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Bets on for who will be next pope
14.02.2013 09:55
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.

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  • Czech Republic interested in purchasing Azerbaijani gas
    03.03.2015 14:58
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3By Azad Hasanli - Trend:The Czech Republic is interested in the long-term gas supplies from Azerbaijan, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic Jan Mladek said on March 3.He made the remarks during the Azerbaijani-Czech business forum in Baku.Mladek said that Az...
  • Zakir Hasanov meets Ambassador of Japan
    03.03.2015 14:43
    An exchange of views took place.On March 3, Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov received Tsuguo Takahashi, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan.Oxu.Az reports citing the Defense Ministry that at the meeting Zakir Hasanov gave detailed information about th...
  • TAP invites companies to pre-qualify for offshore construction and line pipes
    03.03.2015 14:11
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3By Aygun Badalova - Trend:Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG (TAP) has launched two pre-qualification contracts for the construction of the 105 km offshore pipeline section under the Adriatic Sea. The greatest depth the pipeline will be laid is 820 meters.The first pre-qualification...
  • Armenia's international reserves reduced to record level '" newspaper
    03.03.2015 12:51
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3Trend:The volume of Armenia's international reserves amounted to $1.351 billion in January 2015, Panorama reported referring to Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper."Apparently, this is a new anti-record," the newspaper reported. "Armenia's international reserves have reached...
  • Slovenia, Azerbaijan to mull development of bilateral ties
    03.03.2015 12:20
    /By AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaA Slovenian delegation has arrived in Azerbaijan to discuss development of ties in different fields.The delegation led by Mitja Bervar, the president of the Sloveniaв's National Council arrived on a visit to Azerbaijan on March 2.Ziyafet Asgarov, the first vice-spea...
  • Armenia breaks ceasefire with Azerbaijan over 60 times in a day
    03.03.2015 11:24
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:Over the past 24 hours, the Armenian military 66 times violated ceasefire on various parts of contact line between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan said March 3.Armenian armed forces stationed on nameless heights in K...
  • Armenians violate ceasefire 66 times in various directions
    03.03.2015 10:42
    Armenian Armed Forces violated ceasefire 66 times in various directions of the frontline within a day, said Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, APA reports.Armenian armed units fired on the positions of Azerbaijani Armed Forces in nameless uplands of Gedebey district from their posts in nameless uplands o...
  • Azerbaijan launches another round of negotiations on WTO accession
    03.03.2015 10:25
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3By Azad Hasanli - Trend:Another round of bilateral negotiations on Azerbaijan's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be held in Geneva on March 3-7, the Azerbaijani foreign ministry said March 2.A delegation headed by Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister M...
  • U.S. State of Utah recognizes Khojaly Massacre
    03.03.2015 10:17
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3Trend:The Governor of the U.S. State of Utah Gary R. Herbert signed a letter on March 2, 2015 recognizing and condemning the Khojaly Massacre, which was committed by Armenia against Azerbaijani civilians in 1992, Azerbaijan's Consulate General in Los Angeles told Trend."...
  • Armenia violated international norms, says top official
    02.03.2015 17:26
    /By AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevYerevan continues to hold a destructive position and doesnв't recognize international law, a top Azerbaijani official said.While commenting on Armeniaв's refusal to return the Azerbaijani nationals its armed forces captured, Head of the Public and Political ...
  • Azerbaijan offers Czech Republic to establish JVs for export of agricultural products
    03.03.2015 16:36
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar.3

    By Azad Hasanli - Trend:

    Azerbaijan is interested in establishing joint ventures on the export of agricultural products with the Czech Republic, the Minister of Economy and Industry of Azerbaijan Shahin Mustafayev said Mar.3 at the Azerbaijani-Czech business forum.

    Some 32 Czech companies and banks are taking part in the business forum, organized by Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) operating under Azerbaijan's Economy and Industry Ministry.

    On the Czech side, the business forum was organized by the Chamber for Economic Relations with Commonwealth of Independent States.

    Shahin Mustafayev said the cooperation between the two countries is possible, using the Czech equipment for the food industry and the possibilities of Azerbaijani agriculture.

    Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic have a good potential for the development of cooperation in economy, primarily in industrial sphere, according to Mustafayev.

    "The Czech Republic has invested over $1 billion in Azerbaijan," he said. "At present, six major projects implemented in Azerbaijan are funded by Czech companies. Their total value is about $2 billion."

    The minister said that it is very important that cooperation would not be limited only to Azerbaijan.

    "The level of Azerbaijani companies allows them to work in European countries, including the Czech Republic," he said. "I think that our companies have every opportunity to strengthen their activities in the Czech Republic."

    Mustafayev brought the experience of an Azerbaijani company dealing with road construction in Serbia as an example for the work of Azerbaijani companies in Europe.

    The minister said the company doesn't lag behind local companies in Serbia, and what is more, it largely outruns them in terms of quality.

    Mustafayev, at the same time, noted that countries can expand cooperation in tourism, ICT and other areas.

    The bilateral trade turnover between the two countries reached 1.5 billion euros in 2014, or 23 percent more than in 2013.

    Czech Republic mainly imports Azerbaijani oil, while industrial equipment and consumer goods are delivered from this country to Azerbaijan.

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  • Azerbaijan attaches great importance to developing relations with Balkan states
    03.03.2015 16:18
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3


    Azerbaijan attaches special importance to the development of relations with the countries of Balkan region, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said on Mar.3.

    He made the remarks during a meeting with the Slovenian delegation led by the chairman of this country's National Assembly (parliament) Mitja Bervar in Baku.

    During the meeting, the sides expressed satisfaction with the development of relations between Azerbaijan and Slovenia and emphasized the importance of developing the cooperation, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.

    Bervar reminded about the statement made by the supreme legislative body of Slovenia on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and added that this statement supports the peaceful settlement of the conflict within OSCE Minsk Group and on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions.

    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 the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

    Mammadyarov, for his part, said that changing the internationally recognized borders is inadmissible and each country should respect the norms and principles of the international law.

    Moreover, Bervar congratulated Azerbaijan over holding the upcoming first European Games in Baku in June 2015 and said that a lot of Slovenian athletes will participate in the Games.

    Mammadyarov, for his part, said that Azerbaijan and Slovenia are bound by historical ties and added that Azerbaijanis showed courage during the liberation of Slovenia from fascist invaders during the Second World War.

    The foreign minister said that Azerbaijan attaches special importance to the development of relations with the Balkan states.

    Mammadyarov added that the two countries have the opportunity to develop the bilateral cooperation in the spheres of energy, economy and trade, investments, culture and sports.

    Edited by SI

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  • Snowden ready to return to US
    03.03.2015 16:05
    Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contractor Edward Snowden is ready to return to the US on the condition of receiving a fair trial, Snowdenв's lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told journalists on Tuesday,presenting his book "Time of the Octopus."

    "Edward Snowden is ready to return to the US, but on the condition that he will be given guarantees on receiving a fair and impartial trial," Kucherena said.

    Snowden's lawyers are working on the legal aspect of his return to the US, he went on to say.

    "We, together with a group of lawyers from other countries, are working on the issue of his return to the US," Kucherena said.

    The lawyer added that he received a letter from US attorney general who gave guarantees that in case of Snowdenв's return, he will not receive capital punishment. "That is, they guarantee that Snowden will not be executed, not that he will receive a fair trial. And it is guaranteed by attorney [general] who cannot even influence court decisions according to law," Kucherena said.
  • Armeniaв's stalling of negotiations negatively affects regional security
    03.03.2015 16:04
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3

    By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:

    Armenia's stalling of the negotiation process on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement negatively affects the situation in the region, Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov said at a meeting with Japanese Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Azerbaijan Tsuguo Takahashi, the Azerbaijani defense ministry reported March 3.

    While speaking about the military-political situation in the region, the minister informed the guest about the occupation policy of Armenia.

    Hasanov said that Armenia continues its occupation policy.

    "As a result, the peaceful settlement of the conflict is being protracted," he said. "This has a negative effect on the situation in the region".

    The sides exchanged views on mutual interest in the development of relations between Azerbaijan and Japan in various fields.

    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.

    Edited by CN

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  • Special parking for European games built in Baku
    03.03.2015 15:58
    Stone curbs will be laid on the territory.

    Temporary parking area is now under construction on the territory of the "Koroglu" metro station.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to the press service of "Azeryolservis" of the Ministry of Transport that these platforms are designed for parking of buses that will transport athletes out of Athletes Village to sports arenas.

    In order to separate these grounds, stone curbs will be laid on the territory. Thus, the space for parking of buses going to the sports arena will be defined.

    It should be noted that this area will have a drainage system. In addition, the on-site work on the creation of light and other improvement works is envisaged.
  • PASHA Bank ready to expand Azerbaijani real sector support in terms of national currency adjustment
    03.03.2015 15:57
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar.3

    By Azad Hasanli - Trend:

    Adjustment of the manat exchange rate in Azerbaijan had no effect on the financial stability of PASHA Bank, despite the fact that 30 percent of the bank's loan portfolio is concentrated in a foreign currency, a member of the Board of the bank, Chief Investment Director Taleh Kazimov told Trend March 3.

    On February 16, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) decided to waive the peg of the manat to the US dollar and move to the two-currency basket using the US dollar and the euro when determining the rate of the manat.

    On February 21, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan established exchange rate of the manat to the US dollar at 1.05 manat per dollar (compared to 0.7844 manat earlier), which corresponds to the cheapening of the rate by 33.9 percent.

    "PASHA Bank has no problems due to the weakening of the manat exchange rate, and financial stability of the bank remained at the same high level as before," he said. "Given the situation, we see great potential for the development of our business. Now the bank seeks to reaffirm that it is financial partner of the real sector of Azerbaijan and, first of all, its customers. Having analyzed the situation and the effect of the weakening of the manat on business customers, we are going to take all possible measures to help them minimize the effect of the devaluation."

    Meanwhile, as Kazimov said, PASHA Bank is ready to become a partner for those who aren't yet the bank's customers.

    "Perhaps most of those out of PASHA Bank's customer base may face certain financial difficulties and here the bank, naturally, is ready to support local entrepreneurs," he said.

    "We, positioning ourselves as a strong sustainable partner for the country's corporate sector, stand ready to provide consulting support and business financing through a wide range of products and services," Kazimov added.

    Earlier, Fitch Ratings issued a report saying that the cheapening of Azerbaijani currency, the manat, will adversely affect the capitalization of the country's banking sector.

    Fitch said Azerbaijan's banks have a large number of loans in foreign currency and are subject to losses on short currency positions.

    Kazimov believes that the changes, taking place in Azerbaijan's economy, can bring some banks to the need to narrow down their operations in the market, and this in turn may affect certain areas of the real sector.

    Meanwhile, Kazimov believes that the current situation has opened more opportunities for investing in local production and developing export.

