Today.Az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside Today.Az Kazakhstan can enter top 30 competitive countries by 2035 World news Tue, 26 May 2015 18:42:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Aynur KarimovaKazakhstan can be listed among top 30 most competitive countries in the world by 2035.This remark was made by Aydin Kulseitov, the chairman of the board of Kazakhstan Industry Development Institute Joint Stock Company, who was addressing a conference on Kazakhstan's industrialization on May 26."According to our calculations, we can enter the top 30 most competitive [countries] in the manufacturing sector by 2035, if the ideology of industrialization will indeed become the national idea," he said.He also noted that the implementation of the state program on the forced industrial-innovative development of the country is accompanied by a number of myths, one of which related to whether or not this program will carry an immediate impact."There are several myths, but the most frequent is that the program should bring us to the level of Germany, Japan and South Korea in five years," Kulseitov said. "It is clear that this is really unprofessional judgments based on inflated expectations. The president clearly indicated in his message that 2050 is our real term expectation for entering the list of top 30 most developed countries in the world - alongside Germany, Japan and Singapore. But it should be clearly understood that the manufacturing industry is at the forefront of this economic policy, so it has a special role," he concluded.In January 2014, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev revealed a plan to enter the list of top 30 most developed world countries.He said he aims to increase the GDP volume rate by 4.5 times per capita from $13,000 to $60, 000. Under the plan labor productivity is expected to increase fivefold by 2050."It is important to reduce the energy intensity of gross domestic product twofold. Small and medium businesses will produce at least 50 percent of Kazakhstan's GDP volume instead of the current 20 percent by 2050. Labor productivity is expected to increase fivefold from the current $24,500 to $126,000."The middle class share will be predominant in the country. The number of urban dwellers will rise to 70 percent of the total population. Cities will connect quality roads and high-speed routes of all modes of transport.Great attention will be paid to the development of medicine which will be aimed at increasing life expectancy up to 80 years old and more.With key priorities in maintaining macroeconomic and financial stability, sustainable economic growth, and social modernization of society, Kazakhstan ranked 50 among 189 countries in the World Bank's 'Doing Business-2014' rating as well, leaving most of the CIS countries behind. Azerbaijan to supply itself with fiber optics Business Tue, 26 May 2015 18:08:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaAzerbaijan reduces its dependence on foreign optical fiber, as Sumgayit Technology Park will supply Aztelekom Production Association with fiber optic cable.The Technology Park has signed a contract with Aztelekom, the Park reported. Deliveries are expected in the framework of the development of broadband Internet in Azerbaijan.The work on the project will start at the beginning of the second half of this year. The project is financed by Amsterdam Trade Bank. The amount of funds allocated by the bank for the project is 13.7 million euros.Sumgayit Technologies Park launched production of fiber optic cables in the end of 2014. The production of the Park will be making it possible to fully meet domestic demands.The main advantage of local producers is an acceptable price for customers - about 30 percent less than the price of imported foreign analogues.Today, the Sumgayit Technologies Park is the only manufacturer of this type of production in Azerbaijan. All products are created here using European technology and equipment.Cable products, including fiber optic, coaxial and LAN-cables, account for 15 percent of the total volume of production at the Park. The production capacity of the company is nearly 20,000 tons per year.At present, Sumgayit Technology Park produces about 10,000 types of cables.Moreover, the production of 500-kv cables at the Park will allow Azerbaijan to take leadership in the region and in the CIS in general, because production technology has not yet been established in the countries of the former Soviet Union.The demand for fiber optic cables is expected to increase substantially in the country with the implementation of the project for development of broadband Internet in Azerbaijani regions.The project for national broadband Internet development will be with the support of the State Oil Fund. The cost of the 'Fiber to the home' project is estimated at more than 450 million manats ($573 million).The project is considered highly profitable. Around 30-35 percent of its total cost will be financed through re-investments beginning in the second year of its implementation.The ultimate goal of the project is to provide the country, including remote rural settlements, with high-speed Internet in the range of 30-100 Mbit/s, and to increase the number of broadband Internet users up to 85 percent from the current 70 percent.At present, the penetration rate of broadband Internet among the population is 50 percent. Baku 2015, P&G announce third Lucky Winner Baku-2015 Tue, 26 May 2015 17:50:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaBaku 2015 and Official Partner P&G have announced another Lucky Winner.Elnara Rasulova has become the European Games’ latest Lucky Winner. Her ticket number was drawn at random, winning a year’s supply of P&G products for the whole family.The Baku 2015 Lucky Winner campaign features spectacular prizes offered by Official Partners for domestic spectators buying their tickets online. The final Lucky Winner, to be announced in early June, will win a lifetime connection package from Nar Mobile. All prizes include two VIP tickets to the Baku 2015 Opening and Closing Ceremonies.Lucky Winner Rasulova said: “I have been looking forward to the European Games ever since I heard that Baku would be the host city, and to win such a fantastic prize makes it even more special. I can’t wait to be at the Opening Ceremony; it will be a great moment for the country and I’m so happy to be a part of it!”Simon Clegg, Chief Operating Officer of Baku 2015, said: “Rasulova is our third Lucky Winner, and I am sure she will enjoy this fantastic prize, as well as her VIP tickets to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The Lucky Winner campaign has increased the already high interest in purchasing tickets online for Baku 2015, and I would like to thank P&G for their continued support of this ground-breaking event.”Taygun Gunay, Director of the P&G Azerbaijan office, added: “P&G is a part of the daily lives of millions of Azerbaijanis, and Rasulova can now look forward to receiving a year’s worth of our products through this Lucky Winner prize. We are committed to being a strong partner of the first European Games, and this initiative is a great way of supporting the event.”Tickets for Baku 2015 are still available to purchase online at, with an opportunity to win a great prize from Official Partner Nar Mobile. Azerbaijan, FAO continue fruitful co-op Business Tue, 26 May 2015 17:39:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Aynur KarimovaAzerbaijan’s Agriculture Ministry and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization have enlarged the legal base of their fruitful cooperation by signing two agreements.The first document signed on May 25 as part of FAO Director-General, Jose Graziano da Silva's visit to Baku, is an agreement on the establishment of the coordination and cooperation office and providing technical assistance, while the second one is a FAO-Azerbaijan partnership program. Both were inked on the same day."A cooperation program signed today envisages the transformation of Azerbaijan into a FAO donor country and includes it to the list of countries assisting poor countries, which is a major achievement for the country," said Heydar Asadov, Azerbaijan's agricultural minister.The first agreement maintains the status of the already existing office, as well as envisages providing mutual technical assistance. Each year some $100,000 will be allocated to the office maintenance."The technical project is designed for 5 years and costs $10 million, which will be provided on an equal basis, with a condition that this amount will be directed mainly to projects implemented in Azerbaijan within five years, taking into account possible exceptions in acute need," Heydarov added.FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts in defeating hunger. Serving both the developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy.FAO is also a source of knowledge and information, and helps developing countries and countries in transition to modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security for all.Azerbaijan became a FAO member-country in 1995. The main areas of cooperation between Azerbaijan and FAO are to ensure animal health, plant protection, services to improve education and assistance in researches in the sphere of agriculture, strengthening the legal and institutional standards for the development of agriculture and increasing livestock and plant products.In 1995-2014, FAO has implemented around 20 projects in Azerbaijan, and currently, three national and three regional projects are underway.FAO’s partnership with Azerbaijan is shaped by the 2015-2019 Country Programming Framework (CPF), which sets out six priority areas: animal health and plant protection, including transboundary animal and plant disease control; supporting investments in agriculture, food security and rural development; capacity development, including agricultural education, research and extension; strengthening the policy and institutional framework for agriculture and rural development; improved crop, fisheries and livestock production and sustainable, equitable and efficient forestry, land and water resource management.The promotion of women’s representation in rural organizations as well as income-generating activities for rural women is a cross-cutting issue throughout the CPF.Jointly developed with the Azerbaijani government, the CPF reflects relevant national development plans and strategies at the same time as supporting FAO’s strategic objectives and regional priorities. It is fully aligned with the UN Azerbaijan Partnership Framework (UNAPF) as well. Azerbaijan to take part in OIC session Politics Tue, 26 May 2015 17:18:00 +0500 Azerbaijan will be represented at the 42nd session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states by the country’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.The session will be held in Kuwait May 27-28.Mammadyarov is expected to speak at the session and hold bilateral meetings.The OIC was founded on Sept.25, 1969 at the conference of the heads of Muslim countries in Rabat to ensure Islamic solidarity in the social, economic and political spheres, to fight colonialism, neocolonialism and racism and support the Palestine Liberation Organization.Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central African Republic, Russian Federation, as well as the Moro National Liberation Front in the Philippines and several organizations (UN, Non-aligned Movement, etc.) have observer status in the organization. The headquarters of the organization is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.The Organization of Islamic Conference was renamed as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on June 28, 2011, in accordance with the decision of the 38th session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Astana./By Trend/ Human rights activists adopt appeal to protest anti-Azerbaijani campaign on eve of European Games Society Tue, 26 May 2015 17:04:00 +0500 Despite the campaign to discredit the global-scale event – the First European Games – Azerbaijan didn’t reduce its efforts towards holding this event, said the appeal adopted by the participants of the round table dedicated to the European Games.The round table was held at the initiative of influential human rights organizations of Azerbaijan and with information support of Trend Agency.The round table was attended by the heads of humans rights organizations holding various positions, including, the heads of Azerbaijan Foundation for Democracy Development and Human Rights Protection, Oil Workers' Rights Protection Organization, Society for Humanitarian Research in Azerbaijan, Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan and Legal Assistance Public Union..An appeal was adopted following the discussions during the round table.The participants of the round table assessed the Games as a significant event for Azerbaijan.“The European Games will be held soon and holding of these Games will open broad opportunities for popularizing Azerbaijan,” said the appeal.Discussing the criticism against the European Games, the leading human rights activists who have contributed to the strengthening of the statehood, freedom of speech and human rights since the period of gaining independence by Azerbaijan till now, said that the attempts to link the holding of the Games with the problems in the human rights sphere in the country are inadmissible."It is regrettable that after the futile initiative of boycotting the first European Games in Azerbaijan, various international circles are using the issue of human rights as a means for ensuring their interests,” the statement said."As the heads of the organizations, dealing with the protection of human rights in Azerbaijan, we always voiced similar issues, tried to contribute to their solution by sending critical messages and proposals to the state organizations,” the statement said.This campaign against Azerbaijan strikes a great blow to the effectiveness of the activity of the human rights defenders, who achieved the results in solving the issues through a dialogue, said the appeal.“As the human rights activists, playing a major role in the life of society and the country, we urge everyone to spare no effort for the successful holding of the European Games,” the appeal said. “We believe that this is a sports event and it will become a significant and historic event for the country. "Baku 2015 is the first-ever European Games, an exciting and innovative multi-sport event for the continent that will take place on June 12-28, 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.Baku was awarded the games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012./By Trend/ Turkmenistan OKs documents on Caspian Sea's delimitation, protection World news Tue, 26 May 2015 16:02:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Aynur KarimovaThe Turkmen Parliament reviewed and approved a draft decree ratifying the agreement on delimitation of the Caspian Sea's bottom between Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan on May 23.The agreement was signed between the two countries on November 7, 2014 with an aim “to ensure favorable conditions for realization of sovereign rights on the development and use of resources of the bottom and subsoil of the Caspian Sea.”The document expresses conviction that the agreement will facilitate the further strengthening of good-neighborliness and the development of mutually beneficial and equal cooperation between the parties.The document also said the bottom and subsoil of the Caspian Sea are delimited between the parties along the line, which is based on the median line taking into account the principles and norms of international law, as well as the parties’ agreement.The parties, in line with international and national environmental norms, requirements and standards, exercise sovereign rights within their sections of the bottom for the purpose of exploration, development and use of the resources of the bottom and subsoil of the Caspian Sea.They also exercise sovereign rights for the laying of cables and pipelines under the Caspian Sea, the creation of artificial islands, dams, piers, platforms and other engineering structures, as well as for carrying out other legitimate economic activities on the bottom.In July 1998, Russia and Kazakhstan signed an agreement on the delimitation of the northern part of the Caspian Sea in order to implement sovereign rights for subsoil use, and the protocol to this agreement was signed in May 2002. Agreements on the delimitation of the Caspian Sea between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan and the protocol were signed on November 29, 2001 and February 27, 2003 respectively.Also, an agreement on the delimitation of adjacent sections of the Caspian Sea was signed by Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Russia May 14, 2003.Protocol on biological diversity approvedThe Parliament also reviewed and approved a draft decree on the ratification of a Protocol on Biological Diversity to the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea.The protocol was signed in 2014 at one of the forums held in Ashgabat.This document is expected to contribute to the development of the protected areas and the protection of rare species of biological diversity at the national and regional levels.The Caspian Sea, the world's largest inland water reservoir not linked to any world ocean, is home to about 141 fish species. It is unique for preserving various relict flora and fauna, including the world's largest shoal of sturgeon.The legal base for the protection of the Caspian Sea is the UN Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea (Tehran Convention), signed in 2003.The Framework Convention was the first legally binding regional agreement signed by all the five Caspian littoral states, laying out general requirements and an institutional mechanism for environmental protection in the resource-rich Caspian region.Today this resource-rich water reservoir still awaits a solution for its ecological