerbaijan shouldn't allow concerns of partisan nature get in way of European Games - House of Lords member
    27.03.2015 15:53
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/07/01/baku_2015_1st_european_games_logo_new_010714.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/07/01/baku_2015_1st_european_games_logo_new_010714.jpg
    London, UK, March 27

    By Ilaha Mamedli - Trend:

    Sport is one of the great ways uniting nations, and it is very exciting that the First European Games are taking place in Azerbaijan this year, Lord Tom Chandon, the member of the House of Lords told Trend.

    Baku was awarded the Games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012. The mentioned multi-sport event will be held in Baku on June 12-28, 2015.

    "Inevitably, sport can attract protests and controversy, but it is right to go ahead and not to allow concerns of any partisan nature to get in the way of that," Chandos said, commenting on certain foreign circles trying to discredit Azerbaijan amid the upcoming games.

    Chandos expressed hope that everybody in Azerbaijan and everybody in Europe will show enthusiasm behind the games.

    "I think it is truly good for all the nation, not just the government," he said.

    Chandos said that UK and Azerbaijan are increasing the links in the sports field, as the country is getting ready to host not just the European Games, but also the Formula One GrandPrix in 2016.

    "If you look throughout the world, sport remains a very powerful mean of stimulating a closer relationship," he said.

    Baku-2015 will host a total of 20 sports disciplines, with over 6,000 athletes coming to compete from across the Europe. Twelve of the sports will offer qualification opportunities for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Those sports include Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Cycling, Judo, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Triathlon, Volleyball and Wrestling.

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    10
  • Azerbaijani banks can stimulate finance trade between country and UK - member of House of Lords
    27.03.2015 15:33
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/27/trend_lord_tom_chandos_270315.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/27/trend_lord_tom_chandos_270315.jpg
    London, UK, March 27

    By Ilaha Mamedli - Trend:

    Azerbaijani banks should have good working relationships with international banks and stimulate the finance trade between the UK and Azerbaijan, Lord Tom Chandon, the member of the House of Lords told Trend.

    "I suspect that in the next few years the greatest progress is likely to come to Azerbaijani banks through strengthening their relationship with the UK and other international banks, rather than have the UK banks grow their operations within Azerbaijan," he said.

    Chandos, who is also the chairman of the Thomson Foundation, the international media development organisation, said the initiative should come from Azerbaijani banks.

    Speaking about the possibilities of expanding the ties between Azerbaijan and the UK, Chandos said that obviously, the trade-turnover between the two countries is important.

    "From the Thomson Foundation's point of view, the links between the media of both sides could be a great stimulus to accelerate and make the relationship between the countries closer," he said.

    "I hope that one of the things that will come from the closer relationship between our media outlets, is better understanding of both the opportunity for British companies and banks in Azerbaijan, and also better understanding within the UK of the services and goods that can likely be supplied here from Azerbaijan," Chandos said.

    Chandos also mentioned the oil sphere, saying that while the UK has had the experience in the field in the last 50 years, it would be the area where the sides could have more partnership.

    In recent years, Azerbaijan has been actively developing economic ties with the UK. Thus, an intergovernmental commission on economic and trade cooperation between the two countries will be created in the near future. In addition, Azerbaijan intends to use the experience of the UK in the process of privatization of state enterprises of communication.

    Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom cooperate in various fields, including energy, trade and investment. Currently there are 543 companies with British capital in Azerbaijan, the UK has invested $20 billion in Azerbaijan's economy.

    The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom amounted to $45.48 million in January-February 2015, according to the State Customs Committee (SCC) of Azerbaijan. At the same time during this period, Azerbaijan imported goods worth $44.4 million, while goods worth $1.05 million were exported.

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    6
  • Transformers seen in China
    27.03.2015 14:34
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic139407.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic139407.jpg
    A father-and-son duo from Hunan, China, have come up with a fun and profitable business idea '" creating giant Transformers robots replicas from used car parts and scrap metal.

    Although they are farmers by profession, Yu Zhilin and his son Yu Lingyun switched to building the models in 2007, when they realised the potential in the Chinese market. And their hunch has proved right '" theyв've managed cash in on the nationв's obsession with Transformers, the highest grossing film of all time in China. They now make one million yuan a year (nearly $170,000), selling their army of robots.

    The father, who has had some training in fine arts, created designs by downloading images from the internet. With his sonв's assistance, he was able to use old car parts to make some pretty phenomenal models. The first model took them three years to complete, but theyв're now one of the top amateur Transformer-builders in China. They have a small self-funded factory that they work out of.

    This isnв't the first time weв've reported Chinaв's obsession with Transformers models. Last year we wrote about a Chinese scrapyard that became a tourist attraction after the workers decided to use the scrap metal to build Transformers statues. And in case youв're wondering who buys all these models, itв's obviously guys like him.

    /OddityCentral/
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  • Azerbaijan praised for renewable energy strategy ahead of solar conference
    27.03.2015 14:18
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic139406.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic139406.jpg
    Oil-producing nations must increase their investment in renewable energy merely ''to survive'', a solar energy conference in the Azerbaijan capital Baku will be told next month.

    Former German MP Hans-Josef Fell, president of the Energy Watch Group and the author of his nationв's landmark renewable energy policy, said ahead of the CISOLAR 2015 conference there is ''no risk for investors in renewables'' and he has praised Azerbaijanв's solar strategy.

    ''To switch the investment to renewables is the right and necessary way for the energy companies to survive with their business in the future,'' he said.

    Fell will deliver the keynote address to CISOLAR 2015, during which he will warn of the risks of a ''carbon bubble'', created by the implementation of more stringent carbon policies worldwide. The Bank of England is taking this threat so seriously it last year pledged an inquiry into the issue and the possible global economic fallout.

    ''Fossil producing countries must know this trend and also switch their investment to renewables, otherwise they will be the losers of the coming economic developments,'' he warned.

    In the region, photovoltaic (PV) plants capable of generating 2.2 GW are to be up and running by 2020. This makes perfect sense given that the region receives 2,200 '" 2,400 hours of sunshine per year, compared with renewable leader Germany (1200 '" 1800 hours) and the UK (1200 '" 1600 hours).

    Kazakhstan already has a feed-in tariff of 0.145 euros per kilowatt hour (€/KWh) and is aiming to build 300 MW of PV plants by 2018. Kyrgyzstan will have 120 MW of PV installed by 2018 and a feed-in tariff of 0.11 €/KWh.

    Azerbaijanв's plans are more ambitious. It plans to have 1 GW installed by 2020 and a feed-in tariff of about 0.20 €/KWh, which Fell praised as a ''first positive step''.

    Assessing his hostв's renewables strategy he said: ''Azerbaijan can secure cheap energy consumption, save fossil resources for export and create new jobs. One gigawatt PV as well as one gigawatt wind power per year, combined with bioenergy and storages, could be a good goal for a fast growth of renewables and an economic boost in Azerbaijan.''

    And, in the wake of falling oil prices during 2014, Fell said the only risk in renewables investment is political ''when the politicians cut retroactive feed in tariffs or bring in other financial burdens by law''.

    Therefore, he said, former Soviet oil and gas economies need to support renewables with a good political framework that can survive the cycles of traditional energy markets.

    CISOLAR 2015 is organised by the State Agency on Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources of Azerbaijan and the Innovative Business Centre (IBCentre). The event in Baku on April 16-17, will be held under the auspices of the Ministry of Industry and Energy of Azerbaijan.
    8
  • Iran says people in region to stand against Saudi Arabia
    27.03.2015 14:04
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/20/iran_flag_190614_main.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/20/iran_flag_190614_main.jpg
    By Khalid Kazimov - Trend:

    The people of Yemen and the regional countries will stand against Saudi Arabia, Iranian MP and member of the Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Esmail Kowsari told Trend March 27.

    Kowsari's remarks came after Saudi Arabia started launching airstrikes on Yemen following recent political developments in Sana'a.

    "Saudi Arabia's attack, accompanied by a number of Arab countries, on Yemen was a mistake, and the consequences will afflict the country," Kowsari stated.

    He accused Riyadh of killing Yemeni people and said that Saudi Arabia will have to admit defeat once the people of Yemen and other regional countries rise against the House of Saud.

    The Iranian MP further said that the Arab countries' attack on Yemen was agitated by the US and Israel.

    The White House said previously that the US President Barack Obama authorized a logistical and intelligence support for a Saudi-led military operation in Yemen to beat back the Houthi (local Shia group) militia forces.

    Iran's Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan Mohsen Pak Ayeen said March 26 that "silence of international organizations and bodies regarding the aggression against independent states, including Syria, shall result in deepening of the crisis in the region".

    The ambassador reiterated that Iran closely follows developments in Yemen and further said that the internal Yemeni conflict should be settled peacefully through negotiations without intervention of foreign countries.

    Pak Ayeen said that the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a peace loving country, shall use it good offices to harness the crisis and prevent violation of international laws and regulations in Yemen.

    "Since the beginning of the crisis in Yemen, Iran called for talks among Yemeni groups and declared that military intervention of third countries will further deepen the crisis," he said.

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    10
  • Tehran says it shares stance on Yemen with Moscow
    27.03.2015 13:59
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/01/28/hossein_amir_abdollahian_280115.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/01/28/hossein_amir_abdollahian_280115.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 27

    By Khalid Kazimov - Trend:

    Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister on Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said that Tehran and Moscow share similar views on regarding situation in Yemen.

    Speaking during a press conference in Moscow, Amir-Abdollahian said that he and Russian President's special envoy for the Middle East, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov held long talks on the Middle East issues, IRNA news agency reported March 26.

    Commenting on Saudi Arabia's bombardment of Yemen, he said that Iran considers the act as violation of Yemen's territorial integrity.

    Carrying out air attacks is easy, but ending a war is difficult, he said, calling for halt to all terrorist operations in Yemen.

    "Tehran and Moscow share views on regional affairs and those of Yemen. Iran-Russia relations are exemplary. In the past years we have extended cooperation on regional affairs," he said.

    We strongly condemn foreign intervention in Yemen and ask all Yemeni sides to resume national talks, Amir-Abdollahian asserted.

    The White House said earlier that the US President Barack Obama authorized a logistical and intelligence support for a Saudi-led military operation in Yemen to beat back the Houthi (local Shia group) militia forces.

    Iran's Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan Mohsen Pak Ayeen said March 26 that "silence of international organizations and bodies regarding the aggression against independent states, including Syria, shall result in deepening of the crisis in the region".

    The ambassador reiterated that Iran closely follows developments in Yemen and further said that the internal Yemeni conflict should be settled peacefully through negotiations without intervention of foreign countries.

    Pak Ayeen said that the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a peace loving country, shall use it good offices to harness the crisis and prevent violation of international laws and regulations in Yemen.

    "Since the beginning of the crisis in Yemen, Iran called for talks among Yemeni groups and declared that military intervention of third countries will further deepen the crisis," he said.

