Today.Az http://www.today.az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside http://www.today.az/images/logo_small.gif Today.Az http://www.today.az Brazilian Globo TV channel airs reportage on Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/society/132790.html Society Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:05:00 +0500 Brazilian Globo TV channel has broadcasted reportage on Azerbaijan.The Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry informs that the reportage describes Azerbaijan as a cradle of oil and gas industry and covers the history of this field.The reportage also informs about Azerbaijan`s balanced foreign policy and its role in ensuring European energy security, Baku`s modern development and architecture. /AzerTAc/ Bale reveals secret of his Copa del Rey "rocketing" http://www.today.az/news/sports/132803.html Sports Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:50:00 +0500 Managers often complain that they do not get a good view from the touchline but this time it could not have been better. Carlo Ancelotti called it "perfect". From where he stood, the Real Madrid coach watched in awe as barely metres away Gareth Bale started the sprint that ended with him scoring what he admitted was the "biggest" goal of his career: a 50-metre gallop that won the Copa del Rey for Real Madrid. Alongside Ancelotti was Madrid's assistant coach Paul Clement. "I'm not sure I have ever seen a goal like that," he said.There was a moment at the start of the run when the nearest anyone from Barcelona got to Bale was their manager Tata Martino. The Welshman's first touch had been on the half way line and as he pushed it past Marc Bartra he was buffeted off the pitch but he did not stop. Instead he sped by like a racing car using the pit lane to overtake, screeching back on to the track in the lead. As he passed Martino and accelerated, sprinting in a long arc, he tore through Barcelona's technical area, where the turf slopes downwards away from the field.If they looked at him on the Barcelona bench, he looked only at the ball. "I actually scored a similar goal for Wales not too long ago where I had to run off the pitch so I was just trying to get round him any way I could and carry on," Bale said. "Thankfully, the goal came at the end of it. The only thing I was thinking was that I had to get round him. I just had my eyes on the ball."Once he had a lead, there was no way Bartra could recover. The young defender admitted that he felt his muscles contract. Bale raced away and nudged it through José Pinto's legs. The pictures and jokes were circulating quickly, albeit not as quickly as Bale. One depicted him as the Road Runner, Bartra the Wile E Coyote trailing in his wake. Another was a mock-up of a speeding ticket for Mr G Bale, Campeón de Copa, for overtaking recklessly, crossing a continuous white line. El País called him Usain Bolt, while Marca described it as the "run of a lifetime"."It was an incredible goal," Clement said. "He was at least two to three metres off the field in front of the Barça dugout and from that point on you never think it's going to end up with him putting the ball in the back of the net. It's just an amazing goal and it shows what an incredible athlete he is. He has great technical ability but that shows what power and pace he has got. To produce that kind of run so late in the game, 84 minutes, is incredible.""I haven't seen it back yet," Bale admitted afterwards, but there will be time for that. It was not just the goal, either: Bale was involved constantly, playing wide on the left. He took six shots over the 90 minutes, scored one and was involved in making the other. He even had another goal disallowed. Asked if he thought the decision was the right one, he replied, seemingly still baffled: "I'm not sure, to be honest. But it's in the past now."By the time he departed the Mestalla, it was gone 1am and Madrid were preparing to fly back to the capital, where thousands of fans were celebrating at the statue of the Goddess Cibeles. The squad arrived there past 4am."This is amazing," Bale said. Outside, the team bus waited and fans chanted. "I've always watched Madrid and the reason I wanted to come here was to win all the trophies. But I haven't really thought about [what this means]. I'm just trying to celebrate now, to enjoy the moment and hopefully in future years I'll be able to look back on this as a great moment. I've heard a few things about the celebrations and I am looking forward to taking it all in."It feels amazing to win a first trophy here and hopefully there is a lot more to come. The most important thing is that we don't get too carried away. Bayern Munich [Madrid's opponents in the Champions League semi-final] are a great team. We'll just take every game as it comes."It may sound ridiculous for a player who had just scored his 20th goal in all competitions and who also has 16 assists, but there was pressure and there were doubts. There was a strange sensation that the statistics did not tell the whole story, while injury and a late arrival that denied him a full pre-season had prevented him from having the continuity he wanted.After the first clásico of the season the rabidly pro-Barcelona Catalan daily Sport ran a front page that gloated that Bale was a failure who had not justified his €100m fee. Neymar, it said, was a "crack" or superstar; Bale was a "catacrack", a disaster. It looked stupid anyway; it looks stupider now. There were some small doubts in Madrid too but if before the game, one newspaper claimed that the "Prince of Wales" was seeking his crown, on Wednesday he wore it. The Prince met Spain's king, Juan Carlos I.This was a huge performance on the biggest stage that made a powerful case in his favour. This will always be Bale's cup. In the sports daily AS, Luis Nieto wrote: "His price was indecent, he came to Madrid without a pre-season, we had to study medicine to understand the injuries, he can barely say 'Buenos días', and he only has one foot. But it's an exceptional foot which moves at an unstoppable speed. The word Bale must come from 'bala' [bullet]. He would not have been out of place in Chariots of Fire.""I'm never too worried about what people say," the Welshman said. "It is important for me to just concentrate on my game and put as little pressure on myself as I can. It was nice to have a good performance tonight.""That's only his second final so that was a big game for him tonight. But he has great temperament. He keeps cool in the big games, he doesn't show nerves," Clement said. "Internally, we never had any doubts. The club never had any doubts. They paid a big price for him of course but that's because he's such a good player. He has shown that in many games this year and to show that on a big night like this, is good for him. We're very pleased for him."The responsibility had been greater still because Madrid were without Cristiano Ronaldo, who may yet not make the first leg against Bayern Munich. But Bale has scored nine times now without Ronaldo on the pitch and he has performed well on the left in his absence. So maybe the Ballon d'Or winner won't even get back into the team, someone joked. "Good one," Bale shot back. With that he left the stadium and boarded the bus. In his hand was a replica of the Copa del Rey./The Guardian/ Erdogan oppresses Putin over security of Crimean Tatars http://www.today.az/news/regions/132789.html World news Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:37:00 +0500 Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to exercise caution so that Crimean Tatars are not hurt from the crisis in Ukraine, Today's Zaman reported.Erdogan reportedly told Putin that Turkey attaches much importance to Crimean Tatars' security as the crisis in Ukraine unfolds.Erdogan and Putin discussed bilateral cooperation on trade and energy in a 25-minute phone conversation and exchanged views about the latest developments in Ukraine.Erdogan recalled that he hosted leader of Crimean Tatars Mustafa Jamil in Ankara on Wednesday and highlighted the importance of dialogue between the parties./Trend/ Military drills in Nakhchivan wraps up http://www.today.az/news/politics/132798.html Politics Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:24:00 +0500 By AzerNewsThe Azerbaijani Armed Forces have completed the active phase of large-scale military exercises in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.The military exercises were held in accordance with the combat training plan for 2014, Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced on April 17.Military exercises were attended by 20,000 military personnel, over 400 units of armored vehicles, aviation and air defense systems, and forces and facilities of the rocket army and artillery, including the military staff of the Army Special Forces.During the military exercises, firing live ammunition from tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, rocket launchers and artillery, and mortars was carried out.Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov, Azerbaijani Defense Minister, highly appreciated the military training of all the units which attended the military exercises and expressed satisfaction at the results.Military exercises were also observed by deputy Head of Azerbaijani Presidential Administration and Defense Issues Assistant to Azerbaijani President, Lieutenant-General Vahid Aliyev.Deputy Interior Minister and Commander of Internal Troops Major General, Shahin Mammadov also appraised Azerbaijani army's military training at high level.He said the military training of the interior troops of Azerbaijani Interior Ministry located in Nakhchivan is at a high level.He made the remarks during his visit to the military unit in the Autonomous Republic.The Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan is an Azerbaijani exclave situated on the border of Iran with 410,000 Azerbaijani inhabitants, has been blocked by Armenia since almost 25 years ago. AzerNews releases another print issue http://www.today.az/news/society/132794.html Society Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:10:00 +0500 A new print edition of the AZERNEWS online newspaper was released on April 18.The new edition includes articles about Energy Minister of Azerbaijan Natig Aliyev’s comments over the latest developments in Azerbaijan’s energy sector, the expert comments on the possibility of Russia-Iran oil-for-goods deal, Fitch’s affirming SOCAR’s rating as stable, Azerbaijanis who fear cancer due to genetic factors, will be able to learn about the probability of the disease in advance, about the mysteries of the life of Shirvanshakhs, as well as unusual souvenirs can be bought in Azerbaijan and etc.AZERNEWS is an associate member of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).The online newspaper is available at www.azernews.az. Saudi Arabia builds world's tallest tower - PHOTOS http://www.today.az/news/interesting/132799.html Weird / Interesting Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:00:00 +0500 Dubai -- long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive -- will soon have some competition from neighboring Saudi Arabia.Dubai's iconic Burj Khalifa -- the world's tallest building -- could be stripped of its Guinness title if Saudi Arabia succeeds in its plans to construct the even larger Kingdom Tower in Jeddah -- a prospect looking more likely as work begins next week, according to Construction Weekly.Consultants Advanced Construction Technology Services (ACTS) have recently announced testing materials to build the 3,280-feet (one kilometer) skyscraper (the Burj Khalifa, by comparison, stands at a meeker 2,716-feet, or 827 meters).The Kingdom Tower, estimated to cost $1.23 billion, would have 200 floors and overlook the Red Sea. Building it will require about 5.7 million square-feet of concrete, and 80,000 tons of steel, according to the Saudi Gazette.Building a structure that tall, particularly on the coast, where salt water could potentially damage it, is no easy feat. The foundations, which will be 200 feet (60 meters) deep, need to be able to withstand the saltwater of the nearby ocean. As a result, ACTS will test the strength of different concretes.Wind load is another issue for buildings of this magnitude. To counter this challenge, the tower will change shape regularly."Because it changes shape every few floors, the wind loads go round the building and won't be as extreme as on a really solid block," Gordon Gill explained to Construction Weekly. Gill is a partner at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the design architects for the project.Delivering the concrete to higher floors will also be a challenge. Possibly, engineers could use similar methods to those employed when building the Burj Khalifa; six million cubic feet of concrete were pushed through a single pump, usually at night to ensure the temperatures were low enough to ensure it would set.Though ambitious, building the Kingdom Tower should be feasible, according to Dr. Sang Dae Kim, the director of the Council on Tall Buildings."At this point in time we can build a tower that is one kilometer, maybe two kilometers. Any higher than that and we will have to do a lot of homework," he told Construction Weekly. /CNN/ U.S. defreezes Iranian funds http://www.today.az/news/regions/132788.html World news Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:45:00 +0500 The United States has authorized the release of a $450 million installment of frozen Iranian funds, indicating that Washington is willing to make good on its commitments made last year under an interim nuclear agreement between Tehran and six world powers, Press TV reported.Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States - plus Germany signed the short-term pact in the Swiss city of Geneva last November to pave the way for the full resolution of the West's decade-old dispute with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear energy program. The deal came into force on January 20.Under the Geneva agreement, dubbed the Joint Plan of Action, the Sextet agreed to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities during a six-month period.The US State Department made the announcement of releasing the Iranian funds on Thursday, following a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifying that Iran was complying with the terms of the pact.State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said that "all sides have kept the commitments made" under the agreement. She said that "as Iran remains in line with its commitments," the US, France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union "will continue to uphold our commitments as well.""Based on this confirmation and consistent with commitments that the United States made under the Joint Plan of Action (November 24 pact), the Department of Treasury took the necessary steps pursuant to the JPOA to facilitate the release of a $450 million installment of Iran's frozen funds," Harf stated.In its monthly report released on Thursday, the IAEA said Tehran has diluted half of its uranium earlier enriched to the 20-percent purity to a lower grade to power reactors.The other half of the stockpile is to be converted into a form that would be relatively difficult to be reconverted to the 20 percent level.On Wednesday, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said, "I can tell you, these measures [by Iran] are being implemented as planned."Iran and the six powers are scheduled to resume expert-level talks on Tehran's nuclear energy program in New York on May 5.The negotiations will be held ahead of a fresh round of high-level nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group, scheduled to begin in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on May 13.Tehran and the six countries wrapped up their latest round of high-level nuclear talks in Vienna on April 9. Italy keen in ICT co-op with Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/business/132791.html Business Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:33:00 +0500 “Italy is interested in cooperation with Azerbaijan in the field of information and communication technologies,” said Italian Ambassador Giampaolo Cutillo at a meeting in Azerbaijan`s Ministry of Communications and High Technologies.Ambassador Cutillo accompanied an Italian delegation, which included executives of companies Exprivia S.a.P and Apulian Aerospace (Distretto Aerospaziale Pugliese).Deputy Minister of Communications and High Technologies Iltimas Mammadov spoke about the opportunities for cooperation, and highlighted potential ICT projects.Ambassador Cutillo hailed opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in a variety of fields, in particular alternative energy, and high technologies.He emphasized that Italy placed particular emphasis on development of the ICT sector, adding it was key economic priorities for the country along with food, fashion and design industries.The event featured presentation of the Italian companies./AzerTAc/ Azerbaijan takes in int'l rowing regatta http://www.today.az/news/sports/132796.html Sports Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:18:00 +0500 By AzerNewsThe traditional and international regatta in rowing and canoeing will start in Azerbaijan on April 18.The three-day "President's Cup 2014" will be held in the Olympic sports training center "Kur" in Mingachevir.Aiming to develop these sports in Azerbaijan, the event will host more than 150 athletes from Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey.Azerbaijan and Georgia will take part in both sports, while Turkey will participate only in canoeing.The Cup will be overwatched by the members of the Organizing Committee of the "Baku-2015" European Games, so that they get familiar with the current situation at the center, where rowing and canoeing events will be held during the Baku Games.Organized jointly by Azerbaijan's National Rowing Federation and the Youth and Sports Ministry, the "President's Cup" has been held annually since March 2008.However, the sport event was re-scheduled for mid-April this year to keep Azerbaijani athletes in shape for abroad trainings and competitions in early May.Based on the result of the regatta, the list of the national teams in all three sports will be determined.Rowing developed quickly in Azerbaijan with the establishment of the National Rowing Federation (AMAF) in December 2006.Being a member of the International Rowing Federation (FISA) and the International Canoe Federation (ICF), the AMAF participates in various international competitions and European and world championships