problems, which have occurred as a result of the development of hydrocarbon reserves in the sea and its surrounding areas, high density of population and industry in the adjacent areas, intensive agricultural development in valleys which have rivers flowing into them, and the fact that it is a closed basin. Unemployment plague tightens around Armenia World news Tue, 26 May 2015 15:50:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaAs Armenian economy further descends into social chaos, the country has seen unemployment spikes over the past months to now reach a worrying approximately 18 percent of the total population.Armenia’s unemployment rate in 2014 increased by 1.4 percentage points, reaching 17.6 percent, reads the report on the implementation of the 2014-state budget of Armenia.The rising tendency of unemployment among Armenia’s 2.9 million-population has become a pandemic problem which threatens to generate social dysfunction in society.The latest statistical data reported that the share of poor people represents 32 percent of the country's overall population. Having a direct link with widespread poverty, unemployment mostly affects the poorest and most vulnerable segments of society.The number of unemployed people in the country is expected to increase further in 2015.The figure was 69,700, or 91.2 percent of the total number of job seekers in Armenia as of March 1, 2015, according to Ara Petrosyan, Armenia’s deputy minister of labor and social affairs.Also, he said that the indicator increased by 21.2 percent in early April compared to the same period in 2014.Some 76.400 people, of whom 53.300 are women and 18.300 representatives of the younger generation, were looking for work in Armenia as of March 1, 2015. Compared with the figure for the same period last year it increased by 19 percent, according to Armenia’s state employment agency.The number of unemployment among women is especially high. Unemployment rate among women remains high with 71 percent of the total number of unemployed (49, 500 people). Moreover, unemployment among the young generation is a matter of serious concern as unemployment has reached 24 percent or 16,700 people, for this segment of the population, including people with disabilities - 3.1 percent, or 2,100 people.However, growing unemployment is not the only problem Armenia has to face. Armenia's economy has dramatically deteriorated over the past several years and economic indicators are worsening day by day.In addition, the state budget deficit in Armenia amounted to two percent of the country’s GDP in 2014. The budget deficit rose compared to 2013 by 1.7percent.The level of expenditure has also increased in 2014 compared to 2013. It amounted to 27.3 percent of the GDP, which is 0.6 percentage point higher compared to the same period in 2013. Also, the current expenses amounted to 24.3 percent of GDP compared to 23.8percent in 2013. The increase of the spending reported is due to an increase in the provision for benefits and pensions, as well as an increase in the purchases of goods and services.All this came as Armenia’s Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan has recently assured his countrymen that the nation will register growth in 2015.He said the country has for the first four months of the year recorded a 2.2-2.3 percent growth economic activity. Abrahamyan even claimed that the government will try to reach 4.1 percent economic growth. So much to see in Torgovaya Society Tue, 26 May 2015 15:39:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Amina NazarliIf you want to feel Baku’s atmosphere during the first ever European Games scheduled for June 12-28, you should probably visit Torgovaya, which is the most popular place for many Bakunians.The real name of the street is Nizami Street, but people prefer to call it “Torgovaya”, as for many decades they have taken into calling it that. The name came about when in the middle of the XIX century, due to the favorable location and abundance of many shops, the street was commonly dubbed “Torgovaya” [the merchant street].Now, the street’s name is devoted to 12th century prominent Azerbaijani poet and thinker Nizami Ganjavi. The street stretches across 3.5 km and is the longest street in the capital.Being one of the central streets of Baku, closed to public traffic, Torgovaya has always been a favorite vacation spot for young people and Baku’s guests. It is a large pedestrian and shopping street in downtown Baku. Thousands of tourists who visit this part of Baku every year fall in love with this place.Many will agree that the street is one of the most unique ones in the world. From its many nice architectural monuments, beautiful houses, to cinema and parks, Torgovaya just lives and breathes exuberance.The street probably owes many thanks to those millionaire businessmen who adorned it with beautiful architecture where neo-renaissance meets neo-gothic, baroque and neoclassicism.It is also a popular place for those who wish to indulge in a spot of shopping, as many modern boutiques and shops are located along the street.Of course, there are numerous cafes and restaurants along the city offering a very wide selection of options - whether you just want a quick coffee or a lazy lunch to enjoy the local Azerbaijani and European cuisines, all is at hand.Torgovaya begins at the Fountains Square, renowned for its unusual fountains and ends at the Rashid Behbudov Street.Tired of walking along the street and shopping in summer time people usually sit on the benches near the Fountain Square and enjoy the rustling sounds of cool fountains.After significant changes in 2010 the Square acquired its present appearance. Now, the Square has a very beautiful image with unusual fountains, pavilions and kiosks, as well as an increased green space.Nizami Street is a really unique place. So have a stroll along Baku and discover this amazing city. Journey of Flame continues in Oghuz, Sheki Baku-2015 Tue, 26 May 2015 15:19:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaThe Flame of Baku 2015 First European Games visited Oghuz and Sheki regions on May 25.At the symbolic gate of the European Games, the Flame was accepted by teacher of Oghuz city secondary school No. 1, Rafiga Babayeva.Ten torchbearers then started their 2.3 km long route and carried the Flame into the stadium of the Olympic Sports Complex to the sound of wild applause.Master of Sports, Araz Umarov lit the Flame of the European Games. The Flame was then transferred to a commemorative lamp that will remain lit in the Olympic Sports Complex until the end of the Games.The event participants watched a footage highlighting the ceremony of the lighting of the Flame of Baku 2015 First European Games in the Ateshgah Temple which took place on April 26.The Journey of the Flame is bringing the spirit of Baku Games across Azerbaijan from April 26. In some 48 days, the spirit of Baku 2015 will inspire 60 regions across Azerbaijan, to finally arrive in the magnificent Baku National Stadium on June 12.To follow the Journey of Flame please visit: Oghuz, the Flame continued its journey to its next destination, Sheki.The Flame of the European Games started its journey in this ancient region, in the courtyard of the Palace of Sheki Khans, this historical monument dated back to the 18th century.Today, Sheki is hosting a number of international events and festivals. It is visited by both tourists, and government officials from foreign countries, world-famous figures, renowned scientists, cultural patrons, art lovers, and politicians.Young activist Sadagat Mammadzade took the torch in the courtyard of the palace, at the symbolic gate of the European Games. Then the Flame was taken to the city center by 10 torchbearers covering a distance of 2.2 km.The journey of the Flame in Sheki then was followed by the grand festival of fire. An unusual fire show, a colorful concert program performed by music and dance groups were then presented, putting all participants in a festive mood.The Fire Festival ended with fireworks. U.S. President Barack Obama congratulates President Ilham Aliyev on Republic Day Politics Tue, 26 May 2015 15:10:00 +0500 President of the United States of America Barack Obama has sent congratulations to President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on the occasion of Republic Day.“I offer you and the people of Azerbaijan my sincerest congratulations on Republic Day this May 28. As you celebrate the founding of the world`s first Muslim-majority secular democracy in 1918, know that the United States is committed to working with Azerbaijan as it builds on that legacy to create a more prosperous, more democratic future for all Azerbaijanis,” the U.S. President said in his message.“Since Azerbaijan`s independence, the United States has strongly supported the security and democratic and economic development of Azerbaijan. We do so because we value our bilateral relationship and appreciate our partnership in many areas, including in promoting the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, stability in Afghanistan, and European energy diversification.”“Our partnership is also strengthened by the ties between our people. Ensuring all citizens` fundamental freedoms will enhance both our countries` security and allow for even closer coordination between our governments. Please accept my best wishes in celebrating your national day,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in the message./By AzerTac/ National gymnasts' last competition ahead of Baku 2015 Sports Tue, 26 May 2015 14:42:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Amina NazarliAzerbaijani gymnasts took part in the last competition ahead of the inaugural European Games which Baku will host on June 12-28.The World Cup Tashkent held in Uzbekistan’s capital on May 22-24 gathered gymnasts in the following disciplines: Rhythmic Individual - Senior 16-99 years and Rhythmic Group - Senior 16-99 years.Two Azerbaijani talented gymnasts: Ayshan Bayramova and Zeynep Celep represented the country in the competition.Ayshan stopped a step away from the final, taking 9th place in an exercise with clubs. She was 13th in the all-around.Earlier, Ayshan came 16th in the all-around at the European Championships in Minsk, Belarus three weeks ago which was her first performance in such a significant event.National artistic gymnasts also competed in the World Challenge Cup 2015 held in Portuguese city of Anadia on May 21-24.The competition saw performances in Men's Artistic Gymnastics - Senior 18-99 years and Women's Artistic Gymnastics - Senior 16-99 years.Marina Nekrasova and Yuliya Inshina showed best results among the national gymnasts, taking 10th place for their performances on the balance beam and floor exercises accordingly.Baku 2015 is the first-ever European Games, an exciting and innovative multi-sport event for the continent.During 17 days about 6,000 athletes from 49 countries will compete in a total of 20 sports, some 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports. Azerbaijan's rowinq team for European Championships named Sports Tue, 26 May 2015 14:29:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Amina NazarliAzerbaijan rowing team has announced its squad for the European Championships to be kicked off in Poland’s city of Poznan on May 29.Four national rowers headed by main coach Yuliana Stoyeva will race from May 29-31.Aleksandr Aleksandrov will represent the country in the single men boat race (M1X) 2,000 meters competition. He will compete for the best title among 20 sportsmen including Czech World Champion Ondrej Synek, Lithuanian European Champion Mindaugas Griskonis and Norwegian Olympic champion Olaf Tufte.Javid Afandiyev will compete in single men boat race (LM1X) 2,000 meters together with 17 rivals.Duo of the silver medalist of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, Boris Yotov and Igor Luchich will represent the country in the double men boat race (M2X) 2,000 meters competition. Representatives of 21 countries will show their best in the same race. Kazakhstan's energy sector sees investment growth World news Tue, 26 May 2015 14:18:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Aynur KarimovaKazakhstan’s energy sector has attracted huge amount of investment in the last five years."Since the start of the implementation of a program titled “Tariff in exchange for investments” in 2009, investments in the energy sector grew by over 2.5 times (264 percent)," the analytical service said.In 2014, investments in this sector reached 541.2 billion tenges (185.8 tenges = $1), while the total amount of investments over five years stood at 2.23 trillion tenges or about $14 billion, taking into account the average exchange rates for each year.The own funds of the market participants and funds from the budget are among the sources of investments to the fixed capital of Kazakhstan’s energy sector. They provided 87 percent of investments."Although investments of the market participants exceeded state investments in 2014, the budget became the main participant of the investment process at the initial stage (2009-2010)," the analytical service said.Some 88 billion tenge was allocated from the state budget in 2009, and this figure was increased to 227 billion tenge in 2014."Kazakhstan’s energy companies have invested 955.4 billion tenge for their development since 2009 by increasing investments by 28 percent per year, on average," the service said.For instance, the country’s largest energy generating state holding Samruk-Energo invested 413.5 billion tenge in 2009-2014 within the “Tariff in exchange for investments” program.Kazakhstan is set to continue attracting foreign investments in various sectors of the economy. To realize this goal, the country has developed a draft law on the improvement of investment climate in the country. It plans to offer benefits to foreigners investing at least $20 million in new projects in the country.The law is also aimed at stimulating further activities, providing a mechanism for investment incentives provision through the conclusion of investment contracts, as well as ensuring the state support to investors and implement investment projects in important sectors.Analyzes prove that Kazakhstan is in the list of countries with a high level of inflow of foreign direct investments. This is shown by huge economic figures - the total volume of the foreign direct investments invested in the Kazakh economy amounted to $180 billion in 2013.Kazakhstan is interested not only in foreign investments, but also in domestic funds. The country plans to allocate over 164 billion tenges to financing national geological projects in 2015-2019. Russia backs soonest resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Politics Tue, 26 May 2015 14:07:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaThe settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was high on the agenda during Azerbaijani foreign policy head’s Moscow visit.Elmar Mammadyarov spoke about the current status of the negotiations towards the resolution of the long-lasting conflict during his meeting with Sergey Naryshkin, the chairman of the Russian State Duma on May 25.Briefing about the current status of negotiations, Mammadyarov stressed that the settlement of conflict is already ripe, AzerTac news agency reported.Noting that for the conflict resolution the Armenian armed forces should withdraw from Azerbaijan’s occupied territories, he underlined that the current status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable.Mammadyarov further added that the Armenian leadership should abandon its destructive policy and demonstrate political will in view of restoring peace and stability in the region.Naryshkin, for his part, said Russia is interested in the soonest resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.For over two decades, Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a conflict which emerged over Armenia's territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor. Since, a war in the early 1990s saw Armenian armed forces occupy 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions.A fragile ceasefire has been in place since 1994, but long-standing efforts by US, Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far. Armenia has not yet implemented any of the four U.N. Security Council resolutions provisioning on its pullout from Azerbaijan territories.Furthermore, Mammadyarov expressed his satisfaction with the steady development of inter-parliamentary relations between Azerbaijan and Russia.He pointed out that the upcoming visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to join the opening ceremony of the First European Games to be held in June in Baku is highly appreciated.Naryshkin emphasized that close ties between the legislative bodies of the two countries serve for the strengthening of cooperation and friendship.Conveying his congratulations with regards to holding of the First European Games in Azerbaijan, Naryshkin expressed confidence that the Games would be held at the highest level.The Russian official also added that there are no problems in the bilateral relations between Russia and Azerbaijan, noting that cooperation is at a very high level.Naryshkin also thanked his Azerbaijani colleagues for their active participation in organizing the events dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War. He said this victory is important not only for Azerbaijan, Russia and the CIS countries, but for all mankind.The sides also exchanged views on bilateral cooperation and issues of regional and international importance.Azerbaijan and Russia established diplomatic relations on April 4, 1992.Russia is the main trade partner of Azerbaijan in the CIS. It also ranks first among the countries importing from Azerbaijan.Currently, there are 570 companies with Russian capital in Azerbaijan. Russia has recently invested $628.4 million in Azerbaijan's fixed capital. But Azerbaijan's investment in the Russian economy for 10 years amounted to nearly $1 billion. Eastern Japan shaken by 5.6 magnitude quake, no tsunami warning World news Tue, 26 May 2015 13:09:00 +0500 An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.6 shook Tokyo and surrounding areas on Monday, but no tsunami warning was issued, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.The quake was centered in Ibaraki prefecture just northeast of the Japanese capital. