Today.Az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside Today.Az Georgia, NATO hold cyber security training World news Thu, 18 Dec 2014 17:52:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevThe Georgian Defense Ministry organized training on cyber security at its professional development center on December 17.The main objective of the exercises was to deepen the cooperation on cyber security between the governing and non-governing bodies of Georgia.Gocha Ratiani, Georgia's Senior Deputy Defense Minister, Andria Gochiridze, Director of Georgia's Cyber Security Bureau and Svein Amundsen, Representative of the NATO Liaison Office, attended the training, noting the significance of improving the cyber security in Georgia. They also underlined the importance of coordinating the activity on cyber security between the governing and non-governing bodies.Earlier in September 2014, NATO offered Georgia a Substantial Package, aiming to develop Georgia’s defensive capacity, hold joint training and exercises, provide intensive liaison and improved interoperability opportunities.Georgia earlier revealed its willingness to join the post-2014 follow-on Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan to train, advise and assist the local Afghan National Security Forces after termination of the ISAF mission.NATO support is what Georgia needs amid the recent tense political relations with Russia following the treaty between Russia and its separatist Abkhazia region. Georgian authorities announced the country's Euro-Atlantic integration irreversible, as the western forces promise sustainable and impartial backing to the South Caucasus nation. President Aliyev receives Sec. Gen. of Socialist Int'l Politics Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:14:00 +0400 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Secretary General of the Socialist International Luis Ayala.Secretary General of the Socialist International Luis Ayala said he is pleased to be visiting Azerbaijan to attend the 25th jubilee conference of the Azerbaijani Social Democratic Party. He said he is deeply impressed by great development processes that have taken place in the country since his last visit.President Ilham Aliyev spoke of development in all areas in Azerbaijan.The parties discussed international cooperation prospects./AzerNews/ Gov't reviews new plan to boost defense industry Politics Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:30:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevThe Defense Industry Ministry has submitted a plan to the government on the establishment of new production facilities and purchasing of manufacturing technologies.Yaver Jamalov, Defense Industry Minister, said the defense industry in Azerbaijan has considerably developed over the last years."Significant works have been done to provide the army with modern weapons and decreased the external dependence over the recent years," said Jamalov, at an event dedicated to the professional holiday of the defense industry employees, on December 17.Jamalov added that over 50 new production facilities were built between 2007 and 2014. The volume of the overall production outruns the same indicator in 2010 by 2.4 times, according to the minister."Facilities of the Ministry manufactured and delivered mortars, machine guns, unmanned devices "Aerostar" and other defense products," Jamalov said.The production ventures also made capsules, which decreased the dependence on the manufacture of munitions. Moreover, the building of the combat system for AGS-30 automated mortars of 30 millimeters caliber was finished and recommended for mass production. Ammunition for mortars and A-100 night vision sets were also produced, along with the launching of a factory test to make of the sniper rifles.Farhad Jafarguliyev, Director General of Aggregate Production Union, said the Baku machine-building factory is now realizing the program of the modernization of two various combat systems. He added that the products, manufactured in the factory, are exported to Russia and other countries.Mubariz Aghayev, Director General of Dalga Scientific Production Center, said repair works are currently being carried out on 37 weapons at the facility. The facility also masters the production of two defense systems and utilizes the unserviceable weapons.Azerbaijan is developing its defense industry at a high pace. It has showcased different domestically-made military equipment in many exhibitions worldwide. The country displayed 168 types of defense products at the latest international defense industry exhibition ADEX-2014 in Baku on September 11- 13.Azerbaijan is the top country in the South Caucasus for its military expenditure. The country's military budget for the next year is $5 billion, while about $3.8 billion was allocated to military in 2014.Global Firepower Index 2014 ranked Azerbaijan 50th among 106 countries by noting that the country can call upon hundreds of thousands of reserves. New airport to appear on Iran-Azerbaijan border Society Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:12:00 +0400 Iran will construct a new airport on the border with Azerbaijan, on the territory of Aras free economic zone (FEZ), Managing Director of ‘Aras’ FEZ Mohsen Khadem Arab-Baghi said.He said it is planned to construct the new airport in two years, adding that it will cover an area of 300 hectares, Mehr News agency reported.“The license has already been received for the construction of the airport which is important for the development of the FEZ infrastructure,” Arab-Baghi said.“Funds for its construction have already been allocated,” he said. “The airport will be able to receive large passenger and cargo aircraft.”‘Aras’ FEZ that was created in Iran nine years ago, covers an area of 53,000 hectares. Its territory stretches from the city of Julfa to the villages of Khudaferin, Jananlu and Gulubeyli. ‘Aras’ FEZ covers an area of 21,000 hectares in the city of Julfa. /Trend/ Electricity, gas tariffs may rise in Armenia World news Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:30:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevDepreciation of Armenia's national currency will inevitably lead to an increase in the electricity tariffs, according to Areg Galstyan, Deputy Energy and Natural Resources Minister.Speaking at a press conference in Yerevan on December 17, he said: “What we have witnessed in the past month will have its direct impact on our calculations and approaches.”Galstyan said no measures have been taken to avert the rise in electricity prices, saying: “No one can say anything now. But one thing is clear that the influence will be unavoidable.”The tariff for electricity in Armenia rose twice in the past two years, as the price ran up by 27 percent in July 2013, followed by a 10 percent increase a year later. At present, households in Armenia pay 41.85 drams ($0.09) per kilowatt of electricity.One dollar is now buying 570 drams in Armenia's exchange markets, upsetting the Central Bank's forecasts at around 410-415 drams.Meanwhile, Gazprom Armenia, the company regulating gas operations in the country, may apply to raise gas tariffs in Armenia given the dram's sharp fluctuation.Shushan Sardaryan, Spokesman for Gazprom Armenia, said if the rate of foreign exchanges keeps on climbing in Armenia, causing the gas company to suffer from huge losses, Gazprom Armenia may apply to the relevant bodies to reconsider the tariffs for gas."The company's specialists are conducting daily monitoring of the current financial situation in Armenia. Gazprom Armenia has the right to call for an increase of gas tariffs amid the dram's depreciation against the dollar," he noted.Currently, Gazprom Armenia pays $189 for 1,000 cubic meters of gas.Financial hassle in Armenia is continuing to inflict hard blows on various economic and industrial sectors with the dram's entrance into a free fall the chief factor. Armenia's weakening economy, which greatly depends on Russia's economic skills, promises nothing positive, but a deeper crisis and a simultaneous economic decline with Russia.The Armenian Central Bank urges the commercial banks to sell limited amount of dollars ($1,000 per customer) to the residents, hanging on a hope to forestall the fall of the dram.But every effort by the Armenian government to curb the financial scourge has been fruitless so far, as the experts see no economic prospects in the country where a super market has begun to offer special New Year loans to help the poor people celebrate the holiday. U.S. vows strong support to Georgia's economic reforms World news Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:22:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevThe U.S. government has launched a new five-year project titled "Governing for Growth (G4G) in Georgia" to support Georgia’s economic reforms.The U.S, Agency for International Development officially launched the new $19.3 million project in Tbilisi on December 11.Stephen Haykin, USAID Mission Director, once more emphasized the US government’s strong support for Georgia’s economic development.The G4G was designed to enhance governance in specific business areas, including tax and customs administration, trade facilitation, land registration, electricity trading policy and water resource management."We believe that a quality, inclusive dialogue, and especially a well-informed evidence-based policy making will lead to passing of laws that work more effectively with better compliance”, said Milo Stevanovich, G4G Chief of Party.The G4G will begin in those spheres where the other USAID projects have been left off earlier. The EPI (Economic Prosperity Initiative), HIPP (Hydropower Investment Promotion Project), and HPEP (Hydro Power and Energy Planning) projects boosted Georgia’s competitiveness in energy, agriculture, trading, and manufacturing fields of great significance, as well as improved Georgia’s business environment.The G4G aims to intensify support for Georgian-led reform efforts based on the gains from the previous initiatives. The project will be directed to build a culture of collaborative consultation where policies and laws will benefit from a constructive public input. Bulgaria seeks Azerbaijani investment Business Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:14:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliBulgaria is interested in attracting Azerbaijani investments in different fields, said Emil Kerimov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Bulgaria.He noted that a business-forum aimed on establishing closer business relations between the two countries is planned to be held further. The investment opportunities of the country will also be featured during the forum.The diplomat called agriculture and tourism as the foreground fields for development of cooperation between the two sides.Bulgarian Agriculture Minister visited Azerbaijan in May 2014. The two countries signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of agriculture.“Bulgaria with its great opportunities and experience in this field is a very important country for us. Bulgaria has an experience in specialist training in this field,” he said. “An agreement on cooperation between Ganja Agricultural Academy and Plovdiv Agriculture University has already been signed. As part of the agreement, the two sides are expected to exchange experience with each other. Bulgaria may also export agricultural fertilizers as well as machinery to Azerbaijan.”Tourism is another sphere for cooperation between the two countries. Tourist field in Bulgaria is very developed.The Tourism Ministry is interested in the growing tourist flow. Today, the two countries do not have a direct air flights. However, if the tourist flow grows, the two countries may think about launching the flight, the ambassador added.The potential trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria does not correspond with the existing turnover. For the nine months of this year the trade turnover between them amounted at $123 million, according to the Azerbaijan State Statistics Committee.Generally, Kerimov praised this year in terms of economic relations, calling it productive enough for cooperation.”During the year, many mutual official and business visits, including visits of president, prime-minister, economy, agriculture, education ministers of Bulgaria to Azerbaijan were carried out. This year the Energy and Industry Minister, SOCAR’s head visited Bulgaria,” he stressed.Kerimov added that only this year 10 documents were signed in such areas as environment, banking, education and law-energy.Bulgaria recognized the independence of Azerbaijan on January 14, 1992. The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on June 5, 1992. The embassy of Bulgaria in Azerbaijan was opened in December 1999. First Lady visits Ateshgah Temple Politics Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:53:00 +0400 Azerbaijan`s first lady, chair of the Baku 2015 European Games Organizing Committee Mehriban Aliyeva visited the “Ateshgah Temple” State Historical Architectural Reserve to inspect preparedness of cultural monuments for the Baku 2015 European Games.The “Ateshgah Temple” State Historical Architectural Reserve is located in Surakhani district of Baku and included in the UNESCO`s Preliminary World