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China bans new government buildings in corruption curb
24.07.2013 14:18
China has banned the construction of government buildings for five years, according to state media, BBC reported.

The move comes as part of a campaign by President Xi Jinping to show that the ruling Communist Party (CPC) is cracking down on corruption and waste.

Glitzy new government buildings, sometimes in impoverished areas, have been a source of public outrage.

The directive forbids luxury makeovers and expansions done under the guise of repair work, Xinhua newspaper said.


The notice says some departments and local authorities have built huge government office compounds against regulations, tainting the image of the CPC.

Among the buildings that have attracted widespread disapproval in recent years is the western-style government office building in the city of Fuyang in Anhui province, in eastern China.

It reportedly cost 30 million yuan ($4.89m, pound;3.19m) to build and is referred to as the 'White House' by residents.

A state-owned drug company also caused outrage after photographs emerged apparently showing a building decorated to mimic France's Versailles palace, complete with gold-tinted walls and chandeliers.

Some government agencies have reportedly built luxury offices in seaside resorts where officials can stay for free or at deeply discounted prices.

The ban - described as an "across-the-board halt" - includes training centres, hotels or government motels, Xinhua said.

It also says government organisations should not receive sponsorship or donations towards construction projects, or collaborate with private companies.

"Banning the building of new government buildings is important for building a clean government and also a requirement for boosting CPC-people ties and maintaining the image of the CPC and the government," Xinhua quoted the directive as saying.

Tackling corruption has been President Xi Jinping's most high-profile policy since he became China's leader earlier this year.

He has warned that "corruption and bribe-taking by some party members and cadres" pose "severe challenges" to the Communist Party's rule.

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    Edited by CN


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    The legislation overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives and Senate earlier this month.

    The measure will allow for a 30-day review of any final nuclear deal with Iran.

    During the reviewing period, Obama would be able to waive those Iran sanctions, which were imposed by the executive branch. However, the president would have to leave in place sanctions that Congress had previously drafted.

    The bill would also force the Obama administration to certify, on a regular basis, that Iran is abiding by the terms of any nuclear deal.

    The US and its negotiating partners reached a framework nuclear agreement with Iran in Switzerland on April 2.

    Tehran and the P5 1 group - the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany - are currently working to draw up a final accord by the end of June.

    During a speech earlier on Friday, President Obama reassured American Jews that he still fully supports Israel.

    "Our commitment to Israel's security and my commitment to Israel's security is and always will be unshakable," he said, adding that not doing so would be a "moral failing" on the part of him and his country.

    He made the comments in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month at Adas Israel, Washington's most prominent conservative synagogue.

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  • Boko Haram attack kills eight people in NE Nigeria: Officials
    22.05.2015 23:17
    Baku-APA. Eight people have lost their lives in Nigeriaв's northeastern Adamawa state in a bomb attackВ at a cattle market, officials say, APA reports quoting Press TV.

    The explosion occurred outside a crowded livestock market in Garkida village, 165 kilometers (102 miles) north of the state capital Yola,at about 1:15 p.m. local time (1215 GMT)on Tuesday.

    State assembly lawmaker Jerry Kundusi saidthat14 others werealsoinjured in the attack, adding that the bombing was carried out by Boko Haram Takfiri militants.

    On Saturday,at least three people were killed and seven women abducted by the Takfiri terroristsin Adamawa state.

    The latest spate of Boko Haram violence comedespite the government'sdeclarationin March that the state was "cleared" of the militants.

    Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is forbidden," controls large parts of northeastern Nigeria. Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria are the four African countries that have been directly affected by the growing threat of Boko Haram in recent months.

    Boko Haram says its goal is to overthrow the Nigerian government. It has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly shooting attacks and bombings in various parts of the country since the beginning of its militancy in 2009, which has so far left about 15,000 people dead and displaced about 1.5 million others.

    Boko Haram recently pledged allegiance to the ISIL terrorist group, which is mainly operating in Iraq and Syria.

    Back in February, the four countriestogether with a contingent from Beninlaunched a joint campaignto confront the threat from Boko Haram in the region.
  • TAP progressing on schedule in Greece
    22.05.2015 23:03
    Baku, Azerbaijan, May 22

    By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

    The Southern Gas Corridor project, in particular the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), implemented within its framework, has entered such a phase that no one has a doubt about its successful implementation.

    Even occasional statements Greece makes about the "insufficient profit" of TAP project for the country cannot have an impact on its implementation process. Such statements by Greece are completely groundless, and the country itself understands it very well, as well as the fact that denying the TAP project would be a huge mistake. That's why, despite all its discontent, the country's government states "the complete support for implementation of TAP project."

    "We fully support TAP project implementation, and the Greek government will do anything possible for its timely implementation," Greek Minister of Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Panagiotis Lafazanis said in April in Riga at the informal meeting of the EU Environment and Energy Ministers.

    Consortium on TAP development also testifies to the support of Greece for this project.

    "The Greek government fully supports the TAP project," TAP Head of Communications Lisa Givert said.

    "TAP is committed to transport Shah Deniz phase II volumes from the Caspian through Greece, Albania and into Italy," Givert added.

    She added that TAP is progressing on schedule in Greece.

    "While in the design phase TAP took into consideration feedback from local communities and numerous third parties - which resulted in approximately 120 re-routings," Givert said.

    She said that TAP remains committed to protecting the environment, to safety and to the communities living near the pipeline.

    Currently, TAP is the only real project for supply of alternative gas to Europe which will further pave the way for more volumes of gas and new sources.

    It is in the interest of European countries to support it and make every effort to contribute to its implementation in time. Very little time left for waiting - if the construction of TAP starts in 2016, EU countries will be able to receive alternative gas volumes in 2020.

    Edited by CN

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  • Araqchi: Drafting nuclear text slow, talks to continue
    22.05.2015 22:21
    Senior nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi described process of drafting comprehensive nuclear deal as slow, adding that talks will continue on Tuesday in Vienna, IRNA reported.

    Araqchi accompanied by his colleague Majid Takht-e Ravanchi have started the fourth round of nuclear talks as of Wednesday in Vienna which continued until Friday.

    Araqchi further noted that drafting of the main text and its appendices at the expert and political levels was conducted in the past three days. Expert sessions on sanctions and nuclear issues were held simultaneously during the same period.

    Deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs pointed out that given the complexities and their wide dimensions, drafting of the text is slow.

    New round of meetings for drafting nuclear deal will resume as of Tuesday in Vienna.

    Stay up to date with latest Iran news on our specialized Facebook page

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  • Turkish Sunni Scholars condemns Morsi death penalty
    22.05.2015 21:50
    Association of Sunni Scholars in Turkey has condemned an Egyptian court's decision to impose the death penalty on Egypt's first elected President Mohamed Morsi, Anadolu agency reported.

    "The Islamic world is faced with large and public attacks for the first time," the Turkey Sunni Scholars Association said Friday.

    "The [court's] decision to impose death penalty on 122 Muslims in Egypt aims to quell further demands of justice and freedom for the Egyptian people," the association added.