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, and no reports of abnormalities at any nuclear facilities, according to Reuters.The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake at 5.3 magnitude.The tremor shook buildings in Tokyo and briefly halted some train lines, including the Tokyo Metro subway lines.Narita airport closed both runways for checks shortly after the quake, but the capital's Haneda airport was operating as normal.On March 11, 2011, Japan - one of the world's most seismically active nations - was hit with a massive earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 20,000 people dead and set off meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant./By AzerTac/ EBRD: Devolution offers economic growth opportunity for Azerbaijan Business Tue, 26 May 2015 13:06:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Gulgiz DadashovaEBRD Baku Office Head, Neil McKain shared some of his insights with AzerNews on the eceonomic situation in the country.Question: What can you say about the current position of Azerbaijani economy? How do you assess current economic situation in the country in view of the devaluation of the manat earlier in 2015?Answer: I think the fundamentals of Azerbaijani economy are good - the fiscal position is excellent with $37 billion state oil fund and over $12 billion foreign currency reserves. That is a big plus for the economy. If you look at the currency graphics against the USD (all regional currencies including), it used to be hard to see AZN, the national currency of Azerbaijan - manat, on the graph. It actually looked like it was part of the grade lines - it was all a straight line. But then we had this devaluation - 34 percent in late February, and it changed the whole dynamic.I think that in the long-run it will be something positive for Azerbaijani economy as I believe the manat was overvalued and it needed to be put back on par with reality. This overvaluation was stifling the development of the export sector, which we all want to encourage. Our country strategy, I mean EBRD country strategy runs in parallel with the government' strategy for diversification. The devaluation of the manat made our work much easier in the sense that exports were given an incredible boost - products became more attractive.This is the sort of change which we have yet to feel.But what you have to realize is that in the short term, people will need to psychologically adjust to seeing the manat experience more volatility. We went from a straight line - complete security, to more fluidity and movement. It will take time for people to get used to things. But it is actually more normal for a currency to be mobile - it is not instability, not volatility, it is changeability.Q.: Then do you regard the devaluation of the manat as the opportunity to grow?A.: Yes, it is especially true in the case of the export market. There are few exports coming out of Azerbaijan outside oil and gas - both make the vast majority of all exports. But there is real potential in other sectors: food products, light manufacturing or petrochemicals and so on. It is much easier for them to export and now compete with imports. It will be much easier to compete with imports because imports will be more expensive. That means that local manufacturers will benefit from the devaluation of the manat.It will also benefit local Azerbaijani industries in the non-oil sector as well. On the whole, it is good for the non-oil sector development.Q.: How does it affect the investment environment of the country? Do you think foreign investors will leave the country because of the devaluation?A.: I don’t think so, no. I think if an investor is already in Azerbaijan, he or she will take the long view. Investors will also be encouraged by the change in the currency regime. If you are looking long-term, as investors do, you are not looking for the next six-eight months, you are not thinking whether or not there will be another devaluation, you are looking for a much longer period of time - five years or more. That is why I don’t think investors will be discouraged by that [devaluation]. Again, depending on what sector they are in, of course. A lot of our clients have perhaps slowed down their investment plans a little bit. They said let’s wait and see how it all plays out, which is a perfectly normal reaction by the way. So, perhaps this year we will have a slight slowdown in business. But that business is not going away.So for us as investors, we are working hard to fulfill our business plans for this year and I think we will get there. But we are not going to move forward as quickly as we were last year. And only because our clients want to wait and see a little bit, they are a bit cautious and more conservative. Whenever there will be an economic shock such a devaluation, investors will slow down and re-evaluate - this is normal, this is actually a healthy reaction.Q.: What are some of the biggest challenges for the banking sector today? How do you see the future of the banking sector?A.: I think challenges for the banking sector is to develop capital markets. Azerbaijan’s banking sector is still small. One of the ways we measure the size of the banking sector is to compare the assets of the sector as a whole to the GDP. They call it bank penetration rate. Here, it is about 34-35 percent. For comparison, if you look at a country like Georgia, right next door the figure is 65 percent. So, this is the difference. The size of the banking sector compared to the whole economy is much bigger in Georgia, which is not as rich as Azerbaijan. And yet it has a much more developed financial sector. So the challenge is I think, the consolidation of existing banks in order to have stronger institutions, better able to finance all of the things we want to see banks financing, from micro-financing to corporate lending.But capital markets development is also needed. At the moment, most banks are financed by deposits or by equity from the owners. There is no other way of raising funds. There are a few bonds here – not many to speak of. There has to be more development on capital markets. So we are working with the Central Bank, with the State Security Committee as well as trying to develop new financial instruments for Azerbaijan. For example, there are no big pension funds here to invest in shares on the stock exchange. But there is also no other capital markets to invest in. Banks don’t lend each other as well. This means banks hold very high level of liquidity, they fight for that liquidity because they have to maintain this high position as they can’t borrow from each other to cover open positions, they don’t do that. So they hold high levels of liquidity. That means there is a lot of competition for liquidity and that is one of the reasons why interest rates are still high. The good thing is that there is now a good spread between the dollar and the rate of the manat - which is more market reflective and therefore good. But still interest rates are high. It is still expensive for local business people to borrow from banks and if you have to have a better local capital markets that will increase competition and drive down the costs. So it will be cheaper to borrow. Not just cheaper to borrow for consumers but most of all for companies.Q.: What about new tools? EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti recently announced Bank’s intention to issue bonds in manat. Have you defined the size and timeframe?A.: No, we have not yet defined the volume. We are looking at the regulatory environment at the moment to see what can be done; we are coordinating with the World Bank program [the Capital Markets Improvement Program] trying to look thoroughly who might be interested in buying EBRD papers and that is not clear at the moment. And mainly because everybody wants manats at the moment. We have to see if there is anybody who wants to give us manats. That I really don’t know.As for the time-frame, we don’t have an exact date. We would hope to do this in 2015 if possible. I think this is realistic. But, if that goes to next year, that is fine. We don’t know enough about the local regulatory market and market interest in EBRD manat bond in order to put it in a timetable yet. But by the end of the year, we hope we will be able to.Q.: Decreasing oil prices already showed its effect on Azerbaijan's energy-oriented economy, do you think the non-oil sector will be able to compensate against it?A.: Fully not yet. But there are prospects for that and I think the last few months gave us a taste of what needs to be done in order to develop the sector. What we know is that companies need to access to finances, there has to be more transparency and governance in companies has to improve. Also issues around corruption and good governance need to be addressed in order to increase competition. And that is the second point of our EBRD country strategy - access to finance through creating competition in the financial sector, which then creates more competition in the non-oil real sector. So we are not there yet. I don’t think the non-oil sector can fully compensate for the oil revenues, we know that. But it is gathering momentum every year, and every year we see that the non-oil sector growth is greater than the overall economic growth. That means the non-oil sector is catching up. I’m very optimistic that it will catch up and that devaluation will allow it to accomplish it faster.Q.: Recently the EBRD voiced its intention to finance the agriculture and IT sector. Does the Bank have exact projects to invest in agriculture and IT? May EBRD invest in renewables also?A.: We don’t invest in renewables, but we invest in energy efficiency. It’s like the twin brother of renewable energy. That is a very important project – Energo Credit Project. We lend money to four local banks, so far and they lend it on to SMEs to improve their energy system. So it might be the purchase of small equipment – manufacturing equipment which is much cheaper to run and to use less electricity. It might be insulating a building, it might be changing the light system of a small businesses. This is a very good for banks to do because you are not asking your client to do anything, you are not finding something new or risky, you are just being more efficient. And bankers like that because that is not risky and payback is relatively quick. So that is one area we are working on – energy efficiency.We are working on new Azerbaijan agriculture finance facilities – we lend money to banks which in turn lend to small farmers and small food producers as well. We hope to have this up and running this autumn. We are recruiting a consultant now to run the program. That should be ready by October. We hope loans could be made then.In the agriculture sector, we are engaged in extending loan agreement and we offer a lot of technical assistance to farmers. We are helping farmers to improve their yields to get more crops and helping them in market- to sell, as well as helping group farmers in a club in order to sell.We will also continue to operate direct lending and we see a lot of equity prospects as well. As I have mentioned before there are a lot of good equity prospects. So we are not just lending we are buying shares – so we are looking to buy shares in manufacturing, retail sectors and perhaps in banks.Q.: Could you name the projects?A.: I cannot give too many details, but I can say that until this year there were not so many opportunities for us in equity but we see some now. As for the timeframe the talks may continue into next year.Q.: Could you please share case studies or few examples with us that you find particularly interesting, you are proud of and are reflective of the changes occurring in the country’s business sector - with the help of the EBRD.A.: We are proud of our clients. It is never us who do anything; all we do is provide financing or advice. So it is never really us. We feel a little bit like a manager of a football club. We are not scoring goals, that are the players' job – our clients are doing this. But, we are creating the right conditions for them to grow their businesses. If we take, for example, Embawood [Azerbaijan's largest furniture manufacturer] - this is a client which went in three years from being a mid-size company to a strong international manufacturer with a presence in Georgia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Now, the company sells its products in all these countries, as well as in Azerbaijan. And that makes me very proud! And if we are looking at case studies, then Embawood story is a really great story about what can be done in Azerbaijan by clever Azerbaijani entrepreneurs, building an international business more or less from nothing. The same thing can be said of the Gedebey Mineral Sulari [one of the leading bottled water producers in Azerbaijan]. In just 6-7 years they've gone from nothing to being a really big producer.The EBRD has already allocated 2.33 billion euros to finance 156 projects in various sectors of the economy in Azerbaijan since the beginning of cooperation in September 1992. One of the EBRD’s main tasks is to ensure the stable development of Azerbaijan's non-oil sector by investing in small and medium private enterprises.Azerbaijan, the largest recipient of the EBRD funds in the Caucasus, is also one of the largest recipients in the CIS and Eastern Europe. Last year, the bank invested 238 million euros in the implementation of 21 projects. Russia announces diving team for Baku 2015 Baku-2015 Tue, 26 May 2015 12:57:00 +0500 Head coach of the Russian National Diving team Oleg Zaitsev has announced the squad for the first European Games to be held in Baku this June.The men`s squad will include Ilya Molchanov, Nikita Nikolaev, Aleksandr Beleychev and Nikita Schleicher.Ekaterina Nekrasova, Maria Polyakova, Elena Chernykh, Anna Chuynishena and Yulia Timoshinina will vie for the medals in the women`s event.Russia will be represented by 360 athletes at the Baku 2015 Games./By AzerTac/ Acrobatic gymnastics competition held prior to European Games Sports Tue, 26 May 2015 12:35:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Amina NazarliBaku’s Gymnastics School became the venue of a competition in acrobatic gymnastics on May 25.The competition, organized by the Education Ministry was devoted to the crucial sport event in the history of Azerbaijan and that of Europe - 2015 European Games to be scheduled for June 12-28.Some 100 gymnasts of the Baku Gymnastics School, as well as “Neftchi” sport club and the Sports School #13 took part in the competition.Addressing the event, Khilal Salmanov, representative of the Ministry recalled that a few days are left before the European Games. “The goal of the event is not only to propagandize the Games, but also increase students' interest in the sport, and healthy lifestyle,” he said.Anvar Isayev, the vice-president of the National Olympic Committee, for his part, noted that such competitions create an opportunity for participants to become outstanding sportsmen.Isayev added that now, gymnastics is one of the most developed sports in Azerbaijan.Following, the awarding ceremony was held, where two national gymnasts, Aynur Huseynova and Narmin Ramazanova, who will represent the country at the Games, were awarded the title of sports master.After the awarding ceremony the competition started - each gymnast did their best. The winners were awarded with diplomas and medals.The creation and development of rhythmic gymnastics in Azerbaijan dates back to the 1940s. The history of origin of non-Olympic sports - acrobatics comprised of trampoline and tumbling began in the 1920-30s. As a result of this sport's popularization over a very short period of time, Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation was created in 1956.After Azerbaijan gained independence in 1991, the National Federation of Gymnastics became a member of the International Gymnastics Federation in 1993, and the European Union of Gymnastics in 1996.Designed to host rhythmic and artistic gymnastics competitions, the National Gymnastics Arena opened in 2014, is now able to host gymnasts' training for international tournaments.Baku was honored to host the Games by the European Olympic Committees in December 2012. Thus the European Games will host some 6,000 athletes from 50 countries who will compete for medals in 20 sports - a total 16 sports are Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports.Tickets for Baku 2015 can be purchased directly from 11 conveniently located ticket outlets around Baku, including Park Bulvar, 28 Mall, and Metro Park Baku, and online Baku 2015 to provide full accessibility of venues Baku-2015 Tue, 26 May 2015 12:22:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaBaku 2015 has announced that all venues for the upcoming European Games will be fully accessible for persons with a disability or impairment.The inaugural Games will gather in Azerbaijan about 6,000 athletes from 50 countries to compete in 20 sports. A flow of tourists is also expected in the Azerbaijani capital on June 12-28.Accessibility has been a priority since the very beginning of the development process for the 18 Games venues; from specific drop-off zones to teams specially trained in mobility assistance, Baku 2015 will meet relevant international standards.“We have made it a top priority to accommodate the needs of our guests with disabilities. It is our belief that the needs of these visitors should simply be an extension of the same courtesies that we offer to all spectators,” said Simon Clegg, Chief Operating Officer of Baku 2015.