Heritage List.Chair of the Baku 2015 European Games Organizing Committee Mehriban Aliyeva viewed the Reserve.At the first meeting of the Organizing Committee last February Mehriban Aliyeva noted that “It is of paramount importance that the city of Baku, which will host the European Games, is properly prepared for the Games. Proposals for improvement of the urban infrastructure, development of the transport system, provision of security, optimization of medical services, wide utilization of information and communication facilities and planning of tourism itineraries and cultural programs are being developed by responsible organizations.”First lady Mehriban Aliyeva praised the conditions created at the Reserve./AzerTAc/ Azerbaijani gymnasts shine at Voronin Cup Sports Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:24:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliThe 21st International Artistic Gymnastics Tournament, the Mikhail Voronin Cup, wrapped up in Moscow on December 17.During the two days of the annual event, gymnasts including 87 men and 53 women competed for the medals.Members of the national team Anna Pavlova and Yuliya Inshina, who won a total of six medals, represented Azerbaijan at the tournament.Anna Pavlova gained 51.70 points for her performances and took the third place in the all-around. She also won a bronze medal in the floor exercise, on vault and uneven bars. Both gymnasts stood on the same platform during the balance beam awarding ceremony. Pavlova became the second, and Yuliya Inshina won bronze medal.For the national gymnasts, the Mikhail Voronin Cup became the last event of the outgoing year. Liberation of occupied territories, Azerbaijan’s priority for 2015 Politics Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:55:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaThe main aim of Azerbaijan in 2015 is to fulfill its commitment to liberate the country’s occupied territories with more fighting capacity of the armed forces.Zakir Hasanov, Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister made the remark at a meeting of the leadership of military medical services held at the Central Clinical Hospital of the armed forces on December 17.Hasanov said the officers of medical service are tasked precisely in this direction. He also emphasized the contribution of the leadership of each military-medical establishments in enhancing the combat capability of the army units, Defense Ministry said.Natig Aliyev, Head of the Ministry’s Health Department, noted the importance of the measures implemented by the government and the army over the past year to improve the capabilities of the military personnel and the level of social and living conditions, equipping the military medical facilities with modern technologies, improving the examination and treatment procedures, protecting the health of military personnel and their families and offering health services in accordance with modern standards.The defense minister also answered questions on topical areas of military medicine at the meeting.Then, the defense minister held talks with the military medical staff of faculty of Azerbaijan Medical University and gave instructions and recommendations to them. Exchange rate of AZN compared to world currencies on Dec.18 Business Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:44:00 +0400 The exchange rate of AZN compared to the world currencies and precious metals on Dec.18, according to the Central Bank of Azerbaijan.Currencies and precious metalsDec. 17, 2014Dec. 18, 20141 US dollar1 USD0.78450.78441 euro1 EUR0.98010.96841 Australian dollar1 AUD0.640.63841 ArgentinianPeso1 ARS0.09170.0917100 Belarusian Rubles100 BYR0.00720.00721 Brazilian Real1 BRL0.28650.28891 UAE dirham1 AED0.21360.21361 South African Rand1 ZAR0.06710.0676100 South Korean Won100 KRW0.07160.07111 Czech koruna1 CZK0.03550.03511 Chilean Peso1 CLP0.12640.12721 Chinse Yuan1 CNY0.12670.12631 Danish Krone1 DKK0.13170.13011 Georgian Lari1 GEL0.41990.4111 Hong Kong Dollar1 HKD0.10120.10111 Indian Rupee1 INR0.01230.01241 British pound sterling1 GBP1.23391.223100 Indonesian rupiah100 IDR0.00620.0062100 Iranian rials100 IRR0.00290.00291 Swedish Krona1 SEK0.10270.10231 Swiss Franc1 CHF0.81610.80631 Israeli Shekel1 ILS0.20110.19961 Canadian Dollar1 CAD0.67390.67431 Kuwaiti Dinar1 KWD2.68812.6841 Kazakhstan Tenge1 KZT0.00430.00431 Kyrgyz Som1 KGS0.01360.01361 Lithuanian Litas1 LTL0.28390.2804100 Lebanese pounds100 LBP0.05190.05181 Malaysian ringgit1 MYR0.22480.22571 Mexican Peso1 MXP0.05310.05371 Moldovan Leu1 MDL0.05080.05081 Egyptian Pound1 EGP0.10970.10971 Norwegian krone1 NOK0.10410.1056100 Uzbek soums100 UZS0.03250.03251 Polish Zloty1 PLN0.23240.22871 Russian ruble1 RUR0.0110.01311 Singapore Dollar1 SGD0.60140.59771 Saudi Riyal1 SAR0.2090.2091 SDR (IMF Special Drawing Rights)1 SDR1.15311.14911 Turkish lira1 TRY0.33110.33531 Taiwanese Dollar1 TWD0.0250.0251 Tajik Somoni1 TJS0.15010.151 New Turkmen manat1 TMM0.27520.27521 Ukrainian hryvnia1 UAH0.04960.0496100 Japanese yen100 JPY0.67090.66211 New Zealand dollar1 NZD0.60710.6051Gold (1 ounce)1 XAU943.3613937.9463Silver (1 ounce)1 XAG12.452512.5488Platinum (1 ounce)1 XPT954.7365942.8488Palladium (1 ounce)1 XPD629.9535617.3228 /Trend/ President of Azerbaijan allocates AZN 1 mln to Karabakh FC Politics Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:34:00 +0400 President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on successful participation of Karabakh football club at the Europe League games.,AzerTag state news agency reported.Under the Decree, for successful participation of Karabakh football club at Europe League, representing the country and contribution to the development of football in Azerbaijan, 1 million manats has been allocated from the Reserve Fund of Azerbaijan President considered in 2014 Budget to Karabakh football club.The Ministry of Finance was instructed to ensure allocation of funds in the prescribed manner./AzerTAc/ Armenian armed forces violate ceasefire with Azerbaijan Politics Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:16:00 +0400 Over the past 24 hours, the Armenian armed forces 52 times violated the ceasefire on various parts of the contact line of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan said Dec. 18.On that day, Armenian armed forces located in the village of Mosesgeh of Armenia’s Berd district, opened fire at the positions of Azerbaijani armed forces in the village of Alibayli in the Tovuz district.Armenian armed forces located in the village of Berkaber and Paravakar of Armenia’s Ijavan district, opened fire at the positions of Azerbaijani armed forces in the village of Gizilhajili in the Gazakh district and Kehneqishlaq of the Aqstafa district.Armenian armed forces opened fire at the Azerbaijani positions located near the villages of Yusifjanli, Shikhlar, Sarijali, Marzili of the Aghdam district, Kuropatkino of the Khojavand district, Horadiz, Gorgan, Garakhanbayli, Ashagi Seyidahmadli, Ashagi Veysalli of the Fizuli district and Qekarkh, Chayli, Chilyaburt of the Tartar district.The Azerbaijani armed forces were fired at from the nameless heights in the districts of Fuzuli, Goranboy and Khojavand.The opposing side was silenced with return fire.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions./Trend/ Azerbaijanis to see solar, lunar eclipses next year Politics Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:12:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliPeople living in Azerbaijan will have a chance to see a very rare astronomical phenomenon -- solar and lunar eclipses- next year, said Khidir Mikailov, the Deputy Director on Scientific Rresearch of Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) .The lunar eclipse will last 4 hours and 8 minutes from 11:40 to 15:48 on March 20. The solar eclipse will reach its maximum at 13:44. In Azerbaijan the solar eclipse will last for 90 minutes.“In Azerbaijan the solar eclipse will be observed from 13:46 to 15:18 Baku time. It will reach its maximum at 14:30. We will be able to see that the disc of the moon will cover the sun only by half,” he noted.The solar eclipse will be partially seen in North Africa, South Asia and Europe. However, it will completely be observed in the Island, North Atlantic and in the basin of the Arctic Ocean.An eclipse is a natural phenomenon. Nevertheless, in some ancient and modern cultures, solar eclipses have been attributed to supernatural causes or regarded as a bad omen. A total solar eclipse may frightening those people who are unaware of its astronomical explanation, as the Sun seems to disappear during the day and the sky darkens in a matter of minutes.As looking directly at the Sun can lead to a permanent eye damage or blindness, special eye protection method or indirect viewing techniques are used when viewing a solar eclipse.A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the earth into its shadow. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and moon are aligned exactly, or are very close to each other with the earth in the middle. So, a lunar eclipse can only occur at nights when the Moon in its full shape. The type and length of an eclipse depends upon the moon's location relative to its orbital nodes.Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be viewed from a certain relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of the earth.A lunar eclipse lasts for a few hours, whereas a total solar eclipse lasts only for a few minutes at any given place, due to the smaller size of the moon's shadow. Also, unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view at without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are not brighter than the full moon itself. Georgia planning to launch e-visa service World news Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:04:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevGeorgia is planning to launch an electronic visa service in the near future. It is part of the country’s efforts to ease the process of applying for a Georgian visa for foreign tourists.Giorgi Chogovadze, Head of the National Tourism Administration, which stands for the tourism sector's development in Georgia, believes that the e-visa service will boost the country's tourism sector and offer hassle-free travel to foreigners, as the newly applied visa rules have created some difficulties for tourists."The date for the launch of the new service has not yet been set. However, we have to test the traffic of the users that will be able to use the electronic travel authorization scheme,” Chogovadze said.Chogovadze noted that the government is actively working to correct the current deficiencies to simplify the issues related to new visa regulations, which came into force on September 1, 2014."The Georgian government would like Dubai to share its experience on how to issue residence permits to foreigners living in Georgia. In this regard, a Georgian delegation has been invited to Dubai on behalf of Dubai’s Sheikh,” Chogovadze said.Tourists from 102 countries including Iran, Iraq, Egypt and India are required to obtain a visa before entering the Georgian territory.Latest data revealed that the number of tourists has decreased by 50 percent and 45 percent from Iran and Iraq respectively. Despite these facts, Iranians are still on the list of top ten nations visiting Georgia.The largest number of non-resident visitors to Georgia is from Turkey, followed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Iran, Israel, Germany, Kazakhstan and the U.S.Georgia’s new law on "Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons" came into force on September 1, 2014. Visa-free travel with Georgia was canceled for 24 countries. Citizens from 94 countries are now eligible to enter Georgia for a short stay without a visa.The previous rules allowed the citizens from 118 countries to enter Georgia without a visa and stay for a maximum of 360 days there. But since this September, the citizens from 94 countries are provided with the right to enter the Georgia's territory without a visa for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period after September. Trans-Caspian Pipeline:Dream or reality? Analytics Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:23:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Gulgiz DadashovaEuropean Union is encouraging the realization of the Trans-Caspian Pipeline, hoping that it’s realization will further alleviate Eastern European dependency on Russian gas.The EU has once again expressed support for the project saying Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have exclusive right to lay the TCP.