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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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    Elmira Tariverdiyeva is Trend Agency's staff writer, follow her on Twitter @EmmaTariver

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    Edited by CN

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    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

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    Edited by CN


    Follow the author on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

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  • Kazakh president urges for budgetary savings
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    Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 3

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev has urged for budgetary savings, said the press service of the president of Kazakhstan August 3.

    "Due to the deteriorating market conditions, the state budget, as well as lowering prices for our main export products, it is necessary to introduce general savings," Nazarbayev said. "These measures should be provided in next year's budget. Despite all the difficulties, we must not allow economic slowdown and deterioration of the social situation of our citizens. It is necessary to fulfill all social obligations to the population. We must overcome these difficult times."

    This statement was made by the head of state at a meeting with the participation of Prime Minister Karim Massimov and head of Administration of President Nurlan Nigmatulin, first deputy Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Baghlan Mailybaev, Assistant to the President Nurlan Onjanov and national economy minister Yerbolat Dosayev.

    During the meeting, the sides discussed the current state of the economy and measures for its further development, as well as the organization and holding of the exhibition "EXPO-2017" in Astana.

    In addition, they addressed issues related to the preparation for the upcoming anniversaries, including the 550th anniversary of the Kazakh Khanate, the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan and a number of other international events.

    Edited by CN


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  • Russia establishes Aerospace Forces as new armed service '" Defense Minister
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  • Turkmenistan to increase electricity export
    03.08.2015 17:55
    /By AzerNews/

    By Vusala Abbasova

    Turkmenistan plans to create 14 gas turbine power plants in order to increase electricity exports to 6.9 billion kWh by 2020, Neutral Turkmenistan Newspaper recently reported.

    The installation of new gas turbine power plants, with a total capacity of 3,854 MW, will provide electricity export to Iran, Afghanistan, and Turkey.

    The country is now preparing for the construction of high-voltage 400 kW overhead power lines to provide electricity from Balkanabat to Aliabad (Iran) and from Mary to Mashhad (Iran).

    In addition, the construction of the 500 kW power transmission line from Mary to Atamyrat by Turkish Lotus Energy Company is at its final stage.

    The expansion of electricity exports will provide the state treasury with a growth of foreign exchange earnings and as a result, will favorably affect economic development of Turkmenistan.

    Turkmenistan plans to increase electricity production to 27.4 billion kilowatt hours by 2020 and bring it to 35.5 billion kilowatt hours by 2030, in accordance with the Concept of Electric Power Industry Development of Turkmenistan for 2013-2020.

    The Concept, approved by Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on April 12, promises to invest $5 billion into the sector to boost electricity exports by a factor of five.

    The new power industry development plan will be implemented in two phases, 2013-2016 and 2017-2020.

    In order to implement the first phase of the plan, the country has put into operation gas turbine power plants in Akhal, Mary, and Lebap regions with capacity of about 149 MW each in 2014.

    In the same year, the gas turbine power plant in the Ak Bugday region has been installed with total capacity of 252.2 MW.

    The gas turbine power plant in the Dervezin region with capacity of 504.4 MW is in its final stage of construction.

    The construction of the gas turbine power plant in the Lebap region with capacity of 252.2 MW is ongoing, and another power plant with capacity of 400 MW is planned for construction in the same region in the coming years.

    The second phase, covering 2017-2020, envisions the construction of six additional major plants, switching from gas turbine plants to a combined cycle that will increase the power supply without consuming any extra natural gas.

    This project will increase the level of electricity production in Turkmenistan to 26.38 billion kWh by 2020.

    The successful implementation of the country's diversification policy within the given time frame will provide all of its provinces with an uninterrupted power supply during all seasons of the year and generate additional income through the growth of exports to other countries.

    Turkmenistan is also studying opportunities for transporting electricity to Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and Caucasus countries.

    Currently, Turkmenistan has 11 active power plants and a total of 40 turbines, including 14 steam and 26 gas turbines.

    It was earlier reported that Turkmenistan exports over 2.8 billion kWh of electricity to neighboring countries per year.

    This figure accounts for around 15 percent of the total volume of electricity production in the country.
  • Trading CFD indexes; whatв's hot right now?
    03.08.2015 17:54
    By Emmanouil Lemonakis, Head of Central Eastern Europe Region for Saxo Bank

    Trading stock CFDs is one of the fastest growing new investments. Many traders are now seeing the advantages of being able to take a position in the market and trade live market price movements without the need to own the underlying stock. But with more than 20 stock indices available to trade, investors are spoiled for choice. Here we investigate which stock market indices are hot right now.

    German DAX

    The German DAX (DAX.I) is by far the most popular CFD index for day traders and is renowned for being one of the most influential indices in the market. The index is made up of 30 of the largest, German companies trading on the Frankfurt Exchange, such as BMW, Siemens and Adidas. Because Germany is the largest individual European Germany economy, day traders see the DAX index as the pulse of the European market, providing a perfect mix of liquidity and volatility.

    With the European markets opening ahead of US markets, the performance of the DAX is also used by traders to gauge trends. More often than not, the Samp;P500 index follows the same trend as the DAX, so if the DAX is trending higher in European trading, then it is quite likely the Samp;P500 will also trend higher when the US market opens. In the case where the Samp;P does not follow the DAX's trends; this is usually a sign to look out for a reversal of the trend.

    The DAX and other European indices are generally highly responsive to economic data, and, as such have seen high volatility during key moments of the Greek economic crisis. However, as there is very little exposure to Greek debt from the private sector, the DAX still remains a hot index to watch. While the DAX has been pressured by the recent Greek economic crisis it is now trading around 11,500. The DAX is forecast to hit 13,000 before year end.

    Euro Stoxx 50

    For the medium term investors the hottest index at the moment would be the Euro Stoxx 50 index (STOXX50E.I). The Euro Stoxx 50 index tracks the performance of 50 stocks from 12 Eurozone countries, giving investors great exposure to Europe's leading blue-chip companies. With the index covering stocks from Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, Euro Stoxx has become increasingly popular as investors hope to capture some of the growth expected across Europe from the ECB's bond purchasing program. The companies that are represented by this index are some of the largest and most liquid stocks in Europe and the index is renowned for acting as a gauge to the wider health of the European economy. Only companies that have fully transitioned to the euro currency can be members of the Euro Stoxx 50 index, with some of the world's biggest brands represented, such as the Airbus Group, Deutsche Bank, L'Oreal, and Unilever represented in this index.

    The Euro Stoxx 50 was initially hit hard by the announcement of the surprise Greek referendum dropping 3.7% initially, but has rebounded to around 3,650, with 4,000 expected by the end of the year


    The Samp;P500 is one of the most well-known indices made up of a group of 500 large companies listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ. This index is considered representative of the overall performance of the US stock market and therefore also the health of the US economy. Usually if the Samp;P500 is trending higher this correlates with an improvement in the economy of the United States.

    While the Samp;P500 is always a popular investment choice, it is not so much that it is considered "hot" right now, but that rather it is considered a temporary safe haven while there is volatility in the European markets. With the US quantitative easing program now having ended and all of the focus being on Europe and the Greek economic crisis, the Samp;P500's performance has been less volatile and easier to forecast recently than some European stock indices which makes it an important asset to consider for any investor's portfolio. Trading at around 2,110 recently, traders looking to diversify may consider adding Samp;P500 to their portfolio, especially during this period of high market volatility.

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  • Russia, Azerbaijan to hold exercises on Caspian Sea
    03.08.2015 17:18
    The Russian marine fleet will hold two international exercises in the Caspian Sea by the end of the year.

    It will involve the marine forces of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

    Oxu.Az reports with reference to RIA Novosti that the statement came from head of the committee of the Marine Fleet, admiral Viktor Chirkov.

    "By the end of 2015 there is a plan to hold at least two international marine exercises", Chirkov said at the opening ceremony of the international army contests 'Caspian Cup 2015' and 'Caspian derby-2015'.

    He added that one of the exercises will be trilateral - with participation of the Caspian flotilla of the Russian, Kazakh and Azerbaijani marine forces and another will be Russian - Azerbaijani.

    "A whole range of issues of interaction for the purpose of strengthening stability and eliminating any threats to security in the Caspian Sea will be viewed during these exercises", he said.
  • Azerbaijan - model of tolerance for whole world, says Israeli ambassador
    03.08.2015 17:06
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug.3

    By Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:

    Azerbaijan is a model of tolerance for the whole world, Israeli ambassador to Azerbaijan Rafael Harpaz said Aug.3

    Harpaz made the remarks during the press-conference on completion of his diplomatic mission.

    A large Jewish community lives in safety in Azerbaijan, said the ambassador.

    Harpaz said Azerbaijan and Israel have strategic relations, adding that the two countries develop their cooperation in various spheres.

    The diplomat said that Azerbaijan is a friendly country for Israel and no matter who becomes the next ambassador to Azerbaijan, the relations between the two countries will only strengthen.