“One of the legacies of the European Games is that the planning and development put into increasing accessibility for these Games will continue to benefit the city after Baku 2015, allowing Azerbaijan to meet international standards for the events it will hold in the future, such as the Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017,” he added.Last week, Baku 2015 welcomed Paralympic gold medallist Nick Morris to Baku for a full review of the venues. Morris is an accredited accessibility consultant with the Accessibility Consultants Association.After consulting for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, he became an expert accessibility advisor for the International Paralympic Committee from 2004 – 2012 and numerous Games Organising Committees.“All spectators, including those people who have a disability or are elderly, are able to come and enjoy the ceremonies and sport of the first European Games in Baku. Accessible transport and venues are being provided that include an accessible park and ride, accessible drop-off, toilets, concessions and merchandise outlets, and accessible seating for you and your companion,” explained Morris.Dedicated ticketing policyIn the spirit of equal opportunities and access for all, Baku 2015 is providing complimentary tickets for spectators with accessibility needs and their companions for all sporting sessions. Complimentary tickets will be available through Baku 2015 city ticket outlets.Spectators indicating accessibility needs during their ticket purchase will be allocated an accessible seating area or provided with a wheelchair space.Tickets for Baku 2015 can be purchased directly from 11 conveniently located ticket outlets around Baku, including Park Bulvar, 28 Mall, and Metro Park Baku, and online Exclusive: Man stolen as baby reunites with mother 41 years later Weird / Interesting Tue, 26 May 2015 12:11:00 +0500 It was a hug kept on hold for more than 41 years. The hug of a mother and son whose lives were abruptly separated four decades ago.Nelly Reyes had been waiting for hours in the international arrivals lounge at Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago, holding a hand-made red poster board sign that said "Lovingly waiting for Travis, your mother Nelly and family." A granddaughter in her early 20s and a 10-year-old grandson keep her company.On the other side of the terminal, going through immigration and customs, Travis Tolliver was anxious and nervous. Up until the last minute, mainly because of a language barrier, he didn't know if anybody would show up to greet him.When he finally came out of the terminal, no words were needed. They rushed to each other's arms and held on for a long hug. Few relatives knew the real story.Tolliver had tears of joy. "I don't know how I feel. It's crazy! I never thought this could happen," he said.Reyes, 61, could barely talk. "I'm going to hug him every day. I love him so much," she said.The emotions released in that hug at the airport were the culmination of four decades of heartbreak, lies, deception, criminal acts and an injustice that separated mother and son at birth.Stolen at birthThe newborn baby ended up living thousands of miles away, being raised in Tacoma, Washington, by a couple who had no knowledge of what had happened, while his biological mother cried and desperately tried to find her son.Tolliver says he always knew he was adopted. What the 41-year-old supervisor at an imports distribution center didn't know was that he was stolen as a baby in his native Chile, only hours after his birth.He hopes that knowing the truth about his past will now allow him to overcome a psychological trauma he has suffered for as long as he can remember. He says he has "abandonment issues.""You know, I wasn't given up willingly like I thought for all these years, so that makes my heart feel wonderful; but it's just coming to terms with that. This whole thing still seems unreal to me," Tolliver said.Reyes says she had a normal pregnancy with no medical issues. The mother of six children, including Tolliver, says she gave birth to a healthy baby boy at 4 p.m. on November 15, 1973. She was 19.But her joy quickly turned to sadness when a nurse told the baby was born with a heart condition and was unlikely to survive."Hours later they told me he had died," Reyes said. Despite her multiple pleas, Reyes says she was never shown a body and was never given a death certificate.Chile's 'Children of Silence'Tolliver's case is not unique in Chile, according to Marcela Labraña, the director of the country's child protection agency (SENAME, by its Spanish acronym)."This is no longer a myth. We know nowadays that this happened and it was real. It's not a tale that a couple of people were telling," Labraña said.Her agency is currently investigating hundreds of cases, but Labraña says there could be thousands of cases of illegal adoptions from the 1970s and 1980s, when the country was ruled by a repressive dictatorship.Tolliver and Reyes believe he was stolen. He is now working with authorities to find out what exactly happened to him.In Chile they call them "Children of Silence." Some babies were stolen and sold. Other newborns were given away by their grandparents who conspired with doctors, priests and nuns to hide a daughter's socially embarrassing pregnancy.'Children of Silence' seek truthPriest investigatedProsecutor Mario Carroza investigated Gerardo Joannon, a priest accused of acting as a secret liaison between well-to-do families in Chile and adoptive parents as a part of a scheme also involving doctors, nurses and nuns in the 1970s.Carroza says the priest, who belongs to the Sacred Hearts congregation, was investigated for the crimes of theft of minors, falsification of documents, and usurpation of identity.To the dismay of those seeking answers, Carroza determined that even though Joannon might have committed those crimes, it was so long ago that he couldn't be prosecuted."In this case we're talking about a period between 15 and 20 years ago, which means the statute of limitations has run out," Carroza said.The congregation to which Father Joannon belongs also conducted an internal investigation last year into the allegations and sent its findings to the Vatican. The Holy See later determined that even though the priest had made ethical and moral mistakes, none of his actions had risen to the level of a violation of canon law.In his only on-camera interview in April 2014 with Chile's Channel 13, Joannon denied all the accusations, including telling women their children had died in order to give the babies to other couples."I never told anybody the babies had died because I didn't even know if they had been born, or if they were male or female," he said on Channel 13. "I never knew anything."StillIn Tolliver's case, it's not clear who took him from his mother or whether there was any money involved.Tolliver says his U.S. adoptive parents never knew he had been stolen. They were told he was an abandoned baby.Tolliver also says he tried to find his biological parents when he was in his 20s but didn't have the connections to make it happen.It was not until last year, he says, that he determined he needed to find the truth about his past not only for himself, but also for his two children. He says the decision was, in part, motivated by seeing several news stories about stolen children in Chile, including CNN's "Children of Silence."The news that he was matched to his biological mother through DNA testing has been difficult to digest, Tolliver says, especially for his adoptive mother."But she's always going to be my mom -- it's just that I have two now -- she raised me. I am who I am because of what she did for me. She's always going to have a place in my heart and it's not like I'm replacing her or anything like that," Tolliver said.Reuniting with siblingsSince reuniting with his biological mother, Tolliver has been busy meeting four brothers and one sister and seeing the sights of the country."Now I'm back here in my homeland I guess. I'm going to explore and see what the country is all about," he said.One of his stops was the site where the hospital where he was born once stood. The Enrique Deformes Hospital in the coastal city of Valparaíso has since been demolished and Chile's main congressional building now sits in its place.As to why he would travel such great distance from his home in Yelm, Washington, and spend so much money -- some of it raised through a GoFundMe appeal -- to find the truth about his past, Tolliver is unequivocal. "To become whole," he says choking up and fighting back tears. "I've always felt incomplete, always kind of the outsider. My adoptive parents have blonde hair blue eyes. I just kind of stood out like a sore thumb."Reyes, his biological mother, has been cooking for him daily and going out of her way to make him feel welcome. He doesn't speak Spanish and she doesn't speak English.But more than anything, she's been showing him her love, giving her son the hugs and kisses that she was unable to give him all of the years gone by./By CNN/ First Lady meets FAO Director-General Politics Tue, 26 May 2015 12:10:00 +0500 Azerbaijan`s First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva has met a delegation led by Jose Graziano da Silva, the director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), AzerTac state news agency reported.Mehriban Aliyeva noted that long-term successful cooperation was established between Azerbaijan and FAO, adding this visit would contribute to the further strengthening of the relations.Saying the humanitarian area is a priority in the activity of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Mehriban Aliyeva stressed the possibility of implementing joint projects.The first lady said Azerbaijan paid great attention to food security and carried out a number of programs in this area, adding the experience of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations could be useful.Noting it was his second visit to Azerbaijan, Jose Graziano da Silva said he had eye-witnessed big changes in Baku since his last trip.He said the goals of FAO were the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, the elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all and, the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources.Jose Graziano da Silva hailed the activities of Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva towards achieving these goals.The director-general said Leyla Aliyeva was named a Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and presented a diploma to Mehriban Aliyeva.He said Leyla Aliyeva was invited to the FAO headquarters in Rome./By AzerTac/ Heat wave claims 600 lives in India World news Tue, 26 May 2015 11:59:00 +0500 More than 600 people have lost their lives in the past week in a sustained and severe heat wave in India.The worst-off areas are the southeastern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in southern India, where state authorities say more than 400 people have died in the past few days. There are additional reports of some 200 people dying in the state of Delhi, toward the north.Temperatures have been recorded as high as 48 degrees Celsius, or 118 degrees Fahrenheit.Temperatures have been at a sustained high over the past few days, with little respite at night, and are expected to remain this high for days, CNN meteorologist Tom Sater said.India's monsoons will provide some relief, but the rains are projected to arrive in one more week. Once they hit India's southeastern coastline, they will likely take a few more weeks to hit the drier northern parts of India.State authorities have been advising people to stay indoors and drink water.Experts say that hot conditions should not normally lead to this many fatalities. But many of affected areas in India are humid, which worsens the level of stress caused by excessive heat.The heat wave also underscores India's long-running battle with poverty and inadequate infrastructure.Early reports from state governments indicate a majority of the fatalities so far are poor laborers and workers, or people without access to adequate shelter and water.Heat waves are not uncommon in India. Studies suggest they are likely to get more intense and more frequent. Sex trade goes underground in China's 'sin city' World news Tue, 26 May 2015 11:45:00 +0500 When Han Yulai, a businessman in Dongguan, a town in southern China's manufacturing heartland, had clients in town for a factory visit or trade fairs, he would always offer them what he calls the "Dongguan standard."In the evening, he'd take them to a KTV, a karaoke entertainment establishment often synonymous with sexual services.There, a "mamasan" -- a name given to a woman in charge of running businesses at brothels --would line up a dozen young women, mainly Chinese but also Japanese, Korean and -- the most expensive of all -- Russians."You choose one or two, sing and drink and have a bit of fun, and then go to a room upstairs for some 'business.' Not love, only business," said Han, who used a pseudonym as prostitution is illegal in China.Today, doing that type of business is becoming increasingly difficult.In February 2014, the government launched a crackdown on the sex trade in Dongguan, which has been dubbed China's "Sin City."More than 2,000 hotels, saunas and massage parlors that catered to the city's migrant workers and visiting buyers were shut down, according to state media.Thousands of people were arrested, including suspected operators and organizers of prostitution, alongside high-ranking officials and corrupt police officers. The city's vice mayor, who was also head of the city's public security bureau, Yan Xiaokang, was removed from his posts.The raids lasted several months and their impact is still being felt more than a year later.Empty red light districtsIndeed, at my hotel, a four-star establishment in the heart of Houjie, one of the red light districts, the massage and sauna floor still remain closed.So are spas and KTV facilities at other hotels in the area that I visited.On the streets, not one single "xiaojie" -- the Chinese word for miss that's also slang for prostitute -- is to be seen. In barbershops, often a front for sex services, staff seem to actually focus on customers' hair and nothing else.Lin Jiang, a professor of public finance and taxation at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, estimated that the raids could wipe out out 50 billion yuan ($8 billion) for businesses, including hotels, shops and restaurants. That's a tenth of Dongguan's city revenue in 2014.He says it's impossible to know exactly what the financial losses were because officials have been too secretive."We can only estimate, we can't get the data to prove it."Lin says the crackdown has caused financial pain in more ways than one. Dongguan's economy has traditionally relied on low-cost manufacturing. Efforts at growing high-end service industries and advanced manufacturing have been hampered by the high profile prostitution crackdown."The anti-vice campaign has hurt the city's image and this shadow won't completely disappear," he told CNN.Han, the businessman, agrees."We absolutely have fewer customers coming to Dongguan now than a year ago."READ: Police on alert after sex industry crackdownGoing undergroundBut even if the go-go days of Dongguan's red light district are over, it doesn't mean the sex industry has disappeared. Rather, the trade has gone underground.Han can no longer openly take customers to KTVs or saunas for the "Dongguan standard," but there are ways of flying under the radar, he said, like having your own contacts with go-betweens and "mamasans."Getting contacts was far from difficult, as I experienced myself.Coming back to my hotel one night, I was approached by the lobby boy. "You like massage?" he asked with a cheeky smile.For 1,000 yuan ($160) I was offered 90 minutes in my room with "two beautiful Chinese girls." He gave me his number.Right before the lift doors closed, he winked at me and made a risqué hand gesture suggesting a type of sexual service.A hotel chauffeur also offered his services. As we were driving along a busy highway, he turned back to me and said "anmo, anmo?" -- massage in Chinese -- and made suggestive gestures with his fingers. I said I'd think about it and he gave me his business card.In less than a day, I had two local pimps at hand should their services be required.Social media 'hook-up'Social media apps are also being used to connect supply and demand, especially China's mainstream instant messaging service WeChat. Since the women can't work at KTVs anymore, some of them instead linger around the building waiting for men to seek out their services.By searching "People nearby" and selecting "Female only" you get a list of WeChat users in the area. Looking at their profile pictures, it doesn't take much imagination to figure out who's in business.But using social media services is also getting increasingly difficult as China's Internet regulator is clamping down on sexual content.Chinese media reports that the sex trade is also believed to have shifted to one-on-one home service and phone appointments and on the streets during my visit, I didn't see any sex workers.Greater risksMore than 250,000 sex workers were estimated to have worked in Dongguan before the government took action. Critics of the raids say the new underground environment has exposed sex workers to greater risks."Sex workers have always been abused by the clients and the police. After the crackdown the situation is the same. They are still subject to violence from these to groups," said Ann Lee, a spokesperson for Zi Teng, a Hong Kong-based sex workers' rights group.Human Rights Watch said in a 2013 report that sex workers in China are subject to serious abuses, including police violence, arbitrary detention and coercive HIV testing. The police often fail to investigate crimes against sex workers by clients, it said.Global Times, a newspaper under the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily,quoted people as saying the crackdown is hurting an already disadvantaged group, and raised the possibility of decriminalizing the industry, "as sexual freedom is arguably a human right."Lee hopes one day the sex trade could become "just one normal business activity" with healthier control and regulations."But in China, that's just a dream. It's still too controversial," she added.ViagraMost of the entertainment venues closed by police last year have been allowed to reopen and stricter rules took effect in April, according to Chinese media.The new rules include: Banning massages in private rooms with locked doors or lights turned off; identifying overnight guests to local police; and banning employees from offering services away from massage parlors.However, local pharmacies in red light districts continue to display ads for Viagra in their shop windows, with both original and ripoffs for sale.A pharmacist laughed when asked if there's still demand for the potency pills after the crackdown. "Yes," he said, "Especially at night time."