Today.Az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside Today.Az Rocket attacks target police, AK Party HQs in Istanbul [UPDATE] World news Sat, 21 Jan 2017 10:24:00 +0400 By  TrendRocket attacks hit Istanbul police station and ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's local headquarters on Friday, Anadolu reported.Unidentified assailants first targeted police headquarters and hours later a second attack hit AK Party’s provincial headquarters.Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said on Twitter that no one was hurt at the police HQ attack and an operation was under way to catch the attackers.AK Party Provincial head Selim Temurci said on Twitter that there were no injuries in the attack on the party's office.Later, speaking to reporters, Temurci said the rocket pierced the wall of the building but did not explode, and pointed to the involvement of ultra-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).He said two assailants were involved in the attack.Earlier, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that terror groups carried out the attack on Istanbul police headquarters.21:43 (GMT +4) A group of assailants attempted an attack on the Istanbul Police Headquarters with rocket launchers late Friday, Daily Sabah reported.Fortunately the rocket missed the building and no casualties have been reported yet. OSCE to keep pursuing peaceful solution of Karabakh conflict: Kurz Politics Sat, 21 Jan 2017 10:17:00 +0400 By  TrendThe OSCE will not slacken its efforts and will continue to pursue a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, OSCE chairperson-in-office, foreign minister of Austria, Sebastian Kurz said in an interview with Armenian news agency Mediamax.Kurz noted that despite strong efforts from the OSCE Minsk Group and its co-chairs, the year 2016 was marked by harsh set-backs with regard to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, with intensified fighting and increased hardships for the local population.“Austria, as chair of the OSCE in 2017, therefore calls on the sides to focus on dialogue and diplomacy and stands ready to strengthen the peace process and contribute to the negotiations,” he said.“As chairperson-in-office I will visit Armenia and Azerbaijan later this year and hope to give renewed impetus to these negotiations during this trip,” he noted. “Concrete ideas will be presented and consultations to this effect are already taking place in line with the efforts of the Minsk Group co-chairs and conditional on the receptiveness of the sides.”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 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. NATO names key areas for co-op with Azerbaijan Politics Sat, 21 Jan 2017 10:00:00 +0400 By  TrendNATO and Azerbaijan cooperate on a number of areas within the framework of the Partnership for Peace (PfP); more specifically through two important tools: the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) and the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), an official representative of NATO said in an exclusive interview with Trend."Currently key areas of cooperation include security cooperation, defence and security sector cooperation, civil emergency planning, scientific cooperation, and public diplomacy," said the NATO official."Azerbaijan continues to be a great contributor to NATO’s efforts in Afghanistan, by providing troops to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan National Defence Forces and by contributing to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund," noted the official. "Azerbaijan also consults on a regular basis with NATO allies on further improving defence planning, defence budgeting, and logistical support.""In cooperation with NATO and through participation in activities organized by NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), Azerbaijan is developing its national civil emergency and disaster-management capabilities. Azerbaijan’s special search-and-rescue platoon has participated in several exercises organized by the EADRCC, including the 2015 exercise in Ukraine and 2016 exercise "CRNA GORA 2016" in Montenegro," added the official."In addition, Azerbaijan is developing two units (search and rescue and CBRN) to be on high readiness and ready to be deployed on disaster relief operations and is awaiting INSARAG (International Search and Rescue Guidelines) certification. Since 2009, an Azerbaijani officer from the Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) has been working in the EADRCC as a Voluntary National Contribution.""Azerbaijan is also actively involved in the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, a unique partnership programme that offers opportunities for practical cooperation on security-related civil science and technology development. Over the last 20 years, Azerbaijan has participated in more than 80 SPS activities. For instance, in 2016, a group of system and network administrators from Azerbaijan took place in a cyber defense Advanced Training Course," said the NATO official."Baku also hosted a SPS-funded training course for experts in the field of counter-terrorism last year. In the field of energy security, Azerbaijani scientists support a SPS multi-year project, led by Italy and Georgia, to enhance security for the Enguri energy infrastructure in Georgia. The SPS Programme remains open to applications by interested scientists and experts from Azerbaijan in 2017.""Azerbaijan has for many years worked with Allies to enhance infrastructure security and improve counter terrorism training. Azerbaijan also engages with NATO on the protection of energy-related critical infrastructure. NATO is providing support to Azerbaijan’s developing International CT Training Centre as it establishes its new courses," noted the official."The Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action and the NATO Support Agency will continue their work in 2017 on the Jeyranchel Trust Fund, which aims to clear unexploded ordnance and mines. Turkey will lead this Trust Fund," said the NATO official."Going forward, we encourage Azerbaijan to work more with us in the field of good governance and democratic institution building, reflecting the objectives of the Partnership Action Plan for Defense Institution Building, which Azerbaijan endorsed in 2004. Opportunities offered by the Building Integrity Initiative could also be used," added the NATO official. Tehran Plasco fire: 21 dead, at least 20 missing Politics Fri, 20 Jan 2017 15:05:00 +0400 By  TrendTwenty-one people were killed after the blazing Plasco building in Tehran crumbled on Jan. 19, while 20-25 people are trapped under the rubble, Mehr News Agency has reported.Almost all of those killed were fire-fighters.The fire engulfed the 17-story high-rise, which housed a big shopping center, on Jan. 19. The building collapsed as the fire-fighters were trying to extinguish the blaze.A spokesman of the Iranian National Fire and Safety Service has told local media that some of the people trapped under the rubble are alive, but the operation to rescue them is going slowly and the death toll may increase.The damage to the Plasco building is estimated at about $500 million, Ali Fazeli, the head of Iran Chamber of Guilds, told IRNA. Iran hopes to attract $13B in foreign investment World news Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:55:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaForeign investment volume in Iran is likely to reach the point of $13 billion during the current fiscal year which is to end on March 21.The country has already attracted $ 11 billion of foreign investment over the last ten months, said Hossein Salimi, the chairman of Iranian and Foreign Joint Venture Investment Association, affiliated to Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.Salimi further added that the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA / nuclear deal) encouraged foreigners to invest in Iran.The landmark nuclear deal was signed in January 2016 with the world powers and allowed to remove the nuclear related sanctions against the Islamic Republic in exchange for curbing the country’s nuclear activity.Overall, Iran’s economic outlook has improved since the deal.Salimi claimed that the volume of foreign investment in the country increased by four times during the past Iranian calendar year as compared to the previous year.To reach the economic growth of eight percent Iran needs to finance about 20 percent of its development projects through foreign investment.Thus, Iran made up a plan to attract $43 billion in foreign investment over the next years.The statistics of previous years show the falling trend in attracting foreign investment. The volume of foreign investment in the country reached $4.7 billion in 2012 which dropped to $3.1 billion in 2013 and $2.1 billion in 2014.Bushehr and Khuzestan provinces enjoy the highest volume of foreign investment which mostly goes for energy sector. In 2012, provinces of Fars, Gilan, Tehran, Kerman, Mazandaran and West Azerbaijan ranked first to sixth place in attracting foreign investment in the country.Iranian president Hassan Rouhani proposed a draft budget plan which suggests that the country’s economic growth over the next Iranian calendar year (starting March 21) will amount of 7.6 percent.The World Bank has predicted that Iran’s economic growth in 2017 would hit 5.2 percent, 4.8 percent in 2018 and 4.5 percent in 2019.  Azerbaijani heroes remembered in Los Angeles [PHOTO] Politics Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:24:00 +0400 Azerbaijan’s Consulate General in Los Angeles hosted an event titled “Stories of Heroism: Serving Your Nation with Courage & Honor”, in cooperation with the Azerbaijani community in California on January 18, 2017. Azerbaijan’s Consul General Nasimi Aghayev informed the attendees about Azerbaijan’s ‘Black January’ tragedy of 1990.“On January 20, 1990, Azerbaijan's capital city of Baku was invaded by 26,000 Soviet troops, which, at the order of Mikhail Gorbachev and his Politburo, stormed the city and began shooting indiscriminately into the peaceful demonstrators. Hundreds of civilians were killed, including children, women and elderly; people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, both Muslim, Christian and Jewish. And a thousand were wounded,” he said.“The pretext was a massive popular uprising in the capital, calling for Azerbaijan's independence from USSR: proof that the Soviet authorities were presiding over a collapsing empire, and that Azerbaijan was leading the fight for independence,” Aghayev continued.“However, the brutal regime utterly failed. After the massacre, a million people - young and old, men and women, Muslims, Jews and Christians - filled the streets to mourn the victims, defying the curfew and showing national solidarity. Heydar Aliyev, who would later become president and founder of modern Azerbaijan, fiercely condemned the bloodshed in Moscow. His defiance helped to inspire the Azerbaijani people and Aliyev became a leader of the struggle for liberty,” the Consul General noted. “A year and half later Azerbaijan restored its independence.”“What was the reaction in the West to Black January? The Nobel Peace Prize for Gorbachev! 9 months after the massacre, the Nobel Committee awarded Michael Gorbachev the Nobel Peace Prize. The Committee justified its position by stressing Gorbachev’s “leading role in the peace process” and his “many and decisive contributions” to peace. The Committee and its supporters decided to be oblivious to many egregious crimes Gorbachev committed, which had nothing to do with the notion of peace. Ironically, Alfred Nobel would not have been able to establish his Nobel Prize in 1901, had it not been the immense fortune he and his brothers made with oil development in Baku. And Alfred Nobel would not have been able to even dream that his Prize would one day be awarded to a man who turned the very city of Baku into a bloodbath,” Aghayev said.