Today.Az http://www.today.az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside http://www.today.az/images/logo_small.gif Today.Az http://www.today.az FAO appoints its representative in Baku http://www.today.az/news/regions/139999.html World news Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:25:00 +0500 FAO this week announced the appointment of Mustafa Imir, a Turkish national and experienced senior official with the Organization, as its representative in Azerbaijan.For the past four years, Imir has served as FAO Representative in Indonesia. Before joining FAO in 2011, he worked with the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, where he focused on international relations, particularly with the European Union.Holding a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine, Imir has broad knowledge in agriculture and veterinary sciences. He was actively involved in the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization’s trade negotiations on the field of agriculture.“I look forward to applying my experience and skills in Azerbaijan,” said Imir, “a country of great accomplishment and potential in the areas of food and agriculture and natural resources.”Azerbaijan became a Member Country of FAO in 1995, and is currently benefiting from FAO’s technical assistance in many areas, such as organic agriculture, agriculture marketing, locust management, food security, seed sector development, improved livelihoods for rural populations, animal health, and cattle breeding – the last two being the new FAO Representative’s main field of specialization./By AzerTac/ Trader's initiation: eat eight quarter pounders in one hour http://www.today.az/news/interesting/140000.html Weird / Interesting Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:23:00 +0500 It's reminiscent of the type of excess seen in the "Wolf of Wall Street." Surrounded by his baying colleagues, a young trader was forced to eat eight quarter pounders until he was violently sick as part of initiation ceremony at his firm in London's City financial district. Given 60 minutes to complete the task, the employee can be seen in cellphone footage forcing down mouthful after mouthful of the McDonald's burgers, until he clearly becomes unwell. As he hold his head in hands, his merciless colleagues urge him to continue the competition against a co-worker and complete the task in time, despite that fact that he is about to be sick. Struggling to finish the final burger, he then wobbles off his chair and violently vomits into a wastebasket next to his desk. A witness told Britain's Mail On Sunday newspaper that a prize of £300 ($440) was offered to the winner. One quarter pounder has 526 calories and contains 26 grams of fat, according to the restaurant chain's website. A spokesman for Marex Spectron, which describes itself as a "leading independent broker of agricultural and environmental products," told the paper the incident had "occurred over a year ago" and the matter had "been addressed internally." However, the video triggered criticism. Philip Augar, a former investment banker and author of "The Death Of Gentlemanly Capitalism," told The Telegraph newspaper: "Initiation rites are a form of bullying and have no role in the workplace." /By NBC News/ Oil price on world markets http://www.today.az/news/business/139997.html Business Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:16:00 +0500 Oil prices have changed different directions in the world markets.On the New York Stock Exchange NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) cost of the Light crude oil has increased $0.64 to trade at $56.38, as well price of British Brent crude oil at the London ICE (InterContinental Exchange Futures) has decreased $0.02 to stand at $63.43.The Marketing and Economic Operations Department of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) informed that, the price of a barrel of Azeri Light crude oil has decreased $0.75 to stand at $63.86 in the world markets./By AzerTac/ Turks, Armenians can settle issues related to 1915 events http://www.today.az/news/regions/139998.html World news Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:15:00 +0500 Turks and Armenians can settle the issues related to the 1915 events, said the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, TRT Haber news channel reported Apr. 21. He said the use of the said events against Turkey as an instrument of political pressure is unacceptable. Armenia and the Armenian lobby claim that Turkey's predecessor, the Ottoman Empire allegedly carried out ”genocide” against the Armenians living in Anatolia in 1915. Turkey in turn has always denied "the genocide" took place. While strengthening the efforts to promote the "genocide" in the world, Armenians have achieved its recognition by the parliaments of some countries. Turkey has repeatedly said it stands ready to open archives to find out the truth about the 1915 events and called on Armenia to create a joint commission for this matter. However, Armenia ignores the offer./By Trend/ Oil prices: reality to outweigh perception http://www.today.az/news/business/139996.html Business Tue, 21 Apr 2015 10:59:00 +0500 The ultimate level for oil price will be around the $50 to $70 range, Sam Barden, director of Wimpole International, an energy market development company believes. “In the short term, we are seeing volatility driven by financial speculation, and we are yet to test the downside for oil from the trading perspective,” Barden told Trend on April 20. This downside, according to the expert, could be levels as low as $25, as traders sell their current longs, which he thinks will happen soon, and go short ahead of a nuclear agreement with Iran and the P5+1 by the end of June, and the beginning of the lifting of sanctions against Iran's oil. “The world’s oil majors are eyeing Iran's and Iraq's oil fields, which represent the last of the easy oil extraction in the world. So the perception trade from speculators will be that the market will be oversupplied with cheap oil, and the price will drop to as low as $25, before finding a level around $50,” Barden said. Barden believes that the current oil prices dynamic is simple, which can be described as “reality versus perception.” “The reality is that the physical oil market has huge levels of oil in storage and continues to be oversupplied, and producing members are now fighting each other for market share, which keeps downward pressure on the market price, as it is physically over supplied,” expert said. “The perception is in the financial market, and speculators who trade non-deliverable contracts, or contracts for difference (CFD) and are betting that there will be some sort of future event that will push the market higher,” he added. Barden explained that this could be the Yemen conflict escalating and cutting supply routes through the Hormuz strait, or the world economy suddenly having a miraculous recovery and sharply increasing demand for oil, or it could just be that speculators built long positions when oil was around the $50 level, and they have not taken profits yet. “Either way, eventually reality will outweigh perception,” Barden said. With regard to the impact of U.S. oil production on oil prices, Barden stressed that US oil and shale production has put a ceiling on the oil prices. “The US has now become the swing producer at the top end of the market. If oil goes through $100, expensive US oil and shale production again becomes viable and they produce, effectively capping oil prices for oil exporters,” Barden said. The biggest news in the energy market over the last month has been the rebound in oil prices, which came despite the announcement of a preliminary nuke deal between Iran and the West. Tehran and P5+1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) reached a political framework for the ongoing nuclear talks on April 2. Oil prices initially fell by around 5 percent on the announcement but have since recovered all of their losses. Prices were volatile in March as fighting in Yemen escalated causing prices to rise and details of a deal between Iran and the West were released, which then caused prices to drop sharply. However, they quickly rose again as it became apparent that Iran would be unable to export oil until 2016 at the earliest, analysts of the British economic research and consulting company Capital Economics said in a report obtained by Trend earlier. Currently prices are being traded at the level around $60 per barrel compared to the level of more than $100 per barrel in 2011-2013. Capital Economics’ analysts forecast Brent prices at $60 per barrel in 2015 and $65 per barrel in 2016. WTI price is forecasted at $55 per barrel in 2015 and $65 per barrel in 2016./By Trend/ Azerbaijan endangered by wildfires http://www.today.az/news/society/139995.html Society Tue, 21 Apr 2015 10:53:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Nigar Orujova Spring is a pleasant time for many people, but for nature, it is a time to get ready to face wildfires. Though this spring was not hot in Azerbaijan, strong winds and low rainfall may raise fire risks. Expert believes that in 90 percent of all cases people are damaging nature by reckless negligence, which in turn may cost not just their lives but that of others. Today, news of terrific wildfires has already come through from around the globe. In Russia, strong fires are currently roaring in Siberia and that since early April. The fires have destroyed over 1,200 houses and made at least 5,000 people homeless. China and Mongolia have also faced devastating fires. Wild fires are common in Azerbaijan during the summer period. Last year, they raged all throughout July and August and even reached nature reserves. Seven wildfires burned through Azerbaijani forests, which damage may amount to about 5,000 manats. “Azerbaijan can be triggered by forest fires,” ecologist Telman Zeynalov told echo.az. “Unfortunately, we do not know from which side to wait for them and how detractors will work." There are two anthropogenic factors causing fires in Azerbaijan -- careless handling of fire and burning grass after the grain harvest. The country has even a law under which farmers are not allowed to burn anything on agricultural lands. Any violation is slammed with a huge fine. In the wild, a lightning striking trees can cause fire. However, most fires are the result of carelessness. Sometimes a spark from a burning agricultural waste can lead to a grand forest fire. In the first quarter of 2015, fires killed 15 people and injured another 34 in Azerbaijan, which is 21 percent more than the same period last year. A cautious attitude towards fires may save lives and property. Do not play with fire! 10 travel apps to download to your new Apple Watch http://www.today.az/news/society/139993.html Society Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:40:00 +0500 The latest game-changing tech toy from the wizards at Apple Inc. has finally arrived, and with it are several travel-friendly Apple Watch apps promising to do everything from unlock a hotel room to open a garage door remotely from the other side of the world.Apple is scheduled to begin shipping watches on April 24 to the estimated 2.3 million early adopters who pre-ordered units (though actual delivery of the device may take four to six weeks).The new wearables carry price tags ranging from $349 for the basic "Sport" model to $17,000 for the luxe 18-karat gold "Edition" model, and require connection to an iPhone 5 or later to function.The fact that it's an untested technology hasn't stopped several top-tier brands from supporting Apple Watch with a number of interesting functions travelers can take advantage of.There are the obvious out of the box features for messaging, scheduling and purchasing, but also a handful of wrist-ready third-party apps promising to transform the way you navigate the globe.Here's a look at 10 of the best that will be ready in time for April 24.TripAdvisorThe world's largest travel site aims to make on-the-go decision-making a cinch with its new Apple Watch app, which selects information from user reviews and beams it onto the watch in nugget-sized morsels to help "find that hidden gem of a restaurant on your next trip" and "unearth dozens of things to do while discovering a new town."Apple Watch includes a feature called "Glances" (which allows wearers to get updates from their favorite apps with a swipe up from the watch face), and the TripAdvisor Glance provides GPS-based recommendations throughout the day to guide users toward highly recommended points of interest nearby.Watch-wearers can adjust their search range to one, five or 10 miles and view the top options within those perimeters.Forget fiddling with the room key. This new app from Starwood Hotels and Resorts lets Starwood Preferred Guests open a hotel room door with the flick of an Apple Watch.The keyless entry function is rolling out across the globe, and currently available at about 150 hotels equipped with the technology, including many (though not all) Aloft, Element and W Hotels.The app also works for reviewing reservation details, finding directions to a hotel and checking in without ever printing a reservation or waiting in line at the front desk.BabbelBabbel aims to take language learning and international travel into the digital age by translating the words you need in any given setting right on your wrist for quick reference.Its new Apple Watch app lets users learn foreign vocabulary in real situational contexts by detecting their location and providing the appropriate words related to the surroundings.If they're in an airport, for example, they might find translations for words like "departure" or "luggage." If they're in a cafe, they'll learn words to easily order a drink.The service is currently available in 14 languages.Alarm.comAlarm.com is a subscription-based security and smart home service that has jumped on the Apple Watch bandwagon early with an innovative app that enables homeowners to control everything from locks and lights to security systems and thermostats.Apple VP Kevin Lynch used this app at the recent launch event to remotely open his garage door and watch it happen in real time on his Apple Watch screen.That's because the app works like a virtual key allowing users to unlock their front door or open their garage to allow a friend or relative to borrow some tools when they're halfway across the globe.CitymapperCitymapper bills itself as a guide to public transport, showing the fastest routes to wherever anyone wants to go and sending live notifications of any service disruptions.The app provides detailed step-by-step instructions on how to catch the nearest bus or train based on current location, listing at least three upcoming trips to let users choose when they want to leave.Furthermore, if the destination is an unfamiliar one, the app will deliver a soft tap to the watch letting users know when they've arrived.Citymapper is currently active in about two-dozen cities and six languages.American AirlinesThe new wrist-optimized app from American Airlines answers all the common questions fliers have pre, post and during flight.You can receive a notification telling you when it's time to leave for the airport, check in for your trip, get flight information (including gate changes) throughout the travel day and view an in-flight map showing the time remaining until arrival.The app also displays connection details and