/By CNN/ Turkmenistan ratifies deal with Kazakhstan on Caspian Sea’s delimitation World news Tue, 26 May 2015 11:30:00 +0500 Turkmenistan’s parliament, the Majlis, reviewed and approved a draft decree on ratification of the agreement of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan on Caspian Sea’s delimitation between the two countries, Turkmen government said May 26.The deal itself was inked November 7, 2014, to “ensure favorable conditions for realization of sovereign rights on the development and use of resources of the bottom and subsoil of the Caspian Sea.”The document expresses conviction that the agreement will facilitate to the further strengthening of the good-neighbourliness and the development of mutually beneficial and equal cooperation between the parties.The document also said the bottom and subsoil of the Caspian Sea are delimited between the parties along the line, which is based on the median line taking into account the principles and norms of international law, as well as the parties’ agreement.The parties, in line with international and national environmental norms, requirements and standards, exercise sovereign rights within their sections of the bottom for the purpose of exploration, development and use of the resources of the bottom and subsoil of the Caspian Sea.They also exercise sovereign rights for the laying of cables and pipelines under the Caspian Sea, the creation of artificial islands, berms, dams, piers, platforms and other engineering structures, as well as for carrying out other legitimate economic activities on the bottom. /By Trend/ Iran summons Saudi envoy over attack on embassy in Yemen World news Tue, 26 May 2015 11:20:00 +0500 Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Saudi Arabia’s chargé d’affaires in Tehran to protest against a rocket attack near the Iranian Embassy in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Saudi diplomat, currently Riyadh’s most senior diplomat in Tehran on May 25 night and asked him to remind the Saudi Arabia authorities to perform their duties regarding the protection of the diplomats and diplomatic areas, Iran's IRNA news agency reportedIranian Foreign Ministry condemned the attack on the Iranian Embassy, saying that Tehran deems attacks and threats on security of diplomatic places and diplomats as a 'flagrant violation of international conventions.'Two rockets were dropped earlier in the day in the vicinity of the embassy compound in southwest Sanaa, which shattered the windows of the building.Iran recognizes Saudi Arabia as the 'aggressor state' in Yemen and Riyadh will be held directly responsible for any incident that 'may hamper Iranian Embassy’s diplomatic efforts' in the country.Saudi Arabia accuses Tehran of having helped the Yemeni Houthi group topple the country’s former government and taking control over the country. Iran denies the involvement./By Trend/ Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 65 times within 24 hours Society Tue, 26 May 2015 11:12:00 +0500 Armenia armed forces have broken the ceasefire with Azerbaijan 65 times in numerous positions in the last 24 hours, Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said May 26.Armenian armed forces, located in the village of Chinari of Armenia’s Berd district, opened fire at the positions of Azerbaijani armed forces located in the village of Kokhanebi of the Tovuz district.Armenian armed forces, located in the village of Aygepar of Armenia’s Berd district, opened fire at the positions of Azerbaijani armed forces located in the village of Alibayli of the Tovuz district.Azerbaijani positions located on the nameless heights of the Gadabay district, took fire from the positions located on the nameless heights of Armenia’s Krasnoselskiy district.Azerbaijani positions also underwent fire from the positions located near the villages of Chayli, Chileburt, Goyarkh of the Terter district, Shuraabad, Sarijali, Javahirli, Shikhlar, Yusifjanli of the Aghdam district, Kuropatkino of the Khojavend district, Horadiz, Ashagi Seyidahmadli, Garakhanbeyli of the Fizuli district and Mehdili of the Jabrail district.Moreover, Azerbaijani positions took fire from the positions located on the nameless heights of Jabrail, Goygol, Goranboy, Khojavend and Fizuli districts.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 the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions./By Trend/ US dollar rises, euro drops in Azerbaijan Business Tue, 26 May 2015 11:02:00 +0500 The official exchange rate of US dollar and euro to Azerbaijani manat was set at 1.0495 manat and 1.1485 manat, respectively as of May 26.Below is the exchange rate of Azerbaijani manat compared to the world currencies and precious metals on May 26, according to the Central Bank of Azerbaijan.Currencies and precious metalsMay 25, 2015May 26, 20151 US dollar1 USD1,04931,04951 euro1 EUR1,15291,14851 Australian dollar1 AUD0,82090,82231 Argentine peso1 ARS0,1170,117100 Belarusian rubles100 BYR0,00730,00731 Brazilian real1 BRL0,33910,33881 UAE dirham1 AED0,28570,28571 South African rand1 ZAR0,08810,0877100 South Korean won100 KRW0,09540,09561 Czech crown1 CZK0,0420,04191 Chilean peso1 CLP0,17240,17171 Chinese yuan1 CNY0,16920,16921 Danish krone1 DKK0,15460,1541 Georgian lari1 GEL0,46060,46071 Hong Kong dollar1 HKD0,13540,13541 Indian rupee1 INR0,01650,01651 British pound1 GBP1,62371,6216100 Indonesian rupiah100 IDR0,0080,008100 Iranian rials100 IRR0,00370,00371 Swedish krona1 SEK0,12480,12431 Swiss franc1 CHF1,11291,10841 Israeli shekel1 ILS0,26990,27071 Canadian dollar1 CAD0,85360,85271 Kuwaiti dinar1 KWD3,47533,46871 Kazakh tenge1 KZT0,00560,00561 Kyrgyz som1 KGS0,01790,0179100 Lebanese pounds100 LBP0,06960,06961 Malaysian ringgit1 MYR0,29110,291 Mexican peso1 MXP0,06880,06881 Moldavian leu1 MDL0,05850,05811 Egyptian pound1 EGP0,13760,13761 Norwegian krone1 NOK0,13710,1368100 Uzbek soums100 UZS0,04150,04151 Polish zloty1 PLN0,27910,281 Russian ruble1 RUB0,0210,0211 Singapore dollar1 SGD0,78380,78051 Saudi riyal1 SAR0,27980,27991 SDR (IMF Special Drawing Rights )1 SDR1,47631,47661 Turkish lira1 TRY0,40340,4011 Taiwan dollar1 TWD0,03440,03441 Tajik somoni1 TJS0,16720,16741 New Turkmen manat1 TMM0,29980,29991 Ukrainian hryvnia1 UAH0,05060,0506100 Japanese yen100 JPY0,86250,86181 New Zealand dollar1 NZD0,76620,7676Gold (1 ounce)1 XAU1263,991264,67Silver (1 ounce)1 XAG17,907117,9175Platinum (1 ounce)1 XPT1202,411205,58Palladium (1 ounce)1 XPD819,9178825,1064/By Trend/ Industrial districts to be controlled Business Tue, 26 May 2015 10:53:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaIndustrial districts in Azerbaijan will be managed by special organizations, the Cabinet of Ministers decided.This was noted in the approval of "Exemplary provision on industrial districts" published in the official press on May 21.The document notes that the objectives of industrial districts are providing an enabling environment for small and medium-sized businesses operating in the field of industry and services, increasing employment in the service sector."Industrial districts can be created on land owned by the state and municipalities. The decision on creation of industrial districts on the land owned by the state and municipalities is approved by the Azerbaijani president based on the proposals of the Economy and Industry Ministry,” the document read.Land of municipalities can be involved under industrial districts based on the rental agreement or the provisions of the Civil Code of Azerbaijan, the decision further noted.The document said a managing organization under the auspices of the Economy and Industry Ministry is engaged in the organization, management and development of industrial districts.The Ministry will also prepare an annual report and submit it to the head of state.A member of the industrial district cannot transfer lands to rent or use them for purposes other than those specified in the lease. An industrial district is eliminated in case no agreement on business activities is concluded within five years from the date of the decision on the establishment of an industrial district.Elimination of the industrial district does not entail the elimination of the managing organization and does not prevent the continuation of the activities of all legal entities and individual entrepreneurs on the territory.Earlier, the country put forward an idea stipulating the development of industrial districts and parks in the country.Today, Azerbaijan is developing two industrial parks in Baku’s suburb and in the second biggest industrial city of the country - Sumgayit.The first industrial district will be created in the Neftchala region. The district was established for the development of the non-oil industry by creating commercial and processing enterprises to promote small and medium entrepreneurship.A ten-hectare big area was allocated for this purpose in Neftchala. The district will have all the needed conditions including internal and outer infrastructures.The State Program for the Development of Industry in 2015-2020 says Azerbaijan will establish some industrial parks in Ganja and Mingachevir cities in 2015-2018.Azerbaijan will also create favorable conditions for other countries to participate in the industrial parks. Education system can see changes Society Tue, 26 May 2015 10:43:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Laman SadigovaAzerbaijan has a much potential when it comes to private sector development in the education system, said Mikayil Jabbarov, Azerbaijan’s minister of education on Monday.He said that one percent of the total secondary school enrollment in the country is currently studying in the private sector. The minister believes that it is wrong to consider education as an issue, the implementation of which is fully attributable to the government. The private sector development will mean that new additional resources will gravitate toward the education system and this will lead to better results.The format and scope of cooperation with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in connection with the transition to a 12-year education system in Azerbaijan will be determined in the future during discussions, he said.The minister believes by preparing highly qualified specialists and making education more accessible to the entire population, the Azerbaijani government is committed to bringing the country's education system in line with international standards.Jabbarov also noted that in 2013 a presidential decree approved the "National Strategy for the Development of Education", which also reflected the issue of the transition to a 12-year education system."Sustainability and progress both depend on the quality of our human capital. Each country has human capital which can help increase success in any field. The main way to develop such potential is of course education. This system is based on values and the transfer of knowledge and skills from generation to generation. Azerbaijan has changed from one socio-economic system to another and it also requires a new approach to education,” the minister said.A 12-year-educational system is a transitional tool for today's students which will enable them to better integrate the labor market, Jabbarov also stressed. Uzbekistan to amend legislation regarding offshore companies World news Mon, 25 May 2015 18:42:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Aynur KarimovaUzbekistan has developed a draft law on amendments and additions to the Tax Code regarding the companies established by the country's residents in offshore zones.This remark was made by Uzbekistan's Prosecutor-General Ikhtiyor Abdullayev, who was addressing the plenary session of the Eurasian Group on combating Money laundering and financing of terrorism (EAG) last week.EAG is an FATF-style regional body, established in 2004. It is currently an associate member of the FATF.Abdullayev noted the Tax Code will include a concept of "controlled foreign companies" to, i.e. the companies established by residents of Uzbekistan in offshore zones, as well as the norm, according to which taxpayers involved in such companies will be required to provide relevant information to the tax authorities."Thanks to this, another barrier will be created against the accumulation of profits in offshore zones, legalization of money laundering and financing terrorism from offshore zones," Abdullayev said. "Uzbekistan gradually implements international standards and requirements in the national practice of combating money laundering and financing terrorism".Today the international practice shows that terrorist organizations quickly adapt to changing conditions, and find new ways of financing their activities. Such a trend requires the international community to take adequate and timely measures, apply common efforts as to find reliable barriers against them.Being an active participant of this policy, Uzbekistan adopted the law 'On countering legalization of revenues received from criminal activity and financing terrorism'.In 2009 this law was adopted in a new edition, taking into account international standards. Another important document was President Islam Karimov's decree "On measures to strengthen the fight against crimes in the financial-economic and tax fields, money laundering" adopted on April 21, 2006.Uzbekistan also established a special authorized state body -- Department for combating tax, currency crimes and money laundering under General Prosecutor's Office. Several departments on financial analysis, operational and investigative activities and inquiry are included in its structure.The department is able to receive reports on suspicious financial transactions, conduct operative investigation and open a criminal case. Azerbaijan, FAO ink agreement Politics Mon, 25 May 2015 18:25:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Aynur KarimovaAzerbaijan and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization have signed an agreement on the establishment of the coordination and cooperation office and providing technical assistance, and the partnership program of FAO-Azerbaijan.The signing ceremony was held as part of Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Jose Graziano da Silva's visit to Baku.FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts in defeating hunger. Serving both the developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy.FAO is also a source of knowledge and information, and helps the developing countries and countries in transition to modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security for all.Azerbaijan became a Member Country of FAO in 1995, and is currently benefiting from FAO’s technical assistance in many areas, such as organic agriculture, agriculture marketing, locust management, food security, seed sector development, improved livelihoods for rural populations, animal health, and cattle breeding – the last two being the new FAO Representative’s main field of specialization. Germany didn’t sell optical sights to Armenia - embassy Politics Mon, 25 May 2015 18:10:00 +0500 Germany pursues a restrictive export policy with a view to arms exports and related materiel, the German Embassy in Baku told Trend May 25, commenting on the use of optical sights produced by German company Schmidt & Bender by the separatists of Nagorno-Karabakh occupied by Armenia.“Arms exports to Armenia and Azerbaijan are subject to an OSCE arms embargo in place since 1992,” said the embassy. “Germany did not grant licenses for the goods mentioned in the document.”Earlier, some media spread information about the use of optical sights produced by the German company Schmidt & Bender by Nagorno-Karabakh separatists.