“Since the restoration of independence, Azerbaijan has gone from strength to strength. Under the visionary leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan has become an island of stability in an otherwise unstable region, and an important geopolitical power. Azerbaijan is the centerpiece of the Caspian oil and gas developments, vital for global energy security, as well as other regional megaprojects. Today, Azerbaijan's freedom is solid and irreversible, and we always remember the victims of the ‘Black January’ tragedy – the true heroes of our national liberation,” the Consul General concluded.Then a short documentary on ‘Black January’ prepared by Azerbaijan’s Consulate General was screened.Following the documentary, Consul General said: “Tonight we are also honoring another Azerbaijani hero, namely Mourad Ragimli, who lived in California, joined the U.S. Marine Corps and was killed in Iraq in January 2005 at the age of 20. He was a bright and talented young man. He could have gone to any other profession. But seeing the United States being attacked by terrorists on 9/11, he could not stand idly by. So he volunteered for the Marines and sacrificed his life for the United States and its liberty and freedom.” Welcoming Mourad’s family members, including his father, grandfather and uncle, Aghayev thanked them for Mourad’s service and courage.Then the floor was given to Mrs. Kimiya Mammadova, an activist of Azerbaijani community in California, who presented more information on Mourad, his family as well as the documentary “My Little Brother” dedicated to him.Afterwards, the film “My Little Brother” was screened, which was received by the audience with much acclaim.The event concluded with the mesmerizing performance of Azerbaijani national music by Vahid Bayat and Jamil Mammadli. At the end, a photo exhibition dedicated to the ‘Black January’ massacre was presented to the attendees. Azerbaijan-EU to start negotiations on new agreement soon Politics Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:18:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliAzerbaijan and the European Union will start negotiations on new strategic agreement soon, saidMahmud Mammad-Guliyev, Azerbaijan’s Deputy Foreign Minister.The deputy minister, talking to reporters on January 20, said that Azerbaijan is working on forming a delegation on the negotiations.The European Council adopted a mandate for the European Commission and the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy to negotiate on behalf of the EU and its member states, a comprehensive agreement with Azerbaijan.The new agreement should replace the 1996 partnership and cooperation agreement and should better take account of the shared objectives and challenges the EU and Azerbaijan face today.Azerbaijan has become a country of direct priority to the EU’s strategy in its wider neighborhood since the last enlargement of the European Union in 2007. Azerbaijan affects Europe’s interests, mainly in a regional energy strategy.Mammad-Guliyev further said that negotiations with the World Trade Organization are also underway. He added that next meeting is expected to be held in the first quarter of the year in Geneva.Azerbaijan has had an observer status at the WTO since 1997. The country began negotiations with WTO member states in 2004. Currently, the country negotiates with 19 countries.As of today, Azerbaijan has completed the negotiations and has signed protocols with Turkey, Oman, the UAE, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. The country is at the stage of signing protocols with China and Moldova. Rostropovich Cultural Centre to appear in Moscow Arts & Entertainment Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman Ismayilova"P. I. Tchaikovsky and Moscow" Museum will be restored and heritage the Center of Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishnevskaya will be established in Moscow, TASS reported.The center will serve as concert hall, and museum exhibition dedicated to the life and creativity of Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishnevskaya will be held here. Besides, the center's archive will provide an open access to materials and documents about them.Although the Cultural Centre and the Tchaikovsky Museum will be located in one, they will work independently from each other.Born in Baku, Azerbaijan Rostropovich was internationally recognized as a staunch advocate of human rights, and he was awarded the 1974 Award of the International League of Human Rights.Rostropovich was a huge influence on the younger generation of cellists. Many have openly acknowledged their debt to his example. In the Daily Telegraph, Julian Lloyd Webber called him "probably the greatest cellist of all time."He inspired and premiered over 100 pieces and formed long-standing artistic partnerships with  such prominent composers as  iDmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, Henri Dutilleux, Witold Lutos?awski, Olivier Messiaen, Luciano Berio, Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Norbert Moret, Andreas Makris and Benjamin Britten.A five-time Grammy Award winner, he has become one of the West leading conductors.He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, who was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1966.They performed together regularly. Karabakh Collection presented at Berlin Fashion Week [PHOTO] Arts & Entertainment Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:25:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAn extraordinary event within the scope of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Berlin took place on January 18.Under the patronage and with the support of The European Azerbaijan Society Germany (TEAS), Berlin based young and fresh designer Leonie Mergen presented her new outstanding "Karabakh Collection" on the runway, which featured the theme and the culture of Karabakh, an Azerbaijani region in the center of the South-Caucasus, Azertac reported.In the presence of over 500 fashion industry professionals, fashion reporters and international guests the highly anticipated fashion show took place in historic Kaufhaus Jandorf in Berlin Mitte.Leonie released her current collection, a series of pieces inspired by the rich traditional attire of Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region.The ensembles featured patterns reminiscent of the country’s famous tapestries, with signature necklines and sleeved capes making an appearance in both men's and women's clothing.Azerbaijan’s legacy as a hub on the historical Silk Road and as a leader in horse breeding can be seen in Leonie’s designs, with equestrian-influenced leather accessories and sophisticated silk elements playing an essential role in her collection.The collection featured 26 stunning looks while traditional Azerbaijani mugham and instrumental music was playing in the background. Leonie Mergen’s unusual and intercultural as well as technically skilled approach was highly appreciated by the attendees.The audience was enthusiastic and celebrated the Karabakh Collection which represented a further milestone in the European Azerbaijan Society’s continuous efforts to raise awareness about the ongoing occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenian forces."The Karabakh Collection is a very interesting project for TEAS, and we were happy to give Leonie Mergen, a young Berlin designer, the chance to present Azerbaijan inspired fashion to a worldwide audience and to support her during her inspirational journey through our country." Concerning Nagorno-Karabakh he continued", said Taleh Heydarov, Chairman and Founder of TEAS stressed the importance of the project."A fashion collection with this degree of international coverage and attention helps a great deal to show to a wider public, that there is an occupied Azerbaijani region called Nagorno-Karabakh and that steps have to be undertaken to protect our national heritage in all areas of culture and civil society", he added.The fashion show was followed by a press get-together and revisit where further details of the collection of Leonie Mergen were revealed. "History of one press-conference" shown in Baku [PHOTO] Politics Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:12:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaInternational Media Center hosted a presentation of “History of one press-conference” film, initiated by Media Council, Trend Life reported.Activities of national leader Heydar Aliyev have been comprehensively analyzed, and opinions of witnesses of the time were shown in the documentary.Chairman of Media Council Aflatun Amashov, Executive Director of Fund of State Support for Development of Mass Media under the President of Azerbaijan Vugar Safarli, lawmakers, media managers and other guests attended the event.Talking about bloody events of the January 20, 1990, Amashov reminded that on January 20 the Soviet army entered Baku without any warning and committed unprecedented tragedy on Baku streets."Power unit of Azerbaijan Television was exploded, and the television didn’t work; Azerbaijani people were isolated. Voice of first support came from Moscow. On January 21, Heydar Aliyev came to office of Azerbaijani representation in Moscow, held press conference and expressed first political assessment of events. He demanded punishment of culprits of the events. Soviet Union wasn’t yet collapsed then. After demonstration of great courage by Heydar Aliyev, world media delivered information about January 20 tragedy and Azerbaijani people’s voice of truth were brought to the attention of world community", said Amashov.On the night of January 19-20, 1990, 137 people were killed, 744 were injured and 841 were illegally arrested after Soviet troops entered Baku. The Soviet troops also destroyed 200 apartments and houses, 80 cars, including ambulances, and a large number of private and public property. OPEC's Barkindo believes stocks drawdown to rebalance market Business Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Nigar AbbasovaOil prices edged up on January 20 amid expectations of tighter supply, reports of record Chinese demand, as well as a drop in dollar rate. But, still the prices remained pressured due to rising number of U.S. inventories.Brent crude, the international benchmark, was 0.46 percent up and stood at $54.41 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were trading 0.33 percents up at $52.29 per barrel, Reuters reported.  Main comments that hit the headlines and triggered an increase in prices came from OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo, who said the stocks drawdown would help rebalance the market and establish the "equilibrium oil price".“The primary goal is to accelerate the stocks drawdown. We are already seeing stocks coming down from the high levelsOil stocks around the world need to decline by at least another 270 million barrels to reach a five-year industry average for OPEC to be able to say the markets are becoming balanced,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.Earlier Barkindo stated that OPEC and non-OPEC producers agreed to establish a joint ministerial monitoring committee and a Vienna meeting would adopt an oversight and compliance mechanism. The Cartel will meet in May when it will decide whether to propose to extend the output cutting measures together with non-member countries.Meanwhile, in its monthly oil market report, the IEA said output cuts announced by OPEC and 11 non-cartel producers in November had "entered their probation period", mentioning that the market is waiting the outcome of the output deal.The agency also provided a positive data showing a drop in commercial oil inventories in the major industrialized countries for a fourth consecutive month in November, with another decline projected for December. This year the agency expects world oil demand growth of around 1.3 million bpd.Also, China's December refinery operations were up 3.7 percent at 47.82 million tons, or 11.26 million barrels per day (bpd), reaching a new daily record. The growth in demand in the world’s second-largest economy is forecasted to continue further this year.  