    Follow the author on Twitter: @Anahanum

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  • Peskov says gift watch from his wife has nothing to do with corruption
    03.08.2015 16:58
    Dmitry Peskov commented on the wedding ceremony he had with Olympic figure skating champion Tatyana Navka and the extensive media coverage this event has received

    Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov is pretty glad about the wedding ceremony his wife, Olympic figure skating champion Tatyana Navka and he had in Sochi, but regrets the event received extensive media coverage, TASS reports. Peskov is also certain that the wrist watch his spouse gave him as a wedding gift has nothing to do with anti-corruption campaigns.

    "I was not a news-maker last weekend. To tell you honestly, I was celebrating our wedding," Peskov told journalists, thanking them for congratulations.

    He remarked he was not very happy to see the wedding turn into such big news.

    "I would've preferred to have it all without any media gossip," Peskov added.

    In his opinion "everything was just great."

    When asked about the wrist watch he got from his wife as a wedding gift, which opposition figurehead Alexey Navalny estimated at tens of millions of roubles, Peskov said that "he could not but wear his wife's gift on the wedding day."

    "It is true that I was asked the question (about the watch). I answered it. Of course, no details. I will not say anything more. That's our personal affair and nobody's business," Peskov said. In his opinion "wives' gifts to husbands and husbands' gifts to wives can hardly have anything to do with anti-corruption activity."

    Russian presidential press-secretary Dmitry Peskov and Olympic figure skating champion Tatyana Navka had an official wedding on August 1. The ceremony at the Rodina hotel in Sochi gathered dozens of guests, including politicians, officials, athletes and culture celebrities.
  • Iran's Rouhani praises nuke deal, predict significant economic growth
    03.08.2015 16:45
    /By AzerNews/

    By Sara Rajabova

    Hassan Rouhani has partially fulfilled his promise he had given before assuming the post of the Iranian president with Vienna nuclear deal.

    As he sought to reduce tensions with the West, show more transparency on the nuclear front, achieve the lifting of sanctions and to improve the country's ailing economy, his team has recently reached the long-awaited nuclear deal that is expected to open up new horizons for the Islamic Republic.

    Though the sanctions will be removed gradually, Iran has already begun to revitalize its sanctions-hit economy.

    Following the nuclear deal with the West, foreign companies have lined up to enter the Iranian market. Some western countries, which had ceased their ties with Iran over claims of Tehran developing a nuclear weapon, have now begun to restore relations with the Islamic Republic.

    Rouhani expressed confidence that the end results of the nuclear negotiations were win-win, and thus, both Iran and the West gained from nuclear talks.

    Speaking in a live televised interview with IRIB on August 2, days before the date he took the office two years ago, Rouhani expressed his confidence that the resolution of the nuclear issue by his administration had exceeded initial expectations, in the meantime noting that Iran achieved its goals in the nuclear talks.

    He assured his constituents and the world that Iran has never sought weapons of mass destruction.

    Rouhani downplayed the concerns that inspections under the JCPOA could jeopardize Iran's state secrets and defensive capabilities, which is a key red line by hardliners in the Islamic Republic.

    Rouhani said there is no reason to worry at all as what Iran has agreed to under the JCPOA is nothing extraordinary, reassuring Iranians that the countryв's military capabilities will by no means be depleted.

    Outlining the measures to tackle the economic challenges, he highlighted his governmentв's achievements in bringing down inflation from highs above 40 percent, and expressed that by the end of his administrationв's term in office, the inflation rate in the country will be down to a single-digit figure.

    Following the nuclear deal, Rouhaniв's government predicts eight percent growth in 2016.

    The Iranian president said if they reach this figure, then by 2021, Iran's assets will increase by 59 percent, and 20 years later the country's income will grow by 4-5 times.

    However, Rouhani said the impacts of the removal of sanctions under the JCPOA will not be felt overnight.

    He said the ''sapling'' that has been planted will take some time to bear fruit, emphasizing, however, that his administration will try to have such impacts come sooner.

    The July 14 Vienna nuclear deal between P5 1 group countries (the U.S., France, UK, Germany, Russia and China) and Iran, have strengthened Rouhaniв's positions inside the country as well as increased international prestige.

    The Rouhani governmentв's achievement regarding the nuclear issue also gave a strong 'handв' to the moderate president if he eyes a run for the next presidential elections in 2017.
  • Gas exports to Europe currently unjustified, Iran says
    03.08.2015 16:45
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 2

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Exporting natural gas from Iran to Europe is currently unjustified, said Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.

    "At present, it is not economically justified to export gas to Europe. We do not aim to export at any price. We are seeking to increase revenues," Iran's IRNA news agency quoted Zanganeh as saying on August 2.

    "Routes are sometimes long. So, exporting gas to our neighbors is our priority. Even if we export LNG, our revenues will be higher."

    The director of international affairs at National Iranian Gas Company Azizollah Ramezani said on August 1 that Iran is studying possible ways to export gas to Europe, including Nabucco (Nabucco west) and Trans-Anatolian pipeline projects (TANAP).

    Iran is studying economical and operational conditions for choosing the most economic and the most secure way to export gas to Europe, he added.

    "Based on results of the studies, the best choice will be selected", he said, adding that gas exports to Europe is one of the long-term policies of the Iranian gas industry.

    Earlier, Ramazani said on July 30 that stretching a gas pipeline from Iran to Europe needs 10 billion euro worth investment.

    He said that so far nothing new has happened regarding gas export to Europe and stressed that as the situation seems ripe, strong will is needed and the sides should pursue talks seriously.

    He pointed out that according to studies conducted by the European Parliament, Iran could export 25 to 30 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe annually.

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  • Celtic awaiting news from Azerbaijan on state of pitch ahead of match
    03.08.2015 16:44
    Reports suggest areas of the playing surface at the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium have suffered badly from heat damage.

    "We are aware of the issue as regards the pitch in Baku," said a Celtic spokesman.

    "At the moment we are seeking reassurances over the quality of the surface."

    Celtic, who lead 1-0 from the first leg, remain in contact with the host club ahead of their Monday afternoon flight, with Wednesday's match kicking off at 17:30 BST.

    Switching the fixture is problematic since the nearby Bakcell Arena is being used for Thursday's Europa League match between Qabala and Apollon Limassol.

    Uefa has told BBC Scotland they are investigating the matter.

    If Celtic prevail in Baku they will reach the play-off round ahead of the group stage of the competition.

    The Scottish champions fell to Maribor at the final qualifying hurdle last season and entered the Europa League, reaching the last 32.
  • All buses to be equipped with conditioners in Baku
    03.08.2015 16:37
    New buses equipped with conditioning system will be used in passenger transportations in Baku.

    This process is planned to complete within a year.

    According to Oxu.Az, the statement came from deputy director for involvement of differential mark, obtaining the license and differential mark of the Organization of Passenger and Cargo Transportations in Baku Vugar Ibrahimli.

    Ibrahimli said that most buses used in intercity passenger transportations are equipped with conditioning system.
  • BP to implement facility shut down on Shah Deniz platform
    03.08.2015 16:11
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug.3


    BP, as operator of the Shah Deniz field development project advises that as part of its SD annual work program, it will implement a planned facility shut down (turnaround - TAR) on the Shah Deniz platform in the Caspian Sea, as well as the Shah Deniz facility inside Sangachal Terminal, in August.

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  • Inflation in Turkey drops sharply in July
    03.08.2015 16:10
    Inflation in Turkey dropped for the second month in July, the Turkish Statistical Institute reported on Monday.

    The annualized inflation rate fell to 6.81 percent in July from 7.2 percent in June, Anadolu agency reports.

    The Consumer Price Index saw a 0.39 percentage point decline in July from June.

    In July, the highest monthly increase was 1.60 percent in furnishings and household equipment, while the largest monthly decline was 4.97 percent in clothing and footwear according to the report.

    The highest annual increase was 13.8 percent for hotels, cafes and restaurants.

    In the inflation report, published on Thursday by the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, Governor Erdem Basci said the bank's mid-point year-end inflation forecast now stood at 6.9 percent, up from 6.8 percent in its last report. It left its 2016 mid-point forecast at 5.5 percent.

    While food inflation and energy inflation have declined, helping the annual rate lower, Basci said that the drop in value of the Turkish lira has offset these changes to some extent.

    Basci said that further improvement was needed in the inflation outlook. "We forecast inflation to reach our targets in the medium term" Basci said.
  • Kazakh company opens new copper, gold, and silver mine in Kyrgyzstan
    03.08.2015 16:05
    /By AzerNews/

    By Aynur Karimova

    Kyrgyz Prime Minister Temir Sariyev has attended the unveiling ceremony of the Bozymchak copper, gold, and silver mine by the Kazakhstan's Kazakhmys Gold Kyrgyzstan Company.

    "Only few large enterprises have been inaugurated in Kyrgyzstan over the past 25 years. Hundreds of thousands of our citizens are working abroad in search of work. In this period we begin to commission new plants and factories, providing people with jobs," he said.

    The prime minister also noted that this year, the Kazakhmys Gold Kyrgyzstan Company, which is engaged in the development of the field, alone will add 200 million soms ($3.185 million) to the state budget.

    "Next year, when the enterprise reaches its design capacity, the company will transfer more than 400 million soms ($6.369 million) to the state budget," Sariyev added.

    The Kazakhmys Gold Kyrgyzstan Company reported that as of today, over $332 million was invested in the project. The company has provided a total of 950 million soms ($15.127 million) to the state budget between 2007 and 2015.

