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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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  • Azerbaijan's energy resources crucial for Europe '" US envoy
    23.04.2014 11:44
    The events unfolding in Ukraine again draw attention to the importance of energy resources of Azerbaijan.This was stated by U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar at I International Caspian Energy Forum-2014 held in Baku on 23 April."I believe that Azerbaijan's cooperation with its pa...
  • Armenian armed forces break ceasefire
    23.04.2014 11:26
    Armenian armed forces have once again violated ceasefire on the contact line of troops.The shots were fired at Azerbaijani army located in unnamed heights in Gadabay region yesterday and last night, press office of the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan said.The shooting also came from areas near occupi...
  • AZERNEWS releases another print issue
    23.04.2014 10:39
    A new print edition of the AZERNEWS online newspaper was released on April 23.The new edition includes articles about Shamkir Chess 2014 tournament in a memory of world-famous Azerbaijani grandmaster Vugar Gashimov, the military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia, starving future of Armenia, ...
  • Anglo Asian increases gold output in Azerbaijan
    23.04.2014 10:04
    Azerbaijan's main gold producer said it had increased output by 32 percent in the first quarter of 2014 and set a target of 62,000 to 67,000 ounces for the year, up as much as 28.7 percent from production in 2013.London-listed Anglo Asian Mining Plc said on Tuesday it had raised production at Az...
  • U.S. to deliver Apache helicopters to Egypt
    23.04.2014 08:49
    The United States said on Tuesday it will deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters to Egypt, relaxing a suspension of aid imposed after Egypt's armed forces ousted President Mohamed Mursi last year and cracked down violently on protesters, Reuters reported.U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel informed...
  • Turchynov demands to resume special raid in eastern Ukraine
    22.04.2014 23:45
    Interim President of Ukraine, appointed by the Verkhovna Rada and parliament Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov demanded from special task forces to resume the raid in the country's east. Vekhovna Rada's press service reported this on Tuesday, ITAR-TASS reported."I demand that security services car...
  • Azerbaijani TPP produces over 2 billion kW h electricity in Q1 of 2014
    22.04.2014 22:49
    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 22By Emil Ismayilov - Trend:The Azerbaijani thermal power plant produced about 2.12 billion billion kWh in the first quarter of 2014, Azerenergy JSC (production and distribution of electricity in Azerbaijan) said.Azerbaijan`s TPP is considered the largest thermal power plant ...
  • Azerbaijan provides assistance to St. Vincent and the Grenadines
    22.04.2014 22:42
    The Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan has provided assistance to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to eliminate the adverse consequences of floods caused by torrential rains that resulted in considerable damage in agriculture, energy and other sectors.The assistance was implemented through the A...
  • Scientist of Azerbaijan Tourism Institute joins international workshop in Hungary
    22.04.2014 22:39
    Employee of Azerbaijan Tourism Institute Vusala Gasimli has participated in an international workshop within the ECCE Mundus project in Budapest, Hungary.The workshop brought together 30 delegates from 13 countries.ECCE Mundus is a joint initiative launched by Erasmus Mundus National Structures.The ...
  • American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan welcomes US Congressional Delegation
    22.04.2014 22:32
    The Board of Directors of American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan (AmCham) met with high level US Congressional Delegation.The meeting discussed how to strengthen the US-Azerbaijan relations. One of the issues that were covered during the meeting was low presence of US companies in Azerbaijan whi...
  • Kazakhstan, South Korea continue to deepen bilateral strategic partnership
    23.04.2014 12:15
    Astana, Kazakhstan, April 22

    By Daniyar Mukhtarov - Trend:

    The Deputy Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbaev met with the First Vice Minister of the Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Cho Tae-yong within the framework of the "Central Asia - Republic of Korea" Forum in Seoul.

    The parties discussed the current state of relations and prospects of Kazakh-South Korean cooperation in bilateral and multilateral formats, including the issues of preparation of the Korean President Park Geun-hye`s planned visit to Kazakhstan during the meeting.

    They also exchanged views on topical issues of international and regional agenda. The parties touched upon the subject of combating nuclear terrorism and nuclear disarmament , as well as the nonproliferation regime. Ashikbaev expressing thanks to South Korea for the intention of supporting Kazakhstan's candidacy for non-permanent members of the UN Security Council in turn expressed support for the initiative of South Korea the creation of the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization and invited his Korean counterpart to take part in the specialized exhibition EXPO -2017 in Astana.

    Furthermore, the issues of Kazakh-South Korean trade -economic and investment -technological cooperation have been discussed. The trade turnover between the two countries hits $1 billion. Cho Tae-yong was also informed about the main provisions of the "Kazakhstan-2050" Strategy.

    "Central Asia - Republic of Korea" Forum was launched in 2007 on the initiative of South Korea. The regional platform is designed to discuss the most urgent issues of cooperation of Central Asian countries and South Korea, including joint projects and countries participating in the forum.

    Translated by S.I.

    Edited by C.N.

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  • U.S. '˜readyв' to cooperate with Azerbaijan in alternative energy production
    23.04.2014 12:07
    U.S. ambassador in Baku Richard Morningstar has expressed his country`s readiness to cooperate with Azerbaijan in producing alternative energy.

    The ambassador said the Absheron peninsula had favorable conditions for developing wind and solar power.

    Mr. Morningstar praised Azerbaijan`s energy policy, saying the country attached importance to developing both traditional and alternative energy sources.

    The ambassador also reaffirmed the United States` support for Azerbaijan`s intention to supply it gas to European Union countries.
  • Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan have no problems regarding Caspian Sea
    23.04.2014 11:58
    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 23

    By Saba Aghayeva - Trend:

    Baku does not think that Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have problems in the Caspian Sea, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov told journalists in Baku.

    The minister went on to add that Azerbaijan plans to turn the Caspian Sea into a sea of cooperation and security.

    The Caspian countries' FMs worked on the final convention on the status of the Caspian Sea in Moscow, Mammadyarov said, commenting on the results of the Moscow meeting of the foreign ministers of the Caspian states, which took place on April 22 in Russian capital.

    "The parties have made a big step in determining the status of the sea. All five countries are interested in making progress on this issue. Another meeting will be held in Tehran at the level of deputy ministers in June," Mammadyarov said.

    If needed, the Caspian countries will hold another meeting at the level of foreign ministers, he said.

    The coastal states (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Iran) signed a Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea in November 2003.

    In July 1998, Russia and Kazakhstan signed an agreement on the delimitation of the northern part of the Caspian Sea in order to exercise sovereign rights for subsoil use.

    In May 2002 they signed a protocol to this agreement. On Nov. 29, 2001 and Feb. 27, 2003, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan signed agreements on the delimitation of the Caspian Sea.

    Additionally, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Russia signed an agreement on the delimitation of adjacent sections of the Caspian Sea on May 14, 2003.

    Translated by S.I.

    Edited by S.I.

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  • Lebanon parliament to vote on new president
    23.04.2014 11:55
    The Lebanese parliament will meet Wednesday to vote for a new president, a process expected to encounter fresh obstacles, as political factions remain undecided on a consensus figure, Al Arabiya reported.

    The meeting will have the country's lawmakers participate in the first round election seeking to replace President Michel Sleiman, whose six-year term ends on May 25.

    Observers say Lebanon's political divisions make it unlikely any candidate will win in the first round, and a second round is likely to be scheduled.

    Wednesday's vote requires candidates to win a two-thirds majority to declare victory, but if no winner emerges, a second-round vote only requires the victor to win an absolute majority of 50 plus 1.

    Political sources told Reuters that a majority of parliamentarians may submit blank voting slips on Wednesday to pave the way for more talks over a consensus candidate.

    Putting off the choice of president could add to a political vacuum in Lebanon which is struggling to contain a domestic sectarian conflict while also grappling with a flood of Syrian refugees and a sharp slowdown in economic growth.

    Lebanon's presidency is reserved for the country's Maronite Christians under a confessional system aimed at sharing representation among its many religious communities.

    The leading Maronite to declare his candidacy so far is Samir Geagea, a vocal opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who is expected to be backed - at least in the first round - by the anti-Assad March 14 coalition, led by Sunni Muslim former premier Saad al-Hariri.

    Geagea, 61, spent 11 years in jail for political murders and other killings during Lebanon's civil war, the only warlord imprisoned after the conflict ended in 1990.

    The rival March 8 political bloc, led by militant Shi'ite group Hezbollah which is fighting in Syria to support Assad, has indicated it would back former army chief Michel Aoun.

    Aoun, a Hezbollah ally trying to portray himself as a consensus figure in contrast with Geagea, has yet to declare himself formally in the running.

    March 14 and March 8 sources say that means Wednesday's vote is likely to be inconclusive, with Geagea unable to garner the two-thirds support necessary for a first-round victory - or the 50-percent-plus-one vote needed in any subsequent count.

    "Wednesday's session will not bring a new president, but it might pave the way for consensus options, including Michel Aoun," one March 8 source told Reuters, adding that many parliamentarians would hand in blank papers.

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  • 1st International Caspian Energy Forum'"2014 starts in Baku
    23.04.2014 11:50
    The 1st International Caspian Energy Forum-2014 has kicked off in Baku.

    Organized by the Caspian Energy International Media Group, the forum brings together 300 delegates from 50 countries. The forum is supported by Azerbaijan`s Cabinet of Ministers, Parliament, Ministry of Energy, State Oil Company, State Committee for Standardization, Metrology and Patent, State Customs Committee, State Migration Service, Embassy of the United States to Azerbaijan, and Caspian European Club (CEIBC).

    The first session of the forum is themed "EU's energy security through cooperation with the Caspian-Black Sea region states". It will be chaired by Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan Natig Aliyev.

    Called "Natural gas and unconventional natural gas - major energy carrier of the 21st century - exploration and production prospects in the Caspian", the second session will be chaired by Khoshbakht Yusifzade, First Vice-President for Geology, Geophysics and Field Development at State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

    Thematic forums, Caspian European Financial Forum, Caspian European IT Forum, Caspian European Industry Forum Рё Caspian European Infrastructure Forum, will be held in the second half of the day.

    The forum will be attended by heads of government agencies, ministries, committees and agencies of Azerbaijan as well as the countries of the Caspian-Black Sea and Baltic regions, representatives of diplomatic missions and missions of international organizations accredited in Azerbaijan, executives of international companies.

    Akkord Industry Construction Investment Corporation OJSC was a platinum sponsor of the forum. Cross Caspian Oil amp; Gas Logistics LLC is a silver sponsor. Bronze sponsors are SOCAR-AQS, Caspian Wireline Services, Atropatena, Schnieder Electric, R.I.S.K. Company, PASHA Insurance, Azersun Holding, Improtex Travel (official travel agency), BESTCOMP Group (official IT partner), Azertexnolayn and SNF Vostok LLC.
  • Azerbaijan's energy resources crucial for Europe '" US envoy
    23.04.2014 11:44
    The events unfolding in Ukraine again draw attention to the importance of energy resources of Azerbaijan.