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions./By Trend/ Aromatic Festival scheduled for July Arts & Entertainment Mon, 25 May 2015 17:55:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Amina NazarliAzerbaijan's most picturesque region of Sheki is going to host the second International Festival of National Sweets on July 20.This festival is promised to be a wild success with its sweet dishes from all over Azerbaijani regions. Such delicious sweets as firni, khashil, sweet pilaf, as well as pastries including pakhlava, fasali, umach and others will be put on display. The festival will also feature such samples of national cuisine as nogul and samani khalvasi.Representatives of UNESCO, the World Association of Cook Societies, and different international organization will attend the sweet festival.All around, the event will celebrate Azerbaijan's rich cuisine and traditions in joyful national atmosphere. The event participants will feature their dishes in national customs. The sweets will be put on display in special pavilions equipped with household items, rugs, relating to their place of residence.Last year the festival brought together representatives of 23 regions of Azerbaijan and 6 countries who offered their national and traditional sweets. Confectioners from Shaki and Kyrgyzstan were named the best of the festival. Second place was taken by chefs from the Shamakhi region of Azerbaijan, Naftalan city, Turkey, and Georgia. Third place went to confectioners from the Gabala, Shamkir, Balakan regions, Ganja city, and Korea.Sheki is one of the most interesting ancient cities of Azerbaijan, famous for its own sweet Pakhlava, which is made of rice flour, nuts and sugar-honey syrup. Anyone visiting Sheki will not be able to resist the temptation of a Pakhlava.In anticipation of the event, Baku’s Professional School #12 will organize a festival with the participation of young chefs. The event, devoted to the Republic Day -May 28 and the first ever European Games is scheduled for May 29 at 11:00 am.The festival has been organized by the Azerbaijan National Cuisine Center, Association National Cuisine, Culture and Tourism Ministry and Education Ministry.As the biggest sporting event in Azerbaijan's history, the Baku 2015 European Games will attract more than 6,000 athletes to represent 49 countries on June 12-28. During the 17-day event, there will be a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports.The Azerbaijani sweet pastries include more than 30 varieties with poppy seeds, walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, ginger, cardamom, which make those treats spicy and especially tasty.Every region of Azerbaijan has its own special recipe for local sweets, which may even have different shape depending on the traditions of the region.Pakhlava and shekerbura - adornments of Novruz holiday- are among the most famous Azerbaijani sweets. Demand for Soviet apartments not to fall Business Mon, 25 May 2015 17:40:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Amina NazarliRecent developments occurring in the country led some people to confusion about the situation of the real estate market.The devaluation of the manat and the recent fire which occurred on a 16-storey building created some issue in people’s minds when it comes to the demand for apartments of the Soviet period and their overall marketability.Nusret Ibrahimov, CEO of the “MBA Group” consulting company said there is no reason to worry as the fire incident will not weight on the real estate market. “The fire will not lead to a decrease in demands for Soviet era buildings,” he told Trend on May 25.He said that due to their durability and low price these buildings remain in high demand.The fire which killed 15 people was caused by the use of low grade cladding material.In this regard he went ahead saying that demand may drop for those buildings with bad quality plastic paneling that cover the exterior.However, Ibrahimov also added that considering the fact that these materials are now widely being replaced by new -- high-quality ones, “I think that a decline in demand is not expected.”Flats costing up to $2,000 per square meter made the most part of all sales [81.5 percent] for Baku' secondary real estate market in April, according to the “MBA Group”.Flats at a value of $2,000-$2,500 per square meter stood at 13.75 percent. The remaining part [4.75 percent] fell on the share of apartments, where prices per square meter stand at over $2,500.The number of proposals on Baku’s secondary market in April 2015 totaled 1,726, a drop by 18.7 percent from last year’s figure and less by 1.47 percent from March 2015.The most offers in April came from Baku’s Yasamal, Nasimi , Narimanov and Binagadi regions, which stood at 66.8 percent of the total demand.In April this year, the average cost per square meter on Baku’s secondary housing market compared to March fell by 6.12 percent and amounted to 1,770 manat ($1682.92). Romania interested in expanding economic ties with Azerbaijani regions Politics Mon, 25 May 2015 17:29:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaRomanian ambassador to Azerbaijan has delivered a lecture on the perspectives of NATO-Azerbaijan partnership on country’s Guba region.Daniel Cristian Ciobanu paid a working visit to the Guba region on May 25.During the visit Ciobanu has been received by Yashar Mammadov, the head of the executive power of Guba region.The ambassador highlighted that Romania is interested in maintaining the upward tendency recorded between 2011 and 2014 in regard to Romanian exports to Azerbaijan and wants to expand economic ties at regional level.He noted that the project of the transport corridor between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea can contribute to strengthening economic cooperation between Romania and Azerbaijan.During the visit Ciobanu delivered a lecture at the Azerbaijan Teachers Institute’s Guba branch on the perspectives of NATO-Azerbaijan partnership.A large public participated at the event, including local officials, teachers, students and journalists.The Romanian diplomatic mission to Azerbaijan is fulfilling a NATO Contact Point Embassy in the country for the fourth time in a row.Ciobanu underlined that Romanian diplomatic mission pays a constant attention to promotion of North Atlantic Alliance values and principles in Azerbaijan. Within its activity Romanian embassy is disseminating information about the role and policies of NATO.Romanian envoy said the goal pursued is to increase public awareness regarding NATO and the benefits of NATO-Azerbaijan cooperation.He added that the next NATO Summit, which will take place on 8-9 July, 2016 in Warsaw, Poland, comes at a crucial time for the Alliance due to a changed security environment, noting Azerbaijan is a valuable and reliable partner for NATO.Ciobanu also highlighted that Romania will continue to actively support the development of NATO-Azerbaijan partnership.Azerbaijan and Romania have a long history of relations dating back to the 15th century.While the two sides enjoy good cooperation in multiple areas, the main focus has been on trade and energy links.Romania also has been a strong advocate of Azerbaijan's future membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), pointing out the strategic importance of the country for trade and shipping, particularly with a view towards Afghanistan. Baku, Moscow highlights need for Nagorno-Karabakh settlement Politics Mon, 25 May 2015 17:07:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaAzerbaijani foreign policy head considers that the long-standing Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has already become overripe and needs resolving.Elmar Mammadyarov made the remarks at a press conference with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on May 25, according to Russia’s Foreign Ministry.The ministers widely discussed recent developments in view of the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which emerged in the late 1980s following Armenia’s illegal territorial claims against Azerbaijan.Mammadyarov said very important discussions on this issue were underway for two days.Noting that he shares the optimism expressed by Lavrov on the matter, he said, “We discussed in details, piece by piece, the opportunities for a progress in this conflict.”Lavrov shared the same position with Mammadyarov, noting that no one denies that the conflict has been protracted for too long.“All agree that there is a real basis for reaching agreements, the matter here rests only in translating this understanding into language of agreements,” he said.He added that they also discussed the settlement of the issue on May 24 – on the first day of Mammadyarov’s Moscow visit.“Yesterday, for a few hours we discussed in great details the approaches to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Lavrov said, adding, “The parties have all the groundworks, the co-chairs were taking into account the parties’ proposals, and I look at the negotiation process with increasing optimism.”Lavrov reiterated Russia’s stance on the resolution of the problem, noting Russia will continue its assistance in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.He further noted that assistance in the negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is one of the priorities of Russia’s foreign policy, Russia 24 TV channel reported.“Russia will actively continue assisting in finding mutually acceptable agreements on the conflict both through bilateral channels and the OSCE Minsk Group in which Russia is a co-chairing country,” said Lavrov.Moscow, Baku enjoy active dialogueThe ministers during the talks in Moscow also noted that an active dialogue at the highest level exist between the two countries, which allows solving “every single issue” of bilateral cooperation.“We appreciate the opportunity to hold talks as part of your official visit. We have goals clearly defined by our leaders. Russia and Azerbaijan presidents meet regularly and both always have a constructive dialogue that allows for the creation of conditions for the settlement of all issues, without exception,” Lavrov said.He stressed that the strategic partnership between Russia and Azerbaijan is important both in terms of bilateral cooperation and stability in the South Caucasus.Lavrov said the economic relations between the two countries are developing, noting that the trade turnover has reached its historic high increasing by 12 percent compared to 2014.“Positive dynamics are being observed this year as well,” he added.Many Russian regions have relations with Azerbaijan, said Lavrov adding that preparations for the sixth Russian-Azerbaijani forum in Yekaterinburg are underway.Mammadyarov, for his part, said he intends to discuss all aspects of bilateral cooperation.He also recalled that, as it is expected, Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the opening ceremony of the European Games in Baku on June 12.“During the visit it is planned officials will discuss concrete issues of the topical agenda,” noting that the bilateral relations stand at the highest level and are developing fruitfully, the trade is growing, and the cooperation within international organizations is underway.Mammadyarov and Lavrov have also signed a plan for consultations between foreign ministries of the two countries for 2015-2016.The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Russia in January-April 2015 totaled $648.58 million, or 11.04 percent more than in the same period of 2014, according to Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee.This is while $103.1 million accounted for the export of Azerbaijani products to Russia during the mentioned period. Baku 2015 ends final tests of all its sports Baku-2015 Mon, 25 May 2015 16:36:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaBaku 2015 European Games held successful sport tests in Volleyball and 3x3 Basketball, completing its preparatory programme for all 20 sports which will feature at the inaugural event, on May 24.“The successful close of the sport test series, together with our test events, brings us one step closer to the start of the Games on 12 June,” said Simon Clegg, Chief Executive Officer of Baku 2015.“Delivering the first European Games has been a massive undertaking for BEGOC and our partners in the Azerbaijani government, involving preparations on a city-wide basis, but we have always kept a strong focus on the athletes’ experience.“Our test events and sport tests have allowed us to learn some important lessons based on a philosophy of ‘plan, implement, execute, review and refine’, and we are now better placed to deliver a successful Games as a result of these collective learnings.“It is my firm belief that great sporting competitions make for successful sporting events, and at Baku 2015 we have spared no effort to ensure the stage will be perfectly set for Europe’s competitors to deliver the performances of a lifetime.”Sport tests are events designed to ensure the readiness of Baku 2015 from a sport competition perspective, while test events are stand-alone competitions in their own right, with a broader range of functional areas involved.Pierce O’Callaghan, Baku 2015 Director of Sport, explained: “The series of sport tests has confirmed our readiness to host the European Games, ensuring that everything is in place for the athletes to shine across all 20 Baku 2015 sports.“The sport tests have complemented the six major test events that we held, which allowed us to simulate Games-time operations across the full range of functional areas. By combining test events in key venues with a full series of sport tests, we have fully tested our operational readiness in the most resource-effective manner,” he stressed.Baku was honored to host the Games by the European Olympic Committees in December 2012. Baku 2015 European Games will gather over 6,000 athletes from 50 countries to compete in 20 sports, including 16 Olympic.Tickets for Baku 2015 can be purchased directly from 11 conveniently located ticket outlets around Baku, including Park Bulvar, 28 Mall, and Metro Park Baku, and online at What's it like in a black hole? Weird / Interesting Mon, 25 May 2015 16:23:00 +0500 It could happen to anyone. Maybe you're out trying to find a new habitable planet for the human race, or maybe you're just on a long walk and you slip. Whatever the circumstances, at some point we all find ourselves confronted with the age-old question: what happens when you fall into a black hole?You might expect to get crushed, or maybe torn to pieces. But the reality is stranger than that.The instant you entered the black hole, reality would split in two. In one, you would be instantly incinerated, and in the other you would plunge on into the black hole utterly unharmed.A black hole is a place where the laws of physics as we know them break down. Einstein taught us that gravity warps space itself, causing it to curve. So given a dense enough object, space-time can become so warped that it twists in on itself, burrowing a hole through the very fabric of reality.A massive star that has run out of fuel can produce the kind of extreme density needed to create such a mangled bit of world. As it buckles under its own weight and collapses inward, space-time caves in with it. The gravitational field becomes so strong that not even light can escape, rendering the region where the star used to be profoundly dark: a black hole.As you go deeper into the black hole, space becomes ever more curvyThe outermost boundary of the hole is its event horizon, the point at which the gravitational force precisely counteracts the light's efforts to escape it. Go closer than this, and there's no escape.The event horizon is ablaze with energy. Quantum effects at the edge create streams of hot particles that radiate back out into the universe. This is called Hawking radiation, after the physicist Stephen Hawking, who predicted it. Given enough time, the black hole will radiate away its mass, and vanish.As you go deeper into the black hole, space becomes ever more curvy until, at the centre, it becomes infinitely curved. This is the singularity. Space and time cease to be meaningful ideas, and the laws of physics as we know them — all of which require space and time — no longer apply.What happens here, no one knows. Another universe? Oblivion? The back of a bookcase? It's a mystery.So what happens if you accidentally fall into one of these cosmic aberrations? Let's start by asking your space companion — we'll call her Anne — who watches in horror as you plunge toward the black hole, while she remains safely outside. From where she's floating, things are about to get weird.As you accelerate toward the event horizon, Anne sees you stretch and contort, as if she were viewing you through a giant magnifying glass. What's more, the closer you get to the horizon the more you appear to move in slow motion.Before you ever cross over into the black hole's darkness, you're reduced to ashYou can't shout to her, as there's no air in space, but you might try flashing her a Morse message with the light on your iPhone (there's an app for that). However, your words reach her ever more slowly, the light waves stretching to increasingly lower and redder frequencies: "Alright, a l r i g h t,   a   l    r     i…"When you reach the horizon, Anne sees you freeze, like someone has hit the pause button. You remain plastered there, motionless, stretched across the surface of the horizon as a growing heat begins to engulf you.According to Anne, you are slowly obliterated by the stretching of space, the stopping of time and the fires of Hawking radiation. Before you ever cross over into the black hole's darkness, you're reduced to ash.But before we plan your funeral, let's forget about Anne and view this gruesome scene from your point of view. Now, something even stranger happens: nothing.You sail straight into nature's most ominous destination without so much as a bump or a jiggle – and certainly no stretching, slowing or scalding radiation. That's because you're in freefall, and therefore you feel no gravity: something Einstein called his "happiest thought".In a big enough black hole, you could live out the rest of your life pretty normallyAfter all, the event horizon is not like a brick wall floating in space. It's an artefact of perspective. An observer who remains outside the black hole can't see through it, but that's not your problem. As far as you're concerned there is no horizon.Sure, if the black hole were smaller you'd have a problem. The force of gravity would be much stronger at your feet than at your head, stretching you out like a piece of spaghetti. But lucky for you this is a big one, millions of times more massive than our Sun, so the forces that might spaghettify you are feeble enough to be ignored.In fact, in a big enough black hole, you could live out the rest of your life pretty normally before dying at the singularity.How normal could it really be, you might wonder, given that you're being sucked toward a rupture in the space-time continuum, pulled along against your will, unable to head back the other way?You can't turn around and escape the black holeBut when you think about it, we all know that feeling, not from our experience with space but with time.Time only goes forwards, never backwards, and it pulls us along against our will, preventing us from turning around.This isn't just an analogy. Black holes warp space and time to such an extreme that inside the black hole's horizon, space and time actually swap roles. In a sense, it really is time that pulls you in toward the singularity. You can't turn around and escape the black hole, any more than you can