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    9
  • April promises "make or break" events in Armenia
    27.03.2015 13:48
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic139405.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic139405.jpg
    By AzerNews

    A hardline opposition movement in Armenia is apparently quite to determine to take on the regime and impose the change it wants to see unfold in the country.

    Despite widespread criticisms, the Founding Parliament remains adamant it wants to stage fresh anti-government rallies, starting April 24, on the anniversary of Armenia's so-called "genocide" commemorations.

    Within the "The 100th Anniversary Without the Regime" campaign, the opposition forerunner has called on everyone to flock to the streets of Yerevan and demand for the incumbent regime to step down.

    "Weв've adopted a peaceful strategy. The rumors that we are going to disturb April 24 commemoration events are not true. We plan to gather during the second half of the day and to start a peaceful mobilization," the leader of the campaign, Jirayr Sefilyan said.

    Sefilyan promised to launch nonstop rallies in view of achieving the key goals - to eliminate the incumbent rulers and to break ground for a new life in Armenia.

    "We will be back to our houses only when we manage to get rid of this regime. Whatever happens, whatever sacrifices it will require, it will not go in vain, and we will finally succeed. Definitely, we take this responsibility upon us,'' Sefilyan said.

    Meanwhile, the Founding Parliament scheduled to hold a rally in Gyumri city on March 28. The very recent march of vehicles to Gyumri on March 7 was canceled due to a last-minute decision by activists to return to Yerevan after the government appeared set to engage in violence.

    Sefilyan also dwelled on his earlier call on citizens which urged them not to repay their bank loans as part of the upcoming anti-government push. He said if there is not a voluntary will, nobody can be forced to feed banks.

    Although many Armenians believe now is not the time to stage a regime change, the Founding Parliament leaders overtly announce that it is their deliberate choice to play hard ball against the rulers, namely on April 24.

    Sefilyan has recently revealed his plan to create a civil army in Armenia in an effort to provide the needed ground ahead of a regime's possible overthrow.

    The commemoration of the centennial of the "Armenian genocide" myth will apparently take a back sit next month if the nationwide rally succeeds to dethrone President Serzh Sargsyan along with his disciples. Otherwise, Armenia will experience its hardest ever political persecution to date.

    It is important to note that the worst ever confrontation between the Founding Parliament activists and the government forces took place earlier this year when members of the opposition movement organized a large-scale rally of 40 cars and 120 people to seek a regime change in Armenia. It was part of their efforts to enter the territory of the so-called "Nagorno-Karabakh republic." But, the police of the puppet regime brutally suppressed the march, beating protesters and busting cars in an unprecedented show of violence.
    11
  • Germanwings co-pilot had serious depressive episode
    27.03.2015 13:29
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/16/no_image_found.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/16/no_image_found.jpg
    The pilot who appears to have deliberately crashed a plane carrying 149 others into the French Alps received psychiatric treatment for a "serious depressive episode" six years ago, German tabloid Bild reported on Friday, Reuters reported.

    Prosecutors in France, after listening to the cockpit voice recorders, offered no motive for why Andreas Lubitz, 27, would take the controls of the Airbus A320, lock the captain out of the cockpit and deliberately set it veering down from cruising altitude at 3,000 feet per minute.

    Citing internal documents and Lufthansa sources, Bild said Lubitz spent a total of one and a half years in psychiatric treatment and that the relevant documents would be passed to French investigators once they had been examined by German authorities.

    Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr told a news conference on Thursday that Lubitz had taken a break during his training six years ago, but did not explain why and said he had passed all tests to be fit to fly.

    "Six years ago there was a lengthy interruption in his training. After he was cleared again, he resumed training. He passed all the subsequent tests and checks with flying colors. His flying abilities were flawless," Spohr said.

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    11
  • Azerbaijani oil grows sharply in price
    27.03.2015 13:02
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138214.jpg
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138214.jpg
    Today the cost of Azeri LT CIF oil exported by Azerbaijan via the ports of Supsa, Batumi and Ceyhan has gРўrown by $2.99 or 5.21%.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to the news service for SOCAR that the current price of Azeri LT CIF oil is $60.37 per barrel.

    The cost of Azerbaijani oil made $54.24 per barrel last week and $57.38 yesterday.
    13
  • Turkmenistan, OSCE discuss aspects of energy security
    27.03.2015 12:53
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/07/trend_osce_flags_240511.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/07/trend_osce_flags_240511.jpg
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Mar.27

    By Huseyn Hasanov- Trend:

    Turkmenistan and the OSCE discussed issues of security and reliability of energy supplies and energy infrastructure, said the message of the government of Turkmenistan Mar.27.

    The message said that the mentioned issues were discussed at the ministry of foreign affairs of Turkmenistan, where the meeting with the director of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre, ambassador Adam Kobieracki took place. The ambassador arrived in Ashgabat to participate in the annual regional meeting of heads of the OSCE field missions in Central Asia.

    During the meeting, the sides discussed a wide range of issues that are important for cooperation in the energy sector, including the provision of the necessary conditions for the development of the energy sector, strengthening regional energy cooperation, security and reliability of energy supplies and energy infrastructure.

    The sides confirmed the importance and prospects of further development of cooperation, the basis of which is the accumulated positive experience of partnership on a wide range of areas, the message said.

    The message also said that Turkmenistan consistently advocates for the successful promotion of a constructive dialogue with the OSCE, which is being developed on the principles of mutual respect, trust and understanding, as well as support for joint initiatives aimed at effective settlement of actual problems of global development.

    Turkmenistan joined OSCE on January 30, 1992. Several large international forums of OSCE and UN, including those on energy security have been recently held in Ashgabat.

    Turkmenistan considers it appropriate to intensify the energy dialogue within OSCE, to formulate the mechanisms for multilateral consultations on political, financial, economic, technological and environmental aspects of construction and operation of the multiple pipeline infrastructure.

    Turkmenistan ranks fourth for its natural gas reserves in the world and currently, it exports its gas to China, CIS countries and Iran. The possibility of constructing gas pipelines from Turkmenistan to the markets of South Asia and Europe is also under consideration. Follow us on Twitter @
    12
  • Azerbaijani gymnast shines in Germany
    27.03.2015 11:49
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic139403.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic139403.jpg
    Azerbaijani gymnast Christina Pravdina has grabbed a silver medal at the World Challenge Cup held in Cottbus, Germany.

    Swedish gymnast Jonna Adlerteg won a gold, while Portugal`s Ana Filipa Martins satisfied with bronze.

    The tournament saw competition of 173 gymnasts from 36 countries.

    18
  • Americans to built new refinery in Azerbaijan
    27.03.2015 11:49
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138213.jpg
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138213.jpg
    The embassy has disseminated an information.

    The control of construction of oil and gas-chemical complex in Azerbaijan was instructed to the US company.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to the US Embassy in Azerbaijan that according to the results of the tender, the company SOCAR has provided management contract for its oil and gas processing project and petrochemical complex for the American company Fluor Limited. The implementation of the project, the amount of which was not disclosed, will be launched in 2015.

    As a project manager, the company Fluor Limited will assist in determining the contractors who will carry out engineering work in the construction of a gas processing and petrochemical plants and their supply.

    Taco de Haan, the President of Fluor Limited on Energy and chemical issues in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, said he is proud that his company was chosen by SOCAR for the management of world-wide project:

    "Fluor has demonstrated its ability to implement projects in production, and we have successfully coped with the task in terms of safety, quality and efficiency."

    Implementation of the project will be implemented by the office of Fluor Limited in the UK Farnborough.

    This office provides services in the energy, chemical fields, mining and infrastructure.
    10
  • "Azerbaijan - Land of Fire" may appear on T-shirts of "Lazio"
    27.03.2015 11:20
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138211.jpg
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138211.jpg
    Azerbaijan will pay "Lazio" EUR 40 mln for this.

    Italian "Lazio" may become the third club adverting the slogan "Azerbaijan - Land of Fire".

    Oxu.Az reports citing Azerifootball.com that followed by "Atletico" and "Lance", the slogan "Azerbaijan - Land of Fire" may appear on T-shirts of "Lazio". The negotiations with the Rome club are conducted at the state level.

    If in the near future the parties reach an agreement, "Lazio" will receive EUR 40 mln, and the first T-shirt of the club will be advertising Summer Games "Baku-2015".

    The initial talks on the matter were held on March 5, when Rome hosted a presentation of the Summer Games, which was attended by the First Lady of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva. At the current stage the negotiations are conducted by the Azerbaijani ambassador to Italy Vagif Sadigov.

    Under the deal, at the first stage the Azerbaijani government will pay "Lazio" EUR 12 mln.
    10
  • Belarus builds largest mining, processing plant in Turkmenistan
    27.03.2015 11:14
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/16/no_image_found.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/16/no_image_found.jpg
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Mar.27

    By Huseyn Hasanov- Trend:

    Belarus builds the largest mining and processing plant for the production of potash fertilizers in Turkmenistan, newspaper "Neutral Turkmenistan" said Mar.27.

    In this regard, Belarus and Turkmenistan discussed the implementation of the construction project of Garlyk mining and processing plant for the production of potash fertilizers in Koytendag district of Lebap region of Turkmenistan, where the richest deposit of potassium salts is situated.

    Progress of the project was discussed during the meeting between of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov in Ashgabat with the Chairman of the National Assembly (Parliament) of Belarus Mikhail Myasnikovich, said the newspaper.

    The head of the National Assembly of Belarus visited the construction site of this large infrastructure object, got acquainted with the situation, according to the newspaper with reference to Myasnikovich.

    "Reaffirming the commitment of the Belarusian partners to their obligations, the guest said that every effort would be made to implement all the work at a high level of quality," the newspaper said.

    Chemical industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Turkmen economy, which has significant resource potential.

    Currently, the largest project in this area is the construction of Garlyk mining and processing plant.

    Earlier it was reported that the enterprise, the cost of the first phase of which is estimated at more than $1 billion, is being constructed by the open joint stock company Belgorkhimprom. The capacity of the enterprise will be 1.4 million metric tons of fertilizers per year.

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    5
  • Iran denies gas leak at South Pars Phase 13 jacket
    27.03.2015 10:50
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/02/15/Iran_crude_oil_150213.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/02/15/Iran_crude_oil_150213.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 27

    By Khalid Kazimov - Trend:

    Iran's Pars Oil and Gas Company Managing Director Aliakbar Shabanpour has said that there is no leakage at South Pars Phase 13 steel jacket.

    The statement followed an accident where a Singaporian tanker crashed into the jacket on March 21. The platform was damaged as a result of the collision.

    Shabanpour stated that the accident had no casualties, SHANA news agency reported March 26.

    He said that there are 8 gas wells at Phase 13 (A) jacket, none of which have been detected with leakage during preliminary inspections.

    The official further said that expert teams are soon to be sent to the spot to carry out further inspections.

    He said that the accident came despite the fact that the jacket had been made conspicuous using signs and other cautionary equipment.

    The tanker that hit the jacket has very advanced navigational and radar equipment, so the accident has no doubt to do with inconsiderate conduct by the captain and crew, Shabanpour observed.

