Today.Az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside Today.Az Inflation in Azerbaijan at 2.3% Business Thu, 24 Jan 2019 12:43:00 +0400 By  TrendPrices for consumer products and tariffs for services in Azerbaijan for 2018 rose by 2.3 percent in comparison to 2017, Trend reports via State Statistics Committee.Prices for food products increased by 1.7 percent, for non-food items by 2.6 percent, with the cost of paid services increasing by 2.7 percent.Prices for consumer goods and tariffs for services increased by 0.8 percent during December, with a 1.7 percent increase for food prices, 0.2 percent increase for non-food items and 0.1 percent increase for the paid services.Prices for fish and dairy products, cheese and eggs, vegetable oil, fruits and vegetables, coffee, tea and cocoa, tobacco and alcohol saw an increase during the month.Among the non-food items, the prices for clothes, footwear, furniture and household appliances, carpets, spare parts for cars and jewelry increased in December. Prices for mobile phones decreased.Among the paid services, the prices for apartment rent, cleaning, sewing and renting of clothes, catering and dental services increased in December compared to November.In January-November 2018, inflation in Azerbaijan stood at 2.2 percent, and at 12.9 percent in 2017. Erdogan: Turkey-Russia ties positively affect regional security World news Thu, 24 Jan 2019 12:38:00 +0400 By  TrendThe relations between Turkey and Russia positively affect the regional security, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.President Erdogan made the remarks during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Trend reports referring to the Turkish media on Jan. 23.The Turkish president stressed that today one can observe the development of relations between Turkey and Russia in all spheres, including the military and political spheres.“Ankara and Moscow are important allies,” he said.Today the Turkish president is on a visit to Moscow.The Turkish president is accompanied by the country's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, National Intelligence Organization Head Hakan Fidan, as well as Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez.The settlement of the Syrian crisis will be mainly discussed at today's meeting of the Turkish and Russian presidents.As previously reported, along with the settlement of the Syrian crisis, the situation in the South Caucasus can also be discussed during the meeting. Azerbaijan represented at WEF as rapidly developing part of global economy Politics Thu, 24 Jan 2019 12:26:00 +0400 By  TrendThe world political and economic elite focuses on Azerbaijan today, editor-in-chief of the Ses newspaper, political expert Bahruz Guliyev told Trend on Jan. 23.“Like every year, this year Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev again participates in the World Economic Forum in Davos, holds meetings with the most famous representatives of the world political and economic elite, expressing Azerbaijan’s readiness for cooperation,” he said."During the visit to Davos, the president has held various meetings and participates in the sessions,” he added. “The holding of numerous fruitful meetings by President Aliyev in Davos is a consequence of interest in Azerbaijan. The results of the discussions which are being held within the forum once again prove Azerbaijan’s success and development. Azerbaijan is represented at the forum in Davos at the highest level."The expert stressed that the current forum in Davos will remain in the history by important discussions and decisions from the point of view of Azerbaijan’s interests.“Azerbaijan is represented at the forum and is mentioned as a rapidly developing part of the global economy, which testifies to the fact that Azerbaijan is recognized in the world as an important country,” he said.Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met with President of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende, President of Visa Inc. Ryan M. McInerney, Chief Executive Officer of BP Robert Dudley, Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Cisco Gerri Elliott, Chief Executive Officer of SAP SE Bill McDermott, Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva, President of Russian company LUKOIL Vahid Alakbarov, Chief Executive Officer of French company Total Patrick Pouyanne and heads of other leading companies in Davos during his visit to Switzerland.The Azerbaijani president also gave interviews to the Russia 1 TV channel and the Chinese CGTN.The president took part in the session titled “Advancing the Belt and Road Initiative: China’s Trillion-Dollar Vision” within the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 22. MP: President's participation in WEF increases interest in Azerbaijan Politics Thu, 24 Jan 2019 12:12:00 +0400 By  TrendThe participation of President Ilham Aliyev at the World Economic Forum in Davos and holding a number of important meetings within the Forum is an indicator of the growth of the country's international authority, Azerbaijani MP Aydin Huseynov told Trend on Jan. 23.This gives an important impetus to economic development as well, he said.The Forum sets new directions for the global economy, he added."The Davos Forum is an economic think tank of the world, and every year leaders, representatives of leading states take part in it, and large companies and corporations are represented there. The opinions and proposals voiced there, set new directions for the global economy," Huseynov said.He mentioned that a number of authoritative TV channels covering the Forum are interested in Azerbaijan and make inquiries for interviews with the Azerbaijani president.He said the participation of the president in the World Economic Forum, as a whole, further increases the interest of foreign investors in Azerbaijan.Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met with President of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende, President of Visa Inc. Ryan M. McInerney, Chief Executive Officer of BP Robert Dudley, Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Cisco Gerri Elliott, Chief Executive Officer of SAP SE Bill McDermott, Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva, President of Russian company LUKOIL Vahid Alakbarov, Chief Executive Officer of French company Total Patrick Pouyanne and heads of other leading companies in Davos during his visit to Switzerland.The Azerbaijani president also gave interviews to the Russia 1 TV channel and the Chinese CGTN.The president took part in the session titled “Advancing the Belt and Road Initiative: China’s Trillion-Dollar Vision” within the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 22. Effectiveness of supervision in taxes, food safety to increase in Azerbaijan Business Thu, 24 Jan 2019 11:50:00 +0400 By  TrendThe effectiveness of state supervision in the field of taxes and food security will be increased in Azerbaijan, Trend reports referring to the Azerbaijani Taxes Ministry.This will be possible thanks to the cooperation between the Ministry of Taxes and the Food Safety Agency.A corresponding memorandum was signed on Jan. 23 by Azerbaijan's Minister of Taxes Mikayil Jabbarov and Chairman of the Food Safety Agency Goshgar Tahmazli.The memorandum envisages exchanging information on entities and their facilities operating in the production, processing and turnover of food products, as well as the products subject to phytosanitary and veterinary supervision.The parties will also expand cooperation for taxation of all entities operating in the food industry.The parties will also carry out joint activity to enlighten entrepreneurs. Azerbaijani president’s participation in WEF helps attract new investments Politics Thu, 24 Jan 2019 11:46:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan has become one of the most reliable participants in the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Director of the Ziya Bunyadov Institute of Oriental Studies of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences Govhar Bakhshaliyeva told Trend on Jan. 23."Azerbaijan's traditional participation in this forum is very symbolic," Academician Bakhshaliyeva, who is also an MP, said."The president's participation in the World Economic Forum not only strengthens Azerbaijan's image on international arena, but also serves to create new opportunities for cooperation, economic development and attracting new investments," she added.She stressed that Azerbaijan's president holds important meetings with the presidents of various countries and heads of big companies as part of the annual forum."The current forum was not an exception,” Bakhshaliyeva added. “The meetings with the participation of the president in Davos, where economic cooperation issues are discussed, are successfully held every year.”“Of course, the meetings with heads of big companies open up new opportunities for the country, attracting these companies to Azerbaijan’s important projects and allow discussing other important issues," she added."International media outlets, which cover this forum every year, show more interest in Azerbaijan and they try to get more information about the country,” Bakhshaliyeva said.Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met with President of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende, President of Visa Inc. Ryan M. McInerney, Chief Executive Officer of BP Robert Dudley, Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Cisco Gerri Elliott, Chief Executive Officer of SAP SE Bill McDermott, Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva, President of Russian company LUKOIL Vahid Alakbarov, Chief Executive Officer of French company Total Patrick Pouyanne and heads of other leading companies in Davos during his visit to Switzerland.The Azerbaijani president also gave interviews to the Russia 1 TV channel and the Chinese CGTN.The president took part in the session titled “Advancing the Belt and Road Initiative: China’s Trillion-Dollar Vision” within the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 22. Ambassador: Saudi Arabia condemns Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan Politics Thu, 24 Jan 2019 11:32:00 +0400 By  TrendSaudi Arabia strongly condemns Armenia’s aggressive policy against Azerbaijan and is always close to Azerbaijan in its legitimate cause, newly appointed Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Hamad bin Abdullah bin Saud bin Khudair said.Hamad bin Abdullah bin Saud bin Khudair made the remarks at a meeting with Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov in Baku on Jan. 23.The minister congratulated the diplomat on his new appointment and emphasized the friendly relations between the heads of state, playing an essential role in expanding ties between Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia.Hasanov expressed gratitude for Saudi Arabia’s support for Azerbaijan’s right and just position in settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.