    Kyrgyzstan, with its 3 tons of gold reserves, ranks 86thВ in the world by volume, according to figures by World Gold Council for the month of May.
  • Uzbekistan not to support construction project of Rogun plant '" foreign ministry
    03.08.2015 15:54
    Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Aug. 3

    By Demir Azizov- Trend:

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan recalled its position on the project of Rogun hydropower station construction in Tajikistan.

    "On 22 July, Minister of Energy and Water Resources of Tajikistan Usmonali Usmonzoda stated that there are no official complaints from Uzbekistan on the results of evaluation of international exports on the Rogun project," the message said.

    In this connection, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan states that the Uzbek side earlier stated its principle position at the meeting of the representatives of the Governments of Central Asia to discuss the draft report of the World Bank "Key issues for further consideration of proposed project Rogun hydropower station and issues of use of trans-boundary water resources", which was held in Almaty on July 14-18 2014.

    The Uzbek Foreign Ministry published a full text of the statement of the head of the delegation of Uzbekistan at the meeting Rustam Azimov, in which he said that expertise of the project on construction of Rogun hydropower station doesn't meet commonly adopted international standards.

    An Uzbek official said that conclusions of the consultants and panel of experts on Rogun hydropower station are absolutely unacceptable for Uzbekistan.

    He said that the consultants and experts only focused its efforts to promote the project, ignoring interests of population and states, located in lower course of Amudarya.

    At the meeting, Rustam Azimov said that Uzbekistan would never, under any circumstances, provide support for this project. Uzbekistan believes that the project poses a threat to the fragile ecological balance of the whole Central Asian region.

    "We cannot accept that after three years of studies, consultants and experts failed to develop specific answers to the following vitally important questions concerning the project: exposure to man-made disasters related to geological conditions of the site, potential mudflows, salt dome, etc.; ensuring the rights of countries in the middle and lower reaches of the Amudarya to guaranteed volumes and regime of water flow, particularly, during vegetation season; environmental risks for the entire region; review of effective alternative approaches to resolving the winter power shortage problem of Tajikistan," said the message.

    In accordance with the project, Rogun hydro power plant is a station on the Vakhsh River with the altitude (335 meters) rockfill dam from local materials. In case of completion of the project, this dam will become the tallest one in the world.

    The design capacity of the plant is 3,600 megawatts, the average annual production - 13.1 billion kilowatt/hours of electricity. The dam must form a large Rogun reservoir with a total volume of over 13 cubic kilometers. The project has been criticized because of the location of the future hydroelectric power plant in the area of '‹'‹high seismic activity, landslides and debris flow processes as well as the presence of a tectonic fault filled with rock salt under the base of the dam. In addition, countries downstream of the Amu Darya - Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, fear reducing water runoff, which will make up to 500,000 hectares of land unsuitable for agricultural production and lead to the loss of sources of income and livelihood for about 1.5 million people.

    Edited by CN

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  • Decorative model of Azerbaijani tar unveiled in Gabala
    03.08.2015 15:48
    /By AzerNews/

    By Laman Sadigova

    The International Music Festival in Gabala was not only an amazing musical event, but one showcasing Azerbaijani culture as well. It has riveted audiences with its exclusivity and originality.

    A large-scale decorative model of a tar, a famed Azerbaijani musical instrument, for example, was displayed at the Heydar Aliyev Congress hall.

    The tar was made out of 76,000 of hazelnuts and was 5 meters height, a width of 1.20 meters.

    Eight master artists worked a grueling 10 days and nights to be able to unveil the figure at the opening ceremony.

    One of its creators, Aslan Agaseferov, said that Gabala walnuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts are as popular as Azerbaijani sweets when served with tea. The nuts, therefore, have in the past been used symbolically.

    The tar has attracted foreign guests to the festival, who have inquired about the model and stopped to take photos with it.

    Masters also described a successful chocolate sculpture that they had created for the previous yearв's music festival. They mentioned that they already had a great idea for the next yearв's piece.

    The tar is one of the most beautiful instruments in Azerbaijani culture and is played with a mediator. It is made from mulberry, walnut and pear trees, and the face of the instrument is made from cattle heart membrane. Its strings differ by thickness and composition.
  • Indian oil minister to visit Iran
    03.08.2015 15:45
    Indian Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan is expected to lead a delegation to Iran in the coming weeks to scout for opportunities in oil and gas, following the end of sanctions on Tehran by the West.

    The talks will cover the development of the Farzad-B field, revival of the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline and the modernisation of the oil and gas infrastructure in the Islamic nation.

    "India is keen on strengthening ties with Iran, as we stood by them when sanctions were imposed by the US and the EU. The petroleum minister will soon be leading an Indian delegation to Tehran in the coming weeks to discuss energy co-operation between the two nations," a senior oil ministry official told the Telegraph India Aug.2.

    An Indian delegation led by finance secretary Rajiv Mehrishi has just returned from Tehran. This delegation comprised officials from the finance, petroleum and natural gas ministries and the RBI.

    Officials said they discussed the payment of $6 billion owed by PSU refiners for the purchase of crude oil. The payment could not be made because the international settlement channels were blocked by the West.

    India is keen to increase crude imports from Iran after settling the dues. Iran supplied around 11 million tonnes (mt) of crude of the total imports of 190mt in the last fiscal, a share of 5 per cent. Prior to the sanctions, imports were much higher at 18mt.

    State-owned refiner IOC is planning to buy crude to operationalise its refinery at Paradip in Odisha.

    The oil ministry hopes to convince Iran to honour its commitment to let ONGC develop the Farzad-B gas field in the Persian Gulf. It is one of the biggest gas field discoveries by an Indian company abroad. However, ONGC Videsh Ltd has shied away from investing nearly $7 billion because of the sanctions. The field has reserves of 12.8 trillion cubic feet of gas.

    The country is also keen on reviving the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, which had been put on the backburner.

    The development of the Chabahar port in Iran is also expected to pick up speed with the lifting of sanctions.

    In 2003, India and Iran had agreed to develop Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran's border with Pakistan, but the venture has moved slowly.

    "With Pakistan not a feasible transit option, the Indian government sees the potential for Iran to serve as a crucial transit route to Afghanistan and Central Asia, a region with which Prime Minister Narendra Modi advocated greater linkages during a recent visit," Tanvi Madan, an analyst at Brookings Institution, said.

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  • Gabala Festival impresses music lovers
    03.08.2015 15:38
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    The legacy of the traditional International Music Festival has been left behind in Azerbaijanв's ancient city of Gabala.

    The 7thВ annual Gabala International Music Festival was held in the country on July 25-31 and gathered many music lovers from around the world to enjoy seven days of eclectic music.

    Organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the event hosted famous musicians from eight countries including Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain, Ukraine, Croatia, Israel, and Russia.

    The Festival became a musical holiday where alongside classical music, Azerbaijanв's unique musical and poetic phenomenon '" mugam '" embellished the festival with its colorfulness.It featured brilliant performances by musical talents such as Oksana Yablonskaya, Can Carlo Pazolini, Janna Gandelman, Aleksandr Rojdestvenski, Jeremy Menuhin, Paul Meyer, Aleksandr Gindin, Taras Yaqopud and many other excellent performers.

    The closing ceremony alone attracted thousands of guests and presented unforgettable outdoor experience for the audience.

    Azerbaijani MP Fattah Heydarov, addressed audiences and exclaimed that the international Gabala festival is a significant event for promoting the country throughout the world.

    The artistic director of the festival, Farkhad Badalbeyli, who is also the rector of Baku Music Academy named after Uzeyir Hajibeyli, in turn noted that Azerbaijan has always been distinguished for its music culture.

    Lastly, Grigoriy Kovalevskiy, the director of the ''Moscow Virtuosi'' Chamber Orchestra congratulated the Azerbaijani people for another successful musical celebration.

    The festivalв's final concert began with ''Moscow Virtuosi'' and was conducted by the revered conductor Paul Meyer.

    Commenting on his impressions of the festival, Paul Meyer said that he had ''never witnessed such wonderful organization so far. The festival brought together people of different ages. It is gratifying that the audience includes both younger and older generations."

    Grammy-winning conductor Dmitry Yablonsky also showcased his talents at the festival alongside Farkhad Badalbayli on piano and famous Russian musician Sergey Nakarakov on trumpet.

    The concert, which was mostly remembered for its European spirit (Mozart and Jean Arban), also saw performances by Azerbaijani Fikret Amirov, Vagif Mustafazade, and Argentinian Astor Piazzolla.

    This year's festival confirmed that Azerbaijan is a unique country that does well to equally convey the cultural values of the West and the East.

    As a celebration of friendship and music, the Gabala festival seeks to promote Azerbaijani music traditions throughout the world. It also invigorates intercultural dialogue and creates favorable conditions for cooperation among musicians representing different countries.

    For the past six years, every summer, Gabala has hosted popular art collections, soloists, and conductors from all around the world.
  • President Ilham Aliyev congratulates Barack Obama
    03.08.2015 15:37
    ''We hope the efforts of the U.S. and yours towards speedy and fair resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will yield results''

    President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has congratulated his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama on the occasion of his birthday, APA reports.