information on baggage claim.Air France, Air New Zealand, British Airways and EasyJet have each followed suit with similar Apple Watch apps of their own.UberMuch like the smartphone app, the Apple Watch version will allow users to surreptitiously hail an Uber car with a quick click using GPS data.This pared down app will then showcase all the information needed about your booked car in one snapshot, including the driver's estimated time of arrival, photo, rating and license plate.ExpediaThe new Expedia Apple Watch app not only lets users check itineraries for upcoming trips, but also puts detailed flight and hotel information at their wrist and sends actionable notifications of any real-time delays or changes.The idea is quick access to vital information like gates, terminals and times for flights, or check-in and check-out times, addresses, phone numbers and ratings for hotels.OpenTableLike its smartphone counterpart, this allows watch wearers to discover local restaurants, review ratings and pricing and book a night out free and instantly through OpenTable.The Apple Watch app will then display the details of any upcoming reservation and help guide diners along a map to the restaurant.Hotels.comThe Hotels.com app for Apple Watch will enable users to seek last-minute deals on nearby hotels, review upcoming reservations and locate booked rooms via GPS.Through the app, they'll also receive notifications about upcoming reservations and have full access to their booking details, including hotel addresses and check-in and check-out information./By CNN/ Regime-opposition standoff gearing up in Armenia http://www.today.az/news/politics/139992.html Politics Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:30:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevThe Armenian authorities' call to "isolate" those who seek to launch a massive anti-government rally this week flared up already ardent confrontations with the opposition forces.Vahram Baghdasaryan, the head of the ruling Republican Party's parliamentary faction, said on April 18 that his party believes the people who intend to launch an anti-regime push should be isolated unconditionally.Baghdasaryan's address has come in response to the radical opposition group, the Founding Parliament's repeated announcements that it would kick off nonstop anti-government rallies on the day when large-scale public events are planned in Yerevan to mark the so-called “Armenian Genocide Centennial” on April 24.Being at severe loggerheads with the country's rulers following its top members' arrest on April 7, the radical group called the ruling party's "isolation" threats nonsense.In a statement released on April 19, the Founding Parliament voiced its concerns that statements from the authorities could lead to the persecution of more of its members in the coming days.As a result of a sudden and reckless crackdown, police in Yerevan handcuffed seven members of the Founding Parliament. They were all later on charged with planning to hold mass disturbances on April 24.The Founding Parliament members and supporters emphasized that even though they lost their leadership, their protests will push until the regime, which they call "antinational", steps down."Making a demand to isolate those who call for a rally on April 24 is a nonsense both politically and legally. Holding a rally is a right guaranteed by the Armenian Constitution and international treaties," the group said.The group warned that "no illegal action and repression by the regime can stop their movement from reaching its goal".Authorities in Yerevan approved the Founding Parliament’s bid to hold a rally in Yerevan on April 24. However, an overwhelming opinion in Armenia both among society and political circles believes that no political protests should be held on the day the nation will be mourning its so-called "Armenian genocide".The recent crackdown of Armenia's rulers on the opposition party has backfired as the authorities are now concerned that more rallies will be staged in reaction. Where Yerevan hoped to subdue the opposition it only served to fuel the situation and create a reactionary movement of great intensity. Now the whole country poses to wait for the end of the long-lasting regime-opposition standoff - who will win the final showdown on April 24? Europe meets Elnur! http://www.today.az/news/analytics/139991.html Analytics Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:27:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Amina NazarliElnur Huseynov, Azerbaijani representative in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 continues his tour prior to the main event, which will kick off on April 19 in Vienna, Austria.The talented singer has already visited the Latvian’s capital of Riga, Budapest in Hungaria and Amsterdam in the Netherlands as part of his promo tour around Europe, where he met with fellow contestants and media.Currently, Elnur is on a visit to Ghent, Belgium, where he will take part in a television program on the "MENT TV” channel. He will present his video clip and give an interview to the channel’s journalist.Elnur is also going to sing his mystical contemporary ballad "Hour Of The Wolf" on the “TV-Limburg” channel in Hasselt. The Belgian capital, Brussels will also host the singer. There he will meet with Belgian contestant Loic Notte in the Sony Music Belgium office.From Belgium, Elnur plans to go to Greece on April 22, where the country’s popular "To Proino Mou" show will welcome him as the guest. Moreover, he will take part in a photoshoot and give an interview for "Hello! Magazine" journal and Greek media.The Azerbaijani contestant will also head for the Russian capital, Moscow on April 24 to join on stage participants from ten other Eurovision countries.For the final point of his promo tour Elnur will go to Tbilisi, Georgia on April 26-27. Here, alongside with presenting his song, he will give a "deep house" concert.As part of his Georgia visit, Elnur will also attend the country’s morning show and will answer “Fortuna” radio and “Music Box” channel's questions.Austria will host the final of the 60th Eurovision on May 23. The semifinals of the international contest will be held on May 19 and 21. Elnur will perform his ballad "Hour Of The Wolf" under the 11th number in the second semifinal.Talking about his song Elnur said, “I believe in my entry song as it has so many powerful messages. It is truly a song with great meaning of which the most important is ‘that every heart deserves a fight’ and we should never give up. We must fight for our happiness.”In 2008, Elnur appeared on “the Eurovision Song Contest” in Belgrade, together with Samir Javadzada, who brought the 8th place to Azerbaijan. Kazakhstan seek to be main New Silk Road transit country http://www.today.az/news/business/139990.html Business Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:24:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaKazakhstan intends to become a main transit country linking Far East countries to Europe.Zhenis Kasymbek, Kazakhstan’s deputy minister of investment and development said the country plans to invest over $20 billion by 2020 into its transportation industry to become the main transit country between the booming Chinese market and Europe, RIA Novosti reported.Enjoying advantageous geographic position, Kazakhstan is eyeing to be part of a new Silk Road project, the idea initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping.In 2013, Jinping brought up the idea of building the new Silk Road to connect China with Europe and strengthen cooperation between Asia and Africa. This grand project would help China build new political ties, as well as facilitate trade and economic activities from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.Kasymbek said Kazakhstan certainly wants to be part of this colossal project.Therefore, the country allocates huge amount of finances to develop its transportation infrastructure.“The new economic policy of Kazakhstan prioritizes the development of transport infrastructure and logistics. In 2014, the state already provided more than $2.5 billion, and between 2015 and 2017 it will allocate $3 billion annually from the National Fund. Overall, we plan to invest over $20 billion by 2020 in the development of the transport industry,” he said.Kazakhstan has already started works towards the realization of this idea. The country is building a dry port and rail yard at Khorgos, in the desert on its eastern border with China that will help to realize China’s multibillion-dollar plans for a “New Silk Road”.Since Kazakhstan is a landlocked nation and its economic partners may be thousands of miles away, it is crucial for the country to become successfully integrated into the international transportation networks. Therefore, the new Silk Road project is of vital importance for the Central Asian nation.The volume of trade between China and Europe will exceed 170 million tons by 2020, according to estimates. Today, the bulk of these goods are transported using water routes. Kazakhstan has set the goal of attracting the maximum amount of this trade via the land route through its own territory, Kasymbek said. Finance minister says 2015-state budget to remain unchanged http://www.today.az/news/business/139989.html Business Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:17:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Gulgiz DadashovaAzerbaijan’s finance minister does not see a need for correcting the 2015-state budget projection amid the fall in the oil prices.“There are certain criteria in the legislation after which adjustment can be made, but, we do not see any need now,” Finance Minister Samir Sharifov said in briefing on April 20, Trend reports.The oil price was set at the level of $90 per barrel in the 2015-state budget approved in November 2014. The 2015- budget anticipates revenues of 19.4 billion manats and spending of 21 billion manats. The current state budget’s deficit is expected to hit 2.8 percent of GDP.“When forecasting the 2015-state budget, we have set the oil price at $ 90 per barrel, but after the fall in oil prices the figure turned out to be somewhat overpriced. Sure, it affects the budget revenues. But any direct damage to the state budget is not so big,” the minister said adding that the drop in oil prices have a negative impact on the balance of payments.Azerbaijan is the second-largest oil producer in the former Soviet Union region after Russia and Kazakhstan. Oil and gas make up 95 percent of Azerbaijan’s exports, over 65 percent of its state revenues, and 40 percent of its GDP.Sharifov said the government has taken some steps due to the cut in oil revenues. "We plan to make better use of the budget. Moreover, we plan to postpone realization of several investment projects, actually they can be realized next year,” he said.The energy rich nation’s central bank put an end to the dollar peg for the manat in February, which system had held since mid-2011. The manat weakened by 33.5 percent against the dollar, and by 30 percent against the euro then. Strong winds to reign in Baku till evening http://www.today.az/news/society/139988.html Society Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:12:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Amina NazarliAfter a warm sunny weather dominated in the country’s capital, Baku on April 19, strong winds will surely darken residents' mood.Although the winds will not cause any material damages, those residents who hoped to change to lighter clothing will have to wait for a more clement weather.The strong winds did not affect flights from Heydar Aliyev International Airport, AZAL said on April 20.For April 20 weather in Baku and the Absheron Peninsula will be cloudy but without precipitations. The weather will stand at 15-18 degrees C during the day and 7-9 degrees C at night.Fortunately forecasters have good news, as the unfavorable winds will die down in the evening.The weather in the country’s regions will also be stable. Precipitations are not expected, while fog will cover some regions.Temperatures are expected to remain in between 18 and 23 degrees C during the day and 8-13 degrees C at night. In the mountain areas the temperature will stand in between 10 and 18 during a day, while night will see a temperature of (3-8) degrees. Japan to launch lunar lander in 2018 http://www.today.az/news/regions/139987.html World news Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:06:00 +0500 The Japanese space agency is planning to launch a small spacecraft in fiscal 2018 that would make the country's first landing on the moon, sources close to the project said, according to Kyodo News.The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has said it will study the possible use of materials on the moon as well as its environment with unmanned probes, which could pave the way for manned missions in the future.JAXA is expected to brief a government panel of experts on the project, aiming to secure funding for preparations under the state budget for fiscal 2016, which will start in April next year, the sources said.The planned mission, involving the experimental Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM, will become Japan's first lunar exploration since JAXA launched an unmanned orbiter in 2007.SLIM is likely to be launched on an Epsilon advanced rocket, the sources said.The SLIM mission is aimed at establishing a method of pinpoint landing on the moon that would make it possible to approach a target area with the level of accuracy of hundreds meters, compared with kilometers so far./By AzerTac/ Azerbaijan`s Zabit Samadov wins Global K-1 Fighting Championship 3 tournament http://www.today.az/news/sports/139986.html Sports Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:59:00 +0500 Azerbaijani K-1 fighter Zabit Samadov has become the winner of the Global Fighting Championship 3 tournament in Dubai.Samadov secured the gold after emerging victorious over Congolese-German fighter Danyo "Dibuba" Ilunga./By AzerTac/ Education Minister: Ethiopia wants to expand educational relations with Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/society/139985.html Society Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:50:00 +0500 Ethiopian Education Minister Shiferaw Shigutie has expressed his country`s interest in broadening relationship with Azerbaijan in the field of education. He met Azerbaijani Ambassador to Ethiopia Elman Abdullayev. Mr Shigutie stressed the importance of taking appropriate events and improving contacts with the aim of developing educational ties.Mr. Abdullayev said students from many countries including the African continent receive education at universities in Azerbaijan.The Ambassador highlighted the Azerbaijani government`s attention to Azerbaijani students abroad./By AzerTac/ Salty Dawg Saloon – Alaska’s unique dollar-bill-covered watering hole http://www.today.az/news/interesting/139984.html Weird / Interesting Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:48:00 +0500 While many cafés and bars choose to display their patrons’ praise on sticky notes or paper napkins, a watering hole in Homer, Alaska, has every last inch of its walls and ceiling covered with dollar bills signed by its satisfied customers. Because of its quirky interiors, Salty Dawg Saloon is in fact a cherished landmark of Homer Spit – a 4.5-mile piece of land jutting out from Homer on the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, into