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.Touching upon the current state of military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia, Hasanov noted the establishment of the Military Attache Apparatus of Azerbaijan in Saudi Arabia, the preparation of an agreement on military cooperation between the two countries, and the planning of the official visit of a high-ranking delegation of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan to Riyadh.In turn, the ambassador noted that Saudi Arabia considers Azerbaijan as a friendly and fraternal country and also attaches great importance to military cooperation between the two countries.The ambassador stressed that over the period of activity in Azerbaijan, he will make every effort to strengthen relations between Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia. TAP to become timely gas supply source for Italy: country manager Business Thu, 24 Jan 2019 11:21:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project will become a timely gas supply source for Italy, said Michele Mario Elia, country manager of TAP Italia.“TAP is a priority project for Europe. To date, more than 80 percent of the pipeline has been built. We are working to ensure that the pipeline is put into operation, as planned, in 2020,” he told Progetto Manager, Trend reports.Talking about the process of TAP’s construction in Italy, the country manager said the project involves the construction of a microtunnel.“The other two elements are the 8 km of pipeline on the ground, laid one and a half meters deep, and the the Pipeline Receiving Terminal (PRT). Work is under way in the PRT area and along the 8 km of the pipeline,” he said.Elia went on to add that TAP is a strategic project, because it will strengthen energy security, diversification of sources and will be able to guarantee more competitive gas supplies for Italy, in a context of constantly growing international prices.“In Italy, gas consumption has been growing steadily for three years and reached 75 billion cubic meters in 2017. Over 90 percent come from abroad, namely, from Russia, Algeria, Libya, Northern Europe. Supply contracts for around 35 billion cubic meters per year will expire by 2020. Therefore, TAP will become a timely gas supply source for Italy,” he noted.TAP project, worth 4.5 billion euros, is one of the priority energy projects for the European Union (EU). The project envisages transportation of gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz Stage 2 to the EU countries.Connecting with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Greek-Turkish border, TAP will cross Northern Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea before coming ashore in Southern Italy to connect to the Italian natural gas network.The project is currently in its construction phase, which started in 2016.Once built, TAP will offer a direct and cost-effective transportation route opening up the vital Southern Gas Corridor, a 3,500-kilometer long gas value chain stretching from the Caspian Sea to Europe.TAP shareholders include BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Snam S.p.A. (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), Enagás (16 percent) and Axpo (5 percent). Azerbaijani oil prices down Business Thu, 24 Jan 2019 11:02:00 +0400 By  TrendThe price of the AZERI LT CIF oil, produced at the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli block of oil and gas fields, amounted to $63.16 per barrel at the Italian port of Augusta on Jan. 22, or $1.38 less than on Jan. 21, a source in Azerbaijan's oil and gas market told Trend Jan. 23.The AZERI Light FOB Ceyhan oil price was $62.31 per barrel on Jan. 22, or $1.4 less than on Jan. 21.Azerbaijan has been producing AZERI LT since 1997 and exports it via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Supsa pipelines, as well as by rail to the Georgian port of Batumi.Azerbaijan also exports URALS oil from Russia’s Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. The oil is delivered there via the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline.The price for URALS-NOVO was $58.96 per barrel on Jan. 22, or $1.32 less than the previous price.The price for a barrel of Brent Dated, produced from the North Sea, stood at $60.98 on Jan. 22, or $1.36 less than the previous price. Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 26 times Politics Thu, 24 Jan 2019 10:47:00 +0400 By  TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenian armed forces have 26 times violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said Jan. 24, Trend reports.The Armenian armed forces were using heavy machine guns.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. Gold, silver prices drop in Azerbaijan Business Thu, 24 Jan 2019 10:35:00 +0400 By  TrendGold and silver prices decreased in Azerbaijan, Trend reports referring to the country’s Central Bank Jan. 24.The price of gold decreased by 3.0515 manats to 2,178.822 manats per ounce in the country on Jan. 24 compared to the price on Jan. 23.The price of silver decreased by 0.0824 manats to 26.052 manats per ounce.The price of platinum increased by 9.741 manats to 1,353.625 manats.The price of palladium increased by 9.758 manats to 2,293.9375 manats in the country.Precious metalsJan. 24, 2019Jan. 23, 2019GoldXAU2,178.8222,181.8735SilverXAG26.05226.1344PlatinumXPT1,353.6251,343.884PalladiumXPD2,293.93752,284.1795The precious metals are gold, silver, platinum and metals of platinum group (palladium, iridium, ruthenium, rhodium, osmium) brought to the highest fineness (999.9).The precious metals are sold as ingots, coins or powder and have the appropriate quality certificates.(1 USD = 1.7 AZN on Jan. 24) Currency rates for Jan. 24 Business Thu, 24 Jan 2019 10:15:00 +0400 By  TrendOfficial exchange rate of the US dollar and euro against Azerbaijani manat was set at 1.7 and 1.9356 manats, respectively, for Jan. 24.Below are the rates of Azerbaijani manat against world currencies, according to the data from the Central Bank of Azerbaijan for Jan. 24.CurrenciesJan. 24, 20191 US dollar1 USD1.71 euro1 EUR1.93561 Australian dollar1 AUD1.20861 Argentine peso1 ARS0.0453100 Belarus rubles100 BYR0.79061 Brazil real1 BRL0.45221 UAE dirham1 AED0.46281 South African rand1 ZAR0.1227100 South Korean won100 KRW0.15061 Czech koruna1 CZK0.07531 Chilean peso1 CLP0.25271 Chinese yuan1 CNY0.25051 Danish krone1 DKK0.25921 Georgian lari1 GEL0.64021 Hong Kong dollar1 HKD0.21671 Indian rupee1 INR0.02391 British pound1 GBP2.2222100 Indonesian rupiah100 IDR0.0120100 Iranian rials100 IRR0.00401 Swedish krona1 SEK0.18851 Swiss franc1 CHF1.70981 Israeli shekel1 ILS0.46271 Canadian dollar1 CAD1.27331 Kuwaiti dinar1 KWD5.60551 Kazakh tenge1 KZT0.00451 Kyrgyz som1 KGS0.0243100 Lebanese pounds100 LBP0.11271 Malaysian ringgit1 MYR0.41101 Mexican peso1 MXP0.08921 Moldovan leu1 MDL0.09931 Egyptian pound1 EGP0.09491 Norwegian krone1 NOK0.1985100 Uzbek soums100 UZS0.02011 Polish zloty1 PLN0.45111 Russian ruble1 RUB0.02571 Singapore dollar1 SGD1.25101 Saudi riyal1 SAR0.45321 SDR (Special Drawing Rights of IMF)1 SDR2.36681 Turkish lira1 TRY0.32091 Taiwan dollar1 TWD0.05501 Tajik somoni1 TJS0.18011 New Turkmen manat1 TMM0.48571 Ukrainian hryvna1 UAH0.0611100 Japanese yen100 JPY1.55171 New Zealand dollar1 NZD1.1518 Azerbaijan eyes to expand fleet of oil tankers Business Thu, 24 Jan 2019 10:00:00 +0400 By  TrendIn 2019, Baku Shipyard LLC plans to commission two oil tankers with carrying capacity of about 8,000 tons and two RoPax vessels being built by order of Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company (ASCO), a source at the factory told Trend.It is assumed that these vessels will be able to transport railcars and trucks, and will operate between the countries of the Caspian Sea.The negotiations are underway with ASCO to conclude a new contract for the construction of new oil tankers."During this year, cooperation with ASCO CJSC will continue, and contracts will be signed for the construction of new vessels, such as a 100-ton crane lifting vessel, a 50-ton crane lifting vessel DP1, a 50-ton pontoon ferry, 120-ton anchor handling tug supply vessel and oil tankers," the source said.An important task for the near future is the development of technical capabilities of the engineering department to the required level of implementing the detailed construction design, according to the source.Baku Shipyard is also in talks with shipping companies of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan."The Caspian region is a dynamically developing and promising area of ??cooperation among the five Caspian littoral states," the source noted. "In this regard, the factory is actively exploring the market and conducting search for companies to cooperate with the Caspian littoral states."Baku Shipyard LLC has been operating since September 2013. The factory has been designed for the construction of a wide range of specialized and commercial vessels, including multi-purpose naval vessels such as platform supply vessels, as well as tankers and cargo vessels. The conditions for ship repair have also been created at the enterprise.Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Closed Joint-Stock Company plays connecting role in the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA), provides marine transportation of goods and passengers along with Trans-Caspian Sea as well as provides offshore support services for oil and gas operations.The merchant fleet consists of 51 vessels: 20 tankers, 13 ferries, 15 universal dry-cargo, 2 Ro-Ro ships as well as 1 auxiliary vessel and 1 floating workshop. The offshore support fleet is comprised of 210 vessels: 20 crane vessels, 25 supply and tug vessels, 26 passenger ships, 2 pipelay barges, 6 firefighting vessels, 7 geological survey vessels, 2 diving support vessels, and 88 other support vessels. President Aliyev completes visit to Switzerland Politics Wed, 23 Jan 2019 23:35:00 +0400 By  TrendThe official visit of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to the Swiss Confederation ended on January 23.President Ilham Aliyev attended the Davos World Economic Forum. President Aliyev meets Equinor CEO in Davos Politics Wed, 23 Jan 2019 18:45:00 +0400 By  TrendPresident of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with Chief Executive Officer of Equinor (former Statoil) Eldar Saetre in Davos.The issues of cooperation between SOCAR and Equinor on Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oil fields were discussed at the meeting.The head of state commended Equinor for continuing its activities in Azerbaijan.The sides also exchanged views over the promising Garabagh, Ashrafi, Dan ulduzu projects, as well as repair work on Dede Gorgud drilling rig. Azerbaijani, Swiss presidents meet in Davos Politics Wed, 23 Jan 2019 18:25:00 +0400 By  TrendPresident of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with President of the Swiss Confederation Ueli Maurer in Davos, Trend reports referring to the press service of the Azerbaijani president. Azerbaijani businesses strive to China Politics Wed, 23 Jan 2019 18:01:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaBusinesses of Azerbaijan, the leading nation of the South Caucasus with a population of 10 million people, strive to enter China. Being the second largest economy, China, without any doubt, has earned a global leader status on the international stage, and it seems impossible to disregard such world realities today.Azerbaijan, which is a developing country, views China as an attractive market. There is a good level of mutual understanding and strong will of both sides to bring the economic and business ties to a practically new stage.In a recent interview to Chinese CGTN, Azerbaijan’s leader Ilham Aliyev stated that the country has already sent several export missions to various regions of China, which is expected to hugely contribute to the development of trade.Particular results of the implemented measures were named. For instance, Azerbaijan has already opened its Trade House, where local products are demonstrated, in China's Liuzhou.In addition to the opening of the Trade House, the sale of wine and pomegranate juice produced under the “Made in Azerbaijan” brand has begun in the western part of China. The first Azerbaijan’s Wine House abroad  opened in China, Urumqi, in September 2018. The country’s second Wine House in China opened in Shanghai on November 8, 2018. Azerbaijan also participates in large exhibitions organized in China with its agricultural products.President Aliyev voiced a very important call from his country. Azerbaijan wants to show the Chinese businessmen its achievements and intends to gain access to a very large, significant, attractive market for its products.“At the same time, our doors are open for Chinese businessmen. As I said, we would like to see them more as investors, the trading side, contractors,” he said.Of course, Chinese ambitious Belt and Road initiative was not left behind during the interview. Azerbaijan is a supporter of this initiative and intends to do everything possible to become a very active participant in this project.Speaking of this active participation, President Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan works with its partners in Central Asia, Georgia, Turkey and Europe.“Naturally, our main goal is to accept goods from China and ensure their transportation. Inside Azerbaijan, everything is ready. At present, Azerbaijan possesses the largest fleet in the Caspian Sea. These are mainly tankers and other cargo ships. They transport goods from the East to the West and back. Of course, we would like more Chinese companies to work in Azerbaijan, so that they invest in our country, find new opportunities. Thus, “One Belt, One Road” is indeed a very important project for us. We fully support it and have contributed to the creation of his missing part,” he said.In this regard, the importance of the railway which starts in Baku and goes to Turkey, that is Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, was underlined.Before that, goods that came from Asia were transported through Azerbaijan to the Black Sea ports of Georgia. Now, the cargoes can travel straight to the Mediterranean coast, and also by rail - directly to Europe, in turn providing Azerbaijan with revenues, making the route cost-effective and less time-consuming.Short-term or long-term investments?Azerbaijan has made significant investments in its infrastructure projects over the past period. Everyone understands that such investments are of long-term nature, which means that the benefits may come in ten, twenty or even fifty years. Naturally, people prefer not to focus on long-term results, but rather look for short-term outcomes.Commenting on this issue, President Aliyev emphasized that Azerbaijan’s goal is to create good conditions for the people. Therefore, the country upgraded infrastructure and created conditions for the benefit of business circles.“These investments are for the future. We do not expect that the investment will pay off, perhaps in the next ten years,” said the President.Azerbaijan has entered the stage of rapid development after the discovery of major oil and gas field and signing of the Contract of the Century with global energy companies. Currently, the country aims to create new sources of income other than oil and gas sector. It is obvious that one day, the energy resources will run out, but the geographical location and the modern infrastructure will remain in place, thus bringing the state necessary incomes.Moreover, infrastructure projects in transport area also create new geopolitical situation in the region. The countries involved in a joint transport project usually enjoy closer relations, since they share the benefits. This happens in multilateral formats as well. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway has brought the peoples of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey even closer. Such projects can be considered as a political tool for increasing dialogue and reducing tensions. Azerbaijan has always vowed for active cooperation and mutual support of the regional countries with a common aim to achieve political and economic stability.In recent years, the work to increase the transit potential of the country, create a modern infrastructure that provides international transportation, and upgrade the transport fleet has become more intensive. The implementation of such important projects as the construction of the Baku International Sea Trade Port, not only increases the economic power of Azerbaijan, but also strengthens its international position.Turning to short-term benefits, President Aliyev noted, there are many projects that bring a large income in a relatively short time“We are creating a mechanism for attracting investments, at the same time providing loans to the private sector at very low interest rates, so that they can also invest in industries that generate income in a short time. For example, industries such as agriculture, small and medium businesses,” he said.Spend less, earn more“Spend less, earn more” – perhaps, this is how Azerbaijan managed to create its impressive infrastructure without getting into debt. The country’s foreign debt makes only 19 percent of the GDP.Reasonable use of revenues from the oil and gas sector and favorable geographic location allowed a small country to turn into a transport hub with the most up-to-date infrastructure.All transport projects in Azerbaijan have been implemented without borrowing. Some 20 years ago the South Caucasian country borrowed, and borrowed a lot, while today, Azerbaijan is the one who lends money to other states and participates in major projects in energy and transport sphere. Finnish president: Optimism in settlement of Karabakh conflict intensified Politics Wed, 23 Jan 2019 18:00:00 +0400 By  TrendOptimism in the settlement process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has intensified, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said during the PACE winter session in Strasbourg (France), answering a question from the chairman of the Azerbaijani parliamentary committee on culture Rafael Huseynov, Trend reports on Jan. 23.As for the OSCE Minsk Group, Finland fully supports the process that is ongoing, the Finnish president said, adding that optimism at the current stagehas intensified.There are hopes that a solution will emerge that meets the best interests of Azerbaijan and Armenia, the president noted.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. Indian tourist inflow to Azerbaijan up Business Wed, 23 Jan 2019 17:49:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Leman MammadovaAzerbaijan enjoys a great potential for the development of tourism. Nature, climate, historical monuments, cuisine, rich culture of the people and other factors lay the foundation for the development of many areas of tourism. There are wide opportunities for Azerbaijan to be recognized as a tourist destination in the world.Azerbaijan is among the fastest-growing destinations for tourists.The number of Indian tourists visiting Azerbaijan has increased by 175 percent amounted to 40,000 people in 2018, Executive Director of Azerbaijan Tourism Bureau, Florian Sengstschmid said in an interview with India's influential news agency Times of India, Trend reports.Sengstschmid emphasized that Indian tourists are increasingly showing interest in Azerbaijan in recent years.He noted that India is one of the first six countries where the official representative office of the Azerbaijan Tourism Board opened.He added that the Indian market and the interests of potential tourists were considered.