    "The government warned the population and the banks that the exchange rate [US dollar] will be rising, however, the agiotage and speculators speeded up this process," he said.

    The exchange rate of the US dollar has been strengthening from around 2006, which was promoting economic growth, said Kazimov. "However, taking into account all the macroeconomic changes observed in the global economy, the correction of the exchange rate of Azerbaijani manat is the most right decision, a kind of adjustment of the economic development model."

    Kazimov said that throughout this period, the banks didn't pave a way for the artificial reduction of the currency and offered the population dollars depending on the demand.

    Nevertheless, he doesn't think that the population's concerns are unfounded, since the issue is related to deposits. "But the government will support the further development of the country's economy and increasing the population's income as before."

    "Moreover, the depreciation of the Azerbaijani manat will help replenish the country's state budget [as a result of oil revenues]," he said. "This will allow the country to continue the planned investment programs. This will again have a positive impact on people's income.

    Kazimov reiterated that all these changes are the prospects for development and stimulate the banking sector and local business to carry out the work even better."

    "The country's economy has been strong enough for the last ten years," Kazimov said. "More opportunities have appeared for the development of local production and exports. This contributes to the diversification of the economy."

    There are 45 banks in Azerbaijan. PASHA Bank is a leading corporate bank in Azerbaijan. Founded in 2007, the bank renders a wide range of corporate banking services, including the issuance of loans, transactions on the securities market, asset management and treasury services. Around 329 people work in PASHA Bank, represented by its head office and nine business centers.

    The official exchange rate is 1.0496 AZN/USD on March 3.

    Edited by CN

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  • British company to use Azerspace-1
    03.03.2015 15:57
    British IBC will be the major broadcaster of the inaugural European Games.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to APA that the statement came from Minister of Communication and High Technologies Ali Abbasov at the meeting with the envoy for commercial issues of the British Premier Charles Hendry.

    "The decision regarding IBC was adopted long ago but the main thing is that while broadcasting the first European Games IBC will use four artificial satellites including Azerspace-1", Abbasov said.

    The minister added that the British company will use the Azerbaijani satellite for the first time.
  • U.S. welcomes call for disarmament of PKK
    03.03.2015 15:47
    The U.S. on Monday welcomed a call for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, to lay down its arms against the Turkish military Anadolu Agency reported

    Sirri Sureyya Onder, Deputy of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party, or HDP, announced Saturday that the PKK was invited by its imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan to meet in the spring to reach common ground on ending the more than 30-year fight.

    "We would welcome all steps in support of a peaceful resolution in this conflict and commend the efforts of both the government and all parties concerned to work towards a lasting peace," said State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf.

    "The solution process, which began with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's speech in Diyarbakir in 2005, has now taken a new shape," said Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, in reference to the then prime minister who spoke in the mainly Kurdish populated city and said more democracy, not more repression, was the answer to the conflict.

    The PKK has fought for an independent Kurdish state since 1984. Its attacks have claimed approximately 36,000 lives in Turkey.

    Turkey, the U.S. and the EU has designated the PKK a terrorist organization.

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  • Obama's remarks unacceptable- Iran's FM
    03.03.2015 15:46
    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dismissed US President Barack Obama's recent comments on Iran as unacceptable, stressing that Tehran will not give in to excessive demands by the other side in the nuclear negotiations, Iran's Press TV reported March 3.

    "It is clear that Mr. Obama's comments are meant to win the US public opinion and counter the propaganda campaign by the Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] and that of other radical parties opposed to the negotiations [over Tehran's nuclear energy program]," Zarif told reporters on Tuesday, describing the American president's latest remarks on Iran as "unacceptable."

    "The remarks by Mr. Obama clearly point to the fact that the US, which has over the past decades, either directly or indirectly threatened the Islamic Republic of Iran and imposed many cruel and illegal sanctions [against the country], has come to the conclusion that the policy of threats and sanctions is a failed policy," Zarif added.

    Iran's top diplomat further emphasized that neither threats nor sanctions could dent the country's determination to develop peaceful nuclear technology.

    Zarif said Iran entered into the talks with the P5 1 countries - the permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany - with an honest approach and will continue the negotiations to restore the Iranian nation's rights.

    Iran will not give in to excessive demands and irrational approaches by the opposite side, he stressed.

    On Monday, Obama said Iran should agree to freeze sensitive nuclear activity for at least 10 years, if it seeks a comprehensive final deal over its nuclear program.

    He defended the talks for an interim nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic, but said the odds are against the negotiations with Iran ending in an agreement.

    "If, in fact, Iran is willing to agree to double-digit years of keeping their program where it is right now and, in fact, rolling back elements of it that currently exist ... if we've got that, and we've got a way of verifying that, there's no other steps we can take that would give us such assurance that they don't have a nuclear weapon," Obama told Reuters.

    The US president also said that Netanyahu had been wrong when he opposed an interim nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5 1 group, adding that Iran has not advanced its program since the deal was inked between the two sides in November 2013.

    The US president also criticized a plan by lawmakers in the Senate to impose additional sanctions on Iran if no deal is reached by July 1.

    Iran and the P5 1 countries - Britain, France, China, Russia, and the United States plus Germany - have missed two deadlines since an interim deal was signed in November 2013. They have set July 1 as the next deadline for the talks.

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  • 1.6 million tons of Azerbaijani oil exported from Ceyhan port
    03.03.2015 15:24
    SOCAR exported 84 thousand 807 tons of crude oil from the Novorossiysk Port, 254 thousand 179 tons of crude oil from the Supsa Port, and 1 million 630 thousand 350 tons of crude oil from the Ceyhan Port in February 2015. In general, 254 thousand 314 tons of crude oil were exported from the Novorossiysk Port, 508 thousand 286 tons of crude oil - from the Supsa Port, and 3 million 328 thousand 118 tons of crude oil from the Ceyhan Port during January-February 2015. The indices of crude oil exported by SOCAR reflect the volumes of crude oil belonging to both State of Azerbaijan and SOCAR.
  • Energy, construction and more: Czech Republicв's big plans regarding Azerbaijan
    03.03.2015 15:24
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3

    By Azad Hasanli - Trend:

    The Czech Republic is interested in importing Azerbaijani oil, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic Jan Mladek told reporters in Baku on March 3.

    "One third of the oil delivered to the Czech Republic is produced in Azerbaijan, while the remaining part accounts for Russia," said the minister.

    "Import of Azerbaijani oil is very important for us, since we don't want to be dependent on one source and one supply route," Mladek added.

    Moreover, the minister said that the Czech Republic is ready to further develop and finance the joint projects with Azerbaijan. In particular, the Czech companies are ready to take part in the construction of metro stations in Baku, according to Mladek.

    While many countries are undergoing unstable economic situation, Azerbaijan remains a stable country and offers good opportunities for business development, said the Czech minister.

    He added that in general, there are great prospects for the development of Azerbaijani-Czech relations in various spheres.

    "Together with me, representatives of 40 Czech companies have arrived in Baku," said Mladek. "These companies are interested in developing the cooperation in many fields, for instance in the spheres of energy and agriculture."

    The Czech Republic doesn't export agricultural products, however, it supplies equipment for agriculture and food industry to other countries, according to the minister.

    Moreover, some Czech companies would like to deliver coaches, locomotives to Azerbaijan and take part in the road construction in this country, according to Mladek.

    The bilateral trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic reached 1.5 billion euros as of 2014, or 23 percent more than in 2013.

    The Czech Republic mainly imports Azerbaijani oil, while Azerbaijan imports industrial equipment and consumer goods from this country.

    Edited by SI


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  • Baku ready for Open Joint Azerbaijan Championship in Gymnastics
    03.03.2015 15:16
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    The Open Joint Azerbaijan Championship in Gymnastics will kick off in Baku on March 4.

    Some 133 gymnasts from 22 countries will compete for medals both in the all-around and individual events. The participants have already arrived in Baku.

    Such famous gymnasts as two-time World champion Yana Kudravceva (Russia), Olympic silver medalist Filip Ude (Croatia), Europe champion Alexander Shatilov (Israel) and others will join the event.

    The delegations said to be very satisfied with the facilities and manners of which they were received by Azerbaijan.

    They also underlined that Baku is changing every day and that they are very glad to visit the city.

    ''I am here for the third time and I can see that Azerbaijan has made big efforts in terms of sports development,'' said Croatian Mario Vuko, representative to the Technical Committee of the European Union of Gymnastics.

    ''Croatia is represented by our famous gymnast Ude. So, we are serious about upcoming start. The preparation to the European Games has been almost completed. I have no doubt that the Games will be held at high level. What about organization level, I can say that Azerbaijan will be number one in gymnastics soon,'' he said.

    ''We were in Baku last year,'' said Galina Marina from Latvia. ''Every time we are surprised at how everything is changing. Of course for the better. We see your sportsmen's improvement and development. I wish them good luck. The European Games is a very interesting event. In consideration of the conditions in Baku, we are looking at you with friendly envy.''

    The Russian gymnastics team arrived in Baku with a strong delegation including eight-time world champion Yana Kudravceva. Her coach Elena Karpushenko shared her feelings about upcoming championship and the European Games.

    ''We hope that this start will be more successful for us than the last ones,'' she said. ''I think that the European Games is a very interesting project and I am glad that such tournaments have already started to be held.''

    Elena said she loves Baku very much. ''We were in Baku on the previous European Championships,'' she noted. ''I respect the main coach of your national team, Marina Vasilyeva. I like her efforts, approach, and requirements. I was delighted with the performance of your junior team in Hungary.''

    The draw ceremony of gymnastics disciplines in the first Baku European Games will be held on March 3.

    The biggest sporting event in Azerbaijan's history, the Baku 2015 European Games will attract more than 6,000 athletes to represent 49 countries in 20 sports.

    There will be a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports. Eleven of the sports will offer qualification opportunities for the Rio Summer Olympics in 2016.
  • Russian oppositionist Nemtsov posthumously awarded Ukraineв's freedom order
    03.03.2015 15:06
    Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko posthumously awarded the late Russian oppositionist Boris Nemtsov the Order of Freedom, the RIA Novosti news agency reported March 3.

    Nemtsov, who in the past held several senior positions in the Russian government, and then became an oppositionist, was shot dead in central Moscow on Feb. 28.

    "For him, freedom was a universal value, which knows no state borders and any other boundaries ... He fought for the freedom of Ukraine and the freedom of Russia. That is why I decided to reward Boris Yefimovich [Nemtsov] with the Order of Freedom," Poroshenko said via Facebook.

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  • Czech Republic interested in purchasing Azerbaijani gas
    03.03.2015 14:58
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3

    By Azad Hasanli - Trend:

    The Czech Republic is interested in the long-term gas supplies from Azerbaijan, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic Jan Mladek said on March 3.

    He made the remarks during the Azerbaijani-Czech business forum in Baku.