    It also called on the Muslims world, nongovernmental organizations and world leaders to defend the rights of Egyptians and protest against the verdict.

    On Saturday, an Egyptian court had referred 122 out 166 defendants, including Morsi to the grand mufti to consider possible death sentences against them over charges of jailbreak and espionage.

    Cairo said Sunday it rejected all "inappropriate comments" on the country's court rulings, labeling them an unacceptable interference in Egypt's internal affairs.

    Most death sentences handed by Egyptian courts are commuted into prison terms.

    Last year, hundreds of Egyptians were sentenced to death but rulings on only a few dozen were actually upheld, the rest converted into 25-year imprisonment.

    The U.S. and the United Nations both expressed concern over the decision Sunday.

    Last month, Morsi and 12 codefendants were sentenced to 20 years in prison each for allegedly mobilizing supporters to "intimidate, detain and torture" dozens of anti-Morsi protesters during clashes outside eastern Cairo's Ittihadiya presidential palace in December 2012.

    Morsi currently faces multiple criminal trials on charges that include espionage and "insulting the judiciary," charges he says are politically motivated.

    Since Morsi's ouster, Egyptian security forces have launched a relentless crackdown on dissent that has targeted both Islamists and secularists, leaving hundreds dead and thousands behind bars.

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  • Petkim container port to be commissioned in 2016
    22.05.2015 21:14
    Baku, Azerbaijan, May 22

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    Petkim container port in Turkey will be commissioned in the first quarter of 2016, the Turkish newspaper Gercekgundem said May 22 with reference to the head of the APM Terminals company in Turkey Mogens Wolf Larsen.

    He said that 600 people will work in the container port.

    Larsen went on to add that the construction of Petkim container port is one of the most important projects in Turkey.

    The project cost is $400 million.

    Petkim petrochemical complex and Dutch APM Terminals signed an agreement in March 2013 for construction of a container terminal with the capacity of 1.5 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit).

    APM Terminals will have the right to manage the port for 28 years.

    The new port's capacity will be around 50 percent more than that of Alsancak port. However, depending on the market demand, it is planned to increase the new port's capacity to 3 million TEU in the future.


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  • Another accused in connection with fire outbreak in Baku arrested
    22.05.2015 20:34
    Baku, Azerbaijan, May 22


    Another accused in connection with a fire outbreak that occurred in a residential building in Binagadi district May 19, First Deputy Head of the Executive Power of Binagadi district Qazanfar Novruzov has been arrested, said the joint statement by the Prosecutor General's Office, Interior Ministry and the Emergencies Ministry May 22.

    A preventive measure in the form of a four-month arrest has been chosen by the court decision in his regard.

    Earlier, the head of the Global Construction Miryusif Makhmudov was arrested for four months by the decision of court.

    Makhmudov is accused of using low-quality cladding materials during the cladding of the building, where as a result of the fire outbreak May 19 many people died and even more were left wounded.

    Then, the director general of the Global Stone company (producer of polyurethane coating, with which the building was cladded) Ugur Bashirov, deputy chairman of the Global Construction company Alakbar Asgarov, the former head of the general service department of executive power of Binagadi district Adalat Rajabov and the head of housing and communal operational control No.72 Nizami Orujov were also arrested.

    All those arrested faced charges under Articles 225.2 (violation of fire safety rules) and 308.2 (abuse of power) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic.

    Prosecutor General's Office, Interior Ministry and Ministry of Emergency Situations created an operational investigative group of experienced staff for the investigation of criminal case on the fact of the fire, which killed 15 people.

    The necessary operational and investigative activities have been carried out on a criminal case, a large number of injured ones and more than 200 witnesses were questioned, different expertise have been assigned to identify the causes of fire and determine the damage inflicted by it.

    Necessary operational and investigative activities to identify the causes of fire and its perpetrators continue.

    On May 19, a strong fire took place in a high-rise building in Binagadi district of Baku, which killed 15 people.

    The cause of the fire was cladding of the building using low quality and combustible materials, according to preliminary version.

    Edited by CN

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  • Azerbaijan ready to share its experience, co-op with Europe to promote multiculturalism
    22.05.2015 20:30
    Baku, Azerbaijan, May 22


    Azerbaijan is ready to share its historic experience and cooperate with its European partners in the field of promotion of multiculturalism, said Elmar Mammadyarov, the minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.

    He made the remarks at the 4th Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga, Latvia.

    Mammadyarov said that today all ethnicities and religions enjoy equal rights and privileges in Azerbaijan, multicultural society with its deep historical roots makes Azerbaijan an "island of peace and prosperity".

    "We are convinced that there is no any alternative to promotion of multiculturalism," Mammadyarov said. "Modern world cannot afford self-alienation and isolation which can lead to violence and strife. "

    Speaking about the Azerbaijan-EU relations, Mammadyarov said that in Azerbaijan's case pragmatism and focus has remained in the heart of the policy towards strengthening relations with the EU.

    "Since 2004 GDP grew 3.5 times which is a record figure in the world. In the last 11 years the volume of investments reached 180 billion USD. Our foreign exchange reserves which stood at 1.8 billion USD in 2004 now exceed 50 billion USD. The economic ratings of influential international organizations confirm that Azerbaijan is a front-runner in terms of possessing sustainable economic growth in the region," said Mammadyarov.

    The minister added that all these developments contribute to the modernization of the country which goes hand-in-hand with consistent political reforms.

    "Azerbaijan acknowledges that vibrant civil society and community participation can take an active role in democratic consolidation and economic prosperity in the country," he said. "Political stability is our prized asset which creates further advantages to foster our cooperation with our worldwide partners."

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  • Turkmenistan reveals plans on gas output
    22.05.2015 20:25
    /By AzerNews/

    By Vusala Abbasova

    Turkmenistan announced its intention to increase the volume of its gas production in connection with its plan to become a major energy supplier to EU countries.

    One of the factors which impacted on that decision is the possible construction of the 300-kilometer trans-Caspian gas pipeline, which is expected to annually transport 30 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe via Azerbaijan.

    Turkmen Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Muhammetnur Halylov confirmed the increased potential of hydrocarbon resources in the country due to the discovery of unique gas fields on the Gas Congress in Avaz, Turkmenistan. One of the major Turkmen gas fields is Galkinish, which confirmed Turkmenistan as one of the largest energy powers.

    Presently, Turkmenistan's oil resources reached 71.2 billion tons Halylov said. In particular, 53 billion tons locate on land areas and 18.2 billion tons-on marine areas.

    Turkmenistan, rich by its gas resources, relies on gas output standing at the 70 percent of the whole industry. Due to that Turkmenistan ranks second in the CIS countries after Russia and fourth in the world.

    "Turkmenistan is guided by the principle that doesn't provide for the substitution of the supply in any direction due to the decline in exports in the other, and supposes an adequate increase in production of natural fuel from both the already developed and put into operation new fields, " the minister said.