“There are proposals for holding various events, weddings and other corporate and group events,” he said. “The work over a document that defines the rules for supporting the shooting of Indian films in Azerbaijan is underway.”He stressed that one of the important factors is that it is easy to visit Azerbaijan. Thus, Indian tourists are able to get online visas within three hours. He added that although flights to Azerbaijan are mainly carried out from Gulf states at present, it is planned to implement Delhi-Baku direct flights in the future.Sengstschmid said that the people of Azerbaijan and India had common cultural and historical values and organized special tours for Indian tourists including "Ateshgah" Temple.Perhaps the most popular and exotic sight of Azerbaijan is the Temple of Ateshgah. It is located 30 km from the center of Baku, on the outskirts of the village of Surakhani and is known almost all over the world.The territory where this temple stands is known for such a unique natural phenomenon, as natural gas comes out of the ground, and when it comes into contact with oxygen, a natural fire occurs. In its present form, the temple was built in the XVII-XVIII centuries. It was built by a Hindu community living in Baku belonging to the Sikh caste.However, the history of the Ateshgah temple is much more ancient. The sanctuary of fire-worshiping Zoroastrians (approximately the beginning of our era) has been located in this territory since ancient times, who gave mystical significance to the unquenchable fire and came here to worship the shrine.Atashgah is included in the UNESCO’s preliminary World Heritage list and considered as one of the most interesting monuments due to its historical value and modern appearance.It should be noted that Azerbaijani delegation headed by Azerbaijan Tourism Bureau attended SATTE 2019 international exhibition in New Delhi from 16 to 18 January.Baku-Delhi direct flight, to be launched in early 2019, will contribute to further development of tourism relations between the two countries.Recently, Azerbaijan Tourism Association (AZTA) and the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation during the international tourism fair SATTE 2018 in Delhi on February 3, 2018, that is of great importance.Both India and Azerbaijan have started online visa issuance from 2017 which greatly helped in tourists' travel.As many as 14,173 Indian tourists traveled to Azerbaijan in 2017, 6012 in 2016, 5584 in 2015, 4853 in 2014. ADB supports road construction bypassing Rogun HPP World news Wed, 23 Jan 2019 17:33:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Abdul KerimkhanovThe Asian Development Bank (ADB) provides free aid for the preparatory work on the project to improve the Obigarm-Nurobod bypass, Tajik media reports.A technical assistance grant totaled $ 1 million is provided for the design and feasibility study, as well as tender documents for the project to improve this road.“This road project is a strategic priority for Tajik government, both nationally and regionally. This road is part of an important international corridor. It also provides access to economic opportunities and social services for 17 localities,” said ADB Permanent Representative in Tajikistan Pradeep Srivastava.The preliminary total cost of the proposed project is about $ 350 million. The project includes the construction of about 75 km of a two-lane road, several bridges and tunnels.The report said that Tajik government held a round table in Dushanbe last week to receive financial support from development partners for the project implementation.Note that this road will connect Obigarm with Nurabad bypassing Rogun HPP. The old section of the road as far as filling the Rogun HPP will remain under water.The Asian Development Bank was conceived in the early 1960s as a financial institution that would be Asian in character and foster economic growth and cooperation in one of the poorest regions in the world. ADB assists its members, and partners, by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development. The Bank is composed of 67 members, 48 of which are from the Asia and Pacific region.The main objective of the Asian Development Bank is to support the economic development of member countries and to help alleviate poverty and improve the living standards of the population. Azerbaijan joined ADB in 1999. ADB has approved a $ 4.61 billion loan, guarantee, grant and technical assistance for the country since then. In 2004, the Bank's local representative office was opened in the country. Azerbaijan hosted the 48th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Bank in 2015.Rogun HPP is the most powerful facility in the cascade of stations on the Vakhsh River and consists of six units, each of which has a capacity of 600 MW. Most of the electricity in Tajikistan is produced at hydropower plants.The country has significant potential in the field of hydropower, which is still little realized. The total volume of hydropower resources is estimated at 527 billion kWh, including 202 billion kWh that are technically possible for use, and 172 billion kWh that are economically feasible for construction.This makes the state one of the most secured by this renewable energy source in the world (eighth place in terms of the absolute potential of production). Among the CIS countries on this indicator, the country is second only to Russia.With the launch of the Rogun HPP, Tajikistan has approached one of its strategic goals - to achieve energy independence.The second unit of the Rogun HPP will be commissioned in 2019. Santa visits remote villages Arts & Entertainment Wed, 23 Jan 2019 17:17:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAll the magic of Christmas comes alive when Santa Claus gets ready for his trip.On Christmas Eve Santa travels all over the world on a sleigh pulled by reindeer and delivers toys to children.YARAT Contemporary Art Space invites you to enjoy unique event dedicated to our beloved character.The project will be presented at ARTIM Project Space on January 25.During the event Camping Azerbaijan will inform guests about the project.An exhibition of talented photographers Zaur Mirzayev, Elshan Baba, Eldar Akbarov will open as part of the project.The team of Camping Azerbaijan already climbes for the fourth year to the remote areas of northern Azerbaijan, including Guba and Gusar mountain villages, in favor of their Santa Claus project.Beforehand, they collect gifts, toys and games for the children and hand them over dressed up in Santa Claus costumes. The last trip has been documented by Zaur Mirzayev, Elshan Baba and Eldar Akbarov.They captured the colorful, magical moments of joy, excitement and friendship embedded in front of the picturesque mountain landscapes.The event consists of a conversation with the operators of Camping Azerbaijan, informing about their social projects and a presentation of the photo documentation of this year’s "Santa Claus" Project.Among the speakers are representatives of Camping Azerbaijan Elvin Mammadsoy, Tural Omarov.Camping Azerbaijan is an eco-tour agency organizing weekend trips and private tours to the remotest villages, nature areas, high mountainous areas and peaks of the Caucasus. The company was established in 2014. "De/Construction" is a series of events that takes place during the de/installation period at ARTIM. It provides a platform for critical discussion, brainstorming and exchange for young creative people to share and reflect on their body of work with a broader audience.The event starts at 19:00. Admission is free Address: Old City, Boyuk Gala Street 30, 001A Baku to host Intr'l Arts Festival and Contest Arts & Entertainment Wed, 23 Jan 2019 17:07:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaInternational Arts Festival and Contest will be held in Baku.The third Testene Art Baku Festival will be held on March 13-17, Trend Life reported.The event organizers include  the Ministry of Culture, Baku Central Cultural Department, Testene Art Association (Italy), music school No. 3 named after Jovdad Hajiyev.The competition will be held in the following nominations: vocal, instrumental performance, dance, theater, folklore, decorative arts, folk musical instruments, as well as fashion and design.The festival will feature contests in several nominations and age groups: 4-8 years, 9-12 years, 13-16 years, 17-19 years, 20 years and older.Master classes for piano and violin, as well as visual arts will be held.The jury will include cultural and art workers from Russia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Israel and Italy.Winner of the Grand Prix for vocalists will be presented a special song composed  by the People's Artist of Russia Viktor Pelenyagre.Testene Art Baku Festival, held for the first time in 2016, brining  together  a great number of participants from different countries.The performance of young performers from Azerbaijan caused the jury's interest.After winning the Grand Prix, Nijat Pelengov  (balaban) successfully represented  Azerbaijan  at the contest in Italy. Azerbaijan, Georgia eye cultural cooperation Arts & Entertainment Wed, 23 Jan 2019 16:57:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaGeorgian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Zurab Pataradze has met with the Culture Minister Abulfaz Garayev.The parties expressed the hope that active cooperation in the field of culture will continue in the future.They stressed that achievements in the field of culture are based on good neighborly relations between countries. Further plans for cooperation were also discussed.An agreement was reached on holding the Days of Georgian Culture in Azerbaijan and the Days of Azerbaijani Culture in Azerbaijan this year.Bilateral diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Georgia  are manifested in the various fields since 1992.Cultural relations between the two countries are on a high level. Many art projects are implemented as part of the cooperation.At the same time  two countries broadly cooperate in regional energy development, transportation and economic partnership projects such as Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC), Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway (BTK), the TRACECA, and the BSEC.Georgian exports to Azerbaijan include cement, locomotives and other railway vehicles, mineral and chemical fertilizers, mineral waters, strong drinks, glass and glass wares, and pharmaceuticals, among other things.Azerbaijani mainly exports to Georgia oil and petroleum products, natural gas, electricity, plastic, cement, anhydrite and gypsum binders. Curricula in Azerbaijan must be adapted to labor market requirements - confederation Business Wed, 23 Jan 2019 16:45:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Azerbaijan Entrepreneurs’ Confederation is interested in increasing the number of businessmen among young people, President of the confederation Mammad Musayev said, Trend reports.He was speaking at the conference “Youth Employment: Views, Challenges and Perspectives of Employers.”He said that favorable conditions have been created in Azerbaijan for entrepreneurs.Musayev added that youth employment is a part of total employment in Azerbaijan.