Kachemak Bay. There is no shortage of bars in the town of Homer, but locals prefer driving all the way to the Spit and into Homer Boat Harbor, just to visit the peculiar Salty Dawg. Some of the patrons who visit the bar don’t even drink alcohol, but the place is so famous for its money plastered interior that many tourists just stop by to see it for themselves.The tradition of sticking dollar bills started when a visitor walked in a few decades ago and tacked a dollar on the wall. He explained that his friend would later drop by and use the buck to buy himself a drink. The trend soon caught on and by the early 90s, everyone who came in started to add bills with comments of praise. Today, it’s hard to find a free spot to post a new dollar bill!The building that now houses the bar started out as a homestead cabin – one of the first structures that went up in 1897, when the Alaskan town was established. After serving for several years as the town’s post office, railroad station, grocery store, coal mining office, and a Standard Oil office, it was finally converted into the Salty Dawg Saloon in 1957. It is currently the only bar located in Homer Spit.The bar had its fair share of problems – in 1964 it was flooded after the powerful Good Friday Earthquake. But the structure was renovated and a distinctive lighthouse tower was added at the same time to cover a water storage tank. The new structure has now emerged as one of Homer’s most historical and recognizable landmarks./By OddityCentral/ Indian village plants 111 trees every time a girl child is born http://www.today.az/news/interesting/139982.html Weird / Interesting Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:40:00 +0500 While a vast majority of Indians continue to prefer sons, a small village in the Indian state of Rajasthan has its own unique tradition of celebrating their daughters. Since 2006, the residents of Piplantri village, in southern Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district, have been planting a whopping 111 trees to celebrate the birth of a girl!Given that an average of 60 girls are born each year, the villagers have managed to plant over 250,000 trees so far – including varieties like Neem, Indian Rosewood, and Mango. The community of 8,000 residents is also dedicated to making sure that the trees survive and attain fruition as the girls grow up.The beautiful tradition was started by the village’s former ‘sarpanch’(head) Shyam Sundar Paliwal, in the memory of his daughter Kiran, who passed away a few years ago. Apart from planting trees, a special committee also identifies families that are reluctant to accept girl children. They then collect Rs. 21,000 ($336) from village residents, and Rs. 10,000 ($160) from the girl’s father – and invest this money in a 20-year government bond to ensure financial security for the child.And there’s more! “We make these parents sign an affidavit promising that they would not marry her off before the legal age, send her to school regularly, and take care of the trees planted in her name,” Paliwal said.In order to ensure that the trees remain free from termite infestations, the residents of Piplantri have also planted over 2.5 million Aloe Vera plants around them. The trees, along with the Aloe Vera plants, have become a major source of livelihood for the villagers.“Gradually, we realised that Aloe Vera could be processed and marketed in a variety of ways,” Paliwal explained. “So we invited some experts and asked them to train our women. Now residents make and market Aloe Vera products like gel, pickle, etc.”The village of Piplantri promotes the spirit of community in other ways too – they have their own website, and a special studio-recorded anthem as well. They’ve completely banned alcohol, open grazing of animals, and the cutting of trees. The residents seem to be a happy lot, and claim that there haven’t been any crimes reported in the past seven to eight years. That reminds me of Shani Shingnapur, India’s village without doors, which has also apparently been crime free for a very long time./By OddityCentral/ Healthy investment possibilities in weak times http://www.today.az/news/business/139981.html Business Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:35:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaAlthough the region is experiencing a bit of an economic slowdown, Azerbaijan remains a safe economic haven with suitable investment opportunities. European countries' interests in Azerbaijan stand testimony to country’s successful transition to economic independence.Attracting foreign investment in the country's economy is an important part of Azerbaijan's economic development strategy.As soon as Europe lost its investment possibilities in Russia, Azerbaijan became an attractive alternative in both the oil and non-oil sector. For instance, Italian and Saudi Arabian companies recently expressed interest in both the oil and non-oil sectors of the country.Azerbaijan seems an attractive country for development because of its political and macroeconomic stability, the fact that it secures the protection of investors' rights, benefits from a favorable geographical location, rich natural resources and a highly skilled workforce.Foreign direct investments in Azerbaijan increased by 49.5 percent and amounted to $2,209 billion last year, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan reported.Overall, last year was marked with Azerbaijan registering financial assets of $11.7 billion.Azerbaijan itself aims to increase foreign investments in its currently developing non-oil sector, including agriculture, light industry, transport, construction, tourism, etc.The total volume of Azerbaijan's GDP in the first quarter of 2015 amounted to 11.5 billion manats, which exceeds the figure for the same period last year by 5.3 percent, the State Statistics Committee said.The Committee further reported that the non-oil sector rose by seven percent compared to the same period last year, while its share in GDP amounted to 68.31 percent.In the reporting period, 50.2 percent of GDP in Azerbaijan were formed in the areas of production: industry, construction, agriculture, forestry and fish farms.Azerbaijan is now mostly attractive for investments from the UK, Norway, Turkey, USA, France, Iran, Russia and Japan.To attract more investors from all over the world, Azerbaijan is holding business forums throughout the year. This April-May, Baku will host business forums with delegation from Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Vietnam, Russia and Holland.In general, the high-level events Azerbaijan has been hosting for a couple of years, drew significant attention and generated good opportunities.As soon as foreign investors will appraise the promising opportunities of the non-oil sector in Azerbaijan, the investments flow is expected to increase even more. National gymnasts successfully perform in Poland http://www.today.az/news/sports/139978.html Sports Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:26:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Amina NazarliThe 40th International Spring Competition 2015 in rhythmic gymnastics was held in Poland on April 17-18.The gymnasts competed in the following categories: Rhythmic Individual- (junior 13-15 years) and (senior 16-99 years) and Rhythmic Group- (junior 13-15 years)Azerbaijani gymnasts brought one gold and one silver medal from Poland. National junior gymnast Zhala Piriyeva surpassed her rivals finishing first in the all-around.Junior group team, who amazed the judges and spectators with their performance, won silver medal of the competition. As usual, the audience applauded exercise with five balls, performed under Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal".Meanwhile, Aliya Yussupova International Tournament 2015 in rhythmic gymnastics was held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana on April 17-19.Some 65 athletes from 12 countries competed for the title of the best ones in the tournament.Gulsum Shafizada represented the country in Astana, where the annual tournament for Aliya Yussupova prizes was held. The national gymnast raised the flag of the country, winning the bronze medal in the all-around. Danish citizen of Norwegian plane dies in Baku http://www.today.az/news/society/139980.html Society Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:25:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Nigar Orujova A passenger of the Norwegian Airlines plane that made emergency landing in Baku has passed away, said Anar Gadirli, the head of press service at the Health Ministry. The plane flying from Bangkok to Copenhagen made an emergency landing at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku on April 19. The plane with 288 passengers abroad made a stop in Baku because of a sharp deterioration in health of Danish citizen Alan Lasten. Forced landing was made at 4:02 p.m. and the passenger was placed in Sabunchu hospital with a diagnosis of "heart failure". The plane was rendered all ground services and flew in the direction of Copenhagen at 5:37 p.m. "He was taken to hospital in a serious condition. Despite the efforts of doctors, it was impossible to save his life," Gadirli said. He added that the 75 years old passenger was taken to the hospital accompanied by his daughter. Currently, work is underway at the hospital's morgue to return the dead body to Denmark. Apes reveal secrets to good sleep http://www.today.az/news/interesting/139977.html Weird / Interesting Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:22:00 +0500 Watching an orangutan sleep is like watching a giant, orange baby slumbering sweetly. These huge great apes like to get into bed, and nestle down for a long and deep night’s sleep, their eyes occasionally dancing behind their eyelids, perhaps dreaming a fleeting orangutan’s dream.Watching a baboon sleep is more like watching a small bitter paranoid person desperately trying to get some shut eye.They sleep badly; sitting upright, balancing on their bottoms, minds whirring, constantly fearful that something or someone is after them.Which begs an important question: why does an orangutan sleep so soundly, whereas its primate relative, the baboon, suffers a fretful night’s rest?The answers, scientists are learning, are rooted deep in our evolutionary history. They help explain, in part, how great apes including humans were able to evolve into the beings we are today, and also why humans routinely prefer to sleep in beds.“Sleep has only recently been acknowledged as a potentially critical factor in human evolution,” says anthropologist David Samson of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, in the US.Yet scientists have rarely studied how sleep may have affected our development as a species.So Dr Samson and colleague Robert Shumaker of Indiana University in Bloomington, in the US, decided to do just that.They chose two primate species to study, publishing the results in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.“We chose orangutans because they were a species of ape that had yet to be studied by sleep scientists,” Dr Samson told BBC Earth.“Furthermore, they are the most distantly related great ape to humans, and therefore are an important species to generate comparative data.”“The baboons were chosen specifically due to their being one of the largest bodied monkeys that do not use sleeping platforms. Essentially, I wanted to control for body size and ask the question: why do both these large-bodied primates differ so remarkably in their sleep behaviours?”The scientists videoed five orangutans and 12 baboons sleeping in captivity over periods of one to four months.They confirmed that the orangutans slept for longer, and more deeply than the baboons, suggesting that all great apes do indeed sleep better than monkeys.“We discovered that by every measure of sleep quality, orangutans are the ‘better’ sleepers; that is, compared to baboons, orangutan sleep is deeper, longer in duration, and less fragmented,” says Dr Samson.Why they do so is even more revealing.To date, every population of wild great ape studied builds platforms to sleep on. Gorillas, orangutans, chimps and bonobos create nesting platforms in the trees, whereas modern humans construct beds to lie on.But every other type of primate does not sleep this way.Gibbons, the smaller apes, do not construct sleeping platforms, nor do any large monkeys such as baboons. Most monkeys actually sleep sitting in the trees, balancing on a branch, often upright, resting upon their bottoms.And that difference in sleeping style explains how well they sleep.The orangutans studied liked to relax, lying down, sleeping on their front and back. “The baboons spent most of their time sleeping while sitting up in a guarded position,” says Dr Samson. When baboons rest this way, they often sit upon thick, pink patches of hard skin, called ischial callosities, which shape their buttocks.This difference in sleeping style may have played a fundamental role in the evolution of great apes, including humans.Around 14-18 million years ago, the common ancestor of great apes is thought to have switched from sleeping on tree branches to within specially constructed sleeping platforms.“I don’t believe the first platform-constructing ape thought they would have a better night’s sleep,” says Dr Samson.Instead, throughout the Miocene (an epoch lasting from 23 to 5 million years ago), apes were growing bigger. They likely started building sleeping platforms to support their size and weight.“Sleeping platforms allowed apes with large mass to sleep securely in the trees, bypassing predators and blood sucking insects,” explains Dr Samson.He’s conducted previous research suggesting that all primates weighing more than 30kg likely needed to build a bed in the trees, sleeping in such platforms.And sleeping in beds confers another significant evolutionary advantage, it allows apes to sleep more deeply, getting more deep, nonrapid eye movement (NREM), sleep.“This ‘better’ sleep could have positively affected cognitive ability,” says Dr Samson, perhaps improving the consolidation of memories, for example.“Sleep quality may be a critical difference between apes and monkeys. Monkeys likely spend more time in ‘light’ sleep due to their less comfortable, less secure, and socially dynamic sleep environments. The trade-off is that they can easily arouse from sleep when a predator is around, or a social partner is active, but the cost is that they don’t achieve the benefits of deep sleep.”“We apes seem to have innovated an effective way to sleep both securely and comfortably.”“From an evolutionary perspective, just as the transition from tree branches to sleeping platforms had adaptive benefits, so too did the early hominin transition from sleeping platforms to secure ground sleep."This later transition, to sleeping on the ground, and later in beds, could have given early humans a competitive advantage over other species, he says./By BBC/ Azerbaijan’s Islamic banking skills to drive Russian Islamic finance development http://www.today.az/news/business/139979.html Business Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:20:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Gulgiz DadashovaIslamic finance industry in Russia still needs to be developed, despite some 20 million Muslims living in the country, and Azerbaijan’s skills maybe helpful for Russia.Russia hopes to learn from the experience of Azerbaijan in the field of Islamic banking, said Sergey Drobyshevsky, the scientific director of the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy in Baku last week.He said the presence of IBA Moscow, a Russian subsidiary of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, the largest lender and the only state-owned bank in Azerbaijan, must contribute to this.Drobyshevsky believes it will be easier for the Azerbaijani banks and businessmen to work in Russia than the Malaysian specialists of that sphere, where Islamic banking is also developed.