    The congratulatory letter reads:

    "Dear Mr. President,

    I cordially congratulate you on the occasion of your birthday and wish you robust health and happiness. Azerbaijan and the U.S. are united by friendship, cooperation and strategic partnership. Our joint involvement in fighting global threats, terrorism, ensuring energy security and peacemaking mission in hot spots is an important factor. Your contribution to the development of bilateral relations and expansion of our cooperation is valuable.

    Moreover, we hope the efforts of the U.S, as OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair, and yours towards speedy and fair resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will yield results. On this auspicious day, I send you my best wishes and successes in your work for the welfare of the friendly American people."
  • Iranв's Zarif highlights ties with Iraq in all fields
    03.08.2015 15:31
    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran attaches great importance to its relations with neighboring Iraq in all arenas.

    "Iran and Iraq have special relations which I hope will be developed and boosted in all areas. The Iraqi government and nation have a special status for us," Zarif said in a meeting with Rajeh Saber Abboud al-Mousavi, the new Iraqi ambassador to Tehran, on Sunday, Press Tv reports.

    The senior Iranian official also called for further promotion of Tehran-Baghdad ties on all fronts.

    He also called for facilitating the business of Iranian merchants and investors in Iraq.

    Last month, Zarif visited Iraq as part of his three-nation tour of the Middle East which also took him to Kuwait and Qatar.

    In Iraq, the senior Iranian official met and held talks with Iraqi religious figures and political authorities, including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, President Fuad Masum, Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri and Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al Jaafari.

    Iranian officials have always stressed the importance of relations with the Islamic Republic's neighbors, including Iraq.

    In July, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the visiting Iraqi premier that the Islamic Republic will continue supporting Iraq in its fight against terrorism, noting that the country's security is intertwined with that of Iran.

    Rouhani also said that stability, security, and peace in Iraq and Iran's other neighbors can help promote progress and development in the region.
  • Moldovaв's new prime minister calls for a reset in relations with Russia
    03.08.2015 15:27
    Baku-APA. Moldova's new Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet has called for a reset in relations with Russia, he said on Saturday, aired by national television, APA reports quoting TASS.

    "Russia is an important partner for our country but today we are lacking mutual understanding. We must bridge this gap, sit at the negotiating table and reset our relations," Strelet said noting that the Friendship and Cooperation Treaty sealed by the former Soviet republics "is not working in practice."

    Chisinau "regards as an embargo" a ban on imports of certain Moldovan goods to Russia, he said.

    "Our relations can hardly be called strategic," Strelet said in conclusion.

    Exports of Moldovan goods to Russia were reduced in 2014 after the country concluded the Association Agreement with the European Union. Russia, fearing of re-export of EU goods via Moldova, eliminated zero duty rates for certain products, including wine, meat, vegetables, fruit and grain.

    Along with this, supplies of Moldovan fruit, which failed to meet the Russian quality requirements, were temporarily banned.

    The Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor sent a delegation to Moldova so as to unblock the deliveries. However, after this visit Russian Ambassador to Chisinau Farit Mukhametshin said Moldova had adopted a passive stance.

    On Thursday Strelet's cabinet was approved by the country's parliament. Besides restoring relations with Russia, the new government aims to gain a status of EU candidate country and to promote strategic dialogues with the United States and Romania.
  • Baku to host Informatics Olympiad in 2019
    03.08.2015 15:25
    /By AzerNews/

    By Nigar Orujova

    Azerbaijan has switched gears in its quest to host major international events from sports to organizing international Olympiads in the sciences. Recently Azerbaijan had hosted the International Chemistry Olympiad and has now been chosen to welcome the International Olympiad in Informatics in 2019.

    The International Olympiad in Informatics will be held in Azerbaijan and Singapore in 2019 and 2020 respectively, said Krassimir Manev, President of the IOI and Professor of Computer Science Department at New Bulgarian University, Kazakh media reports.

    This year, the IOU was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, from July 26 to August 2, gathering 84 teams and 324 contestants. The two-day competition was won by South Korean student Ji Hak Yun, who scored 600 points out of 600 possible.

    The Azerbaijani team was represented by Sharif Afandi, Rustam Aghayev, Kamal Eyubov, Elgun Jabrayilzade as well as team leader Ramin Alinazim Mahmudzade and deputy leader Ismayil Sadigov for this yearв's competition.

    ''In 2019, Azerbaijan will host the competition. However, since this time Singapore had a strong desire to host the Olympiad, we decided this year to select both states. Thus, in 2020, the Olympiad will be held in Singapore,'' said Manev.

    Next year, the IOI will for the first time be held in Kazan, Tatarstan at Kazan Federal University. Iran will host the 2017th Olympiad, and in 2018 Japan will welcome IOI.

    Azerbaijan now stands at the stage of developing the non-oil sectors of its economy and Information and Communication Technologies is of particular interest.

    The state is the largest consumer of high-tech products in the Azerbaijani market. Currently the country's public sector is working with many major vendors and manufacturers of high-tech products as the state budget for the purchase of IT-hardware and software increases.

    Today, Azerbaijan is focused on solving the problem of the "digital divide" between the center and the regions of the country. Projects developing broadband infrastructure and satellite systems will play an essential role in overcoming this pressing problem. .

    It should be noted that the host of the inaugural European Games, Azerbaijan will welcome other grand international competitions in the future, including a Formula 1 race in 2016, the Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017, and UEFA EURO 2020 matches.
  • Iranв's nuclear deal: A walk from deprivation to restriction
    03.08.2015 15:25
    Tehran, Iran, Aug. 3

    By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:

    The nuclear deal was a win for the Islamic Republic of Iran, since it abolished the great powers' intention to deprive Iran of its nuclear rights and diluted the harsh demands about annihilation of the Iranian nuclear program to mere restrictions.

    There are words spoken by Mohammad Kazem Anbarloui, editor of leading Iranian newspaper Resalat and political director of the Islamic Coalition Party.

    All the great world powers had gathered around to say that Iran does not have the right to enrich uranium, stressing that the Islamic Republic had to shut down its entire nuclear program, Anbarloui noted in interview with Trend August 3.

    Referring to President Hassan Rouhani's remarks the previous evening that through the nuclear deal, Iran has gained more than what was initially expected, Anbarloui said the deal was a great deed since it marked the first time a developing country stood up to "arrogant" powers and succeeded in achieving its demands.

    Rouhani in a live public address on the national TV (IRIB) August 2 said what has been gained through the nuclear deal is far greater than what he had expected two years earlier when he set out for the nuclear negotiations.

    The deal also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was reached between Tehran and P5 1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) on July 14.

    Through the deal, world powers have tried to intensify International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitoring over Iran's nuclear activities, while Iran has pursued the removal of sanctions on its economy.

    Edited by CN

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  • Uzbekistan holds anti-terrorist drills
    03.08.2015 15:24
    Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Aug. 3

    By Demir Azizov - Trend:

    Tactical anti-terrorist exercises took place in the Andijan region of Uzbekistan, said the country's Emergency Situations Ministry August 3.

    The drills involved the units of the Uzbek Defense Ministry, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the National Security Service and other agencies of the country.

    The Emergencies Ministry said the exercises were organized based on the realities of modernity and the challenges posed by international terrorist organizations and gangs.

    Scenarios, such as preventing terrorist threats, emergencies, as well as fire containment and evacuation of residents were worked out during the drills held in Andijan, at a military unit of the Uzbek Defense Ministry.

    "The exercises were held in conditions close to real," said the Emergencies Ministry.

    According to plan of exercises, a premises of the military unit was seized by conditional terrorists, who were neutralized through joint measures.

    All the stages of the exercises were held at a high level.

    Edited by CN

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  • Assets of Azerbaijan Armed Forces Assistance Fund rise
    03.08.2015 15:18
    The assets of the Azerbaijan Armed Forces Assistance Fund have reached AZN 65, 933, 27 17.

    AzerTag reports with reference to the Defense Ministry that capital assets of the Fund made 211,791 in US dollars, while the euro account made 593.

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

    The Armed Forces Assistance Fund is formed on the basis of voluntarily donations of individuals and legal entities and at the expense of the other donations not prohibited by the laws of Azerbaijan.
  • Kazakhstan plans to increase transit traffic from China to Europe
    03.08.2015 15:18
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug.3

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    Kazakhstan Railways (Kazakhstan Temir Zholy) national company plans to transit 42,000 containers on China-Europe-China route, or almost 40 times more than in 2011, the company's president Askar Mamin said.

    He made the remarks during a grand meeting dedicated to the Transport Workers' Day.

    Mamin said that the additional volume of container transportation from China to Europe and in the opposite direction in 2014 allowed to increase the revenues from transit traffic by 13.7 percent compared to 2013, said the message posted on the website of Kazakhstan's Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund.

    Thus, transit traffic accounted for 25 percent of the company's total revenues, said the company head, adding that the task is to increase this figure to 50 percent in the medium term.

    Over 2,100 container trains will pass through Kazakhstan Railway lines in all directions in 2015, Mamin said.

    Edited by CN


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  • Javid Gurbanov: We apply reduced tariffs on cargo transportations
    03.08.2015 15:17
    It is important that everyone works.