China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) earlier said the country's net crude imports will rise 5.3 percent to 396 million tons in 2017, with crude consumption headed for a record 594 million tons or 12 million bpd this year.The dollar index – one of the main factors influencing dynamics in crude pricing was among the supportive signs for the market. The greenback index dropped ahead of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, falling 0.2 percent. Analysts say the rate of the index depends heavily on Trump’s rhetoric in his inauguration speech, expecting more details on his policies. MP: Genocide committed against Azerbaijanis on January 20 Politics Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:49:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliEvents of the January 20, 1990 in Baku are a crime against all humanity, said MP Rovshan Rzayev talking about the 27th anniversary of the Black January tragedy.Rzayev noted that for him personally this bloody date, first of all is the day to honor memory of martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.“It was genocide against our people. Unarmed peaceful citizens, who were face to face with armored vehicles and heavily armed soldiers, were killed with a particular brutality. UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principles of international law were violated. Regretfully, the January tragedy, which claimed hundreds of lives and has become one of the bloodiest pages in the history of the twentieth century, still has not received appropriate international legal assessment, and its organizers and perpetrators have not been punished,” he said.Rzayev attributed this to the double standards that Azerbaijan has faced since independence.The international community should be aware of all the realities, according to Rzayev, and not only January 20 tragedy, but also other violent events, which, unfortunately, have occurred in the modern history of Azerbaijan.“There are a sufficient number of legal instruments that will classify the events of January 20 as a crime against humanity. The truth is that there are serious grounds for criminal prosecution of servicemen, who have committed all these atrocities and the leaders of the Soviet state of that period. Therefore, international organizations and the international community should support the reasonable demands of Azerbaijan  and give international legal assessment,” the MP said.The 20th of January, 1990 is marked in the modern history of Azerbaijan as one of the most tragic days of the country, and at the same time as a heroic page.Late at night on January 20, 1990, some 26,000 Soviet special forces called "Alfa" entered Baku without declaring a state of emergency and committed atrocities against the innocent Azerbaijani people. The invasion was launched at midnight and was committed with brutality; even children, women and the elderly were not spared.In total, some 133 people were killed, 611 wounded, 841 illegally arrested and five went missing as a result of the intrusion of troops into Baku and other regions of the republic. Demand for SOCAR bonds increases Business Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:37:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Nigar AbbasovaDemand for USD bonds of Azerbaijan’s state energy major SOCAR has considerably increased on the secondary market following the first payment of dividends to its owners.Analyst of Kapital Management investment company Jafar Ibrahimli said that prior to the launch of the payment process investors preferred to take a wait-and-see approach.  "People wanted to know how the obligations on the bonds would be fulfilled, while potential investors were interested in whether interest payments would be made in a timely and full manner,” he said.Jafarli noted that the fulfillment of all obligations by the issuer will increase attractiveness of the bonds for potential investors.“For now, there is no rival for SOCAR bonds in the securities market in terms of its yield and other parameters. In early 2016, the Finance Ministry implemented certain number of emissions of state short-term dollar bonds with the annual interest rate standing at 3.5 percent, but the process was further halted. The placement of foreign currency (USD) in banks may bring 1-3% a year to the investor,” he clarified.The company issued some 100,000 USD  bonds with nominal value of each $1,000 in September 2016, while the annual bond yield is 5 percent and interest income is not taxable. The sale of bonds  on the secondary market was launched on October 18.Operations on the secondary market provided foreign individuals and legal entities with a right to buy bonds from their owners, as only Azerbaijani citizens and local companies had a right to obtain bonds on the primary market.  The highest price for each bond in the secondary market was fixed at the level of $1,024, while a bottom-low figure stood at $1,000.5.The first interest payment was carried out on January 17, 2017, while owners received dividends worth 1.25 million manats (over $ 677,131).   The interest on bonds is being paid once a quarter. Next payments are scheduled for April 17, June 17 and October 17. Iran to curb gas flaring in refineries World news Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:36:00 +0400 By  TrendIran plans to bring the gas flaring in refineries to zero level, Marzieh Shahdaei the director at National Petrochemical Company said Jan.17.He said that it is also possible to convert the carbon dioxide of refineries touches to urea by using Ammonia.According to a document, prepared by Iran’s Oil Ministry, the total amount of CO2 emissions in Iran stands at about 602 million tons per year, of which the share of refineries is about 2 percent.Iran burns about a third of its associated gas in platforms and refineries (about 9 billion cubic meters per year) and some 3.5 bcm/y of gas is burnt in refineries, especially the newly commenced refineries of South Pars. Memory of Black January victims honored with minute of silence [PHOTO] Politics Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:22:00 +0400 A state-wide moment of silence was observed for the Black January victims at 12:00 (local time) across Azerbaijan on the day of national mourning on January 20.Ships, cars, and trains sounded sirens throughout the country to remember victims of the January 20, 1990 tragedy.Azerbaijanis have been visiting the Alley of Martyrs since early hours of January 20 to pay tribute to Azerbaijan`s valiant sons and daughters.On the night of January 19-20, 1990, 137 people were killed, 744 were injured and 841 were illegally arrested after Soviet troops entered Baku. The Soviet troops also destroyed 200 apartments and houses, 80 cars, including ambulances, and a large number of private and public property. Women’s EuroVolley match programme revealed Sports Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:13:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaThe teams of the two host countries, Azerbaijan and Georgia, will open the programme of the 2017 Women’s EuroVolley on September 22 when they take on Hungary and Italy before a partisan home crowd in Baku and Tbilisi, respectively.The competition – which coincides with the most high-profile Volleyball event ever organized in these countries – will continue through to October 1 when the new European champions are set to be crowned at the iconic National Gymnastics Arena in Baku.More matches will be played on September 22 with Germany taking on Poland and Belarus playing Croatia in Pool A and B, respectively.Action in Pool C and D will get underway on September 22 as well with defending champions Russia playing their neighbors from Ukraine early in the afternoon at Baku’s National Gymnastics Arena.Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalists Serbia take on the Czech Republic and 2015 European silver medal winners the Netherlands go for a ‘derby’ with Belgium in Ganja/Goygol on the opening day of Pool D.The group stage of the competition will last for four days before action resumes on September 26 and 27 with the Playoffs followed by the quarterfinals scheduled for September 28 and 29.The semi-finals will take place on Saturday, September 30 before the competition reaches its climax on October 1 with the medal matches.Russia have won the last two editions of the women’s European Championship in 2013 and 2015, beating hosts Germany and the Netherlands in the respective gold medal matches.Olympic silver medal winners Serbia won bronze in 2015 after finishing fourth in 2013 and claiming gold on home soil in 2011.Co-hosts Georgia are making their first appearance in the Final Round of the women’s EuroVolley whereas Azerbaijan’s best result to date is the fourth place they claimed in the 2005 edition of the tournament held in Croatia.Volleyball has become a favorite sport in the middle of the last century in Azerbaijan.  The formation of volleyball in the country dates back to 1926. After regaining the independence in 1992, the country began to participate at international competitions with own national team. The Azerbaijan Volleyball Federation was established in the country in 1992.The Azerbaijan women's national volleyball team is formed by the Azerbaijan Volleyball Federation (AVF) and represents Azerbaijan in international CEV and FIVB tournaments. Azerbaijanis honor January 20 tragedy victims [PHOTO] Politics Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:08:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Azerbaijani public has today honored the victims of the January 20 tragedy. Uzbekistan, WB mull co-op prospects World news Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:00:00 +0400 By  TrendUzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and World Bank (WB) Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Cyril Muller discussed the priorities of bilateral cooperation, as well as key areas for the expansion of partnership and implementation of perspective projects, the Uzbekistan national news agency (UzA) reported.According to the message, President Mirziyoyev has recently received Muller, who paid a working visit to Tashkent.During the meeting, President Mirziyoyev stressed the dynamically developing cooperation between Uzbekistan and WB.At present, the portfolio of bilateral cooperation includes 33 joint projects.Muller stressed the importance of the measures recently taken in Uzbekistan to ensure the accelerated development of small business, a more favorable business sphere and investment climate in the country.Muller will deliver a lecture at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy and meet with teachers and students in Tashkent. Armenia breaks ceasefire with Azerbaijan 42 times in 24 hours Politics Fri, 20 Jan 2017 11:48:00 +0400 By  TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenia’s Armed Forces have 42 times violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops,  Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported on January 20.The Azerbaijani army positions located in Aghdam, Aghbulag and Kokhanabi villages of the Tovuz district underwent fire from the Armenian army positions located in Mosesgeh and Chinari villages of Armenia’s Berd district.The Azerbaijani army positions located on the nameless heights of the Gadabay district underwent fire from the Armenian army positions located on the nameless heights of Krasnoselsk district.Moreover, the Azerbaijani army underwent fire from the Armenian positions located near the Armenian-occupied Goyarkh, Chilaburt villages of the Terter district, Marzili, Javahirli villages of the Aghdam district, Kuropatkino village of the Khojavand district, Ashagi Seyidahmadli, Horadiz, Gorgan, Garakhanbayli villages of the Fuzuli district, Mehdili village of the Jabrayil district, as well as from the nameless heights in the Goranboy, Tartar, Khojavand and Fuzuli districts.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 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. Turkish embassy issues statement on January 20 anniversary Politics Fri, 20 Jan 2017 11:15:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Turkish Embassy in Azerbaijan issued a statement Jan. 19 in connection with the 27th anniversary of the January 20 tragedy.The January 20 tragedy – a turning point in Azerbaijan's struggle for independence – will never be forgotten, reads the statement.