    Currently, Turkmenistan plans to realize the TAPI project (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) - a 1800-kilometer gas pipeline which will provide gas to 1.5 billion people. The annual capacity of the pipeline will exceed 30 billion cubic meters of gas.
  • Maltese triathletes doing well in Baku 2015 preparations
    22.05.2015 20:17
    Malta's triathletes have performed well in their preparations for the Baku 2015 European Games.

    Keith Galea and Hannah Pace both are still on highs after winning the recent Olympic distance triathlon race in Sicily Galea topped the overall men's standings while Pace picked up the women's crown in Trapani.

    Galea expects to face a very strong field in Azerbaijan.

    "I am expecting a very high standard of competition at Baku, in fact much higher than the Commonwealth Games," Galea told

    "After competing in the Commonwealth Games last year I am really looking forward to another participation in another event of such high standards and importance. I am also very happy and proud to be the first Maltese male triathlete ever to be on the starting line in these Games - it is like writing history for Triathlon Malta."

    While Pace was given the nod as Malta's woman triathlete, triathlete Vella Wood will appear at Baku 2015 as a cyclist.

    "Scared!! It's going to be tough - but exciting. I'm really proud and happy to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent my country," Wood told

    Wood was asked to compete in Azerbaijan on the bicycle after finishing the Tour ta' Malta third overall and as the first Maltese female. That forced Wood to change her training plans.

    "Triathlon will have to take a back seat temporarily as I will be totally focused on cycling . Once Baku is done and dusted, I will immediately shift to triathlon and make up for lost ground as soon as humanly possible."
  • Azerbaijan looking for increased EU support for Southern Gas Corridor realization
    22.05.2015 20:10
    Baku, Azerbaijan, May 22


    Azerbaijan is looking forward to increased support of the EU to the realization of the Southern Gas Corridor, which will bring new volumes from new sources, said Elmar Mammadyarov, the minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.

    Mammadyarov made the remarks at the 4th Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga, Latvia.

    Further speaking on the Southern Gas Corridor, Mammadyarov said it will benefit the EU, as the project will serve the overarching aim of the Energy Union through which the EU wants to ensure a secure, reliable and uninterrupted energy for its citizens.

    Mammadyarov went on to add that successful cooperation in the field of energy has enormous potential to guide both Azerbaijan and the EU to upgrade bilateral contractual relations to strategic level.

    "The growing number of strategic partner countries in the EU is an inspiration and strong incentive in this regard," he said.

    Mammadyarov said strategic partnership in the field of energy evolves remarkably especially thanks to numerous joint initiatives spearheaded by Azerbaijan in the margins of the realization of the Southern Gas Corridor.

    "The groundbreaking ceremonies of the Southern Gas Corridor in Baku followed by similar event for TANAP in Kars, Turkey was a leap forward in tackling infrastructure related issues," he said.

    The Southern Gas Corridor project envisages transportation of gas from the Caspian region through Georgia and Turkey to Europe. It aims at diversifying the routes and sources of energy supply that will enhance the energy security of Europe. The Southern Gas Corridor project will ensure Caspian gas supply to the European markets for the first time in history. At the initial stage, the gas to be produced as part of the second phase of development of Azerbaijani gas condensate Shah Deniz field is considered as the main source for the project.

    Regarding the geo-strategic Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad project, Azerbaijani minister said it should start operations in 2015.

    Mammadyarov reminded that this railroad connects the railway network of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, saying it was initiated four years ago by Azerbaijan.

    "This corridor will open enormous opportunities for development through connection Europe and Asia via South Caucasus and Central Asia region," he said.

    Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being financed by State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ). The peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million metric tons of cargo per year. At the initial stage, this figure will be equal to one million passengers and 6.5 million metric tons of cargo.

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  • The Upland Park '" a beautiful view of Baku (Part 2)
    22.05.2015 20:03
    Baku, Azerbaijan, May 22

    By Elchin Huseynov - Trend:

    The Upland Park is a beautiful and green area, offering a picturesque view of the capital of Azerbaijan and Baku Bay. Back in the 30s of the twentieth century, the preparation of the Master Plan of Baku provided that the Upland Park, which is being created here, will be important in the overall architectural composition of the capital.

    For many years, this park has been one of the favorite places of recreation for residents and visitors of the capital.

    During the reconstruction of the park in 2011-2013, a variety of relief was skillfully used. Alleys and terraces are connected to each other by stairs, and the areas offer a breathtaking view of the Caspian Sea. Now this park has become one of the most beautiful places of recreation in the capital.

    Baku guests, who will arrive to European Games June 12-28, can visit and get acquainted with this beautiful part of the capital, as well as have their souvenir photos taken there.

    Baku 2015 is the first-ever European Games, an exciting and innovative multi-sport event for the continent that will take place on June 12-28, 2015.

    There will be a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports. More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe will be representing their nations over 17 days of competition.

    Baku was awarded the games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012.

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  • Boneva vows to reach Baku 2015 finals
    22.05.2015 20:02
    Bulgarian Antoaneta Boneva has vowed to reach the Pistol Shooting finals at Baku 2015.

    Boneva made the pledge to Bulgarian reporters after returning from the Fort Benning ISSF World Cup stage, where she won gold at 10m Air Pistol and took silver in the 25m Pistol competition.

    The 29-year-old will compete in both events at the Baku 2015 European Games.

    Boneva's victory in Fort Benning was her second World Cup stage, following her first ever win in Fort Benning a year earlier.

    Boneva competed at the 2012 Olympics, just missing out on the 10m Air Pistol finals as she finished ninth in the qualification round, from which the top eight advanced.

    Boneva still has one more World Cup competition in Munich before Baku 2015.

    Bulgaria's Shooting Federation President Maria Grozdeva said Fort Benning was a strong showing for the country's shooters.

    "Indeed, this World Cup was really successful for us. I am happy because we started the year well. We already have four medals from the World Cup, two European Championships and it really is quite an achievement," the two-time 25m Pistol Olympic gold medallist Grozdeva told reporters upon return from the United States.
  • Low-cost hotels to attract more tourists
    22.05.2015 19:59
    /By AzerNews/

    By Nigar Orujova

    Accommodation for tourists is one of the main priorities while hosting any international event such as the first European Games - to be held in Baku this June.

    More and more new hotels have opened their doors in Azerbaijanв's capital and regions ahead of the historic event. Today, the country can accommodate over 35,000 tourists in its 530 hotels.

    Baku is a home for a large number of five star hotels, but what about budget-oriented tourism. Will tourists with a limited budget be catered for as well?

    A number of hotels for tourists with an average income are growing in Azerbaijan, chairman of the Sustainable Development Research Center, Nariman Agayev told local press.

    ''While 3-4 years ago we could offer foreign tourists nothing but expensive luxury hotels, today the situation has changed," he noted.

    Over 70 percent of tourists around the world have a middle level income, which must be considered while developing the industry.

    Neighboring Georgia has such hotels for a long time, but in Azerbaijan this process is significantly behind. "But today we can observe that small hotels: 10-15 rooms, with an average price of $35-60 per day, have began to open up in Baku. I think that if that such trend continues to grow we can expect the number of tourists to increase."