    In 2013, the offshore platform of the phase 13 of the South Pars gas field was drowned while being installed.

    Some $40 million had been spent to build the platform over the course of 30 months.

    The phase 13 of the South Pars field is projected to yield 50 million cubic meters of gas, 80,000 barrels of gas condensates, 2900 metric tons of LPG, and 400 metric tons of sulfur per day.

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    12
  • Russian military base in Armenia provided with new territory
    27.03.2015 10:49
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138210.jpg
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138210.jpg
    The decision was taken at a meeting of the Armenian government.

    Russian military base in Gyumri will be provided with a new section on the Lalayan street, which is used by representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as an adjacent plot 173/3 - for the construction of a cultural center, Oxu.Az reports with reference to the Armenian Mediamax site.

    The decision was taken at the meeting of the Armenian government.

    Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan, introducing the draft decision, said that thus the legal basis for the use of actually maintained territories and the implementation of investing in the prescribed manner is created.

    Russian 102nd Military Base, which is on combat duty in the framework of joint air defense system of the CIS, is deployed in the city of Gyumri in northern Armenia. In August 2010, Russia and Armenia extended the term of the contract to host the military base until 2044. The Protocol also provides for the expansion of its geographic and strategic responsibility. The base is equipped with S-300 and MiG-29.
    8
  • Uzbek, Polish entrepreneurs to discuss cooperation development
    27.03.2015 10:33
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/20/handshake.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/20/handshake.jpg
    Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Mar.27

    By Demir Azizov- Trend:

    Entrepreneurs of Uzbekistan and Poland intend to discuss the issues of bilateral economic cooperation within the framework of the visit of Polish businessmen delegation to Tashkent, scheduled for April 13-14, Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) of Uzbekistan told Trend.

    The visit will take place under the organization of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan and Silesia (Poland).

    The purpose of the visit is to organize a joint Uzbek-Polish business forum and bilateral talks between businessmen of the two countries.

    The delegation will include representatives of Polish companies engaged in production of railway vehicles, buses and trolleybuses, conducting scientific research in the fields of biomedicine and nanotechnology, production of equipment for cooling and storage of fruits, utilities, production of drive systems and conveyors, aluminum profile, household chemicals, dairy products, providing services to the mining industry.

    At present, the trade turnover between Uzbekistan and Poland is about $ 200 million.

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    10
  • Assad says Syria open to dialogue with U.S.
    27.03.2015 10:28
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/07/04/bashar_al_assad_040713.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/07/04/bashar_al_assad_040713.jpg
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is open to dialogue with the United States, the leader said in an interview with U.S. television network CBS, Al Arabiya reported.

    Assad said such dialogue would need to be based on "mutual respect," but that so far there has been no contact from the Americans.

    "But as principal, in Syria we could say that every dialogue is a positive thing," he told television journalist Charlie Rose, in excerpts of an interview to air Sunday on CBS's "60 Minutes" program.

    When asked about relations between Syria and the United States, Assad said there was no direct communication.

    State Department officials recently said Assad will "never" be part of a negotiation to end the Syrian conflict that is now in its fifth year, but that officials from his government could be part of the process.

    On March 15, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry appeared to suggest in a CBS television interview that Washington would have to talk with Assad eventually if peace was to be forged.

    The suggestion alarmed opposition groups and their backers who hold Assad in particular contempt for the conflict.

    But State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki later said that Kerry was referring to representatives of the Assad regime, and not Assad himself.

    The United States has long said that it wants a negotiated settlement to end the Syrian war.

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    8
  • Information Center of EuroGames 2015 launched
    27.03.2015 10:22
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138209.jpg
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138209.jpg
    Information will be provided in two languages.

    The Operations Committee of the European Games 2015 has presented an information center, where anyone can get information related to the EuroGames.

    According to Oxu.Az, the center will employ about 20 operators who will be answering questions of intrested people by phone number 2015. They can get information in Azerbaijani and English on sports facilities, sports tickets and more.

    All callers will be welcomed by the voice of the showman Murad Dadashov.
    11
  • Azerbaijan wins historic gold
    27.03.2015 10:09
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138207.jpg
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138207.jpg
    Our athlete became European champion in wrestling.

    On the third day of the first in the history European Wrestling Championship for athletes under 23, which is taking place these days in Poland, Azerbaijan won the gold medal.

    According to Oxu.Az, Alyona Kolesnik became the owner of the medal. In the weight category up to 55 kg, she defeated all her opponents, including Bulgarian Evelyna Nikolova in the final.

    This is the fifth medal of Azerbaijan at this year's championship. Earlier in freestyle wrestling, Azerbaijani wrestlers won two silver and two bronze.
    9
  • SCO observer mission starts its work at presidential election in Uzbekistan
    27.03.2015 09:33
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2011/09/06/Uzbekistan_flag_060911.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2011/09/06/Uzbekistan_flag_060911.jpg
    Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Mar.27

    By Demir Azizov- Trend:

    The observer mission from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), headed by the Secretary-General Dmitry Mezentsev arrived in Uzbekistan, in order to observe the presidential election, the Republican press-center for election coverage said Mar.26.

    The Central Election Commission held a meeting with representatives of the mission. The CEC Chairman M. Abdusalomov familiarized the guests with the work done in the framework of the Program of measures for the preparation and conduct of presidential election.

    During the meeting it was noted that all activities in the framework of the election campaign are held within the period specified in strict accordance with national legislation on election. The preparation and holding of election are being held in open and transparent manner with the participation of observers from international organizations and foreign states.

    All candidates are given equal rights to the use of media opportunities, meetings with voters and other forms and methods of campaigning.

    The process of early voting for those who for any reason will not be able to be at their place of residence on election day began on March 19.

    The SCO Secretary-General Dmitry Mezentsev said that the mission of observers from the SCO comprised of 10 people - representing the member states of the SCO. The Mission observers operate autonomously and independently, guided by the principles of political neutrality, impartiality, are basing their decisions on personal observation and factual material.

    It was earlier reported that the observer Mission from the organization during the monitoring of the preparation and conduct of the parliamentary election of 2014 familiarized with the activity of 73 district election commissions, located in Tashkent and Tashkent region. Following the election, the mission made the statement that the elections were transparent and democratic.

    The presidential election in Uzbekistan is scheduled for Mar.29, while the pre-election campaign in the country started on Dec.26, 2014. In total, more than 300 foreign observers will watch the presidential election, according to the CEC.

    The presidential candidates are: incumbent President Islam Karimov from the Liberal Democratic Party, the member of the parliamentary faction, chairman of the committee for democratic institutions, NGOs and citizens' self-government bodies, Akmal Saidov - from the National Democratic Party Milly Tiklanish; the chairman of the Central Council of the People's Democratic Party of Uzbekistan (PDPU) Hotamzhon Ketmonov - from the PDPU, the chairman of the executive committee of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Adolat, Narimon Umarov - from SDP.

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    14
  • Parents of deceased Armenian soldiers stage protest
    27.03.2015 09:32
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138206.jpg
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138206.jpg
    Parents of the deceased Armenian soldiers have staged a protest outside the presidential office.

    Parents of the deceased servicemen have today staged a protest outside the Presidential Administration of Armenia.

    APA reports quoting Armenian media that the protestors chanted slogans against Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan and required to disclose the cause of their children's death.

    The parents of the soldiers expressed their anger for Armenian soldier Andranik Grigoryan's family and parents being accused of that he voluntarily crossed to the Azerbaijani side. They urged Ohanyan to create discipline in the army, eliminate the chaos and provide the soldiers with food and clothing.

    Irina Ghazaryan, who lost her child under non-combat condition, said that accusing a soldier family of the murders, suicides and violence in the army is the popular method of Armenia's Defense Ministry. "A soldier family is guilty for the murders and violence. Why didn't Grigoryan cross to Azerbaijan before his military service? Why did he take such a step while serving in the army? If the Ministry of Defense really thinks so, why don't they check a draftee's family situation in advance?"

    Irina Ghazaryan said that anyhow Grigoryan's family is in a difficult situation now and Ohanyan further complicates their situation with this statement of him.

    Nana Muradyan spoke about the murder of Artak Nazaryan: "We have not forgotten that incident. He was a lieutenant; however he wasn't protected with it. His case wasn't investigated fairly and we do not know the cause of his death yet."
    8
  • Azerbaijan 104th among countries with highest level of net incomes
    27.03.2015 09:29
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138205.jpg
    http:// www.news.az/photos/page-photo/138205.jpg
    Azerbaijan has taken the 104th place among the countries with the highest level of net monthly incomes.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to Report that the information is provided by Nation Master statistical information aggregator.

    By the received information, Azerbaijanis earn an average $524 a month after deduction of taxes.

    Switzerland is the country with the highest level of net monthly incomes with citizens earning $6,300. It is followed by the residents of Luxembourg ($4,400).
    6
  • Disputes emerge as Netanyahu starts work on new Israel govt
    27.03.2015 08:17
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/12/30/benjamin_netanyahu_301213.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/12/30/benjamin_netanyahu_301213.jpg
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began talks Thursday to form a new Israeli government, which will have to mend shattered ties with key ally Washington, while tackling pressing social and security issues, AFP reported.

    After a bitterly fought campaign that exposed deep splits within Israeli society and a damaging rift with Washington, Netanyahu knuckled down to the task of building a coalition likely to be dominated by right-wing and religious parties.

    By mid-morning, disputes were already emerging, an indicator of likely problems in piecing together an operational government.

    The coalition will have to hit the ground running in order to shore up shattered ties with the administration of US President Barack Obama and address divisions at home.

    It will also have to handle an emerging nuclear deal with Iran, vehemently opposed by Netanyahu, as well as the imminent threat of Palestinian legal action at the International Criminal Court.

    And pressure against West Bank settlement resurfaced, with outgoing UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry calling for the new government to "freeze" it in order to restore trust.

    "Illegal settlement activity cannot be reconciled with the objective of a negotiated two-state solution and may kill the very possibility of reaching peace", said Serry, who is stepping down after seven years.

    As Netanyahu formally accepted Wednesday the task of building a government, he pledged Israel would hold out a "hand of peace" to the Palestinians and make sure to patch up US ties, while continuing to fight the Iran deal.

    But after a dirty campaign of inflammatory slogans and statements, people both at home and abroad will be looking for actions not words.

    Netanyahu himself was at the centre of most of the controversy after he ruled out the establishment of a Palestinian state if reelected, pledged to build more settler homes in annexed east Jerusalem and played the race card at the expense of Israel's Arab minority.

    For now, Netanyahu's focus is likely to be squarely on the marathon talks between his right-wing Likud and the five parties endorsing his premiership.

    At this stage, the expected outcome is a rightwing-religious lineup of 67 MPs: Likud (30), far-right Jewish Home (eight), hardline nationalist Yisrael Beitenu (six), ultra-Orthodox parties Shas (seven) and United Torah Judaism (UTJ, six) and centre-right Kulanu (10).