“The selfless struggle of our Azerbaijani brothers who blocked the way of tanks with their bodies will never be forgotten. We respectfully revere the memory of martyrs who 27 years ago sacrificed their lives for the independence of Azerbaijan, which is today a bastion of stability and prosperity in our region, and we want to emphasize that we support Azerbaijan as always,” the statement said. National chess players to compete at Khazar Cup Sports Fri, 20 Jan 2017 11:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAzerbaijani chess players will vie for medals at the 15th Khazar Cup to be held in Rasht, Iran, on January 20-28, Azertac reported.The country`s hopes will be pinned on Gadir Huseynov and Ulvi Bajarani.The Swiss-system tournament will bring together 88 players from 13 countries. Russian, Austrian FMs discuss Nagorno-Karabakh settlement Politics Fri, 20 Jan 2017 10:37:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovThe Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement was discussed on January 18 at a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Foreign Minister of Austria Sebastian Kurz, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on January 19.“This question, among others, was discussed in the context of the transition of OSCE chairmanship to Austria,” - said Zakharova.Earlier, Kurz stated that Russia can help ensure the OSCE’s ability to deal with the challenges facing the participating states by supporting measures to give it sufficient resources to fulfill its wide-ranging mandate.Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a lengthy war that ended with the signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. Since the war, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.While the OSCE Minsk Group acted as the only mediator in resolution of the conflict, the occupation of the territory of the sovereign State with its internationally recognized boundaries has been left out of due attention of the international community for years.Armenia ignores four UN Security Council resolutions on immediate withdrawal from the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, thus keeping tension high in the region. Germany, France, Italy to take part in Iran’s airport projects World news Fri, 20 Jan 2017 10:32:00 +0400 By  TrendIran’s Airports Company? (IAC) signed a multilateral memorandum of understanding with German companies for expansion of Iranian airports, while talks are underway with French and Italian firms for cooperation in Iran’s airport projects.The IAC signed an MOU with Munich Airports, Frankfurt Airport and Dornier Consulting International GmbH on Jan. 18 for cooperation in aviation sector, IRIB news agency reported.The deal covers cooperation in various fields, including training human resources, optimizing the airports’ capacity, commercialization of the airports, providing financial resources for development of infrastructures, modernizing IT and navigation infrastructures, airport operations management and airport development.Rahmatollah Mahabadi, head of the IAC, said the German side will finance construction of Tabriz airport terminal as well as new airports in Chabahar and Ahwaz in BOT (build-operate-transfer) and BLT (build, lease, transfer) financing arrangements.Iran is planning to overhaul all its airport equipment to enhance safety and security level, he added.Meanwhile, Mehr news agency quoted Gholamhossein Bagherian, IAC deputy director for planning and supervision, as saying that construction of an airport in Chabahar is not profitable, but necessary strategically.Bagherian added that the IAC has held good talks with French and Italian investors for developing airports and building new airport infrastructures.He expressed hope that the talks will be concluded by March 2017.Bagherian added that Iran will hold public tenders for investment in Ahwaz and Chabahar airports’ construction, forecasting that Chinese, German and Japanese investors will most likely take part in the projects. Azerbaijani president pays tribute to martyrs [PHOTO] Politics Fri, 20 Jan 2017 10:23:00 +0400 By  TrendPresident of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev visited the Alley of Martyrs on the Day of National Mourning to pay tribute to the victims of the bloody January 20 tragedy.The president laid a wreath at the Eternal Flame memorial.The National Anthem of Azerbaijan was also performed by a separate exemplary military orchestra of Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry.State and government officials, leaders of religious communities, ambassadors of foreign countries and representatives of international organizations functioning in Azerbaijan also attended the commemoration ceremony.Azerbaijan's Prime Minister Artur Rasizade, Chairman of the Milli Majlis (Parliament) Ogtay Asadov and Head of the President's Administration Ramiz Mehdiyev also took part in the ceremony. Cloudy weather observed across country Society Fri, 20 Jan 2017 10:15:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaChangeable cloudy is forecast for January 20, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources reported.North-west wind will be followed with north-east wind in the second half of the day.The temperature will be +1-3?C at night, +4-6?C in daytime in Baku and Absheron peninsula.  Air pressure records 770. Relative humidity will be 85-95%In the regions of Azerbaijan rain, sleet expected, snow will fall in mountainous areas, in some places will be intensive.Fog predicted in some places. West wind will blow and intensify in some places.  The temperature will be -2+3?C at night, +3-8?C in daytime, 2-7 degrees of frost in mountains at night, -2+3?C in daytime. Black January: both tragic and heroic pages of history Politics Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:01:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliAs years go by, many memorable events in people's mind turn to history. The bloody tragedy perpetrated against the people of Azerbaijan on January 20, 1990 is forever etched in memories. Though it is painful to return to those days, people every year commemorate innocent victims of the tragedy and pay tribute to all those who died for the their right of national independence.   The monstrous crime was committed twenty seven years ago against the Azerbaijani people, humanism and humanity overall.History of every nation has both tragic and heroic pages and only in rare cases these two events coincide. January 20 is the very page in the history of Azerbaijan. The people on that day passed the exam and worthily went through this ordeal.The bloody events full of unbelievably cruel scenes left an indelible mark in the memory of the living witnesses. Despite 27 years pass since this tragic event, the day like the reel of film still scrolls in front of eyes of witnesses: anxious Baku, bullets glittering in the darkness, tanks and hum of armored vehicles, dead bodies scattered through the streets, hospital wards filled with hundreds of wounded.Everything started when Baku residents came out to protest against the senior management of the policy of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev, as a result of which Armenian nationalists demanded joining the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous region of Azerbaijan to Armenia. But the protests received totally inadequate answer -- the Soviet troops began unimaginable atrocities in Baku.During an operation which began from the late hours of January 19 into January 20, 26,000 hostile and aggressive-minded Soviet special forces called "Alfa" entered Baku to commit atrocities against the Azerbaijani people. They stormed and murdered hundreds of civilians without declaring a state of emergency.Around 10pm in the evening deafening silence suddenly covered the city after demolition of the central television station and termination of phone and radio lines by the Soviet army. The people were deprived of the right to access information.They shot at any moving target, dark alleys and windows of houses. Tanks crushed a car with passengers on.They fired protesters crushing many of them with tanks, and arrested hundreds more for imprisonment and torture. The invasion was launched at midnight. It was committed with unbelievable brutality. Even children, women and the elderly were targeted.The reasons of January tragedy go deep into history, beginning from the territorial claims of Armenians against Azerbaijan.Back in 1987 the Armenian academics and official figures claimed to the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and conducted propaganda in this direction. Taking advantage of Soviet Union’s last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika policy, Armenians once again resumed their insidious policy towards Azerbaijan.Then, the Soviet government had an intention to realize the Armenian policy by diplomatic means in 1988, but failed because millions of Azerbaijanis headed to the streets to protest Armenian aggression and separatist forces fueling unrest in the ancient land of Azerbaijan -- the mountainous Karabakh region.Azerbaijani people launched the square movement to defend their rights and land. Indeed, the Central government sent military forces to suppress the national movement and even crushed the rebellions by force. But that was temporary.Azerbaijanis were determined to protect their territorial integrity and did not step back, showing their sacrifice and vigor for the national freedom.The crime that the Soviet army committed on these two days in Baku was a real sabotage and bloody crime against Azerbaijanis, who were protecting their constitutional rights.This tragic event did not break the spirit of the nation, but marked a turning point in the history of Azerbaijan’s independence from the Soviet Union and revealed the strong determination of the people to build their own sovereign country.The January 20th tragedy provoked worldwide anger and indignation of the progressive forces.A report by Human Rights Watch titled “Black January in Azerbaijan" states: "Indeed the violence used by the Soviet Army on the night of January 19-20...constitutes an exercise in collective punishment... The punishment inflicted on Baku by Soviet soldiers may have been intended as a warning to nationalists, not only in Azerbaijan, but in other Republics of the Soviet Union."The horrible night did not give the chance for many young people to fulfill their purest dreams, including the lovely couple of Ilham and Fariza, who also became the victims of bloody tragedy.The event separated two loving hearts. Ilham became one of the first victims at that night. Unable to bear the death of her beloved Fariza took her own life drinking acid, the day after Ilham’s funeral.Now their graves lie side by side near the entry of the Martyrs Avenue -- Ilham and Fariza promised to be together forever and kept their word.Photographs are mute witnesses of these bloody days. Horrific fragments imprinted in the memory of camera lens, pass historical milestones of people's tragedy and the struggle for freedom. Carefully peering into them, one can also see hope and faith, through the sadness and grief, as well as invincibility, unity and solidarity of the people.On this day, a minute of silence is observed throughout Azerbaijan. Ships, automobiles and trains provide mourning sounds and lower a little national flags across the country.Every January 20th is a mourning day in Azerbaijan to commemorate all martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for the bright future of the nation. They live in hearts of Azerbaijanis... IEA: Global oil demand growth expected to drop in 2017 Arts & Entertainment Thu, 19 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0400 By  TrendGlobal oil demand growth for 2016 is now expected to be 1.5 million barrels per day (mb/d), according to the Oil Market Report of the International Energy Agency (IEA).“In 2017, however, we still expect the rate of growth for global demand to fall back to 1.3 mb/d. The prospect of higher product prices - assuming that the cost of crude oil rises in 2017 - plus the possibility of a stronger US dollar are factors behind our reduced demand growth outlook for this year,” said IEA.Early indications suggest a deeper reduction may be under way in OPEC crude production for January, as Saudi Arabia and its neighbors enforce supply cuts, according to the report.