    Moreover, Baku has already several hostels - budget hotels, designed for very low cost travel, he added. Here, of course, tourists have to share a room with a few more people, but prices of course are really low - an average of $15-20 per day.

    In addition, visitors of Baku 2015 will benefit from a relax visa regime. All conditions have been created to make people's visit as easy as possible.

    Azerbaijan is expecting a tourists flow in June 12-28, as people from all over the world will want to attend the historic event. 6,000 athletes from 50 countries will compete for medals.

    "According to our calculations, about 20,000-30,000 tourists from abroad will arrive at the Games,'' Agayev said.

    Each tourist is expected to spend an average of 1,000 euros in Baku, which will generate an estimated 300 million euro income for Azerbaijan, he stressed.

    Meanwhile, the Culture and Tourism Ministry reports that there is no rise in prices in local hotels due to the devaluation of the manat.

    The Land of Fire is turning into a tourist attraction, with its ancient history and antique architecture, beautiful nature and delicious cuisine.

    Over 2 million tourists came to Azerbaijan last year, which amounted to about one billion manats (over $950,000 million) revenue from tourism. In the near future, the country is expected to increase its tourist flow up to 5 million a year.

    All hotels that are ready to receive tourists in the central part of Baku were licensed, Tourism Minister Abulfaz Garayev said. Ninety-five percent of all the hotels in Baku have their license. Work is underway to license the rest of the hotels.

    Aside from the Games, guests of Baku 2015 will enjoy Azerbaijan's rich cultural program.

    Special events have been held in all theaters, museums, and concert halls of Baku and during the European Games their working time will be extended, he said.

    "In addition, several world-known musicians will come to Azerbaijan to perform here," said Garayev.

    All the preparations for the European Games will also have a profound effect on the countryв's life during other international events in the country, such as the Islamic Solidarity Games, Formula 1 race and quarterfinals and three group games of the Euro 2020.
  • Company for preparation of TAPI feasibility study defined
    22.05.2015 19:56
    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, May 22

    By Huseyn Hasanov- Trend:

    The British company Penspen prepares a feasibility study for TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) within the framework of the contract obtained, the message of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Turkmenistan said.

    Penspen received a contract from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to perform a feasibility study for the construction of a gas pipeline 1,820 km long, with a 56 inch diameter of pipe, according to the information. The pipe communication will start from the giant gas field of Turkmenistan "Galkynysh" to provide gas markets of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

    The scope of work of the Penspen company includes a review of the proposed route, confirmation of hydraulic characteristics, including the size and location of the compressor station, providing calculations.

    The project cost of TAPI is $10 billion, according to the latest data.

    Earlier, the project cost was estimated at $7.5 billion.

    Previously, the Turkmen Oil and Gas Industry and Mineral Resources Ministry said that an international tender would be announced soon to select the leader of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project consortium.

    The pipeline's annual capacity will be 33 billion cubic meters.

    "The economic feasibility of this project, which is based on the high demand for natural gas in South Asia, is also emphasized by the fact that none of its participants has any doubt in Turkmenistan's ability to ensure the long-term gas supplies on this route," the ministry said.

    Edited by CN

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  • Azerbaijan signs declaration of "Eastern Partnership"
    22.05.2015 19:53
    Schetyna made a statement.

    All the participants of the "Eastern Partnership" summit in Riga, including Azerbaijan, have signed the final declaration, the head of the Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said on Friday.

    "Yes, all participants signed, including Azerbaijan," he said, Oxu.Az reports with reference to RIA Novosti.

    Earlier it was reported that Azerbaijan refuses to sign the final declaration of the "Eastern Partnership".

    In turn, the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite said that the declaration of the "Eastern Partnership" of the EU was adopted in Riga and it still contains the wording of the annexation of the Crimea, TASS reports.

    "Of course, the declaration would not have been accepted without it," she answered the questions of journalists.

    It is also noted that only EU states about the annexation of the Crimea in the final document of the summit of "Eastern Partnership".

    The "Eastern Partnership" provides for political association and economic integration between the EU and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The last three countries last year signed an agreement on associated partnership with the EU.
  • Turkey opens new airport
    22.05.2015 19:48
    Baku, Azerbaijan, May 22

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    A new airport was commissioned in Turkey's north-eastern province of Ordu, the TRT Haber news channel reported May 22.

    The ceremony for the new airport's opening was attended by Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

    The new airport in Ordu will serve the planes carrying out domestic flights.

    Some 69 airports operate in Turkey - 21 of them are international, 31 airports are used for domestic flights, and 17 of them are military airports.

    Turkey is also currently building six airports, according to a report earlier spread by the transport, maritime and communications ministry of Turkey.

    On June 7, 2014, Istanbul hosted a ceremony of laying of a foundation for the new airport, which will be the city's third airport.

    The agreement on the airport's construction in Istanbul was signed May 2013.

    The tender for the airport's construction was won by the Limak-Kolin-Cengiz-MaPa-Kalyon companies' consortium, which offered 22.1 billion euros for participation in the project.

    Earlier, the air transport department of the Turkish ministry of transport, maritime and communications told Trend that the construction of the airport would cost 10 billion Turkish liras.

    Istanbul's third airport is being built near the Lake Terkos in the north of the city. Initially, the airport will serve 90 million passengers per year and further, this figure will increase to 150 million.

    The third airport of Istanbul is expected to be one of the largest airports in the world and will be named after the country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


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  • States with nuclear weapons bend to demands in new NPT draft
    22.05.2015 19:47
    Tehran, Iran, May 22

    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

    Countries with nuclear weapons have given way to some of the more important demands made by states without a nuclear weapons, the NAM countries, and some pro-disarmament Western states such as Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, Director General of Disarmament Affairs of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Hamid Baidi Nejad said.

    Baidi Nejad made the statements in a post on Instagram on May 23, reporting the NPT Review Conference that has been underway since April 7.

    He said that the new decision by states possessing nuclear weapons would open the way for an agreement on the NPT.

    He explained that at 8:00 New York time on Thursday, the speaker of the conference presented the consultative committee of 20 attending states, 5 nuclear states plus 15 NAM members, with a draft of agreements made during the talks up to that point.

    The draft has been discussed to 4:00 in the morning and contains moderate positions to be agreed to by all sides, Baidi Nejad quoted the speaker as having said.

    This comes while the states with nuclear weapons claim that they are in tough situations on the international arena, especially since differences came forth as the result of the US move to launch a ballistic defense system in Europe, which met Russian criticism.

    Discussions on convening a conference are intensifying in New York this week as the U.S. and other nations debate a draft statement that seeks to strengthen a 1970 U.N. treaty that regulates nuclear technologies and aims for the eventual eradication of the world's nuclear weapons, the WSJ writes.

    U.N. officials are seeking to reach agreement on the draft statement by Friday, when a Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference ends, according to diplomats involved in the process.

    A draft circulated at the U.N. calls for a conference that would pursue a Middle East free of nuclear weapons to be held as early as December, according to the diplomats.

    Edited by CN

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  • SchГ¶ps to join German Volleyball camp for Baku 2015
    22.05.2015 19:47
    Captain Jochen Schöps is set to join Germany's men's Volleyball training camp ahead of Baku 2015.