    Mladek said that Azerbaijan accounted for around one third of the Czech Republic's oil import in 2014.

    Talking about the interests of the Czech Republic in purchasing Azerbaijani gas, he added that in this regard, the project for construction of the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline is very important.

    Furthermore, Mladek said that taking into account the failure of Nabucco and South Stream projects and that the implementation of the Turkish Stream project will take quite some time, currently, TANAP is the most real project in this sphere.

    Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for EU. This project envisages the delivery of gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas and condensate field to Europe.

    As part of the second stage of the field's development, gas will be exported to Turkey and European markets by expanding the South Caucasus gas pipeline and the construction of TANAP and Trans-Adriatic (TAP) gas pipelines.

    During the talks in Turkey on Dec.1, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the closure of the project for construction of South Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Bulgaria.

    Immediately after this, a new Turkish Stream project was initiated. This project is designed for Turkey and consumers of EU countries which will be able to get the desired volume of gas from the trading hub on Turkish-Greece border.

    Edited by SI


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  • Allies: Nemtsovв's death irreparable loss for Russian opposition
    03.03.2015 14:58
    Allies of killed politician Boris Nemtsov praise him as a reformer, and say his death is an irreparable loss for the opposition.

    Politician Boris Nemtsov will go down in history as a reformer, said Mikhail Kasyanov, co-chairman of liberal democratic political party RPR-Parnas and former Russian prime minister, ITAR TASS reports.

    "A successful governor became a successful senior government official, vice premier and reformer," Kasyanov said.

    Former co-chairman of the party, Vladimir Ryzhkov, said it was an irreparable loss for the opposition. "An awful political murder of national scope, tremendous pain, shock and fear," he said about the killing. "He was an absolute leader, it is impossible to replace him," he added.

    Presidential envoy to the State Duma Garry Minkh said Boris Nemtsov was a creative mind who loved Russia.

    Nemtsov's death became an "irreparable loss," Minkh said. At his state positions and in political parties, Nemtsov "created something new," he added.

    "Boris loved Russia," Minkh stressed, expressing condolences to Nemtsov's family and friends.

    Nemtsov, co-chair of RPR-Parnas and lawmaker at the Yaroslavl city duma, was killed as he was crossing Moskvoretsky Bridge in view of the Kremlin overnight to Saturday.

    The funeral for the opposition politician will take place on March 3, he will be buried at Moscow's Troyekurovskoye cemetery.
  • Gates named world's richest person
    03.03.2015 14:51
    Bill Gates has retained his title as the worldв's richest person, an American business magazine said Monday, SIA informs citing AA.

    The fortune of the Microsoft co-founder grew $3.2 billion since last year to $79.2 billion, according to Forbes' list of 2015's richest people.

    Gates has held the title for 16 of the past 21 years.

    The magazine said there is now a record 1,826 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $7.05 trillion. The figure topped 2014's record-breaking $6.4 trillion sum by $650 billion.

    The list included 290 newcomers, 71 of whom are from China.

    Also in the top five are Mexican entrepreneur Carlos Slim Helu ($77.1 billion), American investor Warren Buffett ($72.7 billion), Spanish fashion mogul Amancio Ortega ($64.5 billion) and Oracle Corporation founder Lanai Larry Ellison ($54.3 billion).

    At $33.4 billion, Facebookв's Mark Zuckerberg moved up 5 spots to number 16, his first time ranking among the worldв's 20 richest.

    Arguably the most renowned newcomer in the list is basketball legend Michael Jordan, with a net worth of $1 billion.

    Most of Jordanв's wealth comes from his Nike subsidiary -- Brand Jordan -- and his stake in the NBA team Charlotte Hornets, according to Forbes.
  • Armenia's international reserves see drastic fall
    03.03.2015 14:43
    /By AzerNews/

    By Mushvig Mehdiyev

    Armenia's declining economy continues to take its toll on the country's international currency reserves, proved the statistical data as demonstrated by a sharp drop.

    Volume of Armenia's international reserves stood at $1.351 billion late this January, according to a statistical data published by the Central Bank.

    It was reportedly registered as a new anti-record in the history of the post-Soviet nation's economy - foreign reserves hit their lowest point over the last six years.

    Armenia's international currency reserves have slipped below the red economic line back in 2009 when the country found itself in a deadlock over the overwhelming fall of its industry sectors.

    The Bank announced that it doesn't exclude the possibility of the current anti-record's renewal in the upcoming years considering the existing pace of decrease in reserves.

    For instance, Armenia's gross international reserves were calculated at $1.489 billion in last December, that is to say the reserves dropped by $138 million or 10 percent in just over a month.

    The tragic indicator is observed while comparing the international reserves this January to the same month last year - the reserves lost $90 million or 40 percent of its volume over a year, noted Haykanak Zhamanak, a local newspaper.

    Year-on-year statistical data on Armenia's foreign exchange reserves reveal that the country has fallen way past its red line over the past years, as Armenia has failed to follow suit on already internationally proven and accepted monetary policies in view of the negative balance between its international reserves and national imports.

    Foreign reserves suffered a loss of some $500 million in November last year when a 25 percent decrease slashed one four of the gross reserves.

    Through 2014, Armenia's international gross reserves shrank by 33.8 percent or $762.3 million to $1.489.3 billion, wrote the local media outlet Arka.

    Some experts, including Vaah Khachatryan, believe that it is a serious blow on Armenia's credibility. Eventually, Armenia will be recognized as an insolvent county, which could force the international organizations or countries, which are in a financial relations with Armenia, to cut their ties with the country.

    Sergey Gerasimchuk, a Ukrainian economic analyst, said Armenia could avoid a deep crisis in a short-term perspective inspired by its partnership with Russia under the Eurasian Economic Union.

    "But the Russian and Eurasian integration projects are not guaranteed to be successful as Russia is facing such a tough economic crisis. Moreover, serious disagreements within the EEU pose an overt threat to Yerevan's interests," the expert noted.

    The Bank of America's Merill Lynch reported that since Armenia has joined the Russia-led EEU trade bloc, its economy faces increased exposure. Any negative economic development in Russia, the flagman of the union, will directly impact other member-states, including Armenia.

    Alongside the shrinking international reserves, Armenia is also grappling with a skyrocketing public debt, the latest report by the National Statistical Service showed. Government debt of the post-Soviet nation surged to $4.44 billion in 2014, according to a very recent report of the National Statistics Service.
  • Zakir Hasanov meets Ambassador of Japan
    03.03.2015 14:43
    An exchange of views took place.

    On March 3, Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov received Tsuguo Takahashi, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan.

    Oxu.Az reports citing the Defense Ministry that at the meeting Zakir Hasanov gave detailed information about the military-political situation in the region and stressed that Armenia continues its aggressive policy, thereby delaying the achievement of peace, which has a negative impact on the overall situation in the region.

    The sides held an exchange of views on the expansion of ties between the two countries in various fields.
  • 7 killed, 33 injured
    03.03.2015 14:26
    At least seven people were killed and 33 others were wounded Monday in several bomb attacks across Baghdad, security sources said, SIA informs citing the AA.

    Officials said two people were killed and six others were injured after an explosion near a football field in al-Husayniyah in northern Baghdad, while one person was killed and nine were injured after a bomb went off near a shop in al-Mashtal district.

    Also, one person was killed and five were wounded in a bomb attack near a market place in al-Dawra district.

    At least two people were killed and 10 others were injured in an explosion in central Baghdad.

    Officials also said at least one person was killed and three others were injured after a handmade bomb exploded on the roadside in the Abu Ghraib area on the outskirts of Baghdad.

    Meanwhile, three unidentified male bodies shot in the chest were found in Baghdadв's southern suburb of Yusufiya, according to security sources.

    Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had lifted Baghdadв's eight-year curfew on Feb. 7.

    Iraq has been gripped by a security vacuum since June 2014 when Daesh (an Arabic acronym for ISIL) militants stormed the northern province of Mosul and declared a self-styled caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.
  • Azerbaijani boxers win 3 medals at Strandja tournament
    03.03.2015 14:18
    Azerbaijani boxers have claimed three medals, including two gold medals in the 66th Traditional International Strandja Tournament, in Sofia, Bulgaria.

    The gold medals came from Elvin Isayev weighing in at 60kg and Lorenzo Sotomayor at 64kg, AzerTag reports.

    In the women`s event Elena Vistropova gained silver medal in the 64kg weight division.

    The tournament brought together 221 boxers from 35 countries.
  • TAP invites companies to pre-qualify for offshore construction and line pipes
    03.03.2015 14:11
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3

    By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

    Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG (TAP) has launched two pre-qualification contracts for the construction of the 105 km offshore pipeline section under the Adriatic Sea. The greatest depth the pipeline will be laid is 820 meters.

    The first pre-qualification comprises Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Installation (EPCI) works for the offshore section of the 36 inch pipeline between the coastlines of Albania and southern Italy. The EPCI scope of work includes associated landfall civil works at the landfalls in both Albania and Italy, as well as survey, seabed and pre-commissioning activities.

    The second pre-qualification process is for supply of offshore line pipes and coating. The scope of work is divided into three lots.

    Specific details of the contract notices can be found in the Supplement of Official Journal of the EU - Tenders Electronic Daily (TED): link to EPCI offshore installation notice and link to offshore line pipe supply.

    Knut Steinar Kvindesland, Procurement Director at TAP said: "I am delighted to invite companies - including those from TAP's host countries - to submit expressions of interest in line with the pre-qualification documentation now available on TED. The selection of potential suppliers will remain rigorous, with particular emphasis on meeting Health, Safety and Environment standards and a proven commitment to TAP's zero harm policy."

    Following the selection stage, TAP aims to issue the related Invitations to Tender (ITT) for offshore construction by May 2015. TAP's shareholding is comprised of BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Statoil (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), Enagaacute;s (16 percent) and Axpo (five percent). Construction of TAP is planned to begin in 2016.

    The initial capacity of TAP will be 10 billion cubic meters per year, but it can easily be expanded to 20 billion cubic meters per year as the new volumes of gas come on stream.

    The first sales of gas to be produced within the second stage of Shah Deniz field development to Georgia and Turkey are targeted for late 2018, first deliveries to Europe will follow approximately a year later.

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  • Azerbaijan plans to become IT developed country
    03.03.2015 13:56
    /By AzerNews/

    By Nigar Orujova

    In our century of advanced technology, development of high technology has become a number one priority around the world and natural resources-rich Azerbaijan is no exception.

    The countryв's oil and gas revenues have been utilized to develop and promote high tech development for years, in order to diversify the economy and reveal talents.

    Innovative projects are clear indicators of the country's development. Soon Azerbaijan will be able to join the ranks of countries with advanced IT-industry.

    Azerbaijan is now investing in hardware and software production as well as IT-services.

    At the hardware level, the country has Kur plant for computer equipment production, which will soon produce computer equipment for Acer Inc., Taiwanв's multinational hardware and electronics corporation.