“The IEA has anticipated for some time that shale oil production will increase in 2017, but we are now expecting an even larger increase of 170,000 b/d, following a decline of nearly 300,000 b/d last year,” said the organization.Non-OPEC production is not all about the US, however, according to IEA.“Elsewhere, long-planned projects are coming on stream in Brazil and Canada and their combined production will rise by 415,000 b/d this year,” said the report. “In China and Colombia, the sharp declines in production seen in 2016 will be reduced.”The organization forecasts that for the non-OPEC countries as a whole, net production growth will be 380,000 b/d - after taking into account the output reduction commitments by eleven countries - and this increase could be supplemented by higher production from Libya and Nigeria, both of which are exempt from the production cuts. Ilham Aliyev attends "The Silk Road Effect" session in Davos Politics Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:52:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev took part in “The Silk Road Effect” session as part of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland on January 19. Baku, popular vocation destination for Russians for New Year holidays Business Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:50:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliBaku, the capital and largest city of energy-rich Azerbaijan, has already turned into one of the important and most-visited tourist destinations in Asia.The city continues to conquer the rankings of various well-known tourist portals thanks to its charming beauty and affordable tours. This time Baku entered Top 3 of popular destinations among Russian tourists of CIS cities during the New Year’s holidays.The hotel search service has defined the most popular foreign destinations among Russian tourists during the New Year’s holidays of 2017. The rating was compiled on the basis of hotel accommodation booking from 1 to 8 January 2017.The service ranked Baku the 3rd on the popularity of the CIS cities among Russian tourists during the New Year’s holidays. Russian tourists stayed at hotels in Baku on average for four nights and paid $52 for accommodation a day.In 2017, New Year's holidays in Russia lasted nine days, and many Russians spend them in various holiday resorts. Minsk, Tbilisi and Baku made Top 3 of tourist destinations in the CIS and near abroad among Russian tourists during the New Year’s holidays.In 2017 the number of Russian tourists’ traveling to the CIS countries will increase by 10%, according to agency Turkstat’s forecasts.Baku is so rich in attractions that one can easily spend three days walking around the city and might find it not enough to enjoy its all beauties. It usually takes two more days to see the landmarks in the surroundings of the capital.Baku is a wonderful city on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Centuries-long history is reflected in its medieval landmarks, where the special place is given to the Old city called Icherisheher. On the other hand, it is a fast-growing megapolis with glittering skyscrapers and unusual architectural monuments of the 21st century. Oriental past and hi tech future is entwined in the way that it gives an impression of taking a journey through time.The biggest attraction of Baku is Boulevard that stretches many kilometers along the shores of the Caspian Sea. There are different kinds of attractions in the surroundings of Baku as well. The most ancient one is the Gobustan Museum of Petroglyphs not far from another landmark – mud volcanoes. Another interesting touristy spots are fire monuments, flaming hill of Yanardag, temple of fire worshippers Ateshgah and the historical-ethnographic museum of Gala.Overall, Azerbaijan’s tourism industry has made significant developmental progress in recent years, experiencing considerable growth. The number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan in 2016 increased by almost 11 percent compared to 2015. During the first nine months of 2016 Azerbaijan welcomed 1.71 million tourists. Last year, 35 hotels were built in the country, and 25 are under construction. In general, there are more than 500 hotels in Azerbaijan. Tehran high-rise collapses after fire, 30 feared dead [PHOTO] World news Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:48:00 +0400 By  TrendAt least 30 firefighters are feared to have been killed after Iran's oldest high-rise in southern Tehran collapsed on Jan. 19 following a major fire in the building, Press TV reports citing the state media.Meanwhile, local media reports suggest that army forces and equipment have been dispatched to the site to help the rescue operations.14:00 (GMT +4) Tasnim news agency has quoted Mohsen Hamedani, the deputy general-governor of Tehran for security, as saying that the three nearby buildings of the embassies of Turkey, Germany and the UK were evacuated before the Plasco building collapsed.12:45 (GMT +4) Iranian media say a 17-story building has collapsed in Iran’s capital Tehran after a huge fire erupted in it.The fire engulfed the Plasco building, a major shopping center in Tehran, this morning.At least 30 people, including firefighters, are trapped under the rubble, ISNA news agency reports.In the meantime, Tasnim news agency reported that the incident has injured at least 70 people. Azerbaijan ready for additional oil production cuts Politics Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:44:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Nigar AbbasovaAzerbaijan is ready for additional reduction of oil output should such a decision is made by other major producers. That was stated by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, who is taking part in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.“Azerbaijan would support additional cuts to global crude oil production if such a decision is made by other oil producers within and outside OPEC,” RIA news agency quoted him as saying.The participation of Azerbaijan in joint oil production cuts is defined at 35,000 barrels per day. Energy Ministry of the country earlier revised its forecast for oil output, following the struck of the first since 2001 deal between OPEC and non-OPEC states to curtail oil output jointly. The country started scaling down its production in the first days of 2017 and brought the production to the required level earlier this month.“We undertook the obligation to reduce our production to 35,000 per day. And we will adhere to this pledge. The process has already been launched. We will support any additional reduction as we agree that all countries should join the process.”  Commenting on the possibility of further cuts and prolongation of a 6-month agreement, the head of state said that all will depend on the implementation of the previous decision and dynamics in oil pricing.   “There will be no necessity for further cuts, should the price stabilize”Oil production of the country in 2017 is forecasted to stand at 39.797 million, while average daily oil production will amount to 800,000-807,000 barrels (in line with Vienna accord), according to the Energy Ministry of Azerbaijan. Uzbekistan simplifying sale of state properties World news Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:35:00 +0400 By  TrendPresident of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev has signed a decree “On measures to further simplify and accelerate sale of state properties to be used for business purposes.”The provisions of the decree eliminate bureaucratic barriers to privatization of state properties and contribute to the organization of production at the privatized facilities.The document also simplifies some procedures for the acquisition of state properties.For example, the tenants, who upgraded or overhauled their state properties, as well as created new jobs there, will have an advantage over other applicants. It is also allowed to sign contracts for the sale and purchase of state properties if the corresponding proposal is received from the only applicant.Three years period is provided to carry out redemption payments regarding the privatized properties. During the sale of state properties at the competitive bidding, it is prohibited to demand any other documents except for the application and business plan from the applicants, who are residents of Uzbekistan, and it is also prohibited to initiate issues regarding the review and cancellation of the results of privatization. Azerbaijan, UN define priorities within economic cooperation Business Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:32:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliThe key strategic priority within the economic cooperation between the UN and Azerbaijan for 2016-2020 is to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic development, supported by the growing diversification and the number of working places.UN Resident Coordinator in the country, Ghulam Isaczai announced about this at the first meeting of the Steering Committee on realization of the UN-Azerbaijan Partnership Framework (UNAPF) 2016-2020 in Baku on January 19.Isaczai said that the sides have already defined main goals that should be reached until 2020 within the cooperation program."The main goals until 2020 are:  a more diversified economy and sustainable growth, ensuring of decent work for youth, women, disabled and other vulnerable groups. The results of the work done will be seen on the three indicators. This is an average GDP annual growth in the non-oil sector by seven percent or more, improvement of the global competitiveness index up to 4.7 points, reduction of unemployment among women and young people (15-29 years old) to 5.7 and 9.5 percent respectively," he said.He further mentioned that the volume of program funding will be approved in the near future.  “Each year, a final summary report on the work done within the project will be prepared. The program has a five-year indicative budget. Some $31.9 million will be provided by the UN, and the remaining $ 40 million through the state agencies and other sources," said Isakzai.This UNAPF is the fourth United Nations cooperation document produced by the United Nations System in Azerbaijan and is characterized by the transition from mainly development assistance based cooperation to a partnership, based on significantly increased national capacities and more knowledge-intensive, advocacy-driven synergies with the national planning process.So far, various UN structures have implemented almost 50 projects, worth $96.6 million, in Azerbaijan.Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev, in turn, said that Azerbaijan and the UN have established three joint working groups for the implementation of the UNAPF.Azerbaijan has worked closely with the UN since 1992 and participated in a number of programs, the minister said while talking to reporters."The UNAPF document fits into the national development concept of Azerbaijan, and meets the principles, which are set out in the strategic road maps apporved for various sectors of the economy. Three working groups have been set up for the implementation of this document: to diversify the economy, to strengthen institutional capacity in the provision of effective social services and in the field of environmental protection to reduce the risks to the environment,” he said.  