    Schöps, who helped Polish Volleyball club Asseco Resovia Rzeszów reach the title game of the 2014-15 CEV Champions League, is due to arrive at the German camp on 23 May as they continue preparations to compete at the Baku 2015 European Games.

    The Germans have planned a friendly against Baku 2015 pool play opponents Slovakia on 5 June in MГјnster, Germany.

    "The Slovakians will be coming with their best team, which will also play in Baku. It is a very good team and at this point maybe too good for us," said German coach Vital Heynen.

    Slovakia are drawn together with Germany in Pool B at Baku 2015 along with Russia, Italy, Bulgaria and Belgium.
  • President gives clear message to EU
    22.05.2015 19:46
    European Council chief Donald Tusk announced that he discussed the need for new instruments of Eastern Partnership with Ilham Aliyev over phone.

    The new instruments would reflect EU's differentiated approach to the program member-states, Oxu.Az reports citing RIA Novosti.

    "We fully realize that we, the EU and Eastern Partnership, need new instruments. This was the main issue during our telephone conversation with President Aliyev. We did not discuss the declaration", he told a news conference by results of the Riga summit.

    "We have a joint declaration, including Azerbaijan and Belarus. The debate was more about the new tools and new approaches that reflect the differentiation. To continue cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan was the clear message of the president Aliyev. Azerbaijan needs a better relationship with Europe, I do not doubt it", Tusk said.

    The "Eastern Partnership" provides for political association and economic integration between the EU and Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The last three countries signed an association agreement with the EU last year.
  • From Prokopios Pavlopoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic
    22.05.2015 19:42
    On the occasion of Your country`s National Day I would like to extend to Your Excellency, on behalf of the people of Greece and on my own behalf, heartfelt congratulations.

    I avail myself of this opportunity to convey to You best wishes for the progress and welfare of the friendly people of Azerbaijan as well as for Your personal well-being.

    Prokopios Pavlopoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic.
  • Free 15 minutes on roaming from Azercell for only 10 AZN
    22.05.2015 19:41
    Azercell Telecom LLC continues its discount tariff packages and beneficial campaigns throughout the summer months. Paying due regard to those who travel foreign countries for holiday the company, this time, offers enjoyable innovation for subscribers under roaming. In fact, all SimSim subscribers might get beneficial Roaming Calls Pack in roaming. In order to benefit from this Calls Pack, a subscriber will send related key word to 8809. The subscriber might get free 15 minutes call by topping up the balance with 10 AZN and use this bonus within 30 calendar days.

    Meanwhile, Any SimSim subscriber might send keyword of ''STATUS'' to 8809 and get information on availability of the package in his mobile number. While the new Calls Pack is requested by the subscriber during same period, balances from packages will be accumulated and the use period of last requested package is identified as a unit period for usage of total balance. To activate roaming service, you only need to dial *135*1#YES. It is to mention that, new Calls Pack under roaming service of Azercell is applied by more than 40 mobile operators.

    It is worth noting that, Azercell has recently presented 10 free SMS for SimSim subscribers under roaming service. The Company regularly offers discount campaigns for subscribers using roaming service. As from this year, postpaid and prepaid subscribers are not being charged for the first 5 minutes of call made to Phone Center. In addition, Azercell recalled the deposit required for roaming service activation. As a result, all Azercell subscribers were able to easily activate the roaming line before they visit any country.

    Live this summer better with Azercell!

    For more information, please contact

    Azercell Telecom LLC was founded in 1996 and since the first years sustains a leading position on the market. Azercell introduced number of technological innovations in Azerbaijan: GSM technology, advance payment mobile services, GPRS/EDGE, 24/7 Customer Care, full-time operating Azercell Express offices, mobile e-service ''ASAN imza'' (ASAN signature) and others. With 51% share of Azerbaijanв's mobile market Azercellв's network covers 99,8% of the countryв's population. Currently, the number of Azercellв's subscribers reached 4,6 million people. In 2011 Azercell deployed 3G and in 2012 the fourth generation network '" LTE in Azerbaijan. The Company is the leader of Azerbaijanв's mobile communication industry and the biggest investor in the non-oil sector. Azercell is a part of TeliaSonera Group of Companies serving 186 million subscribers in 17 countries worldwide with 27,000 employees.
  • ''Join 1st European Games'' PHOTO
    22.05.2015 19:41
    With support of New Azerbaijan Partyв's Youth Union and Ses Media Group a meeting has today taken place titled ''Join 1st European Games''.

    Chairman of the NAP Youth Union Seymur Orujov, the head of ''Ses'' Media Group, doctor of Philosophy Behruz Guliyev, Deputy chairman of NAP Youth Union Ali Panahov, chairmans of Nap Youth Unionв's regional branches and youth activists attended the meeting.

    At the start of the meeting participiants marked a minute of silence commemorating people died in fire of building in Baku on May 19.

    Greeting the participiants head of Ses Media Group Behruz Guliyev noted that youth activity is very significant in such large-scale events. Youth organizations' members and especially NAP's youth members as well volunteers are participating actively on European Games preparations.

    Behruz Guliyev especially highlights Azerbaijanв's First Lady, Chairperson of the Organizing Committee of the European Games Mehriban Aliyevaв's high level activity on preparatory process to European Games.

    "As Azerbaijani citizen each of us must support the government and participate in different preparation activities on European Games," added Mr Guliyev.

    Then chairman of the NAP Youth Union Seymur Orujov spoke at the meeting. Touching upon importance of European Games for our youth people Seymur Orujov noted that hosting first European Games is a great success for our country : ''May be some persons do not comprehend the significance of this event. But after some period of time they will.''

    "A number of sports buildings have been built for European Games. After the games these facilities will be available to Azerbaijani youth people for improving sport skills. As Youth union we must join and participate in preparatory activities for the games. We will do our best that Baku 2015, First European Games would record a glorious history." said Seymur Orujov.
  • Russia, Iraq to conduct regular military cooperation talks at expert level
    22.05.2015 19:41
    Russia and Iraq will maintain regular expert-level dialogue on military-technical cooperation, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.

    He said this issue was discussed at a meeting of President Vladimir Putin with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Thursday, ITAR TASS reports.

    "They held a discussion on the subject of military-technical cooperation. The dialogue will continue at a regular expert level," said the Kremlin official.

    According to him, the meeting also focused on the expansion of bilateral cooperation in the energy sector. "There is the potential for cooperation in this sphere," Peskov said.

    The presidential press secretary generally assessed the conversation as substantive. "The sides touched upon issues of economic cooperation, especially in the energy sector, the activity there [in Iraq] of Russian companies, which, despite all the difficulties, are ready to expand their presence [in Iraq]," the Kremlin spokesman said.
  • Iran says problems not to be solved with nuclear deal
    22.05.2015 19:30
    Tehran, Iran, May 22

    By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

    Senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said it is a naiuml;ve idea that Iran's problems would be over after a nuclear deal.

    "The nuclear issue is an important issue and it will be worth it as much as we stand, resist, and pay damage," he addressed thousands of prayers in Tehran on Friday.