at present. Azerbaijani cooks participate in Kitchen Asiada-2017 http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/132795.html Arts & Entertainment Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:05:00 +0500 By AzerNewsAzerbaijan was represented at the "Asiada Kitchen 2017" workshop held in Turkmenistan's Ashgabat on April 8-10.The news was announced by Azerbaijan's National Cooking Association.The event, which turned out to be not only interesting and informative, but also very "tasty", has become a kind of international celebration of national cuisines.Master chefs demonstrated proficiency in their technical skills, and came of with good ideas in the preparation of various kinds of meat and fish with vegetables and fruits, unusual sauces, salads, and confectionery.To participate in the event, experienced chefs from more than 20 countries, including UK, Germany, China, Korea, Malaysia, India, Nepal, Japan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan Tajikistan, and Ukraine came to Turkmenistan.The Azerbaijani delegation at the event was led by Head of the National Cuisine Center and President of Azerbaijan's National Culinary Association Tahir Amiraslanov.During the workshop, the participants listened to the presentations of various countries that acquainted the participants with the features of their national cuisines.Speaking at the event, Amiraslanov noted that Azerbaijan pays special attention to other countries' national culinary heritage.Azerbaijan also presented a short movie "National Cuisine" (Milli m?tb?x), made with the support of the country's Culture and Tourism Ministry.Amiraslanov then distributed among the participants books titled "Azerbaijan's Cookery and Azerbaijan's Cuisine", "Cookery kleptomania", and "Karabakh's Cuisine" in English.Following the event, all the participants were awarded certificates and souvenirs."Kitchen Asiada 2017" aims to improve the skills of Turkmen chefs who will serve the participants and guests of the 5th Asian Indoor Games, held in Ashgabat in 2017.Out of 11 climatic zones known in the world, Azerbaijan's climate has nine. This contributes to the fertility of the land, which in turn results in the richness of the country's cuisine.Azerbaijan is famous for the abundance of its vegetables and greens used seasonally in all the dishes. Fresh herbs, including mint, coriander, dill, basil, parsley, tarragon, leek, chive, thyme, marjoram, green onion, and watercress are very popular and often accompany main dishes.The Caspian Sea is home to many edible species of fish, including the sturgeon, Caspian salmon, sardines, grey mullet, and others. Black caviar from the Caspian Sea is one of Azerbaijan's best-known delicacies well sought after in other parts of the world, including former Soviet countries. Azerbaijan to identify genetic factors in oncology http://www.today.az/news/society/132797.html Society Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:53:00 +0500 By AzerNewsPeople who are afraid of oncological diseases due to genetic factors will be able to learn about the probability of the disease in advance in Azerbaijan.These analyses will be carried out in a newly created laboratory of molecular oncology under the National Oncology Center of the Health Ministry, laboratory head Leyla Melikova said.The laboratory will conduct analyses on any genetic diseases. Along with other researches, diagnostics is currently conducted for identifying hereditary gene mutations of breast cancer, she said."If grandmother, mother, aunts and sisters of a woman have breast cancer, there is a genetic predisposition and this woman is in the risk group," Melikova noted.Mutations contributing to the disease are of two kinds, she said; heritable mutations are passed from parents to children, while somatic mutations are acquired.Although oncological mutations are considered somatic in 20-40 percent of the cases, genetic mutations can become a cause of cancer, she added."As a result of mutations of oncogenes, the cell loses its normal functions and becomes an oncocell," Melikova said.She noted that if the genes were passed from parents to children, their child enters the high-risk group. In this case, there is a need for molecular analysis.Breast cancer threats younger womenUnfortunately, breast cancer is growing young in Azerbaijan. Head of the General Oncology Department of the National Oncology Center Samir Gurbanov said if the disease used to happen among women aged 55-65 before, it is most common among 45-50 years old women now."Breast cancer did not appear among 25-28 years old women, while now it occurs at the 22-28 age group in 10-12 cases," Gurbanov said.He said age is of a great importance in this disease. The sooner the tumor appears, the more aggressive the disease will be, and the sooner it reveals itself, the faster it will incapacitate other organs and become less treatable. Therefore, breast cancer shortens the life expectancy of young women more than older ones.Cancer control is currently carried out in several directions, he added. The first direction is conducting screenings of healthy population.Women above 35 years of age should go through a mammography or ultrasound every three-six months, he said.Gurbanov noted that cancer ranks first among diseases with the highest mortality rate even in the developed countries of the world. At present, it is impossible to reduce the number of cases despite the fact that medicine prolongs the life of patients for a while."Therefore, the disease was studied at the genetic level, and some results were obtained," he said.In Azerbaijan, people who are afraid of disease hereditary may already learn about their predisposition, something that can affect the number of cancer patients significantly, he said.Azerbaijan's chief oncologist Azad Kerimli said 1,519 women were diagnosed with cancer last year. Overall, the number of breast cancer patients reached 9,043 in 2013. 4,221 of these women struggle with the disease for five years or more.Frightening tendencyThe most widespread types of cancer encountered in Azerbaijan are breast cancer in women and lung, trachea, and bronchi cancer in men.Kerimli believes the total number of cancer patients in Azerbaijan is 34,681.The rise of oncological diseases is connected to the increase in the country's population, which recently reached 9.4 million people. The number of oncological patients is high in Baku and the south of the country.However, despite the growth of such patients in the country, their number is quite low compared to other countries, Kerimli said."Environmental, nutritional, and reproductive factors play a major role here," he said.Oncological diseases are not the end of life and there are three ways of fighting cancer - surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. After these treatments and under therapeutic guidance, oncological patients may live for up to 15-20 years afterwards.Providing cancer patients with medications has recently improved in the country. Fourteen items of chemotherapy drugs for cancer patients were purchased in 2006. The figure rose to 45 in 2012, and 58 in 2013.The National Oncology Center, established in Azerbaijan in 2009, has given an impetus to the fight against cancer in the country. The center has had an oncological center for children since 2011.Currently, there are seven cancer clinics in the Azerbaijani regions and the state is providing patients with free medicine for chemotherapy. Fragile sunshine, blossoming trees, novel breath in Baku - PHOTOS http://www.today.az/news/photo/132793.html Photo Galleries Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:40:00 +0500 Baku began to feel the warmth of spring. Fragile sunshine, blossoming trees, pure raindrops, fresh air, novel breath of life make it unique feeling to be in Baku. There is a bouyant flow of life in spring in the golden city of the Land of Fire. Sunny Baku attracts love of all who has footprint on the streets of the city. Baku deserves love and care in return of warm embrace it opens to all. Photos: Milli.Az OSCE's Burkhalter to off to Azerbaijan in early June http://www.today.az/news/politics/132787.html Politics Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:26:00 +0500 OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter will pay an official visit to Azerbaijan on June 3, a diplomatic source told Trend on April 17.During the visit, Burkhalter will meet with Azerbaijani officials. The meeting will discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict's settlement and Azerbaijan's cooperation with the OSCE.After his visit to Azerbaijan, Burkhalter will depart for Yerevan.Earlier in an interview with Trend, Burkhalter stressed that the OSCE Swiss Chairmanship fully supports the Minsk Group's efforts and is ready to render any support to the Minsk Group.Switzerland pays particular attention to the initiatives and projects, which involve public diplomacy and aimed at restoring confidence between the parties./Trend/ Goranboy region hit by earthquake http://www.today.az/news/society/132786.html Society Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:13:00 +0500 An earthquake jolted Azerbaijan's Goranboy city on Thursday, April 17.The earthquake was registered at 19:25 local time, 32 kilometres south-west of Mingachevir city, at a depth