In December 2016, President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree endorsing “Strategic Road Maps for the national economy and main economic sectors” which will allow define the development goals and priorities and ensure their proper and timely implementation.These 12  strategic road maps cover almost all sectors of the economy, including, development of the oil and gas industry, the manufacture and processing of agricultural products, the manufacture  of small and medium entrepreneurship-level consumer goods, development of heavy industry and machinery, tourism, logistics and trade, vocational education and training, financial services, communication and information technologies and utilities.Some 27 billion manats will be required to implement the strategic goals outlined in the documents. YARAT Freestyle to present ERROR performance Arts & Entertainment Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:23:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaYARAT Contemporary Art Space invites everyone to enjoy ERROR performance on January 27.The event organized  as part of YARAT Freestyle project serves as an open platform for everyone who looks to engage creatively with a broad and diverse audience.The performance is directed by Tarlan Engin. The event starts at 7 pm. Admission is free.YARAT FREESTYLE aims to set up a scene for creative groups and individuals and is open to actors, dancers, performance artists, musicians and other cultural practitioners. YARAT is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to nurturing an understanding of contemporary art in Azerbaijan and to creating a platform for Azerbaijani art, both nationally and internationally. Based in Baku, YARAT (meaning CREATE in Azerbaijani) was founded by Aida Mahmudova in 2011.YARAT realizes its mission through an on-going program of exhibitions, education events and festivals. YARAT facilitates exchange between local and international artistic networks including foundations, galleries and museums. YARAT presents ‘Ali and Nino’ performance Arts & Entertainment Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:15:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaYARAT Contemporary Art Space invites everyone to a performance entitled “Ali and Nino” on January 25.The event will be held as part of “Discover theatre for yourself” project, performed by creative group of young students.The project aims at supporting young individuals based in Baku. The main purpose of the project is to accomplish its mission, which is to educate about and deepen the appreciation for history of Azerbaijan to youth by training and preservation of national culture and values as well as promotion of innovative ideas by the means of theatre plays.The event is held in frame YARAT Freestyle project, an open platform for everyone who looks to engage creatively with a broad and diverse audience.YARAT FREESTYLE aims to set up a scene for creative groups and individuals and is open to actors, dancers, performance artists, musicians and other cultural practitioners.Performance is put on YARAT Centre’s stage with the support of Youth Foundation under the President of Azerbaijan Republic.The event starts at 7 pm. Admission is free. CIA: Gorbachev’s wrong policy led to Karabakh conflict Politics Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:04:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovThe Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, one of the most brutal conflicts to result from the imploding Soviet Union with an estimated 20,000 Azerbaijanis, mostly civilians, killed and hundreds of thousands displaced before a ceasefire took hold, is a result of wrong policy of General Secretary of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev.The document RDP91B00776R000600150001 that has been declassified by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) named Gorbachev as the main culprit of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, Trend reports.The document, dated July 25, 1988, reads that the continuing unrest in the Caucasus is the most extreme example of the nationality tensions.“Moscow's initial failure to discourage Armenian aspirations led Arme­nian nationalists to press their demands; its subsequent hard line — by dashing heightened expectations — radicalized the movement,” the document said. “Widespread civil disobedience erupted, with control over the protests passing into the hands of more outspoken and uncompromising protest organizers,” the document reads.“Gorbachev’s policy - glasnost (openness) has led to an expanded discussion by minorities of legal, economic, and cultural rights, as well as a greater public discourse on the past "wrongs" perpetrated against them.”Gorbachev has now had time to see the aggressively independent form nationalistic aspirations have taken; while he did not want to crush the spirit of these movements, he could not be confident of the regime's ability to control their direction, the document said.The CIA states that Moscow also appears to be groping toward a long-term plan that just might prove acceptable to both sides.“This would be some new administrative arrangement whereby Nagorno-Karabakh is not transferred to Armenia but is given some degree of genuine autonomy in Azerbaijan, perhaps accompanied by some measures to give national groups living outside their national "homelands" expanded cultural and economic rights,” the document said.It read that a major problem Gorbachev faced was that working out the details of this plan might take some time — requiring endorsement by a Central Committee plenum and probably approval of constitutional amendments by the Supreme Soviet.“With passions at fever pitch, it has been difficult to sell the plan even to those concerned parties who would in calmer times be amenable to compromise,” the document said.Armenia broke out a lengthy war against Azerbaijan laying territorial claims on its South Caucasus neighbor. Since a war in the early 1990s, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts. Nohur: Beauty of the frozen lake [PHOTO] Society Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:46:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaIf you’re looking for some warm winter sun and crisp blue sky days, but prefer incredible scenery to sun-baking and a bit of skiing, then this is a great time of year to visit Nohur Lake, Gabala. Gabala, which is located about 225 km away from the capital city, is a perfect place for rest. The region enjoys an excellent reputation and is a popular tourist destination. The weather here is mild in spring and autumn, hot in summer and cold in winter.Winter has its own charm in Gabala. There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow.Soul-stirring mountains, mist-shrouded forests and epic tooth-and-claw wildlife – this is Gabala’s grand outdoor wonderland. The Nohur Lake is beautiful in all seasons. Nohur is a manmade lake created after WWII to supply surrounding villages with water. Today it is a popular recreation spot consisting of a large tree-lined body of water reflecting the Greater Caucasus Mountains in its green-blue waters. Swimming is prohibited but fishing and hiking are popular here.Otherwise, you can simply enjoy breathing the fresh air and wondering at the dazzling views of the mountains. In winter, the lake is gradually covered by thick ice, starting with the end of December, and reset ice cover occurs somewhere in late March. But every year the lake freezing occurs at different times. Everything depends on the vagaries of the weather.The thickness of the ice cover on the surface of the lake can reach 40-50 cm. Frozen water causes astonishing variety of patterns from bubbles to jagged lines. Ali and Nino to be shown in Belgium Arts & Entertainment Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:35:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaThe European premiere of the film "Ali and Nino" will take place on March 8 in Brussels, Belgium.The film screening will be hosted by Azerbaijani Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Fuad Isgandarov, Georgian Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Natalie Sabanadze and Director of European Azerbaijan Society, Benelux Office Marc Verwilghen, Azertac reported.The event will feature a Q&A session and a reception in presence of Norica Nicolai.The film is based on the international bestseller, the same name novel of Gurban Said.The film tells the story of two young people, whose love undergoes family differences, religious dissimilarities and a challenging political situation as Azerbaijan fights for independence.Azerbaijani Muslim boy Ali and Georgian Nino live in the oil-rich capital of Azerbaijan which at the beginning of the 20th century was a melting pot of different cultures. Despite differences in cultures, they have loved each other since childhood.The shooting took place in Baku, including the streets of the historic Icherisheher (Old City) and in different places of the capital, as well as in Gobustan and Khynalyg.Executive producer of the film is Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva.The film's producer is Chris Tike, chief director is BAFTA winner Asif Kapadia. Screenwriter of "Ali and Nino" is a British novelist, screenwriter and film director Christopher Hampton.Starring in the film are the actors Adam Bakri, María Valverde, Mendy Petinkin, Connie Nielson, Riccardo Skamarchio, Homayon Ershadi, Fakhraddin Manafov, Assaad Bab, Numan Acar, Halit Ergenç and others.The event is co-organized by member of the European Parliament Norica Nicolai in partnership with the European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS). 'Habit of Breaking' up to be shown in Baku [PHOTO] Arts & Entertainment Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:28:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaYARAT Contemporary Art Space is delighted to invite everyone to the screening of a new film on January 24.“The Habit of Breaking up” is a film directed by Ekaterina Telegina.The film tells  a story of a girl who knows that to have a short glimpse of happiness you need to walk a huge distance. We’re always torn by self-contradictions and doubts, unable to tell why we break with the people we love and the people who love us back. Why do we not have a freedom to stop in this journey and settle down? We can ask ourselves a thousand questions. We can ask those questions to people we used to be close to. But we do it all in order to find our real self.The screening starts at 19:00. The film will be shown in Russian.Ekaterina was born in Omsk and graduated from the faculty of Art and Culture at Omsk State Humanitarian University named after F.M. Dostoyevski.In 2004, she graduated from Internews School of Film and Television.In 2009, she graduated from film directing department of Russian State Institute of Cinematography (a class led by V. Hotinenko and V. Fenchenko).Ekaterina has directed films like «Fir trees-3» (2013), «A habit of breaking-up» (2013), «A mind blowing trip» (2016).Her short film «Gust of Wind» won her many international awards including: SAINT ANNA 2010 for the Best Short Feature Film; Special mention for excellence in cinematography, 2009 Kinotavr Film Festival (Sochi); People’s Choice Award and special jury mention, ARTkino Russian Festival of Art Films; Official Selection, Interfest 25th International Short Film Festival (Berlin) and the 2009 Russian Film Festival in London.YARAT is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to nurturing an understanding of contemporary art in Azerbaijan and to creating a platform for Azerbaijani art, both nationally and internationally. Based in Baku, YARAT (meaning CREATE in Azerbaijani) was founded by Aida Mahmudova in 2011.YARAT realizes its mission through an on-going program of exhibitions, education events and festivals. YARAT facilitates exchange between local and international artistic networks including foundations, galleries and museums. Book about legendary oil tycoon presented Arts & Entertainment Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:17:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAzerbaijan's National Institute of History hosted a presentation of the book "In Search of the Past", dedicated to the well-known millionaire oil producer, philanthropist Aga Musa Naghiyev.The author of the publication is a researcher heritage Agha Musa Naghiyev and his granddaughter Dilara Naghiyeva, while academician Arif Hashimov had a role of scientific editor.The event started with opening remarks of the Director of Institute of History, Yagub Mahmudov.The scientist stressed that Agha Musa Naghiyev invested not only in the construction of buildings, but also in education, broadening of outlook, and national culture.During the presentation, Academician-secretary of the Department of Social Sciences, Nargiz Akhundova, MPs Ganira Pashayeva, Jale Aliyeva, Dilara Jabrayilova and others told about the philanthropic and social activities of Aga Musa Naghiyev.Azerbaijani industrial oil magnate was born into a very poor family in Baku and started working as a cargo carrier (hambal). However, thanks to his natural wit and business abilities Musa Naghiyev became one of the richest oil industrialists in Baku. His assets were worth 300 million rubles. Later, he began investing in real