“There is no language barrier between Azerbaijan and Russia, they have similar culture and a lot in common,” said Drobyshevsky.He also touched upon the prospects for the development of Islamic banking in Russia.“The more financial instruments the market has, the more differentiated they are, the more effectively it helps investors to diversify their risks, according to the theory of finance,” he said. “These are new possibilities and their implementation does not depend on the state - it depends on the participants of the market themselves and potential customers of Islamic banking.”Islamic banking can claim only 5 percent of the Russian financial market during 5-10 years, but the main thing is to start the process, Drobyshevsky emphasized, Trend reports.Behnam Gurbanzada, the director of Islamic banking at the IBA, earlier called Russia a "promising" platform to further the development of Islamic finance.“Azerbaijan with all prerequisites to build a bridge between Asia and the Middle East, as well as between the CIS and the Gulf countries, is supposed to receive good financial dividends from applying Islamic banking. The IBA is keen to develop a plan of amendments to the regulatory to apply the full-fledged Islamic banking in the country. The amendments can fasten up the process of creating the Islamic development center in Azerbaijan,” he told AzerNews earlier.The Baku-based IBA is a universal bank with subsidiary banks in Russia, Georgia and Qatar, as well as representative offices in London, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Dubai and New York. The bank, 50.2-percent owned by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Finance, holds over 40 percent of banking assets in the country.The IBA‘s reported consolidated total assets of 8.8 billion manats, aggregate capital of 1.008 billion manats and net profit of 64.5 million under audited IFRS as at year-end 2014. President Ilham Aliyev reviewed the Baku Sport Palace after major overhaul (UPDATE) http://www.today.az/news/politics/139974.html Politics Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:00:00 +0500 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his wife, chairperson of the Baku 2015 First European Games Organizing Committee Mehriban Aliyeva have reviewed the Baku Sport Palace after a major overhaul. Youth and sport minister Azad Rahimov informed the head of state of the work carried out here. The state-of-the-art palace has all conditions for holding Olympic and Paralympic games. The Baku Sport Palace consists of the main sport hall and a technical building. The three-storey building was reconstructed to highest international standards. The palace will host badminton and table tennis competitions during the inaugural European Games. The reconstruction saw the number of seats at the palace increase from 1,100 to 1,736. There are special rooms for referees, media representatives and VIP guests. There are also a doping control room, cafes for sportsmen and media representatives. In addition, there are offices and leisure rooms, conference and meeting rooms for employees of the Baku 2015 First European Games Organizing Committee. /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"??????? ???????"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his wife, chairperson of the Baku 2015 First European Games Organizing Committee Mehriban Aliyeva have reviewed the Baku Sport Palace after a major overhaul.Youth and sport minister Azad Rahimov informed the head of state of the work carried out here. The state-of-the-art palace has all conditions for holding Olympic and Paralympic games.The Baku Sport Palace consists of the main sport hall and a technical building. The three-storey building was reconstructed to highest international standards. The palace will host badminton and table tennis competitions during the inaugural European Games. The reconstruction saw the number of seats at the palace increase from 1,100 to 1,736. There are special rooms for referees, media representatives and VIP guests. There are also a doping control room, cafes for sportsmen and media representatives. In addition, there are offices and leisure rooms, conference and meeting rooms for employees of the Baku 2015 First European Games Organizing Committee.http://azertag.az/en/xeber/848031***15:34 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his wife, chairperson of the Baku 2015 First European Games Organizing Committee Mehriban Aliyeva have attended the opening of the Aquatic Palace in Baku. The head of state cut the ribbon symbolizing the inauguration of the Aquatic Palace. President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva reviewed the conditions created here. With the aim of developing water sports in Azerbaijan and organizing competitions of local and international level, on 30 August 2012 President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on the construction of an Aquatic Palace meeting modern standards in Baku. The foundation stone for the Palace was laid with the participation of the head of state on April, 2013. Youth and Sports Minister Azad Rahimov informed President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva about the work carried out here. The Aquatic Palace occupies a total area of 6 hectares. The sports facility covering an area of 72,000 square meters is fully compliant with the requirements of the International Swimming Federation. Then, President Ilham Aliyev was informed about the interior of the Aquatic Palace in Baku. It has three swimming pools. The head of state viewed the main pool, where the competitions will be held. The pool, 50 meters in length, 25 meters in width, and 2.5 meters in depth, was designed for competitions. The length of the pool for diving is 25 meters and the width is 20 meters. The pools were constructed by Italian Myrtha Pools company. Sports competitions in the palace can be watched by 6,000 spectators. The palace also has sectors for the disabled, VVIP, VIP section and for journalists. Then President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva viewed a 150-seat restaurant of the Palace. The second pool was built for training. The length of the pool is 51 meters and the width is 20 meters. Baku was awarded the Games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012. The Baku European Games Operations Committee (BEGOC) will organize and run the Games in co-operation with the EOC. There will be a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports. More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe will be representing their nations over 17 days of competition. /By AzerTac/ /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"??????? ???????"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} Breathtaking photo almost cost the photographer his life http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/139975.html Arts & Entertainment Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:57:00 +0500 When Pakistani photographer Atif Saeed set out for a drive through a safari park in Lahore in 2012, little did he know that he would end up risking his life for what is possibly the best photograph of his career – a close-up shot of a charging lion!It all started during the drive, when Saeed spotted a lion a short distance away. “It as an adult male lion, and what I liked most about him was the beautiful, dark hair on his neck,” the 38-year-old later recalled. He got out of the car, left the door open, and crouched in the grass to take pictures with his 500mm telephoto lens. He did realise at the time that it could be a foolish move, but he told himself that it was the only way to get a natural photograph.Saeed got his opportunity within seconds – the sound of the shutter apparently irritated the lion, and it turned around to charge at him. The lion’s expression at that moment was ferocious enough to send even the bravest of huntsmen into a state of shock. But Saeed managed to quickly gather his wits. He clicked a picture at lightning before leaping into his car and slamming the door shut, missing the aggressive beast by inches!As he recounted the tale later on, he said that his sole focus was to get the perfect shot. As soon as he had captured it, he made sure to get himself out of harm’s way. He explained that the risky experience was ‘indescribable’, but he came away from it with a great story and terrific photographs.“The feel of the aggressive, approaching lion from the camera is something that can’t be described,” he told ABC news. “I was witnessing every small detail of movement that no photograph or movie can show.”“It was a pretty close encounter,” he added. “I was laughing afterwards at the time, but I don’t think I’d ever be able to do something like that again.” The chilling photograph, clicked moments before the lion’s aggressive move, has gone viral online./By OddityCentral/ Shamkir Chess 2015 leaves three days behind http://www.today.az/news/sports/139976.html Sports Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:56:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Amina NazarliDevoted to Azerbaijan's late grandmaster Vugar Gashimov, the grandiose Shamkir 2015 International Chess Tournament, held in Azerbaijan’s region of Shamkir gave the people three exciting days of competition.The first round started on April 17 with a duel in between Magnus Carlsen (Norway) and Viswanathan Anand from India, where Vugar’s niece Narmin made the first move in the game.The two grandmasters fought to a draw.The match in between Azerbaijani Shakhriyar Mammadyarov and Italian Fabiano Caruana also fizzled out in a draw.The next match was remembered with a flashy and brutal attack-knockout from GM Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) over Michael Adams (UK).Although the Grand Master joked the time difference made things difficult for him he nevertheless successfully claimed victory over his opponent.“I am happy that I had a victory. It is an excellent opportunity to start with a victory at this respectable super-tournament. Now, there is a need to have sustainable victory,” he said.On the first day of the tournament the chess players saw another victory thanks to a grinding win from Wesley So (USA) over Anish Giri (Netherlands).Wesley So linked his victory with a proper game, "It is very nice to start such a high level tournament with a victory. I’d better prepared for the next rounds. Continued success would come. It was the third consecutive victory, prior to the last two rounds to win the championship came to the United States. A victory over Giri delights me."The second round of the tournament was held in between Fabiano and Adams. The result of the second round was a quick-ish draw from Italian Fabiano and GM Adams (UK).On the same round Azerbaijani chess player Shahriyar lost to world champion Magnus. The Norwegian chess player said on his victory: "It was a good play today. I did not give my opponent a chance. I gained the advantage from the beginning and kept it until the end. As a result, I got my first win. It was important for me."Mammadyarov said Magnus gained the advantage from the very beginning: "It is always hard to play against the world champion. There cannot be any psychological pressure. Just like today, Magnus did not make moves I expected. If this hadn't happened, the match would have gone in a different direction. He played differently. You can lose in chess, but it's not good to lose in such a way."The second tour was the most eventful, with Azerbaijani Rauf and Anish Giri (Netherlands) drawing on an extremely lively game. The two GMs fought to a 2-2 draw.Russian GM Vladimir Kramnik also had a draw with US representative Wesley So in the 2nd round.The third tour of the tournament was also remembered with a flow of draws, starting with a standoff in between Russian Karmnik and Azerbaijani Rauf.However, Scandinavian GM interrupted the chain of draws after a victory over Italian GM Fabiano.“Last year I lost to Fabiano in Shamkir. But, this time I thought only of victory. I did not think about a rematch, I just wanted to win. The rival had a problem with time,” said Magnus about his victory.The game in between Azerbaijani Mammadyarov and French Maxime Vachier-Lagrave also finished with a draw.The results after the three rounds are as follow:Magnus Carlsen, Wesley So - 2.5 pointsVladimir Kramnik - 2 pointsViswanathan Anand, Rauf Mammadov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave - 1.5 pointsAnish Giri, Shahriyar Mammadyarov, Fabiano Caruana - 1.5 pointsMichael Adams - 0.5 points.The fourth round of the tournament will be held on April 21.Michael Adams (UK) - Magnus Carlsen (Norway)Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) - Fabiano Caruana (Italy)Anish Giri (Netherlands) - Shahriyar Mammadyarov (AZE)Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) - Viswanathan Anand (India)Wesley So (USA) - Rauf Mammadov (AZE)The fund price of the tournament which will last till April 26 is €100,000. A day of rest is set for April 22. Muslims urge US not to use ‘Armenian genocide’ phrase http://www.today.az/news/regions/139973.html World news Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:35:00 +0500 The Muslim communities in the US called on the country’s authorities not to use the phrase "Armenian genocide", the Turkish newspaper Sabah reported April 20. In this regard, more than eight influential Muslim communities of the country sent a letter to the US Congress. The assessment of the events of 1915 as the so-called Armenian genocide is a gross violation of the rights of representatives of other nationalities who have suffered during these events, the appeal said. Moreover, the Muslim communities were in favor of historical investigation of the events of 1915. Turkey has repeatedly stated that it is ready to open the archives to find out the truth about the events of 1915 and called on Armenia to establish a joint commission on this issue. Armenia ignores this proposal. Armenia and the Armenian lobby claim that Turkey's predecessor, the Ottoman Empire allegedly carried out ”genocide” against the Armenians living in Anatolia in 1915. Turkey in turn has always denied "the genocide" took place. While strengthening the efforts to promote the "genocide" in the world, Armenians have achieved its recognition by the parliaments of some countries./By Trend/ Armenian saboteur’s trial continues in Azerbaijan’s Ganja http://www.today.az/news/society/139972.html Society Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:25:00 +0500 The court of grave crimes of the Azerbaijani city of Ganja held Apr. 20 the next session on the criminal case of an Armenian saboteur, Arsen Bagdasaryan, the regional Kepez TV channel reported. During the court session, held under Elbey Allahverdiyev’s chairmanship, the victims and witnesses said that at the moment of capturing, Bagdasaryan was wearing not a military uniform, but civilian clothes. The