    "It is important that everyone works. This is the first carriage. The silk road have existed and operated since ancient times. This road transported cargo via Azerbaijan. We returned to this issue some time ago. The main task was the transportation of cargo from China to Central Europe.

    According to Oxu.Az, the statement came from chairman of Azerbaijani Railway Company Javid Gurbanov.

    He said China's annual cargo turnover with Europe exceeds USD 600bn, which proves a great cargo potential:

    "According to my colleague from Kazakhstan, they have long started to work on the improvement of transit from China to Europe, and from 2010 to 2014 increased the volume of freight traffic by 40 times.

    In 2014, the revenues of JSC "Kazakh Railways' carrying Chinese goods to Europe via Russia amounted to $ 1 billion. However, Azerbaijan has not worked in this direction. Today we return to this issue and take measures to enhance the transport corridor ", he said.

    According to Javid Gurbanov, it is important that all are doing their job:

    "Border and customs services, in general, all bodies must work together for the profitability of the corridor. Georgian roads and ports are also working with us. From today, "Azerbaijani Railways" will apply reduced rates, and we encourage everyone to do the same.

    We apply the highest discounts. We will continue to act in this direction. Now the goods from China to Azerbaijan come in 6 days instead of 45, and this is very beneficial for the entrepreneurs", the chairman of the company said.
  • Almaty airport to have new passenger terminal
    03.08.2015 15:04
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 3

    By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

    Almaty International Airport will direct all 2014 profit for the purchase of a new passenger terminal.

    The profit of the Almaty airport on the results of 2014 amounted to 4.95 billion tenge (187.45 tenge = $1).

    The decision to purchase a passenger terminal was made by the Board of Directors of the sole shareholder of the airport - the company Venus Airport Investments B.V. The decision is posted on the website of the Kazakh Stock Exchange KASE.

    The airport will acquire the passenger terminal in accordance with the sale-purchase contract of state property and with the Office of Finance of the city of Almaty on December 26, 2014.

    Almaty International Airport is the largest airport in Kazakhstan, which occupies first place in the country for domestic and international passenger and cargo air transportation. In 2014, the passenger traffic of Almaty airport totaled 4.589 million passengers, which is 6 percent higher than in 2013.

    Edited by CN---

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  • Azerbaijanв's 800 mln square meter occupied territory contaminated with UXOs
    03.08.2015 14:45
    ''The former Autonomous Region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding districts have seen intense combat operations. International experience '" especially in the Balkans '" suggests that about 4 to 6 percent of such areas is often polluted with landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO),'' said Hafiz Safikhanov, the chairman of the 'Azerbaijan Campaign to Ban Landminesв' Public Union.

    H. Safikhanov noted that an estimated area of approximately 500 to 800 million square meters of Azerbaijani territories under occupation is suspicious and dangerous, APA reported.

    According to him, former polygons, blown-up ammunition depots, and landmines dispersed over large territories are now causing serious problems for Azerbaijan.

    "A large number of UXOs have recently surfaced in Saloglu, Sumgayit's Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev settlement, Guzdek, and Jeyrangol. Furthermore, air bombs left from the Soviet Army have been discovered in Samukh district and they are extremely hazardous for civilians," said Hafiz Safikhanov.
  • 7 killed in two separate, but related car crashes in Western Georgia
    03.08.2015 14:36
    Six people, including two children, died in a car, which collided with a passenger van, carrying three people, close to the village of Supsa in western Georgian region of Guria on Saturday evening.

    Both vehicles became engulfed in flames after the crash, Civil.Ge reports.

    When an ambulance vehicle, which was carrying a woman from the passenger van injured in the accident, was on its way to a hospital in the town of Poti, it collided with a police pickup.

    The woman, who survived in the first car crash, died.

    A driver, a nurse and a paramedic from that ambulance vehicle, as well as two police officers from the pickup truck required hospitalization.
  • Iran's 8% GDP growth possible
    03.08.2015 14:18
    Baku, Azerbaijan, August 3

    By Dalgha Khatinoglu -- Trend:

    An economic expert says Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's assertion that the country is likely to reach a sustained economic growth of 8 percent is not far-fetched.

    Mr. Rouhani has said that after sanctions are lifted and Iran's blocked funds are freed, they will be used for investment in productive economic activities, and would not be wasted on import goods for distribution.

    "This is a commendable plan. The question is whether he has the authority to deliver on his promise," Professor of economics at US Northeastern University Kamran Dadkhah told Trend August 3.

    There are those in positions of power and those associated with religious foundations who would want to benefit from using the funds to import luxury goods or simply invest it abroad; there are also those officials who would want to spend a good portion of the funds to defend the Syrian government, help Hezbollah, etc., Dadkhah said.

    It's expected that billion dollars of Iran's blocked assets abroad would be release after sanctions on its economy are lifted. The blocks will be freed following the implementation of a comprehensive deal between Iran and the group 5 1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) reached July 14.

    "The goal of single digit inflation is the right goal. Indeed, Iran should aim for the annual inflation rate of between 2 and 3 percent. This is a practical and attainable goal. The policy instrument for achieving it is the control of money supply," Dadkhah said.

    Iran's inflation rate decreased from above 35 percent in 2013 to below 15 percent currently.

    "I am hopeful that by the end of my term, inflation will turn into a one-digit number, and sustainable at that, which has been a dream of 40 years for Iranians," Rouhani asserted August 2.

    Iran and P5 1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) achieved the nuclear deal on July 14 and it's expected that the sanctions would be removed by the end of 2016.

    "The Central Bank should become independent and assigned the goal of controlling inflation within 2-3 percent annually. The question is whether the Rouhani and subsequent governments have the will power to initiate such a policy and stick to it through ups and downs in the economy."

    The expert added that the Iranian economy has the prerequisites of sustained growth.

    Iran's GDP decreased from $557.9 billion in 2012 to $415.3 billion in 2014, according to the World Bank's estimation.

    "Iran has natural resources, a skilled labor force, and a strategic location. In the past three and a half decades it has suffered from wrongheaded policies. But sustained growth requires structural changes in the Iranian economy. In particular the country should move toward a free market oriented economy with less government intervention," Dadkhah stated.

    "Given that the Iranian economy has suffered greatly in the past thirty-six years, under right circumstances it can grow fast during the early years of recovery. Thus, an 8 percent growth especially in the early years of recovery is not out of the questions. In the long run it would be difficult to sustain an 8 percent grow rate but it is not impossible. Let us recall that between 1959 and 1977, the Iranian economy grew at an average annual rate of 10 percent. This extraordinary growth was not due to increase in oil production or prices. If we exclude oil, during the same period the average annual growth rate was 11 percent."

    Edited by CN

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  • Armenia produces antipersonnel mines violating international conventions
    03.08.2015 14:17
    ''We will try Armeniaв's this step to be included in the UN Mine Ban report for 2015''

    "Armenia is producing antipersonnel mines, flagrantly violating the international conventions," Director of "Azerbaijan Campaign to Ban Landmine" Public Union Hafiz Safikhanov said at today's press conference, APA reports.

    Safikhanov said that locally produced mines had been recently demonstrated at the exhibition held in Yerevan, Armenian government officials familiarized themselves with the mines. "Armenia's mine production runs contrary to the international law. We are investigating the case. We will try Armenia's this step to be included in the UN Mine Ban report for 2015," he said.
  • First container train from China arrives at Baku int'l trade port
    03.08.2015 14:05
    /By AzerNews/

    By Aynur Karimova

    The first container train arrived at Baku International Sea Trade Port from China via the Trans-Caspian international transport route on August 3.

    It became possible as a result of the efforts by the Coordination Committee of Trans-Caspian international transport route created in October 2013.

    The train consisting of 82 containers and 41 platforms departed from Chinaв's Shihezi city on July 28. It traveled more than 4,000 kilometers, visiting Kazakh port of Aktau as well.

    This project is being implemented by Kazakhstan Temyr Zholy, China Railways, Azerbaijan Railways, Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company and Baku International Sea Trade Port.

    Addressing the event Javid Gurbanov, the head of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC, said that approximately 300,000-400,000 containers will be transported via this route by 2020, and it will bring hundreds of millions of manats of profit to Azerbaijan.

    Azerbaijan's Deputy Prime Minister Abid Sharifov, in turn, informed the attendees about the importance of projects such as the Trans-Caspian international transport route, for the region.

    "Today's event is distinguished by its importance and is the result of negotiations and works carried out over the past year and a half," Deputy Transport Minister of Azerbaijan, Arif Askerov said in his remarks.

    According to him, Azerbaijan pays significant attention to the regional cooperation.

    The working group of the Coordination Committee of the Trans-Caspian international transport route held its first meeting in Baku in January 2015, and the parties reached an agreement on the adoption of measures for organizing container service on the China-Kazakhstan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey route with the use of new railway lines Zhezkazgan-Beineu, the capacity of Kazakhstan's Aktau sea port, as well as the Kars-Akhalkalaki railway line which is under construction through the creation of favorable tariff conditions.

    The project envisages the involvement of transit and foreign trade cargos, as well as application of competitive single railway tariffs in order to increase the cargo transportation.