estate so as to guarantee himself a source of regular income and became the largest rental property owner in Baku owning more than 200 buildings.He is the very famous millionaire to gift one of the most wonderful palaces in the entire city to the Muslim Charity Society. This palace, modeled on Doge's Palace in Venice, now houses Presidium of Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan.Another gift from Naghiyev to the city architecture was the city's largest hospital which was built in 1912 and still functions today in the capacity of the Ministry of Health. The building is designed in the shape of an "H" (Cyrillic "N") for Naghiyev's name.The owner of dozens of magnificent buildings in Baku, Agha Musa Naghiyev himself lived in the area outside of Icheri Sheher called Bayir Sheher, in the two-floor building behind Qasim-bey Mosque, on the crossing of Spasski (present Zargarpalan) and Gymnasist (Lev Tolstoy) streets.The architectural elements of stone clocks designed on the top and a stone lantern on the edge of that beautiful building erected in 1887, made it a distinctive appearance. The stone lantern called "Seng fanar" was decorated with red, green, blue, turquoise pieces of glass to create colourful illumination effect during the evenings. His name is confirmed by the monogram on the buildings with the logo of his company. These monogram attract attention with the unique content.Naghiyev was the main sponsor and trustee of one of the largest technical colleges, "Real College", now accommodating the Azerbaijan State Economic University.Azerbaijan`s oil magnate died of a heart attack on March 4, 1919. EU to weaken restrictive measures against Iranian companies World news Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:05:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaThe European Council said that the sanctions against several Iranian organizations were lifted.The Council of Europe posted in its website a release saying several organizations will soon be removed from the list of persons and entities who were imposed restrictive measures. The list in particular included the companies Moallem, Petropars Operation & Management Company, Petropars Resources Engineering Ltd, Iran Aluminium Company, Iran Liquefied Natural Gas Co., Hanseatic Trade Trust & Shipping (HTTS) GmbH and Naser Bateni, Trend reported. These companies were accused of involvement in nuclear activities, and in supporting the government of Iran.The negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue began in 2004, as Western nations were accusing Tehran of developing a "secret military nuclear program." Since 2006, negotiations with Iran were led by the "six" of international mediators (the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany). A number of resolutions were adopted requiring Iran to stop enriching uranium with nuclear proliferation purposes. These resolutions were progressively accompanied by restrictive measures to persuade Iran to comply. In 2006-2010 the United Nations, the United States and the European Union implemented several packages of sanctions against Iran.Lengthy negotiations resulted in the adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the fulfillment of which could completely remove previously lifted economic and financial sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, the United States and the European Union. The long-anticipated Deal achieved in Vienna on July 14, 2015, committed Iran not to produce weapons-grade plutonium for 15 years, keep no more than 300 kg of enriched uranium to 3.67 percent, to convert nuclear facilities and use them exclusively for peaceful purposes. Czech agriculture companies’ reps intend to visit Baku Business Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliRepresentatives of the Czech Agriculture Ministry and agriculture companies intend to visit Azerbaijan by June.Frantisek Masopust, the executive director of the Czech Chamber of Commerce for relations with CIS countries told Trend that the agriculture ministries of Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic need to agree on the date of the visit.He noted that the deputy agriculture minister can head the ministerial group.The executive director added that the group is expected to include representatives of the Czech agriculture companies, both suppliers and owners of agro-processing technologies.Masopust is sure that there are good prospects for developing the cooperation between Azerbaijan, which is now actively developing the non-oil sector of the economy, and the Czech Republic, which has a developed agriculture.Particularly, the Czech Republic can offer Azerbaijan its milk processing technologies, according to him."The Czech companies are mainly manufacturers and exporters of the products and they do not have enough funds to invest in the projects abroad," Masopust said."We understand that it would be rather beneficial for the Czech Republic to establish joint ventures in Azerbaijan," he said. "The labor force is cheaper in Azerbaijan than in the Czech Republic. Moreover, the goods produced in the Czech Republic could be sold in Azerbaijan’s partner countries in the region."He said there are bilateral cooperation prospects in infrastructure construction sector, mainly construction of roads, railways, bridges.Masopust added that the Czech Republic has great experience in lightening of cities. "I am pleased to visit Baku because the city is changing for the better every year," he added.The Czech Republic, a reliable partner for Azerbaijan in several fields, mainly imports Azerbaijani oil, while industrial equipment and consumer goods are exported to Azerbaijan. Currently, the two countries intend to focus on non-oil sector.The Czech Republic ranks the 12th in the list of main importers of Azerbaijani goods. The share of the Czech Republic in the total export from Azerbaijan totaled 2.58 percent in January-November 2016. Maduro plans to bring together heads of OPEC, non-OPEC states to fix prices Business Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:44:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Nigar AbbasovaThe oil market's attention is focused overwhelmingly on figuring out how producers are going to follow the production cut deal reached in late 2016. Sentiment in the market has been torn between expectations of a rebound in US shale production and hopes that oversupply may be curbed by the output cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC states.Brent futures rose 46 cents or 0.9 percent and stood at $54.37 a barrel on January 19, while U.S. crude West Texas Intermediate (WTI) moved away from its one-week lows touched the session before and stood at $51.48 per barrel, recording an increase of 40 cents, Reuters reported. The price of a barrel of Azeri Light crude oil decreased $0.65 to stand at $55.64.OPEC and several independent producers agreed last year to cut supply, the first such deal in 15 years, as of January 1, 2017 to remove a glut. The effort has helped oil prices to rise to $55 a barrel, from a 12-year low near $27 a year ago.Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro recently announced that the meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC states will be held in the short run.  “We want to hold the meeting as soon as possible, and I hope that we will announce the exact date and venue soon,” Ria Novosti quoted him as saying on January 18.Meanwhile, OPEC January 2017 Oil Market Report became the major data that grabbed the headlines of the oil market this week.The Cartel signaled a falling oil supply surplus in 2017 as the exporter group's output slips from a record high ahead of a deal to cut supply and outside producers show positive initial signs of complying with the accord.With demand for OPEC crude in 2017 expected to average 32.10 million bpd, the report indicated there would be an average surplus of 985,000 bpd if OPEC keeps output steady. Non-OPEC oil supply is now projected to grow by 0.12 mbd, down by 0.18 mbd from the December report due to lower expectations for Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Congo and Norway.Oil supply from Azerbaijan was revised down by 10,000 barrels per day to average 0.86 million barrels per day, indicating stagnant output in 2016.However, the monthly report also pointed to the possibly of a rebound in U.S. output, as higher oil prices following supply cuts by other producers support increased shale drilling. Market watchdogs expect a renewed jump in U.S. supply triggered by voluntary cuts elsewhere to crash efforts to boost oil prices.The Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected oil production in the biggest U.S. shale fields would rise by 40,750 barrels per day (bpd) to 4.748 million bpd in February.Also, the dollar, which influences moves in greenback-priced commodities, inched up against the yen and kept broad gains against other major peers, mainly influenced by comments of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggesting U.S interest rates could be raised quickly this year.The Fed chief said the central bank may lift its key benchmark short-term rate "a few times a year" through 2019, reaching a sustainable rate of 3 percent in the long-term perspective, while the pace could change depending on how the outlook for the economy develops. FM Spokesman: Violation of Azerbaijani laws can’t be called freedom of speech Politics Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:37:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovHikmat Hajiyev, Spokesman for Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry criticized attempts to classify the activities of blogger Alexander Lapshin as freedom of speech, saying that it is not correct.The spokesman was commenting on U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby’s statement on the arrest of Lapshin in Belarus, which was requested by the Azerbaijani side.Lapshin illegally visited the occupied Azerbaijani lands, disrespecting Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, and also crossed Azerbaijan’s border once again visiting the country using a different passport.“The fact that he is a blogger does not allow him violating laws and rules of other countries,” Hajiyev said. “There are enough cases of violation of the Azerbaijani laws in Lapshin’s acts, and the principle of the rule of law should be applied in a uniform way to everyone.”Lapshin is accused of violating the international laws and the laws of Azerbaijan on the state border and passports in April 2011 and October 2012.He is a citizen of several countries and has had a criminal conspiracy with Armenians living in the occupied Azerbaijani territories. He illegally visited these territories.To promote the illegal regime created in the Armenian-occupied Azerbaijani territories, Lapshin presented Nagorno Karabakh as an “independent state” on his page in the social network. Moreover, he expressed support to the “independence” of the unrecognized regime on April 6 and June 29, 2016, by calls aimed at violating the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.For more than two decades Armenia and Azerbaijan are in a state of war following Yerevan’s aggression, ethnic cleansing policy and illegal territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenia keeps under control over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions in a brutal war in the early 1990s.Despite a fragile ceasefire agreement signed in 1994, Armenia keeps violating armistice with Azerbaijan.Unauthorized visits to Nagorno-Karabakh and other regions of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia are considered illegal, and any individuals paying such visits are included in the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry's "black list".Baku has repeatedly warned foreign officials and diplomats of unauthorized visits to its territories that are occupied by Armenia, calling them contradictory to international law.Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry and diplomatic missions pay special attention to the illegal activity in the occupied areas of Azerbaijan. The work is constantly carried out to prevent such illegal actions. A great place to spend time with family [PHOTO] Society Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:24:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAmong the lengthy list of picturesque attractions in the city who can resist the temptation of a walk through Khagani Park? Whether you're an art enthusiast or a devoted dog owner, there's a slice of nature that fits your lifestyle.Located on the intersection of Khagani, Gogol, Rasul Rza, Uzeyir Hajibeyov streets, today Khagani Park is one of the most favorite leisure places of Baku people.A beautiful family park with many features like children's playground is always crowded.Young couples sitting on benches, children walking around, future rock stars playing guitar make this place so wonderful and familiar.Huge lawn area provides a pleasant place to sit and relax.Entering the park, you immediately feel a welcoming atmosphere. Although it is located on the intersection of busy streets one can feel the unity with nature here.Emerald green lawns take you to children's attractions, best place to gather with families.This is a beautiful place to sit and relax. In front of the fountain there is a large cafe where you can eat, drink hot tea  with all kinds of jams. You can go to the shops, filling every corner of the streets.If you like to dress up, you can go shopping. Neighboring streets feature some of the best fashion shops in the city.Despite the change of eras, city's residents still call this place "Molokan garden", the name that has its own interesting history.The first official name of the park was "Marinski", named after Maria, the wife of Tsar Alexander, but later it was named "Molokan garden". In Soviet period, the park was renamed firstly “January 9”, then “Hashim Aliyev”.The basis of the park’s architectural-landscape composition is “Three Beauties” statue group and curved-line shaped pool.The sculptor has used natural stones for the pedestal. In 2005 capital reconstruction works were carried out here, new plants planted, and amazing attractions were installed for children in the park. The park was thoroughly reconstructed anew in 2011, but the original design of the park was preserved.Visit this breath-taking destination and live out your own travel legend!  Armenian expert predicts overthrow of government Politics Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:07:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovInactivity and failure of the current state power in Armenia leave no other option but to suggest that the post Soviet state needs renewal in its political leadership.   A coalition, that will be able to overthrow the current regime in Armenia, can form as early as February, and the main role in this process will belong to the Armenian Diaspora, believes a well-known Armenian political scientist and public figure Ashot Grigoryan.“We expect that an entire army of donors from the Diaspora, including foreigners, will come to Armenia in the process of overthrowing the authorities and organization of new presidential elections,” he said in an interview with Armenian reporters.Grigoryan, who is also President of the Forum of Armenian Associations of Europe (FAAE), said that the year of 2016 was quite disastrous for Armenia, full of losses in all fronts of life. The country saw losses on the frontline, the poverty growth, collapse of the economy and unprecedented defeats in the international arena.The expert said that the current government of Armenia has fully exhausted itself and now tries to escape, thereby even more harming both itself and the Armenian people.“Sargsyan’s change of government and appointment of a new Prime Minister further aggravated the atmosphere of uncertainty in Armenia – they created only imitation of some changes,” the expert said.Grigoryan is sure that Armenia’s new Prime Minister has failed to fulfill his responsibilities. “Collapse of our economy has led to the nullification of our independence and sovereignty,” he added.The expert also talked about Armenian foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian. “As for the diplomacy and foreign policy, Minister Nalbandian has turned from political tourist into a couch expert.”He added that foreign diplomats have completely forgotten about Nalbandian’s existence.Grigoryan noted that today there are people who want to invest in the Armenian economy and open enterprises in the country, but they are afraid of business doing because of huge corruption and total distrust towards the authorities in Armenia.“The key to success is the overthrow of the current regime and formation of a new, workable and people's government – that is our only salvation today,” Grigoryan concluded. Turkmenistan explores new oil and gas fields World news Thu, 19 Jan 2017 14:58:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaTurkmenistan has held scaly exploration operations and 2D and 3D seismic surveys to discover new oil and gas fields.The report was made public during the meeting devoted to the results of oil and gas companies in 2016. The meeting was attended by Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Yagshigeldy Kakaev, head of state concerns Turkmengaz , Turkmenoil, Turkmenneftegazstroy, as well as state corporation Turkmengeologiya and the industry research institute.The meeting discussed uninterrupted supply of natural gas to new settlements, its safe and efficient use, as well as the installation of meters for measuring the volume of gas consumption.Turkmenistan, which is rich with oil and gas resources, opened about two hundred oil and gas fields so far. Potential hydrocarbon resources of the country amount to 71.2 billion tons of oil equivalent, of which 53 billion falls on the land, and 18.2 billion tons - on marine areas.The second largest gas field in the world is situated in the east of Turkmenistan. According to the British Gafney, Cline & Associates, reserves of Galkynysh together with the nearby the Yashlar field are estimated at 26.2 trillion cubic meters of gas, and when taking into account the reserves of newly discovered hearth Garakel was included in this block, it has reached 27.4 trillion cu m.Currently, Turkmenistan exports gas to Iran and China. The route of the transnational Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, also known as Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline is under construction.Turkmenistan has great opportunities for future which lie in exploration and development of oil and natural gas fields, especially Galkynysh, Osman, Minara, Tagtabazar-I, offshore blocks, and the Central Karakum group of fields and construction of gas treatment and processing units at the above mentioned fields. Iran diminishes U.S. role in Astana talks World news Thu, 19 Jan 2017 14:16:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaIranian and Syrian Deputy Foreign Ministers discussed the latest events in Syria in the context of the upcoming talks in Astana during a meeting in Tehran on Tuesday.Jaberi Hossein Ansari and Faisal Mekdad met in the framework of the meetings of the joint Iranian-Syrian political committee, IRNA reported. Negotiations will be held in Astana in order to prepare the ground for a political resolution of the Syrian crisis.Earlier on Tuesday, the Prime Minister of Syria, Imad Khamis said that Iran and Syria will act like a united front against terrorism, and other countries should follow them.Khamis made these remarks at a press conference with the First Vice President of Iran Ishaq Jahangir in the cultural center "Saad Abad".Syrian Prime Minister stressed the need to continue consultations between the Syrian and Iranian officials. Iranian president also claimed that he will continue to support Syrian people and government in the fight against terrorists.Due to Iran's objections the U.S. were not invited to a meeting in Astana on Syria, said the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali Shamkhani.There is no reason to invite the U.S. to the negotiation table, said Shamkhani, adding that the United States did not participate in the establishment of a ceasefire and reconciliation of the main parties in this conflict, ISNA news agency reported on Wednesday.Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, however, said on Tuesday that he believed it was right to invite U.S. representatives to the meeting.Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday that Turkey and Russia had decided to invite the United States to the Astana discussions.Earlier it was reported that the U.S. president-elect Donald Trump's administration would consider an invitation for peace talks in Astana, when it officially comes, but the country will not participate in any talks on Syria unless the U.S. has a clear vision on the resolution of Syrian crisis.Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, talking separately on Tuesday, called liberation of Aleppo and the establishment of the ceasefire important steps in restoring peace and stability in Syria. He also expressed his hope that the forthcoming meeting in Astana will pave the way for the start of real negotiations on Syrian conflict and will lead to the good results.The main purpose of all friends of Syria is to establish peace and stability as a result of which the Syrian people will decide about their future," added Rouhani.The meeting backed by Russia, Iran and Turkey will be held in the Kazakh capital on 23 January between the Syrian government and the opposition forces, except for terrorist groups.The ceasefire agreement came into force in Syria in late December after the Syrian government and the opposition agreed with the mediation of Turkey and Russia. The ceasefire agreement was proposed after the liberation of the strategic city of Aleppo from the terrorists by government forces. The opposition ensured that they will participate in the peace talks in Astana. Mercedes confirms Bottas as Hamilton's teammate Sports Thu, 19 Jan 2017 13:53:00 +0400 By  Azertac  Valtteri Bottas will replace F1 world champion Nico Rosberg at the Mercedes team this year, the German squad finally confirmed on Monday, according to had emerged as the top candidate to replace Rosberg weeks ago, with the two teams trying to reach an agreement since last month.Williams' deputy team principal Claire Williams had admitted over the weekend that the deal was almost done, and both parties confirmed it on Monday morning.Bottas' move had already been announced by Williams earlier today as the Grove team confirmed Felipe Massa will replace the Finn."It's very exciting times for me," said Bottas. "I think it's going to take a while to understand that this is really happening."It's definitely another dream come true, to race in another team with such great history - especially in the recent years, which have been so impressive."I'm really proud to become a part of that and grateful to everyone at Mercedes for trusting my skills and giving me this opportunity."Bottas has spent all his F1 racing career with Williams, having made his debut with the Grove team in 2013.The 27-year-old has scored nine podium finishes but is yet to win a race or start from pole position. Neymar most valuable player in Europe - CIES Football Observatory study Sports Thu, 19 Jan 2017 13:38:00 +0400 By  Azertac  Neymar is the most valuable player in Europe - worth about £216m - according to a new study which values 10 players at more than 100m euros, according to BBC.The Barcelona striker is ahead of team-mate Lionel Messi, who is valued by academics at £149m.The only England players in the top 10 are Tottenham duo Harry Kane (worth £122m) and Dele Alli (£96m).Paul Pogba, who joined Manchester United for a record £89m in the summer, is worth £136.4m.The study has been carried out by a team of academics from the CIES Football Observatory, using a transfer value algorithm.They have calculated the value using criteria that includes player performance and characteristics, such as age and length of contract.Cristiano Ronaldo, the Ballon d'Or winner and Fifa's world's best player, is seventh on the list at £111m, with Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale 14th and valued at £73.8m, less than the £85.3m he cost the La Liga side in 2013.Pogba is the only player in the top five not based in Spain, with Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann third at £132m and Barcelona's Luis Suarez fifth (£127m).