    This was stated by U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar at I International Caspian Energy Forum-2014 held in Baku on 23 April.

    "I believe that Azerbaijan's cooperation with its partners and friends, including with the United States, in the development of energy was a move aimed at the future, as these resources are of great importance for Europe and other countries," said Morningstar.

    The ambassador noted that the choice of consortium Shah Deniz regarding transporting Azerbaijani gas to Europe (Trans Adriatic Pipeline, TAP), the signing of the final investment decision on "Shah Deniz-2" set the stage for significant progress in the implementation of project "Southern Gas Corridor".

    "The United States, Azerbaijan and other countries continue their work to promote project Shah Deniz," he said.

    The diplomat also said that the U.S. is currently mulling the question of export of liquefied natural gas to Europe.

    "The Obama administration is ready to support the export of necessary volumes of liquefied natural gas to Europe.

    U.S. exports will not have a negative impact on gas export of Azerbaijan," Morningstar said.

    He stressed that the supply of gas to Europe from the U.S. or from Azerbaijan and other sources provide the reliability of its energy supply.

  • Georgian FM to visit Greece
    23.04.2014 11:41
    Tbilisi, Georgia, April 23

    By Nana Kirtzkhalia - Trend:

    Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze will visit Greece on April 23, Georgian First Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said.

    Panjikidze will meet with Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos as part of her visit. Afterwards, a joint press conference will be held.

    Panjikidze will also meet with First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Ioannis Tragakis, Chairman of the Committee of Defense and External Relations Konstantinos Tsiaras and members of the committee.

    Translated by NH

    Edited by CN

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  • Richard Morningstar: ''I hope the presidents will meet again soon''
    23.04.2014 11:41
    US Secretary of State John Kerry plans to visit Azerbaijan but exact date of his visit is yet unclear.

    According to, the statement came from US ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar.

    "The United States is very active in its mediation efforts as the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair and continues its work within the group", the diplomat said.

    As for holding the meetings of the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia, Morningstar noted: "I consider it important to hold regular meetings between the presidents of the two countries for discussion of definite steps aimed at resolving the conflict. I hope that the presidents will meet again soon. This may take place both in official and unofficial atmosphere", Morningstar said.

  • Australia vows to keep searching to solve missing Malaysian plane mystery
    23.04.2014 11:35
    Australia vowed on Wednesday to keep searching for a missing Malaysian plane despite no sign of wreckage after almost seven weeks, and as bad weather again grounded aircraft and an undersea drone neared the end of its first full mission, Reuters reported.

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott admitted the search strategy may change if seabed scans taken by a U.S. Navy drone failed to turn up a trace of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board.

    "We may well re-think the search but we will not rest until we have done everything we can to solve this mystery," he said.

    "The only way we can get to the bottom of this is to keep searching the probable impact zone until we find something or until we have searched it as thoroughly as human ingenuity allows at this time."

    The Bluefin-21 drone, a key component in the search after the detection of audio signals or "pings" believed to be from the plane's black box flight recorder, is due to end its first full mission, possibly on Wednesday.

    The Australian and Malaysian governments are under growing pressure to show what lengths they are prepared to go to in order to give closure to the grieving families of those on board flight MH370.

    In a sign of the families' growing desperation for answers, a group purporting to be relatives of the missing flight's passengers published a letter to Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, urging the government to investigate old media reports that the plane landed in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

    "It is high time that the government should start thinking out of the box by exploring and re-examining all leads, new and old," said the letter, published on Facebook on Wednesday.

    Authorities suspended the air search for the second day in a row on Wednesday due to heavy rain, low cloud and big seas.

    "Current weather conditions are resulting in heavy seas and poor visibility and are making air search activities ineffective and potentially hazardous," the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said in a statement, adding 12 ships would continue to help with the operation.

    Meanwhile, the Bluefin-21 was nearing the end of its first assignment scouring a 10 square kilometers (6.2 square mile) stretch of seabed where authorities traced what they believed was a black box signal two weeks ago.

    Search officials have said that once the Bluefin-21's current mission, some 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) north west of the Australian city of Perth, is finished, they will redeploy the submarine to other areas yet to be determined.

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  • Azerbaijani FM, OSCE MG Russian co-chairman discuss Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
    23.04.2014 11:34
    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 23

    By Saba Agayeva - Trend:

    Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Russian co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group Igor Popov.

    "I recently met with Russian co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group Igor Popov in Moscow and discussed further actions on the conflict settlement," Mammadyarov told media in Baku on April 23.

    The minister reiterated the unacceptability of preserving the status quo in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the need for the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

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

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

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

    Translated by NH

    Edited by CN

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  • Armenian armed forces break ceasefire
    23.04.2014 11:26
    Armenian armed forces have once again violated ceasefire on the contact line of troops.

    The shots were fired at Azerbaijani army located in unnamed heights in Gadabay region yesterday and last night, press office of the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan said.

    The shooting also came from areas near occupied Sarijali village of Agdam region, Tapqaraqoyunlu village of Goranboy region, Horadiz village of Fuzuli region and unnamed heights of Goygol region.

    The Azerbaijani army answered the fire.

  • Hydrocarbon reserves of Caspian region to double by 2035
    23.04.2014 11:25
    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 23

    By Emil Ismayilov - Trend:

    The Caspian region will become a reliable source of gas supplies to Europe amid the growth of consumption volumes and the need of diversifying the sources of energy supply, Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natig Aliyev said at the Caspian Energy first international forum on April 23.

    "Currently, an energy corridor is being formed between the Caspian region and Europe, which begins in Azerbaijan and will extend to Italy," he said.

    More than $ 50 billion will be required to ensure the gas supply as part of the second phase of development of Azerbaijani offshore gas condensate Shah Deniz field to the European market.

    "The Caspian region, as opposed to Europe, has a powerful energy potential with relatively small consumption volumes," he said.

    In particular, the proven oil reserves of the region hit about 3.5 - 4 percent, while the proven gas reserves are 7-11 percent of the world ones. Hydrocarbon reserves of the Caspian region will double by 2035 taking into account the prospects for the discovery of new deposits, according to the forecasts.

    Aliyev stressed that Azerbaijan has achieved great results in the field of power engineering and fully ensured its own energy security. In particular, oil production volume has recently reached 43-50 million tons, gas production - about 30 billion cubic meters, while the capacity of electricity generation increased by 30 percent.

    Translated by NH

    Edited by CN

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  • Spain, Azerbaijan talk over Karabakh conflict, discuss Ukraine situation
    23.04.2014 11:16
    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 23

    By Saba Aghayeva - Trend:

    Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Manuel Garcia-Margalit confirmed the readiness of the country's leadership to strengthen the open political dialogue and bilateral cooperation with Azerbaijan in all spheres of mutual interest.

    "Azerbaijan is an important country in the region. By taking into account the interest of our country to cooperate with Azerbaijan Spain opens representative office in Baku. There is also an agreement on the establishment of an intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation," the minister said at a briefing following the talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov.

    The current state and priority areas of bilateral cooperation, issues of international problems have been discussed with minister Mammadyarov at the meeting, according to the Spanish minister.

    "The relations between Spain and Azerbaijan are not at the level that we would want it to be, but there are prospects for their development," Elmar Mammadyarov said.

    "The political relations are at a good level, Spain has always supported us in the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. At a meeting with my colleague, we also discussed regional cooperation and the situation in Ukraine. Azerbaijan also encouraged Spanish companies to cooperate," the Azerbaijani FM said.

    He added that both Azerbaijan and Spain have agreed to jointly provide assistance to African countries.

    Mammadyarov also noted that Spain has expressed interest in the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project.

    The foreign ministers of the two countries signed a convention for the avoidance of taxation between Azerbaijan and Spain.

    Translated by S.I.

    Edited by S.I.

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  • President Ilham Aliyev to attend Eastern Partnership summit in Prague
    23.04.2014 11:15
    President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev is to take part in the Eastern Partnership summit due in Prague.

    The statement came from Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

    The summit dedicated on the fifth anniversary of EU's Eastern Partnership program is due to be held on 24-25 April.

    The Armenian president is also expected to attend the summit.

  • SOCAR to sign Turkey refinery loan in May
    23.04.2014 11:07
    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 23

    By Aygun Badalova -Trend:

    The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) expects to sign an agreement for a $3.5 billion loan to construct a refinery in Turkey in May, Bloomberg reported with the reference to the chief executive for the company's Turkish unit Kenan Yavuz.

    In early April it was reported that SOCAR has completed the negotiations with banks regarding the participation in financing the project for construction of a new Star refinery in Turkey.

    "Most of the $3.5 billion package, arranged by the Turkish unit of Unicredit SpA (UCG), Italy's biggest lender, will be provided by 15 international lenders with guarantees from export credit agencies, or ECAs, of six countries", Yavuz said.

    The package will finance the construction phase of the project and the total financing bill will exceed $3.5 billion including costs from the post-construction period, according to him.

    Earlier, Turkish Denizbank expressed its readiness to allocate some $500 million for implementation of this project. The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan appealed to the Turkish bank after rejection by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to finance the project.

    SOCAR Turkey Yatirim JSC was established with an authorised capital of $1.9 billion and a 40 percent public share, in accordance with the decree of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on additional measures to support the participation of the Azerbaijani side in the Star refinery construction project in Turkey. The public share at 40 percent worth $760 million in JSC will be funded by the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAR) according to the decree.

    Some $ 475 million were allocated from the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan to finance this project.

    SOCAR and a consortium of companies signed an EPC- contract (Engineering, procurement and construction) for the Star refinery construction in May 2013.

    An alliance of Tecnicas Reunidas SA, Saipem SpA, GS Engineering amp; Construction Corp and Itochu companies became the winner of the tender for the refinery construction. It is planned to process such crude oil as Azeri Light, Kerkuk and Urals at the refinery.

    The annual naphtha production volume, used by Petkim as the main raw material, will hit 1.66 million tons at the Star refinery.

    Along with naphtha, the new refinery will produce diesel fuel with ultra-low sulfur to the amount of 5.95 million tons, aviation kerosene - 500,000 tons, reformate - 500,000 tons, petroleum coke - 630,000 tons, liquefied gas - 240,000 tons, mixed xylene - 415,000 tons, olefin LPG - 75,000 tons and 145,000 tons of sulfur. The refinery will not produce petrol and fuel oil.

    The refinery is planned to be commissioned in 2017.

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  • Iran waiting on Armenia to assess changes in joint power plant project
    23.04.2014 11:06
    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 23

    By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

    Iran has reviewed the joint project of hydroelectric power plant over the Aras River and has made some changes to it.