    It is not just about the nuclear program; the US is after revenging the blows it has taken in 30 something years from Islam and the Muslim youth, Jannati said.

    He went on to say that the US is after gaining control over Iran's economy, politics, and governmental branches.

    Iran is holding talks with the group 5 1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) on its nuclear program.

    To be reached June 30, a deal out of the talks would limit Iran's nuclear program and in turn lift sanctions on Iran, opening opportunities for the country to engage in more comprehensive relations with the world.

    Iran and the US stopped mutual diplomatic relations in the wake of the 1979 hostage crisis.

    The two countries resumed open talks in 2013 after Hassan Rouhani was elected as Iran's outgoing president.

    Recent reports, however, said that the Islamic Republic had started talks with Washington two or three years before the end of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's term.

    Edited by CN

    Follow the author on Twitter: @mehdisepahvand

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  • Connecticut adopts proclamation on Khojaly Massacre
    22.05.2015 19:28
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sara Rajabova

    The U.S. state of Connecticutв's General Assembly has issued another proclamation on the Khojaly Massacre.

    In the proclamation, the Connecticut House of Representatives extends its ''sincerest condolences and expressions of sympathy'' to the people of the Khojaly town in Azerbaijan, AzerTag news agency reported.

    The proclamation said in the Khojaly Tragedy, occurring on February 25 and 26, 1992, hundreds of people were killed, and that ''international organizations such as Human Rights Watch documented these killings; major U.S. and international news organizations reported about the killings with horror, and numerous governments around the world have condemned the attack''.

    ''This tragic event is a sobering reminder of the terrible carnage that can be inflicted in wartime and the enduring need for greater understanding, communication, and tolerance among people the world over,'' the proclamation read.

    The document was introduced by House majority leader Joe Aresimowicz, and representatives Kevin Ryan Caroline Simmons.

    The Connecticut House of Representatives adopted proclamation on the Khojaly Massacre for a third consecutive year.

    In 1992, the town of Khojaly came under intense fire from the towns of Khankendi and Askeran already occupied by the Armenian armed forces. 613 civilians mostly women and children were killed in the massacre, and a total of 1,000 people were disabled. Eight families were exterminated, 25 children lost both parents, and 130 children lost one parent.

    Moreover, 1,275 innocent people were taken hostage, the fate of 150 of them remains unknown. Many civilians were shot at close range, scalped or burned alive.

    The legislative bodies of many countries have already adopted resolutions recognizing the crime committed by Armenians against the peaceful people in Khojaly as genocide.

    The parliaments of Pakistan, Mexico, Colombia, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Jordan, as well as legislative bodies of more than 15 states of the Unites States, including New-Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Western Virginia, New-Jersey, Tennessee, Arizona and Utah have adopted relevant documents.
  • Azerbaijani, Turkish experts to cooperate more closely in space research
    22.05.2015 19:27
    Representatives of Azerkosmos JSC, Science Development Foundation under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkish Space Technologies Research Institute of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBД°TAK UZAY) held a trilateral meeting.

    The meeting informed about Azerkosmos JSC, "Azerspace-1" satellite and its technical characteristics, application areas of "Azersky" satellite and future next satellite projects. Azerbaijani representatives spoke of importance of the development of the space industry for the country and stressed the special attention of Science Development Foundation to local personnel training in the field of space research, AzerTag reports.

    At the trilateral cooperation meeting, the sides presented operating segments of "Rasat" satellite, space and astronomy studies and satellite projects of TUBIK UZAY.

    Later, TUBIK UZAY, Science Development Foundation and Azerkosmos have reached an agreement on the management of satellites, organization of joint projects and future development of cooperation in the field of space research between Azerbaijani and Turkish experts.
  • International Day for Biological Diversity
    22.05.2015 19:25
    /By AzerNews/

    By Vusala Abbasova

    Many of us even don't even think about the importance of biological diversity in our world even though people's fate is actually closely linked to it.

    Since 2001, May 22 annually marks International Day for Biological Diversity, in keeping with a decision by the UN General Assembly.

    What do we know about biological diversity and its influential role on our lives and the Earth?

    Biological diversity represents the variety of all life on the planet and it is now rapidly shrinking.

    Little known to people, live on Earth and humans' ability to strive very much depends on millions of animal species as they help maintain life sustainability on our planet, keeping things in balance. And although scientists have said that the disappearance of some species might not overall put a spanner in the work so to speak and challenge our own survival, how many species can the Earth afford to lose before it's too late?

    This question will remain unanswered because no one really knows how much biodiversity we can afford to lose before our ecosystem crumbles to the ground. Should balance be lost, then our very existence would be standing on the line and we have no way in counter-balancing such negative effects.

    Biological diversity provides us with inexhaustible biological resources: provisions, fibers for clothing, building materials, colorant, synthetic substance, medicine and others. Our world economy relies on such resources to function.

    Biological resources also play an important role in the medicine sector. Contemporary medicine is interested in biological resources for the purpose of finding new remedies. The abundance of biological diversity of animate being gives has enable medical breakthrough - 40 percent of all world drugs include substance of phytogenous.

    Biodiversity is of crucial importance in agriculture since it can help decrease of poverty. Since the majority of all people in the world live in rural areas, biodiversity directly impact living standards and wages.

    More than 3 million people all around the world live in coastal and marine areas and their life sustenance depends on the water, while more than 1.6 billion people rely on forests and non-timber forest products for their livelihoods. Environment degradation and biodiversity loss are threatening the well-being of more than 1 billion people living in arid and semi-arid areas. Thus, the strategy for the protection of biodiversity should be developed for poverty eradication and sustainable development.

    The existence of the Red Book means that many continue to live on the edge. Why the red color you may ask. Well simply because red means alarm and danger, it equates to SOS.

    The Book was called red to attract the public's attention to this global problem.

    Because of people activity our children could find themselves living in a world where many plants and animals have gone extinct.

    This issue was brought to the world's attention back in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro when at a UN Conference on Environment and Sustainable Development a Convention on biological diversity was adopted. Until today, 200 countries have signed.

    The objectives of the Convention are clear: the conservation of biological diversity of living species and ecosystems, sustainable use of components of biological diversity and the benefits from the utilization of genetic resources.

    Nature plays a great and invaluable role in formation of our ideals and aspirations, even though we do not always realize it.

    Every species, whether fauna or flora is unique, an inimitable creation of nature, the result millions of years of evolution.

    Such beauty is priceless and should be protected at all cost.
  • New US-EU partnership expected to cost Turkey billions of dollars
    22.05.2015 19:23
    Baku, Azerbaijan, May 22

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and EU in its current form is expected to adversely affect the Turkish economy, Amanda Paul, policy analyst at the European Policy Centre told Trend.

    "TTIP [between the US and EU] is expected to adversely affect the Turkish economy, potentially costing Ankara billions [of dollars], so Ankara needs a solution," she said.