    The software sector includes start-ups, which are being financed by the State Fund for Information Technologies Development. The Fund has allocated 4.6 million manats for financing IT-projects in Azerbaijan in 2014.

    IT-industry also provides for the strengthening of local companies' export potential. Today, Azerbaijan's export potential in high-tech is very small about approximately $52 million.

    Cooperation in between local companies and international vendors is today a top priority since it may lead to the expansion of Azerbaijani companies toward foreign markets.

    The basis for IT business development in Azerbaijan will become the High Tech Park, which filial will cover the country.

    The park is expected to be created in two years, during this time, the filial will work in the fourth largest city Mingachevir and third largest city Ganja.

    High technology is developing at Mingachevirв's Kur plant for production of computer equipment.

    Moreover, the Mingachevir High Tech Park was established in February. The high-tech park has been equipped and organized in such a way that it will promote research and development work, ultimately leading to the commercialization of new products and high tech applications.

    In Baku, the High Tech Park is currently under construction in a 50 hectares land area in the Pirallahi district.

    This facility will also be equipped with all the necessary infrastructure, logistics and governing entities, thus enabling engineers to conduct research in ICT, telecommunications and space use, energy efficiency, and the development of new and high technologies.

    Residents and companies operating in the park will be exempt from VAT (18 percent) on all imported infrastructural and technological goods and services.

    Business Incubation Center is also functioning in the capital. The facility provides participants with computer equipment, internet access as well as with other the necessary support. The next step of the project developed at the center is the High-Tech Park.

    Another achievement of the country is Azercosmos space agency, which currently operates three satellites - one telecommunication and two low orbit - and plans to launch another telecommunication satellite in 2017.

    To manage and further develop these prominent achievements, the country is also in need of specialists. The hope remains on the Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Education.

    The country also plans to attract newly taught specialists not to allow the brain drain, which was significant in the end of 20th century.

    A favorable business environment to interest large businesses is needed for further expansion of these initiatives.
  • Azerbaijani largest bank to avoid losses as consequence of manat rate depreciation - Fitch
    03.03.2015 13:56
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3

    By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

    International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA, BB/Stable/b-) will probably need further support, in addition to that already received, to offset the impact of the depreciation of the manat and restore its capital ratios, Fitch Ratings says.

    "However, we expect capital contributions and/or continued regulatory forbearance to be forthcoming, and hence do not anticipate negative rating action as a result of the weakening of the bank's solvency," the agency said.

    Such an increase in risk-weighted assets would also mean that the regulatory total capital ratio could have fallen below the 12% minimum level (from 12.02% at end-2014); this was partially offset by capital support in the form of AZN250m of subordinated debt received on 27 February from the Central Bank (CBA). In addition, the bank obtained a one-year waiver from the CBA, allowing its regulatory capital adequacy ratio (CAR) to fall to 10%.

    Management has also informed Fitch that the bank will accelerate a new AZN100m equity issue, with AZN50m of this expected to be contributed by the Ministry of Finance in March.

    This issue will be made within the framework of the bank's AZN500m recapitalisation programme, adopted in 2013, under which AZN200m had been received by end-2014. In addition, a shareholders meeting on 2 April will discuss a potential further common share issue. In case of any delay with the contribution of new capital, Fitch would expect that regulatory forbearance to support IBA's compliance with local capital requirements would be extended, the statement says.

    Fitch does not expect IBA to record any significant losses as a direct result of depreciation as the bank reportedly closed out its short open currency position (which was a large USD1.4bn, equal to 1.3x equity, at end-2014) in January and February. However, the position was closed by the conversion of about 17% of the bank's loan book from AZN to USD, which has resulted in significantly higher portfolio dollarisation.

    IBA's 'BB' Long-term Issuer Default Rating and senior debt rating reflect the moderate probability of support from the Azerbaijani authorities, in case of need, given IBA's high systemic importance.

    At the same time, failure to provide timely assistance to the bank could put downward pressure on the ratings.

    Fitch does not anticipate that the additional capital pressure resulting from AZN depreciation and the higher proportion of foreign currency lending will by themselves be sufficient to warrant a downgrade of the VR.

  • Azerbaijan's first news agency marks 95th anniversary
    03.03.2015 13:47
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sara Rajabova

    Azerbaijan`s first national news agency Azerbaijan State Information Agency AZERTAC, which is the countryв's only official source of information for local and foreign media, has celebrated the 95-year anniversary.

    Founded by the government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic on March 1, 1920, AZERTAC has gone through a difficult and glorious path. The agency was established as a branch of the TASS agency after the fall of the Democratic Republic. Throughout its history the agency has had its name changed seven times, and returned its historical name only in 1991 when Azerbaijan restored its independence.

    On the eve of the 95th anniversary of AZERTAC, President Ilham Aliyev signed executive orders to rename the agency and confer honorary titles and give awards to 13 employees of the agency.

    A solemn ceremony was held in Baku to mark the 95th anniversary of AZERTAC on March 2. The event was attended by participants of the meeting of the News Agencies World Council - NACO, heads and representatives of several foreign news agencies, state and government officials, MPs, media and NGO leaders.

    Aslan Aslanov, Director-General of AZERTAC said ''our event brings together very distinguished guests and acclaimed world media figures''.

    He noted that AZERTAC marks its 95th anniversary at a very remarkable point of time since the world has witnessed a fundamental transformation of the system of values in all spheres of life, changes in stereotypes, emergence of advanced information technologies and social media boom.

    ''What AZERTAC has achieved so far, particularly in terms of integration into the global information system was made possible thanks to our great leader Heydar Aliyev. We also feel this attention and care from distinguished President Ilham Aliyev, who is a friend of the media. The president has signed executive orders to rename the Agency, and confer honorary titles and give awards of Azerbaijan to 13 employees on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the agency. This is a source of great happiness for us,'' Aslanov said.

    He stressed that AZERTAC is the only agency in the country and the region that produces news in 7 languages and video news in 5 languages.

    ''And it`s no coincidence that Baku has brought together leaders of several key media organizations and news agencies from across two continents, outstanding figures that shape the global information policy, and we are very happy that our efforts are yielding fruits. We are committed to enriching this tradition in 2016-2019 when the agency will hold the chairmanship of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies - OANA and the News Agencies World Congress,'' Aslanov said.

    Ali Hasanov, the Azerbaijani President`s Assistant for Public and Political Affairs, for his part, said Azerbaijan was seriously preparing to host the 5th News Agencies World Congress in 2016.

    He praised AZERTAC`s role in creating the annals of Azerbaijani history, and promoting the country`s achievements in political, economic, cultural and other areas.

    On the sidelines of the event AZERTAC signed cooperation deals with Turkish Anadolu Agency and Slovenian Press Agency (STA), and a memorandum of understanding with Romania`s national news agency AGERPRES.

    Meanwhile, members of the NACO have gathered in Baku to discuss preparations for the 5th News Agencies World Congress that will be held in Baku in 2016.

    Aslanov said at the meeting that preparations were going on schedule. He assured the Council members that AZERTAC would do its utmost to ensure excellent organization of the News Agencies World Congress.

    Abdullah bin Fahd al-Hussein, the president of the News Agencies World Congress and the Saudi Press Agency praised preparatory work for the 5th Congress. He expressed SPA`s readiness to share its experience ''in any issue related to the organization of the Congress''.

    AZERTAC was chosen as the host of the 5th News Agencies World Congress and its president for the years 2016-2019 at the 4th Congress held in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, on November 20 last year. The Riyadh event was attended by heads of over 70 news agencies, OANA, EANA, FANA, IINA news alliances, Sky News Arabia, Los-Angeles Times, Guardian, BBC and famous MSN, Google, YAHOO internet corporations.

    AZERTAC has signed agreements and maintains successful cooperation with national news agencies of nearly 40 countries and with them it will ink several new cooperation agreements in the next couple of days.

    The agency is also expanding its foreign bureaus network and international cooperation. AZERTAC now has bureaus in 21 countries, which are the USA, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, China, Japan, Sweden, Romania, Latvia, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt, Turkey, Georgia, Iran, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Its offices in Azerbaijan cover all regions of the country.
  • Japanese farmers create eggs that smell like citrus fruit
    03.03.2015 13:31
    Only in Japan can you find strange foods likeВ garlic flavored cola,В deep-fried maple leaves, andВ delicious water cake, but citrus-scented eggs are pretty strange, even by its standards. And yet theseВ fruit-smelling eggs do exist thanks to a producer in Kochi Prefecture, in the southwest corner of Shikoku island.

    The special eggs, called 'yuzu tamaв', supposedly smell and taste like yuzu '" one of Japanв's most loved citrus fruits. A yuzu looks like a wrinkly cross between a lemon and an orange and tastes like a combination of grapefruit and mandarin. It grows in abundance in Kochi and is used widely in Japanese cuisine.

    Surprisingly, the yuzu tama donв't contain any chemical additives or flavorings. They are produced merely by feeding chickens copious amounts of yuzu peel, along with kale, non-GMO corn and sesame seeds. The resultant eggs donв't look very different from regular eggs, but they supposedly smell tantalizingly citrusy, even before theyв're cracked open.

    According toВ RocketNews24, ''cracking one of the eggs open releases more of the yuzu aroma, enough that you might be wondering if there are any added scents or perfumes.'' They also mentionВ that the ''yolk has a mellow flavor, and the white has a great texture, not too soft and not too firm. And when you chew, thereв's this invigorating wave of yuzu aroma coupled with a refreshing citrus taste that spreads through your mouth. The yuzu flavor isnв't as powerful as the scent, and if anything, it helps to draw out more of the eggв's inherent rich sweetness.''

    Yuzu tama eggs are available at around 400 to 500 yen (US $3-4) for a six-pack. While theyв're most easily found in Kochi, there are a few Tokyo stores that stock them as well.

  • Best-dressed Oscars attendee
    03.03.2015 13:24
    Jennifer Lopez has been voted the best-dressed Oscars 2015 attendee by HELLO! readers. The 45-year-old dazzled on the Academy Awards red carpet in a pale pink embellished gown by red carpet king Elie Saab as she arrived for the ceremony in February. The stunning gown, which featured sparkling embellishment as well as a plunging neckline for ultimate evening glamour, saw Jennifer taking 17 per cent of the vote and being crowned the best-dressed star of the evening.
  • Georgian PM mulls economic processes with IMF mission
    03.03.2015 13:16
    Tbilisi, Georgia, March 3


    Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and representatives of a mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mulled the economic processes and activities planned by Georgian government, Georgia Online reported March 3.

    The parties also discussed the situation in the region, and the factors that have affected the country's economy, Georgia Online said citing the prime minister's press service.

    Reportedly, during the meeting it was noted that as part of the mission, risk analysis and assessment of current economic processes and macroeconomic parameters would be carried out jointly with Georgia's government and national bank.