    With each party demanding its share, Netanyahu has four weeks to complete the task, although he can get a 14-day extension if necessary.

    The only certain appointment thus far is Kulanu's Moshe Kahlon as finance minister, in line with a pre-election pledge by Netanyahu.

    But the party boycotted their opening meeting with Likud on Thursday, after hearing Netanyahu intended to hand the chairmanship of the parliamentary finance committee to UTJ.

    That position is seen as crucial for Kahlon to push through reforms that will tackle Israel's burgeoning housing crisis and bring down the soaring cost of living.

    Representatives of the four other parties met with Likud's negotiating team throughout the day, with statements from Netanyahu's party providing no details.

    So far, Netanyahu has ruled out the option of a unity government with Isaac Herzog's centre-left Zionist Union, which came second in the March 17 election with 24 seats and has pledged to enter the opposition.

    But Likud's Gilad Erdan said the possibility was still on the table - if the party's "natural allies" did not lower their demands.

    Herzog in return issued a statement stressing that his party would "be a strong opposition. All the rest is media spin."

    Since the election, Netanyahu has sought to backtrack on his remarks on a Palestinian state, and issued a public apology to the Arab community.

    But the bad blood with Washington may take time to resolve, with the issue of the Iran talks and how to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians at the heart of an escalating dispute.

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    19
  • Erdogan: '˜Iran is trying to dominate the regionв'
    27.03.2015 07:08
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/13/recep_tayyip_erdogan_albom_1.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/13/recep_tayyip_erdogan_albom_1.jpg
    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused Iran on Thursday of trying to dominate the Middle East and said its efforts have begun annoying Ankara, as well as Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab countries, Reuters reported.

    Turkey earlier said it supports the Saudi-led military operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen and called on the militia group and its "foreign supporters" to abandon acts which threaten peace and security in the region.

    "Iran is trying to dominate the region," said Erdogan, who is due to visit Tehran in early April. "Could this be allowed? This has begun annoying us, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries. This is really not tolerable and Iran has to see this," he added in a press conference.

    Warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck at Houthi forces in Yemen, who have taken over much of the country in their campaign to oust President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

    The Saudi-led intervention marked a major escalation of the Yemen crisis, in which Shi'ite Muslim Iran supports the Shi'ite Houthis, and Sunni Muslim monarchies in the Gulf back Hadi and his fellow Sunni loyalists in Yemen's south.

    Erdogan said the conflict has evolved into a sectarian one and urged Iran to withdraw. "Iran has to change its view. It has to withdraw any forces, whatever it has in Yemen, as well as Syria and Iraq and respect their territorial integrity."

    Erdogan's plans to visit Iran had not changed, his spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, told journalists earlier on Thursday without giving a specific date.

    In an interview with France 24, Erdogan also criticized Iran's role in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq, saying Tehran was aiming to drive out the Sunni insurgents only to replace them.

    "Iran's attitude towards the matter is not sincere because they have a sectarian agenda. So they will want to fill the void that will be created by Daesh (Islamic State) themselves," Erdogan said in comments dubbed to English.

    Iraqi forces launched military campaign to retake the city of Tikrit three weeks ago, the largest offensive to be undertaken by the Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shi'ite uslim militias since Islamic State overran a third of the country last year.

    The most prominent Iranian military officer seen on the battlefield during the Tikrit offensive is Major-General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the al-Quds brigade of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

    "This is someone I know very well," Erdogan said, referring to Soleimani. "Yes, he is part of the operations in Iraq. So what is their objective? To increase the power of Shi'ite in Iraq. That's what they want," he said.

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    16
  • US Senate threatens Iran with new sanctions
    27.03.2015 06:18
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/06/06/senate_usa_060612.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/06/06/senate_usa_060612.jpg
    The US Senate voted unanimously Thursday supporting a non-binding measure to slap new economic sanctions on Iran should it violate terms of any nuclear deal it reaches with world powers, AFP reported.

    In a symbolic measure aimed at building pressure on Tehran amid crunch negotiations over its atomic program, lawmakers voted 100-0 on an amendment introduced by Senate Republican Mark Kirk as part of an ongoing budget debate.

    It does not carry the weight of law because budget resolutions are not binding legislation, but it signals senators' determination to act quickly should Iran fail to meet any requirements of the interim accord now in place, or a possible final agreement.

    With Thursday's vote, the first on the Senate floor since talks began early last year, the measure's author intends to hold his colleagues to account.

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    18
  • Iraq special forces advance in Tikrit, U.S. coalition joins fight
    27.03.2015 04:33
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/12/28/iraq_policy_281213.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/12/28/iraq_policy_281213.jpg
    Iraqi special forces advanced on central Tikrit on Thursday as U.S.-led coalition planes joined the largest offensive yet against Islamic State militants holding out in Saddam Hussein's home city, Reuters reported.

    Coalition jets launched their first air strikes against Islamic State targets in Tikrit on Wednesday, coming off the sidelines to aid Iraqi forces against the Sunni Islamist militants.

    Underlying the complex web of loyalties behind the conflict, a senior U.S. general said Washington had demanded the withdrawal of Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias fighting alongside Iraq's government before agreeing to take part.

    Two Shi'ite militia groups said they were suspending participation in the fight in response to the coalition's involvement.

    Some of the militias are openly hostile to the United States and have targeted Americans in Iraq in the past, but the fight against Islamic State has put them on the same side.

    Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who pressed ahead with a request for coalition air strikes despite opposition from the militia, arrived in Tikrit on Thursday to oversee operations to retake the city.

    A spokesman for Iraq's Defense Ministry said the coalition had carried out 17 strikes in Tikrit so far, in addition to 24 by Iraq's own airforce.

    "The Iraqi and coalition air forces conduct strikes in order to remove the enemy and then our forces advance," said General Tahsin Ibrahim Sadiq. "When the attacking forces advance, they clear any pockets of resistance and allow for the rest of our forces to move in and barricade further ahead."

    More than 20,000 Iraqi troops and allied Shi'ite paramilitary groups known as Hashid Shaabi have been taking part in the offensive, which began in early March but was brought to a halt around two weeks ago by homemade bombs and booby-traps.

    Iraqi forces retook the area surrounding Tikrit in the first week of the campaign early this month and entered some districts of the city itself, which had been overrun last June by Islamic State.

    But the militants have held out for more than three weeks in several areas including a sprawling complex of palaces that was built during Saddam's rule and overlooks the Tigris river.

    The mayor of Tikrit said coalition and Iraqi planes were striking the palace complex as well as the northern Qadisiya district, part of which is still held by insurgents, and the Shisheen neighborhood in the south.

    "The focus is on the IS leadership command locations," said mayor Omar al-Tikriti. Targets had to be carefully identified because IS fighters were believed to be holding prisoners in some of the 65 palaces.

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    20
  • New York fire, building collapse injure 12; gas blast blamed
    27.03.2015 03:13
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/27/building_newyork_270315.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/27/building_newyork_270315.jpg
    An apartment building collapsed in a fiery burst of rubble on Thursday and flames spread to nearby buildings in what officials said appeared to be a gas-related explosion, injuring at least a dozen people and scattering debris across surrounding streets in the heart of Manhattan's trendy East Village, the Associated Press reported.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio said the blast appeared to have been caused by plumbing and gas work inside one building. Inspectors from utility Con Edison had been there to check on a planned gas meter installation about an hour before the fire, but they decided the building wasn't ready for gas to be introduced, company President Craig Ivey said.

    Orange flames billowed and smoke could be seen and smelled for miles after the blaze, in an area of old tenement buildings that are home to students and longtime residents in an area near New York University and Washington Square Park.

    About 250 firefighters converged to fight the flames, and the fire department's commissioner said a second building was "in danger of possible collapse" and four buildings were affected in all.

    Firefighters said at least 12 people were hurt, three critically, some with burns to their airways. De Blasio said it didn't appear that anyone was missing.

    "We are praying that no other individuals are injured and that there are no fatalities," he said.

    The fire happened a little over a year after a gas explosion in a building in East Harlem killed eight people and injured about 50. De Blasio noted that no one had reported a gas leak to authorities before Thursday's blast.

    The area was evacuated, and the city's health department advised residents to keep their windows closed because of the smoke.

    Adil Choudhury, who lives a block away, ran outside when he heard "a huge boom."

    "Already there was smoke everywhere" when he saw the building, he said. "The flames were coming out from the roof. The fire was coming out of every window."

    Items from a ground-floor sushi restaurant were blown into a street, and the explosion was so forceful that it blew the door off a cafe across the avenue. Rubble, glass and debris littered sidewalks.

    Con Ed crews planned to start investigating after firefighters got the blaze under control. The state Department of Public Service was monitoring Con Ed's response, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

    Area resident Paul Schoengold said he was walking about two blocks away when he heard an "incredibly loud" roar.

    "Then the fire started. I could see the flames on the roof, and they kept getting higher," shooting perhaps 50 feet into the air, he said.

    As freelance photographer Michael Seto ran up to the buildings after hearing the explosion in his apartment a block and a half away, flames were spreading and engulfing one building's first floor.

    Meanwhile, a man was climbing up the fire escape, not down, he said.

    "People were calling to him that the building's on fire mdash; he needs to get down," and he did, Seto said.

    Other witnesses said a woman scrambled down her fire escape in the moments after the explosion. She stopped on the second floor, afraid to go further, and passers-by climbed up to help get her down.

    In the aftermath, one person was lying on the ground, being attended to by two to three passers-by who were holding his head still, Seto said. A woman was sitting on the curb with blood coming down her face, and another woman walked past him with blood on her face, he said.

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    15
  • Rouhani urges not losing exceptional nuclear chance easily
    27.03.2015 01:53
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/08/06/hassan_rouhani_060813_9.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/08/06/hassan_rouhani_060813_9.jpg
    In a phone conversation with the British Premier James Cameron on Thursday, President Hassan Rouhani discussed latest developments in nuclear talks as well as regional events, IRNA reported.

    During the conversation, the President outlined Iran's views on nuclear issues.

    Stressing Iran's established rights based on international regulations, he highlighted Tehran's insistence on safeguarding its nuclear rights.

    He said the common views Iran and France shared about the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program and the need to remove all unfair sanctions could lead them towards a final solution.

    He said that all should take the unique chance of striking a deal and said everybody should move to safeguard their national and international norms and not let the chance slip away easily.

    He highlighted the constructive role of the UK at the present juncture in carrying on with talks on equal bases.

    Referring to the Thursday morning attack against Yemen, he condemned any military interventions against any country and said regional countries should avoid any kind of actions which would deteriorate the crisis.

    The British Prime Minister said that at the present juncture, London will do its uttermost to settle problems in practical ways and try to do everything necessary to strike a final deal despite existing pressures.

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    20
  • Obama discusses Yemen, Iran in call with Turkey's Erdogan
    27.03.2015 01:13
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/08/26/obama_phone_260813.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/08/26/obama_phone_260813.jpg
    President Barack Obama spoke with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday about pressing issues in the Middle East, including the crisis in Yemen, the White House said, Reuters reported.