    Within the terms of the EU Customs Union, Turkey has no say in negotiations the EU carries out with third countries, but is obliged to abide by the terms agreed, meaning Turkey has to open its markets while not being allowed to enter these third country markets as Ankara is not part of the EU, Paul added.

    "Consequently, third countries are left with little incentive to negotiate free trade agreements with Turkey," said the expert.

    The EU is aware of Turkey's concerns over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, said Amanda Paul. "Negotiations are ongoing between Ankara and Brussels to resolve this issue within the discussions aimed at enlarging and upgrading the current framework of the EU Customs Union."

    Furthermore, the expert said that the European Commission has pronounced a "docking mechanism" to include Turkey, Norway and other countries to TTIP.

    She added that there are ongoing meetings between the European Commission and Turkish Ministry of Economy officials. "The EU officials provide detailed information about the EU-US TTIP negotiation rounds with a view to sending a positive signal to the rest of the world that Turkey eventually will become an integral part of the TTIP."

    Ultimately, there is an easy solution, which is to add an article to the TTIP, saying that this will apply to all customs union member countries, she said.

    At the same time, Amanda Paul added that Turkey is very important for the EU.

    Turkey is the 16th largest economy in the world and Europe's sixth largest trading partner, she said.

    "Over 55 percent of the European economic legislation is already transposed to the Turkish legal framework," said the expert. "Turkey is a part of the European single market through the Customs Union since 1996, hence Turkey technically belongs to the European economy."

    Amanda Paul said that the inclusion of Turkey into TTIP is also of crucial importance for European companies that are operating, producing in Turkey, adding that the Confederation of European Business, BUSINESSEUROPE and its members strongly support Turkey's inclusion to TTIP.

    She reminded that Turkey's Customs Union document has not changed since 1996, so it needed upgrading. "Ankara and EU officials now will discuss extending it to include services, public procurement and most agricultural goods."

    Earlier, Turkish minister for EU Affairs Volkan Bozkir said Ankara will suspend its membership in the Customs Union with EU, if its economic interests are not taken into account while signing of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement between the EU and the US.

    The minister added that if the US goods are delivered to the Turkish market free of duty, Turkey can lose up to $2.5 billion-$3 billion.


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  • Azerbaijani authorities regard civil society institutions as partners
    22.05.2015 19:22
    Baku, Azerbaijan, May 22

    By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:

    The activities of the International Eurasia Press Fund and its office are the real answer to the accusations of some international organizations saying that the civil society institutions are "oppressed" in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani president's aide for public and political affairs, Ali Hasanov said May 22.

    The top official made the remarks at the opening of the International Eurasia Press Fund building.

    "Azerbaijani authorities regard the civil society institutions as partners and as a result of this policy, the International Eurasia Press Fund has achieved such success," Hasanov added.

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  • MG co-chairs meet OSCE chair
    22.05.2015 19:22
    The Minsk Group co-chairs '" James Warlick (United States), Igor Popov (Russia) and Pierre Andrieu (France) met with OSCE Chairperson in Office, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić in Belgrade.

    "We met with OSCE chair, Serbian FM Ivica Dačić in Belgrade. We can work together to mediate a peaceful settlement," US co-chair James Warlick wrote on his Twitter page.

    The meeting was also attended by Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson in Office Andrzej Kasprzyk and Special Representative for the South Caucasus for the South Caucasus Angelo Gnaedinger.

    Dačić expressed his gratitude to the co-chairs for their work.
  • Europe insulates Russian gas
    22.05.2015 19:20
    Baku, Azerbaijan, May 22

    By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:

    Unexpected and mysterious! This can be said about the Eastring new gas pipeline project. Eastring will stretch through some European countries after 2018 and supply Caspian gas to the West, despite the competing gas projects.

    People suddenly began talking about this project in 2015. It was agreed by Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria to ensure the participation of these countries in the gas distribution systems of Europe.

    On the eve of the Eastern Partnership summit, these four countries signed a joint declaration on construction of the gas pipeline that will connect Central and Eastern Europe. However, its name was not indicated in the declaration, but the essence remains the same. Another scalable gas stream will appear on the energy map of Europe.

    The commercial launch of the Eastring pipeline is planned for 2018. At the first stage of the operation, its capacity should be 20 billion cubic meters per year, and further, it will be gradually increased to 40 billion cubic meters.

    The pipeline's length will be within 744 -1,015 kilometers depending on the chosen route option. The investment expenditures at the first stage of the project's implementation are planned within 1.14 - 1.52 billion euros.

    It appears that this gas pipeline will be a kind of compromise project with multiple supply sources. Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, Cyprus and Russia are already named among the gas suppliers to Eastring.

    Therefore, the project that will begin with 20 billion cubic meters of capacity will have an opportunity to increase it to 40 billion cubic meters.

    The peculiarity of the project can become the possibility of a two-way pumping of fuel, i.e. raw material supply in reverse mode from the north and west of the continent to the Balkan countries.

    It is important that Ukraine, as a transit point, is most likely to be absent in the new project. That is, the European Union has protected itself from problems with supply across the country, which has been in crisis for some time.

    What's old is new again. The Eastring resembles Nabucco, which sank into oblivion, a lot. By the way, recently Bulgaria offered Baku to revive a truncated version of Nabucco, which would provide for the supply of Azerbaijani gas to Europe from the Bulgarian-Turkish border to Austria.

    Summing up, it can be assumed that the new gas pipeline is meant to deprive Russia of an opportunity to press the EU in the construction of a new gas pipeline in Europe, for the Turkish Stream, which Moscow can't do on its own due to the Third Energy Package.

    Under the Third Energy Package, Russia isn't allowed to have its own pipeline in Europe.

    But, the supply of Russia's gas via this route can't be called a diversification of supplies for the EU, as Moscow in fact is the sole source of gas.

    At the same time, Eastring's involvement of countries such as Turkmenistan, Iran and Iraq as suppliers increases the urgency of the Southern Gas Corridor, and its component part - the TANAP, while reducing Russia's role and pressure as an "uncontested" gas supplier to Europe, which, in fact, was the main purpose of Brussels.

    Edited by CN


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  • Armenian government downplays predictions of economic downturn
    22.05.2015 19:04
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sara Rajabova

    Forgetting about his country's economic realities and ignoring the reports on further downturn in Armenia, the prime minister has kept on assuring his countrymen that the nation will register growth in 2015.

    At the last government meeting, Hovik Abrahamyan shocked his ministers and all other Armenians with news that economic growth in Armenia for 2015 will amount to at least 2-3 percent.

    He said the country has for the first four months recorded 2.2-2.3 percent economic activity, the Armenian economic agency "ARKA" reported.

    His remarks followed a series of reports enouncing Armenia, where 32 percent of all Armenians live under the poverty line, expecting economic slowdown, inflation and rise in poverty.

    The economic recession in Russia has consequently impacted all Russian related economies, especially Armenia that is heavily dependent on money transfers from its ''big brother.''

    The Armenian Central Bankв's data of March showed that transfers from Russia to Armenia through the banking system of the country sent to individuals for non-commercial purposes decreased by 40.2 percent compared to March 2014.