witnesses said other two saboteurs managed to escape. They also noted that, after being captured, Bagdasaryan said his name is Vazgen Grigoryan. But he revealed his real name and surname only during the interrogation. The next court session on the Armenian saboteur’s case is scheduled for Apr. 27. Bagdasaryan, a professional military man, was captured by Azerbaijani servicemen, as he crossed the contact line of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops in the direction of Aghdam district on Dec. 26, 2014. He was then handed over to the law enforcement bodies. A criminal case was launched and the Baku military court chose arrest as a preventive measure in respect to the detainee. The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions./By Trend/ OPEC losing its relevance, here's why http://www.today.az/news/regions/139971.html World news Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:01:00 +0500 OPEC as an organization is losing relevance and has long lost any pricing control in the market, Sam Barden, director of Wimpole International, an energy market development company believes. “We are moving into an era of energy co-operation rather than energy competition. This means consumers and producers will work together to find energy savings and efficiencies in their economies as we move to energy economics rather than dollar economics,” Barden told Trend on April 20. “Simply, that is least energy input per output of energy, rather than least dollar input per output of energy,” he explained. He believes that consumers will swap carbon-saving technologies and IP with oil and gas producers for carbon fuel supplied. “So the game will be about mining for carbon energy savings in our economies, rather than just mining for new supply of carbon energy,” Barden said. Also, expert believes that oil and gas will be traded in multiple currencies rather than just in USD, or the petrodollar system as we know it. “So as the game changes from who can get the most dollars to who can get the most value out of their energy, OPEC will, like the petrodollar, become an historical instrument,” Barden said. Currently OPEC controls 40 percent of the world's oil supplies. All OPEC member-states are large oil exporters. Their economies are more dependent on oil revenues. So, to maintain the oil prices at an acceptable level, has always been the OPEC main objective. However, the recent actions by OPEC on the production quota have been characterized by great differences among the Cartel member-states. Nigeria, Iran, Venezuela and Libya have been pushing for the Cartel to cut output in a bid to reverse the more than 50-percent drop in prices since June last year. At OPEC's 166th meeting in Vienna on Nov. 27, the member countries decided to keep oil production quota unchanged at the level of 30 million barrels per day. The next official meeting is scheduled for June 5. The latest OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report said that cartel’s production rose sharply in March compared to the previous month. OPEC production increased in March by 810,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 30.79 million bpd, according to the report./By Trend/ Kazakhstan ready to provide platform for Syria conflict mediation http://www.today.az/news/regions/139969.html World news Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:50:00 +0500 Kazakhstan is ready to provide a platform for negotiations to resolve the situation in Syria, Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrisov in a letter to Syrian oposition, RIA Novosti reported. Earlier, representatives of the Syrian opposition officially appealed to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev with a request to mediate further negotiations for resolving the ongoing crisis in Syria. "We are committed to support the attempts to establish peace and stability in Syria made by international community and individual countries. We would be fundamentally willing to consider the creation of a platform for dialogue of the parties," Erlan Idrisov said. He also invited the Syrian opposition to Kazakhstan to discuss Astana’s mediation. He said the Kazakh foreign ministry would be happy to conduct a preliminary informal (non-public) exchange of views. During the conflict in Syria which began in March 2011, over 150,000 people were killed and over 4.5 million have become refugees in Syrian territory as well as 2.5 million having fled to neighbouring countries. The main burden of receiving refugees lay on Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The total population of Syria before the conflict amounted to 20 million./By Trend/ Professional Modeling School and Training Center opens in Baku http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/139968.html Arts & Entertainment Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:46:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/One of the biggest Model Agencies in Baku, Venera Model and Cast celebrated the opening of the new Modeling School and Training Center where the talented Models will be polishing their professional skills. The new School incorporates all services and facilities necessary for preparing the young ladies and gentlemen to the World of High Fashion. This includes modeling and acting, choreography and make up lessons, personal development. In order to satisfy these needs the new center has big acting room, make up studio, professional photo studio and fully equipped training room with a capacity for 30 people. There were more than hundred guests invited to the launch event including press, media people, local celebrities and retail groups. The evening started with sophisticated cocktails from the well-known in Azerbaijan as well as abroad local producer of natural juices and sauces, specifically Pomegranate juice - AzNar. A special make up sessions, where ladies invited to the event could try new styles from certified make-up artists working on the creation of images for the staff models, had given a good start to the event. The professional photo shooting sessions for the guests made the evening even more memorable. Subsequently, guests were invited to the training room to get acquainted with a new Web and Social Media pages of the agency. The fashion show became the culmination of the event after which guests had an opportunity to enjoy the fashionable and contemporary music by DJ TIM. The main investment to the new project has been made by AzNar which more than 10 years actively participates in various charity events and supports the creative initiatives focused on raising the awareness on local cultural events and talented people. Ideal, Café City and Baku Events have provided the technical support in an organization of launch event. About Venera Model & Cast The Model Agency VENERA was launched in 1996 and instantly became the leading fashion and advertising agency in Azerbaijanis as well as in European market. The agency is working with the biggest advertising companies and top designers. The models working for the agency are getting the recognition in the local and foreign countries. There are limited agencies in Baku, which can give the opportunity to their models to participate in the most popular Fashion shows. The agency has foreign partnership relations, which allow its models to build a career on international market. The qualified team is continuously working on getting the new potentials in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Latvia and their further effective promotion. The agency has extensive partnership networks throughout the world including the main fashion destination as Milano, Paris, Berlin, New York, Pekin, Tokio and Moscow. In Moscow the agency is mainly cooperating with Modus VivendiS Model Agency. Their experienced Top Models provide the trainings in choreography, acting, make up and master classes in defile to the local models hired by Venera Models and Cast ABOUT AzNAR Company AzNAR has a history of more than 45 years to date. Throughout these years, many technological and other interventions have been made along with the unique experience which has been acquired through efforts and heavy investment made for getting the special equipment from international manufacturers. Today AzNAR is equipped with modern technology and non-waste production technology, technology for producing high-quality natural pomegranate juice as well as extracting oil from the pomegranate seeds. The use of this oil in cosmetology and food industry is very popular, and in medicine it is well known as cancer preventer. AzNAR’s Pomegranate juice (brand name Grante) regularly participates in international food fairs and exhibitions and has already received high awards in various nominations successfully representing Azerbaijan. This includes a gold medal «Innovations in the Product Structure» at the contest «Innovative Product Prodexpo 2009» in Moscow, Russia The company is constantly developing and expanding their client relationships overseas. Thus, 90% products are exported under the "Grante" brand name to the countries located on different continents including New Zealand, USA, Russia, Poland, Italy, Canada, China, Germany, Monaco and UAE. European Parliament should condemn massacres committed by Armenians – German expert http://www.today.az/news/regions/139967.html World news Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:40:00 +0500 European Parliament’s resolution on the “Armenian genocide” is a proof of double standards, German expert Matthias Dornfeld told Trend Apr.20. Dornfeld, the chairman of European Institute for Caucasus and Caspian Studies in Berlin said he has already issued a complaint to German members of the European Parliament regarding this issue. Armenia and the Armenian lobby claim that Turkey's predecessor, the Ottoman Empire allegedly carried out ”genocide” against the Armenians living in Anatolia in 1915. Turkey in turn has always denied "the genocide" took place. While strengthening the efforts to promote the "genocide" in the world, Armenians have achieved its recognition by the parliaments of some countries. If the European Parliament members discuss this issue [“Armenian genocide”], they should condemn the massacre committed by Armenians against the Muslim population in East Anatolia and Caucasus in 1914-1920, Dornfeld said. The expert added that he is starting a research project on the topic, using various archives in Germany. The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Apr.15 urging Turkey to recognize the 1915 events as “Armenian genocide”. The resolution said that Armenia and Turkey should use the “100th anniversary” of the “Armenian genocide” to restore the diplomatic relations, open borders and pave the way for economic integration. Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hikmet Hajiyev earlier said that the resolution on “Armenian genocide” adopted by the European Parliament on Apr.15 is unfounded, biased, is not serious and is a vivid example for double standards./By Trend/ First Azerbaijan Fashion Week schedued for May 2015 http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/139970.html Arts & Entertainment Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:36:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/Azerbaijan Fashion Week will celebrate its first season in an iconic Fairmont Baku, Flame Tower on May 11-14, 2015. Set over four days, schedule is filled with shows, presentations, showrooms, events and parties from the ascending names in Azerbaijani as well as International fashion industry. The main purpose of the Fashion Week is to highlight the growing fashion industry in Azerbaijan and create the opportunity for the talented designers to showcase their potential. Along with the local designers there will be the designers from the adjoining countries including Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the main fashion clusters as France and Italy. The event will be attended by foreign experts of fashion industry, including buyers of the biggest fashion retail networks and boutiques, representatives of glossy international as well as local publications and international PR agencies. The catwalk shows will be held at Nizami Genjevi Ballroom of Fairmont Baku Hotel and will be complemented by pop up stores and showrooms set over the second floor of the Hotels Business Centre. Special Master Classes and trainings for photographers and journalists will be delivered during the Fashion Week. As a part of the Azerbaijan Fashion Week program Dior will screen the documentary at the IMAX Park ?inema For press enquiries please contact Sayad Ibrahimli, Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers 0099 412 565 48480099 412 565 4848| sayad.ibrahimli@fairmont.com The first big international fashion project, featuring young local and international talents in an exclusive show focused on creating the opportunities for the talented designers. With a support of LUXE MEDIA Azerbaijan, the Fashion Week will be held twice in a year- May and November. The first event will take place in the iconic building and the new symbol of Baku city-Flame Towers Every season, Azerbaijan Fashion Week will be attended by foreign experts of fashion-industry, including buyers of the biggest fashion-retail networks and fashion boutiques, representatives of glossy local as well as international publications and PR agencies. On the highest part of the city of Baku, Azerbaijan’s vibrant capital lies Fairmont Baku, located in the northern tower of the three comprising the Flame Towers complex. Designed by HOK International in the shape and essence of a flame - an apt symbol for this historic “land of fire”- the building is one of the most extraordinary and innovative constructions of modern times and is itself the tallest building in Azerbaijan. The 36-storey Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers features 318 rooms suites and apartments, over 2,500 square metres of multi-use meeting space, a 3,500 square metre spa facility - ESPA at Fairmont Baku, located over two floors - and several restaurants, bars and lounges. With breathtaking views over Baku, the Caspian Sea and the UNESCO World Heritage site of the ancient Inner City, Fairmont Baku Flame Towers is swiftly becoming the place to stay and be seen. PACE spring session to kick off in Strasburg http://www.today.az/news/regions/139966.html World news Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:20:00 +0500 The spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will kick off in Strasbourg Apr.20. Discussions on the human rights and international law, the humanitarian consequences of the actions of the terrorist group known as "Islamic State" will be among the highlights of PACE spring session to be held from 20 to 24 April. In addition, the reconsideration of sanctions in respect of the Russian delegation to PACE, the budget and priorities of the Council of Europe will be discussed during the spring session. Didier Reynders, Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of Belgium, will present the communication from the Committee of Ministers in the framework of the Belgian chairmanship, and Nils Muiznieks, Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner, will present his 2014 annual activity report. Azerbaijani delegation led by the chairman of the parliamentary Committee for International and Interparliamentary Relations Samad Seyidov will take part in the session. The delegation