    Iran is planning to implement the project with Armenia.

    The applied changes are minor, no serious changes have been made to the project, managing director of Iran Water and Power Resources Development Company Mohammad Reza Rezazadeh said, Iranian Mehr news agency reported on April 23.

    Iran has informed the Armenia about the revisions and their experts are studying the project, he added.

    The Armenian experts who were worked on the project during the former Soviet Union period already have confirmed validity of Iranian experts' revisions, he underlined.

    Rezazadeh went on to say that if Armenia approves the reviewed project, the implementation will begin.

    In 2012, Iran and Armenia agreed on construction of a joint hydro-electric power plant on the Aras River, which borders the two countries.

    Iran's then energy minister Majid Namjou and Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan attended in the project's groundbreaking ceremony in Nov. 2012, however its construction has been delayed so far.

    Upon completion, the plant will be able to produce 260 megawatts of power, and includes two 130-megawatt plants, one in Iran and the other one in Armenia, according to the Iranian media outlets.

    Armenia and Iran are scheduled simultaneously start the power plant construction in former's Meghri and latter's Qarachilar regions.

    The project is financed with $ 560 million and $500 million in credits respectively from Armenia and Iran.

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  • Azerbaijani ambassador presents credentials to Sultan of Oman
    23.04.2014 10:59
    Azerbaijani ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen Rasim Rzayev has handed over his credentials to Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said Al Said.

    During the ceremony, the ambassador said there was huge potential for enhancing cooperation between the two countries, adding Azerbaijan attached great importance to developing its relationship with Oman.

    Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said expressed confidence that the ambassador`s tenure would contribute to strengthening bilateral ties.

    Rzayev praised Oman`s supporting Azerbaijan`s position in international organizations.

    The ambassador noted it was important that the two countries open diplomatic missions, adding "this will certainly contribute to expanding our bilateral relations".
  • Peace symphony at Atletico vs Chelsea spectacle
    23.04.2014 10:50
    ose Mourinho's Chelsea exerted a tactical stranglehold on hosts Atletico Madrid to earn a goalless draw in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal Tuesday.

    If the expectant capacity crowd in the Vicente Calderon were anticipating a night of free-flowing football then they would have quickly become disillusioned as Mourinho's men restricted Atletico to few chances.

    Chelsea, who entertain the Spanish League leaders in the return leg in London next Wednesday, also had to cope with losing goalkeeper Petr Cech and captain John Terry to injury in each half, but Atletico were unable to take full advantage.

    After central defensive lynchpin Terry limped off, Atletico had their best spell with Gabi forcing a fine save from Cech's veteran replacement Mark Schwarzer while Raul Garcia and substitute Arda Turan headed wide from Juanfran crosses.

    Chelsea's Fernando Torres, returning to the club where he spent six successful years, cut a lone figure up front for the English Premier League side and aside from one fine run and shot had barely a sight of goal.

    Torres' Atletico counterpart, Diego Costa, who has been linked with a big money move to Chelsea, was also largely frustrated aside from two late headers, the first blocked by Gary Cahill, the second, better chance, headed straight at the excellent Schwarzer.

    The 41-year-old Australian told ITV Sport after the draw that it had been a job well done.

    "We knew if we could match their determination, that our quality could come through. We didn't create too many chances, but we did a good job tonight," he said.

    "It's very tough for the second leg but we've got to take each game as it comes. Before that, we've got a massive game at Liverpool on Sunday."

    Chelsea, who must win at league leaders Liverpool to revive fading English Premier League title hopes, will be hoping to reach a second Champions League final in three years with their home leg against Atletico still to come.

    But they will have to do without Cech, who dislocated his shoulder after falling awkwardly in tipping over an early corner, and Terry, who limped off in the 72nd minute.

    The bad news was confirmed by Mourinho. "Petr Cech's season over. Don't ask me technically, but season over," he said. "And John (Terry) -- we have to play the final for him to play with us."

    Chelsea will also be missing midfielders Frank Lampard and Jon Obi-Mikel for the second leg after picking up yellow cards, the same fate also befalling Atletico's Gabi.

    Atletico, who were beaten finalists to Bayern Munich in the 1974 final of Europe's premier club competition, will return to league action with a match against Valencia Sunday as they bid to hold off Real Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga.

    Their city rivals Real play reigning title holders Bayern Munich in the Spanish capital Wednesday in the second semifinal of the Champions League.

  • Diversification of gas supply sources to Europe to make them more reliable
    23.04.2014 10:44
    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 23

    By Emil Ismayilov - Trend:

    Liquefied gas supplies from the U.S. to Europe will not affect the export of Azerbaijani gas to the European market, U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar told journalists in Baku on April 23.

    "We are considering the issue of liquefied gas supplies from the U.S. to Europe," the diplomat said. "This will have no effect on gas exports from Azerbaijan."

    "The diversification of gas supplies to Europe from various sources will ensure the reliability of its "blue" fuel" supply, he said.

    Translated by NH

    Edited by S.I.

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  • AZERNEWS releases another print issue
    23.04.2014 10:39
    A new print edition of the AZERNEWS online newspaper was released on April 23.

    The new edition includes articles about Shamkir Chess 2014 tournament in a memory of world-famous Azerbaijani grandmaster Vugar Gashimov, the military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia, starving future of Armenia, establishment of the temporary parking in Baku, as well as about upcoming concert of world-famous violinist Itzhak Perlman in Baku and etc.

    AZERNEWS is an associate member of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

    The online newspaper is available at www.azer
  • U.S. appreciates Azerbaijan's commitments to Afghanistanв's post-war development
    23.04.2014 10:30
    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 23

    By Emin Aliyev - Trend:

    U.S. appreciates Azerbaijan's commitments to the post-war development of Afghanistan, the U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar told the media outlets on April 23.

    "We appreciate Azerbaijan's every step and all the assistance rendered to Afghanistan," he said. "As an example of such assistance - Azerbaijani servicemen serving in this country."

    He also stressed Azerbaijan's big transit role in terms of transportation of food and other goods.

    "I believe that the international cooperation will continue after the withdrawal of the mission's troops from Afghanistan," Morningstar said.

    Azerbaijani Armed Forces' peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan began on November 20, 2002.

    Currently, some 94 servicemen, two military doctors and two "engineer-operator" officers of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces take part in the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan.

    Translated by NH

    Edited by S.I.

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  • Baku 2015 launch Games Academy to ensure legacy for Azerbaijan
    23.04.2014 10:08
    The Baku 2015 Games Academy, designed to help create a legacy for people involved in the inaugural European Games, has been launched.

    The Academy will develop the skills and Games knowledge of local team members through the flexible learning pathway, as well as developing participating university graduates from Azerbaijan and all over Europe in the graduate excellence programme, officials there have claimed.

    The programmes will allow the Games Academy to support the creation of a lasting capability legacy in Azerbaijan, it is hoped.

    This unique initiative is being led by Baku 2015 and the Azerbaijan Youth Foundation, whose Patron is the country's President Ilham Aliyev, and has been endorsed by the European Olympic Committees (EOC).

    "This is an opportunity for young people from Azerbaijan and all over Europe to help contribute to the success of the first ever European Games," said Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan's Minister of Youth and Sports and Baku 2015 chief executive.

    "We look forward to welcoming these ambitious young graduates and helping them to hone their skills as they begin their careers in the world of major sports event management."

    Talented and motivated people who graduated between 2012 and 2014 are being invited to apply to the programme, which will see 199 candidates have the opportunity to develop their talents to make the most of the European Games experience.

    The intake will be made up of 150 students from universities in Azerbaijan and 49 from the countries of each participating National Olympic Committee.

    "The Baku 2015 Games Academy is yet another innovative idea from Baku 2015 that will be hugely beneficial for young people in Azerbaijan and elsewhere across Europe," said Patrick Hickey, President of the EOC and the architect of the European Games.

    "This academy is an example of how the EOC and Baku 2015 share the same vision for the inaugural European Games to leave a footprint of sports management best practice.

    "The delivery partners that Baku 2015 are using show how well supported this idea is by the Azerbaijani people.

    "I'm particularly pleased that each of Europe's National Olympic Committees will be invited to be a part of the Academy and I'm sure the 199 young people on the graduate excellence programme will provide useful insights for Games organizers and the EOC."

    The programme will include three weeks of intensive training, with participants then given real responsibility for planning and delivering Baku 2015 for up to one year, with coaching and mentoring from international experts, as well as gaining hands-on experience with roles at test events and during Games time, officials promise.

    The entire local Baku 2015 team will also benefit through the flexible learning pathway initiative, which will provide a structured roadmap of regular learning through core skills courses, training on event management and multi-sport events, mentoring and coaching from experienced team members and preparation for Games time roles, it has been claimed.

    "The Azerbaijan Youth Foundation, under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, is proud to be supporting the development of the Baku 2015 Games Academy as we believe it is a ground-breaking initiative that will ensure a genuine and lasting legacy that will inspire and excite our country's youth," a spokesperson for the Azerbaijan Youth Foundation said.

    Gavin McAlpine, who worked for both Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 and is now director of operational capability and readiness at Baku 2015, will oversee the Academy.

    "We believe that the Games Academy is unique in the major events industry," he said.

    "For the first time on a large scale, people will be able to benefit from the type of career-defining learning experience which is normally only available in corporate organisations."

    To find out more details, including how to apply, click here.

    Applications are due to close on May 8.
  • Anglo Asian increases gold output in Azerbaijan
    23.04.2014 10:04
    Azerbaijan's main gold producer said it had increased output by 32 percent in the first quarter of 2014 and set a target of 62,000 to 67,000 ounces for the year, up as much as 28.7 percent from production in 2013.

    London-listed Anglo Asian Mining Plc said on Tuesday it had raised production at Azerbaijan's main mine, Gedabek, to 11,312 ounces in January-March 2014 from 8,585 ounces in the same period last year.

    "Our revised 2014 gold production target of between 62,000 ounces and 67,000 ounces represents an increase on 2013 production of 52,068 ounces of gold and highlights our commitment to achieving production growth over the coming year," Anglo Asian Chief Executive Officer Reza Vaziri said in a statement.

    Its 2013 output rose from 50,025 ounces in 2012, but the company said it missed its target last year due to unexpected weather conditions and processing issues. It did not disclose the target, though a source there last year mentioned a figure of 80,000 ounces.

    Gold is produced at Gedabek and other Azeri mines under a production venture with Anglo Asian, in which the government owns 49 percent.

    Anglo Asian began production at Gedabek, 350 km west of the capital Baku, in July 2009 and plans to extract a total of 22 tonnes of gold from the mine.