    The hour-long call was initiated by Turkey, sources in the Turkish president's office said. It came on a day when Erdogan later complained at a news conference that "Iran is trying to dominate the region" and must withdraw forces from Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

    Turkey and the United States support the Saudi-led military operation against Houthi forces in Yemen, who have taken over much of the country in an effort to oust President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Iran supports the Houthis.

    The leaders also discussed U.S.-led negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, the White House said in a statement. Erdogan is scheduled to visit Tehran in April.

    Obama and Erdogan discussed their cooperation fighting Islamic State militants and "common efforts to bring security and stability to Iraq and Syria," the White House said in a statement about the call.

    "The two leaders reviewed the train-and-equip program for vetted members of the moderate Syrian opposition. They discussed efforts to deepen cooperation to stem the flow of foreign fighters," the White House said.

    Obama "expressed appreciation for Turkey's continuing support to nearly two million refugees from Iraq and Syria," the White House said, noting they also discussed the crisis in Ukraine.

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    15
  • Iran's Salehi 'optimistic' on nuclear deal
    26.03.2015 23:54
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2011/12/20/ali_akbar_salehi_201211_7.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2011/12/20/ali_akbar_salehi_201211_7.jpg
    Iran's nuclear chief told AFP Thursday that he was "optimistic" about reaching a nuclear deal with world powers despite interference from those opposed to resolving the long-running crisis over Tehran's atomic activities, AFP reported.

    Speaking on the sidelines of crunch talks in Switzerland Ali Akbar Salehi also said Iran was open to show more transparency with its nuclear facilities to ease "fictitious" concerns that it might develop nuclear weapons.

    "On the whole I am optimistic... but internationally those who have an interest in more troubles and not dealing with this question have not been inactive. They are trying to make sure there is no deal," Salehi said.

    "The Islamic Republic of Iran has demonstrated its political will and it is up to the other side to take a step forward and show that it has the political will to allow a resolution of the problem," Salehi told AFP.

    Salehi did not specify which countries he meant but Iran's arch foe Israel is known to be hostile to the agreement that looks to be emerging from 18 months of talks since the 2013 election of President Hassan Rouhani.

    Israel, widely believed to have nuclear weapons itself, worries that the accord will not do enough to stop Iran one day getting the bomb, a concern shared by US Republicans as well as Gulf monarchies including Saudi Arabia.

    Salehi is a key member of Iran's negotiating team in the talks between senior officials from Iran, the United States and five other world powers including US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.

    Having failed twice in 2014 to reach a deal reining in Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for lifting painful international sanctions, the parties have set themselves a March 31 target to agree the outlines of an accord. A final agreement is meant to be concluded by June 30.

    Kerry is under severe pressure from the US Congress to return from Lausanne with something concrete but it is unclear how detailed the "framework" accord will be, or even whether it will be a written document.

    Salehi, a former foreign minister who studied nuclear engineering in the United States, said that there remains "work to do and there needs to be answers on certain issues that haven't been clear until now."

    Ahead of discussions with US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Salehi said that a range of technical, legal and political aspects needed to somehow fit together in what would be a highly complex agreement.

    "Everything is linked. On the technical questions we have come closer together towards a common understanding," he said. "But there remains a lot of work to do."

    Salehi also said that Iran would not abandon its "right" to a peaceful nuclear programme but that Tehran was open to more oversight if this is within the rules of the UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    "To answer the fictious concerns of the other side we have declared that we are ready for measures within the rules of the agency (the IAEA) so that these worries are assuaged," Salehi said.

    Iran, unlike Israel, is subject to close IAEA tabs, but even tighter inspections by the Vienna body are a key element in the mooted deal.

    This would provide added certainty that the Islamic republic has no secret nuclear sites for a clandestine effort to make a bomb, an aim it strenuously denies having.

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    17
  • Yemen's Hadi arrives in Saudi Arabia
    26.03.2015 22:50
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/04/04/Abd_Rabbuh_Mansur_Hadi_040413.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/04/04/Abd_Rabbuh_Mansur_Hadi_040413.jpg
    Saudi state television channel al Ekhbariya confirmed the embattled president's arrival in the capital, Riyadh, on Thursday, Deutsche Welle reported.

    President Abed Mansour Hadi left the southern Yemeni city of Aden under Saudi protection earlier the same day.

    He was received at an airbase by Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman (pictured second from right), who is overseeing the military operation against Houthi Shiites threatening Hadi's rule.

    Hadi's whereabouts had been largely unknown since Houthi rebels and their allies closed in on his presidential compound in the main southern city of Aden this week.

    Rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, and several other strategic towns last year in a major power grab.

    As Yemen teetered on the brink of civil war, Saudi Arabia feared the Shiite minority rebels would seize control of the whole of its Sunni-majority neighbor and force it into the sphere of Shiite Iran.

    Yemen's acting foreign minister, Riyad Yassin, told reporters in Cairo that the Western-backed president would take part in a two-day Arab summit in Egypt on Saturday.

    Pakistan's government said Thursday it would dispatch a top civil-military delegation to Saudi Arabia following a request that it join the coalition to defend Yemen's president.

    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sent representatives to the Gulf State following a meeting with top defense and military officials in Islamabad late Thursday, his office said in a statement.

    The official Saudi Press Agency said that Pakistan, along with Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan, had all "expressed desire to participate in the operation."

    Egypt and Jordan had confirmed they will join Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in the coalition.

    Iran demanded an immediate halt to the Saudi-led military operations in Yemen on Thursday and said it would make all necessary efforts to control the crisis there.

    "The Saudi-led air strikes should stop immediately," the Students News Agency ISNA quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying.

    He made the comments on the sidelines of negotiations in Lausanne with six world powers to resolve a years-old dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

    In a phone call with British Prime Minister David Cameron also on Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized the air strikes in Yemen, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

    "The regional countries should avoid any measures that can intensify the crisis," Rouhani said.

    Tehran had denied providing money and training to the Houthi militia after Western and Yemeni officials accused Iran of supporting the rebellion.

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    21
  • Arab foreign ministers agree on unified military force
    26.03.2015 22:18
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/26/arabic_states_260315.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/26/arabic_states_260315.jpg
    Arab foreign ministers agreed a draft resolution on Thursday to form a unified military force, the Arab League's secretary general said at a meeting in Egypt, Reuters reported.

    The agreement came after warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck Shi'ite Muslim rebels fighting to oust Yemen's president on Thursday, in a major gamble by the world's top oil exporter to check Iranian influence in its backyard without direct military backing from Washington.

    "The Arab ... ministers agreed on adopting an important principle, which is forming the unified Arab military force," Nabil Elaraby told reporters after the meeting in the resort of Sharm El-Sheik.

    "The task of the force will be rapid military intervention to deal with security threats to Arab nations", Elaraby added.

    The draft resolution will be referred to the Arab leaders during their March 28-29 summit in Egypt.

    Egyptian TV reported earlier that the ministers asked Elaraby to coordinate with Arab armies' chiefs of staff within one month to form the unified force.

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    15
  • Pakistan says it will respond to any threat to Saudi Arabia
    26.03.2015 21:38
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/16/nawaz_sharif_160814.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/16/nawaz_sharif_160814.jpg
    Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's office said on Thursday any threat to Saudi Arabia would "evoke a strong response" from Islamabad, Reuters reported.

    Sharif chaired a "high-level meeting" in which he said Pakistan enjoyed close and brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

    Saudi Arabia and Gulf allies launched military operations including air strikes in Yemen on Thursday, Saudi officials said, to counter Iran-allied forces besieging the southern city of Aden, where the U.S.-supported Yemeni president had taken refuge.

    "The meeting concluded that any threat to Saudi Arabia's territorial integrity would evoke a strong response from Pakistan," Sharif's office said.

    Pakistan would send a delegation, including military officials, to Saudi Arabia on Friday, the statement said.

    Pakistan was considering a request from Saudi Arabia for troops to send to Yemen, the foreign office said on Thursday.

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    19
  • Hadi leaves Aden for Arab League summit in Egypt
    26.03.2015 20:40
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/07/23/abdrabuh_mansur_hadi_230714.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/07/23/abdrabuh_mansur_hadi_230714.jpg
    Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has left Yemen under Saudi protection to attend an Arab League summit in Egypt's Sham el-Sheikh, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

    Yemen is currently playing host to a Saudi-led offensive against Houthi rebels opposed to Hadi.

    In a letter sent the U.N. Security Council seen by Al Arabiya News, Hadi requested "immediate support for the legitimate authority with all means and necessary measures to protect Yemen, and repel the aggression of the Houthi militia that is expected at any time on the city of Aden and the province of Taiz, Marib, al-Jouf [and] an-Baidah."

    In his letter Hadi said such support was also needed to control "the missile capability that was looted" by the Houthi militias.

    Hadi also told the Council that he had requested from the Arab Gulf states and the Arab League "immediate support with all means and necessary measures, including the military intervention to protect Yemen and its people from the ongoing Houthi aggression.

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    17
  • Kenya expects removal of travel warning from the West
    26.03.2015 20:37
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    http://apaholding.az/upload/images/photos/apa_logo.png
    Baku-APA. Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta has expressed optimism that travel advisories issued by main tourism source markets for Kenya "will soon be lifted", APA reports quoting Xinhua.

    Kenyatta said security situation in the country especially in the coastal tourism resort cities and towns has been restored, with proper security measures put in place to ensure the safety of visitors.

    "We have seen the tranquility of our coastal region... I want to reassure everyone that the Kenyan coast is safe," Kenyatta said on Tuesday when he was opening a biennial conference of ambassadors and high commissioners in the coastal town of Kwale.

    Kenyatta's remarks come barely a week after Britain hinted at relaxing the travel advice for Kenya.

    British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said last Thursday that London has deepened relations with Kenya's security forces, which could result in removal of the travel alert issued last year.

    The travel warnings have crippled the country's tourism which relies on foreign visitors, and led to the closure of more than 40 hotels alongside the coast due to low bed occupancy.

    The latest travel warnings were issued in May last year by Britain, theUnited States,Franceand Australia following a string of gun and grenade attacks in the capital Nairobi and some coastal cities including Mombasa and Lamu.

    Kenyatta also called on relevant authorities to diversify tourism by tapping on regional and domestic markets instead of relying solely on foreign tourists. He said the ministries should eliminate strict traveling protocols and enable easy flow of visitors into the country.
    25
  • Turkey's Erdogan says Iran and "terrorist groups" must leave Yemen - France 24
    26.03.2015 20:18
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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/17/erdogan_170315.jpg
    President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted on Thursday as saying Turkey may consider providing logisitical support to the Saudi-led military mission in Yemen and called on Iran and "terrorist groups" to withdraw from the country, Reuters reported.

    "Turkey may consider providing logistical support based on the evolution of the situation," Erdogan told France 24 in an interview, extracts of which were published on its website and by Turkish broadcasters.

    "Iran and the terrorist groups must withdraw," he said.