    The launch of this route will give significant impetus to the improvement of the transit and export prospects of the member countries and the increase of the international competitiveness of the Trans-Caspian international transport route.

    The Trans-Caspian international transport enjoys an opportunity to become attractive and profitable for the consignor from the European countries.
  • Foreign Ministry: Deutsche Welleв's visit to Karabakh illegal
    03.08.2015 14:04
    The program broadcasted by Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) on July 31, 2015 titled ''Tensions rise in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict'' is biased, one-sided and beyond the principles of objective journalism.

    Spokesman for Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry Hikmet Hajiyev told the aforesaid while commenting on the program broadcasted by Deutsche Welle.

    He said that the DW's sending its camera crew to Azerbaijan's occupied territories is the violation of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and laws of Azerbaijan.

    "The program deals with Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and false statements of "military and civilian representatives" of the so-called regime established by Armenia in the occupied territories. However, the program purposefully includes no information about the rights and sufferings of more than a million Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons who were the victims of the conflict and subjected to ethnic cleansing. The program serves the promotion of bloody ethnic cleansing committed against the Azerbaijani people, Armenia's occupation and aggression against Azerbaijan and so-called criminal regime created as a result of it, thus it is disrespect for more than one million refugees and internally displaced persons and the Azerbaijani public," he said.

    Hajiyev said though DW claims that one of its main objectives serves the understanding between cultures and peoples of the world, it serves escalation of religious and ethnic dissension via this program.

    "Distorting the true nature of the conflict, broadcasting a biased program, "DW" also demonstrates its contempt for the local and international audience. Such an approach is also considered to be a violation and abuse of freedoms of expression and press. The most serious concern is the fact that DW, which is a public broadcasting company, is financed by the state budget of Germany. Azerbaijan's embassy in Germany will officially appeal on the matter to the country's relevant authorities.

    We hope authorities in Germany will thoroughly investigate the issue of the preparation and broadcasting of this programme, which is in contrast with the spirit of Azerbaijan-Germany ties, the official position of Germany - as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group - regarding the conflict, and freedom of press, and will issue an adequate statement in this regard," he said.
  • More concessional financing directed to agrarian sector
    03.08.2015 13:58
    /By AzerNews/

    By Vusala Abbasova

    The National Fund for Entrepreneurship Support (NFES) under the Economic Development Ministry of Azerbaijan allocated concessional financing of more than 119.5 million manats (over $113.8 million) to roughly 3,400 entrepreneurs.

    This statement was recently made by Shirzad Abdullayev, NFES Executive Director at the business forum in the Ismayilli region of Azerbaijan, which is devoted to granting concessional loans to business entities.

    Abdullayev highlighted that more than 7,500 new jobs could be created from the allocation of concessional loans for investment projects.

    A range of the investment projects has been financed in different regions of Azerbaijan for the first half of the year.

    The NFES, which was established in 1992, financed 1,640 investment projects for entrepreneurs in the Mountain Shirvan economic region so far this year.

    The total cost of these projects has been 57.5 million manats (over $54.7 million).

    In the framework of the forum, concessional loans in the amount of 1.07 million manats (over $1.01 million) was allocated via authorized credit organizations to 59 business entities of the Ismayilli region.

    The loans will help create more than 80 new jobs in grain farming, viticulture, livestock management, beekeeping, and furniture production.

    The financing of agricultural businesses took the largest chunk of the concessional loans in Azerbaijan, helping create 5,618 new jobs.

    The NFES spent 65.5 percent of the total volume of concessional financing for production and the processing of agricultural products for the reported period.

    A total of 63.73 million manats (over $60.72 million) was allocated to finance 2,910 agriculture projects, including 63.67 million manats (over $60.66 million) to agricultural production and 56,000 manats (over $53,358) to implementing two projects in agricultural processing, the NFES on July 30.

    The NFES allocated 19.99 million manats (20.6 percent of the total volume of concessional loans) to invest in five projects in the field of service sphere development, which will provide for the opening of 232 new jobs.

    For the reported period, 57 projects in the field of the production and processing of various industrial products were financed in the amount of 13.3 million manats (13.7 percent of the total volume of concessional loans). The implementation of these projects will create 716 new jobs.

    More than 111 million manats (over $105 million) were lent to over 3,100 entrepreneurs since 2015.

    Most of the loans allocated by the NFES were small loans totaling 32.83 million manats (99 percent of the NFES funding) for January-June 2015. The Fund gave 10 medium-sized loans in the amount of 2.07 million manats (0.3 percent), and 21 larger loans in the amount of 65.11 million manats (0.7 percent).

    The state budget will provide 100 million manats (over $95 million) to the NFES in 2015. The additional funds are from 130 million manats (over $123 million) worth of loans repaid earlier. Thus, the volume of funds accumulated in the NFES will reach 1.747 billion manats (over $1,664 billion), including state budget allocations totaling 931 million manats (over $887 million) and repaid loans totaling 816.3 million manats (over $777.7 million).

    The NFES allocates loans to entrepreneurs via authorized banks and non-bank credit organizations.

    There are 42 banks operating in the country.

    The official exchange rate is 1.0495 AZN/USD on July 31.
  • Iran calls for resuming ordinary ties with Saudi Arabia
    03.08.2015 13:54
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 3

    By Fatih Karimov - Trend: Iran calls for resuming ordinary ties with Saudi Arabia, said Iran's deputy foreign minister for Arab-African affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

    "Although Iran does not approve of Saudi Arabia's approach to use pressure to resolve regional problems, especially in Yemen, but we believe that Tehran-Riyadh relations should be turned into ordinary and acceptable levels," Iran's IRNA news agency quoted Amir-Abdollahian as saying August 3.

    The Islamic Republic puts the highest priority on collaboration with its neighboring countries, he said, adding that the two countries have potential to cooperate for resolving problems, not only between them but also in the region.

    "We emphasize that Iran and Saudi Arabia should start explicit, effective, and constructive negotiations in order to remove misunderstandings and fight against terrorism and extremism and help establish security in the region," he said.

    Iran and Saudi Arabia have opposite points of view and positions on conflicts in Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain. They compete to boost their influence in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine.

    Edited by CN

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  • Azerbaijan represented in Microsoft Imagine Cup intв'l competition
    03.08.2015 13:54
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug.3


    Welcoming the changes and innovations at all times, Nar supported a project, which successfully completed its final round. NoObs team won the national final of Microsoft Imagine Cup, initiated jointly by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the High Tech Park and the Microsoft Azerbaijan Company, and passed successfully the international semifinals.

    The team has successfully represented Azerbaijan in the last round - the final organized in US city of Seattle.

    Azerbaijan was represented for the first time at this competition that took place with the participation of 33 teams from various countries of the world.

    The students of the Baku State University and the Khazar University - Nizami Ismaylov, Arif Movsumzade, Fidan Rustamova and Ulviyya Rustamova that formed the NoObs team came in 2nd with their highly appreciated Spinal project presented in the Innovation nomination at this competition.

    Thanks to special Bluetooth sensors and phones based on Windows Phone 8, the project is designed to help people to control their posture and prevent the consequences of wrong spinal position while they are sitting, walking, working etc.

    Azerbaijani representatives have been solemnly awarded the prize in the Microsoft HQ in Redmond.

    In order to participate in the contest, the applicants were required to develop some original game to be applied on Microsoft Windows game platforms, present the innovative program draft or elaborate additional prototype that can address difficult problems of contemporary period for Microsoft Technologies basis.

    The main purpose in holding the competition was to develop an innovative thinking ability among students and reveal local talents. It is a priority for Nar to extend its support to such intellectual competitions that highlight intellectual and thinking skills and attach always a high importance to science, education, progress and innovations.

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  • Arif Yunusov deliberately refused to testify in court
    03.08.2015 13:47
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 3

    By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:

    The trial on the criminal case initiated with regard to the director of the Institute of Peace and Democracy, Leyla Yunusova and her husband Arif Yunusov continued on August 3.

    Arif Yunusov's health condition worsened when the human rights activist Sahib Mammadov was giving testimony, and an emergency team was summoned to the court.

    Arif Yunusov was diagnosed with third degree hypertension.

    The doctors, after providing Yunusov with first aid, noted that he is able to testify. But Yunusov deliberately refused to do so.

    A break was announced at the trial.

    The trial will continue today.

    Leyla Yunusova is being charged under the articles 274 (high treason), 178.3.2 (fraud (by inflicting major damage)), 192.2.2 (illegal entrepreneurship), 213.2.2 (evasion from a large amount of taxes), 320.1 (forging a certificate or another official document providing rights or exempting from duties, in order to use or sell that document, as well as making for the same purposes or selling forged state awards of Azerbaijan Republic, stamps, seals, forms) and 320.2 (use of deliberately forged documents indicated in the article 320.1 of this Code) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan.

    Arif Yunusov is being charged under the articles 274 (high treason) and 178.3.2 (fraud) of Azerbaijan's Criminal Code.

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  • Program of German TV channel biased, one-sided - Azerbaijani foreign ministry
    03.08.2015 13:37
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 3


    The program "Tensions rise in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict", which was featured July 31, 2015 by the public broadcaster "Deutsche Welle" (Germany), is of a biased, one-sided character, which has little to do with objective journalistic principles, head of the press service of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Hikmat Hajiyev told Trend Aug.3.