    It produced 1,095 tonnes of ore at the Gosha mine, 50 km from Gedabek, in the first quarter of this year, sending 250 tonnes to Gedabek for processing. It expects to mine 58,000 tonnes of ore at Gosha this year.

    The company said gold sales in the first quarter of this year totalled 10,403 ounces at an average price of $1,303 per ounce.

    The company commissioned an agitation leaching plant at Gedabek in June 2013 and installed a Knelson concentrator in March this year, hoping to isolate copper sulphides that were found to have restricted gold recoveries in the leach tanks in 2013.

    "Early results have shown enhanced gold recovery from high-copper sulphide ore along with reduced cyanide consumption," CEO Vaziri said.

    Overall, Anglo Asian, which is controlled by R.V. Investment Group Services, plans to develop seven mines in western Azerbaijan with estimated gold reserves of 430 tonnes.

  • Qatar failing to protect household workers
    23.04.2014 10:03
    Human rights group Amnesty International has condemned the Gulf state of Qatar for failing to protect migrant domestic workers, claiming they are exposed to a greater extent of abuse than construction workers and are trapped by employers, Al Jazeera reported.

    A report published on Wednesday called "My sleep is my break: Exploitation of migrant domestic workers in Qatar" features instances of physical and sexual assault.

    It said some of the women interviewed reported being "slapped, pulled by the hair, poked in the eyes, and kicked down the stairs by their employers" and that three said they were raped.

    A separate report focusing on domestic workers in the 2022 World Cup host country was published to ensure they were not a "footnote to the issues construction workers face", Amnesty researcher James Lynch said, according to the news agency Associated Press.

    Amnesty's Global Issues Director Audrey Gaughran said: "We have spoken to women who have been terribly deceived, then found themselves trapped and at the mercy of abusive employers, banned from leaving the house. Some women said they were threatened with physical violence when they told their employers they wanted to leave."

    About 84,000 women domestic workers are employed in Qatar, most of them from South and South East Asia, Amnesty said. Some told Amnesty researchers they worked "up to 100 hours a week with no day off".

    "Under Qatari law there are no limits on working hours for domestic workers and there is no requirement to give them a day off. They are also unable to lodge a complaint with the Labour Ministry," the campaign group added.

    Qatari government officials could not immediately be reached for comment on Amnesty's latest report, according to Associated Press. The chairman of the country's National Human Rights Committee declined to comment and referred questions to government ministries.

    A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent to Amnesty sought to clarify that there were legal safeguards for domestic workers.

    "The exclusion of this group of workers from the scope of the Labor Law does not mean a lack of legal protection for their rights or that there is no law to protect these rights,'' the statement said.

    Qatari laws spell out steps that must be followed during recruitment, ensure that domestic workers are not misled during the process, and provide for the resolution of disputes between workers and their sponsors, according to the government statement.

    It said a draft law related to household workers was being studied. No decision has been taken to implement that legislation yet.

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  • Azerbaijanв's Socar secures $3.9 billion loan to build refinery in Turkey
    23.04.2014 10:02
    As well as naphtha, the refinery will produce 4.9 million tpy of diesel and 1.63 million tons of jet fuel, according to company officials. It will also make liquefied petroleum gas and petro-coke.

    Azerbaijan's state-owned oil company, commonly known as Socar, is in the final stages of negotiations for a $3.9 billion loan package to help build a refinery in Turkey, according to two people familiar with the talks.

    State Oil Company of Azerbaijan expects to sign the agreement by early June, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are confidential.

    Socar is building the $5.5 billion Star refinery on the Aegean coast as it seeks to expand its naphtha output. The refinery, Turkey's fifth, will process 10 million tpy of crude from 2017, producing 1.3 million tons of naphtha, as well as diesel and jet fuel.

    About 95% of the borrowing will come from international lenders arranged by the Turkish unit of Unicredit SpA, Italy's biggest lender, and will have a maturity of 18 years, the people said. The funds will be come with guaranteed coverage from eight export-credit agencies, including the US Ex-Im Bank and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. The remainder may come from commercial loans, the people said.

    Kenan Yavuz, chief executive of Socar's Turkish unit, is in London today to discuss the loan package with creditors, one of the people said.

    lsquo;Cutting-Edge' Equipment

    The Azeri oil producer and processor, which pledged $17 billion for projects in Turkey by 2018, including a pipeline to carry gas to Europe via Turkish soil, is increasing spending amid rising demand for fuel and chemicals.

    Naphtha from the Star refinery will be used to make petrochemicals at Socar's Turkish Petkim Petrokimya Holding division, the biggest petrochemicals company in the country.

    Petkim will take 2 million tpy of fuel from the plant, to be built by Tecnicas Reunidas, Itochu, Saipem and GS Engineering amp; Construction.

    Kenan Yavuz, chief executive of Socar's Turkey unit, didn't reply to phone calls seeking comment. Silvia Lamberti, a Vienna- based spokeswoman for Unicredit, declined to comment.

    The US Ex-Im Bank approved a $641 million loan to finance the export of equipment to Turkey for the project, its chairman Fred Hochberg said in December. The move will support exports of "cutting-edge American equipment" and support 3,000 jobs in the US, he said.

    As well as naphtha, the refinery will produce 4.9 million tpy of diesel and 1.63 million tons of jet fuel, Yavuz said. It will also make liquefied petroleum gas and petro-coke.

    Construction will take less than five years, Yavuz said in May 2013.
  • Palestinians Renew Unity Bid as Israel Talks Stall
    23.04.2014 10:02
    The Palestinians met Tuesday to relaunch efforts to reconcile their rival leaderships in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as US-brokered peace talks with Israel teetered on the edge of collapse, Naharnet reported.

    A week before a nine-month target originally set for an Israeli-Palestinian deal, a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) delegation arrived in Gaza City to try to revive long-stagnant unity efforts.

    Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior figure in president Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, led the team which were greeted by Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya and the movement's deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuq.

    At the same time, the Palestinians refloated and then played down a threat to dismantle the PA, which is Israel's negotiating partner, if their peace talks remain deadlocked.

    "No Palestinian is speaking of an initiative to dismantle the Palestinian Authority (PA)," chief negotiator Saeb Erakat said on Tuesday.

    "But Israel's actions have annulled all the legal, political, security, economic and operational aspects of the prerogatives of the Palestinian Authority."

    The PA was set up under the 1993 Oslo accords and has won widespread international recognition but is fully dependent on foreign aid for its administration of autonomous areas of the West Bank.

    Palestinian negotiators have warned they may hand responsibility for governing the occupied territories back to Israel, a senior Palestinian official said on Sunday.

    He said the Palestinians had told US peace envoy Martin Indyk that unless Israel releases Palestinian prisoners as agreed and freezes settlement building, they could dismantle the Authority.

    US State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki criticized the threat as "extreme" and warned that any such move would affect American aid to the Palestinians.

    On the Israeli side, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the PA of endangering the peace process.

    "The Palestinian Authority, which yesterday was talking about its dismantlement, is today talking about unity with Hamas," which fiercely opposes any peace talks with Israel, Netanyahu said.

    "They need to decide... Do they want to dismantle themselves or to unite with Hamas? When they want peace [with Israel], they should let us know."

    Fatah, the PLO's main component, and Hamas signed a reconciliation accord in Cairo in 2011 aimed at ending the political divide between Gaza and the PA-ruled West Bank.

    But deadlines have come and gone without any progress in implementing provisions of the accord.

    Haniya on Tuesday called for cementing Palestinian reconciliation "in order to form one government, one political system and one national program".

    Ahmad added: "I am happy that the time has come to end divisions."

    Hamas is totally opposed to the Palestinian negotiations with Israel.

    But the two sides met Tuesday in Jerusalem with US peace envoy Martin Indyk in a fresh bid to salvage the negotiations. No statement was issued after the meeting.

    As the meeting got underway, Abbas told Israeli journalists he was willing to see extend the negotiations beyond April 29 if Israel frees a batch of prisoners previously earmarked for release, freezes settlement building and agrees to discuss the borders of a future Palestinian state.

    Israel and the PA have taken a string of hostile steps since the Jewish state refused last month to release the fourth and last group of Palestinian prisoners in line with an earlier agreement.

    But a senior Israeli government official rejected Abbas' terms.

    "He who makes such conditions does not want peace," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

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  • Iran determined to link railroad to Georgia via Azerbaijan: President Rouhani
    23.04.2014 10:01
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday said the country firmly seeks to connect its railway line to that of Georgia via the Republic of Azerbaijan.

    "Iran attaches great importance to connecting (its railroad) to the Black Sea ports, including Batumi. We are determined to link our railway line to Georgia via Azerbaijan," the president said while receiving Loseb Chakhvashvili the new ambassador of Georgia to Iran.

    He referred to the Tehran, Baku and Tbilisi trilateral relations and stated that the plan for joining the railroads will be in the interest of the entire region.

    Rouhani further hoped that the new Georgian ambassador would work to expand relations between Iran and Georgia in all fields.

    He also underlined facilitating relations between the two countries' academicians, merchants and private sector.

    Chakhvashvili, who submitted his credentials to President Rouhani, said Tbilisi seeks to enhance ties with its neighboring countries.

    The envoy hoped he will strengthen Georgia's relations with Iran during his mission.

  • Finance Minister: Turkey better off with debt guarantee
    23.04.2014 09:56
    Turkey's Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said Tuesday that the new regulation that offers debt guarantee for large-scale projects outweighs the risks Anadolu Agency reported.

    The treasury announced Saturday that it will guarantee projects costing more than TL 1 billion (US$470 million), including the building of a third airport in Istanbul and a third bridge over the Bosphorus straits.

    The treasury will ensure 85 percent of the contractors' debt if the projects are called off because of a financial or logistical problem. However, under other circumstances the treasury will take on the entire debt in a bid to ease the financing of large-scale projects.

    "Not building a third airport in Istanbul would cause a serious harm to public," said Simsek. "But we cannot forecast whether the move which eases constructing the third airport will place any burden".

    Turkey restricted treasury guarantees 12 years ago after a fiscal crisis in 2001 burdened the Turkish economy.

    The government had planned to assume at most US$3 billion for public-works project debts for 2014. Turkey's public debt stock to GDP fell to 36% in 2013 from 74% in 2002.

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  • U.S hopes for Azerbaijani and Armenian presidentsв' forthcoming meeting
    23.04.2014 09:55
    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 23

    By Emin Aliyev - Trend:

    The U.S hopes that the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents will meet in the near future, U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar told journalists on April 23.

    "This meeting can be both formal and informal," the ambassador said on the eve of the Caspian International Energy Forum to be held in Baku on April 23.

    "As a co-chairing country of the OSCE Minsk Group, we are active in the ongoing negotiations, the diplomat said.