“The EU has repeatedly expressed support to the positions of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan regarding the exclusive right to lay a pipeline in the Caspian Sea between the two littoral countries in line with international agreements and conventions,” the EU Baku Office told Trendon December 16.Turkmenistan with its enormous natural gas reserves and Azerbaijan with its strong energy projects are the key players of the TCP project envisaging laying of around 300 kilometers long gas pipeline under the Caspian to the shores of Azerbaijan. Further fuel can be transported to Turkey which has common borders with European countries.Given the recent developments in ties with Russia over the Ukraine crisis, continuous unstable situation in Iraq and nuclear issue of Iran, only Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are viewed as the reliable gas supply sources needed to serve Europe's needs.Turkmenistan has the world's fourth largest natural gas reserves after Russia, Iran, and Qatar, and produces about 70-80 billion cubic meters of gas each year. Azerbaijan's proven natural gas reserves were roughly 35 trillion cubic feet as of January 2014, according to the Energy Information Agency. The vast majority of these reserves are located in the Shah Deniz field. Discoveries of the Absheron and Umid formations added a further 15 Tcf of resources to the country.The EU's support to the project remains unchanged and this position has been expressed earlier at the highest level by EU Energy Commissioner Maroš Šef?ovi? during his Baku visit this November.Europe views the TCP as a good chance to diversify energy supplies and its implementation would bring more stability that is why Europe has begun to facilitate diplomacy between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the project since September 2011.The talks gained momentum this year with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso’s statement that Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan were “strongly committed to the project.”“We are still in the planning phase and we hope that the laying of the Southern Gas Corridor will contribute to accelerating the discussions for the TCP as well,” Barroso said in June 2014.Caspian Sea disputes would still remain as the main obstacle in the way of the project – Iran calls on division of the Caspian's resources equally. Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan’s preference is to divide the Caspian Sea along existing national borders, and Russia opposes any undersea project backing its interest in delaying progress to avoid Gazprom’s defeat in Europe.Ashgabat says the consent of the countries whose territories are involved into the project is enough to build the pipeline.“The energy transportation issue has been used as a political tool by certain. This is unacceptable,” Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said in his recent statement on the country’s energy strategy.Berdimuhamedov emphasized that one of the key aspects of Turkmenistan’s energy strategy is diversification of export routes to the world markets.Azerbaijan has repeatedly expressed readiness to establish transit facilities and infrastructure to realize the project.Energy Minister Natig Aliyev earlier said that the Trans Caspian Pipeline is an issue between the two countries and the question of the consent of all Caspian countries for the project has not been brought up yet.Europe repeatedly expressed hope that not only gas from Turkmenistan, but Kazakhstan and even Uzbekistan might be piped through the Southern Gas Corridor, once all the regional projects are linked together. But now Turkmenistan is only potential partner.Turkmenistan has been moving slowly in the direction of involving itself with TANAP, part of the SGC, through Turkey. The two countries struck a framework agreement in November.The realization of TAP and TANAP, as the key parts of the Southern Gas Corridor has created new hope in the region. Now the TCP does not seem as far from reality as in the past, as the projects being realized are interconnected with the prospect of Turkmen gas export to Europe. 2014, dynamic year in terms of Azerbaijan-Belarus relations expansion Politics Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:57:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaBelarusian ambassador to Azerbaijan assessed 2014 as a dynamic year in terms of the Belarusian-Azerbaijani relations expansion noting the year saw a number of significant multi-format events in bilateral ties.“The main and undisputed outcome of the outgoing year is the dynamic development of bilateral cooperation in all fields between Azerbaijan and Belarus. It confirms the strategic relations between the two sides,” Nikolai Paskevich said on December 17.Noting that there are no problems or differences of opinion between Minsk and Baku, he said both countries support each other in international arenas.Paskevich added that an agreement has been reached on cooperation between Azerbaijan and Belarus in the framework of international organizations in future.“The necessary domestic procedures were fully implemented for entry into force of the bilateral agreements signed on November 21, 2013 during Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s visit to Azerbaijan,” Paskevich said.He further added that by late 2014, the contractual and legal frameworks of cooperation between the two countries include more than 90 agreements.“The cooperation between Belarus and Azerbaijan in trade and economic field in 2014 once again confirmed the strategic level of our partnership,” Paskevich said.He went on to say that the main priorities of this collaboration are industrial cooperation, joint projects in the fields of science and high technology, construction, education and health.“The State Statistics Committee of Belarus data showed that bilateral trade between the two countries reached 288.3 million dollars in January-October of this year. Thus, compared to the same period of 2013, the trade between Belarus and Azerbaijan increased by 25.2 percent,” Paskevich said.He also noted that there has not been any slowdown in growth of bilateral trade in the mutual trade between the two countries since 2006.Furthermore, speaking about the joint projects in the field of construction, Paskevich said an important direction for development of bilateral cooperation between Belarus and Azerbaijan has become the implementation of joint projects in the field of construction.“Belarusian Institute ‘Beljeldorproect’ plans to take part in the designation of required infrastructure for the railways in Azerbaijan,” Paskevich said.He noted that the Belarusian companies completed the construction of residential settlement for internally displaced people in Azerbaijan’s Ismayilli region at the end of 2013, adding that Belarusian design organizations actively cooperate with Azerbaijan.“Belarusian Design Institute ‘BelNIIPgradostaitelstva’ began to develop a master plan of Gobu village, located near Baku, with 70 thousand inhabitants in 2014,” Paskevich added.He further said it is scheduled to hold the ninth session of the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Belarus next year.Paskevich also informed that the intergovernmental meeting is scheduled to be held in Minsk, noting that during the meeting, the sides will discuss the development of trade and economic relations and new promising areas for future cooperation between the two countries.Azerbaijan and Belarus relations date back to many years ago. Both countries were part of the Russian Empire until 1918 and before gaining their independence in 1991, they were part of the Soviet Union.Diplomatic relations between two republics established in 1993 but two countries started to get closer during past decade. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev paid a visit to Belarus on October 17-18, 2006 which was the first high level visit of Azerbaijan. During the visit nine bilateral documents were signed.Currently the two countries enjoy high level ties in various fields and closely cooperate within international organizations. Belarus opened embassy in Azerbaijan in February 2006, Azerbaijan opened embassy in Belarus in August 2006. Uruguayan official’s statement on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict distorted World news Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:44:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevMedia reports in Armenia on Uruguay's stance regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict turned out to be baseless.Hikmat Hajiyev, Acting Spokesman of Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said the Armenian media outlets, especially website disseminated reports about a press conference on December 8. During the conference, according to the Armenian media, Armenian National Assembly's Speaker Galust Sahakyan asked an Uruguayan official whether Uruguay, which recognized the so-called "Armenian genocide", may become the first country to recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.According to the reports, Uruguay’s Vice-President Danilo Astori answered the question, saying: "My country is working on it.""Under the instruction of the Foreign Ministry, Azerbaijan’s diplomatic mission in Uruguay immediately appealed to Uruguay's Foreign Ministry calling for a clarification," Hajiyev said.Uruguay's Ministry said that the matter was clarified by Danilo Astori. “Astori said that he didn’t make such statements and Uruguay's position on the conflict is to support a peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and negotiations by considering the interests of the conflicting parties,” Hajiyev added.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.As a result of the ensuing war in 1992, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions. Buta Festival pays tribute to Azerbaijani composer Vagif Arts & Entertainment Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:15:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliThe Buta Festival of Azerbaijani Arts is continuing to mesmerize Londoners. The concert titled "Vagif" was held at Central Hall Westminster on December 16.Rarely heard in the West, Vagif Mustafazadeh is acknowledged as one of the world’s great jazz pianists and composers. This concert celebrated his life and works on the 40th anniversary of his untimely death.Mustafazadeh successfully fused the traditional song of Azerbaijan – Mugham – with contemporary jazz. The memorial concert held as part of the Buta Festival of Azerbaijani arts traced the story of his life and work. It was held on the 40th anniversary of his untimely death and paid tribute to his work both as composer and pianist.The evening included performances from Georgian jazz singer and composer, Nino Katamadze, bassist Tamaz Kurashvili who performed with Vagif in the 60s and 70s, renowned Russian saxophonist and bandleader Igor Butman and Vagif’s daughter, Aziza, who has followed in her father’s footsteps proving herself as a world class pianist. They were accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.Over the next 5 months, the 2014/15 Buta Arts Festival in London will be showcasing everything from the ancient skills of Azerbaijani carpet making to the creativity of the country’s contemporary photographers, the perfect sounds of its jazz musicians and the excitement of live performances in the medium of modern immersive theatre.In addition to the exciting musical schedule, the festival also involves cutting edge contemporary art exhibitions at the Saatchi Gallery and Louise Blouin Foundation and artists from the Yarat Contemporary Art Space will display their work in public locations across London.Nasib Piriev, Buta Arts Centre Director, said: “It is a privilege to be able to pay tribute to the life and music of Vagif by hosting this concert as part of our celebration of the artists of Azerbaijan. It is a particular honor to have Vagif’s daughter Aziza performing at this memorial concert as we celebrate his music and the impact he has had on a generation of musicians.”The first Buta Festival of Azerbaijan Arts was held in London from November 2009 to March 2010. During the festival, Londoners got acquainted with Azerbaijan's most celebrated musicians, artists, poets and filmmakers. Azerbaijan to launch mass production of "smart" bombs Analytics Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:03:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevNext year Azerbaijan will launch mass production of "smart" air bombs, which were put on display at the international ADEX 2014 defense industry exhibition in Baku this September.Defense Industry Minister Yaver Jamalov told Trend that the orders from relevant bodies of Azerbaijan were executed completely.He said foreign specialists are now involved in the production of defense products. "Representatives of those countries, from which we purchase technologies for manufacturing the products of defense industry, can take part in the production process," Jamalov noted.He added that the Defense Ministry has now 58 production facilities."All of the production sites were equipped with technologies purchased from the world's leading companies. More than 900 defense products are manufactured in those facilities," Jamalov said."Nearly 27 products were presented earlier in an exhibition in Turkey. Meanwhile, a Malaysia exhibition hosted 132 defense products from Azerbaijan. But the production range is now expanding, as we have managed to demonstrate 168 defense products in the ADEX 2014 exhibition in Baku this year. Azerbaijan exported defense products at the total cost of $100 million in 2014."Jamalov further noted that the volume of export will increase next year."Several countries, including Malaysia, made proposals to import the Azerbaijani-made defense products. We are holding talks on the issue. Over 450 civilian products are also produced along with the defense products," he said.Baku hosted the first international