of 12 kilometres, Republican Seismology Center of Azerbaijani National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) told Trend.Its magnitude was 3.4, and no tremors were felt.Goranboy city is located in the north-west of Azerbaijan, 327 kilometres away from the capital Baku./Trend/ "The Autumn of the Patriarch" ends http://www.today.az/news/regions/132785.html World news Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:00:00 +0500 The Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, who unleashed the worldwide boom in Spanish language literature and magical realism with his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, died at the age of 87. He had been admitted to hospital in Mexico City on 3 April with pneumonia.Matching commercial success with critical acclaim, García Márquez became a standard-bearer for Latin American letters, establishing a route for negotiations between guerillas and the Colombian government, building a friendship with Fidel Castro and maintaining a feud with fellow literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa that lasted more than 30 years.Barack Obama said the world had lost "one of its greatest visionary writers", adding that he cherished an inscribed copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude, presented to him by the author on a visit to Mexico. "I offer my thoughts to his family and friends, whom I hope take solace in the fact that Gabo's work will live on for generations to come."Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said yesterday via Twitter: "A thousand years of solitude and sadness at the death of the greatest Colombian of all time. Solidarity and condolences to his wife and family ... Such giants never die."Journalists gathered outside García Márquez's house in Mexico City in the hope that one of the family members who was reportedly at his side would emerge.Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto expressed sadness at the death of "one of the greatest writers of our time," in the name of Mexico, the novelist's adopted home. Chilean writer Luis Sepúlveda was quoted by the Mexican newspaper Reforma as saying that he was "the most important writer in Spanish of the 20th century", central to the Latin American literary boom that "revolutionised everything: the imagination, the way of telling a story, and the literary universe".The Colombian singer Shakira wrote: "We will remember your life, dear Gabo, like a unique and unrepeatable gift, and the most original of stories."Born in a small town near the northern coast ofColombia on 6 March 1927, García Márquez was raised by his grandparents for the first nine years of his life and began working as a journalist while studying law in Bogotá.A series of articles relating the ordeal of a Colombian sailor sparked controversy and saw him travel to Europe as a foreign correspondent in 1955, the year in which he published his first work of fiction, the short novel Leaf Storm. Short stories and novellas with the realism of Hemingway as their inspiration followed, but after the publication of The Evil Hour in 1962 García Márquez found himself at an impasse.Speaking to the Paris Review in 1981 he explained how he decided his writings about his childhood were "more political" than the "journalistic literature" he had been engaged with. He wanted to return to his childhood and the imaginary village of Macondo he had created in Leaf Storm, but there was "always something missing". After five years he hit upon the "right tone", a style "based on the way my grandmother used to tell her stories"."She told things that sounded supernatural and fantastic, but she told them with complete naturalness," García Márquez said. "When I finally discovered the tone I had to use, I sat down for 18 months and worked every day."Right from the elliptical opening sentence – which finds Colonel Aureliano Buendía facing a firing squad and remembering the "distant afternoon" many years before when "his father took him to discover ice" – One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves together the misfortunes of a family over seven generations. García Márquez tells the story of a doomed city of mirrors founded in the depths of the Colombian jungle with the "brick face" his grandmother used to tell ghost stories, folk tales and supernatural legends.The novel was an instant bestseller, with the first edition of 8,000 copies selling out within a week of its publication in 1967. Hailed by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda as "perhaps the greatest revelation in the Spanish language since Don Quixote of Cervantes", One Hundred Years of Solitude went on to win literary prizes in Italy, France, Venezuela and beyond, appearing in more than 30 languages and selling more than 30m copies around the world. García Márquez forged friendships with writers such as Carlos Fuentes, Julio Cortazar and Vargas Llosa – a friendship that ended in the 1970s after Vargas Llosa floored the Colombian with a punch outside a Mexico City cinema.The Autumn of the Patriarch, which the author called a "poem on the solitude of power", followed in 1975. García Márquez assembled this story of the tyrannical leader of an unnamed Caribbean nation from a collage of dictators such as Franco, Perón, and Pinilla, and continued to draw inspiration from Latin America's history of conflict with a novella inspired by the murder of a wealthy Colombian, The Chronicle of a Death Foretold, published in 1981.A year later he was awarded the Nobel prize for literature, the Swedish Academy hailing fiction "in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts". Speaking at the ceremony in Stockholm, he painted a picture of a continent filled with "immeasurable violence and pain" that "nourishes a source of insatiable creativity, full of sorrow and beauty"."Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination," he said, "for our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable."The lives García Márquez next made "believable" were those of his parents, whose extended courtship was rendered into Love in the Time of Cholera, first published in 1985. The novel tells how a secret relationship between Florentino Arizo and Fermina Daza is thwarted by Fermina's marriage to a doctor trying to eradicate cholera, only to be rekindled more than 60 years later.A 1989 account of Simón Bolívar's final months, The General in his Labyrinth, blended fact and fiction, but García Márquez never left journalism behind, arguing that it kept him "in contact with the real world". Clandestine in Chile, published in 1986, was an account of the Chilean filmmaker Miguel Littín, who returned to his homeland in secret to make a documentary about life under General Augusto Pinochet. News of a Kidnapping explored how prominent figures in Colombian society were snatched and imprisoned by Pablo Escobar's Medellín drug cartel.He continued to write, publishing a memoir of his early life in 2002 and a novella that chronicles an old man's passion for an adolescent girl in 2004, but never regained the heights of his earlier masterpieces. His brother Jaime García Márquez revealed in 2012 that the writer was suffering from dementia after undergoing chemotherapy for lymphatic cancer first diagnosed in 1999.Asked in 1981 about his ambitions as a writer he suggested that it would be a "catastrophe" to be awarded the Nobel prize, arguing that writers struggle with fame, which "invades your private life" and "tends to isolate you from the real world"."I don't really like to say this because it never sounds sincere," he continued, "but I would really have liked for my books to have been published after my death, so I wouldn't have to go through all this business of fame and being a great writer."/The Guardian/ Forbest names the richest of Russia http://www.today.az/news/business/132770.html Business Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:45:00 +0500 Alisher Usmanov is Russia's richest tycoon for the third year in a row, with wealth of $18.6 billion, after selling his stake in the social media website Facebook, according to the latest report by the U.S. magazine Forbes.Usmanov is a co-owner of Russia's largest iron ore miner, Metalloinvest, and the country's number-two mobile operator, MegaFon. He also owns stakes in the Russian internet group Mail.Ru and the British Premier League football club Arsenal.His worth rose $1 billion from his previous rating after the sale of his and his partners' stake in Facebook for $2.5 billion, according to Forbes. hereMikhail Fridman, the co-owner of Alfa Bank and telecoms operator Vimpelcom, is still Russia's second-richest tycoon, worth $17.6 billion, up $1.1 billion. The third richest, Viktor Vekselberg, who made his money in metals and energy, rose from fourth place with a worth of $17.2 billion, up $2.1 billion year-on-year.For the first time in the rating's history, tycoon-turned-politician Mikhail Prokhorov, who owns the Brooklyn Nets basketball team and a stake in the world's largest potash producer, Uralkali, was not included into the top 10. His wealth fell $2.1 billion to $10.9 billion.Consumer-oriented businessmen rose on the list, in step with the growth of Russia's middle class. Entrepreneur Oleg Tinkov, who founded and owns a majority stake in the consumer-credit firm TCS, climbed 