    "I believe that the regular meetings of the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents are very important to discuss concrete actions to resolve the conflict," Morningstar added.

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

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

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

    Translated by NH

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  • No uncertainty after presidential polls: Turkish PM
    23.04.2014 09:54
    Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the government will not let August's presidential elections bring about uncertainty for Turkey Anadolu Agency reported.

    Speaking at his Justice and Development Party group meeting in parliament on Tuesday, Erdogan said: "Those who expect economic and political uncertainties in Turkey during and after the presidential elections will be disappointed.

    "Our party is after the goals of 2023, which are appreciated and affirmed by the Turkish people and we will accomplish these goals," he said, referring to economic and political reforms designed to make Turkey one of the 10 most developed economies in the world by its hundreth foundation anniversary.

    Erdogan added that the candidate-determining process within the party had been ongoing and he had also been consulting President Abdullah Gul.

    Stating that the government would not allow unions to hold demonstrations and rallies in Istanbul's Taksim Square, Erdogan said that the Istanbul governorate had allocated the two main squares in the city for May 1 rallies.

    - 'Solidarity and peace'

    Calling on unions to refrain from violence on the streets during the May 1 Workers Day rallies, Erdogan said: "May 1 has a history of 124 years in Turkey, and we honor it with the honor it deserves. In 2008 our government declared it as the Labor and Solidarity Day.

    "I hereby call on all unions and all other involving organizations not to clash with the state on the day of solidarity and peace."

    Erdogan attacked opposition parties for asking the government to close the doors to Syrian refugees and remain silent about the death penalties of 528 Muslim Brotherhood members in Egypt.

    "We cannot shut the doors to the dying, starving Syrians appealing to our country, regardless of their race and religion," added Erdogan.

    He also said that although the European Union, the U.S. and Russia were all silent on the death penalties in Egypt, Turkey would never stay quiet about the violation of human rights in Egypt.

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  • Iranians start storing gasoline in homes
    23.04.2014 09:50
    Tehran, Iran, April 18

    By Milad Fashtami - Trend:

    Iranians have reportedly started storing gasoline in their homes.

    Bijan Haj Mohammadreza, head of Iran's Gas Station Owners Union, said that the upcoming price hike has forced people to store gasoline while it is still being provided at the previous price.

    As part of the second phase of subsidy reform plan, Iranian government is supposed to raise gasoline prices.

    "People are storing gasoline in non-standard containers," he said.

    He further said that the gas pump's monitors cannot display five digit prices, so the price of gasoline should not exceed 9,999 rials.

    Iranian government has decided to cut semi-subsidized gasoline quota for cars until further notice.

    The government was supposed to announce new prices for semi-subsidized and free market gasoline on April 20, as part of implementing the second phase of subsidy reform plan, Iran's Mehr News Agency reported.

    Semi-subsidised gasoline was previously sold at 4,000 rials (33 cents), while the free market gasoline price was 7,000 rials.

    Now, the government says that it will not increase the price of free market gasoline until further notice; instead it will cut the semi-subsidized gasoline quota.

    Iranians with cars used to receive a monthly allowance of 60 liters with the semi-subsidies price until last month and had to pay 7,000 rials per liter for larger volumes.

    The government, however, announced that it has not cut the public transportation vehicles' semi-subsidized gasoline quota, so any increase in transportation fares will be unacceptable.

    Some 174 million liters of gasoline were consumed in Iran in the last two days of the Iranian calendar month of Farvardin (April 19-20).

    Some 80.7 million liters were consumed on April 19 and some 94 million liters on April 20, Iran's IRNA News Agency reported.

    It is while the average gasoline consumption of Iran in the week to April 12 was around 66 million liters.

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  • Atleti loses Diego Costa to Chelsea
    23.04.2014 09:33
    Diego Simeone has reiterated that Diego Costa could leave Atletico Madrid, with Chelsea closing in on a deal for the striker.

    Goal exclusively revealed on April 17 that the Premier League side were close to agreeing a €40 million deal for the Brazil-born forward following a series of meetings for representatives from both parties.

    Simeone conceded last week that his side were powerless to stop Costa being sold to a club of Chelsea's financial might and underlined this belief on Monday.

    He told reporters: "I wouldn't be surprised at all if a financially powerful team was able to acquire a great player like Costa. Why? Because Diego is different and he's at his very best."

    Atletico welcome Chelsea to the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, and Simeone has talked up Jose Mourinho's attacking talent ahead of the tie.

    "In my opinion, Ba, Fernando and Eto'o are great champions," he continued. "[They] have proved hundreds of times, in all the cups theyв've won - Champions Leagues, World Cups and more - that they are huge talents."

  • Uzbekistan attracts over $ 150 million worth of foreign loans in Q1 of 2014
    23.04.2014 09:32
    Tashkent, Uzbekistan, April 21

    By Demir Azizov- Trend:

    The government of Uzbekistan has signed three loan agreements in the first quarter of 2014, which envisage attraction of $151 million worth of funds from international financial institutions.

    The report of the Uzbek Finance Ministry said that in particular, Uzbekistan and the Asian Development Bank signed a loan agreement for $69 million on the "Solid waste management" project.

    The project worth $76.2 million aims at improving the collection, transportation and disposal of solid household waste, as well as improving the sanitation conditions of Tashkent and the Tashkent region.

    The loan is allocated for the period of 20 years, including a five-year exemption period.

    Furthermore, Uzbekistan and ADB signed a loan agreement for the project of reconstruction of sewerage systems of Fergana and Marghilan cities, worth $42 million.

    The credit is allocated by the Asian Development Fund and is the fourth, the last tranche of the debt package of ADB in the amount of $300 million approved by the bank in September 2009.

    The funds of the fourth tranche will be used to modernize the water supply system of Fergana and Marghilan.

    The total cost of the program is $375 million, including the Uzbek government's allocation of $75 million for its implementation. The implementation of the project is scheduled at the end of 2018.

    In 2009-2011, ADB within the project to improve rural water supply in 11 regions of Uzbekistan, provided the government with three tranches amounting to $258 million.

    In the first quarter of 2014, the Uzbek government has also attracted $40 million of additional funds of the International Development Association (IDA, included in the World Bank Group) within the framework of the "Agricultural Entrepsises Support Project Phase II".

    The funds have been allocated to finance the farmers and growing of their working capital through local financial institutions.

    Additional credit is granted for 25 years with five-year exemption period, at an interest rate of 1.25 percent per annum.

    In 2001, the World Bank provided a loan to Uzbekistan in the amount of $36 million to support agricultural enterprises.

    For the same purposes, in 2008 the bank allocated $67.96 million from IDA funds, for a 40-year period, including a 10-year exemption period at a rate of 0.75 percent per annum.

    Uzbekistan became a member of ADB in 1995 and World Bank in 1992. ADB has provided Uzbekistan the loans over $5 billion to implement more than 40 projects with a total value of $14.5 billion during this time.

    The World Bank has provided Uzbekistan with loans amounting about $2 billion for projects in the areas of privatization, financial sector development, modernization of agriculture, electrical energy, improvement of social infrastructure, health and education.

    Translated by S.I.

    Edited by S.I.

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  • Would you like to know iOS 8 better?
    23.04.2014 09:29
    Apple is expected to unveil iOS 8, its next big software update for iPhones and iPads, during its World Wide Developers Conference in June.

    The update is likely to bring a few new features to the iPhone while improving on Apple's existing apps and services.

    The current version of Apple's mobile software, iOS 7, was a big deal for iPhone users when it launched.

    It completely changed the look and feel of Apple's mobile software, ushering in a new flat design and ditching the skeuomorphic architecture that had been found in previous iterations of iOS.

    This also marked the first time Apple's iconic hardware design chief Jony Ive played a major role in shaping the software aesthetics for a major product launch. Ive has since been promoted to lead the entire software design team at Apple.

    iOS 8 isn't expected to bring as much of a physical change as iOS 7, but rumors suggest that there will be some noteworthy additions come this fall. Here's a look at everything we think we know about iOS 8.


    One of the most significant changes to come with iOS 8 is expected to be Healthbook, a fitness-focused app that monitors your health. 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman, who obtained screenshots of the app, reported that it will be able to track steps and calories burned, monitor blood pressure, blood sugar and oxygen levels in blood, track your sleep and tell you how much water you need to drink depending on your activity.

    It's unclear exactly how Apple would collect this type of personal data. The iPhone 5s' M7 motion co-processor is capable of tracking steps and other basic activity, but there's no way for it to monitor blood pressure, hydration or sleep.

    Improved Apple Maps

    Apple reportedly plans to redeem its troubled Maps app with iOS 8. Apple Maps, which debuted with iOS 6 in 2012, was a complete disaster when it launched. The glitch-ridden navigation app was so terrible that Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an apology letter to iOS users on its website following its release.

    The next version of iOS, however, could introduce improvements such as more-accurate location data. The updated app, according to 9to5Mac, will also include new points of interest and will offer transit directions for buses, trains and subways.

    iTunes Radio app

    iTunes Radio is Apple's Pandora-like music-streaming service that was introduced with iOS 7. The service is currently built into iTunes as an added feature, but 9to5Mac reports that it will get its own standalone app with iOS 8. This could help Apple's service compete against the likes of Spotify, Pandora, Beats Audio and other similar apps.

    Preview and Text Edit apps

    Apple could bring its Preview and Text Edit desktop apps to iOS with its next major update, 9to5Mac reports. Text Edit lets you view simple text files, much like Notepad for Windows. Preview lets you view photos and PDFs. The Mac versions of these two apps already sync with iCloud, but there's no way to view those files on your iPhone or iPad. This, however, could change with iOS 8.

    No Game Center

    The Game Center may be removed from iOS with its next update, according to 9to5Mac. Game Center features, which include the ability to receive challenges from friends, would instead be built directly into iOS games.

    More Siri integration

    The next step is to activate Siri. Press and hold the home button on your screen.

    Apple is reportedly working on extending Siri's integration with third-party apps. The iPhone virtual assistant is currently compatible with OpenTable and can retrieve search results from Wolfram Alpha.

    Apple is hoping to extend these capabilities to other apps and services, according to The Information.

    Siri's capabilities could extend beyond answering voice queries, which would make it seem more like a virtual assistant than an oral search engine. One implementation could involve Siri automatically pulling up an exercise app when you start jogging, as TechCrunch's Darrell Etherington points out.

    Cleaner Notification Center

    Apple may also tighten the Notification Center in iOS 8. Currently, the drop-down notification hub divides alerts into Today, All and Missed sections. The next iteration of iOS could combine all of these tabs into the Today column to allow for a more streamlined experience, 9to5Mac reports.