    IMF in July 2014 approved a three-year program to lend Georgia some 100 million special drawing rights (SDR, equal to about $154 million) through the Stand-by-Arrangements.

    The first tranche allocated immediately stood at $62 million.

    The program is aimed at reducing macroeconomic risks, supporting economic growth and the economy's durability to external impacts.

    IMF completed in December 2014 the first review of economic indicators of Georgia on the three-year program.

    The program's completion made it possible to provide Georgia with the second tranch of 40 million SDR (about $58.1 million) through the Stand-by-Arrangements.

    Following this the total allocated funds reached 80 million SDR ($116.3 million).

    Edited by CN

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  • Brent crude up $1 to over $60.50
    03.03.2015 12:52
    Brent crude oil prices rose more than a dollar to above $60.50 a barrel on Tuesday, tracking firmer Asian markets, but analysts warned the market remained oversupplied.

    Most Asian stock markets edged up on Tuesday, bolstered by a record day on Wall Street, while a resurgent yen helped knock the U.S. dollar index off an 11-year high, making commodities priced in the greenback slightly cheaper for holders of other currencies.

    Data showing China's January crude oil throughput climbed 0.6 percent on year to 39.35 million tonnes, or 9.27 million barrels per day, also supported the oil market.

    Front-month Brent futures LCOc1 were trading up $1 at $60.54 a barrel by 0632 GMT, just off the day's high of $60.74. U.S. WTI futures CLc1 were up 42 cents to at $50.01 a barrel.

    A drop in U.S. rig counts is also boosting oil prices, analysts said.

    "Brent crude prices (are) attempting to rally on rapid week-on-week reduction in U.S. ... rig count," Morgan Stanley said on in a note on Tuesday.
  • Armenia's international reserves reduced to record level '" newspaper
    03.03.2015 12:51
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3


    The volume of Armenia's international reserves amounted to $1.351 billion in January 2015, Panorama reported referring to Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper.

    "Apparently, this is a new anti-record," the newspaper reported. "Armenia's international reserves have reached the lowest level for six years, the Central Bank's official statistics says. Armenia's international reserves hit $1.258 billion in 2009. Armenia's international reserves reduced by $900 million (40 percent) compared to January 2014."

    Edited by CN

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  • Iran wants arrested Jundullah commander to be extradited
    03.03.2015 12:43
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 3

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Iran's Interior Ministry has asked the Foreign Ministry to return Abdul Salam Rigi, the senior most commander of Jundullah group, who has been arrested by Pakistani forces, back to Iran through diplomatic measures.

    Hossein Ali Amiri, Iranian deputy interior minister, said that the interior minister has sent a letter to the foreign minister in this respect, Iran 's IRIB reported on March 3.

    "We are ready to receive the terrorist as soon as possible and start legal and judicial measures to try him in the country. Legally, the Islamic Republic of Iran has the right to try him."

    He appreciated the government of Pakistan for arresting Rigi, adding that the measure was in line with a security agreement that was signed by the two countries in autumn.

    Pakistani security forces arrested Abdul Salam Rigi on the outskirts of Quetta Feb. 28. The Jundullah commander was taken into custody in the Lak Pass area, security sources told The Express Tribune.

    Rigi was the senior most commander of Jundullah after the capture and subsequent execution of the group's former chief Abdolmalek Rigi by the Iranian government in 2010. The Jundullah group, which is based in Iran 's southeastern Sistan and Baluchestan province, has been blamed for some of the terrorist attacks in Iran.

    Edited by CN

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  • Negotiation is only way to resolve Iran в's nuclear issue-Zarif
    03.03.2015 12:43
    '« '¬'¬

    '¬Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar.3

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Negotiation is the only way to resolve Iran 's nuclear issue.

    Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said there is no way but negotiation to resolve the nuclear issue, Iran 's IRIB reported on March 3.

    "The two sides managed to clarify some issues or find solutions for some problems. This round of talks will provide us with the opportunity to talk about other issues such as possible ways to lift the sanctions promptly."

    Iran and six powerful countries called the Group P5 1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany ) started a new round of talks on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program March 2.

    The sides wrapped up four days of intense talks on Feb. 23, after which they maintained that great steps had been taken toward reaching a final agreement.

    The talks between Iran and the P5 1 were extended until June 30, 2015 to reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement. However, the sides attempt to reach a political accord in March.

    After the parties failed to meet the November 24, 2014 deadline they also extended the Geneva nuclear deal, which was signed in November 2013 for providing Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities.

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  • SOCAR increases price of fuel sold abroad
    03.03.2015 12:38
    The company has disseminated an information.

    SOCAR will reduce the amount of diesel fuel sold abroad, but increased the amount of jet fuel, Oxu.Az reports with reference to the State Oil Company.

    According to SOCAR, in February 54 070 tons of diesel fuel and 16 478 tons of aviation fuel were exported.

    It should be noted that 111,157 tons of diesel fue, 15 991 tons of aviation fuel and 178 tons of fuel oil were exported in January 2015.

    In general, 165 227 tons of diesel fuel, 32 470 tons of aircraft fuel and 178 tons of fuel oil were exported in January-February 2015.

    The company raised the price of fuel sold in February:

    So, from February 2015 the world market price on leaded petrol (per 1 ton) was 572.95 dollars, jet fuel - 575.60 dollar, diesel fuel - 539.09 dollar, 1% sulfur fuel oil - 314.04 dollars.

    It should be noted that in January 2015 the price of leaded petrol in the world market (for 1 ton) was $ 467.99, jet fuel - $ 494.90, diesel fuel - $ 449.45, 1% sulfur fuel oil - $ 252.36.
  • Nemtsov to be buried in Moscow
    03.03.2015 12:36
    The funeral for Boris Nemtsov is set to take place in Moscow.

    APA reports quoting Russian media that a memorial service will also take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Sakharov Center.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called the killing a "provocation" to destabilize the country, will not attend. Instead, he is sending his representative in parliament, Garry Minkh.

    Nemtsov will be buried at the Troyekurovskoye cemetery at his family's request.

    The Russian opposition leader was gunned down on a bridge near the Kremlin late on February 27.
  • US Congress commemorates the Khojaly genocide
    03.03.2015 12:36
    The US-based Assembly of Friends of Azerbaijan (AFAZ) has organized a special event in Washington in order to commemorate the victims of the Khojaly massacre and demand justice for this tragedy.

    Congressman Donald M.Payne, Jr of New Jersey made a speech at the event:

    "Mr.Speaker, I rise today for very important reasons. First, I would like to commemorate the tragedy that took place in Khojaly, Azerbaijan, where on February 25, 1992, 23 years ago, 444 mostly elderly men, 106 women and 63 children were brutally killed. Please join me in recognizing the horrific atrocities that took place during the month of February in Khojaly, Azerbaijan.

    Secondly, I would like to recognize the night of January 19, 1990 as lsquo;Black January'. On this day, 26,000 Soviet troops invaded the capital city of Baku and surrounding areas. By the end of the following day, more than 130 people had died, 611 were injured, 841 were arrested and 5 were missing. This event is memoralized as lsquo;Black January', and, for the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan this event left an indelible mark on their minds and hearts.

    Although Azerbaijan thrives today, the people of Azerbaijan recognize those who lost their lives in Black January, 1990, and honor their sacrifice through their commitment to the ideals of democracy.

    Mr.Speaker, Azerbaijan is a strong ally of the United States in a strategically important and complex region of the world. I ask my colleagues to join me and our Azerbaijani friends in commemorating the tragedy that occurred in the town of Khojaly as well as Black January".

    Congressman Pete Olson of Texas also spoke at the event:

    "Mr.Speaker, I rise today to again ask my colleagues to join me in remembering the devastating atrocities that took place in Azerbaijani town of Khojaly on February 26, 1992. Thanks to Armenian and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) forces over the course of 22 hours, 613 civilian lives were lost. Innocent children, women and elderly men were brutally murdered.

    Since this tragedy took place in the early 1990's, Azerbaijan has worked to heal and become a successful country, with a booming economy. As a result, the economy of Azerbaijan is the fastest growing among the CIS states. In the turbulent geopolitical region, Azerbaijan is a reliable partner of the United States. Moreover, Azerbaijan is a close ally and trade partner with another strong American ally-Israel-in the region.

    Mr.Speaker, we must stand close by our allies. That is why I urge my colleagues to recognize the human tragedy that occurred in Azerbaijan 23 years ago. Please, join me and all of our Azerbaijani friends in commemorating the lives lost during the Khojaly massacre".

    A number of events to commemorate victims of Khojaly were held in numerous countries of the world. Thus, the Khojaly awareness campaign was launched by Azerbaijan America Alliance on the initiative of its founder Anar Mammadov in New York and Washington.

    Hundreds of ads under the heading "Justice for Khojaly ... The Human Tragedy against Azerbaijan" observed a Khojaly mobile projection on buildings within this campaign in the politically and strategically important city buildings located in the United States.

    Statistical figures about the tragedy were graphically displayed on buildings located in the central streets.

    The important step within the education campaign on this tragedy was a protest march held on February 23. More than100 US protesters went in the streets of Washington to show their attitude to the Khojaly genocide. "Walking Billboard" is very effective in promoting a campaign, especially in areas where there are many pedestrians. This type of a campaign is mostly held in the areas with no cars and other vehicles.

    The protesters held a rally on the 23rd anniversary of Khojaly genocide chanting slogans with the words of "Justice for Khojaly" and with posters reflecting information about the Khojaly genocide in central streets which drew the attention of people.

    The Azerbaijan America Alliance, founded in May 2011, is a non-partisan, non-profit organization which seeks to develop closer Azeri-American bonds through.

    The mission of the Alliance is to foster an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect between the people of Azerbaijan and America. Through academic discussion, cultural programming, and political discourse, the Alliance aims to become the premier organization dedicated to promoting a lasting partnership between Azerbaijan and America.
  • Slovenia, Azerbaijan to mull development of bilateral ties
    03.03.2015 12:20
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sara Rajabova

    A Slovenian delegation has arrived in Azerbaijan to discuss development of ties in different fields.

    The delegation led by Mitja Bervar, the president of the Sloveniaв's National Council arrived on a visit to Azerbaijan on March 2.

    Ziyafet Asgarov, the first vice-speaker of Azerbaijani Parliament and other officials welcomed Bervar at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport.

    The goal of the visit is to contribute to the development of bilateral relations between the two countries in the sport, culture, information, economy and other fields, Bervar told journalists.

    He is expected to have a number of meetings in the Azerbaijani capital.

    Slovenia recognized Azerbaijanв's independence in December, 1991 and diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in February, 1996.

    The trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $15 million in 2014.
  • Iran-US nuclear talks enter second day
    03.03.2015 12:19
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3

    By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

    The second round of Iran-US negotiations over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program started in Montreux, Switzerland on March 3.

    Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his US counterpart John Kerry are heading the negotiations in this round of talks.

    The Iranian team remains unchanged from the last round of talks which was held in February in Geneva.

    In addition to high-ranking diplomatic officials, Iran and the US are also bringing their nuclear energy chiefs to the negotiations to cover the technical side.

    Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz as well as Iranian deputy foreign ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht Ravanchi and Hossein Fereydoun, the younger brother of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani ad his special aid have participated in the talks, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported March 3.

    The US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Helga Schmid, deputy EU foreign Policy chief also attended this round of talks.

    First round of the ongoing nuclear talks among Iranian, US and EU negotiators was held in presence of Iranian and US deputy foreign ministers, Araqchi and Takht Ravanchi and Sherman as well as deputy EU foreign policy chief, Helga Schmid on March 2 evening.

    Salehi and Moniz also held talks over technical details in Montreux, at the same day evening.

    Iran and the P5 1 (the US, the UK, Russia, China, France and Germany) are aiming to reach a political understanding by March 31 in the run-up to a comprehensive deal by July 1 deadline.

    After the sides failed to meet the November 24, 2014 deadline they also extended the Geneva nuclear deal, which was signed in November 2013 to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities.

    The US and its Western allies suspect Iran of developing a nuclear weapon - something that Iran denies.

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  • Kazakh Samruk-Energy to decrease investments by 23 percent in 2015
    03.03.2015 12:11
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 27

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    Kazakh Samruk-Energy company plans to decrease investments by 23 percent or 28.146 billion tenge (185.05 tenge =$1) in 2015, the company said on Feb. 27.

    The operating expenses will be decreased by 6 percent or 10.824 billion tenge.

    The optimizations of the costs will be done in line the presidential order due to the negative outlook for the economic situation in 2015.

    However the Samruk-Energy will not decrease investments in the projects implementing within the State Program for Forced Industrial and Innovative Development, Nurly Zhol development program and the objects for EXPO-2017 exhibitions.

    The company also does not plan to decrease the level of social provisions.

    "The number of jobs places in the group of companies of Samruk-Energy will not be decreased in 2015," the company said.

    Follow the author on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

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  • Turkish official accuses pro-Kurdish party of fueling ethnic conflict
    03.03.2015 12:11
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc accused the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party of inciting ethnic conflict, the Milliyet newspaper reported March 3.

    Earlier, the party's leader, Selahattin Demirtas called on Kurds to mass protests, accusing the Turkish government in using democratic solution to the Kurdish problem to gain votes in parliamentary election scheduled for June.

    Arinc said that Demirtas is insincere in matters related to the Kurdish problem.

    "Turkish authorities hope the Peoples' Democratic Party will not damage the process of democratic solution to the Kurdish problem," he added.

    The conflict between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which demands the creation of an independent Kurdish state, has continued for over 25 years and has claimed more than 40,000 lives.

    The UN and the European Union listed PKK as a terrorist organization.

    The process of democratic settlement to the Kurdish problem in Turkey kicked off in 2009, following which a part of the PKK militants left the country's territory and moved to the neighboring Iraq.

    Turkish authorities expect that the PKK militants will completely leave Turkey by March 21 this year.

    Edited by SI


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  • US Congress awaits divisive Netanyahu speech
    03.03.2015 12:10
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will escalate his campaign against U.S. President Barack Obama's Iran diplomacy on Tuesday in a speech to Congress whose staging has put unprecedented stress on the two leaders' already strained ties, Al Arabiya reported.

    Although cold-shouldered by the administration, Netanyahu has offered an olive branch, saying he meant no disrespect to Obama by accepting an invitation to address U.S. lawmakers that was orchestrated by the president's rival Republicans.

    As many as one-fifth of Democratic members plan to sit out the speech to protest what they see as a politicization of Israeli security, an issue on which Congress usually unites.

    The White House is wary of Netanyahu using the forum to lay bare the closed-door negotiations designed to curb Iran's nuclear drive.

    Obama on Monday appeared to wave off any prospect the bedrock U.S. alliance with Israel might be ruined by the rancor.

    "I don't think it's permanently destructive," Obama told Reuters in an interview. "I think that it is a distraction from what should be our focus. And our focus should be, lsquo;How do we stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?'"

    Netanyahu, who has played up his security credentials ahead of a closely contested March 17 election in Israel, has denied his speech would have any design other than national survival.

    "I plan to speak about an Iranian regime that is threatening to destroy Israel," he told the pro-Israel U.S. lobby AIPAC on Monday. "The last thing that I would want is for Israel to become a partisan issue, and I regret that some people have misperceived my visit here this week as doing that."

    He did not elaborate on the speech's content. One aide said Netanyahu would inform U.S. lawmakers of details on the nuclear talks in hope they would question the administration and thus defer a March-end target date for a framework deal with Iran.

    Israel believed members of Congress "do not necessarily know the details of the deal coming together, which we do not see as a good deal," the aide told reporters on condition of anonymity.

    Netanyahu wants the Iranians stripped of nuclear projects that might be used to get a bomb - something Tehran insists it does not want. Washington deems the Israeli demand unrealistic.

    Under a 2013 interim deal, the United States and five other powers agreed in principle to let Iran maintain limited uranium enrichment technologies. U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice argued on Monday that this commitment could not be undone.

    "As desirable as that would be it is neither realistic nor achievable," she told AIPAC, over cheers by some audience members supporting Netanyahu's hard-line tack on the Iran talks.

    "If that is out goal, our partners will abandon us and undermine the very sanctions we have imposed so effectively together," Rice added, urging U.S. lawmakers not to intervene.

    Congress, she said, "shouldn't play the spoiler now."

    A deal with Iran is far from guaranteed, given U.S. assessments that more than a decade of carrot-and-stick diplomacy with Iran might again fail to clinch a final accord.

    "I would say that it's probably still more likely than not that Iran doesn't get to yes," Obama told Reuters. "It is more likely that we could get a deal now than perhaps three or five months ago. But there are still some big gaps that have to be filled."

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  • Iran voices willingness to cooperate with Google
    03.03.2015 12:04
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sara Rajabova

    Iran is in talks with internet giant Google to facilitate its services in the Persian Gulf region.

    Nasrollah Jahangard, Iranв's deputy minister of telecommunications and information technology expressed on March 1 his countryв's readiness to cooperate with Google.

    The official was quoted by local media as saying that negotiations are underway with Google to establish a version of its servers in Iran.

    Forty million people out of a population of around 78 million use the internet in Iran.

    The authorities have regularly blocked access to networks including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter since protests against the disputed 2009 re-election of hardliner president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took place.

    Jahangard said Tehran is willing to cooperate with internet giants to provide services to national and even regional users. He added that since regional servers would be economically more feasible for the companies, Iran will seek the opportunity to cooperate with them in launching their servers in the country.

    ''This is a normal thing in the world and it will be economical for IT companies to be closer to their main clients,'' Fars news agency quoted Jahangard as saying.

    He added that similar talks are currently being carried out with several other major U.S. and European internet companies.

    Jahangard further said Iran is even willing to help internet companies like Google use its facilities by providing services to the countries of the region, as well.

    He, however, noted that the Islamic country will only allow internet firms such as Google to operate in the country if they respect its cultural rules.

    ''Iran will of course not interfere in the services of the companies but we want what they present in the Iranian market to be in line with Iranian laws,'' he added.

    Jahangard further emphasized that some non-American enterprises have reached advanced stages in talks to enter the Iranian IT market, adding that their names will be publicly announced once negotiations with them reach the final stages.

    On the other hand, he added that international sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program could ''create problems for American companies''.

    ''They are waiting for the international legal conditions to be cleared before they can operate conveniently in Iran but other companies outside the U.S. have come forward and started negotiations,'' Jahangard said.

    Since 2010, the Iranian government has been pursuing ways to replace Western Internet search engines with its own homegrown version and increasing control over Iranians' access to the World Wide Web.

    Mehdi Naghavi, manager of Iranian Internet search engine project, earlier said Iran ranks 6th worldwide for using Google search engine.

    Iran has long had a contradictory attitude toward the Internet. Access to sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube is blocked for most Iranians, but Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself joined Twitter and Facebook in 2009 and is now a prolific user of both.
  • Ilham Aliyev extends condolences to his Afghan counterpart
    03.03.2015 11:55
    President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has extended his condolences to Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Gani.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to the official website for the head of state that the letter reads:

    "Dear Mr.President,

    I am in a deep sorrow over the reports on numerous human losses and destructions resulting from a natural calamity which occurred in the northeast of your country.

    In connection with this tragedy I extend deep condolences to you, the families and relatives of the deceased, the entire people of Afghanistan and I wish the soonest recovery to the wounded and injured on behalf of myself and the people of Azerbaijan".
  • Armenian occupant dies in Karabakh
    03.03.2015 11:39
    One more Armenian occupant has died in Nagorno Karabakh.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to Armenian media that Arsen Karapetyan, born in 1995, died in the eastern directin of the front.

    According to Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry, on the night of March 3, Armenian armed forces fired at our positions a total of 66 times at different sections of the front.
  • Turkmen gas a step close to Europe
    03.03.2015 11:34
    /By AzerNews/

    By Gulgiz Dadashova

    Europe has intensified its energy dialogue with the Caspian littoral states - Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan amid worsening relations with Russia, in view of attracting energy-rich countries to secure the EU energy security.

    Since the first disruptions in gas supply last year, Europe has positioned the Southern Gas Corridor that will bring blue energy to Europe from the Caspian Sea region and potentially the Middle East as its priory focus.

    The final section of this network will be the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, but its origin may start not from the Shah-Deniz field of Azerbaijan but Turkmen fields joining the route with the Trans Caspian Pipeline.

    Ashgabat, which was quite doubtful over European direction of its gas exports, now seems to stand strong on the diversification of its export routes. Gazpromв's cutting its gas imports from Turkmenistan has forced Ashgabat to find new export markets and Europe does not want to miss such a chance.

    ''Together with the respective counterparts from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan the European Commission is looking into the possibility of holding a meeting in the trilateral format in the coming months,'' a source in the European Commission toldВ TrendВ on February 26.

    The Trans-Caspian pipeline project is regarded as the optimal option for delivering Turkmen gas to European markets. The project envisages the laying of around 300 kilometers long gas pipeline under the Caspian to the shores of Azerbaijan. Further Turkmen can be transported to Turkey which has mutual borders with European countries.

    The biggest obstacle to any deal between Turkmenistan and Europe on the Caspian gas supply could be Russia and Iran, while Azerbaijan- the initiator of the major energy projects in the region, favors the project.

    Turkmenistan, with its current export routes to Russia, China and neighboring Iran, pins great hopes on its giant natural gas reserves, the world's fourth largest.

    Turkmenistan is quite capable of providing the European market with necessary volumes of gas given abundant natural gas reserves and the opportunities of developing the export pipeline infrastructure, the Turkmen Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources reported on March 2.