76 places to 75th place after taking his company public in October 2013. His wealth was listed as $1.4 billion.Arkady Volozh, founder and chief executive of Russia's largest search engine, Yandex, rose 34 spots to 60th place after the company's share price doubled. Yandex raised $1.4 billion in an initial public offering in New York in 2011./Reuters/ Pep ready for Bayern exit http://www.today.az/news/sports/132778.html Sports Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:30:00 +0500 Bayern Munich's recent results have led to some of the German media expressing doubts about Pep Guardiola, a circumstance on which the coach has commented, "I have to accept the criticism".After two defeats and a draw in the Bundesliga, the Catalan revealed, "I tell myself 'Pep, calm down'. You're here to do your job as best you can and my greatest talent is to work, work, work". The coach was emphatic, matter-of-factly saying, "I am here to help and if the club don't want that, we'll shake hands, no problem for me"./Marca/ Date of iPhone 6 coming is... http://www.today.az/news/interesting/132772.html Weird / Interesting Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:15:00 +0500 Last Friday, Samsung released the Galaxy S5, its latest competitor to Apple’s iPhone. It’s a tempting phone, as our reviewer David Pogue concluded, one that merits your serious consideration if you’re shopping around for a new device. But before you buy a Galaxy S5 — or, let’s be honest, if you’re an Apple devotee whose iPhone 4s is limping along — you might be wondering: Just when is the next iPhone coming out? Now, before I tell you why, let’s note that predicting a release date for an Apple product is an inexact science. Saying when the next iPhone will be released is much more complicated than, say, looking up when the Yankees next play the Red Sox. Like every other major tech company, Apple keeps its plans secret, so that its big reveal is surprising and creates some excitement. (Also, more cynically, if everyone knew that the next iPhone was coming out in September, then no one would buy any iPhones in July or August. That’s bad for business!)Anyway, even though you can’t just ask Siri when the next iPhone will be available, there are certain signposts you can turn to, to get a sense of timing. The first, and most obvious, is history: Apple historically releases its iPhones about one year apart. In 2013, it released the iPhone 5s on Sept. 20. In 2012, it released the iPhone 5 on Sept. 21. In 2011, it released the iPhone 4s on Oct. 14. Looking at that trend, you might conclude that you should expect the iPhone 6 (or whatever it is called) in September or October of 2014. In the seven years of the iPhone’s existence, Apple has switched up the timing only once, in 2010, when it waited an excruciating 16 months between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4s. Most Apple watchers think those days are over, however: Apple, the common wisdom goes, can’t wait 16 months between iPhones anymore. The competition has gotten too fierce. Shoppers would just buy a Galaxy or an HTC One rather than wait. And while historical trends can provide some perspective, some inside information never hurts, either. Ming Chi-Kuo is an investment analyst for KGI Securities who follows Apple closely. In the past few years, he has proved that he has great sources at Apple: He is considered the most accurate predictor of Apple’s release schedule and future plans.And wouldn’t you know it? In a recent note to clients, Kuo predicted that the next iPhone would be out early in the third quarter — September or early October./Yahoo/ SOCAR going for over $ 9 bln investment by 2017 http://www.today.az/news/business/132780.html Business Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:00 +0500 Fitch Ratings has affirmed SOCAR's (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic) long-term issuer default rating (IDR) at 'BBB-', short-term IDR at 'F3' and senior unsecured rating at 'BBB-'.The outlook on the long-term IDR is Stable, according to Fitch."The ratings of SOCAR, a wholly state-owned national oil company of Azerbaijan (BBB-/Stable), are aligned with the sovereign's. SOCAR is a mid-size integrated oil company with 2013 hydrocarbon production of 255,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (mboepd) and a number of assets in midstream, downstream, chemicals and retail," Fitch said.SOCAR controls Petkim, Turkey's only chemical producer, and is constructing a 10 million ton capacity STAR refinery in Turkey. It is also a party to several production-sharing agreements (PSAs) in Azerbaijan and receives specified volumes of oil, natural gas and gas condensate free of charge.Under Fitch's conservative forecasts SOCAR's credit metrics will deteriorate moderately in 2013-2015, with funds from operations (FFO) net leverage increasing to 1.9x in 2016, from 1.5x in 2012 and FFO interest coverage declining to 9.6x in 2016, from nearly 16.8x in 2012, before taking into consideration any divestments."SOCAR's ratings are aligned with Azerbaijan's, as it represents the state's interests in the strategically important oil and gas industry,' according to the statement. "SOCAR maintains close ties with the government and the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) to make financial and investment decisions."According to a recent decree by the President of Azerbaijan, SOFAZ and SOCAR will set up a joint venture (JV). SOCAR's cash contribution to the JV will be limited to AZN49m or 49% of JV's charter capital. SOCAR will also transfer to the JV its stakes in a number of ongoing projects, eg, a 10% stake in Shah Deniz PSA and gas pipeline projects. Thereafter, SOFAZ will lend additional funds to the JV, which it will use to fund its share of investments in the above-mentioned projects.Although there is no specific decision yet regarding the funding of SOCAR's other announced projects, eg, the oil-gas processing and petrochemical complex (OGPC) in Baku, we expect that these projects will also be funded mostly by SOFAZ. Fitch's sovereign analysts estimate that SOFAZ's assets totalled about USD40bn at end-2013 and expect further moderate growth in sovereign assets, Fitch said.SOCAR has recently agreed funding for the 10 million ton STAR refinery in Turkey - over USD5bn in commitments from international banks, partially covered by Export Credit Agencies. SOCAR expects to make an additional USD1bn equity contribution for its 60% stake in the project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2017.Fitch views SOCAR's standalone profile as commensurate with the mid-'BB' category, reflecting its limited reserves, declining brownfield production, aged refineries, but also an extensive domestic pipeline network, an expanding international downstream and retail portfolio, and adequate credit metrics. In 2013, SOCAR's total hydrocarbon output (excluding equity stakes) was 255,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (mboepd), flat on previous year's levels."While SOCAR's upstream is weaker and its lifting costs are higher than that of 'BB'-rated Russian peers, this is partially compensated by profits from its midstream and downstream operations," according to the statement.Under our base rating case, we expect SOCAR's own (excluding JVs) oil production to decline gradually in 2014-2016 from the depletion of existing brownfields in Azerbaijan, SOCAR's only upstream region. At the same time, we forecast higher natural gas production from Azerbaijan's PSAs, in particular the Stage 2 of the Shah Deniz PSA, according to the statement.In December 2013, the Shah Deniz Stage 2 partners approved the final investment decision with a USD28bn cost estimate, including the South Caucasus Pipeline expansion. Once completed, the project aims to increase production by 16 billion cubic meters of gas and 4 million tons of gas condensate starting from late 2018."We conservatively estimate that SOCAR will spend over AZN7bn (USD9bn) on capex in 2013-2016," according to the statement. "The company has little capex flexibility as most funds are earmarked for its upstream business to arrest brownfield production decline, to meet its obligations under the PSAs and to complete projects that are already underway, including the construction of the STAR refinery.""We forecast that under Fitch's oil price deck of USD96 per barrel of oil (bbl) in 2014, USD91/bbl in 2015 and USD85/bbl in 2016, SOCAR's FFO net leverage will reach 1.9x in 2016, up from 1.5x in 2012," according to the statement.Future developments that may result in positive rating action include:-An increase in state support through eg, government guarantees for a large portion of the company's debt, coupled with a sovereign rating upgradePer draft IFRS accounts, SOCAR had AZN1.252bn of cash at 31 December 2013, which was insufficient to cover its short-term debt of AZN1,459m on that date. Of the total cash and restricted cash at end-2013, AZN474m was held at the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan (BB/Stable), a related party.SOCAR's short-term debt at end-2013 accounted for 29% of its gross debt, down from 40% at end-2012, following the placement in 2013 of a USD1bn 4.75% coupon 10-year bond.Over 80% of SOCAR's debt at 31 December 2013 was denominated in USD, to match USD-linked revenues, and 