    He made the remarks commenting on a program prepared by the German TV channel "Deutsche Welle" (DW).

    Story still developing

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  • Korean Film Festival comes to Agdash
    03.08.2015 13:18
    /By AzerNews/

    By Amina Nazarli

    After having been to Azerbaijanв's Ganja, Lankaran and Sumgayit regions, the Korean Film Festival made a stop in Agdash on July 31.Ruhangiz Heydarova, the chairperson of SEBA (Seoul-Baku) Association addressed the latest leg of the tour, describing the importance of the Festival.

    Korean Ambassador to Azerbaijan Choi Suk-Ying, for his part, stressed the national values of both countries and highlighted steadily developing relations between Azerbaijan and Korea.

    The festival has been underway in the country since July 6 and will last until August 15.

    The First Korean Film Festival was held in Baku in 2005.

    This year, the festival featured some 10 Korean films produced between 2008 and 2013. These films were dubbed into the Azerbaijani language with the support of SEBA (Seoul-Baku) Azerbaijan-Korean Cultural Exchange Association Public Union

    The last destination of the festival will be the countryв's picturesque city of Gabala on August 7-15.

    Korean Film Festival is jointly organized by SEBA, the Azerbaijan-Korean Cultural Exchange Association, and the Korea Fund, with support from the Korean Embassy in Azerbaijan.

    Azerbaijan and Korea have had very close relations in many fields, including culture.

    SEBA, which seeks to realize large-scale cultural exchange programs between Azerbaijan and Korea, was established in 2004. So far, the organization has implemented several projects in the fields of science, health, and culture.
  • Belgian man shuns civilization to live as a hunter-gatherer in Slovenia
    03.08.2015 13:04
    Angelo Valkenborg had it allВ '" a good job, a marriage, and a nice home, but at one point in his life,В he realised that none of that made him truly happy. So the 31-year-old Belgian left his old life behind and moved to a forest in Slovenia to live like a hunter-gatherer.

    Angelo had always been fascinated by the great outdoors and started getting into survival techniques in the wild. But his work and family life didnв't exactly go hand in hand with his favorite pastime. It was after returning from a three week expedition in the wilderness of Northern Sweden that he learned his marriage had failed. His ''intense passion for the outdoors'' was apparently too much for his wife to handle. ''Who can blame her?'' he wrote on his blog. ''IВ went frв'om a salesperson who cared a lot about going out and having a good time to a always dressed in outdoor gear geek.

    For a while after that, Angelo found it difficult to go back into the wildernessВ '" it reminded him of all the reasons for his failed marriage. He went through a period of depression, which intensified when things started going poorly at work, as well. After about a year, he finally went back into the woods and started bushcraft, just to experience being at peace with himself. And thatв's when he knew what he wanted to do with his life.

    ''I was stuck in a system that I did not belong to,'' Angelo explains. At some point, the bubble burst and he realised that there was more'¦ Out there, somewhere.В ''I realised that this is an essential part of who I am and what I truly enjoy doing,'' he says. ''That led me to a point that I would stop my job, sell my house and all my belongings and give away a lot of my clothing.'' The hardest thing for him was to let go of his old dog, who now lives with his ex.

    Today, Angelo lives bushcraft instead of just occasionally practicing it. His life is all about going into the wild and becoming fully self-reliant. He moved to a forest in Slovenia where he managed to build his own hut and tools. He gathers berries, nettles and frogs for meals, but he gets his supply of meat from a local village because hunting without a license is considered poaching.В Despite having studied survival skills for over four years, Angelo says that he still makes mistakes. ''It is anything but simple,'' he said. ''But I am so happy.''

    He plans to spend his thirties traveling around Canada, Siberia, and Alaska, where hunting is permitted and he can truly live the life of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

    Angelo isnв't completely cut off from society '" he hasВ a smartphone that he recharges using solar energy and also keeps a car at the edge of the forest, strictly for emergencies, but plans to get rid of it soon. UsingВ his phone, he writes about his life in the wild on hisВ blog, and also posts photos on his Instagram account,В becomingwildman.

    /By Oddity Central/
  • Special purpose defense products occupy bulk of Azerbaijani defense industry output
    03.08.2015 12:51
    /By AzerNews/

    By Vusala Abbasova

    The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense Industry summarized production for the first half of the year at a board meeting on July 30, devoted to the results and progress of the Ministry.

    Defense Industry Minister Yavar Jamalov said that 85 percent of manufactured defense goods consist of special purpose defense products, while 15 percent are in civilian products.

    The civilian goods of the Azerbaijani defense industry exceeded forecasts by 6 percent, amounting to 106 percent of production, added Jamalov.

    Issues concerning manufacturing, financial, and economic activity, as well as challenges ahead were also discussed during the meeting.

    A range of scientific research and development activities was successfully implemented in cooperation with the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aviation Academy of Azerbaijan devoted to the creation of defense products.

    The Ministry noted that it carried out a total of 143 tests for the reported period.

    Moreover, the Ministry participated in the IDEF-2015 International defense industry exhibition in Istanbul, Turkey in May 2015, demonstrating 184 of its defense products.

    Following the meeting, Jamalov praised the work of the associations and enterprises during the reported period.

    President Ilham Aliyev's tasks on providing Azerbaijani Armed Forces with the latest types of weapons, assigned to the Ministry, will also successfully be implemented thanks to the beneficial work of the enterprises and associations, Jamalov said.

    The Azerbaijani military products that were demonstrated at international military exhibitions are highly rated, the president noted at the Day of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces on June 26.

    Growing from year to year, Azerbaijani military expenditures jumped from $2.15 billion in 2010 to $3.3 in 2011.Azerbaijanв's military budget was $160 million in 2003.

    Azerbaijan ranks 54th in the world in its Defense Spending Budget through 2015, amounting of more than $3 billion, which includes maintenance and strengthening of its standing military, according to Global FirePower.
  • Mamin: It's the first sign of a large project
    03.08.2015 12:26
    "Both Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have great transportation assets."

    Firstly, I would like to note the high potential of the Trans-Caspian transport route. A significant event, the launch of the first container train from China through Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan took place today.

    According to Oxu.Az, the President of "Kazakhstan Temir Zholy" Askar Mamin told this to journalists in Baku.

    "We believe that this is the first sign of a large project. We estimate the potential of more than 300 000 containers in 2020, it is a very high dynamics. This will allow our countries to fully implement our transit capabilities," he said.

    According to him, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have great transport assets, transport infrastructure, which is dynamically developing.

    "And we are confident that all this will serve to develop and enhance the competitiveness of our economies and for the development of transit potential. According to our preliminary estimates, by 2020, "Azerbaijani Railways" can receive transit revenues in the order of $ 600-700 mln just from transit traffic. It is a high dynamics and we are confident that we can achieve these figures," Mamin said.
  • EHTTA experts visit Azerbaijani resorts
    03.08.2015 12:26
    The European Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) has sent its experts to Azerbaijan to assess the country's potential, AzerTag reports.

    On July 22-29 the EHTTA experts Michel Thomas Pinet and Ahmet Hikmet Shahin have come to Azerbaijan to study the possibility of country's participation in EHTTA's project "Thermal Routes", the Ministry of Culture andTourism of Azerbaijan said .

    "We estimated thermal sanatoriums Istisu in Masalli, YengicЙ™ in Gabala and QalaaltД± in Shabran, which generally conform to the European standards, although they have their own specifics. The Culture ad Tourism Ministry wants to expand sanatoriums' capabilities due to their joining the Association, and for that purpose we'll prepare and present a certificate and submit it to the EHTTA Technical Committee. Only after that the registration of membership will begin," Pinet said following the visit.

    In turn, Mr. Shahin underlined the great potential of thermal tourism in Azerbaijan.

    "The only challenge today is to attract qualified doctors to Azerbaijani sanatoriums," Shahin added.
  • Turkey forms coalition govв't
    03.08.2015 12:26
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 3

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    The final round of negotiations between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Republican People's Party (CHP) on the formation of a coalition government will take place in Turkey Aug.3, the Turkish news TV channel TRT Haber said Aug.3.

    Earlier, Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Volkan Bozkir said that Turkey's Justice and Development Party would make the last attempt to form a coalition government with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

    If the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Republican People's Party (CHP) fail to agree on forming a coalition government, AKP will turn to the Nationalist Movement Party for the last time, he said.

    Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that with each passing day, there remains less and less chance to form a coalition government in Turkey. Erdogan also said holding a snap parliamentary election in Turkey is not ruled out.

    Meanwhile, the country's Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan said that of all the parties having a right to be represented in the country's parliament, the People's Republican Party (CHP) is closer to creation of a coalition government.

    Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was earlier reported to say that the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) refused to form a coalition government in Turkey.

    Previously, in June, the People's Republican Party (CHP) put forward terms for formation of a coalition government with the country's ruling Justice and Development Party.

    Under those terms, the CHP leader should head Turkey's government for two years. Moreover, under the terms, the Turkish parliament was to be led by one of the CHP members.

    The opposition was also demanding to appoint the parliament members representing the CHP as the ministers of justice, interior and education.

    Turkey held parliamentary election June 7, which involved 20 political parties.