    "A huge resource base of hydrocarbons onshore and offshore allows Turkmenistan to increase the exports of natural gas to the world markets, to develop the new routes of its exports in the eastern and the European directions," the statement read.

    Turkmenistan actively works to supply from 10 to 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year to the European market, the ministry reported, noting that the possibility of building the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline is being considered.

    The negotiations on this project implementation are being actively conducted at various levels with the European Union, the European Commission, certain other countries and companies.

    Azerbaijan and Turkey are among active supporters of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline that will eventually join the Southern Gas Corridor.

    Turkmenistan has signed an outline deal with Turkey to supply gas to a new pipeline that could help Europe reduce its dependence on the Russian gas imports. The two countries inked a framework agreement last November to supply gas to the proposed Trans-Anatolian natural gas pipeline project (TANAP).

    Meanwhile, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow is expected to visit Turkey on March 3, which experts forecast will mull energy exports to Europe.

    Europe, as a solid and big customer has its own preferences and as long as it seeks to diversify its energy sources the energy countries will step towards Europe.
  • Assets of Armed Forces Assistance Fund rise
    03.03.2015 11:33
    The assets of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces Assistance Fund have reached AZN 61,653,116.

    According to the Defence Ministry, capital assets of the Fund made 211,791 in US dollars, while the euro account made 593.

    The Armed Forces Assistance Fund was established under the order issued by the President of Azerbaijan on August 17, 2002.

    The Armed Forces Assistance Fund is formed on the basis of voluntarily donations of individuals and legal entities and at the expense of the other donations not prohibited by the laws of Azerbaijan.
  • Armenian soldier killed in occupied territories of Azerbaijan '" media
    03.03.2015 11:32
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3


    An Armenian serviceman, 22-year old Arsen Karapetyan was killed in the line of duty in the N-military unit situated in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan at night on March 3, Armenia Today agency reported.

    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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  • Obama to Congress: Not time to pass additional legislation on Iran
    03.03.2015 11:27
    Baku-APA. US President Barack Obama has threatened to veto legislation that would allow Congress to review of any agreement with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program,В Press TV.

    US President Barack Obama has threatened to veto legislation that would allow Congress to review of any agreement with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program,Press TVreported.

    "The President has been clear that now is not the time for Congress to pass additional legislation on Iran," US National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told the Washington-based newspaper The Hill on Saturday.

    "If this bill is sent to the President, he will veto it. We are in the final weeks of an international negotiation. We should give our negotiators the best chance of success, rather than complicating their efforts," she added.

    The White House comments came hours after some hawkish senators introduced a bill requiring Obama to submit the text of any deal to Congress. The legislation would also ban the White House from lifting any sanctions for a period of 60 days so that Congress could hold hearings and debate the deal.

    The measure dubbed the "Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015" was introduced on Friday by Senators Bob Corker, Robert Menendez, Lindsey Graham and Tim Kaine.

    Senators John McCain, Joe Donnelly, Marco Rubio, Heidi Heitkamp, Kelly Ayotte, Bill Nelson, Jim Risch, and Angus King co-sponsored the bill.

    It is not yet known when the bill would come to a vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The legislation is seen as a challenge to Obama's authority over a possible nuclear agreement with Tehran.

    Nuclear talks between representatives from Iran and the United States started on February 22 in the Swiss city of Geneva and the two sides held three rounds of talks in two days in an attempt to narrow differences ahead of a key July 1 deadline for reaching a comprehensive deal.

    The scale of Iran's uranium enrichment and the timetable for the lifting of anti-Iran sanctions are seen as major sticking points in the talks.

    Both the Iranian and US diplomats said some progress was made toward a final agreement.
  • Armenia breaks ceasefire with Azerbaijan over 60 times in a day
    03.03.2015 11:24
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3

    By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:

    Over the past 24 hours, the Armenian military 66 times violated ceasefire on various parts of contact line between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan said March 3.

    Armenian armed forces stationed on nameless heights in Krasnoselsk district of Armenia, opened fire on the positions of Azerbaijani military on nameless heights in Azerbaijan's Gadabay district.

    Azerbaijani military also came under fire from Armenian armed forces located near the Tapgaragoyunlu village of Goranboy district, Chilaburt, Chayli, Goyarkh villages of Terter district, Yusifjanli, Shikhlar, Shuraabad, Sarijali, Shirvanli villages of Aghdam district, Kuropatkino village of Khojavand district, Horadiz, Garakhanbeyli, Alkhanli, Ashagi Seyidahmadli villages of Fizuli district and the Mehdili village of Jabrail district.

    Armenians were also firing from positions on the nameless heights of Goranboy, Khojavand, Fuzuli and Jabrail districts.

    The opposing side was silenced with return fire.

    The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

    As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

    The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.

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

    Edited by SI

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  • Landmine blast injures 5 students in western Iran
    03.03.2015 11:23
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend:

    A landmine remaining from Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) blasted in Iran's western province of Ilam, injuring 5 students.

    Ilam's Education Department Director General Ali Beiranvand said that all of the students were boys of 7-12 years of age, Iran's IRNA news agency reported on March 3.

    One of the students reportedly injured his eyes, and was taken to a hospital for treatment, he said.

    Iran-Iraq war started in 1980 and lasted for eight years. During wartime, million hectares of western region lands were mined. Mine zones are currently being cleared in Iran. Iran says some 4.2 million hectares of Iran's western regions are a mine-affected area.

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  • Azerbaijan, UK create intergovernmental commission
    03.03.2015 11:17
    /By AzerNews/

    By Nigar Orujova

    Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom will further develop mutual relations through the creation of an intergovernmental commission on economic and trade cooperation.

    This was presupposed in a memorandum "On economic and trade cooperation between Azerbaijan and Great Britain" signed in Baku on March 2.

    The creation of the intergovernmental commission will expand cooperation between the two countries in the fields of economy and trade.

    The document was signed by Shahin Mustafayev, Economy and Industry Minister, and Charles Hendry, British Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

    "Activity of Azerbaijani organizations registered in the UK, training of Azerbaijani youth in the country, as well as ongoing activities contributes to the development of relations between the two countries," Mustafayev said.

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

    The minister noted that, "business is actively developing in the country and a number of entrepreneurs have turned to investors, thus expanding the activities of Azerbaijani companies in the UK."

    He also shared his thoughts on cooperation in the fields of tourism, environment, ICT, energy, agricultural production, investment, and participation of British companies in the industrial parks, including Sumgayit Chemical Industrial Park, etc.

    In his turn, Hendry said that an intergovernmental commission between Azerbaijan and Great Britain is important from the point of view of the development of relations between the entrepreneurs of the two countries and a close acquaintance of British companies with existing opportunities in Azerbaijan.

    The commission was also discussed at the meeting of Azerbaijanв's President Ilham Aliyev with Hendry.The head of state stressed the importance of developing cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom not only in energy sector, but also in economic, trade, investment and other fields.Azerbaijan wants the number of British companies operating in Azerbaijan to increase, President Aliyev said.
  • From Baku to Sumgait in just 40 minutes by train
    03.03.2015 11:08
    The railway line Baku-Sumgayit-Khirdalan will be upgraded.

    Probably many people remember that earlier the trains were operating on the Baku-Sumgayit road and many people made use of them.

    Oxu.Az reports citing xЙ™zЙ™rxЙ™bЙ™r that the overhaul of the passenger railway line Baku-Khirdalan-Sumgait starts tomorrow. This line will once again become one of the most popular upon the completion of the reconstruction.

    The railway line Baku-Sumgayit-Khirdalan will be upgraded. As a result of works on reconstruction the implementation of passenger transport between the two cities will be facilitated.

    Repair work will begin from the Gyuzdek station. The work on the reconstruction will start from Baku station and cover Keshla, Baladzhary, Khirdalan, Sumgait and Gyuzdek.

    Overhaul of the railway line is positively perceived by passengers daily moving on the Sumgait-Baku-Sumgait route.

    Overhaul of railway lines will be completed within 3 months.
  • Tajik Film Days due in Baku
    03.03.2015 11:08
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina NazarliВ 

    Azerbaijan will host Days of Tajik Films on March 9-14.

    This event to be organized by the Culture and Tourism Ministry will be held as part of the Action Plan between Azerbaijan and Tajikistan.

    To this end, a Tajik delegation of cinematographers including Nosir Saidov, the director of ''Tajikfilm'' film studio, PhD. Sadulla Rahimov, Tajik artist Sayram Isayeva, and others will visit Azerbaijan.The days will start with the film called ''Teacher'' by Nosib Saidov. The opening ceremony will take place on March 10 at 19:00 at the Nizami Cinema in Baku.

    As part of the six-day event some five feature films and five documentaries will be screened.

    The culture of the two peoples has similar life. The national music of the two countries has very close ties, including the Tajik classical music "Shashmaqom" and Azeri "Mugam" as well as music "Ashig" and Tajik "Falak" .

    Cooperation between the universities of the two countries is fruitfully developing contacts. Some Tajik students are studying in the leading higher educational institutions of Azerbaijan.

    The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992. The Azerbaijan Embassy in Tajikistan was opened in 2007. The Tajikistan Embassy in Azerbaijan was opened in 2008.
  • Romanian embassy organizes event on NATO-Azerbaijan ties
    03.03.2015 10:58
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sara Rajabova

    The Romanian embassy in Baku has organized a table on ''Strengthening NATO-Azerbaijan relations: perspectives and opportunities'' in its capacity of NATO Contact Point Embassy to Azerbaijan.

    The event that took part on March 2 was attended by officials of the North Atlantic Alliance, ambassadors, diplomats and military attaches from embassies of NATO countries in Baku.

    Opening the event, Daniel Cristian Ciobanu, Romanian ambassador to Azerbaijan highlighted the strategic character of the NATO-Azerbaijan partnership and the fact that cooperation between North Atlantic Alliance and Baku is actively developing.

    ''Azerbaijan is a reliable partner in a region of pivotal importance for Europeв's energy security. Cooperation brings mutual benefits and contributes to regional and Euro-Atlantic security. A significant dimension of NATO-Azerbaijan interaction is focused on training and education,'' Ciobanu said.

    NATO and Azerbaijan are actively cooperating on democratic, institutional, and military reforms, and enjoy practical cooperation in various areas. The cooperation plan between Azerbaijan and the NATO is set out in the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) on Azerbaijan.

    He underlined Romania, which has been the second country in the world to recognize independence of Azerbaijan, will further support the development of NATO-Azerbaijan partnership relations.

    Jean Dв'Andurain from NATO Headquarters informed about the latest developments in NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation, while Pavel Anastasov from NATO Headquarters presented the main elements of NATOв's training and education programs.

    Participants in the roundtable exchanged views on the positive experience of NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation.

    Azerbaijan and Romania have a long history of relations dating back to the 15th century.