defense industry exhibition ADEX 2014 in this September, involving more than 200 companies from 34 world countries.Turkey, Russia, Belarus, the Republic of Korea, Poland, Israel, and Ukraine attended the three -day event, organized upon an initiative by the Azerbaijan's Defense Industry Ministry.Azerbaijan presented around 168 different products including bombs, small arms, combat modules mounted on armored vehicles at the exhibition. President Aliyev receives BP's Dudley Politics Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:30:00 +0400 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received BP Group Chief Executive Robert Dudley.It was noted that Azerbaijan and BP enjoyed successful cooperation. The parties praised the course of work at Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli and Shahdeniz fields, saying work has been successfully carried out under the project after the groundbreaking ceremony of the Southern Gas Corridor this September. The sides expressed their confidence that cooperation between the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic and BP under this project will successfully continue.The parties exchanged views over cooperation prospects./AzerTAc/ Iran, P5+1 to start new round of nuclear talks World news Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:32:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaIran and the six world powers will start new round of nuclear talks on Tehran’s nuclear energy program on December 17. It comes after they failed to reach final deal by a November 24 deadline.Senior officials from Iran and the P5+1 group have resumed negotiations over Tehran's nuclear energy program in the Swiss city of Geneva.Nuclear negotiators from Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - Russia, China, France, Britain and the U.S., plus Germany held extensive meetings for the second consecutive day in Geneva on December 16.Prior to the meeting of Iran and the P5+1 group, representatives from Iran and the U.S. discussed issues of mutual interest in the latest round of nuclear comprehensive negotiations.Seyyed Abbas Araqchi, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs gave a positive assessment of the dominant atmosphere of the Geneva negotiations.“We have had detailed discussions about all outstanding issues, especially sanctions, at the deputy and expert-level talks,” Araqchi said.He added that “there are solutions to some of the issues and at some stages more discussions should be held and more efforts should be made.”This round of the talks is the first one after the seven-month extension of the nuclear talks as Tehran and the six countries failed to reach a final agreement by deadline.Despite making progress, Iran and the P5+1 group failed to clinch a final nuclear deal during their previous talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna.However, the two sides agreed to extend their discussions for other seven months until July 1, 2015. They also agreed that the interim deal they had signed in Geneva last November remain in place during the negotiations.The U.S. and EU imposed sanctions on Iran's oil and financial sectors at the beginning of 2012 due to claims of potential deviation toward non-civilian purposes in Iran's nuclear energy program. Iran has repeatedly denied the Western allegations against its nuclear energy program.The sanctions prevent other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran. At the end of 2012, the EU foreign ministers reached an agreement to impose another round of sanctions against Iran. Baku 2015 branding to feature on AZAL boarding passes Sports Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:20:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaBaku 2015 European Games branding will feature on official partner Azerbaijan Airlines boarding passes as the countdown to the inaugural event continues.The colorful Baku 2015 logo and sport images will adorn more than 800,000 of the airline’s boarding passes till the finale of the European Games in June 2015.Baku 2015 is the first ever European Games, an exciting and innovative multi-sport event for the continent which will take place from 12 – 28 June 2015. There will be a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports. More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe will be representing their nations over 17 days of competition.The passes will be used on both domestic and international departures on flights leaving from and arriving into Baku’s Heydar Aliyev International Airport, as well as Nakhchivan and Ganja Airports.The passes will be used on flights to all internal destinations, as well as a variety of international locations including London, Milan, Rome, Beijing and New York City.“We are delighted to see our colorful logo and brand being shared with the world thanks to Azerbaijan Airlines and their boarding passes,” Simon Clegg, Chief Operating Officer of Baku 2015, said.Clegg added that as the national carrier of Azerbaijan, they will play an important role in the coming months in promoting the inaugural European Games as well as bringing the best European athletes to compete in Baku next year.Arif Mammadov ,Vice-President of Azerbaijan Airlines, said the company is proud to be carrying the Baku 2015 branding on its boarding passes and helping support the European Games, which is an historic moment for Baku and for the entire country.“We will help to transport athletes, officials and spectators to Azerbaijan for the event and we want to share our excitement with our passengers as we approach the spectacular Opening Ceremony,” Mammadov saidAzerbaijan Airlines, being an Official Partner of Baku 2015, will also feature the European Games on the airline’s in-flight movies and magazines to help increase awareness with an international audience.The agreement also ensures the European Games have a significant presence within Baku’s Heydar Aliyev International Airport to welcome visitors arriving for next summer’s spectacular event.The company, which carries more than 1.7 million passengers per year and serve 38 cities around the world, is planning to increase their number of daily flights into Baku next year due to the European Games. AZAL says flights to Spain prospective route Business Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:18:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliAzerbaijan Airlines, Azerbaijan's biggest airline and national flag carrier, said flights to Spain are prospective routes for the company.AZAL spokesman Maharram Safarli made the remark while commenting on reports about direct air link between Azerbaijan and Spain.“Azerbaijan Airlines is constantly increasing number of its flights. The new aircraft bought in recent years, allow us to carry out long-haul flights. In this regard, flights to Spain are prospective routes of Azerbaijan Airlines. But it is early to speak about the flights in this direction.” Safarli said.Earlier in November, Spanish Vueling Company's Manager on International Sales Jesus Blanco said that the company is going to open regular seasonal flights Barcelona-Baku- Barcelona in the summer of next year.He noted that the company opens air services mainly in summer season, which will run into parts of the autumn season. In connection with the market’s need, flights may be conducted during the year with periodicity.Currently, Azerbaijan Airlines offers its passenger flights to European countries, the CIS, Middle East, Asia and the United States.AZAL's fleet consists of Boeing 757-200, Boeing 767-300, Airbus 319, Airbus A320, Airbus A340-500, Embraer ERJ 170-100LR and Embraer ERJ 190-100. The company cooperates with about 60 airlines to provide its passengers with an opportunity to travel freely around the world. President Aliyev receives Qarabag FC Politics Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:13:00 +0400 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received members of Qarabag football club.The head of state hailed the club`s performance in international tournaments. President Ilham Aliyev said development of football was among key priorities in the government policy. The head of state highlighted Azerbaijani sportsmen`s achievements in international tournaments.Coach Qurban Qurbanov thanked President Ilham Aliyev for supporting the activities of the club.Vice-President of Qarabag football club Tahir Guzel thanked the head of state for his attention to the development of sport in the country.In conclusion a picture was taken./AzerTAc/ Azerbaijan represented at Christmas Day fair in Paris Arts & Entertainment Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:53:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliAzerbaijan is represented at the fair traditionally held on Christmas Eve in the capital of France.Chairman of “Azerbaijan house” in Paris Mirvari Fataliyeva said that the fair held on the Christmas Day is one of the most loved celebrities of the French.Azerbaijan is represented at this event for the second year. The main purpose is to introduce ancient history and rich culture of Azerbaijan.Azerbaijan’s corner was supported by Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Azerbaijan Embassy in France and Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO).Books and brochures about Azerbaijan’s history, culture, tourism potential, nature, rich dishes, the first European Games 2015 to be held in Baku and discs of national music samples are presented to the visitors.As well as silky headgear produced in Azerbaijan, small carpets, jams, teas, different wine types, Novruz holiday ornaments shakarbura and pakhlava sweets, gutab with meat and herbs also presented at the event.Of course, thanks to this kind of propaganda the French are already well acquainted with Azerbaijan.The fair will run until January 4, 2015. Critical X-Mass Baku scheduled for next week Arts & Entertainment Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:38:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliA bike competition dedicated to the World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day and the New Year will be held in Baku on December 25.The Azerbaijan Cycling Federation jointly with “SharhHead” cycling club will organize "Critical X-Mass Baku" cycling tour.The tour will start at 15:00 from Azadlig Square and will finish at the same point. Participants will ride a distance of 18 km. Cyclists of all ages can take part in it.The organizers will present New Year gifts to the children.Such holiday cycling tours are annually held in Azerbaijan. Last year about 200 cyclists in the Santa Clause and the Snow Maiden outfits participated in the event. The federation is holding such events to develop public interest in this sport.The Solidarity Day was initiated by Azerbaijan's national leader Heydar Aliyev on December 16, 1993. In accordance with a presidential decree, the last day of December is annually celebrated as the day highlighting unity of world Azerbaijanis.About 50 million Azerbaijanis are currently living in countries around the world, including Iran (South Azerbaijan), Turkey, Germany, France, Britain, the United States, as well as the Middle East countries. Azerbaijanis all over the world mark the day each year on December 31. Baku condemns terrorist attack in Pakistan Politics Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:16:00 +0400 /AzerNeüs/By Sara RajabovaAzerbaijan, as the country that has suffered from terror and massacres at the hands of the Armenians, strongly condemned the terrorist attacks at a public school in Pakistan that left numerous deaths and injuries mostly children.Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry issued a statement on December 17 condemning the heinous terrorist attacks at the public school in Peshawar city of Pakistan on December 16.Azerbaijan expressed its heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the bereaved families and the brotherly people of Pakistan and wished the many injured a speedy recovery.Azerbaijan, as a victim of terrorism, condemns terrorism in all forms and reiterates that there is no justification for terrorism at all, Foreign Ministry said.The Ministry stressed that the country is determined to support the efforts of the Pakistani government to fight against terrorism in cooperation with the international community.As a result of the attack, at least 132 children and nine staff member were killed and hundreds of others wounded.Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declared three days of mourning and Pakistan's army attacked the militants’ hideouts in the region. EU urges Armenia to stop human rights violations World news Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:11:00 +0400 /AzerNeüs/By Mushvig MehdiyevThe European Union has issued a statement on the recent human rights violations in Armenia, urging the country to take immediate preventive measures to cope with the challenge.The EU Delegation to Armenia called on the Armenian authorities to take urgent and decisive steps to hold liable those people, who used violence against civil activists and oppositional political figures.Late November and early December were tragic days for the activists and opposition members in Armenia. Firstly, cars of four oppositional figures were set on fire and then the war veterans came under attacks. Finally the prominent opposition figure, Aram Manukyan, was beaten brutally by unknown men in front of his house. All attacks were reportedly carried out with a similar motive - political pressure on people, who have critical views of the authorities.The EU expressed its deep concern over the harsh infringement of civil liberties in Armenia, particularly focusing on the attacks on the persons belonging to civil movements and opposition block."The European Union calls for respect for democratic principles, rights and fundamental freedoms noting that these elements are significant parts of bilateral relations between the EU and Armenia, as it was agreed in a joint statement in Vilnius, in November, 2013," the statement said.Human rights violations in Armenia are gaining momentum amid the deepening confrontation between the ruling and opposition forces, as well as surging public disillusionment with the government's policy. Mutual accusations of the two sides pave the way for a political crisis in the post Soviet country, which is repeatedly criticized by the international human rights organizations, including the Transparency International, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch etc. for its bad human rights record.Active engagement of the civil activists and opposition figures in the anti-government movements made the authorities to raise their eyebrows, which has resulted in clandestine events in the country, causing a great resonance.While assessing the ongoing political repression in Armenia, the local media even didn't refrain from calling it a "manhunt" against people by the government. European Games 2015 to apply Cloud technologies Sports Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:54:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevThe European Games 2015 in Baku will be the first ever sport competition across the globe to widely apply Cloud technologies, according to the Ministry of Communication and High Technologies.Various infrastructure and program solutions, which will be used during the games, will be based on the Cloud technologies and the established infrastructure will be further applied in other sport contests to be held in Azerbaijan.A cable infrastructure of 600 kilometers of total lengths was created in an effort to provide a high-speed data transmission between the sports facilities. Spatial information exchange during the games will be made through fiber optic lines of over a thousand kilometers length. The Ministry will supervise all works on the establishment of the telecommunication infrastructure.The Ministry had earlier said the facilities, where the competition will be held, and other sites related to the games, would be provided with stable and quality communication within the preparatory works prior to the European Games 2015. Moreover, the Ministry plans to create alternative lines to use the wireless technologies and resources of the Azerbaijani satellite Azerspace-1, as well as ensure informational security of the internet resources and operator networks.ISDN service will be applied during the games. Meanwhile, the internet access will be expanded. Free Wi-Fi networks will be installed in public places, including the parks, stadiums and shopping centers. The Ministry also envisages to carry out appropriate operations to provide quality and sustainable infrastructure for TV and radio broadcasting (including the HD broadcast format).Baku will host the inaugural European Games 2015 next summer on June 12 – 28, involving more than 6,000 athletes from the National Olympic Committees of Europe across 17 days of competition in what will be the largest sporting event in Azerbaijan’s history.The Games were designed and are to be regulated by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and run with the support of the Baku 2015 European Games Operation Committee (BEGOC).Baku was awarded the honor of being the first host of the games at the 41st EOC General Assembly in Rome, on December 8, 2012. The European Games will take place every four years thereafter, with the next competition due to be held in 2019.Azerbaijan’s hosting the inaugural European Games testified to the country’s growing international prestige. Azerbaijan is becoming well positioned as a sporting nation and the country has gained significant experience in hosting major events. Energy minister says no justification for high oil prices Business Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:17:00 +0400 /By AzerNews/By Gulgiz DadashovaAzerbaijan’s Energy Minister Natig Aliyev said given the cost of production in many countries, the high prices of oil in the market observed till just recently were unreasonable.The oil price (an average of $ 110 per barrel) in the market was fixed more or less for a long period. One of the main factors contributing to this trend was the speculative activity of the market, Aliyev said on December 17.Last oil price hike in the crude market was in mid-2008 when the figure hit $147 and then in a short period of time the figure dropped to $33-$35. The figure rise again later, but the oil prices saw 30-40 percent decrease this year in the world markets nearing a five-year low. Prices are set for the biggest annual loss since 2008.Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR reported that the price of a barrel of Azeri Light crude oil decreased $0.48 to stand at $61,91 in the world markets on December 16."If we take a look at the past 20 years, we can see that the oil prices have changed as sinusoid, although there were boom times as well. The price- the average of $ 110 per barrel - kept long enough [...] high prices, of course, coincided with the desire of oil-producing countries, on the other hand. I think that the price was not justifiable based on the oil production cost in many countries,” Aliyev told Trend.The average upstream cost for oil and gas production in the United States is $33.76 per barrel, according to the Energy Information Agency’s 2009 data. The figure is $45.32 for African countries, $16.88 in Middle East and $26.64 in Central & South America.Azerbaijan’s main export crude oil streams are Azeri BTC and Azeri Light. These two grades are fairly similar and are mainly sold to European and Asian markets. Also, the SOCAR-produced crude oil is blended in Russia and marketed as Urals blend because of its poor quality.The average price of AZERI LT, exported from Azerbaijan via the Ceyhan, Batumi and Supsa ports to Italian Augusta port, was $65.69 per barrel on December 8-12 - $6.43 less compared with the previous week. The average price of Urals (Ex-Novo) exported from Azerbaijan via the Novorossiysk port stood at $61.84 per barrel or by $6.19 per barrel less than the previous week.The average price of Brent Dated was $64.05 per barrel on December 8-12 -$5.72 per barrel less than the previous week. Freedom under US arrest Analytics Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:00:00 +0400 The US policy exposed by Julian Assange and Edward Snowden through the dissemination of classified information gained vital importance for the entire world.One needs desperate courage to make it happen in such countries as the US, with its ambition to control everyone.We shouldn't forget that this empire, as during the period of "cold war" with the Soviet Union, is ruled by those appointed by the monopolies trying to seize the entire world's wealth.These monopolies and appointed presidents actually legalized the unipolar world order after the USSR collapse in the early 1990s, and are now doing everything possible to preserve it.Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, who disclosed secret documents of the US State Department, the National Security Agency and the British Government Communications Center, exposed the true face of the US policy, its hypocrisy towards friends, not to mention the enemies.Snowden, in particular, provided ample evidence that the US special services were wiretapping conversations around the world, and conducted surveillance on a number of heads of states and governments, individual institutions, the mass media, and human rights organizations.Wikileaks and its head Julian Assange, leaking all the correspondence of the US State Department to the Internet, finally exposed the treacherous policy of the US, carried out in various countries around the world.There is no doubt that the monopolies and Barack Obama, who is fulfilling their will, could not let this go unpunished. They struck back at these people, and attempted to arrest them, trying to silence them.This is one of the examples proving the cruelty of the US in terms of the principles of democracy and respect for human rights.Surprisingly, no formal charges have been brought against Assange so far. Swedish police claims that it wants to interrogate him “to clarify the details of an alleged criminal case.”Naturally, Assange’s case is politically motivated and is directly related to the activities of Wikileaks. The US government with the help of its allies in Europe attempted to silence Assange, but the fact that Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s Embassy in London, messed up Washington’s plans.Media reported that at the last moment, the UK government abandoned the plan for attacking the embassy of Ecuador in London fearing a serious diplomatic scandal.On the other hand, Assange, who can’t leave the embassy of Ecuador because of the threat of arrest, is now, let's say, in a more comfortable prison.Daniel Ellsberg, who is defending Assange, said that the prosecution of the head of ‘Wikileaks’ has been continuing for four years, however, no concrete charges were brought against him.But it is not the end however. Various officials now propose to take legal measures against those who oppose the US policy.There are enough strong suspicions that these initiatives are directly related to the White House.For instance, the US Senator Joseph Lieberman has put forward and lobbies for the draft law in accordance with which Assange should be arrested on charges of espionage. Moreover, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin online called on Assange's physical destruction.Using its huge resources, the US got its hands on the world, trying to overthrow any power with an alternative way of thinking, to bribe independent structures, isolate, and, in case of impossibility to get rid of such people as Assange and Snowden, who think freely, who implement important work for the entire world community.Some in the US like to speak about democracy and high ideals, but the country itself has faced a rather sad situation in this sphere.Meanwhile, the people of the United States are concerned with the fact that monopolies and President Obama take charge of both the lives of people and the very notion of freedom - in their own way.Recent events in Ferguson were a sharp protest of the cornered people against the existing system. That was the protest of those people who demand to ensure their basic rights, who want to live in a safe society, in a society without fear.The world needs to remind the government of the United States, the true face of which is Guantanamo Bay, that imperial ambitions are not the best choice in the XXl century. That’s because the United States itself will come off a loser in the end.“Azerbaijan” newspaper /By Trend/ SMS payment can be launched for parking services Business Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:14:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevMobile operators in Azerbaijan are planning to launch an SMS payment service for parking operations.The project, to be accomplished in near future, is under discussion now and needs a certain period of time for preliminary arrangements."The main condition is linked with the micropayments and tools to be used for the payment for parking operations. There are two options of paying for the parking services via SMS. The first option envisages a direct payment from the subscriber's balance, while the second one paves the way for payment via bank accounts,” a source in the communication sector told Trend.The second method prevents the operator from a direct contact with the end user, as he/she is not a financial institution. Practically, the operator will sign an agreement with a bank to enumerate the received money deposited in the bank's account. The bank, in turn, transfers the money to the account of the body, which stands for the collection of the payments for parking services.The source believes that the second option is much more acceptable, since the same method is applied for the payments of the utilities and other services."The operators are ready to provide a short number to be used for the exchange between the subscribers and systems, which are responsible for the payment services for parking operations.Over 220 computerized parking systems - Parkomats - have been installed in 75 streets and avenues of the capital city Baku, according to Azerbaijani police.The price of using the service of the Parkomat system is $0.6 for half an hour, $1.3 for an hour and $2.6 for two hours.The maximum time of using Parkomat system is 4 hours for one driver and violation of the rule is fined under the Administrative Offences Code. Baku 2015 EG, BP present Games Academy