    Over 53 million people cast their votes in the election.

    During the parliamentary election, Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party garnered 40.9 percent of the vote, while the People's Republican Party (CHP) gained 25 percent; aside from that the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) got 16.3 percent, and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) garnered 13.1 percent of the vote.

    A coalition government should be formed in Turkey within 45 days after the announcement of the election results.

    Edited by CN


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  • Turkey determined to continue operations: Erdogan
    03.08.2015 12:25
    ''Putin may give up on Assad''

    "We had run out of patience. The Turkish government had to take decisive actions," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was flying from Indonesia to Pakistan, told reporters onboard, APA reporters.

    The president said any terrorist concentrations in northern Syria can not be tolerated.

    "Our stance is known to the U.S. As our NATO ally and strategic partner, I don't believe the U.S. will tolerate such a threat to Turkey either. As you know, I talked to President Barack Obama on July 22 on ISIS. Soon after, a soldier of ours was martyred and we launched the operation against ISIS. Meanwhile, the PKK concentration in the Qandil Mountains was another threat. We were forced to take steps to counter both threats. The operations are going to continue. As the Republic of Turkey, we are determined: One nation, one state, one flag!" he said.

    Erdogan noted that in his discussions with the United States he talked about the involvement of Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the anti-ISIS coalition forces. "France and Britain from Europe also being part of the anti-ISIS coalition," he added.

    Erdogan also said that he had also talked over this matter with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the1st European Games held in the Azerbaijani capital.

    "In a phone conversation with Putin after our meeting in Baku left me with the impression that he is changing his attitude. He is no longer of the opinion that Russia will support Assad to the end. I believe he can give up Assad," said the Turkish president.

    The Turkish President also talked about discussions over the Uighur Turks in China. "The only issue that concerns China on the issue is terrorism. They are naturally concerned about some Uighurs joining terrorist groups, including ISIS, and posing a threat to China's national integrity. I need to say that we are also aware that some Uighurs have joined ISIS. I held discussions with members of the China Islam Association. They said there are 35,000 mosques and 40,000 religious officials in China", he said.

    To the question on the closure of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) ErdoДџan responded: "As you know, I have always been against the closure of political parties. So, everyone knows who wants to close parties or not. My thesis is that we need to separate the individual from the institution. If someone is committing a crime, he or she needs to be punished. The prosecutor has launched an investigation into Selahattin DemirtaЕџ, the HDP co-chair, and now it is a matter for the judiciary. It would not be right for me to comment on such an issue. It is a judicial matter."
  • Turkish intelligence warns of prepared terrorist attacks
    03.08.2015 12:12
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 3

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    The "Islamic State" terrorist organization is preparing to commit terrorist attacks in Turkey in response to the military operation against its militants in Syria, Milliyet newspaper reported citing the Turkish National Intelligence Organization.

    It is not ruled out that the terrorist attacks will target the military facilities and shopping centers, according to the report.

    Turkey has faced a series of terrorist attacks in recent days.

    The deadliest explosion hit the country's city of Suruc on the border with Syria, leaving 32 dead and 100 more injured in late July.

    Turkish air force started large-scale operations July 25 in Iraq 's north against the IS militants.

    Edited by CN


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  • Developments in Turkey wonв't affect economy, says Erdogan
    03.08.2015 12:05
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 3

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    The latest developments in Turkey won't affect the country's economy, in particular, tourism, Hurriyet newspaper reported Aug. 3 citing the country's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    The flow of tourists from Russia has dropped due to the developments in Turkey but was replaced by tourists from Germany, according to the president.

    Earlier, Turkish Statistical Institute said that the country's revenues from tourism have decreased in Q2 of 2015, compared to the same period of 2014.

    Turkey's revenues from tourism dropped by 13.8 percent in Q2 and stood at $7.733 billion.

    The institute said that of the total volume of Turkey 's revenues from tourism in Q2, $5.95 billion accounted for foreign tourists, while $1.77 billion for Turkish citizens residing abroad.

    The country's revenues from this sphere stood at $34.305 billion in 2014, or 6.2 percent more than in 2013.

    Edited by CN


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  • Ice bucket challenge: What's happened since?
    03.08.2015 12:05
    Last summer, social media was dominated by videos of people having a bucket of cold water poured over their head. So what was it all for again and how much did the charities benefit?

    Everyone knows someone who did the ice bucket challenge at some point last year (if you didn't actually do it yourself).

    Videos were shared, friends were nominated and countless celebrities were doused - all for a good cause.

    In what has been described as the world's largest global social media phenomenon, more than 17 million people uploaded videos to Facebook which were then watched by 440 million people worldwide.

    And the charities connected to the challenge saw the money roll in.

    In the UK, the Motor Neurone Disease Association raised ВЈ7m from the challenge, thanks mainly to the ingenuity of a couple from Yorkshire.

    Paula and Robert Maguire spotted the challenge starting to go viral in the US and set up aВ fundraising pageВ for those taking up the challenge in the UK.

    A few years previously, Paula's uncle had died from MND in the space of nine short weeks and they were determined to help raise money and awareness for the debilitating disease.

    "We were watching the news and the Kennedys had challenged Barack Obama to do the ice bucket challenge in the US. We immediately thought we wanted people to connect ALS in the US with motor neurone disease (MND) in the UK."

    They set up the text number ICED55, completed the ice bucket challenge themselves in early August and set a target of raising ВЈ500 for the MND Association.

    To date, their efforts through that online page have raised more than ВЈ4m for the charity.

    In the US, the ALS Association - which represents people withВ amyotrophic lateral sclerosisВ (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) and all motor neurone disorders - received $115m in donations during August and September 2014, when the challenge was at its peak.

    The American charity says the money helped triple the amount itВ spends on researchВ every year.

    Chris James, director of external affairs at the MND Association, admits it has been an extraordinary 12 months, which started withВ Benedict Cumberbatch doing the ice bucket challengeВ in aid of the charity and ended with MND being the focus of a major storyline in the BBC drama Casualty.

    In between, Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar for his portrayal of Prof Stephen Hawking, who has MND, in The Theory of Everything.

    "There has been nothing this big before in fundraising and voluntary donations. It has enhanced our view of social media.

    "Previously it was looked at as a communications tool - but now it's seen as a core communications tool for particular campaigns."

    But the charity has decided not to ask people to pour water over their heads again this summer.

    "We felt we raised a significant amount of money and awareness last summer. While people might be keen to do it again, we wouldn't say please do it again," says Mr James.

    Instead, they created an ad campaign to say thank you to their many donors, which also reminded the public what the ice bucket challenge was really all about and who it was for.

    There are approximately 5,000 people living with MND in the UK. Mr James says the challenge made some of them feel less alone because there was greater awareness of the disease and the suffering it causes.

    The challenge has had aВ positive effect on researchВ into the causes of the disease too.

    An international project to analyse the genomes of 15,000 people with MND, including every person in the UK with the disease, has been accelerated by funding from the ice bucket challenge.

    Prof Ammar Al-Chalabi, professor of neurology and complex disease genetics at King's College London, says it's "a massive project which will produce enough data to fill 10,000 hard drives".

    Project MinE will enable scientists to compare the genomes of people affected by MND to those unaffected, getting them closer to isolating the genes that increase someone's risk of getting the disease.

    With ВЈ5m pumped into research, ВЈ1.5m has been allocated to care and support services for those with MND and the rest to funding new care centres and setting up grants for young carers.

    So have there been any negative aspects to the ice bucket challenge?

    Prof Al-Chalabi says there is a danger the public might think these diseases don't need any more money - and yet the opposite is true.

    "We need a continuous ice bucket."

    /By BBC/
  • Fire occurs in one of Turkeyв's prisons
    03.08.2015 11:55
    Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 3

    By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

    Fire occurred in one of the prisons located in Bilecik province in northwest Turkey, the Turkish news agency Anadolu said Aug. 3.

    There were 470 prisoners in prison at the time of the fire. The cause of the fire has not been established.

    The prisoners were evacuated, the fire is extinguished.

    The prison was severely damaged by fire.

    Edited by CN---

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  • Azerbaijan to purchase new locomotives from Kazakhstan
    03.08.2015 11:47
    The first train has already been delivered to Azerbaijan.

    Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan will sign an agreement on the purchase of new locomotives.

    According to Oxu.Az, the statement came from chairman of Azerbaijani railway company Javid Gurbanov, speaking at the Baku International Trade Sea port during the welcoming of the container carriage Shijenzi-Dostik-Aktau-Keshli passing via China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan.

    Gurbanov said this is the first similar agreement in the history of independent Azerbaijan.

    "The locomotives produced jointly in Kazakhstan and the United States will be delivered to Azerbaijan for the first time in history. The first such carriage has already arrived in Baku. 10 locomotives have been bought in general", he said.

    Gurbanov said that Azerbaijani railway company achieved great success both in cargo and passenger transportation:

    "In the near future we are planning to purchase nearly 50 locomotives from French Alstom. As you know, we have purchased five new passenger trains from Swiss Stadler.

    In addition, five passenger carriages which will operate at Baku-Sumgayit-Baku route were delivered to Azerbaijan after repair at the Riga train construction plant.
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