includes Azerbaijani MPs Sevinc Fataliyeva, Rovshan Rzayev, Elkhan Suleymanov, Rafael Huseynov, Ganira Pashayeva. Aydin Abbasov, Sabir Hajiyev, Sahiba Gafarova and Fazil Mustafa./By Trend/ Review of 9 world oil prices for April 13-17 http://www.today.az/news/business/139965.html Business Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:25:00 +0500 The average spot price for nine varieties of oil brands (including North American) last week (April 13-17) amounted to $57.71 per barrel compared to $54.93 per barrel the previous week. The highest average spot price was observed on Bonny Light oil produced in Nigeria, which amounted to $60.26 per barrel compared to $58.09 per barrel the previous week. The density of Bonny Light, used to determine the price of other brands of oil exports in the Gulf, is 33.4-degrees API with a 0.16-percent sulfur content. The average price for Brent last week amounted to $59.12 per barrel compared to $56.51 per barrel the previous week. The density of Brent Dated is 38.6-39 -degrees API, with up to 1-percent sulfur content. Last week, the average spot price for a marker grade of oil produced in Dubai and used as a benchmark in setting prices of other brands of oil exports in the Gulf region Dubai Crude increased by $3.67 per barrel to $58.85 per barrel. Dubai Crude is light oil whose density is 31 degrees-API with a 2-percent sulfur content. The average spot price for North Sea Forties was at $58.7 per barrel compared to $56.74 per barrel the previous week. Forties has a low sulfur content and high potential to produce gasoline. Its density is about 40.3-degrees API with a 0.56-percent sulfur content. Last week the average spot price for the high-sulfur oil Urals which is a mixture of oil produced in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District and Tatarstan was at $58.42 per barrel last week compared to $55.64 the previous week. The main producers of Urals oil is the Rosneft, Lukoil, Surgutneftegaz, Gazprom Neft, TNK-BP and Tatneft companies. Abroad, this oil is known under the name Siberian Light. In Russia, oil futures for Urals are traded on the FORTS market at the RTS stock exchange. Last week average price for the American Mars increased by $3.45 per barrel to $57.79 per barrel. Mars's density is 28.9-degrees API with a 2.05-percent sulfur content. OPEC oil basket price increased by $2.72 per barrel to $56.34 per barrel. The OPEC's price is the average index of physical prices for the following 11 grades of oil: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), Iran Heavy (Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela). The average spot price for the American WTS crude oil last week amounted to $55.18 per barrel compared to $52.52 per barrel the previous week. The density of WTS is not less than 30 degrees-API with a 2.5-percent sulfur content. The lowest average spot price was observed for the American West Texas Intermediate (WTI), which amounted to $54.78 per barrel compared to $51.78 per barrel the previous. WTI's density is 40-degrees API with a 0.4-05-percent sulfur content. This oil is mainly used to produce gasoline and therefore the demand is high, particularly in the U.S. and China. Energy Intelligence Group provides Trend Agency with daily oil price quotas./By Trend/ Reason for decrease in Georgia's import of Azerbaijani gas revealed http://www.today.az/news/business/139964.html Business Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:59:00 +0500 The reason for decrease in Azerbaijani gas imported by Georgia is the reduction of the level of consumption in the country, a source in SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan) told Trend April 1. The source said that the volume of gas imported by Georgia from Azerbaijan is entirely dependent on the level of its domestic consumption in this country. “When gas consumption in Georgia increases, the volumes of gas that this country gets from Azerbaijan grow as well,” the source said. “The decrease of this index over the past two months is due to the slight reduction of domestic gas consumption in Georgia.” The source went on to add that Azerbaijan supplies gas to Georgia on the basis of agreements concluded with this country. “From our side, there are no problems with the supply of gas to Georgia,” said the source. Georgia imported 319,850 metric tons of natural gas in oil equivalent worth $67.4 million from Azerbaijan in January-February 2015, the Georgian National Statistics Service’s report said. Azerbaijan is the main supplier of this fuel to Georgia with a share of 66.2 percent of total import volume of the country in this category. In annual terms, the Georgian natural gas imports from Azerbaijan decreased by 17.2 percent in terms of value (48,700 metric tons decrease in quantitative terms in oil equivalent, or 13.2 percent decrease). Azerbaijan exports its own gas to Georgia via a pipeline connecting two countries in the Gazakh region of Azerbaijan. The capacity of gas pumping through this pipeline exceeds 2.5 billion cubic meters per year./By Trend/ Azerbaijan sees increase in investments in oil sector http://www.today.az/news/business/139963.html Business Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:59:00 +0500 The volume of investments made in Azerbaijan’s oil sector in Jan.-March 2015 was 1.53 billion Azerbaijani manats, or 11.7 percent more than in the same period of 2014, Azerbaijani State Statistical Committee said in its report. The official exchange rate on Apr.19 is 1.0507 AZN/USD. The total volume of investments in Azerbaijan’s industrial sector in Jan.-March stood at 1.69 billion manats, or 16.6 percent more than in the same period of 2014, according to the report on Q1 of 2015. During the reporting period, 1.53 billion manats of this sum was invested in the country’s mining industry, which is 20.8 percent more than in the same period of 2014. The investments in the production, distribution and supply of electricity, gas and heat in Jan.-March totaled 23.9 million manats, or 63.7 percent less than in the same period of 2014./By Trend/ Status quo of TAPI gas pipeline project http://www.today.az/news/analytics/139962.html Analytics Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:30:00 +0500 The project for construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline is currently the most advanced among the other alternatives. The countries interested in the construction of TAPI pipeline believe that its construction can start in 2015. The issue of construction of TAPI pipeline was discussed during the recent meeting of Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov with India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in Ashgabat. “TAPI is designed to make a significant contribution to the sustainable socio-economic development of Asian countries and in general, allow to strengthen the global energy security by becoming a genuine bridge of peace, friendship and long-term cooperation in the Eurasian continent,” said the message earlier released by Turkmen government. Currently, all the countries involved in the project should choose the company which will become the leader of the consortium, able to seek financial resources, sign a long term contract and purchase a considerable share in the already established TAPI Ltd. TAPI Ltd. operating company includes Turkmengaz State Concern, Afghan Gas Corporation, Pakistan’s "Inter State Gas Systems (Private) Limited" and Indian "GAIL (India) Limited" with equal shares. The parties have already entered into transactions for the sale of gas, sources of raw materials of the pipeline have been defined as well, including Galkynysh, the second largest gas field in the world. This ambitious project is promoted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which plays the role of its transaction advisor. ADB has long confirmed its commitment to the project. The bank experts believe that the pipeline has enormous potential in the field of not only sub-regional cooperation but also economic development of the region. Indeed, this pipeline will connect the energy deficient South Asia with Central Asian countries rich in energy resources. It is believed that the project will provide a less expensive and clean energy, make a profit, which can be used to reduce poverty in the region and contribute to the regional stability through joint ownership of the project. The basic document for the promotion of TAPI project is the Ashgabat interstate agreement of the state parties on the commencement of the practical implementation of the TAPI project signed in late 2010. The design capacity of TAPI is 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The estimated length is 1,735 kilometers. It is expected that the pipeline will extend from the largest gas field in Turkmenistan, Galkhynysh, through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar to the Fazilka settlement on the Pakistani-Indian border. The estimated cost of the project varies between $7, 6 billion - $10 billion. The issue of ensuring safety of the highway, a considerable part of which passes through unstable Afghanistan, remains an open question./By Trend/ Security of TANAP provided at highest level - expert http://www.today.az/news/regions/139961.html World news Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:24:00 +0500 Security of energy projects in Turkey, in particular the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline project (TANAP), is guaranteed at the highest level, the energy expert at the Turkish Center for International Strategic Studies USAK Guner Ozkan told Trend. He said that Turkey will counteract any possible internal threat to the implementation of the TANAP project. Earlier, some Turkish media reported that the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) intensified in the province of Kars, where the implementation of the major energy project in March began. Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline in Turkey will pass through a number of the eastern provinces of the country. TANAP project envisages the transportation of gas of Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field from the Georgian-Turkish border to the western borders of Turkey. TANAP’s initial capacity is expected to reach 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Around six billion cubic meters of this gas will be delivered to Turkey and the rest to Europe. Turkey will receive gas in 2018. The gas will be supplied to Europe in early 2020 after the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is constructed. BP and the TANAP consortium signed March 13 a shareholder agreement, according to which BP will become one of the shareholders of TANAP. The agreement is one of the main documents for BP’s ownership of a stake in the TANAP project. Following the completion of a legal implementation procedure, TANAP’s shareholders list will be as follows: SOCAR – 58 percent, Botas – 30 percent and BP – 12 percent. The project’s cost is estimated at $10-$11 billion./By Trend/ US dollar slightly drops in Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/business/139959.html Business Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:18:00 +0500 The official exchange rate of US dollar and euro to Azerbaijani manat was set at 1.0502 and 1.1333 manats, respectively as of Apr.20. Below is the exchange rate of Azerbaijani manat compared to the world currencies and precious metals on Apr.20, according to the Central Bank of Azerbaijan. Currencies and precious metals Apr.17, 2015 Apr.20, 2015 1 US dollar 1 USD 1.0504 1.0502 1 euro 1 EUR 1.1308 1.1333 1 Australian dollar 1 AUD 0.8162 0.8195 1 Argentine peso 1 ARS 0.1183 0.1184 100 Belarusian rubles 100 BYR 0.0074 0.0073 1 Brazilian real 1 BRL 0.3475 0.3454 1 UAE dirham 1 AED 0.286 0.286 1 South African rand 1 ZAR 0.0877 0.0872 100 South Korean won 100 KRW 0.0967 0.0969 1 Czech crown 1 CZK 0.0412 0.0413 1 Chilean peso 1 CLP 0.1721 0.1717 1 Chinese yuan 1 CNY 0.1696 0.1693 1 Danish krone 1 DKK 0.1515 0.1519 1 Georgian lari 1 GEL 0.4653 0.465 1 Hong Kong dollar 1 HKD 0.1355 0.1355 1 Indian rupee 1 INR 0.0168 0.0168 1 British pound 1 GBP 1.5677 1.5707 100 Indonesian rupiah 100 IDR 0.0082 0.0082 100 Iranian rials 100 IRR 0.0038 0.0038 1 Swedish krona 1 SEK 0.1223 0.1214 1 Swiss franc 1 CHF 1.0977 1.1014 1 Israeli shekel 1 ILS 0.2678 0.2679 1 Canadian dollar 1 CAD 0.8609 0.8605 1 Kuwaiti dinar 1 KWD 3.481 3.4827 1 Kazakh tenge 1 KZT 0.0057 0.0056 1 Kyrgyz som 1 KGS 0.0164 0.0166 100 Lebanese pounds 100 LBP 0.0697 0.0696 1 Malaysian ringgit 1 MYR 0.2888 0.2898 1 Mexican peso 1 MXP 0.0693 0.0685 1 Moldavian leu 1 MDL 0.0582 0.058 1 Egyptian pound 1 EGP 0.1377 0.1377 1 Norwegian krone 1 NOK 0.1357 0.1339 100 Uzbek soums 100 UZS 0.042 0.042 1 Polish zloty 1 PLN 0.281 0.2812 1 Russian ruble 1 RUB 0.0211 0.0202 1 Singapore dollar 1 SGD 0.7788 0.7807 1 Saudi riyal 1 SAR 0.2801 0.28 1 SDR (IMF Special Drawing Rights ) 1 SDR 1.4499 1.456 1 Turkish lira 1 TRY 0.3919 0.3916 1 Taiwan dollar 1 TWD 0.0338 0.0339 1 Tajik somoni 1 TJS 0.1729 0.1715 1 New Turkmen manat 1 TMM 0.3002 0.3002 1 Ukrainian hryvnia 1 UAH 0.0501 0.0501 100 Japanese yen 100 JPY 0.8827 0.8835 1 New Zealand dollar 1 NZD 0.804 0.8096 Gold (1 ounce) 1 XAU 1265.0492 1263.7582 Silver (1 ounce) 1 XAG 17.048 17.0658 Platinum (1 ounce) 1 XPT 1225.8168 1219.2822 Palladium (1 ounce) 1 XPD 815.1104 816.0054 /By Trend/ To the moon and back http://www.today.az/news/society/139958.html Society Mon, 20 Apr 2015 10:55:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaAre you fan of “Star Wars” and “A space odyssey”? Then you will fall in love with the lunar landscape of the mud volcano valley near Baku.Azerbaijan is famous around the globe for being home to a great number of mud volcanoes. Over a thousand mud volcanoes are known to exist in the world, and some 400 are located in the coastal area of Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea.The world's largest mud volcanoes - Boyuk Khanizadagh and Turaghai - are both located in Azerbaijan. Boyuk Khanizadagh volcano, with a diameter and height of 10 kilometers and 700 meters respectively, erupted in 2001, shooting out flames 300 meters in the air. This was the highest record for flames shot from a mud volcano so far in the world.The dissemination of mud volcanoes usually indicates the existence of large oil and gas basins. This is obvious in Azerbaijan, a country reach with natural resources, and such facts have attracted the attention of scientists from all over the world.The first mud volcano is believed to have erupted in Azerbaijan no less than 25 million years ago.Today, Azerbaijan witnesses some 3-5 impressive eruptions a year, accompanied by explosions and underground roars. Gases coming out of the deep layers of the Earth inflame immediately during eructation.The mud volcanoes of Azerbaijan took the 5th place in an international competition held by a Swiss non-commercial organization called "Seven wonders of nature". Moreover, the largest mud volcano of the world located in Azerbaijan was registered in the Guinness Book of Records on September 15, 2004.Located some 70 km southwest of the Azerbaijani capital, the area near Gobustan State Reserve has a number of such volcanoes crowd together.With Spring back there is no better time to visit this extraordinary place - a perfect trip to the Moon!Here, you will able to see martial areas, as geologists from NASA came to the conclusion that Azerbaijan mud volcanoes and Mars' highlands are similar in their structure.Get ready to see a lot of mud. Mud and liquid spewed by mud volcanoes are used as raw materials for chemical and construction industries, as well as pharmacology. You can also touch it, and climb the volcano, but do not forget safety instructions.Tourists can reach the place by taxi or public transport, or hire an excursion. On the way to the unearthly place you can also visit the Gobustan settlement where prehistoric men dwelled. Synergy Baku to compete in Serbia cycling race http://www.today.az/news/sports/139957.html Sports Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:45:00 +0500 /By AzerNews-  Amina Nazarli/The Synergy Baku Cycling Project is returning to Serbia to compete in the cycling race Banjaluka-Belgrade this weekend. The two-stage UCI 1.2 race will take place on April 18-19.Dennis van Winden, Matej Mugerli, Alex Surutkovych, Ioannis Tamouridis, as well as Elchin Asadov and Ismail Iliasov will participate in the race for Synergy Baku. Both stages are expected to end in a bunch sprint.Unfortunately, the team will have to do the race without its star sprinter, Maksym Averin. In a training crash last week he injured his hand and the team decided to withdraw him from the competition as a precaution.