    Voice-Over-LTE support

    A minor yet noteworthy tweak that may hit iOS 8 is support for voice over LTE. This means that voice phone calls would be transmitted over the same network as mobile data. Typically, phone calls are processed over 3G even when you're connected to 4G, but 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman says "carrier sources" have told him iOS 8 will bring voice-over-LTE support for the iPhone.

    App updates

    Apple may add a few tweaks to native iPhone apps, according to 9to5Mac. The messaging app may be updated with a feature that allows users to automatically delete old conversation threads. Apple is also reportedly testing a new version of CarPlay that would allow you to connect to your car's dashboard wirelessly rather than through a cable.

    At the same time,В  Apple is expected to make syncing across apps much easier by introducing inter-app communication. This means that apps would be able to share data and communicate with one another. Essentially, this functionality would make it easier to edit a photo and share it directly to Facebook or Instagram. At the moment, you'd have to manually share it to one of these apps after taking the photo.

  • Employees of State Administration Academy awarded with Tereggi
    23.04.2014 09:25
    President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has signed a decree to award employees of the State Administration Academy under the President of Azerbaijan with the Tereggi medal. reports with reference to the official website for the President of Azerbaijan that for merits in development of education in Azerbaijan, President Ilham Aliyev ordered to honor the following employees of the Academy of State Administration with the medal:

    Bagirov Zaur Sayavush oghlu

    Badalov Tair Nadir oghlu

    Jahangirova Sevil Adilovna

    Chinani Suraya Aghababa gyzy

    Aliyev Sakit Hajaly oghlu

    Huseynov Mukhtar Shamsaddin oghlu

    Karimov Melek Latif gyzy

    Gasimova Yelena Vladimirovna

    Mammadova Sadagat Mahmud gyzy.

  • Baku - state of the art and simple city
    23.04.2014 09:03
    No one has ever predicted that one day there will be simultaneously a state of the art and simply beautiful city in the Caucasus which will sit right in the middle of the world's attention. Baku proved all beliefs right and suspects wrong by conquering the hearts of millions.

    Going on day by day development path, Baku gradually enters among the most visited cities on Earth. One can find various colors, patterns, harmonies in the Caspian Sea's city of love.
  • U.S. to deliver Apache helicopters to Egypt
    23.04.2014 08:49
    The United States said on Tuesday it will deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters to Egypt, relaxing a suspension of aid imposed after Egypt's armed forces ousted President Mohamed Mursi last year and cracked down violently on protesters, Reuters reported.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel informed his Egyptian counterpart of the decision to lift a hold on delivery of the helicopters, which would support Egypt's counterterrorism operations in the Sinai Peninsula, the Pentagon said.

    "We believe these new helicopters will help the Egyptian government counter extremists who threaten U.S., Egyptian, and Israeli security," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement, recounting Hagel's conversation with Egyptian Defense Minister Colonel Sedki Sobhi.

    Behind the move was a decision by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to certify to Congress that Egypt met key criteria allowing Washington to free up some aid, suspended last year after Egyptian authorities used violence to put down protests after the military ousted Mursi in July.

    Those criteria included Egypt "upholding its obligations under the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty," the State Department said.

    But Kerry noted in a call with his counterpart that he was not yet able to certify that Egypt was taking steps to support a democratic transition.

    One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no other military aid beyond the Apaches, built by Boeing Co., was being freed up at the moment. That meant that delivery of other hardware, like F-16 fighter jets produced by Lockheed Martin Corp, remained on hold.

    That could send a signal to Egypt ahead of next month's presidential election, which Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former army general who deposed Mursi, is expected to win.

    In a call with Egypt's foreign minister, Kerry "urged Egypt to follow through on its commitment to transition to democracy - including by conducting free, fair, and transparent elections," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

    Kerry also called on Egypt to ease restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly, and the media, she said.

    Egypt for decades has been among the largest recipients of U.S. military and economic aid because of its 1979 peace treaty with U.S. ally Israel.

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  • Iran inflation may exceed 40 percent
    23.04.2014 08:46
    Iran, Tehran, Feb. April 21

    By Milad Fashtami - Trend:

    Head of Export Commission of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines warned that the government needs to postpone implementation of the second phase of subsidy reform plan to next Iranian calendar year (to start on March 21, 2015).

    Assadollah Asgaroladi said that considering the current situation and the rising trend of US dollar exchange rate in the free market, the country's inflation may even exceed 40 percent, Iran's Mehr News Agency reported.

    "The price of USD is on the rise at the free market. If the government decides to implement the second phase of the subsidy reform plan, then we should expect the recession to deepen," he said.

    "Implementation of the first phase of the plan concurrent with the increase rate of USD caused Iran's inflation to jump significantly, so the government needs to learn a lesson from the past experiences," he added.

    Iranian parliament (Majlis) approved that the government should implement the second phase of the subsidy reform plan at the beginning of the second quarter of the current Iranian calendar year (which started March 21), Iran's IRNA News Agency reported on February 4.

    Vice President for Executive Affairs Mohammad Shariatmadari will be in charge of carrying out the second phase of the subsidy reform plan.

    The Iranian repeatedly asked rich families to voluntarily give up receiving cash subsidies.

    The government previously hoped that about 30 percent of Iranian families give up receiving cash subsidies, but officials say that the number of people who actually agreed, is not satisfactory.

    The subsidy reform plan pays 45,500 rials (about $18 based on the U.S. dollar official exchange rate of 24,800 rials) to Iranians, eliminating subsidies for fuels and some commodities.

    Head of Parliamentary Economic Committee Gholamreza Mesbahi Moqaddam has said the subsidy reform plan put into place by the administration of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has created $13 billion more in liquidity than anticipated.

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  • Arab League criticizes Syrian election plan
    23.04.2014 06:49
    Holding an election in Syria while civil war rages will only obstruct international efforts to resolve the conflict, the head of the Arab League said on Tuesday, Alarabiya reported.

    President Bashar al-Assad's government announced on Monday that a presidential election would take place on June 3 - an event that is certain to extend his grip on power.

    "This step could suspend the desired efforts of maturing negotiations for a political solution to the Syrian crisis," Nabil el-Araby, the head of the Cairo-based Arab League, said in a statement.

    Western and Gulf Arab countries that back rebels fighting to topple Assad have criticized the decision to hold elections, calling it a "parody of democracy" that would wreck efforts to negotiate a peace settlement.

    U.N. and Arab League-backed talks in Geneva collapsed in February with both sides far from agreement on any issue including the fate of Assad, whose family has ruled for more than four decades.

    "Practically, a fair, democratic and credible elections could not take place in the middle of the humanitarian tragedy that the children of the Syrian people are living...and with over 6 million homeless Syrians," Araby said.

    Gun battles, shelling and air strikes take place daily in almost all of Syria's provinces and the weekly death toll from the conflict regularly exceeds 1,000.

    Although Assad has not yet announced if he would run for office again, preparations for his candidacy have already begun in state-controlled parts of the capital.

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  • Informed FM source dismisses BahrainЛ€s anti-Iran accusations
    23.04.2014 04:51
    An informed foreign ministry official categorically dismissed the accusations by Bahraini courts against Iran, IRNA reported.

    The official, speaking on condition of anonymity pointed to the heavy sentences against 14 Bahraini youth, and said, Л€The Bahraini officials should better take as serious the civil demands of their people instead of lodging accusations against others.Л€

    He called for avoidance of security and police approaches and instead adopt confidence-building measures to conduct serious dialogues.

    A Bahraini court sentenced several Bahraini youth to life imprisonment on charges of spying for Iran.

    Since 2011, Bahrain has witnessed widespread popular protests against Al-Khalifa family.

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  • Turkish leaders issue messages on "Children's Day"
    23.04.2014 03:44
    Turkey's leaders, including President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have released messages for "April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day", Anadolu Agency reported.

    We are again proud of our great ancestors who have presented this pretty country to us, said President Gul in his message, adding that Turkey has covered a critical distance in uniting with the modern world and reaching out to its people with universal values since the proclamation of the republic in 1923.

    Gul concluded saying that "Turkey's future will be shaped by the children. I fully believe that they will be architects of the country and ask them to educate themselves well to actualize their goals."

    On April 23, 1920, during the War of Independence, the Grand National Assembly met in Turkey's capital, Ankara, and laid down the foundation of a new, independent, secular and modern republic from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. The founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, then dedicated the day to the children of the country to emphasize that they are the future of the nation.

    Seeing the young generation as a guarantee of Turkey's continuation in his message, Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek, said that Turkey's children would oversee the peaceful and bright future of the country and spread fraternity among the Turkish people.

    Furthermore, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a statement saying that the government's biggest ambition is to prepare a brighter future for the children who are a symbol of national sovereignty.

    "I believe our great parliament, which opens new horizons for Turkey, will put forward a more civil and liberal constitution and present a brighter future for our children," he said.

    Erdogan also underscored that Turkey crowned its republic with democracy, which raised the country to a level that is a model among countries in its region.

    Turkey is progressing towards the future with positive steps said Erdogan and wished the day bring peace and happiness to all children in the world.

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  • Iran protests at U.N. committee on envoy ban as U.S. stands ground
    23.04.2014 03:20
    Iran complained to a United Nations committee on Tuesday about Washington's refusal to grant a visa to Tehran's proposed new U.N. envoy due to his suspected links to hostage-takers, even as the United States stood firm on its decision, Reuters reported.

    The United States said earlier this month that it would not grant a visa to Hamid Abutalebi because of his connection to the 1979-1981 Tehran hostage crisis when Iranian students seized the U.S. Embassy and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. Abutalebi has said he acted only as a translator.

    "As far as we know this is a unique case involving a permanent representative," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday.

    The U.N. Committee on Relations with the Host Country, which deals with the issues of states operating in the United States such as immigration, security, banking and parking violations, met on Tuesday at Iran's request to discuss the matter.

    "Iran and the United States presented their views," said Cyprus' U.N. Ambassador Nicholas Emiliou, who chairs the 19-member committee. "There was a discussion ... with the participation of seven other delegations and the committee decided to remain seized of the issue."

    Diplomats at the meeting said Belarus, Cuba, North Korea and Ecuador spoke in support of Iran's complaint.

    According to the diplomats, the United States said it takes seriously the responsibility of hosting the United Nations, but said it had concerns about Abutalebi's role in the hostage crisis and that it would be intolerable for him to receive diplomatic protection that he had denied others.

    The United States told the committee that its position of not granting visas to people involved in the Tehran hostage crisis was not new, diplomats said.

    President Barack Obama had come under strong pressure not to allow Abutalebi into the country to take up his position. Former hostages objected to Abutalebi, and a normally divided Congress passed legislation that would ban him.

    That legislation became law on Friday when Obama signed it. It bars any U.N. representative deemed to be behind acts of terrorism or espionage against the United States or considered a threat to U.S. national security.