turn around and travel back to the past.At this point you might want to stop and ask yourself a pressing question: What the hell is wrong with Anne? If you're chilling inside the black hole, surrounded by nothing weirder than empty space, why is she insisting that you've been burned to a crisp by radiation outside the horizon? Is she hallucinating?Actually, Anne is being perfectly reasonable. From her point of view, you really have been burned to a crisp at the horizon. It's not an illusion. She could even collect your ashes and send them back to your loved ones.In fact, the laws of nature require that you remain outside the black hole as seen from Anne's perspective. That's because quantum physics demands that information can never be lost. Every bit of information that accounts for your existence has to stay on the outside of the horizon, lest Anne's laws of physics be broken.You have to be in two places, but there can only be one copy of youOn the other hand, the laws of physics also require that you sail through the horizon without encountering hot particles or anything out of the ordinary. Otherwise you'd be in violation of Einstein's happiest thought, and his theory of general relativity.So the laws of physics require that you be both outside the black hole in a pile of ashes and inside the black hole alive and well. Last but not least, there's a third law of physics that says information can't be cloned. You have to be in two places, but there can only be one copy of you.Somehow, the laws of physics point us towards a conclusion that seems rather nonsensical. Physicists call this infuriating conundrum the black hole information paradox. Luckily, in the 1990s they found a way to resolve it.Leonard Susskind realized that there is no paradox, because no one person ever sees your clone. Anne only sees one copy of you. You only see one copy of you. You and Anne can never compare notes. And there's no third observer who can see both inside and outside a black hole simultaneously. So, no laws of physics are broken.Reality depends on whom you askUnless, that is, you demand to know which story is really true. Are you really dead or are you really alive?The great secret that black holes have revealed to us is that there is no really. Reality depends on whom you ask. There's Anne's really and there's your really. End of story.Well, almost. In the summer of 2012, the physicists Ahmed Almheiri, Donald Marolk, Joe Polchinski and James Sully, collectively known as AMPS, devised a thought experimentthat threatened to upend everything we thought we knew about black holes.They realized that Susskind's solution hinged on the fact that any disagreement between you and Anne is mediated by the event horizon. It didn't matter if Anne saw the unlucky version of you scattered amongst the Hawking radiation, because the horizon prevented her from seeing the other version of you floating along inside the black hole.Anne might sneak a peek behind the horizonBut what if there was a way for her to find out what was on the other side of the horizon, without actually crossing it?Ordinary relativity would say that's a no-no, but quantum mechanics makes the rules a little fuzzier. Anne might sneak a peek behind the horizon, using a little trick that Einstein called "spooky action-at-a-distance".This happens when two sets of particles that are separated in space are mysteriously "entangled". They are part of a single, indivisible whole, so that the information needed to describe them can't be found in either set alone, but in the spooky links between them.The AMPS idea went something like this. Let's say Anne grabs hold of a bit of information near the horizon — call it A.Each bit of information can only be entangled onceIf her story is right, and you are a goner, scrambled amongst the Hawking radiation outside the black hole, then A must be entangled with another bit of information, B, which is also part of the hot cloud of radiation.On the other hand, if your story is the true one, and you're alive and well on the other side of the event horizon, then A must be entangled with a different bit of information, C, which is somewhere inside the black hole.Here's the kicker: each bit of information can only be entangled once. That means A can only be entangled with B or with C, not with both.So Anne takes her bit, A, and puts it through her handy entanglement-decoding machine, which spits out an answer: either B or C.Do you glide right through and live a normal life?If the answer turns out to be C, then your story wins, but the laws of quantum mechanics are broken. If A is entangled with C, which is deep inside the black hole, then that piece of information is lost to Anne forever. That breaks the quantum law that information can never be lost.That leaves B. If Anne's decoding machine finds that A is entangled with B, then Anne wins, and general relativity loses. If A is entangled with B, then Anne's story is the one true story, which means you really wereburned to a crisp. Instead of sailing straight through the horizon, as relativity says you should, you hit a burning firewall.So we're back where we started: what happens when you fall into a black hole? Do you glide right through and live a normal life, thanks to a reality that's strangely observer-dependent? Or do you approach the black hole's horizon only to collide with a deadly firewall?No one knows the answer, and it's become one of the most contentious questions in fundamental physics.It would take Anne an extraordinarily long time to decode the entanglementPhysicists have spent more than a century trying to reconcile general relativity with quantum mechanics, knowing that eventually one or the other was going to have to give. The solution to the firewall paradox should tell us which, and point the way to an even deeper theory of the universe.One clue might lie in Anne's decoding machine. Figuring out which other bit of information A is entangled with is an extraordinarily complicated problem. So physicists Daniel Harlow of Princeton University in New Jersey and Patrick Hayden, now at Stanford University in California, wondered how long it would take.In 2013 they calculated that, even given the fastest computer that the laws of physics would allow, it would take Anne an extraordinarily long time to decode the entanglement. By the time she had an answer, the black hole would have long evaporated, disappearing from the universe and taking with it the threat of a deadly firewall.If that's the case, the sheer complexity of the problem could prevent Anne from ever figuring out which story is the real one. That would leave both stories simultaneously true, reality intriguingly observer-dependent, all the laws of physics intact, and no one in danger of running into an inexplicable wall of fire.If the true nature of reality lies hidden somewhere, the best place to look is a black holeIt also gives physicists something new to think about: the tantalizing connections between complex calculations (like the one Anne apparently can't do) and space-time. This may open the door to something deeper still.That's the thing about black holes. They're not just annoying obstacles for space travellers. They're also theoretical laboratories that take the subtlest quirks in the laws of physics, then amplify them to such proportions that they can't be ignored.If the true nature of reality lies hidden somewhere, the best place to look is a black hole. It's probably best to look from the outside, though: at least until they figure out this whole firewall thing. Or send Anne in. It's her turn already./By BBC/ TANAP important not only for Turkey – president World news Mon, 25 May 2015 16:11:00 +0500 The Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) project is important not only for Turkey, the whole region, but also for Europe, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.He made the remarks during the Global Energy Forum in Istanbul.The president added that Turkey will develop energy projects in the future as well, TRT Haber TV channel reported May 25.“Turkey has become an energy hub in recent years,” said Erdogan.The TANAP project envisages the transportation of gas of Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field from the Georgian-Turkish border to the western borders of Turkey. TANAP’s initial capacity is expected to reach 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year.Around six billion cubic meters of this gas will be delivered to Turkey and the rest of the volume to Europe. Turkey will obtain gas in 2018. The gas will be supplied to Europe in early 2020 after the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is constructed..BP and the TANAP consortium signed March 13 a shareholder agreement, according to which BP will become one of the shareholders of TANAP. The agreement is one of the main documents for BP’s ownership of a stake in the TANAP project.Following the completion of a legal implementation procedure, TANAP’s shareholders list will be as follows: SOCAR – 58 percent, Botas – 30 percent and BP – 12 percent./By Trend/ Armenia obliges to settle Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under Riga Declaration Politics Mon, 25 May 2015 15:59:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaArmenia, with the signing of the final declaration of the Riga summit, has undertaken an obligation when it comes to settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in accordance with international law.Hikmet Hajiyev, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman made the remarks while commenting on statements made by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan during the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga.All participants of the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga signed the final declaration on May 22. The Eastern Partnership final declaration highlighted the EU's support for the territorial integrity, indivisibility, independence and sovereignty of the Eastern Partnership member-states.Hajiyev noted that Armenia, signing the final declaration of the Riga summit, reiterates its support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan.“The third paragraph of the Riga declaration reflects the obligation on supporting the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of all partner countries. In accordance with the fifth paragraph of the Riga Declaration, the Armenian leadership undertakes an obligation on resolving the conflict based on the norms and principles of the international law,” Hajiyev said.Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. A war in the early 1990s resulted in the displacement of over one million Azerbaijanis. A fragile ceasefire has been in place since 1994, but long-standing efforts by U.S, Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far.Armenia has not yet implemented any of the four U.N. Security Council's resolutions on its pullout from neighboring country's territories.“There is no need to say that the historic land of Azerbaijan - Nagorno-Karabakh, has nothing to do with Armenia in terms of history, archaeology and anthropology. It's enough to add that after gaining independence, Azerbaijan joined the UN as a fully-fledged member, with Nagorno-Karabakh as its integral part and these borders were recognized by the international community,” Hajiyev further stressed.He went on to note that the international community firmly supports Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders.“UN Security Council’s resolutions 822, 853, 874, 884 cover the inviolability of the internationally-recognized borders of Azerbaijan, country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and demand the unconditional withdrawal of all Armenian troops from Azerbaijan’s occupied territories. The ninth paragraph of Resolution 853 is about Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region,” Hajiyev said.He urged the Armenian authorities to finally demonstrate responsible behavior in accordance with their international obligations by withdrawing their troops from the occupied territories and thus put an end to the occupation instead of making frivolous and ridiculous statements.“Otherwise, Armenia will be fully responsible for any situation that may arise,” he warned.The Eastern Partnership envisages the political association and economic integration of the EU with Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The last three countries signed an agreement on associated partnership with the EU in 2014. Baku 2015 opens new perspectives Baku-2015 Mon, 25 May 2015 15:44:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaExpectations run high as less than 20 days are left to the European Games 2015 clock. In just over two weeks Azerbaijan will host both a historic sport event in the history of Azerbaijan and that of Europe – Welcome to Baku 2015 European Games.Every day more countries are issuing reports on their teams as they're getting ready to compete for medals in 20 sports in Baku on June 12-28.The whole of Azerbaijan is now involved in the grandiose event as the Journey of the Flame visits all regions - since April's end.Moreover, the presentation of the Games continues abroad. Such European cities as London, Paris, Rome, Athens, Ankara, Berlin, and Moscow, have already been acquainted with the inaugural Games. Recently, Baku 2015 was presented in Warsaw.Meanwhile, Berlin has hosted the opening of the photo exhibition "Azerbaijan - sports in lens", dedicated to the first European Games.Thus, the whole Europe will have a chance to learn more about Azerbaijan before visiting the country next month.Baku 2015 - window for sports world into AzerbaijanAzerbaijan made a compelling pledge to the EOC to host the inaugural European Games back in 2012, Patrick Hickey, president of the European Olympic Committees, said to The Business Year magazine, dedicated to the first European Games Baku 2015.He said Azerbaijan's concept was innovative and offered an assurance that all infrastructures would be ready on time and delivered to the highest international standards, with strong legacy plans to elevate sport throughout Azerbaijan, the region, and the continent.The Baku 2015 European Games Operations Committee is delivering on all these promises as they now move into the final testing and readiness phase of their preparations, he added. “BEGOC has only had 30 months to deliver these Games.”“To stage an event such as Baku 2015—which is bigger in scale than the Olympic Winter Games—in such a tight timeframe has only been possible through the hard work and professionalism of BEGOC's staff,” Hickey stressed.“However, behind the excellent work of BEGOC is total government support. The First Lady is the Chair of the Baku 2015 Organizing Committee and the President is also the Head of Azerbaijan's National Olympic Committee. Their support and passion for the European Games has been crucial.”The Games are one of the most significant events in the recent history of Azerbaijan, he said. Since 2012, the city has secured other high-profile sports properties, such as the Formula One Grand Prix in 2016, the Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017, and matches at EURO 2020, said Hickey.“Baku 2015 opened a window for the sports world into Azerbaijan, and the country has seized its opportunity,” he said. “The innovation behind the European Games also helps us address another challenge making Europe aware and communicating about why these Games are a necessary introduction to the sports calendar.”Grand event for EuropeThe first European Games is a great event not only for Azerbaijan but also for the whole of Europe, Chief Operating Officer of Baku 2015, Simon Clegg said to Turkish News Agency Anadolu.The preparation for the Games will allow Azerbaijan to gain even more experience in the light of future competitions, such as Formula 1, the Islamic Solidarity Games and matches in the Euro 2020, he believes.The inaugural event will be broadcasted around the world. For those keen on attending the Games, Azerbaijan rolled out a simplified visa method, thus facilitating travel for foreign guests.Tickets for Baku 2015 can be purchased directly from 11 conveniently located ticket outlets around Baku, including Park Bulvar, 28 Mall, and Metro Park Baku, and online President Aliyev opens Baku 2015's athletes, media villages Society Mon, 25 May 2015 15:31:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaAzerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady, Chairperson of the Baku 2015 European Games Organizing Committee, Mehriban Aliyeva have attended the opening of the Athletes and Media Villages in Baku.The head of state and his wife first visited the Athletes Village.Azad Rahimov, Youth and Sports Minister, Chief Executive Officer of Baku 2015, informed the president and the first lady of the work done.There are 13 apartment blocks and an administrative building in the Village. Some 7,499 people can be accommodated in 1,042 apartments here.President Aliyev and his wife viewed the apartments, a trade center, restaurants, which offer samples of world and Azerbaijani cuisine, and a medical center.Following, the presidential couple visited the Media Village and viewed the media accreditation center, apartments for media representatives and a restaurant.There are four apartment blocks in the Media Village, where a total of 1,830 people can be accommodated in 536 apartments.The venues are located in the north-west part of Baku, a short walk from the National Stadium and National Gymnastics Arena.Baku was honored to host the Games by the European Olympic Committees in December 2012. Baku 2015 European Games will gather over 6,000 athletes from 50 countries to compete in 20 sports, including 16 Olympic. Anglo Asian Mining to receive new loan World news Mon, 25 May 2015 14:48:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Aynur KarimovaAnglo Asian Mining plc, the AIM listed gold, copper and silver producer focused in Azerbaijan, will receive a loan worth $4 million.Reza Vaziri, president and chief executive officer of Anglo Asian Mining agreed to