“Without high-quality secondary, vocational and higher education, it is impossible to talk about decent jobs for young people,” he said. “Therefore, it is necessary to improve curricula so that they meet the requirements of the labor market.” Turkey’s Basaksehir transfer Demba Ba on loan Sports Wed, 23 Jan 2019 16:27:00 +0400 By  Azertac The leader of Turkey’s top tier football league Medipol Basaksehir transferred Senegalese forward Demba Ba on loan, the Turkish club announced on Tuesday, according to Anadolu Agency.Turkish club transferred 33-year-old footballer on loan from China's Shanghai Greenland Shenhua for the second half of the season.Forward Ba will play for Basaksehir until June 2019.Senegalese forward returned to Turkey from China to play for the current league leader after playing for Turkish football clubs Besiktas and Goztepe before. President Aliyev meets SUEZ Executive Vice-President for International Development Politics Wed, 23 Jan 2019 16:21:00 +0400 By  TrendPresident of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with Executive Vice-President of SUEZ for International Development Eric Ghebali in Davos.Ghebali hailed the SUEZ’s activities in water infrastructure development in Azerbaijan, and its successful cooperation with the country.He expressed the company’s keenness to further expand cooperation with Azerbaijan.President Ilham Aliyev emphasized the importance of the work done as part of the collaboration with SUEZ, saying that Azerbaijan’s cooperation with the company makes a significant contribution to further improving water infrastructure in the country. Mick Schumacher reportedly signs with Ferrari Driver Academy Sports Wed, 23 Jan 2019 16:10:00 +0400 By  Azertac Mick Schumacher, son of legendary Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher, has reportedly inked a deal with Ferrari to join its talent program, the Ferrari Driver Academy, which aims to develop drivers worthy of driving for its prestigious F1 team, according to The Drive.Reports of the deal first surfaced in December, when Motorsport Italy alleged that both Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG were eyeing Mick as a potential star driver of tomorrow. Of the two, Mick reportedly had a preference for Ferrari, which BBC reports has turned into a contract with the organization. This deal reportedly will give Mick two tests with Scuderia Ferrari during the 2019 Formula 1 season in its new car, which will be revealed on Feb. 15.Notable alumni of the Ferrari Driver Academy include F1 podium finishers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, both of whom will drive for Racing Point F1 in 2019. Jules Bianchi was a member of the program before his ultimately fatal crash in 2014, as was his godson Charles Leclerc, who was promoted the Scuderia before the end of 2018. This year`s Alfa Romeo Sauber driver Antonio Giovinazzi, returning after two Grands Prix with the team in early 2017, is also a member of the Academy. Nine investment projects for $ 28.2 mln implemented in Kyrgyzstan in 2018 World news Wed, 23 Jan 2019 15:59:00 +0400 By  TrendAt least 9 investment projects for $ 28.2 million have started working in Kyrgyzstan in 2018. The Director of the Agency for the Promotion and Protection of Investments Adilbekuulu Shumkarbek informed at a press conference, Trend reports referring to to him, thanks to the projects, 400 jobs were created and 3 million soms in taxes were paid.Most of the investment came from China. There are projects with investors from Uzbekistan, Turkey and India.«The agency has been working since 2014, and today’s results are only the first. Implementation of investment projects takes a lot of time. For example, we are currently working on 21 projects. We expect to launch seven of them in 2019. They are at the construction stage now,» Adilbek uulu Shumkarbek told. Georgia PM, Swiss Federal Councillor discuss bilateral relations World news Wed, 23 Jan 2019 15:41:00 +0400 By  TrendPrime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze and member of the Federal Council of Switzerland, Ignazio Cassis have discussed bilateral relations between the two countries today at Davos, Trend reports referring to Bakhtadze has also discussed education reforms in Georgia with Cassis, who is the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs at the Federal Council of Switzerland.The parties have emphasised the importance of human capital development which is the major goal of the education reforms planned by the Georgian government. Tokyo says signing peace treaty with Russia will take some time World news Wed, 23 Jan 2019 15:35:00 +0400 By  TrendSigning a peace treaty between Japan and Russia is not an easy problem that can be solved just after several rounds of talks, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday, Trend reports referring to TASS."This is not such an easy problem, which can be solved immediately after several rounds of negotiations," Suga stressed, signaling that concluding a peace treaty with Russia will take certain time.In comments on Tuesday’s meeting in Moscow between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin, he emphasized that the two leaders managed to "hold constructive talks on various spheres" of bilateral relations. "We believe that this was an excellent start of 2019 for Japanese-Russian [relations]," he noted.Putin and Abe held talks in Moscow on Tuesday, which became their 25th meeting, and confirmed their intention to establish and develop mutually beneficial relations. The talks, which lasted for more than three hours, were held in a very business-like and constructive atmosphere, traditionally focusing on the prospects of extending trade and investment ties, Putin said.One of priority issues discussed at the talks was the signing of a peace treaty between Russia and Japan. The Russian leader confirmed Moscow’s intention to build the negotiation process on this issue based on the Soviet-Japanese declaration signed in 1956.For decades, Moscow and Tokyo have been negotiating a peace treaty after World War II. The main stumbling block is the status of the Southern part of the Kuril Islands. After World War II, the whole archipelago became part of the Soviet Union. However, Tokyo disputes Russian claims over Iturup, Kunashir and Shikotan islands as well as a number of smaller uninhabited islands called the Habomai Islands in Japan. Moscow has stated many times that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands cannot be called into question. Russia climbs to 24th spot in world’s best countries ranking World news Wed, 23 Jan 2019 15:24:00 +0400 By  TrendRussia has climbed two spots to be ranked 24th in the 2018 Best Countries report published by the U.S. News & World Report magazine on Wednesday, Trend reports referring to TASS.The ranking evaluates 80 countries according to nine criteria: development of tourism sector, innovations, social sphere, culture, economic growth rate, openness for business, quality of life and also power and influence on the global arena and historical heritage.Switzerland has been named the best country in the world, followed by Japan, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia, which outpaced the United States.The worst countries in the world, according to the ranking, are Angola (78), Iran (79) and Iraq (80). The list also includes Latvia (55), Ukraine (65), Kazakhstan (68) and Belarus (73).Russia is number one in the power ranking, no change from the previous year. The United States is named "the world’s most dominant economic and military power," while China is ranked third.The ranking is a project of the U.S. News & World Report, in partnership with BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. It is based on the results of an opinion poll, which questioned nearly 21,000 people from around the world, including representatives of business elites and ordinary citizens. Kazakh tenge down against US dollar World news Wed, 23 Jan 2019 15:11:00 +0400 By  TrendThe weighted average US dollar rate in the morning session of the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE) on Jan. 23 amounted to 378.42 tenge, Trend reports citing the Kazakh media.Thus, the national currency of Kazakhstan has depreciated by 0.69 tenge against the US dollar compared to the morning session of Jan. 22 (377.73 tenge per US dollar).At today's morning trading session of the US dollar, the minimum rate was 378.1 tenge per US dollar and the maximum rate was 378.8 tenge, while the closing rate was 378.75 tenge per dollar.The trading volume amounted to $74.95 million, while the number of currency transactions totaled 144.Meanwhile, the official rate by the National Bank of Kazakhstan on Jan. 23 is 378.14 tenge per US dollar. In the exchange offices of Astana and Almaty, the maximum selling rate of the US currency is 381 tenge. Turkmen envoy presents credentials to president of Philippines World news Wed, 23 Jan 2019 14:59:00 +0400 By  TrendTurkmen Ambassador to the Philippines (with residence in Tokyo) Gurbanmamet Elyasov has presented his credentials to President of the Philippines Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Trend reports with reference to the Turkmen Foreign Ministry Jan. 23.Duterte noted the importance of developing relations with Turkmenistan.In December 2017, political consultations between Turkmenistan and the Philippines were held in Ashgabat. The delegation from Manila was headed by the Director General of the Office of Middle East and African Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines Hjayceelyn Quintana.Touching upon the issues of intensification of trade and economic relations, the parties expressed interest in the development of cooperation in the fields of agriculture and food industry.In addition, the sides exchanged views on the mutual import and export potential, on the improvement of the legal framework and the development of cooperation in the fields of education, sports and tourism. Putin, Abe make no breakthrough in peace treaty talks World news Wed, 23 Jan 2019 14:42:00 +0400 By  TrendRussian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday failed to reach a major consensus on decades-old territorial disputes that have mired peace treaty talks, Trend reported citing Xinhua.At a news briefing following their 25th meeting in Moscow, Putin said Russia and Japan have "meticulous work ahead" on creating conditions for reaching a peace treaty."We have once again confirmed our interest in signing this document ... The solution will have to be acceptable for the peoples of Russia and Japan," he told reporters.Abe said at the briefing that he and Putin discussed the peace treaty issue "without hiding anything from each other.""President Putin and I salute the start of concrete talks between our foreign ministers last week ... The discussions were frank and serious," he said.Abe said the two leaders agreed to continue joint work to look for a mutually acceptable solution.Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono held the first round of negotiations on Jan. 14 in Moscow and they reported barren results to Putin and Abe during Tuesday's meeting.Lavrov and Kono will hold the next round of talks on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference next month, according to Abe."To settle the issue unsolved for more than 70 years after the end of World War II is difficult, but we have to do it," the Japanese leader said.Russia and Japan have not signed a post-World War II peace treaty due to their rivaling claims over four Pacific islands, which are known as the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.The Soviet army took the four islands in the final days of World War II. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, they were incorporated into Russia.According to a joint declaration signed in 1956, the then Soviet Union agreed to return two of the islands provided a bilateral peace treaty is signed, while Japan refused to sign such an agreement, insisting on the return of all four islands.However, Moscow has recently toughened its stance, demanding that the peace treaty talks be based on Japan's full recognition of the aftermath of World War II, including Russian sovereignty over all the disputed islands.Last week, Lavrov told visiting Kono that "the sovereignty over the four islands is not subject to discussion. They are Russian territory." The two top diplomats avoided a joint press conference."The parties in this difficult situation will save faces and maintain a positive attitude. But one should not expect any significant progress in the dialogue," said Kristina Voda, research fellow of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations under the Russian Academy of Sciences.She believes that if Russia and Japan stick to their fundamental positions, the problem will remain without a solution."Positions are too different. They are enshrined in legislation and rooted in the public consciousness of both countries," she said.The negotiations have reached an impasse and the space for compromise is very small, said Valery Kistanov, head of the Center for Japanese Studies at the Far Eastern Studies Institute under the Russian Academy of Sciences.According to Putin, Russia-Japan trade increased 18 percent to nearly 20 billion U.S. dollars in the January-November period of last year."It will be possible, in the coming years, to set a goal to increase Russia-Japan trade by at least 50 percent to 30 billion U.S. dollars," Putin said at Tuesday's briefing.Voda said Russia's desire to do business with Japan is pulling the two countries together despite all the rifts."The Russian side is seeking new resources and investment in its Far East. Russia needs investment and technology from Japan, China and South Korea," she said.Putin and Abe also agreed on Tuesday to continue efforts to organize joint economic activities on the disputed islands in five spheres -- aquaculture, greenhouses, wind energy, tourism and waste processing.They asked interested parties and organizations to launch joint economic activities there as soon as possible.But Kistanov has doubts over the future of such partnership as "everything depends on the issue of what legal basis will be used."The Japanese are not willing to act on the basis of Russian legislation since this would mean Japan's indirect recognition of Russian sovereignty over the islands, he said, adding that the Russians face a similar issue. Iranian MP discloses amount to be repaid by businessmen through loans World news Wed, 23 Jan 2019 14:36:00 +0400 By  TrendAbout $10.5 billion, which has been repaid in the form of loans to businessmen in Iran, has not been returned yet, Mohammad Reza Puribrahimi, member of the Iranian parliament's economic commission, said.The elimination of obstacles in production has been indicated in the Article 20 of the Trade Act, Puribrahimi added, Trend reports referring to ISNA.No difference was indicated between big and small companies, export and non-export companies, foreign currency buyers and those who do not import any product or raw materials. Such a decision has a shortcoming. There must be a difference, Puribrahimi added.The assistance must be rendered to those who do not violate the law and invest in the export, he said.Though the decisions were made to return the foreign currency obtained from the export of goods via the NIMA system, exporters disagree with the measures taken to return the currency via this system because the price of the foreign currency in the black market is higher than the price announced in the NIMA system. Jagland admits inaction of Council of Europe in solving Azerbaijani refugees' issue Politics Wed, 23 Jan 2019 14:23:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Council of Europe has no mechanisms and means to solve the Azerbaijani refugees’ problem, which is very acute, Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland said, Trend reports.Jagland was answering a question of Chairman of the Azerbaijani Parliament’s Committee for Culture Rafael Huseynov during the PACE winter session in Strasbourg, France.Huseynov told Jagland that he didn’t take any practical steps to resolve the problem of more than one million Azerbaijani refugees while being a secretary general.Huseynov added that instead of using general words and shifting the responsibility to the OSCE, Jagland could take specific steps taking advantage of his high position. Huseynov asked whether Jagland felt responsible for not taking those actions.Jagland answered that he doesn’t have any means to solve this problem. He said if he applied to the OSCE or the UN, to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees they would say the same.Jagland said he doesn’t have such a mandate, adding that he has another mandate and is trying to implement it.Jagland said he doesn’t see any possibility for the Council of Europe to solve the refugee problem mentioned by Huseynov.Of course, this is a terrible situation for those who found themselves in it, Jagland added.The PACE winter session will continue until January 25.A delegation headed by Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for International and Inter-Parliamentary Ties Samad Seyidov included Head of the Committee for Culture Rafael Huseynov, MPs Sabir Hajiyev, Ganira Pashayeva, Ulviya Aghayeva, Sevinj Fataliyeva, Elshad Hasanov, Fazil Mustafa, Asim Mollazade, Chingiz Ganizade, Sahiba Gafarova and Nagif Hamzayev.Over one million Azerbaijanis became refugees and IDPs as a result of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.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. President Aliyev meets head of VTB Bank in Davos Politics Wed, 23 Jan 2019 14:15:00 +0400 By  TrendPresident of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with President and Chairman of VTB Bank Management Board Andrey Kostin in Davos.Azerbaijan’s successful cooperation with VTB Bank, and the bank’s fruitful activity in the country was hailed at the meeting.The sides emphasized the importance of the development of the banking sector in Azerbaijan, the measures taken in this area in order to create a more favorable environment for the private sector, and exchanged views on cooperation prospects. PACE co-rapporteurs welcome dropping of new criminal proceedings against Mehman Huseynov Politics Wed, 23 Jan 2019 14:15:00 +0400 By  TrendThe co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Azerbaijan, Sir Roger Gale (United Kingdom, EC) and Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC), have expressed their approval at the decision of the General Prosecutor’s Office in Azerbaijan to terminate a new criminal case against blogger Mehman Huseynov, Trend reports citing a statement on the Council of Europe’s website.The co-rapporteurs have called on the Azerbaijani authorities to review this case as a matter of absolute priority.