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    10
  • U.S., Iran resume talks on preliminary nuclear deal as deadline looms
    26.03.2015 20:05
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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/20/iran_nuclear_talks_200315.jpg
    The United States and Iran resumed negotiations on Thursday aimed at clinching a nuclear deal before a March 31 deadline, and officials close to the talks said some kind of preliminary agreement between Tehran and six powers was possible, Reuters reported.

    As the talks began, Washington and Tehran took opposing stands on Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen against rebels allied to Iran who are fighting to oust the country's president, but it was unclear whether this would affect the nuclear talks.

    The two sides are seeking a political framework accord by the end of this month that would lay the foundations for a full deal by June 30.

    Under a final settlement, Tehran would halt sensitive nuclear work for at least a decade and in exchange, international sanctions on Iran would be lifted. This would aim to end the country's 12-year nuclear standoff with the West and reduce the risk of another war in the Middle East.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz met their Iranian counterparts, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi, in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

    Earlier, Iranian media quoted Zarif as condemning the Saudi-led military operation against the Shi'ite Muslim Houthi fighters in Yemen, and demanding that it stop.

    By contrast, Kerry spoke to the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council members on Thursday and welcomed their decision to take action against the Houthis, a senior U.S. official said.

    However, neither Kerry nor Zarif responded when asked by a reporter in Lausanne to comment on the air strikes.

    Speaking to reporters traveling with Kerry from Washington on Wednesday, a senior State Department official said the six powers - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China - would not rush to complete a framework agreement with Iran just because there was a March 31 deadline.

    But the official said the parties had made progress at last week's inconclusive round of negotiations in Lausanne.

    "We very much believe we can get this done by the 31st," the official said. "We see a path to do that." The official added, however, that there was no guarantee of success.

    Salehi also said a deal was possible but not certain. "It is difficult to forecast whether we can reach a result at this round of talks but we are moving toward reaching a mutual understanding in all technical issues," he told Iranian state television.

    Israel, Saudi Arabia, France and U.S. Congress have all raised concerns that the administration of President Barack Obama might be willing to conclude a deal that would allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability in the future.

    The State Department official said: "Any political understanding needs to address in some way all of the elements of a final agreement."

    "We do not know what form this will take ... We have always said it needs to have specifics. We will need to communicate as many specifics as possible in some form or fashion (to the public and U.S. Congress)."

    Those elements include the different ways to a nuclear weapon, ensuring that it would take Iran at least one year to produce enough high enriched uranium for a single bomb, research and development into advanced centrifuges, transparency measures and monitoring, and sanctions relief for Iran.

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    10
  • Germanwings crash: 'Copilot deliberately took the plane down'
    26.03.2015 19:19
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/24/germanwings_a320.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/24/germanwings_a320.jpg
    The copilot intentionally took the Germanwings A320 plane down, causing it to crash Tuesday in the French Alps, said the prosecutor of Marseille, Brice Robin, who is responsible for the investigation, Anadolu agency reported.

    In a press conference, Robin said that the last 30 minutes of black box recordings show that the copilot was in control of the flight when the crash happened.

    According to Robin, the first 20 minutes of the conversation between the pilot and copilot was normal, then the pilot left to toilet and the copilot took over.

    The prosecutor said at that point the copilot, using the keys of the monitoring system, "voluntarily" put the aircraft into a dive, and he was alive until the moment of impact.

    "The copilot intentionally kept the pilot outside the cockpit and took the Germanwings plane into a dive," Robin said. "The intention was to destroy this plane."

    "He operated the button controlling the loss of altitude from 12000m to 2000m," explained Robin.

    The prosecutor said that the copilot didn't send a distress call, and ignored the one sent by aviation officers in the ground.

    Robin identified the copilot as Andreas Lubitz, 28, a German citizen.

    According to Lufthansa, the parent company of the low-budget Germanwings, Lubitz joined Germanwings in 2013 and had 630 flight hours. He completed flight training with Lufthansa in Bremen, Germany. He comes from the town of Montabaur, about 60 miles northwest of Frankfurt.

    "We can hear him breathing in the cockpit until the last moment of the crash," the prosecutor added. "There was an absolute silence inside the cockpit. Nothing, no word during the last 10 minutes."

    "However, this was not a terrorist act," the prosecutor said. "He is not known as a terrorist, absolutely not," Robin said. Asked if it was a suicide, the prosecutor said that he could not make a determination.

    Robin added the death of the passengers was "sudden and immediate."

    "We can hear cries only in the very last moments," he said.

    After the revelations of the prosecutor, Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy tweeted he is "deeply shocked" by the findings of the investigation.

    The Germanwings airlines issued a statement, reading : "We are shaken by the upsetting statements of the French authorities, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families and friends of the victims."

    Meanwhile, search-and-rescue teams are continuing to recover the bodies of the victims, an effort which will take until the end of next week, according to the prosecutor.

    Families of the victims as well as of the crew arrived at Marseille on Thursday and met the prosecutor. They are due to visit the crash site near Seyne-les-Alpes during the day.

    On Wednesday, recordings from the cockpit voice recorder of the crashed plane have been successfully extracted from the first black box and "usable data" were extracted from it, announced Remi Jouty director of the Bureau of Accident Investigations, France's civil aviation regulator.

    "We managed to get some audio, usable data, but it's still too early to draw conclusions as to what happened," said Jouty.

    Seven BEA investigators along with investigators from their German and Spanish counterpart, the BFU and the CIAIAC, as well as the Interpol are working on the ongoing probe.

    The Germanwings Airbus 320, en route from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany, went down Tuesday before 11:00 a.m. local time (10:00 GMT) after an eight-minute descent, killing all 150 people on board, the majority of whom were German and Spanish.

    The air disaster is one of the most tragic incidents in recent German aviation history, and the first deadly crash of a Germanwings plane since the low-budget airline was founded by Germany's largest airline in 2002.

    A copilot and a passenger died when Lufthansa Airbus A320-200 overran a runway at an airport in Warsaw, Poland, in 1993. A total of 68 occupants survived.

    The crash was also the first on French soil since July 25, 2000, when an Air France Concorde crashed into a hotel in Gonesse in the Val-d'Oise, shortly after taking off from Roissy-CDG airport, killing 13 German passengers and crew members, along with four others on the ground.

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    13
  • Trans-Caspian pipeline: statements turn into action
    26.03.2015 18:52
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/12/08/gas_line_081212.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/12/08/gas_line_081212.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 26

    By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

    The European Union (EU) over the past month has clearly demonstrated the seriousness of its intentions regarding the implementation of the Trans-Caspian pipeline, which will allow Turkmen gas to access the European market.

    At present, the EU's interest in this project is expressed not only in words but is also backed up by concrete actions, that give hope for positive expectations.

    A month after the statements regarding the plans of the EU to sign this year the agreements with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, Brussels began searching for opportunities to attract European companies to negotiations on the Trans-Caspian pipeline.

    In particular, according to Reuters, EU Charge d'affaires in Turkmenistan, Denis Daniilidis said the EU is studying the conditions under which European companies interested in buying Turkmen gas could be involved in this project.

    In addition, in the coming months, Vice-President of the European Commission for Energy Union Maroscaron; Scaron;efДЌoviДЌ is expected to visit Turkmenistan for talks on the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline.

    Among the companies considered to be interested in this project are BP, Statoil, Total and others who have good working experience in Azerbaijan, as well as RWE and Eni, which have agreements with Turkmenistan on exploration in the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea with the perspective of purchasing gas.

    The concept of the Trans-Caspian pipeline has always been very attractive for the EU, Azerbaijan, which is acting in the project as a transit country, and Turkmenistan, which intends to diversify its export routes.

    However, this project, for a very long time, has remained just a pretty dream, for the implementation of which a number of political issues had to be solved. And all this time the European Union, although it wanted, but did not feel the urgent need to take any action to implement it.

    But today, amid the background of the Ukrainian crisis, and after the failure of the Russian South Stream project, the EU faced a real threat to its energy security. Therefore, alternative supplies of hydrocarbons has become a priority for the EU.

    In addition, an important factor for increased efforts to implement the EU Trans-Caspian pipeline is successful progress Southern Gas Corridor, which envisages the delivery of Azerbaijani gas to Europe. This is the gas that would become the first alternative supply source for the EU.

    Implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor is in accordance with the established timetable, last week laid the foundation of the Trans pipeline (TANAP), which will be provided for transportation of gas from Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field from the Georgian-Turkish border to the western border of Turkey.

    The supplies of Azerbaijani gas to Europe will begin in 2020. These supplies are envisaged to become only initial for Europe. Right now, there are real prerequisites for joining the Turkmen gas to the Southern Gas Corridor, which will help the EU to ensure its energy security for years to come.

    ---

    Aygun Badalova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AygunBadalova

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    13
  • Military operations in Yemen must be halted, Iran says
    26.03.2015 16:51
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/16/no_image_found.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2014/08/16/no_image_found.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 26

    By Khalid Kazimov - Trend:

    While Iranian officials, including Foriegn Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned about any military intervention against Houthis (a Shia group) in Yemen, Mohsen Pak Ayeen, Iran's Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan, expressing his concern over gravity of situation in Yemen and loss of lives of innocent ordinary people, urged that world community and regional countries to take action for immediate stop of military action against Yemen.

    Iran's Embassy released a report Mar.26 quoted Pak Ayeen as saying that military operation against an independent state, contradicts sovereignty of the state, breaches international norms and will only result in killing of innocent people, destruction and displacement."

    The chairman of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi said Saudi Arabia's strikes over Yemen, which led to injuring and killing of tens of people there, show Riyadh's irresponsibility towards the Muslim world's problems.

    Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the Yemeni Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran and has taken the control of Yemeni capital, Sanaa since last September.

    Iranian deputy foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also met with his Russian counterpart, Mikhail Bogdanov in Moscow on March 25 and the sides discussed the situation in Yemen.

    The White House said earlier that the US President Barack Obama authorized a logistical and intelligence support for a Saudi-led military operation in Yemen to beat back the Houthi militia forces.

    Pak Ayeen said that "silence of international organizations and bodies visa-a-vis aggression against independent states, including Syria, shall result in deepening of the crisis in the region". He expressed hope that the mistake of the world community not to be repeated in Yemen".

    The ambassador reiterated that Iran closely follows developments in Yemen and further said that the internal Yemeni conflict should be settled peacefully through negotiations without intervention of foreign countries.

    Ambassador Pak Ayeen continued that the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a peace loving country, shall use it good offices to harness the crisis and prevent violation of international laws and regulations in Yemen.

    "Since the beginning of the crisis in Yemen, Iran called for talks among Yemeni groups and declared that military intervention of third countries will further deepen the crisis," he said.

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    28
  • Japan interested in building chemical enterprises in Turkmenistan
    26.03.2015 16:20
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/11/23/chemical_facilities_231113.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2013/11/23/chemical_facilities_231113.jpg
    Ashghabad, Turkmenistan, March 26

    By Huseyn Hasanov - Trend:

    Representatives of business circles of Japan expressed interest in building a number of chemical enterprises in Turkmenistan, said the Turkmen government's message.