“He still has a large open wound on one finger. Our fear was that should the weather turn bad he may run the risk of infection and that is not something we want to risk leading up to the Tour de Bretagne and then of course the Tour d'Azerbaidjan,” explained team manager David McQuaid. “We - team and rider - are probably being over-cautious, but in this instance, with what is ahead, we prefer to play it safe, even if these races at the weekend would have been ideal for Max.”Being loyal to its slogan "For a sustainable future" Synergy Group OJSC is the main sponsor of the first professional cycling team of Azerbaijan "Synergy Baku Cycling Project". Democracy between oppression and regression in Armenia http://www.today.az/news/regions/139956.html World news Fri, 17 Apr 2015 20:19:00 +0500 /By AzerNews - Mushvig MehdiyevDemocracy in Armenia remains a foreign concept. Actually one could argue that democracy has regressed in this South Caucasus country, explained a well-known politician in Armenia while commenting on the European Union's remarks on Armenia's democratic progress.In its annual report the European Union established that Armenia had made very little progress in the spheres of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedom in 2014. The report was published last month.Head of the parliamentary faction Armenian National Congress, Levon Zurabyan said the EU could have directly confirmed aggravated human rights in Armenia instead of reporting about the "limited democratic progress" the country made."Surprisingly, the EU observes little and limited progress in Armenia' democracy. It appears that the EU is holding a very moderate view of Armenia's democracy," he said.Zurabyan slammed the report for its tiptoeing around Armenia's real issues - human rights violations, political repression and so on."The authorities used various kinds of persecution against the political class. Attacks on the Prosperous Armenia and the Armenian National Congress parties, as well as a severe crackdown on the Founding Parliament movement stand perfect testimonies of authority’s repressive policy," he said.Zurabyan categorically opposed the EU's fixation with painting Armenia as developing new democracy. He believes that the situation "is bad enough in the country in regard to human rights" for anyone to want to portray the country as moving forward.Armenia's key governance challenge is the lack of genuine checks and balances. This has lead to serious deficits in the consistent application of the rule of law, warned the United States Agency for International Development.Governance is based on the consensus of elite groups, leaving little room for civic input to legislative processes and policy formation. Across all sectors, laws and regulations are often poorly implemented.Moreover, citizens in Armenia have low levels of trust in governance institutions and NGOs, while the civil society has been atomized - heavily donor dependent, and not widely seen as representative of the public’s interest, USAID insists.As for the Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization in Washington, a semi-consolidated authoritarian regime prevails widely in Armenia, limiting the prospects of national democratic governance, civil society, electoral process, judicial management alongside fueling corruption inclinations Exchange fluctuations slow mortgage market http://www.today.az/news/business/139955.html Business Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:40:00 +0500 /By AzerNews -  Nigar OrujovaFluctuations in the currency market and uncertainty in the real estate market have caused unexpected problems in Azerbaijan’s mortgage market as customers have shied away.The cost of real estate is now mostly reported in dollars, while the buying and selling is still carried out in manats. Thus, should exchange rates change, the acquisition of property on a mortgage taken in manat might become unprofitable for either the seller or the buyer. This has resulted in the termination of many mortgage contracts.Nusret Ibragimov, CEO of consulting company MBA Group, told Trend, that every second mortgage contract has been terminated on the real estate market in Azerbaijan this February."The jump of the manat occurred in the third week of February, and this has led a great many mortgage contracts to be annulled," he said.The currency rate dropped significantly in March, and the amount of dissolved mortgage contracts amounted to about six to seven percent of all signed contracts.However, a source in the banking sector said that the mortgage loan demand remains as popular as before, noting that it was really just the real estate market which had been rocked by difficulties."The problem of mortgage lending is not connected to banks. The government has not stopped financing mortgages, and banks continue to lend,” the source said. “However, due to fluctuations in the exchange rate of the manat, the population simply does not know what will happen to property prices and how much apartments will cost tomorrow.”The banks do not interfere with the initial agreement between the buyer and seller, the source said.Today, 30 banks, of the total 45 banks in Azerbaijan, grant mortgages through the Azerbaijan Mortgage Fund. All other banks either have their own program, or do not provide mortgage loans at all.Established in December 2005, the AMF began issuing mortgage loans in March 2006. Since that time, the organization granted mortgage loans in the amount of over 636 million manat to more than 15,900 people.Last year, the amount of loans fell by 14 percent in comparison with 2013, and reached 97.1 million manat. 2013 was the peak year starting from 2006, when 112.9 million manat loans were made.The maximum size of a conventional mortgage at the AMF is 50,000 manat with an initial payment of 20 percent, at a rate of eight percent and a term of 25 years.Mortgages are available only for citizens in Azerbaijan. However, foreigners can buy property, just not a land.The depreciation of the national currency has been met with concerns on the real estate market, which is still in abeyance.Though prices on the real estate market have not changed after the sharp devaluation of the manat, people remain wary when it comes to investing in real estate as they feel it is still too risky. Baku urges Yerevan to reveal information on missing Azerbaijanis http://www.today.az/news/politics/139954.html Politics Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:04:00 +0500 /By AzerNews -Mushvig Mehdiyev/An agreement on the persons gone missing in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone should be implemented, the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan to the OSCE called at the meeting of the Permanent Council.The delegation called on the Permanent Council to act on the realization of an agreement on exchanging data on missing persons in the conflict zone reached at the Paris meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents last November."The issue of missing persons still remains one of the most serious humanitarian consequences of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that affect the lives of thousands of persons. Many are still waiting for clarifying information on the whereabouts of their relatives," read the statement by the mission.The fate of roughly 4,500 is yet to be known, a report from the State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons states.Baku supports firmly the earliest implementation of the agreement aside from undue politicization and believes that it bears "a paramount importance in view of manifesting a durable peaceful solution to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict".Back in Paris last year, the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan both agreed on a series of issues: hostages exchange and missing persons information, all under France's impetus.Through numerous round table talks Azerbaijan's Delegation to the OSCE sought the OSCE Minsk Group's involvement in the process of setting possible practical steps for implementing this agreement.During these meetings the co-chairs voiced Armenia's readiness for cooperation on exchanging data on missing persons under the International Committee of Red Cross.Going on these results, Baku is now calling on Yerevan to animate its mentioned readiness to constructively engage in defining the modalities of exchanging information on the missing persons along with the ICRC and with the OSCE MG co-chairs' support."We strongly believe that the OSCE has a special role to play in this regard. Thus, we reiterate our call on the co-chairmen and the members of the OSCE Minsk Group to exercise more support for facilitating the implementation of the Armenian-Azerbaijan agreement on missing persons," the statement read."Moreover, in this view, we encourage the Serbian Chairmanship of the OSCE to arrange consultations involving the parties to the conflict and representatives of the ICRC with the support of the OSCE Minsk Group mediation," the statement concluded.The efforts attempting to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict could have a boost if the agreement on the exchange of information on missing persons is implemented, believe Baku and the Minsk Group.To this end, the American Co-Chair of the Minsk Group, James Warlick said earlier that commitments taken by Armenia and Azerbaijan at the Paris Summit should act as a tool to boost all efforts towards settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.Warlick believes that chances for achieving a progress towards the conflict's settlement depend on these efforts.Armenia's invasion into Azerbaijani lands that started in early 1990s and is going on up to date resulted in the deaths of more than 20,000 Azerbaijanis. Additionally 50,000 people were injured and over one million were displaced.The total cost of the damages inflicted by Armenia's aggressive policy against Azerbaijan stands at $300 billion, according to the State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons. Armenia's military drills on occupied lands undermine peace http://www.today.az/news/politics/139953.html Politics Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:40:00 +0500 /By AzerNews - Mushvig Mehdiyev/Baku insists that Armenian army's periodical military exercises held on the occupied Azerbaijani territories feed the existing status quo and undermine stability in the region.In keeping with its aggressive nature, Armenia has turned to the use of force whenever it embarked on military drills in Azerbaijan's territory, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Hikmet Hajiyev said."The military training of the Armenian forces conducted on the occupied territories of Azerbaijan are yet another example of Yerevan's use of force," he said.According to reports in the Armenian media, the drills have been carried out using live ammunition during training rather than artificial non-armed tactical exercises.Hajiyev emphasized that the upcoming elections to be held in Nagorno-Karabakh fit within Armenia's military and political campaign against Azerbaijan."Instead of aligning itself with the big peace agreement initiated by Baku and supported by the OSCE Minsk Group, Armenia undermines the negotiation process through its political and military provocations," he said.No peace can manifest in the region while Armenian troops remain in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Peace can be fostered through the de-militarization of the occupied territories and Armenian troop's complete withdrawal."The resolution of the conflict and restoration of both peace and stability in the region may only come after Armenia troops withdraw from Azerbaijani territories," he concluded.Azerbaijan's internationally recognized Nagorno-Karabakh territory was turned into a battlefield and zone of aggravated tensions after Armenia sent its troops to occupy Azerbaijan's lands in the early 1990s. As a result, 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory stands under military occupation of Armenia.For the past two decades, and despite calls from the international community, Armenia has refused to withdraw its troops and retreat within its national borders.Baku's diligence in view of settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is well seen in the international arena, however it is yet to receive relevant feedbacks from Yerevan. Alternative for traditional energy market http://www.today.az/news/business/139952.html Business Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:14:00 +0500 /By AzerNews - Nigar Orujova/Since nations' hunger for cheap and reliable energy is only set to increase on the back of economic progress and population growth it is only natural for countries, whether rich or poor, to be looking for new alternative energy market.Since energy is soundly tied up to economic growth and stability, governments need safe and reliable sources of energy to sustain their policies.Azerbaijan is that aspect a natural contender on the world's energy market. Rich in natural resources, Azerbaijan can offer its energy partners stability and reliability.The Land of Fire is actually the perfect alternative when it comes to renewable energy. Benefiting from strong winds and a sunny disposition, Azerbaijan marries natural potentials and funds.The total potential of alternative and renewable energy sources in the country exceeds 12,000 megawatts. Most of the country's capacity in this area accounts for solar energy, and this potential is estimated to stand at 5,000 megawatts. Wind energy is not far behind with 4,500 megawatts.Despite the fact, that solar power is most profitable compared to other alternative resources in Azerbaijan now, the difference between solar and wind energy is not drastic. Moreover, new wind projects may soon eliminate this distinction.Being the first country to have built a seaside oil platform 66 years ago, Azerbaijan is preparing today to build the world's first sea-based wind power plant in the area of oil production.Akim Badalov, the head of the State Agency on Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources, said on April 16, that the wind plant with a capacity of 200 megawatts will be built on trestles in the Caspian Sea."This project is similar to “the Oil Rocks” [a town in the open sea in Baku], which became the world's first of its kind. The plant will be built near the island Pirallahi. Moreover, the project presuppose the construction of a road between Chilov and Pirallahi islands," Badalov said.Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR that has the necessary technology and resources will construct the flyovers."Currently, a feasibility study for the project is completing, and it will be submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers. The project is estimated at 450-500 million manats. It’s payback period will stretch over 10 years," said Badalov.The three-staged project includes the construction of the station, the road and the distribution facilities. The full development of the project is expected in 2017-2018. Realization will take some 2.5-3 years.Such projects are usually estimated at 900 million - a billion dollars in the world, he said. “However, due to the use of wind energy, we can halve the cost of the project."The funds will be drawn at the expense of export credits. Investors from Germany, China and Arab countries have already expressed interest in the project, Badalov stressed. The project is developed in collaboration with international experts.“The successful implementation of this project will, in future, make possible to present a similar model to the world,” he stressed.Azerbaijan, the country, that has the highest potential of renewable energy sources in the region, is keen to use it with high investments. Last year, the country spent 63.6 million manats in the development of renewable energy projects.In total, since 2000 the country invested about 800 million manats in the industry.However, the alternative energy sector is still a newly developing industry in the country.Currently, the share of alternative energy sources in Azerbaijan is less than 1 percent, and accounts for small hydro power plants.The share is planned to increase to 20 percent of the total volume of energy consumption in Azerbaijan by 2020, which requires 7 billion manats ($8.9 billion) of investment.The increase of alternative energy capacity will reduce the use of hydrocarbons in the country. This will make possible to redirect them to overseas markets, increasing the export potential of the country and its revenues.In pursuit of energy sources, people should not forget the environment. The usage of renewable energy will significantly reduce emissions and thus protect nature. The S-300 issue: can Iran be trusted? http://www.today.az/news/analytics/139951.html Analytics Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:20:00 +0500 By Elmira Tariverdiyeva The issue of trust is an eternal issue, but the issue of trust in Iran is also a difficult one.Russian President Vladimir Putin has lifted a ban on the sale of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran. This will allow Tehran to finally get one of the most advanced systems in the world to shoot down the high-altitude aircraft and cruise missiles.Russia and Iran signed an agreement for the supply of S-300 systems in 2007. However, the deal was postponed in 2010 after the UN Security Council adopted tough sanctions against Iran.In this case, the refusal from selling S-300 was Moscow’s gesture of goodwill as in fact, the sanctions have not covered these complexes because they are considered as defensive systems, rather than heavy weapons.President Putin explained his recent decision by the fact that Iran has become so flexible and compliant in its nuclear program, that the sale of the promised defensive systems must not be of concern.And everything would've been fine, except there's a catch. The S-300 system is one of the most successful military developments of the Russian defense industry, which has not only powerful missiles, but also highly effective radars.S-300 can track up to 100 targets simultaneously and also destroy them at a distance of up to 130 kilometers. This means that the highly mobile system, which is assembled within minutes and transported by trucks, will create enormous problems for the entire world community if Iran decides to continue developing its nuclear program.To do this, Tehran just has to place S-300 systems around its nuclear facilities. Defensive complexes will transform Iranian territories into practically no-fly zones.The US and NATO aircraft, F-16 or F/A-18 Hornet will be shot down at the first attempt to attack and the US has too small number of B-2 Spirit and F-22 Raptor stealth bombers (only several tens of machines) that can safely operate in the areas defended by S-300.The S-300 is sold against the backdrop of the next report of the International Atomic Energy Agency saying that during the talks held on Apr.15 in Tehran, Iran and P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China plus Germany) again failed to resolve two issues on the possible military aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, the information about which was supposed to be provided by Iran in August 2014.Given that for nearly two years Iran has unsuccessfully been trying to convince the West of its nuclear program being secure, it still manages not to comply with the requirements of the IAEA and avoid answering undesirable questions. So draw your own conclusions about the expediency of selling S-300 to Iran… /By Trend/  Azerbaijani delegation takes part at UN Congress on crime prevention http://www.today.az/news/society/139950.html Society Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:00:00 +0500 As earlier reported, the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice has kicked off in Doha, Qatar.The Congress, running through 19 April, brought together 3 thousand delegates from more than 190 countries around the world, including the Justice and Internal Affairs Ministers, Prosecutor Generals, officials of international organizations and other government officials.In the forum, Azerbaijan is represented by a delegation led by the Minister of Justice Fikrat Mammadov. The delegation includes Deputy Prosecutor General, Director of the Anti-Corruption Department under the Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan Kamran Aliyev, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Qatar Tofig Abdullayev, as well as officials of Ministries of Justice, National Security, Foreign and Internal Affairs.The opening ceremony of the event which marks the 60th anniversary of the Crime Congress defining the policy of the global fight against crime was attended by Prime Minister of Qatar, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.Then, the leadership of the Congress held every five years was formed. Prime Minister of Qatar, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani was elected as the President of the Congress, while Azerbaijani Justice Minister was elected as one of the Vice-Presidents.During the event high-level plenary session was held. On the first day of the session, Azrbaijani Justice Minister was one of the first speakers who emphasized the measures on crime prevention, as well as strengthening criminal justice system and international cooperation. He underlined a large-scale judicial reforms and achievements in this field carried out under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev.Mr. Mammadov highlighted anti-corruption measures which is one of the government’s main priorities, applied innovations in this sphere. He emphasized the efficient activities of “ASAN” service centers which were established at the initiative of the President of the country.The Azerbaijani Minister also touched upon the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh problem, noting the occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia, and the fact of one million Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons as the result.It was noted that in the occupied territories, historical and cultural monuments were destroyed, a number of private economic companies of some states illegally operate, the illegitimate trial of the innocent citizens of Azerbaijan by so-called regime was held.The English and Russian version of the speech were distributed among the participants.The Crime Congress adopted the 'Doha Declaration', a political document emphasizing important aspects of fighting transnational organized crime and strengthening criminal justice systems and crime prevention. Despite the persistent protests of the Armenian delegation, the document on proposals of the Azerbaijani side reflected commitments on the basis of respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty. Azerbaijan's national interests were reflected in the final document of Congress.As part of the forum, the Azerbaijani Justice Minister held a range of working meetings with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Prime Minister of Qatar, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani.In a meeting with his Gatari counterpart Hassan Al Mohannadi, the Azerbaijani Minister expressed satisfaction with the level of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Qatar, adding there are broad prospects for strengthening legal relations between the two countries.The sides agreed on holding a meeting of experts on signing agreements on cooperation between the Ministries of Justice on the legal field between the two countries.During the visit,the Azerbaijani Minister held a number of meetings on cooperation with the international organizations, as well as the judiciary, prosecutors, law enforcement officials of a number of states./By AzerTac/ Azerbaijan to take part in privatization of Serbian companies http://www.today.az/news/business/139949.html Business Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:40:00 +0500 /By AzerNews - Sara Rajabova/Following a high level diplomatic visit of Serbian delegation to Azerbaijan on April 13-15, it appears both countries have a real opportunity to improve on their bilateral economic relations.Alexander Vucic, the Serbian prime minister made the remarks while summing up his visit to Azerbaijan, Serbia’s national information agency TANJUG reported."I think we left a good impression," Vucic told reporters after a two-day visit to Baku, where the Serbian delegation met with representatives of the Azerbaijani government and local companies.He noted that the sides achieved progress in the issue of participation of Azerbaijani companies in the privatization of Serbian companies, in particular in the petrochemical complex and agro-industrial complexes.Vucic stressed that Azerbaijani companies are interested in new investments in infrastructure construction in Serbia.Serbia and Azerbaijan closely cooperate in the implementation of projects in the field of infrastructure construction. The largest of these is the construction of the motorway in Serbia, in which the general contractor is Azerbaijani company AzVirt.Vucic also expressed his satisfaction with the successful cooperation of Serbia with Azerbaijani companies operating in Serbia and emphasized the desire to strengthen cooperation with the Azerbaijani Azmeko Company."We are determined to strengthen our relations, not only politically but also economically," he said, expressing gratitude for Azerbaijan's support toward Serbia's territorial integrity.Vucic in his Twitter account has notified that Azerbaijani Azmeko Company is interested in petrochemical cooperation with Serbia, adding that representatives of Azmeko will soon pay a visit to Serbia to negotiate potential ways of cooperation in view of strengthening economic relations between the two countries.Alexander Antic, the minister of energy and mining, being a member of the state delegation visiting Azerbaijan, visited the country's petrochemical facilities and met with the Azmeko Company’s management. He also said Serbia is interested in investing in the petrochemical sector.Diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Serbia were established in August 1997.The trade turnover between the two countries was $3,836 million in 2014, according to the Azerbaijan State Statistics Committee.Serbia exports agricultural products, equipment and pumps for the oil and gas industry, as well as furniture and building materials to Azerbaijan. Armenia tries to play victim card http://www.today.az/news/politics/139948.html Politics Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:24:00 +0500 /By AzerNews -  Mushvig Mehdiyev/Armenia has been relentless in its attempts to paint itself as the "innocent victim", the defenseless lamb which suffered by the hands of those more powerful, warned a top religious figure in Azerbaijan."Armenia does its best to deceive the world by selling its "genocide" fiction deliberately, putting itself in the victim position," Head of the Caucasian Muslims Office, Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh said.He added the authorities in Armenia are claiming a fake "genocide", while the so-called ethnic cleansing in 1915 is but a work of fiction, a swindle.In comments to local media, Sheikh of all Caucasus, Pashazadeh said Armenians were the one committing genocide. For the past two decades Armenia has committed great many crimes against the Azerbaijani people: pillaging and looting its religious and historical heritage, defiling its culture, and killing and oppressing its people."Armenia invaded 20 percent of Azerbaijan's historical and internationally recognized territory. Its troops committed unforeseen genocides against Azerbaijanis in the country's territory. Religious and cultural monuments in the occupied lands faced reckless annihilation by Armenians," he declared.Speaking of the international community's inclination towards believing Armenia's lies, Pashazadeh warned that such reality only proved what double standards have come to prevail over world politics.Sheikh's comments came simultaneously with the European Parliament's adoption of a resolution condemning the fallacious "Armenian genocide". The move by the EP faced harsh criticism in Azerbaijan; especially since the Kohjaly genocide has yet to be officially recognized.Despite a mountain of factual proofs -- videos, photos and testimonies, the world has yet to wake up to the horrors and abominable crimes Armenia carried out against Azerbaijan.Unlike Azerbaijan, Armenia has nothing but baseless fabricated lies to back its allegations of genocide. And yet the EP chose to stand by it.Armenia's cries against Turkey are but the manifestation of a long standing ethnic hatred against the Turkish people. Even though Ankara invited Yerevan to team up and launch a comprehensive investigation into 1915 events, the latter turns down all calls for cooperation, preferring instead to retract behind its lies.The Armenian authorities and diaspora claim that the predecessor of modern Turkey - the Ottoman Empire - carried out a "genocide" against Armenians in 1915 in Anatolia. They annually raise their voice, calling for the recognition of the unreal events of 1915, inviting the international community to unanimously blame Turkey for the actions of its predecessor.As Armenia works to twist 1915 events and sell its "genocide" to the world, hoping every year to rewrite history to fits its delusions, its efforts backfired as more voices from across the globe have argued that Armenia did not indeed suffer a "genocide" and that, in fact, it faced no tougher time than other nations in the region.