60% of its debt had fixed interest rates./Trend/ President Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva familiarized with progress of ... http://www.today.az/news/politics/132783.html Politics Fri, 18 Apr 2014 00:05:00 +0500 President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva and family members have familiarized themselves with the progress of construction of Water Sports Palace in Baku.President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on 30 August 2012 on the construction of the state-of-the-art Water Sports Palace in Baku. The design of the palace was worked out by the South Korean company Securo Co. Ltd.Minister of Youth and Sport Azad Rahimov informed the Head of State of the work carried out at the Palace. The Palace occupies a total area of six hectares. The facility will fully meet the requirements of the International Swimming Federation.The Palace will have three swimming pools. The pool 50 meters in length, and 25 meters wide is designed for competitions. The second pool will be used for training. The length of the pool for diving will be 25 meters, and the width 20 meters. In addition, the palace will have fitness rooms, a restaurant, a conference hall, offices, locker rooms, ancillary and utility rooms. Ancillary buildings and installations and a parking lot for 500 cars will be built on the premises as well. The Palace will seat 6,000 spectators. It will have all the conditions for the training of athletes and organization of national and international competitions. /AzerTAc/ Capital Finance International: Mehriban Aliyeva reaches out for a better world - PHOTO http://www.today.az/news/politics/132784.html Politics Fri, 18 Apr 2014 00:01:00 +0500 The Capital Finance International magazine has published an article headlined “Mehriban Aliyeva – With Azerbaijan at Heart: the First Lady Reaches Out For a Better World”.The article reads: “When Azerbaijan first lady Mehriban Aliyeva travels internationally, minds, people and hearts come together – East and West meet – and good deeds spring out.Mehriban Aliyeva symbolises tireless outreach to women and children. She aims to change the world for the better as she travels her country and further afield as a UNESCO goodwill ambassador and president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation that is engaged in countless projects aimed at furthering education and healthcare and promoting and protecting the country’s cultural heritage.According to Mrs Aliyeva, the well-endowed foundation pursues “broad and multi-sided” goals that also include environmental care. In Baku, the foundation seeks to bring nature and culture together with a new museum of modern art at the centre of a sprawling development that also includes white sandy beaches, a walkway over the Caspian Sea and a skyscraper designed by US architect Frank Gehry who masterminded such iconic buildings as the Bilbao Guggenheim and the Cinémathèque Française in Paris.Recently, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation unveiled ambitious plans for the funding of social projects aimed at disadvantaged children in Hungary, Romania and other countries of Eastern Europe. In France, the Azerbaijani first lady was awarded the Légion d’Honneur in 2010 by then president Nicolas Sarkozy in recognition of her “outstanding service and loyalty”. Mrs Aliyeva was instrumental in arranging her foundation’s support for renovation projects at the Louvre, Versailles Palace and Strasbourg Cathedral.Mrs Aliyeva is particularly active in support of educational programmes. In Azerbaijan, her foundation now builds and maintains more schools than the government. The foundation has also financed the construction of new hospitals, clinics and retirement homes.Mrs Aliyeva works tirelessly at promoting social inclusion and interfaith dialogue. By focusing on core Azerbaijani values and encouraging the preservation of the country’s rich and colourful heritage, Mrs Aliyeva seeks to strengthen her nation as a regional power for good. Stunning and glamorous yet humble and media-shy, she prefers to let her good deeds do the talking.”The article is available at http://cfi.co/asia/2014/04/mehriban-aliyeva-with-azerbaijan-at-heart-the-first-lady-reaches-out-for-a-better-world/./AzerTAc/ Tevez's World Cup star is Messi http://www.today.az/news/sports/132777.html Sports Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:05:00 +0500 Carlos Tévez claimed that he has a "fantastic" relationship with Lionel Messi, rubbishing suggestions that a supposed rift between the two is behind his expected absence from the Argentina squad at the 2014 World Cup."I don't know where people got that nonsense from. Everyone goes on about that, but the fact is that Messi and I have a fantastic relationship. We've shared moments, training sessions and matches and there's never been a problem between us. He's a charming person and is very polite", the Juventus forward told Buenos Aires newspaper 'Crónica'.Tévez added that "this should be Messi's World Cup and I hope that's the case from the bottom of my heart because he's a wonderful player. He and Cristiano [Ronaldo], whom I played with at Manchester United, are the best in the world"./Marca/ Date of US Congressional delegation visit to Baku announced http://www.today.az/news/politics/132765.html Politics Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:50:00 +0500 A Congressional delegation led by US House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce will visit Azerbaijan this weekend.The other members of the delegation include Ranking Committee Member Eliot Engel, Representative Lois Frankel, and Representative David Cicilline, the Azerbaijani Embassy in the U.S. told Trend.The delegation will meet with senior Azerbaijani government officials and civil society representatives during their visit.Following their visit to Baku, the delegation will also travel to Kyiv and Yerevan./Trend/ Putin says Russia, Ukraine will reach 'mutual understanding' http://www.today.az/news/regions/132769.html World news Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:35:00 +0500 President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he was certain that Russia and Ukraine could reach a compromise following Moscow's annexation of Crimea, saying the neighbors had a huge number of common interests, Reuters reported."I'm sure we will come to a mutual understanding with Ukraine. We will not be able to do without each other," Putin said in a televised call-in with the nation.A change of power took place in Ukraine on February 22.The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine ousted President Viktor Yanukovych from the power, changed the constitution and scheduled presidential elections for May 25.Yanukovych said he was forced to leave Ukraine under the threat of violence, and he remains the legally elected head of state.A number of provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine, as well as the Crimea did not recognize the legitimacy of the Rada and decided on possibility of holding a referendum on the future fate of the regions.The vast majority of residents of Crimea - 96 percent - voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, in a referendum held March 16.With the exception of Russia most countries refused to recognize the referendum and its results.On March 18, Russia and Crimea signed an agreement on Crimea as well as Sevastopol city joining the Russian Federation./Trend/ President Ilham Aliyev held several official meetings - UPDATE - PHOTOS http://www.today.az/news/politics/132776.html Politics Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:20:00 +0500 President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today received new head of the Council of Europe`s Office in Baku, Dragana Filipovic.The sides exchanged views on the current state and prospects of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe.***President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received Secretary General of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States, Halil Akinci.They spoke of the events conducted within the framework of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States, and discussed the issues related to cooperation prospects.Secretary General of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States Halil Akinci handed the flag reflecting symbols of the Turkic speaking states to President Ilham Aliyev./Trend/President Ilham Aliyev received Secretary General of Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States President Ilham Aliyev received incoming head of the Council of Europe`s Office in BakuPhotos: AzerTAc Bakcell announces new tariff http://www.today.az/news/announcements/132782.html Announcements Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:10:00 +0500 Bakcell, the First Mobile Operator and the Leading Mobile Internet Provider of Azerbaijan for the first time in the history of the country's mobile communications market presents GelirliCIN - a new tariff which returns half of the amount spent by subscriber during the day back to his balance on the next day, the company said on April 17.Bakcell subscribers who join this tariff will receive 50% of the amount they spend each day for countrywide calls, SMS and MMS, back to their balance on the next day, as a