    Tehran has steadfastly stuck by its choice for U.N. ambassador, describing Abutalebi as a seasoned diplomat. He has served as ambassador to Italy, Belgium and Australia and is not known as a hardliner or for having staunch anti-Western views.

    In a letter to the U.N. committee last week Iran described the U.S. decision as a dangerous precedent that could harm international diplomacy. It is not clear whether Iran plans to ask the committee to take action on the issue. The committee could ask U.N. lawyers to provide an opinion on it.

    Under a 1947 "headquarters agreement," the United States is generally required to allow access to the United Nations for foreign diplomats. Washington has said it can deny visas for "security, terrorism, and foreign policy" reasons.

    A 1947 Joint Resolution of Congress said nothing should be seen as "diminishing, abridging, or weakening the right of the United States to safeguard its own security and completely control the entrance of aliens" into any part of the United States aside from U.N. headquarters.

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  • Turkish parliament postpones debate on ex-ministers
    23.04.2014 01:10
    Debates on a motion to set up a parliamentary inquiry committee to investigate four former ministers accused of corruption have been postponed to next week, said AK Party Parliamentary Group Chairman Ahmet Aydin on Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reported.

    Former economy minister Zafer Caglayan, former interior minister Muammer Guler and former urbanization minister Erdogan Bayraktar resigned while former EU minister Egemen Bagis was discharged in a cabinet reshuffle after an anti-graft probe was launched on December 17 last year.

    The former ministers submitted an application to the parliament speaker for the formation of a parliamentary committee in March and the main opposition Republican People's Party has made four separate applications to Turkey's parliament for an inquiry.

    Aydin said they will withdraw the ruling AK Party's motion for the former ministers; however, they will make another motion which contains more detailed claims against the former ministers.

    "The new motion will be debated at the general assembly next week," said Aydin.

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  • Drone strikes alone won't stamp out al Qaeda in Yemen: analysts
    23.04.2014 01:04
    Baku-APA. An intense two days of air strikes on al Qaeda in Yemen may have killed or wounded some of its commanders, but drones alone are unlikely to eradicate the threat the group poses to Yemenis and the West, APA reports quoting Reuters.

    A weak central government, a rivalry-ridden and poorly equipped security force, endemic poverty and corruption have made Yemen the ideal haven of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), whom U.S. President Barack Obama has described as the group "most active in plotting against our homeland".

    Desperate to prevent AQAP from planning more attacks like its attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner in December 2009, Washington has used drones to strike and kill group members and leaders.

    But analysts say drone strikes do only limited harm to AQAP.

    They say the group will remain a serious menace unless the government can address challenges like poverty and inadequate security forces, and curb the occasional civilian casualties inflicted by drone attacks that inflame anti-U.S. sentiment.

    "The U.S. can't simply kill its way out of the terrorism threat," said Letta Tayler, Human Rights Watch's senior researcher on terrorism and counter-terrorism.

    "The U.S. and other concerned nations should address all the drivers of terrorism including poverty, illiteracy, political marginalization and lack of opportunity for young people."
  • Turkey Deputy PM visits Kosovo
    23.04.2014 00:54
    Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah Isler has praised 'excellent' relations with Kosovo on his visit to Kosovo's capital Pristina, Anadolu Agency reported.

    Minister Isler held a meeting with Kosovo's Parliament Speaker Jakup Krasniqi on Tuesday along with Turkish officials and Kosovar parliament members of Turkish origin.

    Isler also visited the office of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency, or TIKA.

    He arrived in Kosovo on Tuesday together with the agency's president, Serdar Cam, on the invitation of Kosovo's Minister of Public Administration Mahir Yagcilar.

    Addressing the media in Pristina, Minister Isler praised Kosovo's development towards building the country and gaining international recognition.

    Isler said the Turkish development agency TIKA was not led by any imperialistic agenda, but by the goodwill of Turkey, which sought to give a hand to all people suffering difficult living conditions.

    The minister added that TIKA paid special attention to the development projects in the Balkans, whose legacy from the period of the Ottoman Empire was very rich, but he stressed that agency's work in other fields was also significant.

    "After the departure of the Ottoman Empire from here, many legacies of this period were destroyed. TIKA works on the restoration of what had remained here, aiming to leave it for future generations. TIKA is not exclusively devoted to this type of project - it also actively works in the field of agriculture, health, education and other areas," he said.

    During the visit of the Turkish delegation to Kosovo, TIKA will be holding several ceremonies to mark the completion of some of the agency's projects.

    Isler will also attend the Children's Day ceremony in Kosovo on Wednesday.

    TIKA was founded in 1992 and has 35 branches in the world.

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  • UNESCO Director-General to visit Iran
    23.04.2014 00:10
    Director-General of UNESCO Irina Georgieva Bokova has been invited to attend Persian cultural programs in the Iranian historical city of Isfahan, PressTV reported.

    Bokova along with a number of foreign ambassadors and diplomats in Iran are slated to be acquainted with the Iranian traditions, ethnics and cultural heritage.

    The participants will also enjoy visiting tourist attractions and historical monuments in Isfahan as well as traditional Iranian music programs.

    Ancient Iranian scholar and astronomer Baha ad-Din Muhammad ibn Husayn al-Amili, known as Sheikh Bahai, will be paid tribute during the event on his National Day, April 23.

    Organized by the Isfahan Municipality, the event is scheduled to take place from April 23 to 30.

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  • Turchynov demands to resume special raid in eastern Ukraine
    22.04.2014 23:45
    Interim President of Ukraine, appointed by the Verkhovna Rada and parliament Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov demanded from special task forces to resume the raid in the country's east. Vekhovna Rada's press service reported this on Tuesday, ITAR-TASS reported.

    "I demand that security services carry out effective counter-terrorist activities aimed at defending Ukrainian citizens living in the country's east from terrorists," Turchynov stated.

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  • Uzbekistanв's cotton transit via Iran up by 14 percent
    22.04.2014 23:28
    Iran, Tehran, Feb. April 21

    By Milad Fashtami - Trend:

    Uzbekistan's cotton transit via Iran in the current Iranian calendar year, which started on March 21, has increased by 14 percent increase.

    The managing director of Iranian Railway Company, Mohsen Pourseyed Aghaie, said that the company's discounts and Uzbekistan's determination caused the increase.

    "The highest rate of transit between the two countries was registered in 2012," he said.

    He also expressed hope that the two countries' transit increases even more by further negotiations.

    Pourseyed Aghaie made the remarks at a meeting with Uzbekistan's ambassador to Tehran.

    Over 12.084 million tons of goods were transited through Iran in the previous Iranian calendar year (which ended on March 20), Iranian IRNA News Agency reported on April 12.

    The amount shows 4 percent increase compared to last year.

    Some 96 percent of the mentioned amount (11.59 million tons) was transited via roads and the other 4 percent (494,000 tons) by railways.

    Transit of goods by roads faced 8 percent increase compared to the preceding year.

    He went on to note that about 5.297 million tons of transited goods were oil products and 6.787 million tons were non-oil products.

    The transited consignments are mostly consisted of fuel, construction materials, cotton, home appliances, vehicles, foodstuff and fertilizers.

    According to Iran's former Deputy Roads and Urban Development Minister Shahriar Afandizadeh 106 countries transit their goods via Iran. Iraq, China, the UAE, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan usually transit the highest amounts of goods.

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  • Turkey and New Zealand agree mutual tax exemption
    22.04.2014 23:27
    Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Tuesday that the relationship between Turkey and New Zealand borne out of the ashes of the Gallipoli battle in 1925 continues to bear fruit, Anadolu Agency reported.

    New Zealand's Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae is visiting Turkey and after meeting with Gul at Cankaya Palace in Ankara said that being in Turkey was an honor for him and gave his thanks for the hospitality. He added that "although Turkey and New Zealand are far away from each other, we have many common grounds. Therefore, promoting relations is very important for us."

    The president added that Turkey and New Zealand have "signed a mutual tax exemption agreement. I hope we sign agreements on investment promotion and guarantees soon."

    Furthermore, Gul went on to say that as preparations are made to mark the 100th anniversary of the war in 2015 we should remember that "the battle in 1915 was full of lessons in humanity for us."

    The battle of Gallipoli took place in 1915 during World War One in Canakkale, northwestern Turkey.

    Turkey asks for New Zealand's support for UN bid

    Meanwhile Turkey's Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek met with New Zealander Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and his delegation at the parliament Tuesday where Cicek praised the country's good relations and said these relations could offer economic and commercial opportunities between the two countries.

    Turkey and New Zealand are both candidate countries for non-permanent membership to the UN's Security Council and Turkey hopes New Zealand will support its bid for membership said Cicek adding "all the current problems occur around Turkey and a country which is amid such troublesome incidents can contribute to peaceful solutions if it takes part in UN Security Council."

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  • PM Erdogan: Parallel state has blackmailing tapes of army chief, president and myself
    22.04.2014 23:24
    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stepped up his salvos against the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen on April 22, claiming that the "parallel state" has recordings to blackmail the chief of general staff and the president, and even himself, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

    "They have tapes to blackmail people. They have tapes about the president and also about the chief of general staff. If you have one about me, reveal it. They have no honor. They could not find what they were looking for on me. They just released some of my phone conversations with my ministers or my wife, and my son. They will not be able to find anything."

    Although the prime minister had earlier claimed that members of the "parallel structure" had wiretapped both him and the president, this is the first time that he has said Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel was also illegally eavesdropped on. He did not give any details of the recordings that could be used for blackmailing.

    Vowing to do "whatever necessary" to clear the state of the "parallel structure gang," Erdogan said an important role fell on the shoulders of AKP lawmakers in this effort.

    "You are representing the people. What did this 45.5 percent of the people tell you? 'We don't believe in the corruption accusations. We are waiting for a move from you: You must give the necessary punishments to these slanderers," he added.

    'The people will elect the next president'

    The prime minister also addressed the upcoming presidential election, saying that one of the most important goals for the AKP was to save the elections from political crisis, as was the case in the past.

    "The presidency is not taken for granted by anybody. Whoever the candidates are, the people will have the say. Who will give the final decision? The people," Erdogan said.

    "We will openly discuss the presidential elections with my president. The final word belongs to the people," he said, adding that his consultations inside the party would continue.

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  • Syrian FM Walid Muallem admitted to Beirut hospital
    22.04.2014 23:07 al-Moualem.jpg al-Moualem.jpg
    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has been admitted to the American University of Beirut Medical Center, Al Arabiya News Channel reported on Tuesday, citing Lebanese sources.

    Last month, Muallem was rushed to the same hospital where he underwent tests for a suspected blocked coronary artery, Lebanese security officials and a lawmaker said.