    Demanding to put an end to talks that the economic downturn is expected in the country, Abrahamyan even claimed that the government will try to reach 4.1 percent economic growth.

    ''According to the government's medium-term program, one percent economic growth is planned on the results of 2015, which, I am sure, would be higher - a minimum of 2-3 percent. With implementation of the planned programs, we will even try to achieve 4.1 percent economic growth as indicated in the state budget,'' Abrahamyan said, presenting his vision of Armeniaв's economic situation.

    However, international financial organizations are not as hopeful when it comes to Armenia's economic situation as its very optimist prime minister.

    A recent report by the International Monetary Fund showed that Armenia holds a special place among those countries with serious economic problems.

    IMF experts claimed in the regional economic outlook update for Caucasus and Central Asia released on May 19 that Armenia is the only country in the region, which will observe a decline in gross domestic product by about one percent.

    The report said there will not be real GDP growth in Armenia in 2016 as well, adding that a zero rate growth is predicted.

    Inflation in Armenia in the near future will also be quite impressive, the report said. Growth in consumer prices in 2015 will stand at 6.4 percent instead of 3 percent in 2014.

    One of the leading international financial institutions - the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development also updated its forecast on Armenia's GDP in 2015, reducing it from zero to minus 1.5 percent, Regnum reported.

    Reports by the international financial institutions clearly show that Armeniaв's economic situation in the near future will not be heartwarming. Armenian economists also raised the alarm, saying that Armenia's economy is slipping into recession.

    The National Statistical Service data showed foreign trade, which in the first quarter stood at $945.1 million, reduced by 28 percent, while imports decreased by 30.5 percent and exports about 23 percent, Lragir reported.
  • Enchanting Sheki, Colmar become sister cities
    22.05.2015 19:04
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    Azerbaijan`s ancient city of Sheki and the charming French city of Colmar have become sister cities.

    The charter on friendship cooperation was inked by Elkhan Usubov, the head of Sheki City Executive Authority and Gilbert Meyer, the mayor of Colmar, who was visiting Baku for the 3rd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue.

    Speaking to the signing ceremony, Meyer said the relations between the two cities were established two years ago in June, 2013, when a delegation led by Colmar mayor visited Sheki.

    Meyer talked about the many similarities existing in between the two attractive cities.

    He said to be proud to have signed the charter with this pearl of the Caucasus.

    Meyer noted that like Sheki, Colmar is a tourist destination. ''Every year more than 3.5 million tourists visit the city,'' he said. ''Nearly 3 to 4 international festivals are held every year in Colmar.''

    The mayor further noted that Colmar has signed friendship charters with 7 cities so far, adding that it is very encouraging that Sheki is among them.

    Colmar is a sizeable town in the Haut-Rhin department - south of the Alsace region.

    Although the city has been modernized a lot over the past few years, it still retains its history. The old city most of all attracts tourists with its narrow streets and half-timbered, half-painted houses so particular to the Alsace region.

    Wandering about Colmar, discovering its old streets is the best way to explore the city. There is a variety of shops of different sorts. Many people choose to discover the city through boat trips on the canal from Little Venice.

    Colmar is a bit of France, Germany, and even Italy all at once. Most people would say it feels mostly like Germany, with the half-timber houses, the cuisine, and the fine brusque wines.

    Sheki is one of the most ancient and historical cities of Azerbaijan, Usubov said, for his part.

    ''With its population of 181,000 people, Sheki excels in agriculture, especially in the silk industry. Sheki is one of the country's main tourist destinations. Every year more than 100,000 tourists visit the city. There are 84 historical and cultural monuments in Sheki,'' he said.

    Sheki city has long been a famous silk center and an important stop on the Great Silk Route. Since ancient times, Sheki has been famous for its silk, which has been used in the Middle East, Europe and India.

    The city is a real natural wonder with its beautiful landscapes, mineral water springs, forests and rivers. Archaeological findings suggest that the city might be one of the oldest settlements in the Caucasus. Pieces dating 2,500 years were unearthed here.

    Modern Sheki was actually rebuilt in 1772 after the city was destroyed by mud streams - River Kish. Annually, Sheki becomes a place for international and local festivals which attract many people.
  • '˜I do not recognize ErdoДџan as president,в' MHP head says
    22.05.2015 19:00
    Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has accused President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of holding ''pirate'' election rallies to ask people to vote for the government, stressing he did not recognize Erdoğan as the president of Turkey.

    "Let me be frank: I do not see him as the president. I have not allowed any of my deputies to accompany ErdoДџan's visits abroad since Aug. 10 [2014]. He's been criticizing opposition parties with a pro-government manner in his pirate rallies. He is a follower of the government. These pirate rallies are an insult to [Prime Minister Ahmet] DavutoДџlu's personality," Bahçeli told daily Hürriyet in an interview May 20.

    Bahçeli said he could not understand how DavutoДџlu can digest this and said he failed to capitalize on the chance given to him last year by being elected as the chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). "He zeroed his reputation. He became a spare part. These pirate rallies are political and partisan. It's a constitutional crime. [ErdoДџan] should be withdrawn within constitutional boundaries. The founders, deputies and executives of the AKP should urge him [to withdraw]. If he does not do this, it's us who will pull him back to his boundaries after the elections," he said. Calling ErdoДџan co-leader of the AKP and co-prime minister, Bahçeli said the elections on June 7 are going to be a vote of confidence for the president, adding if the ruling party gets less than 52 percent of votes, ErdoДџan should resign. ErdoДџan was elected as the president with 52 percent of the votes in last year's elections.

    "If he can't get 52 percent of the votes, that means he fails in the vote of confidence. He has to resign then. That's what we want. He thinks that if he can get this it will be his success but he will blame Serok [leader in Kurdish] Ahmet [DavutoДџlu] in the case of unsuccessfulness," he said.

    Crisis ahead with president

    In the case the AKP loses the government, its successor's relationship with the president will be highly problematic, Bahçeli said, predicting that a power conflict can lead to a political crisis in the country. "ErdoДџan sees himself as strong, as this government does not use its power of legislation. There is no power superior to laws," Bahçeli said.

    "What can he do if the parliament adopts a law about his palace? He can resist by not approving the law, but this is limited. He can dissolve the parliament and call for early elections. That can be; there is no problem to go to polls in order to avoid a big crisis in democracies," the MHP leader said.

    "Tayyip ErdoДџan's way [of ruling] is not sustainable. Everybody will stay within the constitutional boundaries. Can it go on like this? Even the price of tomatoes will be set by the president," he said.

    Exploiting Morsi for votes

    Bahçeli also criticized ErdoДџan for his attempt to exploit the death penalty issued on former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi for votes in the election. "They are exploiting Morsi. As you can see, they are using rhetoric to play for sympathy as if he will be subject to the same thing Morsi is facing. lsquo;Our shroud is ready,' they say. There is no need to take this seriously. There is no death penalty in Turkey because of the 6th Protocol [of the Council of Europe]," he said.

    Bahçeli also said if the MHP forms the government he will re-launch the probe into the corruption case that was launched against ErdoДџan and his family members in December 2013.
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