Sports Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:07:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliBaku 2015 and BP publicly presented the Games Academy Graduate Excellence Programme (GEP) established by Baku 2015 European Games Operation Committee on December 16.BP is the exclusive Official Partner of the Baku 2015 Games Academy initiative, an innovative learning programme which supports the creation of a capability legacy in Azerbaijan. It aims to develop national staff members including university graduates from Azerbaijan and Europe, preparing them for the efficient delivery of a major multi-sport event, as well as developing skills which will assist them in the future career, BP reports.A total of 188 high potential university graduates from Azerbaijan and across Europe were enrolled in the GEP in July 2014. Six training modules will be delivered throughout the duration of the programme, with the 162 Azerbaijani and 26 international graduates learning important skills contribute to the successful delivery of the inaugural European Games.The participants will be provided with further opportunities to continue hands-on, practical experience in planning the Games and with operational roles at test events. All of the participants will be mentored by experienced international team members, including experts in a variety of specialist fields to ensure that their learning continues on the job.Gordon Birrell, BP’s Regional President for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, noted that the training modules, which the participants in the Games Academy have already completed, have been extremely useful. “I am sure BP will continue to support further trainings within this one year programme as participants build their skills and knowledge in preparation for the upcoming great event.”I am also confident that for the majority of the 188 graduates from across Azerbaijan and European countries the Games Academy will be bridge to their long-term career. It will help them select areas where they can meet challenges and deliver major projects using the skills they learned here,” he said.Birrell emphasized that BP is proud to be associated with the first biggest sport event in Europe. “As Azerbaijan’ long-term and reliable partner, we have taken this fantastic opportunity to continue our support to Azerbaijan’s youth and sport. This journey started with the London 2012 Games and will continue into future, of which today’s Games Academy participants will be a big part,” he said.Azad Rahimov, Baku 2015 Chief Executive Officer and Azerbaijan’s Youth and Sport Minister also hailed partnership with the BP.“Next year will see the proudest moment in Azerbaijan’s sporting history when we host the inaugural European Games and we are delighted to be working with BP to prepare for the historic event,” he noted.Rahimov said the development of the Games Academy GEP has incorporated ambitious and talented young people into Baku 2015 team. “ The programme has exceeded our expectations and the support we have received from BP from the outset to deliver it has been both vital and fundamental to its success.”Baku 2015 is the first ever European Games, an exciting and innovative multi-sport event for the continent which will take place from 12 – 28 June 2015.There will be a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports. More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe will be representing their nations over 17 days of competition. Armenia in panic over dram turmoil World news Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:39:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevThe Armenian dram’s overwhelming depreciation has resulted in an increased demand for dollar in the country, as queues were reported at the Armenian commercial banks, when many citizens hoped to convert their savings into a hard currency.The situation has become so threatening that even some businesses and traders reportedly suspended sales, waiting for stability in the currency market.As of December 16, one dollar was sold for 550 drams in Armenia, while many exchange offices in Yerevan refused to sell dollars and euros, saying that they did not have foreign currency.Despite the fact that the exchange rate at commercial banks is lower now, they apply some restrictions in exchange deals, according to ArmeniaNow, a local media source.The commercial banks sell only fixed amounts of dollars (not more than $1,000 per customer) and only to citizens who have accounts in those banks.Yerevan trade centers also in panicky mood, as vendors at Yerevan’s Surmalu wholesale and retail market refused to trade, saying that the dollar rate is climbing each hour and inflicts huge losses on them while selling items in drams.“Almond was 7,500 drams (about $13) half an hour ago, but now it is 8,000 drams (about $14), what shall we do? We are losing, we’d better close and not to trade at all than losing chances to keep on our imports later,” a trader at Surmalu said.The financial turmoil in Armenia is threatening almost all people from authorities to the ordinary citizens. Weakening position of the dram promises a further collapse in the country's economy, which is currently paralyzed by several determinants, including the falling export, limited foreign investments and surging external debts.Economic experts believe that the prices in the Armenian markets have taken a sharp rise this year ahead of the New Year holiday season compared to the previous years, linking it to the dram and ruble devaluation, as well as the dollar’s significant appreciation in the world market.Sociologist Aharon Adibekyan thinks that the Armenian people make less preparations for the New Year holiday this time given the disparity between their financial status and bullish prices on the markets.“There is no sense of taking a bank loan and repaying it during the whole year,” he said, calling the people to consider their pockets before laying the New Year table.Dethronement of the Armenian dram started all while the Russian ruble began to slide to all-time low following the isolating sanctions by the western forces. Experts claim that Armenia's tightening relations with Russia, amid the partnership within the Eurasian Economic Union, show green light for future challenges in its economy if Russia fails to tackle the deepening economic hassle facing it.Opinions of the experts on Armenia's EEU integration confront, since a group of specialists believe that the union is beneficial for Armenia given its huge common market of 170 million people. Nonetheless, the another group of experts claim that a huge market doesn't bear any importance on the background of Armenia's weak domestic production and strong external dependence.If the country is unable to input a variety of products on the EEU market, it is not logical to talk about an economic benefit from the membership at the alliance. Azerbaijan to attract new members to TASIM Analytics Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:21:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Aynur JafarovaAzerbaijan is keen to attract new members to the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway (TASIM) project, which is a major regional initiative. It is aimed at creating a transnational fiber-optic backbone targeting primarily countries of Eurasia from Western Europe to Eastern Asia.Currently, TASIM with a vision to build a platform for improving connectivity in Eurasia involves countries such as Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and China.Azerbaijan, as the initiator of the project plans to involve member states of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in TASIM.During Azerbaijan’s chairmanship at the BSEC committee on science and technology in 2014-2016, TASIM will be introduced to the BSEC participants with the aim to disseminate information about the project and the benefits it can give to the participants.“It is quite possible to increase the number of participants of the project. Many countries have expressed their readiness to take part in this project,” Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said.The TASIM project with an initial cost of $100 million envisions creating a major transit link from Frankfurt to Hong Kong. The line will connect major centers of data exchange in Europe and Asia together, stretching through China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and Germany. A reserve North transit line will pass through Russia, Ukraine and Poland.A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on the establishment of the TASIM consortium during the 19th international BakuTel-2013 conference and exhibition in December.In September 2013, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution supporting Azerbaijan's initiative on establishment of Eurasian Connectivity Alliance (EuraCA) and construction of TASIM.TASIM will be implemented in two stages. The project is expected to come on stream at the cost of $100 million. The length of TASIM will be 11,000 kilometers and its initial network bandwidth will reach 2 Tbit/s.The participants of TASIM have approved the World Bank's proposal on laying the third alternative route through the territory of Turkmenistan. This route will lead to China, as well as the East Asian countries (Indonesia, Vietnam, etc.) with a high requirement for internet capacity.One of the main plans for the implementation of the TASIM project is construction of the Caspian segment of TASIM, which will connect the largest information exchange centers of Europe and Asia.Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have made arrangements in this regard and a contract will be signed in near future on the construction of the underwater segment.Executive Director for Infrastructure Projects of Kazakhstan's KazTransCom Alexander Kislitsin believes the Caspian Sea's indefinite legal status is hampering the construction of the underwater segment of TASIM.He earlier told Trend new agency that there are still problems on border crossing and no final decision has been made yet.Experts believe that after resolving the issues hampering the implementation of the project, TASIM will enter an active phase of its implementation. e·phem·er·a exhibition to open in Baku Arts & Entertainment Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:07:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina Nazarlie·phem·er·a is an art exhibition that will open at the Baku Museum of Modern Art in Baku on December 20 as the third in a series of young curator exhibitions, supported by non-profit organization YARAT.The exhibition curator’s idea is based on mythology motifs in artworks by eight artists: Eliyar Alimirzayev, Rasim Babayev, Kamal Ahmad, Zakir Huseynov, Ujal Hagverdiyev, Yelena Hagverdiyeva, Niyaz Najafov and Altay Sadikhzadeh.Every work has a myth at its heart, captured in the lines of classical poetry or portrayed in paintings by prominent artists, in invisible ties that bind numerous paintings and images encoded in literary works, which contain meaningful parallels, symbols and allegories, formed by centuries of history. All of this content, according to the authors, characterize us and our current existence.Cooperation between the Museum and YARAT began more than a year ago following the 'Curatorial and Mediating Practices in Modern Art' master classes held by Sabina Shikhlinskaya, an honored artist of Azerbaijan and independent curator.During 2014, the Museum’s main exhibition hall already hosted the NUDA VERITAS and MEGAPOLIS projects, considered as successful experiments on the reassessment of the museum collection. In both cases, the idea that arose within the framework of the training course expanded to the size of a fully-fledged art project. The project participants had unlimited access to the archives and storerooms of MoMA and thus the audience receive a fresh interpretation of familiar subjects.The exhibition will open for the visitors from 11:00 a.m. till 8:00 p.m from every Tuesday to Sunday till January 19, 2015. Admission fee is 5 manats. Which sex is the better driver…of cars? World news Wed, 17 Dec 2014 10:24:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MediyevWho is the best driver: man or woman? The question can be a little bit strange as one will suggest why gender is so important for a driver. But there is a very interesting statistics which claims women to be more careful behind the wheel than men. Don't get surprised, this is a fact.Men get a ticket for reckless driving by 3.4 times more than women, while women get punished for drunk driving 3.1 times less than men, according to a study by Quality Planning, a research firm that works for insurance companies. The company claimed that women are on average less aggressive and more law-abiding drivers and this is evident in fewer accidents by them.But who - men or women - are the frequent perpetrators of road accidents?Studies reveal that men are more risky while driving. They display less cautious behavior than women, since driving at high speed leaving lower distances from other cars, ignoring to wear seat belts and driving while drunk are among the main common picture for male drivers. Men’s risky maneuvers on the streets come despite numerous legal warnings and notifications.Psychologist Ibrahim Ibrahimov said in his interview with AzerNews that women cause less road accidents due to their careful nature and less aggressive manner."Men are more aggressive on the roads, being inclined to speedy driving and overtaking. These are mainly linked with their androgenic hormones. But women avoid such behavior while driving, because they are peaceful creatures. Despite the saying that: "More mirrors in the car mean more women negligence", female drivers are more attentive than their male counterparts. They prefer to steer calmly and attentively. Maternal instinct also plays a significant role in this issue - women think more of their children than men," he noted.Azerbaijani police said that men cause more road collisions in Baku due to driving at high speed on the roads. But it doesn't exclude the vehicle accidents caused by women drivers, according to the police.But women are more indecisive on the road than men, according to Ibrahimov."That's why females prefer to drive their car at lower speed, avoiding any risky maneuvers. Women are timid behind the wheel. They are frightened easily by nature," he said.Touching upon the increasing number of the female drivers, Ibrahimov noted that the "traditional envy of women" is one of the driving factors here."Women always try to keep pace with men almost in every field, including driving, in other words they want to prove that they are able to do what men do. In Azerbaijan, the increasing number of motorists among women is a need to feel comfortable. In another word, women want to be far away from annoying circumstances on the streets and personal car is the best tool to avoid unpleasant situations," he added.The latest statistical report revealed that the total number of men drivers in Azerbaijan is over 1.5 million, while there are only 45,000 women drivers in the country.The U.S.