“It’s a small but significant step in the right direction,” the co-rapporteurs said.The criminal case against Mehman Huseynov has been terminated upon recommendations of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. Oil market no longer free, here is why Business Wed, 23 Jan 2019 14:01:00 +0400 By  TrendOil prices are likely to remain in range of $55-$75 per barrel in 2019, Spencer Welch, director of the oil markets and downstream team in the London-based IHS Markit told Trend.He noted that if crude prices start to rise, then OPEC will reduce production cuts, if prices drop too low then the US will feel that they are able to increase sanctions on Iran."The oil market is no longer a free market, because we have two separate groups (OPEC + allies & US administration) setting policy based on oil price, both are trying to control price in an acceptable range. US administration wants tough sanctions on Iran but doesn’t want price going too high because this is not good for votes. OPEC wants to maximize production but is concerned if price drops below $60 per barrel," said Welch.So, according to the expert, the key to 2019 oil markets is to watch are three things: the policy decisions by these two groups and also US production growth, particularly in 2H19 as new pipelines come on-stream to help get Permian crude to US Geological Survey (USGC) for export.The Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects that US crude oil production will average 10.9 million b/d in 2018, up from 9.4 million b/d in 2017, and will average 12.1 million b/d in 2019.OPEC and non-OPEC producers reached an agreement in December 2016 to curtail oil output jointly and ease a global glut after more than two years of low prices. OPEC agreed to slash the output by 1.2 million barrels per day from January 1.Non-OPEC oil producers such as Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, Sudan, and South Sudan agreed to reduce output by 558,000 barrels per day starting from January 1, 2017.OPEC and its partners decided to extend its production cuts till the end of 2018 in Vienna on November 30, as the oil cartel and its allies step up their attempt to end a three-year supply glut that has savaged crude prices and the global energy industry.The 5th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting was held in Vienna, Austria, on December 7, 2018.The meeting participants decided to adjust the overall production by 1.2 million barrels per day, effective as of January 2019 for an initial period of six months. The contributions from OPEC and the voluntary contributions from non-OPEC participating countries of the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ will correspond to 0.8 million barrels per day (2.5 percent), and 0.4 million barrels per day (2 percent), respectively. Road to Iran leading Armenia to US sanctions World news Wed, 23 Jan 2019 13:45:00 +0400 By  TrendOn Feb. 13-14, Poland, at the initiative of the US, is scheduled to host an international summit on the Middle East, which in diplomatic circles has already been called “anti-Iranian.”International analysts say that the summit will further exacerbate the contradictions between the US and the EU, since a number of European countries won’t want to join Washington’s sanctions against Iran.Moreover, the EU intends to start implementing a number of economic projects that are actually aimed at disrupting the US sanctions policy and will contribute to its violation.As it should have been expected, Armenia, which is ready for anything in search of means to implement its adventurous plans, may become one of the guinea pigs for disrupting anti-Iran sanctions. The new Yerevan government, striving to use political intrigues between Russia and the West, is eager to put another log on the conflict between Washington and Brussels.In Yerevan, the news of the joint investment program being considered by the EU and the World Bank was perceived as manna from heaven. During the next 11 years, until 2030, the program is considering the allocation of 13 billion euros to the six countries participating in the EU Eastern Partnership program. Sensing the smell of money, Yerevan requested 700 million euros, which allegedly will be allocated for construction of the North-South transport corridor, thereby directly violating the US sanctions against Iran.Everything has long been set in the projects of Yerevan dreamers, starting from the construction of roads to Iran and ending with the modernization of the Meghri border crossing point. It would be worth emphasizing that the projects included in the investment program of the EU and the World Bank actually provide for the modernization of the infrastructure from Iran to Europe, and this, of course, is taking quite scandalous nature and completely contradicts the US sanctions policy.Yerevan, feeling that the walls were closing in, even started talking about the formation of a certain Iran-Armenia-Georgia “geopolitical axis”.“Street geopolitical analysts of Yerevan” called their dreams “an important and significant direction for Armenia, which makes it possible to show flexibility and initiative in regional politics.” It is interesting that the day after his appointment as a prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan held an informal meeting with Prime Minister of Georgia. Intensification of contacts in the Iranian direction is also expected, and Yerevan started to talk about the organization of Pashinyan’s visit to Iran more often.However, sober-minded international policy experts point out that Brussels desires to get a new bargaining chip in its confrontation with Washington rather than implementing the European modernization program of a road from Iran. There are opinions that the project by the EU and the World Bank on financing construction of the road to Iran may ultimately bring Armenia under US sanctions.Elkhan Alasgarov, PhD, Head of Baku Networkhttp://bakunetwork.comJoin us in Twitter and on Facebook channel: Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia discuss co-op in economy and education Politics Wed, 23 Jan 2019 13:38:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov met with the delegation of the Interparliamentary Friendship Group with Azerbaijan in the Shura Council of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia led by Dr. Fayez bin Abdullah bin Ali Al-Shihri, Trend reports referring to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.Expressing his contentment with the development of relations in all spheres between Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia, Mammadyarov underlined the importance of increasing efforts for further deepening of economic relations.Expressing their satisfaction over the visit to Azerbaijan, the guests highlighted the necessity of upgrading the relations to the level of strategic partnership. To this end, the sides noted the importance of further strengthening of cooperation ties in the fields of economy and education.The sides also highly appreciated the activity of interparliamentary friendship groups in the development of bilateral friendly relations.Dr. Fayez bin Abdullah bin Ali Al-Shihri said that the position of Saudi Arabia in the settlement of Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains unchanged and that the conflict should be resolved on the basis of the fundamental principles of international law, in particular, in accordance with the principles of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.At the meeting the sides also exchanged their views on other issues of mutual interest. OSCE PA President welcomes dropping of new criminal proceedings against Mehman Huseynov Politics Wed, 23 Jan 2019 13:26:00 +0400 By  TrendOSCE Parliamentary Assembly President George Tsereteli (MP, Georgia) has welcomed reports from Azerbaijan that the General Prosecutor’s Office has terminated a criminal case against blogger Mehman Huseynov, Trend reports citing a statement published on OSCE’s website.“I am happy that the new charges against Mr. Huseynov have been dropped and that he can once again look forward to his expected release date in early March,” President Tsereteli said. “When I visited Mr. Huseynov and observed his prison conditions just under a year ago, I expressed hope that he would be released soon. Therefore, the initiation of new charges against him in December was a cause for deep concern and I am relieved that these criminal proceedings have been terminated.”Tsereteli said he has followed Huseynov’s case closely and regularly raised it in his discussions with parliamentary colleagues and Azerbaijani authorities. OSCE PA president said he is pleased that Azerbaijan’s president has paid personal attention to this case.Tsereteli added that democratic reforms in Azerbaijan, particularly on freedom of the media and on creating conditions to maximize the contribution of civil society, should continue.The criminal case against Mehman Huseynov has been terminated upon recommendations of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. President Aliyev meets Procter&Gamble's president of Europe Selling&Market Operations ... Politics Wed, 23 Jan 2019 13:17:00 +0400 By  TrendPresident of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with President of Europe Selling & Market Operations at Procter & Gamble Loic Tassel in Davos.Tassel hailed the positive results of economic reforms carried out in Azerbaijan in recent years. He noted that the business environment and conditions created for investors in Azerbaijan encourage Procter & Gamble to expand its activities like other companies in the country.Pointing to the activities of Procter & Gamble in Azerbaijan, Loic Tassel noted that the company is not only engaged in the sale of consumer goods, but also significantly contributes to the development of the advertising market in the country.“The company, which is the largest advertiser in Azerbaijan’s TV space, also carries out its social responsibility mission by sponsoring various social projects, sporting competitions and other support measures,” he said.Tassel noted that Procter & Gamble is keen to expand its activity in the region by taking use of emerging business environment.“By expanding its activity in Baku, the company is interested in increasing its sale in Middle Asia and other regional countries. The current business environment in Azerbaijan has led the company to choose Baku as a regional center.”President Ilham Aliyev highlighted the business environment created in Azerbaijan, as well as the reforms carried out in customs, tax and other areas. The head of state described the company’s decisions on expanding its activities in Azerbaijan as right ones.President Ilham Aliyev noted that the government of Azerbaijan will continue supporting investors and entrepreneurs. Iran’s ban on clothes imports continues World news Wed, 23 Jan 2019 13:17:00 +0400 By  TrendIran continues the import ban on clothes, shoes and other related items in textile industry due to foreign currency limitations.