provide this unsecured loan to the company with several principal terms, the company said on May 22.The loan should be repaid until January 8, 2016. The interest is 10 percent per annum, and is payable in full at the end of the term. Also, early repayment is allowed with the approval of both parties.Anglo Asian Mining intends to use these funds for general working capital purposes and has made an initial drawdown of $2 million.Anglo Asian Mining is a gold, copper and silver producer in Central Asia with a broad portfolio of production and exploration assets in Azerbaijan. The company has a 1,962-square kilometer prospective exploration portfolio, assembled from analysis of historic Soviet geological data and held under a Production Sharing Agreement modeled on the Azerbaijani oil industry.Being a leading company extracting precious metals in Azerbaijan, the company developed Azerbaijan's first operating gold/copper/silver mine, Gedabek, which commenced gold production in May 2009. Last year gold production from Gedabek totaled 60,285 ounces and 784 tons of copper.The company is also developing a second resource area, Gosha, which is 50 kilometers from Gedabek, and the ore produced at Gosha is processed at Anglo Asian's Gedabek plant.Anglo Asian Mining increased gold production by over 50 percent in the first quarter of 2015.Gold production rose to 17,193 ounces with 11,222 ounces from the agitation leaching plant, 5,963 ounces from heap leach operations and 8 ounces from SART processing.The production of the precious metal increased by 52 percent in comparison with the same period in 2014, when 11,318 ounces of gold were produced.The company's production target for 2015 stands in between 70,000 ounces and 75,000 ounces of gold.Anglo-Asian Mining has 75 tons of dry copper concentrate and 550 tons of wet copper concentrate stockpiles ready to sell.The company has the right to develop six deposits in the south-west of Azerbaijan - Gadabay, Ordubad, Gosha Bulag, Gyzyl Bulag, Vezhnali, and Soyutlu- under a production sharing agreement signed in August 1997 with Azerbaijan government.The resource base of the company exceeds 36 tons of gold, 292 tons of silver and 94.000 tons of copper. Two artists present unusual exhibition in Duet Gallery Arts & Entertainment Mon, 25 May 2015 14:36:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Amina NazarliAn exhibition featuring works of American artist Caitlin Aasen (Duet Gallery) and Azerbaijani artist Vusal Rahim (YAY Gallery) kicked off in the Duet Gallery, the U.S. on May 22.To mark the first time these two artists have been displayed together, this exhibition creates a dialogue in between their two cultures through their approaches to abstract painting. The exhibition is co-curated by Daniel McGrath (Director of Duet Gallery in St. Louis, USA) and Lana Sokolova (Local Programmes Director, YARAT Contemporary Art Space, Baku, Azerbaijan).Rahim is exhibiting a series of paintings that build on the highly personal style he has developed in previous work. He breaks down the recognizable features of the human figure on each canvas into abstract forms, bringing them together with fluid, broad brush-strokes and a striking color palette. The dynamic sense of movement in the works gives them a frenetic energy which Rahim controls with patterning and careful compositions.Aasen’s paintings, exhibited alongside, provide a counterpoint to Rahim’s works. Her paper and canvas surfaces are veiled in stained rivulets, thin washes and expanses of faded color. As layer upon layer of washed-out color build to suggest seemingly natural but unrecognisable forms, her work evokes an absence. Whereas control and energy, order and dynamism are evident in Rahim’s work through the traces of the artist’s hand, Aasen’s work is mute, giving little away about its creator.Director and co-curator Daniel McGrath explains: “I had the opportunity to meet Lana Sokolova when she was on a residency in St. Louis with CEC Arts Link last October. We discussed then the possibility of co-curating an exhibition at Duet. Lana chose Vusal Rahim’s work to be paired alongside Caitlin Aasen’s because she thought their abstract approach to painting created an interesting and thought-provoking pairing.”Local Programmes Director at YARAT and co-curator Lana Sokolova highlights: “When I first saw Caitlin’s paintings, I remembered some abstract sketches I had seen at Vusal’s studio. I selected him to accompany Caitlin because there is a strong parallel of abstract distancing of reality in both artists’ works. Caitlin and Vusal both use bright and saturated colors and their paintings show an instinctive understanding of the emotive properties of color. As YARAT Contemporary Art Space is aiming to create dialogues between different cultures, this seems to be a good chance to move forward with our goals. Art creates a valuable opportunity to make connections between the young artists of Azerbaijan and the Unites States.”The exhibition will last till July 17.Rahim received his artistic education from the Azerbaijan State Academy of Art. He is represented by YAY Gallery and has exhibited nationally and internationally. He held a solo show entitled Black Woman at YAY Gallery in Baku and his group exhibitions include:BACARART Project, Azerbaijan; Home Sweet Home, Azerbaijani Cultural Center, Paris; The Circle of Peace, Writers House of Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgia; Commonist, YARAT Contemporary Art Centre in Baku, IV International Symposium on Turkic Culture, Art and Cultural Heritage, Milan, Italy; Iz (‘Trace’), Azerbaijan National Museum of History in Baku.Aasen received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Missouri – St. Louis and is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in Painting at Washington University in St. Louis. This is her first multiple-artist exhibition. Senior negotiator rejects Iran’s agreement on access to military sites World news Mon, 25 May 2015 14:26:00 +0500 Iran’s deputy foreign minister has rejected statements attributed to him by some Iranian MPs on the Islamic Republic’s agreement for managed access to military sites. Araqchi, who is also Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator made clear that Iran has emphasized that it will not allow access to its military sites.Some Iranian MPs, including Javad Karimi Ghoddousi quoted Araqchi as saying during a closed parliament session that the country has agreed to grant the International Atomic Energy Agency a “managed” access to its military sites.Access to military sites and nuclear scientists are within the PMD (possible military dimensions) framework, which the Western powers claim Iran must have in its nuclear program, thus demanding Iran grant access to its military sites as a trust-building move.Referring to the meeting with the MPs, Araqchi said that he has explained to lawmakers the procedures under Additional Protocol on managed access to the non-nuclear sites, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported May 25.The Additional Protocol allows unannounced inspections outside of declared nuclear sites and it is seen as a vital tool at the IAEA's disposal to make sure that a country does not have any hidden nuclear work.Araqchi further said that he and foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have talked with the MPs on security measures adopted by the countries implementing the Additional Protocol to safeguard their military, nuclear and industrial information and prevent espionage.The senior diplomat also emphasized that the Islamic Republic negotiators are only acting within the framework of principles and redlines specified by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.It should be noted that Zarif and Araqchi attended a closed-door session of the parliament on May 24 to brief the MPs on the ongoing nuclear talks with the P5+1(the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany).Iran and the P5+1 reached a mutual understanding on Tehran’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Lausanne on April 2. The parties have agreed to finalize a comprehensive deal on Tehran’s nuclear program by the end of June.A new round of meetings for drafting a nuclear deal will begin in Vienna on May 26./By Trend/ IAEA allowed to interview Iran’s nuclear experts in former administration World news Mon, 25 May 2015 14:08:00 +0500 Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said interviewing Iranian nuclear scientists is not a recent issue as the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was permitted to interview the scientists during the administration of ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005–2013).The interview issue is not linked to the Iran-P5+1 ongoing talks, Zarif said, adding this is a minor issue and the Islamic Republic has taken measures in last 10 years to put an end to the claims and excuses.“In this respect, some steps were taken in order to remove the ambiguities and even interviews with Iranian nuclear scientists were conducted by the IAEA inspectors during the former government,” Zarif said, the Iranian Parliament’s official ICANA news agency reported May 25.In that period some people were interviewed in Iran and even some disputed centers and places visited, however they found no clear indication to prove their claims, the Iranian top diplomat underlined.Iran’s foreign minister further referred to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s disagreement for atomic scientists’ interview, saying surely all bodies in the government including nuclear negotiating team will conform to his orders.Last week, Khamenei declared that Iran would never allow any inspection of its military sites or interview with its nuclear scientists under any nuclear deal with the P5+1(the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany).“I will not let foreigners to come and talk to our scientists and to interrogate our beloved and prominent sons of this nation who brought us this extensive nuclear knowledge,” Khamenei said.Iran and the P5+1 reached a mutual understanding on Tehran’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Lausanne on April 2. The parties have agreed to finalize a comprehensive deal on Tehran’s nuclear program by the end of June.A new round of meetings for drafting a nuclear deal will begin in Vienna on May 26./By Trend/ SOFAZ to invest in Chinese Yuan in mid-year Business Mon, 25 May 2015 13:59:00 +0500 /By AzerNews/By Aynur KarimovaAzerbaijan's state oil fund SOFAZ, an entity that accumulates and manages Azerbaijan's oil and gas revenues, plans to invest $500 million in bonds, denominated in Chinese Yuan in June of this year.The relevant agreement has already been signed with the Chinese Central Bank, SOFAZ Executive Director Shahmar Movsumov told Trend Agency last week."We already have an agreement with the Central Bank of China, and a few days ago our securities committees signed a document, after which we can start investing," he noted.Last week the State Securities Committee of Azerbaijan and China Securities Regulatory Commission signed a memorandum aimed to ensure the investors' protection and promote the integrity of securities and futures markets and other related investment instruments by expanding the scope of cooperation, strengthening the exchange of regulatory and technical information.China, as the second largest economy in the world remains an attractive market for the growing number of foreign investors. Prospects of the Chinese Yuan as an additional investment currency attract considerable interest of various categories of investors, including sovereign wealth funds.Movsumov went on adding that SOFAZ also plans to invest in real estate in Japan.Established in 1999, SOFAZ's investment strategy is aimed at pursuing real estate across Asian markets to diversify its portfolio.While purchasing real estates abroad, SOFAZ prefers high quality office and retail properties in the central cities of the world countries with developed and transparent real estate markets.Earlier SOFAZ purchased Gallery Actor, a mixed-use office and retail complex located on Pushkin Square in Moscow for $133 million, an office complex in London's West End for £177.35 million and a property in Paris for €135 million, and Pine Avenue Tower A worth $447 million in Seoul. How airbags (should) work Weird / Interesting Mon, 25 May 2015 13:48:00 +0500 With the news about Takata's airbag recall over a defect that has been blamed for at least six deaths, it's important to remember that airbags have saved many thousands of lives since they were first introduced in the 1970s.In front crashes, airbags reduce the chances of death by about 30%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That's to say nothing of how many serious injuries, particularly devastating head injuries, have been prevented.Most cars today have multiple airbags protecting the driver and passenger from both front and side collisions, as well as from rollover accidents. The "Supplemental Restraint Systems," or SRS, as they are called are designed to help the car's seatbelts protect occupants. Airbags prevent occupants from hitting parts inside the car and also help cushion the violent movement of the body during an impact.Here's how they work:Sensors in the car detect when an impact has happened. The sensors send a signal indicating sudden deceleration to a computer inside the car. Airbags won't deploy in low-speed crashes in which seatbelts alone should provide enough protection. The computer determines, based on the signal it's getting from the sensor, whether the airbag needs to deploy.The computer also takes into account data from other sensors in the front seats to determine whether there is someone sitting in the passenger seat and how big that person is.Takata recall: What you should knowSmall children can be hurt by airbags which, when they deploy, are moving at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. For that reason, the front passenger airbag will be deactivated or might be deployed more gently if sensors detect a small person sitting up front. In any car, the safest place for children to ride is in the backseat.The airbags may also deploy more slowly if sensors detect that front seat occupants are not wearing seatbelts. That's because unbelted occupants can collide with airbags in ways they aren't supposed to and end up being hurt by them.All of the calculations take place in fractions of a second so that the airbag deployment happens almost instantaneously.Takata airbag recall doubledThe airbag on the driver's side is folded up like a parachute inside the steering wheel. Within the airbag is an inflator. This small device contains chemicals that emit a large volume of harmless gas, mostly nitrogen, very rapidly. This gas fills the airbag causing it to burst out and create a soft gas-filled cushion.Related: Cars with recalled airbags - Is yours on the list?A front airbag is designed to not only inflate rapidly but also to deflate rapidly so that it's not blocking the driver's vision and movement for longer than needed.In the case of detects of the Takata (TKTDY) airbags something is going wrong with the inflators and causing them to explode, sending pieces of their metal containers flying. The exact cause hasn't been determined. /By CNN/ She's $10M closer to replacing plastic bottles Weird / Interesting Mon, 25 May 2015 13:30:00 +0500 "A professor did a presentation about the global water crisis and the impact on the planet from plastic waste," said Kauss. "I knew then that my bottle idea had to happen."Before then, Kauss would carry other metal water bottles with her but wasn't happy with their look.In 2010, Kauss launched her startup S'well, a line of insulated reusable stainless steel bottles that are designed to keep drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours.Since then, the New York-based firm has sold 4 million bottles. The business is profitable and saw revenue surge 400% between 2013 and 2014 -- hitting $10 million last year. "We expect revenue to grow exponentially again this year," she said.Related: From Wall Street newbie to millionaire by 27Kauss never expected to become an entrepreneur. Prior to business school, she worked as a CPA with Ernst & Young and with a large real estate investment trust managing international projects.The one constant was her metal water bottle. It was convenient and essential, but maybe not quite a style fit."It was ideal for the gym, or pulling out of your backpack when you're camping, but not for an executive to be carrying around," she said.Fast forward to 2009. After the reunion, and influenced by the presentation she saw, Kauss got to work on her eco-friendly bottle."I made the business plan quickly, but it took longer than I expected to find the manufacturer and perfect the design," said Kauss, who invested $30,000 of her own money.When it came together, she launched S'well in late 2010. Not only does it help reduce plastic bottle consumption (Kauss said an estimated 50 billion plastic bottles are dumped in U.S. landfills each year), her bottles are also BPA-free.Related: She's the queen of million-dollar verdictsIn 2011, she experienced the "Oprah Effect.""Oprah Magazine listed S'well bottles in it's 'O list' of popular summer products," said Kauss. "It was the stamp of credibility we needed."Today, S'well bottles come in 90 colors and three sizes, priced between $25 and $45. The bottles sell in major stores nationwide, including Nordstrom (JWN), Starbucks (SBUX) and J.Crew."Google (GOOGL, Tech30) is giving our bottle to all of its interns this summer," said Kauss, whose team has grown to 30 employees.Throughout the rapid success, Kauss said she hasn't lost sight of her business' social mission.The firm recently debuted bottles that look like wood. "For every [wood-style] bottle that we sell, we plant a tree in an American forest," said Kauss. "Last year, we planted 20,000 trees in my hometown of Jupiter [Florida]."Environmental conservation is still at the heart of her startup. "I want to get rid of plastic bottles," said Kauss. /By CNN/