bonus. So, everyday half of the amount spent gets back in the form of the bonus to be used on the next day. The subscribers may use these bonuses for making domestic calls or sending SMS and MMS. The usage period of this bonus within the country is one day, and every day the subscriber receives new bonus for the previous day spending.Bakcell subscribers can join GelirliCIN tariff by dialing *138*3#YES. New subscribers can join GelirliCIN upon purchase of the new SIM the first day free of charge by dialing the same code *138*3#YES. To get more detailed information about this tariff, simply call or send an empty SMS to 5504 or visit Bakcell website www.bakcell.com.Benefit from GelirliCIN and save your money!Bakcell, The First Mobile Operator and the Leading Mobile Internet Provider of Azerbaijan offers a variety of products for modern mobile communications customers. Bakcell provides class leading 3G mobile internet experience in the country under the Sür@ brand name.As one of the largest national non-oil investors, Bakcell today continues making large investments in the economy of Azerbaijan through its investments in state-of-the-art telecommunication technology and its people who service our customers.Bakcell's network covers more than 99% of the population and 92% of the land area of the country (excluding occupied territories). Bakcell is a leader in innovation and it focuses on bringing the best of the mobile internet to Azerbaijanis through new partnerships and its Sür@ services. With 257 retail outlets and 7 Customer Service Centers operating 24x7 Bakcell provides the best customer experience to its customers.For more information about Bakcell products and services, please visit www.bakcell.com or call 555.For press releases please see www.bakcell.com/az/news (or www.bakcell.com/en/news for press releases in English).If you are not a Bakcell subscriber, but wish to find out about Bakcell and its services, please call 055 000 05 55./Trend/ Current oil price in world markets http://www.today.az/news/business/132779.html Business Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:55:00 +0500 The price of oil has continued to fall in the world markets.On the New York Stock Exchange NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) cost of the US Light crude oil has increased $0.01 to stand at $103.76. Price of British Brent crude oil at the London ICE (InterContinental Exchange Futures) has increased $0.24 to trade at $109.60.The Department of Marketing and Economic Operations of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) informed that, a barrel of Azeri Light crude oil increased $0.79 to stand at $112.81./AzerTAc/ Rank mysteries http://www.today.az/news/analytics/132763.html Analytics Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:40:00 +0500 By Howard DaviesFormer Chairman of Britain's Financial Services Authority, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, and Director of the London School of Economics, is a professor at Sciences Po in Paris.Gibraltar received exciting news last month. The latest Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), published by the consultancy Z/Yen in London, revealed that the Rock had risen further and faster up the ranks than any other center - 17 places, from 70th to 53rd position, since the previous report in September 2013.I can imagine the celebrations in Gibraltar Town, where, now that the British naval base has closed and Spain is being difficult at the border, financial services are crucial for employment. And I can also imagine that many in Hamilton, Bermuda, which plummeted almost as far as Gibraltar climbed - 16 places, to 56th - must be crying into their rum punch.Of course, it is also possible that Gibraltar and Bermuda have chosen to ignore the results, or dispute their significance. Either way, there is no doubting the global obsession with league tables nowadays. One can find a ranking for almost every form of human activity.Commercial banks are ranked by assets. Investment banks are ranked on a variety of metrics, as are universities - from academic results to their prowess in environmental management, or their appeal to gay students. In the United Kingdom, you can find a table showing where it is best to live if you wish to win Britain's National Lottery. (Your chances are almost twice as good in the northeast as in Northern Ireland.)When one looks closely, most of these tables are, as Henry Kissinger famously put it, "content-free." For one brief shining moment, the Royal Bank of Scotland was global top dog in rankings of commercial banks, and we know how that story ended. Is this true of the GFCI, or does it contain valuable insights into how the global financial system is evolving?The press headlines accompanying the release of the latest GFCI focused on the change at the top of the league: New York leapfrogged ahead of London, while Hong Kong and Singapore held on in third and fourth place, respectively. Is this a significant switch?Much speculation has centered on the recent damage to London's reputation stemming from the scandal surrounding banks' manipulation of the Libor interest rate. Even if some of the machinations were carried out in other cities, there is no escaping the fact that Libor is the London Interbank Offered Rate. Moreover, London is the biggest center for foreign-exchange trading, the new focus of regulatory attention. And, though Bruno Iksil was a Frenchman working for the American bank JPMorgan Chase, he became known universally as the "London Whale."But GFCI's detailed results do not bear out that explanation. London's reputational factors "are firmly above average and have not seen much change over the past five editions." Indeed, it seems that London's small decline is attributable to negative scores on general factors such as the "business environment" and "infrastructure."Overcrowded Underground trains and Heathrow's congestion are having an impact, though it is hard to understand why New York wins on these measures. Riding the Subway often brings unpleasant surprises, while JFK Airport is hardly a favorite among travelers (and there remains no fast rail link to it).And yet these subtle switches at the top of the table are not the real story. From a ten-year perspective, the big gainers have been Hong Kong and Singapore.It was once fashionable to argue that when China opened up to the world, Hong Kong and Singapore would suffer. Once the Chinese got their act together, these cities' role in intermediating the region's finances would be marginalized by Shanghai, Shenzhen, and other new centers. That still may happen one day, but it has not happened yet.Hong Kong and Singapore have played their cards astutely. The combination of an Asian market with strong Chinese connections and a system of English law and property rights continues to provide a powerful competitive advantage. That is especially true in fund management. Chinese companies may increasingly raise capital in Shanghai, but wealthy Chinese with money to invest like to hold it in financial centers that are perceived as safe and non-political.In Europe, we see a different pattern. Over 15 consecutive surveys, London's ranking and ratings have remained broadly constant, while Zurich, Geneva, Frankfurt, and Luxembourg have gradually narrowed the gap with it - though that gap remains wide.There is little doubt that Frankfurt has won the contest with Paris to be the eurozone's most important financial center. The Germans were smart to insist on putting the European Central Bank there. Given the ECB's new function as the eurozone's banking supervisor, Frankfurt can consolidate its victory. Every European Union bank will need to bend the knee to its supervisor on the Main River, even if she does happen to be a Frenchwoman, Danièle Nouy.In the United States, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, continue to consolidate their positions as important centers for asset management and, in the last case, for regulation. The 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-reform legislation has given the Federal Reserve Board a much larger regulatory role than it had before the crisis. But, unless New York's populist new mayor, Bill de Blasio, tries to run the banks out of town, Western sheriff-style, these cities do not seem likely to steal Wall Street's crown anytime soon.All of the best award shows include a surprise. This year's wild card, billed as the financial center most "likely to become more significant" in the near future, is Casablanca. I have no idea why Casablanca is an up-and-coming center, and the GFCI's compilers do not explain. Sometimes, in rankings as in life, a kiss is just a kiss.Copyright: Project Syndicate/AzerNews/ Spring rain expected, temperature keeps high http://www.today.az/news/society/132781.html Society Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:25:00 +0500 Besides the short-term rain, especially towards the night in several places, weather will be pleasant with cloudy sky and volatile gloominess in Baku and Abhseron peninsula on April 18. Gentle south-western wind is expected. The temperature will be +7-12C at night and +20-25 in the noon. Notwithstanding the short-term rain and lightning in some mountainous and foothills regions, weather will have generally rainless course. Separate zones to be misty in the morning. Eastern blow us predicted. The temperature will be +8-13C at night and +20-25 and in the noon, while +4-9C in mountains at night and +13-18C in the noon. Meteosensitive people to be pleased with comfortable weather condition during the next three days. /Eco.Gov.Az/ Health Ministry undergoes important staff change http://www.today.az/news/society/132774.html Society Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:13:00 +0500 Important staff changes have been made at Azerbaijan’s health care system.Health Ministry’s spokesman Anar Gadirli told APA that a director has been appointed to newly established Baku Health Center.Head physician of the Clinic Medical Center Terlan Babirov has been appointed as a director of the Baku Health Center. Currently, staff formation process is going on at the center.Director of the Institute of Hematology and Transfusiology named after B. Eyvazov under the Ministry of Health Sultan Aliyev has been appointed as head physician of the Clinic Medical Center.No one has yet been appointed as a director of the Institute of Hematology and Transfusiology.   