-based Freedom of Information Center claimed that men are more proficient in parking operations than women, as women motorists cause twice as many reverse parking errors compared to their male counterparts.While male drivers now account for more overall accidents than women, technology may shift the trend. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a Washington-based non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through traffic safety research and education, surveyed that teenage girls are engaged in texting or talking while driving twice more than teenage boys.Gender rivalry remains a fact of mankind, but all drivers must obey the traffic rules, preventing from any life-threatening actions. Many enjoy driving, but one should feel responsible for the lives of himself/herself and others. So, never forget to wear the seat belt, drive at low speed, and turn down aggressive behavior and make them unequivocal rules behind the wheel, as high speed shortens your life rather the distance. Work permit for foreigners can be removed Society Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:33:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevForeigners and stateless persons will be more easily employed in the territory of Azerbaijan, as the country is considering to eliminate work permit in several fields of employment.The Ministerial Cabinet's law in regard to granting a work permit to foreigners and stateless persons envisages the mentioned decision, which will open wider prospects to attract more foreigners.The foreigners and stateless persons, involved in mining and processing industries, information and communication, finance and insurance, as well as education, transport, electricity, gas supply, water supply, utilization of the waste and wastewater fields will not be urged any more to apply for work permits, since the new rule excludes the permit for working in these fields.The foreigner and stateless persons are allowed to be employed in the territory of Azerbaijan based on a paid work permit, which is issued for a year. If the employee's labor contract is signed for a period less than a year, the term of work permit should match the labor contract's availability period. Azerbaijan's legislation allows the migrant workers to extend their existing work permit for only one year or less.Employers should take into account the duration of the hired foreigner employee's work permit and prepare the labor contract based on the availability period of the permit. The application to get the work permit in the territory of Azerbaijan is considered within 20 working days by the State Migration Service.The State Migration Service is empowered to grant or deny work permit to foreigners and stateless persons given the accomplishment of the required procedures.For instance, the migration service could refuse to issue a work permit in case of the evasion of state duties by the employer, as well as his or her failure to get a temporary residence permit in the territory of Azerbaijan.In case of a pre-term termination of the labor contract and lack of other reasons to stay in Azerbaijan's territory, labor migrant should leave the country's territory within ten business days.Current state duty for getting a work permit or extending the period of being employed in the territory of Azerbaijan is $447 for three months, $766 for six months and $1,277 for a year. Number of imported mobile phones falls Business Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:49:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliThe total number of mobile phones as well as other devices, including tablet, laptops and etc. imported to Azerbaijan in January-October 2014 amounted to 77,836 units worth $4,452 million, the State Statistics Committee said.Compared with the same period of 2013, the number of imported mobile phones decreased by 16 percent, thus 92,646 mobile phones were imported in the country last year. In value terms, this figure decreased by 11.3 percent.On average, the number of monthly imported mobile phones to the country amounted to 7,700. The average volume of the mobile phone market has exceeded $445,000.Azerbaijan, a country with a mobile phone penetration rate of 110 percent, now prefers Samsung phones, the second popular here is Apple, and the third one is Nokia. Baku 2015 names int’l athlete ambassadors Sports Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:04:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaBaku 2015 European Games announced on December 16 the first international athletes who will become ambassadors for next summer’s inaugural event.The high-profile athletes have been selected to represent their sports, and will feature in marketing campaigns around the continent to promote the first ever European Games.French rhythmic gymnast Kseniya Moustafaeva and Denmark’s canoe sprinter Rene Holten Poulsen have been selected along with Serbia’s Basketball 3x3 team of Dusan Domovic Bulut, Marko Savic, Marko Zdero and Dejan Majstorovic.Simon Clegg, Chief Operating Officer of Baku 2015, said the Ambassador program will see support for the inaugural European Games from high profile athletes from around Europe as well as Azerbaijani medal hopefuls. “So we are confident it will be a success.”“I would like to congratulate the first of our international Athlete Ambassadors that have been selected and we are very much looking forward to working with them and the remaining Ambassadors who will be announced over the coming months to help promote Baku 2015,” Clegg said.The six international athletes will feature in extensive marketing campaigns in their home countries and on social media to promote the European Games.“It is very exciting for an innovative sport like Basketball 3x3 to be included in a major multi-sport event such as the European Games, and we are sure that fans will love the speed and skill of our game. We are looking forward to competing against Europe’s other top teams at Baku 2015,” Domovic Bulut, 29, who is considered one of the world’s best players, saidMoustafaeva , in turn, voiced excitement for representing Gymnastics ahead of Baku 2015.“With all five disciplines of Gymnastics featuring at the European Games, I am sure it will be a wonderful event with the best athletes in Europe,” she said.Poulsen, who won a silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, said the Canoe Sprint competition at Baku 2015 is sure to be a memorable occasion. “It is an honor to be selected as an Ambassador for my sport for the first ever European Games.”Baku 2015 recently announced eleven Azerbaijani Athlete Ambassadors and there are plans to announce more international Athlete Ambassadors in the near future.Baku 2015 is the first ever European Games, an exciting and innovative multi-sport event for the continent which will take place from 12 – 28 June 2015.There will be a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports. More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe will be representing their nations over 17 days of competition.Eleven of the sports will offer qualification opportunities for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Those sports include Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Cycling, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekw President Ilham Aliyev attended the first All-Republican Forum of ASAN Volunteers Politics Tue, 16 Dec 2014 15:10:00 +0400 dayThe first All-Republican Forum of ASAN Volunteers has kicked off at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Sabirabad.President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the opening ceremony of the forum.The head of state made a speech at the event.Chairman of ASAN Volunteers Youth Organization Public Union Farid Sad?khl? and volunteer at Sabirabad “ASAN xidm?t” center Ravana Davudova addressed the ceremony.The forum continues with panel meetings./AzerTAc/ ECHR receives thousands of complaints against Armenia World news Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:14:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevOver 2,000 complaints against Armenia have been registered at the European Court Human Rights from 2002 to 2014, according to the Armenian Representation at the European Court of Human Rights.Gevorg Kostanyan, Prosecutor General, who represents Armenia at the ECHR, said at a ceremony dedicated to the 10th anniversary of his country's representation at the ECHR on December 15 that the court has issued about 49 sentences on Armenia as of November 1, 2014, urging the country to pay approximately 15.3 million euros in compensation.So far, 574,000 euros or 3.8 percent of the sum has been paid off, Kostanyan noted."Only 146,000 euros or 26 percent of the payment has been made without using the state budget," he said, pledging to repay the whole amount gradually.Oleksandr Pavlyuk, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Armenia, called on the government to improve the situation based on the ECHR verdicts.Earlier in November, the ECHR filed three separate cases against Armenia, making the country eligible to pay a total of 160,000 euros in compensation.All three cases involved a property located on Byuzand Street in downtown Yerevan. The property was reportedly expropriated by the state to be used in town planning. In all three cases, the plaintiffs did not get any state offer as a compensation for the seized property.The lawyers believe that the main reason behind the continuous ECHR decisions against Armenia is the current systematic problems in Armenia's legislation.The Justice Ministry agreed that the discrepancies in the legislation increase the number of the negative verdicts by the ECHR against Armenia.The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has earlier supported an option to cancel Armenia's mandate at the ECHR. Failure by the Armenian government to organize a transparent and fair contest to elect a judge for the ECHR has created a serious challenge for the PACE, even putting it in question whether to halt choosing one of the three candidates presented by Armenia or not.Serious human rights violations in Armenia have turned the country into a target of criticism by several international organizations, including the Freedom House, which approved the former Soviet state as a partly free country, lacking satisfactory conditions in terms of the civil liberties and political rights. Iran, U.S. resume nuclear talks World news Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:40:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaIran and the United States have started a new round of talks in the Swiss city of Geneva over Tehran's nuclear program.Senior officials from Iran and the U.S. discussed issues of mutual interest in the latest round of nuclear comprehensive negotiations, Iranian media reported.The Iranian delegation is headed by Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi and Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs MajidTakht-e Ravanchi. Acting Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is leading the U.S. team.The two-day discussions in Geneva will be followed by new talks between Iran and the P5+1 on December 17 three weeks after the Tehran and the six countries failed to reach a final agreement by a November 24 deadline.Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on December 15 that the West has no other choice but to lift the sanctions against Tehran.Despite making progress, Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, France, Britain and the U.S. - plus Germany have failed to clinch a final nuclear deal during their previous talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna so far.However, Tehran and the P5+1 agreed to extend their discussions for seven more months until July 1, 2015. They also agreed that the interim deal they signed in Geneva last November remain in place during the negotiations.The U.S. and EU imposed sanctions on Iran's oil and financial sectors at the beginning of 2012 due to claims of potential deviation toward non-civilian purposes in Iran's nuclear energy program. Iran has repeatedly denied the Western allegations against its nuclear energy program.The sanctions prevent other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran. At the end of 2012, the EU foreign ministers reached an agreement to impose another round of sanctions against Iran. Georgia hails continuation of talks over Iran's nuclear program World news Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:20:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevGeorgia’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the progress in talks between E3+3 states and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program in recent months.The Ministry issued a statement on December 15, saying: "Georgia believes that it will be an important step towards a lasting peace and overall stability in the region and world.”The E3+3 is a group of countries, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, as well as China, Russia and the U.S., who are working together on a comprehensive solution for Iran's nuclear program.There have been major doubts and questions about the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program since 2002. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN Security Council and the E3+3 countries have repeatedly called on Iran to be transparent and cooperative in regard to the nuclear issue.The E3+3 and Iran agreed on a first step towards resolving the nuclear dispute, at a meeting in Geneva on November 24, 2013, following 10 years of negotiations. Under the renewable Joint Action Plan agreed in Geneva, which was initially valid for six months, development of Iran’s nuclear program was stopped and some aspects of it were reversed. In return, the EU and U.S. suspended sanctions in certain specific areas.The Georgian Foreign Ministry welcomed the agreement to extend the Joint Action Plan, as well as the parties’ readiness to work for reaching a political framework and finalization of remaining technical details."The Georgian Foreign Ministry supports the negotiation process and hopes that the parties will be able to achieve a framework agreement to verifiably ensure civilian nature of Iran’s nuclear program,” the Ministry said. Azerbaijan to transfer Russia technology for ensuring safety of pipelines Business Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:15:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Gulgiz DadashovaAzerbaijan prepares technical documents on transfer of the "Robust Noise Monitoring" – a monitoring system of diagnostics and control to Russia.The RNM system developed in the Institute of Control Systems of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences will allow ensuring the safety of pipelines while transporting oil and gas, said Tofig Babayev, Director of the Regional Information Technologies Academy (RITA).The memo on cooperation in this sector was inked between the Institute of Control Systems of ANAS and the Arctic community of St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in August 2014, he told Trend.The Arctic community of St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences will provide the RNM technology in Russia on the basis of the signed document.“The Academy proposed to use this technology to determine the seismic stability of oil and gas pipelines in the territory of Yakutia. The project has been proposed for the Russian budget financing for 2015. I believe that concrete steps in this direction will be taken after the project receives funding. But, it will not be possible before the second half of 2015,” Babayev said.The recent developments have made it possible to receive signals (information) on the wind speed, pressure, temperature, etc., by using sensors. During drilling operation, a set of noises and interferences were recorded. Each signal has its own specific features in accordance with which it is possible to predict undesirable incidents.It is possible to predict accidents by using them as carriers of information, as the information is converted into signals, which are then transmitted by radio to the central office of the company.Using of monitoring systems in the aviation, oil and other sectors will help the scientists to diagnose micro accidents at an early stage and to reduce emergencies to zero.RNM technology also allows increasing the profitability of oil wells. The system facilitates identifying dynamometer cards, allowing saving power by more than 50 percent.A pilot version of the RNM system was used in the 35 oil-producing facilities of Bibiheybat Oil and Gas Producing Enterprise of Azerbaijan.Earlier Azerbaijan and Turkey have decided to set up an international network for seismic studies that will link the RNM stations. The two sides are expected to cover most of their lands with these stations, which will help determine the epicenters of earthquakes more accurately.RNM has already been used to detect the abnormal seismic processes and monitor them in Azerbaijan. These stations are located on the island of Qum in Neftchala, Naftalan, Shirvan, Siyazan, and Gazakh. One station is located in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. In addition, two stations will be installed in Khachmaz and Zagatala regions of Azerbaijan.The stations that are functioning now are able to register the abnormal seismic processes for 15-20 hours prior to their surface manifestations.The system provides transmission of the seismic acoustic signals directly to the server of the Cybernetics Institute. High-frequency satellite channels are used for signal transmission, which allows the institution to carry out experiments at a higher level and quality. Sarsang, source of humanitarian, environmental catastrophe Politics Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:03:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaSarsang water reservoir has become a source of humanitarian, environmental and man-made catastrophe.Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijan`s Foreign Minister made the remark during a meeting with a delegation led by Milica Markovic, rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on “The inhabitants of the frontier regions of Azerbaijan who have been deliberately denied access to water”, Foreign Ministry said.Sarsang, the highest water reservoir of Azerbaijan is located 726 meters above the sea level was built on the Tartar River during the Soviet times in 1976.Since 1992, the reservoir has been under the control of the Armenian armed forces. As a result, the frontline regions have been deprived of its water.Markovic, for her part, said the problems created by Sarsang water reservoir and Tartar River for local inhabitants would be the main target of the report.Mammadyarov further spoke of the current status of negotiation on the settlement of Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.He stressed that the continuation of occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia remains the major source of problem. He also called for peaceful settlement of the conflict saying first and foremost, the Armenian armed forces must withdraw from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. He noted that the occupation and aggression has to be eradicated.The sides also exchanged views over the issues of mutual concern.As a result of the Armenian occupation following a brutal war in the early 1990s, seven regions of Azerbaijan can no longer use water from the reservoir which is currently in an emergency situation, because it has not been maintained due to the occupation.Engineers and hydrologists have predicted that if the dam breaks down, more than 30 villages would be ruined by flood. The risk of a disaster is currently very high and the lives of 400,000 Azerbaijani citizens who live in the six regions downstream are in danger.Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a conflict for over two decades. Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, after laying territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor that sparked a lengthy war in the early 1990s. The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal, but they have not been enforced to date. Exchange rate of AZN compared to world currencies on Dec.16 Business Tue, 16 Dec 2014 12:20:00 +0400 The exchange rate of AZN compared to the world currencies and precious metals on Dec.16, according to the Central Bank of Azerbaijan.Currencies and precious metalsDec. 15, 2014Dec. 16, 20141 US dollar1 USD0.78450.78451 euro1 EUR0.97620.97721 Australian dollar1 AUD0.64640.64561 ArgentinianPeso1 ARS0.09170.0917100 Belarusian Rubles100 BYR0.00720.00711 Brazilian Real1 BRL0.29550.2911 UAE dirham1 AED0.21360.21361 South African Rand1 ZAR0.06780.067100 South Korean Won100 KRW0.07120.07211 Czech koruna1 CZK0.03540.03541 Chilean Peso1 CLP0.12680.12671 Chinse Yuan1 CNY0.12670.12661 Danish Krone1 DKK0.13120.13131 Georgian Lari1 GEL0.43380.4241 Hong Kong Dollar1 HKD0.10120.10121 Indian Rupee1 INR0.01250.01241 British pound sterling1 GBP1.23281.2278100 Indonesian rupiah100 IDR0.00620.0062100 Iranian rials100 IRR0.00290.00291 Swedish Krona1 SEK0.10390.10291 Swiss Franc1 CHF0.81270.81361 Israeli Shekel1 ILS0.20060.21 Canadian Dollar1 CAD0.67850.67381 Kuwaiti Dinar1 KWD2.68932.68941 Kazakhstan Tenge1 KZT0.00430.00431 Kyrgyz Som1 KGS0.01360.01361 Lithuanian Litas1 LTL0.2830.2825100 Lebanese pounds100 LBP0.05190.05191 Malaysian ringgit1 MYR0.22440.22451 Mexican Peso1 MXP0.05320.05321 Moldovan Leu1 MDL0.05090.05091 Egyptian Pound1 EGP0.10970.10971 Norwegian krone1 NOK0.10650.1053100 Uzbek soums100 UZS0.03260.03251 Polish Zloty1 PLN0.23340.23341 Russian ruble1 RUR0.01350.01291 Singapore Dollar1 SGD0.59780.59961 Saudi Riyal1 SAR0.2090.2091 SDR (IMF Special Drawing Rights)1 SDR1.14821.14651 Turkish lira1 TRY0.34030.33281 Taiwanese Dollar1 TWD0.02510.02511 Tajik Somoni1 TJS0.15010.15011 New Turkmen manat1 TMM0.27520.27521 Ukrainian hryvnia1 UAH0.04980.0496100 Japanese yen100 JPY0.66130.66851 New Zealand dollar1 NZD0.60790.6075Gold (1 ounce)1 XAU954.7365948.6566Silver (1 ounce)1 XAG13.248812.7331Platinum (1 ounce)1 XPT965.7195950.814Palladium (1 ounce)1 XPD641.721636.2295 /Trend/ Azerbaijan attractive country for Poland Politics Tue, 16 Dec 2014 12:10:00 +0400 Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by Janusz Piechocinski, Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister of Poland, co-chair of Azerbaijan-Poland Intergovernmental Commission on economic cooperation, AzerTag state news agency reported.President Aliyev noted that political relations between Azerbaijan and Poland were at a high level.Noting that the trade between the two countries increased, the head of state said there were big prospects for the expansion of cooperation between the two countries in the economic, investment making and other areas.President Aliyev stressed the importance of developing bilateral bonds in terms of the regional cooperation. The head of state expressed confidence that a meeting of Azerbaijan-Poland Intergovernmental Commission on economic cooperation would be a success.Piechocinski said ongoing big development processes in Azerbaijan made deep impressions on them and congratulated the head of state on the achievements.He conveyed greetings on behalf of President Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz to the head of state.Touching upon mutual economic ties, Piechocinski said he visited Azerbaijan with a big delegation of Polish businessmen, and noted with pleasure that Azerbaijan was an attractive country in terms of cooperation.“Azerbaijan`s achievements in non-oil sector were followed with great interest in Poland,” he said.President Aliyev expressed his gratitude for the greetings of President Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and asked Janusz Piechocinski to communicate his greetings to the Polish president and prime minister./AzerTAc/ Armenian armed forces violate ceasefire with Azerbaijan Politics Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:55:00 +0400 Over the past 24 hours, the Armenian armed forces 44 times violated the ceasefire on various parts of the contact line of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan said Dec. 16.Armenian armed forces opened fire at the Azerbaijani positions located near the villages of Chilyaburt of the Tartar district, Yusifjanli, Shikhlar, Marzili, Garagashli, Sarijali of the Aghdam district, Kuropatkino of the Khojavand district, Horadiz, Gorgan, Garakhanbayli, Ashagi Seyidahmadli of the Fizuli district and Mehdili of the Jabrayil district.The Azerbaijani armed forces were fired at from the nameless heights in the districts of Fuzuli and Khojavand.The opposing side was silenced with return fire.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions./Trend/