    The agreement was reached during a recent working visit of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to Japan.

    The implementation of joint projects for integrated development of hydro resources in the Gulf of Garabogazgol was reportedly discussed during the visit.

    Meanwhile, the relevant draft framework agreement on the construction of a fertilizer-producing complex in the Mary city has already been prepared.

    Turkmenistan also offers Japanese partners to take part in projects for the production of phosphate fertilizers for Turkmenabat enterprises, factories for the production of caustic soda, chlorine, iodine and bromine in the Balkan velayat (region).

    President Berdimuhamedov said that it is important to fully use the existing extensive scientific production and technological potential of the leading industrial companies in the world, including those of Japan.

    Following Berdimuhamedov's visit to Japan in 2013, a number of contracts worth several billion dollars were signed for constructing a number of large industrial enterprises in the oil and gas and chemical industry.

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    16
  • Iran against any foreign interference in Yemen
    26.03.2015 15:33
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/04/20/Iran_MID_XIN_200412_04.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/04/20/Iran_MID_XIN_200412_04.jpg
    Iran is against interference in Yemen's affairs by any country, RIA Novosti quoted the deputy foreign minister of Iran, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian as saying on March 26.

    "We condemn the foreign interference in Yemen's affairs by any country - Iran, Saudi Arabia, the US," he said at a press conference held at the Russia Today news agency.

    "Yemen belongs to all Yemenis," he said, adding that the political way out of the situation means that all the groups have come to an agreement.

    A coalition including Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states earlier launched a military operation in Yemen against the Houthi insurgents controlling most of that country.

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    17
  • Astana hopes for unbiased election assessment by OSCE observers
    26.03.2015 15:33
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/11/trend_astana_symbol_161111_2.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/11/trend_astana_symbol_161111_2.jpg
    Kazakhstan is set to constructive cooperation with international observers at the upcoming presidential election and counts on an unbiased evaluation of the voting results, the Kazakh foreign minister, Yerlan Idrissov, said Mar. 26.

    He made the remarks at a meeting with the head of the election observation mission (EOM) from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Cornelia Jonker, Ria Novosti reported Mar. 26.

    The presidential election will be held in Kazakhstan on April 26. Kazakhstan's Central Election Commission registered three candidates for their participation in the election.

    The candidates are the incumbent president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, nominated by the Nur Otan Party, Turgun Syzdykov, the candidate nominated by the Communist People's Party, and Abelgazi Kusainov, the chairman of the Trade Unions Federation.

    The pre-election agitation has already begun in Kazakhstan.

    Kazakhstan's foreign ministry said in a message that the country intends to provide the most open, transparent and fair election in line with the internal rules of law and highest international standards.

    "The election observation is an important means to support democracy and human rights," Novosti-Kazakhstan news agency quoted Idrissov as saying, "Kazakhstan attaches great importance to the quality of the observation process, which largely depends on the composition of the election observation mission."

    The foreign minister said the CEC will provide a high organization level of holding the voting, taking into account previous recommendations of the OSCE and other international organizations.

    In turn, Jonker emphasized the election observation mission's readiness for an impartial and unbiased observation.

    The first long-term observers of the OSCE ODIHR mission began their activities in Kazakhstan on March 23.

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    13
  • Bulgariaв's ambassador to Azerbaijan to be accredited in Turkmenistan
    26.03.2015 15:26
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/26/maya_xristova_main_260315.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/03/26/maya_xristova_main_260315.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 26

    By Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:

    Maya Hristova, Bulgaria's ambassador to Azerbaijan will also be responsible for the relations with Turkmenistan, the Bulgarian Public Service Knowledge Network reported March 26.

    Earlier, this role was traditionally fulfilled by the Bulgarian ambassador in Moscow, Russia.

    Maya Hristova was nominated for her expertise in the energy sector, as the government has identified the need for further close partnership with Turkmenistan in the field of energy, said the report.

    Hristova was the deputy-energy minister and chairperson of the board of directors of the state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH).

    She has also headed the board of directors of South Stream Bulgaria.

    Follow the author on Twitter: @Anahanum

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    11
  • Tender announced for building power plant in Western Georgia
    26.03.2015 14:00
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/05/23/Rogun_ges_230512.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/05/23/Rogun_ges_230512.jpg
    Georgia's Energy Ministry has announced a contest for the expression of interest to carry out feasibility study, construction, owning and operating the power station on the Humpreri river in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region of Georgia.

    The contest has been announced upon the Geo Hydro Capital Group's application, said the message of the ministry, Novosti-Georgia reported.

    The message said that those interested of construction of the power station on the river, must provide relevant information to the ministry. The deadline for sending the documents is on May 15,2015.

    The set capacity of the power plant will be 37.4 MW and annual electricity - 153.3 million kWh. The presumed investment cost of the project is $42.6 million.

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    30
  • EU: Commitment to Southern Gas Corridor realization important for dialogue with Azerbaijan
    26.03.2015 13:59
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/05/30/gas_line_300512.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/05/30/gas_line_300512.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 26

    By Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:

    The commitment to implementing the Southern Gas Corridor continued to be of utmost importance for EU-Azerbaijan dialogue, said the EU report on Azerbaijan's progress within the European Neighbourhood Policy.

    "Azerbaijan made good progress in its macroeconomic development, not least through its efforts to further diversify the economy," said the EU.

    The report said that in 2014, the EU-Azerbaijan bilateral trade amounted to 16.7 billion euros and the EU remained Azerbaijan's main trading partner.

    The Southern Gas Corridor project envisages transportation of gas from the Caspian region through Georgia and Turkey to Europe.

    This large project aims at diversifying the routes and sources of energy supply that will enhance the energy security of Europe. The Southern Gas Corridor project will ensure Caspian gas supply to the European markets for the first time in history.

    At the initial stage, the gas to be produced as part of the second phase of development of Azerbaijani gas condensate Shah Deniz field is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor project. At a later stage, other sources may join the project.

    The gas to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of the field's development will be exported to Turkey and to the European markets by means of expanding the South Caucasus Pipeline and construction of the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). Around six billion cubic meters of the total volume of gas within the Shah Deniz-2 project will be delivered to Turkey and 10 billion cubic meters to Europe per year.

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    16
  • EU urges Nagorno-Karabakh conflict parties to refrain from provocations
    26.03.2015 13:43
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/16/eu_flag_main.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/16/eu_flag_main.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 26

    By Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:

    The EU calls on parties of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to refrain from actions and statements that could heighten tensions and undermine the peace process, said the EU report on Azerbaijan's progress within the European Neighbourhood Policy.

    "Last year it was the 20th anniversary of the 1994 ceasefire agreement in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict against the background of a continued stalemate," said the EU, adding that the security situation on the ground remained a matter of serious concern amid incidents and casualties on a level not seen since 1994.

    The EU also underscored its commitment to support the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and peace-building activities.

    The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

    The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

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    10
  • Nepal leading tobacco control in South Asia: Will it spiral domino effect on other nations?
    26.03.2015 13:08
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic139399.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic139399.jpg
    Bobby Ramakant, Citizen News Service (CNS)

    (CNS): South Asian region has very high levels of tobacco use, and thus not surprisingly, rates of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and other tobacco related illnesses rage high. Nepal is in spotlight in South Asian region by demonstrating high commitment to tobacco control and also acting on the ground! Recognizing Nepal's leadership, the country was awarded the prestigious 'Bloomberg Philanthropies Award for Global Tobacco Control' at the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH 2015).

    Nepal received the Bloomberg award for advancing ahead with biggest-ever pictorial graphic health warnings on all tobacco packs from 15th May 2015. Beginning May 15, 2015, picture and text warnings must be placed on 90 percent of the front and back of all tobacco product packaging, among other strong measures for effective tobacco control.

    "Nepal Ministry of Health and Population had passed the comprehensive law comprised of large graphic health warnings, bans on tobacco advertising and sponsorships, and a smoke-free law all while facing immense pressure from the tobacco industry. During the process of passing the law and after its passing, the Ministry of Health faced 16 court cases filed by the tobacco industry but won with currently two appeals pending. Nepal is a leader in the South East Asia region for its tobacco control efforts" said Dr Tara Singh Bam, a noted expert with the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).

    Firewall health policy from tobacco industry

    Another leadership Nepal has demonstrated not only in South Asian region but also for countries globally is by incorporating provisions in line with the Article 5.3 of the global tobacco treaty (formally called WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control - FCTC). This FCTC Article 5.3, is based upon the principle that there is a direct and irreconcilable conflict of interest between tobacco industry and public health policy.

    Dr Tara Singh Bam said: As implementation of domestic tobacco control laws and global tobacco treaty is advancing, tobacco industry is indeed facing the heat. Not surprising, that the industry has sued governments when they have attempted to implement life-saving tobacco control measures. Nepal is no exception. With more than 11 law suits filed by the industry and its allies against the Nepalese governmentв's move to strictly enforce tobacco control laws, the Supreme Court decision favouring the government is a beacon of hope.

    It is important to underline that domestic policy to safeguard public health policy from tobacco industry interference was drafted not just by Ministry of Health and Population but by more than 15 ministries in Nepal in a series of consultative drafting sessions. "Tobacco control is a multi-sectoral response so we need to effectively coordinate with other ministries also, such as: Ministries of Information and Communication, Agriculture, Education, Finance (both departments of customs and inland revenue), youth and sports, Home Affairs, Health and Population, among others. We need to frequently meet these ministries to effectively implement tobacco control law'' emphasized Dr Bam. Now stronger tobacco control policies will come into effect from 15th May 2015 in Nepal.

    "We need WHO FCTC Article 5.3 to protect the current achievements that Nepal has made on tobacco control. We must not lose the gains made in public health and succumb to industry interference. Domestic policies in lines of WHO FCTC Article 5.3 will ensure that we continue to effectively implement and enforce the current domestic tobacco control law in Nepal" stressed Dr Bam.

    Smoking and smokeless tobacco banned in public

    Nepal has taken a major leap by banning use of smoking forms of tobacco as well as of smokeless tobacco forms in public places. ''Tobacco Control and Regulatory Act 2011 bans use of all forms of tobacco (both smoking and smokeless tobacco use) at public places. Public places include public transports also'' said Dr Bam to Citizen News Service (CNS).

    Let's hope Nepal's strong commitment to tobacco control despite industry pressure will mobilize other nations in the South Asian region and globally to accelerate implementation of gold standard tobacco control measures on the ground.
    17
  • Iran warns against foreign strikes on Yemeni Houthis
    26.03.2015 12:49
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    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2015/02/20/iran_flag_190614_main.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 26

    By Khalid Kazimov - Trend:

    As Saudi Arabia started air strikes against the Houthis in Yemen, Iran's top lawmaker warned against any foreign military intervention.

    The chairman of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi said Saudi Arabia's strikes over Yemen, which led to injuring and killing of tens there, show Riyadh's irresponsibility towards the Muslim world's problems.