    While the two sides enjoy good cooperation in multiple areas, the main focus has been on trade and energy links.

    Romania also has been a strong advocate of Azerbaijan's future membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), pointing out the strategic importance of the country for trade and shipping, particularly with a view towards Afghanistan.
  • Oligarchs in Armenia control levers of political power
    03.03.2015 10:51
    /By AzerNews/

    By Mushvig Mehdiyev

    Armenia is at the hands of powerful individuals, a famous British journalist at the Carnegie Endowment believes.

    "We can expect angry public voices to be heard in Armenia this spring," Thomas de Waal wrote in his report about the South Caucasus, hinting to a possible tug of political war.

    De Waal, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, specializing primarily in the South Caucasus region comprising of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, analyzed Armenia's gloomy political atmosphere in his recent report about the South Caucasus.

    De Waal insists that a political drama has played out in Armenia over the past two weeks in which leading oligarch and leader of the countryв's main alternative political party Gagik Tsarukyan first challenged President Serzh Sargsyan and then capitulated.

    De Waal believes that Tsarukyan's surrender was his plan to insure his business empire from a dangerous attack by the government.

    "It is to be assumed that the price of Tsarukianв's capitulation was that a threatened investigation into his monopolies will be called off," de Waal claimed.

    The Armenian leadership, de Waal said, should no longer fear a revolt of the oligarchs following the severe crackdown on Tsarukyan.

    "But Armenian population is indignant and less intimidated. Trust in politics as a whole has reached an all-time low in Armenia," he added, predicting a tense political days in the country in spring.

    Going on his opinion about the economy in Armenia, de Waal noted that Armenia had an overall weaker economy, heavily intertwined with Russia.

    "Its currency, the dram, has also weakened over the past year, but, ironically, the fact that it has devalued less than the ruble has had negative effects on Armenia, cutting Armenian exports to Russia and forcing thousands of migrant workers resident in Russia to come home," he added.

    Armenia's integration into the Eurasian Economic Union has got a bad mark also from de Waal, when he said the recent economic stagnation in the country was triggered as the government has yoked the country even more strongly to Russia by joining the EEU.

    Oligarchic economy in Armenia, as per de Waal thinking, is at the hands of powerful individuals, such as Tsarukyan, who dominate the economy and manipulate prices of key goods, buffering themselves against misfortune, such as a falling dram, and exposing the population to more misery.

    Referring to Armenian economist Garen Yegparian, de Waal noted that these tycoons in Armenia are privatizing the benefits and socializing the costs of the dramв's fluctuations in value.

    "They can do this because they also control the levers of political power, and make the rules to suit their own personal, not the countryв's and broad populationв's, interests,'' de Waal concluded in his opinion about Armenia's economic and political life.

    Armenia experienced a tense political week featuring a brawl between Sargsyan and Tsarukyan, beginning with the latter's plea warning the authorities to reckon with the people's opinion.

    Tsarukyan's "rifle" emerged out of bullets on February 19 following tГЄte-a-tГЄte talks with Sargsyan. Right after leaving the negotiation table, the opposition frontrunner announced his withdrawal from the political battlefield.
  • 3,800 couples wed in mass ceremony
    03.03.2015 10:43
    Thousands of couples took part in a mass wedding on Tuesday at the South Korean headquarters of the Unification Church -- the third such event since the death of their "messiah" and church founder Sun Myung Moon.

    Around 3,800 identically-dressed couples -- mostly young and some who had met just days before -- participated in the ceremony in Gapyeong, east of the capital Seoul.

    Mass weddings, often held in giant sports stadiums with tens of thousands of couples, have long been a signature feature of the church founded by Moon in 1954.

    Moon died in September 2012, aged 92, of complications from pneumonia, and his 72-year-old widow Hak Ja Han presided over Tuesday's ceremony.

    The church's mass weddings began in the early 1960s. At first, they involved just a few dozen couples but the numbers mushroomed over the years.

    In 1997, 30,000 couples tied the knot in Washington, and two years later around 21,000 filled the Olympic Stadium in Seoul.

    Many were personally matched by Moon, who taught that romantic love led to sexual promiscuity, mismatched couples and dysfunctional societies.

    Moon's preference for cross-cultural marriages also meant that couples often shared no common language.
  • Armenians violate ceasefire 66 times in various directions
    03.03.2015 10:42
    Armenian Armed Forces violated ceasefire 66 times in various directions of the frontline within a day, said Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, APA reports.

    Armenian armed units fired on the positions of Azerbaijani Armed Forces in nameless uplands of Gedebey district from their posts in nameless uplands of Armenia's Krasnoselsk district.

    Armenians also fired on the positions of Azerbaijani Armed Forces from their posts near Tapgaragoyunlu village of Goranboy, Chilaburt, Chayli and Goyarkh villages of Terter, Yusifjanli, Shikhlar, Shuraabad, Sarijali and Shirvanli villages of Aghdam, Koropatkino village of Khojavand, Horadiz, Garakhanbeyli and Ashaghi Seyidahmedli villages of Fuzuli, Mehdili village of Jabrayil district and nameless uplands of Goranboy, Khojavand, Fuzuli and Jabrayil districts.

    The enemy was silenced by retaliation fire.
  • OSCE to conduct monitoring on contact line
    03.03.2015 10:42
    Under the mandate of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, the contact line near Tapgaragoyunlu village of Azerbaijanв's Goranboy district will be monitored on March 4.

    The Defense Ministry said that the monitoring will be conducted by Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk, field assistant Hristo Hristov and representative of the OSCE High-Level Planning Group, Colonel Tuncay Sevim (Turkey) on the Azerbaijani side and field assistants of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Evgeny Sharov, Peter Swedberg and Head of the OSCE High-Level Planning Group, Colonel Markus Widmer (Switzerland) on the opposite side of the contact line, APA reports.
  • Azerbaijanis mark second Tuesday of Novruz
    03.03.2015 10:36
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    Last week we talk aboutВ Su Chershenbesi, or Water Tuesday, the first of the four Tuesdays of Novruz Bayram, which symbolizes life, purity and freshness.

    The second Tuesday of Novruz is Fire Tuesday, or as it is known here, Od Chershenbesi.

    Od chershenbesi, a symbol of warmth and home hearth will be celebrated on March 3 this year.

    Novruz celebrations begin a month before the actual holiday. The four Tuesdays named after these elements and called Su Chershenbesi (Water Tuesday), Od Chershenbesi (Fire Tuesday), Torpaq Chershenbesi (Earth Tuesday), and Hava or Akhir Chershenbesi (Wind or Last Tuesday).

    The four Tuesdays are associated with the arrival of the new year and nature's rebirth.

    According to popular folk belief, if in the first Chershenbe, water flows again - snow on the slopes begins to melt and rushes to near-by rivers, then Fire Tuesday marks the gradual arrival of heat. Nature revives under the rays of heavenly fire and the sun.

    Fire Tuesday honors fire, which means warmth and comfort. Ancient legends associate fire with the Sun and light.

    The fact that the second Tuesday is symbolized by fire comes as no accident. Since ancient times fire has been viewed as a main symbol of life, a source of heat, warmth and comfort.

    For Azerbaijani ancestors, fire was more than just a natural phenomenon. Perhaps that is why in the Turkic languages the word "hearth" also means the native house or edge.

    Od Chershenbesi is marked by the lighting of bonfires. Traditionally people jump over large bonfires, leaving behind their troubles and sorrows, wishing the new year to be prosperous and joyful.

    Novruz, a holiday marking equality and fraternity, is celebrated as the symbolic revival of nature.

    People say "A good beginning makes a good ending". So, it is very important for Azerbaijanis to celebrate this festive holiday with a clean house and a richly-set table. The table must be set with at least seven dishes.

    As part of the table setting, families will display a khoncha, a big silver or copper tray with semeni placed in the center, candles and dyed eggs for each family member around it. On this day, the groom will give his bride a khoncha with sweets and golden and silver adornments. The bride's family also has to send gifts to the groom's house.
  • The richest person in Russia
    03.03.2015 10:28
    Russian businessman Vladimir Potanin, who is the CEO and one of the main shareholders of NorilskNickel mining enterprise, and also president of the InterRos Holding, has topped a list of the richest people in Russia, according to the Forbes rating released on Monday, SIA informs citing the TASS.

    Potanin with his assets estimated at $14.8 billion, ranks 60th on the list of the wealthiest men on the planet, according to the Forbes rating.

    In 2014 Vladimir Potanin was the eighth among 200 wealthiest people in the world with his assets estimated at $ 12.6 billion. Vladimir Potanin is the richest among 85 Russian billionaires included in the Forbes rating.
  • Azerbaijan launches another round of negotiations on WTO accession
    03.03.2015 10:25
    Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3

    By Azad Hasanli - Trend:

    Another round of bilateral negotiations on Azerbaijan's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be held in Geneva on March 3-7, the Azerbaijani foreign ministry said March 2.

    A delegation headed by Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev will leave for Geneva to participate in bilateral and multilateral meetings as part of the country's joining the WTO.

    The proposals on Azerbaijani goods and services, domestic support for agriculture and trade policy of the country will be discussed during the meetings.

    Azerbaijan started the negotiations in 2004.

    The last meeting of the working group was held in June 2014 in Geneva. However, bilateral negotiations on goods and services have been held twice this year - in February [alongside multilateral negotiations on agriculture] and in June.

    Four new countries - Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, the Dominican Republic and Honduras joined the negotiating process, which took place in late June. An exchange was held among three of the countries, however, Saudi Arabia was represented in expanded format at the talks and has already started to ask specific questions.

    In total, the bilateral talks were held with 12 countries last summer.

    Azerbaijan has also submitted a new table with the changes in the agricultural sector of the country for the last three years (2011-2013) to the WTO Secretariat for multilateral negotiations on issues of domestic support for agriculture.

    Azerbaijan has had an observer status at the WTO since 1997. A working group on Azerbaijan was established at the WTO Secretariat on July 16, 1997.

    Azerbaijan started negotiations with the WTO member countries in 2004. Currently, the country is negotiating with 18 countries.

    Negotiations are now completed, and the protocols signed with Turkey, the Sultanate of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. The country is at the stage of signing the protocol with China and Moldova.


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  • Volume of oil sold in February from port of Ceyhan made public
    03.03.2015 10:24
    SOCAR has disseminated an information

    In February 2015, 1 630 350 tons of crude oil was sold from the port of Ceyhan.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to SOCAR, the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic in February 2015 exported 84 807 tons of crude oil to Novorossiysk port and 254 179 tons the port of Supsa.

    In general, in January-February 254 314 tons of crude oil was exported from the port of Novorossiysk, 508 286 tons - from the port of Supsa, and 3 328 118 tons of crude oil - from the port of Ceyhan.

    The figures of crude oil exported by SOCAR, include crude oil belonging to the Azerbaijan state, as well as to the company itself.
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