“The ban on import of clothes, shoes and other textile products that are currently not necessary will strongly remain in its place,” said Director General of Textile and Clothing Office of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade Afsaneh Mehrabi, Trend reports citing SNN.Iran imposed an import ban on 1,339 unnecessary products in order to protect domestic producers and manage the outflow of currency as the US sanctions hit the country. Therefore, the products are to be produced domestically instead. The banned items include clothes, sugar, cars, shoes, makeup and pharmaceuticals.The officials indicate that during past nine months of current Iranian year (started March 21, 2018), 4.600 tons of clothes worth $48 million were exported and the clothes exports had a 24 percent rise in value and a 59 percent increase in volume. Turkey to launch new satellite into orbit World news Wed, 23 Jan 2019 12:50:00 +0400 By  TrendTurkey will launch a new satellite, KILICSAT, into orbit, Trend reports with reference to the Turkish media.The satellite launch project is being developed by the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) of Turkey with the support of the Turkish defense industry company Aselsan.The satellite's launch into orbit will take place in the second half of 2021.The first Turkish reconnaissance satellite RASAT was launched in 2011. Turkey launched the Gokturk 2 satellite from the Chinese Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on December 18, 2012. The satellite is used for defense purposes.Turkish domestic satellite Turksat 5A will be placed into orbit in 2020. Polyclinics in Azerbaijan to join compulsory health insurance system Business Wed, 23 Jan 2019 12:45:00 +0400 By  TrendPolyclinics in Azerbaijan will work under the system of compulsory medical insurance and no polyclinic or clinic will be left out of this system, Zaur Aliyev, chairman of the State Agency for Mandatory Health Insurance, told Trend on Jan. 22.According to him, once the system is fully applied, polyclinics will keep providing the same services to the population that they provided earlier. Ambassador: Turkey feels Azerbaijan’s sincere, powerful support Politics Wed, 23 Jan 2019 12:23:00 +0400 By  TrendTurkey feels Azerbaijan’s sincere and powerful support in all areas, Turkish ambassador to Azerbaijan Erkan Ozoral told Trend.The ambassador stressed that 100 years ago, the Turks, without any doubt, helped their Azerbaijani brothers, and the Islamic Army of the Caucasus helped liberate Baku from occupation."Today, Turkey also feels Azerbaijan’s sincere and powerful support in all areas," he added."The establishment of the Turkey-Azerbaijan relations based on historical brotherhood and friendship at the level of strategic partnership is our source of joy and pride," Ozoral said.The diplomat added that this mutual support is felt in all areas, including the military, political, humanitarian, economic and cultural areas."Our countries protect each other’s interests in international organizations as their own interests,” he said. “For example, it is impossible to forget Azerbaijan’s support rendered to Turkey in the Council of Europe, as well as Turkey’s support to Azerbaijan in various issues."Ozoral stressed that the 100th anniversary of the Islamic Army of the Caucasus was solemnly celebrated in 2018 through joint events."Since Azerbaijan restored independence up until now, we have brought our ties to a level that will be exemplary in all areas thanks to joint efforts," the ambassador said.“The bilateral relations also have had a positive effect on the stability, welfare and development of the region,” he added.Ozoral said that today it is impossible to imagine Europe’s energy security, as well as the security of the region without Turkey and Azerbaijan."The joint large-scale energy and transportation projects are of great importance not only for the region," he said. “TANAP will ensure energy security and diversification of Europe’s energy sources. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway has opened a new era in the development of cargo transportation, which will allow the countries located along the 'One Belt, One Road' to get benefits."The diplomat also said intensive meetings are held and visits are made at all levels between Turkey and Azerbaijan."We held the 7th meeting of the Azerbaijan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council in April 2018," the ambassador added. Biodiesel production to be launched in Azerbaijan Business Wed, 23 Jan 2019 12:18:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Leman MammadovaThe production of biodiesel will be launched in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev said at an expanded meeting of the board of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Economy on January 22, Trend reported.The minister stressed that the corresponding enterprise has already become a resident of the Balakhani Industrial Park. The company will produce biodiesel by recycling the used tires.The planned amount of investments is expected to reach three million manats. Twenty new jobs will be created there.Mustafayev emphasized that 14 residents have been registered in the industrial park, who have invested 37.3 million manats in their enterprises. Seven of 14 enterprises began to operate in the industrial park. The total staff of these enterprises is 400 people. Their number will be increased to 650 thanks to the implementation of new projects.The minister also added that in connection with the growing number of residents, the territory of the industrial park was expanded by 1.3 hectares and now it reaches 8.3 hectares.The Balakhani Industrial Park was established upon Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s order at the end of 2011. Investors have been exempt from various taxes and customs duties for seven years in the Balakhani Industrial Park as in other industrial parks.Establishment of industrial parks with modern production infrastructure envisages sustainable development of Azerbaijan's non-oil sector, increasing the export capability of the country's economy, as well as the production of competitive, import-substituting products, providing employment of local population.At present, Pirallahi Industrial Park, Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park, Balakhani Industrial Park, Mingachevir Industrial Park and Garadagh Industrial Park are operating in the country.Biodiesel (diesel biofuel)  is an alternative fuel for diesel engines produced from natural fats and oils. The raw materials used are mainly vegetable oils, for example, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, palm oil.Biodiesel is meant to be used in standard diesel engines and is thus distinct from the vegetable and waste oils used to fuel converted diesel engines. Biodiesel can be used alone, or blended with petrodiesel. Biodiesel can also be used as a low carbon alternative to heating oil.Biodiesel is used instead of conventional diesel fuel and thereby reduces dependence on combustible minerals.Biodiesel has the following advantages. Firstly, biofuel production is cheaper compared to petroleum fuel. Then its versatility comes, that is, it is suitable for all car engines. At the same time, biodiesel is environmentally friendly. The use of this type of fuel reduces the carbon dioxide emissions by 5 percent. In the combustion products of biodiesel there is significantly less sulfur, carbon monoxide and soot. Furthermore, it protects engine. Despite the minimum percentage of sulfur, this fuel does not lose its active lubricating properties, due to the oxygen it contains. Studies have shown that the service life of the engine and fuel pump, when using biodiesel, is increased by 60 percent. In addition, biodiesel has resistance to ignition. The flash point of biofuels is higher than that of gasoline - more than 100 ° C.The best raw material for the manufacture of biodiesel is rapeseed oil, as it gives the highest percentage of the finished product yield – 96 percent per 1 ton of oil. Another advantage of rape is that it can be planted with other agricultural crops, as it has a positive effect on their yield. Any other vegetable or animal oils or fats are also suitable. The quality of the finished product depends on the feedstock. Palm oil gives the greatest caloric content, but the fuel obtained from it quickly freezes at low temperatures. Rapeseed oil-based biodiesel, by contrast, has a lower calorie content, but more frost-resistant. Since the main materials for the production of biofuels are agricultural products, it is advisable to choose for it one of the regions with a developed agricultural sector. New personnel appointments in Azerbaijan’s regional culture departments Business Wed, 23 Jan 2019 12:05:00 +0400 By  TrendNew personnel appointments have been made in the regional culture departments of Azerbaijan’s Culture Ministry, Trend reports with reference to the ministry.Head of the Agdash Regional Culture Department Tahir Aliyev has been relieved of his post at his own request.By order of Culture Minister Abulfas Garayev, Ramiz Guliyev, head of the Agstafa Regional Culture Department, has been appointed to this post.By another order of the minister, Deputy Head of Agjabadi Regional Culture Department Vugar Gadirov has been appointed head of the Agstafa Regional Culture Department. Time-frame for launching packaging process at joint Azerbaijani-Russian plant disclosed Business Wed, 23 Jan 2019 11:46:00 +0400 By  TrendThe medicine packaging process will be launched at the joint Azerbaijani-Russian plant in Azerbaijan’s Pirallahi Industrial Park in the first quarter of 2019, Azerbaijani Minister of Economy Shahin Mustafayev said on Jan. 22.Mustafayev made the remarks in Baku at an expanded meeting of the board of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Economy, Trend reports.“The enterprises for the production of various pharmaceutical products worth $100 million are being constructed in the Pirallahi Industrial Park,” he said.Besides the Azerbaijani-Russian plant, a syringe production plant is expected to open in the first quarter of the year. The products of the plant will be supplied not only to domestic market, but also to the foreign markets.“Another resident - Absheron Saffron Ltd, which will process saffron and produce various saffron products, will appear in the Pirallahi Industrial Park this month,” he said. “Fifty new jobs will be created there.”The Pirallahi Industrial Park was established upon the Azerbaijani president’s order in September 2016. Investors have been exempt from various taxes and customs duties for seven years in the Pirallahi Industrial Park, as in other industrial parks.Five residents operate in the Pirallahi Industrial Park, namely, IFFA company, the manufacturer of baby diapers, Hayat Pharm (joint Azerbaijani-Russian company), Diamed Co, Caspian Pharmed (joint Azerbaijani-Iranian company).