    "These military interventions will affect Saudi Arabia as well, because the war will be never restricted to any certain point," he said.

    Boroujerdi went on to add that Iran hopes any foreign operation over Yemen must be halted.

    Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the Yemeni Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran.

    Earlier, Iran's Press TV channel reported that the Iranian deputy foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met with his Russian counterpart, Mikhail Bogdanov in Moscow on March 25.

    "During a discussion on the situation in the Republic of Yemen, a common opinion was expressed about the need to settle the acute domestic crisis in that country on the basis of a broad national dialogue involving all influential political forces in Yemen," read a message on the Russian foreign ministry's website.

    The White House said earlier that the US President Barack Obama authorized a logistical and intelligence support for a Saudi-led military operation in Yemen to beat back the Houthi militia forces.

    "While the US forces are not taking direct military action in Yemen in support of this effort, we are establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate US military and intelligence support," read a White House statement.

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    13
  • Vietnam's major regional thrust for a malaria-free Asia Pacific by 2030
    26.03.2015 12:34
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic139397.jpg
    http://www.today.az/pictures/pic139397.jpg
    Vietnam signals greater regional leadership in malaria elimination by hosting health officials and experts to discuss challenges to achieving a malaria-free Asia Pacific by 2030. This week, Vietnam will host Ministry of Health officials from the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN); a group of 17 countries in Asia Pacific who each share the ultimate goal to become malaria-free. Last year at the East Asia Summit meeting in Myanmar, leaders from 18 Asia Pacific countries, including Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, decisively committed to the goal of an Asia-Pacific free of malaria in the next 15 years. With expanded leadership and financing, both Vietnam and other Asia-Pacific nations, may reach that goal even sooner.

    Drug resistance alarming

    The commitment to eliminate malaria aims to address growing concerns of resistance to the drug artemisinin - the frontline treatment for malaria. Elimination of malaria has been adopted as the only strategy that can ensure resistance does not undo decades of malaria progress. Reaching the regional malaria elimination goal will require significant investments from governments and donors, sustained political commitment, and strong collaboration among countries.

    On the international stage, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has been a role model in delivering high-level political leadership for malaria elimination, by building the support of regional leaders to an Asia-Pacific free of malaria by 2030. As co-chair of the Asia Pacific Leaders' Malaria Alliance (APLMA) with the Prime Minister of Australia, Vietnam's Prime Minister Dung has an unprecedented opportunity to bring Vietnam to the forefront of malaria elimination efforts in Asia Pacific.

    Dr Ben Rolfe, Executive Secretary of the APLMA Secretariat stressed Vietnam's critical leadership in the region.

    He stated: "The emergency of malaria drug resistance threatens the well-being and economic prosperity of Vietnam, the Greater Mekong Sub Region and much of the world. That Leaders across this region have agreed to an Asia-Pacific free of malaria by 2030 shows extraordinary vision and leadership in addressing this emergency and APMEN has a pivotal role to play in supporting elimination across the region."

    Since 2000, Vietnam has reduced malaria cases by 90% and reported 35,406 cases in 2013 (World Malaria Report 2014). Strong political and financial commitment from the Minister of Health, Dr Nguyen Thi Kim Tien will ensure continued success of the malaria program in Vietnam.

    Vietnamв's Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Nguyen Thanh Long, will officially open the APMEN annual meeting in Hoi An on Tuesday, March 24. Officials from Vietnamв's Ministry of Health, malaria experts and country program managers from the 17 APMEN countries will meet from March 25-27. The meeting will also celebrate newest country partner, India, who joined the Network earlier this month.

    The move by these important countries to join the network signals a significant shift towards greater commitment to elimination that will facilitate closer collaboration with their low-transmission and malaria free neighbors.

    Sir Richard Feachem, Director of the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco, and co-chair of APMEN, underscored the necessity of regional networks in achieving elimination goals.

    ''APLMA and APMEN will play critical political and technical roles in achieving the ambitious but attainable goal of freedom from malaria by 2030. The economic and social benefits of this achievement to the people and countries of Asia Pacific will be immense.''

    The Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network provides a platform for countries to share knowledge on common challenges, promote cross-border collaboration and regional political commitment to the elimination of malaria by the year 2030.

    /Citizen-News.Org/
    12
  • Brussels preparing European companies for Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline talks
    26.03.2015 12:34
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/12/08/gas_line_081212.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/12/08/gas_line_081212.jpg
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, March 26

    By Huseyn Hasanov - Trend:

    Brussels is preparing the European oil and gas companies for talks with Turkmenistan's gas concern, the Turkmengas, for a project on construction of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline, according to the Western media outlets.

    The Caspian Development Corporation is planned to be created to this end, according to the media reports.

    As Reuters reported March 25, Maros Sefcovic, the EU's head of energy union, is going to visit Turkmenistan in coming months for talks on the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline.

    The Western media outlets said that among the interested companies there are BP, Statoil, Total and others that have deployed business in Azerbaijan, as well as RWE and Eni, which already have an agreement with Turkmenistan on geological exploration in the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea with a prospect of gas purchases.

    Turkmenistan is a key player in the gas market in the Caspian region and Central Asia.

    When talking about construction of a pipeline to Europe, the most optimal route would be laying a 300-kilometer gas pipeline across the Caspian Sea to the coasts of Azerbaijan, which has at its disposal an appropriate infrastructure for the re-export of Turkmenistan's gas to Turkey and further to Europe.

    Back in Sept. 2014, Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said at a summit of the Caspian states' heads in Russia's Astrakhan, that his country continues to believe in the realization of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline project.

    "Turkmenistan is firmly convinced that the construction of such pipelines is the sovereign right of the states through the bottom section of which they run," Berdimuhamedov said. "Therefore these pipelines can be constructed only with their consent, naturally in compliance with the highest international environmental standards."

    "The provision of a durable stability and security is the main condition of our successful cooperation in the Caspian Sea, and a key to solving all the existing issues," the president added.

    Ranking fourth in the world in terms of natural gas reserves, Turkmenistan seeks to significantly expand the access to international gas market, to efficiently use of its natural resources. Currently, Turkmenistan's gas is purchased by Iran, Russia and China.

    In early March, Turkmenistan's Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ministry said the country announced that an active work is underway to supply from 10 to 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year to the European market.

    The ministry said the RSK Environment Ltd. carried out the preliminary environmental studies upon the World Bank's order.

    The examination confirmed that from an environmental point of view, the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline is a safe route, and today, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan have every opportunity to implement the project for its construction as part of bilateral activities.

    The deposits of the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea may be the resource base for the gas supply via the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline at the initial stage, said the ministry.

    And in this case the reference was made to the European experts, who believe that the presence of the already explored and proven natural gas reserves in the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea makes it possible to supply 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year in this direction.

    In the future, there will be an opportunity to use the resources of gas fields in eastern Turkmenistan to supply gas through the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline. This will be possible after the commissioning of the East-West gas pipeline with a pumping capacity of 30 billion cubic meters per year. Its construction will be completed this year.

    The project for the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline could become a part of the TANAP project, which has Ankara and Baku as active participants.

    Azerbaijan expressed readiness to provide its territory, transit opportunities and infrastructure for this project's realization.

    TANAP envisages the transportation of gas of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field from the Georgian-Turkish border to the western borders of Turkey.

    TANAP's initial capacity is expected to reach 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Around six billion cubic meters of this gas will be delivered to Turkey and the rest of the volume to Europe.

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    12
  • BP sees TANAP gas pipeline project deal within two months
    26.03.2015 11:54
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/12/08/gas_line_081212.jpg
    http://cdn.trend.az/pictures/2012/12/08/gas_line_081212.jpg
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 13

    By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

    BP expects to sign a deal with the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project within two months to become a stakeholder in the multi-billion dollar project, Reuters reported citing Chris Schlueter, BP country manager for Georgia.

    He said that all main documents were signed last week.

    "We are very, very close ... That has been very good progress over the last week and a half ... I think (we will sign the deal) within the next two months," Schlueter said on the sidelines of the Georgian Oil, Gas, Energy and Infrastructure conference in the capital Tbilisi.

    Schlueter also said that the BP-led consortium of Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field development was on track in Georgia and Azerbaijan with its works on the project, despite the decline in global oil prices.

    "Of course, we are tightening our belts ... But there is no change to commitments in our operations," he said.

    He added the consortium planned to spend about $6 billion in 2015 on the Shah Deniz II and the South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion (SCPX) projects.

    BP company and TANAP consortium have already signed a shareholder agreement, according to which BP will become one of the shareholders of TANAP.

    Under the agreement signed in Turkey on Mar.13, BP will get a 12-percent share in the project.

    Following the completion of the legal implementation procedure, TANAP's shareholders will be as follows: State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) - 58 percent, Botas - 30 percent and BP - 12 percent.

    The TANAP project envisages the transportation of gas of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field from the Georgian-Turkish border to the western borders of Turkey.

    TANAP's initial capacity is expected to reach 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Around six billion cubic meters of this gas will be delivered to Turkey and the rest of the volume to Europe.

    Turkey will obtain gas in 2018 and after the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), gas will be delivered to Europe in early 2020.

    The project's cost is estimated at $10-$11 billion.

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    17
  • 75 killed in Boko Haram attack in northern Nigeria town
    26.03.2015 11:21
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    http://apaholding.az/upload/images/photos/apa_logo.png
    Baku-APA. At least 75 people were slaughtered in one of Boko Haram's recent attacks in Gwoza town of Nigeria's northeastern state of Borno, a survivor told Xinhua on Wednesday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

    Many old and young women were also seized by the Boko Haram militants, who have been in control of the Nigeria-Cameroon border community for some six months, said the survivor named Mairo Mohammad.

    Mohammad escaped death by the whiskers as Boko Haram members slit throats of men and kept more women in different locations across the town.

    The survivor, now in custody of government, said the militants moved about more than 100 men of Gwoza town, out of which 75 men were slaughtered. The fate of some 25 men or more were still hanging in the balance as of the time the survivor and few lucky escapees fled the militant's den and traveled several kilometers, through thick bushes, before finding their way to the city.

    "We escaped by sheer luck. We fled into the bush and spent almost four days before we got to a town where we were taken to the neighboring Yola city (capital of northeast Adamawa State), some 70 km away.

    "Somebody accommodated us, fed us and even took us to the hospital. The good Samaritan who took care of us used to be a top government official. We spent more than a week there before we were brought to Maiduguri," Mohammad said.

    Boko Haram seized Gwoza in September 2014, after carrying out several attacks on communities in the area. It also declared an Islamic caliphate in the town.

    Last week, the Nigerian military said it had listed Gwoza as one of the territories yet to be reclaimed from the stronghold of Boko Haram which is seeking to enshrine the Islamic Sharia law in the constitution of the African most populous country.

    A senior security official, who was not authorized to speak to the media on the latest development, said the militants might have killed more people than the number disclosed by the survivor, adding Boko Haram has embarked on slitting the throats of civilians in Gwoza after the military recaptured Bama, the second largest town in Borno State, located some 50 km away from the state capital.
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