    The 73-year-old diplomat led the government's negotiating team at the failed Geneva peace talks this year. Muallem is known for his hardline stance against the opposition and is reportedly a close confidant of President Bashar al-Assad.

    It is not clear if al-Muallem has had heart problems in the past.

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  • France to unveil plan to fight Syrian jihadist threat
    22.04.2014 23:02
    France is to unveil policies to stop its citizens joining the Syrian civil war, a government source said on Tuesday, aiming to prevent young French Muslims becoming radicalized and posing a threat to their home country, Reuters reported.

    The Interior Ministry will present some 20 measures on Wednesday, including a plan to stop minors leaving France without parental consent, increased surveillance of Islamist websites that recruit fighters and a system to encourage parents to signal suspicious behavior in their children.

    "France will take all measures to dissuade, prevent and punish those who are tempted to fight where they have no reason to be," President Francois Hollande told reporters on Tuesday.

    With radical Sunni Muslims from outside Syria fighting alongside Syrians against President Bashar al-Assad, Western countries are concerned of the security risk at home.

    Last year, Britain passed a law to make it easier to confiscate the passport of anyone whose "actual or suspected" activities are deemed contrary to the public interest.

    France estimates the number of its nationals directly or indirectly involved in the Syrian civil war at about 700.

    At the weekend, four French journalists who returned from Syria after being held captive by the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, said some of their captors had been French-speaking.

    The government source said: "This will be a comprehensive plan to fight a phenomenon that is in sharp progression.

    "The idea is to deal with the problem from when someone is in their room watching jihadi videos to the moment when they are taking the bus ... to the Turkish-Syrian border."

    In 2012, seven people were killed by an al Qaeda-inspired French citizen, Mohamed Merah.

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  • Azerbaijani TPP produces over 2 billion kW h electricity in Q1 of 2014
    22.04.2014 22:49
    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 22

    By Emil Ismayilov - Trend:

    The Azerbaijani thermal power plant produced about 2.12 billion billion kWh in the first quarter of 2014, Azerenergy JSC (production and distribution of electricity in Azerbaijan) said.

    Azerbaijan`s TPP is considered the largest thermal power plant in the South Caucasus region and generates most of the electricity produced in the country.

    The TPP generated more than 766.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity in March, the report said.

    The Azerbaijani TPP generated more than 7.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2013.

    Azerbaijan's power generation capacity has increased by 30 percent in the past five years. Currently, the index hits 7,105 megawatts, which allows generating annually about 24 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. This means that it is possible to annually export 2.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.

    Translated by S.I.

    Edited by C.N.

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  • Azerbaijan provides assistance to St. Vincent and the Grenadines
    22.04.2014 22:42
    The Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan has provided assistance to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to eliminate the adverse consequences of floods caused by torrential rains that resulted in considerable damage in agriculture, energy and other sectors.

    The assistance was implemented through the Azerbaijan International Development Agency (AIDA) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Scientist of Azerbaijan Tourism Institute joins international workshop in Hungary
    22.04.2014 22:39
    Employee of Azerbaijan Tourism Institute Vusala Gasimli has participated in an international workshop within the ECCE Mundus project in Budapest, Hungary.

    The workshop brought together 30 delegates from 13 countries.

    ECCE Mundus is a joint initiative launched by Erasmus Mundus National Structures.

    The project is funded by the Erasmus Mundus programme. The basic idea of ECCE Mundus is to enhance and facilitate co-operation in Erasmus Mundus between higher education institutions in Central European EU countries. The project also aims to increase visibility of the programme in these regions among higher education institutions and students. In order to achieve the objectives of the project ECCE Mundus consortium organised seminar in Budapest. The ECCE Mundus project targets to enhance and facilitate co-operation in the field of joint programmes and international mobility by organising joint training and contact seminars for selected universities from these regions.
  • Meteors May Have Brought Vitamin B to Earth
    22.04.2014 22:38
    Did life here begin...out there? We don't yet know and may never. But there is compelling evidence that I might not be sitting here writing this today, or you reading it, if not for meteorite-enabled distribution of a simple vitamin billions of years ago.Scientists funded by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center have found vitamin B3, a.k.a. niacin, in a group of eight ancient, carbon-rich meteorites. And the more pristine a meteorite is, the more B3 it contains.

    The amount of niacin in the eight meteorites ranged from 30 to 600 parts per billion.

    The finding suggests that a lot of the Earth's initial niacin supply may have originated in space, during the cosmic events that created the Solar System, and been brought to earth by meteorites. Once here, natural processes like erosion degraded the meteorites, leeching that B3 into the environment.

    Why is this a clue to the origins of life on Earth? Well, niacin, also called nicotinic acid, is a precursor to an amine called nicotinamide adenine dinuclotide (NAD). Amines are substances that are key to the formation of amino acids, which in turn are building blocks for molecular proteins. Molecular proteins are crucial to the functions that comprise living organisms, essentially the chemical bits within our cells that act upon the other, relatively inert bits.

    The researchers are careful not to overstate the case, which was published this week in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. "It is always difficult to put a value on the connection between meteorites and the origin of life," says lead researcher Karen Smith of Penn State, in an article on the NASA website. "For example, earlier work has shown that vitamin B3 could have been

    produced non-biologically on ancient Earth, but it's possible that an added source of vitamin B3 could have been helpful."

    However, Smith and her colleagues also also found niacin isomersmdash;related substances with the same chemical formula as niacin but with atoms attached in different formationsmdash;in the meteorites, at similar concentrations to the niacin. These variants are not used in or created by living processes, so are very unlikely to exist in the meteorites if the B3 they contain came from exposure to Earth-bound life.
  • 4 questions about missing Malaysian plane answered
    22.04.2014 22:33
    Baku-APA. Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah Isler haspaid aformal visit to Albania, APA reports quoting AA.

    Islerwas welcomed by Albania's parliament speaker Ilir Meta in the presence of Turkey's ambassador to Albania, Hidayet Bayraktar;the president of Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) Serdar Cam; adelegation of ministers and of Turkish Parliament and leaders of several political parties in Albania.

    The meeting on Saturday was closed to the media.

    The minister held a separate meeting with Albania's PM Edi Rama which was also closed to journalists.

    Later in the day, Isler visited the Alternative Future Foundation (ALSAR), an association that helps orphans in Albania whose building was restored by TIKA and met the foundation's director, Mehdi Gurra.

    "This foundation finances the education of about 2,000 orphans. That figure will increase in future," the Turkish minister said after giving gifts to the children.

    - 'Friendship and brotherhood'

    Isler also visited the Ethem Beymosque in the Albanian capital which dates from the period of the Ottoman Empire, and announced that TIKA will restore it.

    "This is the only mosque that dates from the Ottomans' period. Damage is noticed at the mosque. That is why TIKA constantly run projects in this country. In July this year it will start restoration of this object," Islersaid.

    During his visit to Albania,Isler also attended the inauguration ceremony of the historicalMurad Bey Mosque in Kruja city which was restored by Turkey's TIKA.

    He noted that the mosque, whichdates back to 1534, had never been reconditioned until1837.

    "As long as such structures remain standing, our friendship and brotherhood will last forever, he said.
  • American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan welcomes US Congressional Delegation
    22.04.2014 22:32
    The Board of Directors of American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan (AmCham) met with high level US Congressional Delegation.

    The meeting discussed how to strengthen the US-Azerbaijan relations. One of the issues that were covered during the meeting was low presence of US companies in Azerbaijan which can be improved by stronger engagement and cooperation of the US Government.
  • Cambodian Premier visits Heydar Aliyev Center
    22.04.2014 22:28
    Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia Hun Sen has today visited the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku.

    The Premier was informed that the centre was a cultural complex designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid.

    The Center houses a conference hall with three auditoriums, a library and a museum. The project is intended to play an integral role in the intellectual life of the city. Located close to the city center, the site plays a pivotal role in the redevelopment of Baku. The Center is engaged in studying and promoting the statehood policy and heritage of national leader Heydar Aliyev.

    The Cambodian PM was told that the center implements projects to popularize history and culture of Azerbaijan all over the world.

    The Premier also reviewed the cars that Heydar Aliyev used during his leadership of Azerbaijan from 1969 to 2003.

    An internationally recognized architectural work, the building of the Heydar Aliyev Center has become a signature landmark of modern Baku due to its innovative and cutting-edge design. The building was nominated for awards in 2013 at both the World Architecture Festival and the biennial Inside Festival.

    Premier Hun Sen signed the Center`s guest book.
  • Baku round of Worldwide Startup Competition held with support of Azercell
    22.04.2014 22:18
    Baku, Azerbaijan, April 22


    The Baku round of the Worldwide Startup Competition took place with the organizational support of Barama Innovation Center, Swiss Company Seedstars and ADA University on April 18, Azercell said on April 22.

    The event brought together local companies, startups and project owners that shared ideas and exchanged opinions on the future plans. Young startup team with "ManADS" project for mobile advertisement application became the winner of Baku round.

    The winning team got an opportunity to join the Grand Final in Geneva, Switzerland.

    Some 600 companies from more than 30 cities of the world were involved in the competition, according to the estimates. This competition is intended for projects and companies with more than two years of operation and a profit margin up to $500,000.

    We also would like to inform that only within first four months of 2014 Azercell's Barama Innovation Center has managed to organize a Summer Camp, training course for Oracle users and a workshop for Linux users. The main goal of these events is bringing together different people, interested in this field, facilitate opinion, and experience exchange between them.

    Along with the Barama Innovation Center projects, Azercell also extends its support to young generation through range of other programs. The Student Bursary Program initiated by the company offers scholarships to talented and skillful university students, given the fact that education is one of the main directions of Social Investment Projects of Azercell. Total Social Investment of Azercell for the year of 2013 has made 0.4 million manat, and a total of 14 million manat for 17 years of operation in the country. Azercell is collaborating with the leading universities of the country and further supports the strengthening of their material and technical capacities. An example of such a partnership is, among other, the initiative of Azercell to install and operate its first 4G Lab at Gafgaz University and Nakhchivan State University. Azercell will further continue its support projects aimed for development and career growth of talented youth.

    Azercell Telecom LLC was founded in 1996 and since the first years retains a leading position on the market. Azercell introduced number of technological innovations in Azerbaijan: GSM technology, GPRS/EDGE, 24/7 Customer Care, full-time operating Azercell Express offices and others. With 51 percent share of Azerbaijan's mobile market, Azercell's network covers 99.8 percent of the country's population. By the end of 2013 the number of Azercell's subscribers reached 4.5 million people. In 2011 Azercell deployed 3G and in 2012 - 4G networks in Azerbaijan. In 2013 Azercell became the first mobile operator in the country to introduce mobile e-service ASAN imza (ASAN signature). Azercell is the leader of Azerbaijan's mobile communication industry and the biggest investor in the non-oil sector.

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