Google's futuristic cell phone http://www.today.az/news/interesting/132768.html Weird / Interesting Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:00:00 +0500 Google is jumping into its next futuristic hardware project. This time it's a modular smartphone dubbed Project Ara that can be customized by swapping out individual pieces, such as the battery and the camera.The company previewed the very early-stage project at a developer event in Santa Clara, California, this week. Google said the first version of the phone will likely be available in early 2015. Though the company didn't mention a sale price, it said the devices would cost anywhere from $50 to $500 to manufacture, depending on the model.The phone will come in three sizes, ranging from mini to "phablet," and it will run on a future version of the Android mobile operating system. A frame called the Endo will hold the interchangeable components together with magnets.The idea is to allow smartphone owners to customize and update their phones on their own -- say, popping out an old battery or broken display for a new version, and thereby creating a device that lasts longer than current smartphones.Because the Ara project is open-source, the fun will be adding third-party modules or even printing your own with a 3D printer. Instead of relying on a single hardware manufacturer, people could shop around and add unusual elements made by startups, cameras produced by camera companies, or custom hardware for highly specialized work phones.The modules will be sold much like apps are now, through a custom Google online store and possibly even physical pop-up stores.An Ara device could be used for five to six years. That lengthy lifespan (for a smartphone) could cut down on electronic waste and shake up the planned obsolescence that seems common with current mobile gadgets.Instead of dropping a still-working Galaxy S4 for the S5, you could just upgrade the parts you care about, like adding a fingerprint sensor or a better camera.Project Ara is the brainchild of Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP). When Google bought Motorola's mobile division for $2.9 billion, it also picked up ATAP, its experimental lab where employees work on futuristic projects. Google is already selling Motorola Mobility to Lenovo, but it's hanging on to ATAP and its leader, former DARPA director Regina Dugan./CNN/ Ceasefire disturber Armenia going on its daily habit http://www.today.az/news/politics/132759.html Politics Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:47:00 +0500 Armenian Armed Forces broke ceasefire with Azerbaijani side in numerous directions 28 times over the past day, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on April 17.The armed forces of Armenia, located in the village of Berkaber of Armenia's Ijevan region, opened fire at the positions of Azerbaijani Armed Forces located in the village of Gizilhajili of Gazakh region last night.The armed forces of Azerbaijan, located in the village of Alibeyli of Tovuz region and Gaymagli of Gazakh region, went under fire by the Armenian armed forces located in the villages of Mosesgerh and Aygepar of Armenia's Berd region.At the same time, the Azerbaijani positions took fire from the positions located near the villages of Gorgan, Horadiz of Fizuli region, Sarijali, Novruzlu, Yusifjanli of Aghdam, Chilaburt of Terter, Mehdili of Jabrayil, Kuropatkino of Khojavend and Tapgaragoyunlu of Goranboy region.The Azerbaijani Armed forces silenced the opposing side 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 U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions./Trend/ Ronaldo says Real deserved Copa del Rey http://www.today.az/news/sports/132771.html Sports Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:34:00 +0500 The Portuguese has said that his team-mates must enjoy their Mestalla triumph but has pointed out that there are still two titles to play for - La Liga and the Champions League.Cristiano Ronaldo believes that Real Madrid fully merited their 2-1 win over Barcelona, which secured the Copa del Rey for the Santiago Bernabeu side.The Ballon d’Or winner was restricted to the stands because of injury but Carlo Ancelotti’s men secured the crown regardless, with Angel Di Maria and Gareth Bale scoring either side of Marc Bartra’s equaliser.“We deserved to win because we played better and we created more goal chances, but we still have two titles to fight for,” Ronaldo told reporters after the game at Mestalla.“It was a great struggle to reach the final. We are very happy, we have been great, we have to enjoy this day and then think about the league.”Speaking of his injury situation, the Portuguese seemed upbeat. “I'm much better, I don't feel pain anymore,” the 29-year-old explained.Wednesday’s victory sealed a 19th Copa del Rey title for the capital side, who currently sit second in La Liga behind Atletico Madrid and who have a Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich to look forward to. Putin confesses http://www.today.az/news/regions/132773.html World news Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:19:00 +0500 President Vladimir Putin said Russian forces had been active in Crimea in order to support local defense forces, the first time he has admitted deployment of Russian troops on the Black Sea peninsula, Reuters reported."We had to take unavoidable steps so that events did not develop as they are currently developing in southeast Ukraine," Putin said in a televised call-in with the nation. "Of course our troops stood behind Crimea's self-defense forces."A change of power took place in Ukraine on February 22.The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine ousted President Viktor Yanukovych from the power, changed the constitution and scheduled presidential elections for May 25.Yanukovych said he was forced to leave Ukraine under the threat of violence, and he remains the legally elected head of state.A number of provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine, as well as the Crimea did not recognize the legitimacy of the Rada and decided on possibility of holding a referendum on the future fate of the regions.The vast majority of residents of Crimea - 96 percent - voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, in a referendum held March 16.With the exception of Russia most countries refused to recognize the referendum and its results.On March 18, Russia and Crimea signed an agreement on Crimea as well as Sevastopol city joining the Russian Federation./Trend/ Azerbaijani movie joins Cannes Film Festival http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/132775.html Arts & Entertainment Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:05:00 +0500 Azerbaijani film “Sonuncu” (The Last One) was for the first time included in the short film corner of the 67th Cannes International Film Festival.The Ministry of Culture and Tourism told APA that the film, the co-production of “Azerbaycanfilm” studio named after Jafar Jabbarli and “Buta Films” company, was directed by Sergei Pikalov. The script writers of the film are Sergei Pikalov and Alexander Krasavin, photography director – Denis Madishev, art director – Aziz Mammadov, film producers – Mariya Ivanova, Nasib Piriyev and Mushfig Hatamov.Idris Rustamov and George Gafarov starred the film, which tells the philosophical and edifying story about a veteran of the Great Patriotic War.The jury is headed by the Iranian director and screenwriter, winner of the "Palme d'Or" at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997, Abbas Kiarostami. Euronews describes Molokans’ life in Ivanovka village in Azerbaijan - PHOTOS http://www.today.az/news/society/132758.html Society Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:45:00 +0500 In 1834 members of the Molokan religious community set up home in Ismayilli region of Azerbaijan, according to well-known European TV channel Euronews's story about the life of the Molokans in Azerbaijan.Ivanovka village is well known in Azerbaijan. The descendants still speak Russian and keep up Russian traditions. Catherine the Great exiled them from Russia. They only pray directly toGod, according to the story."In their traditional 'praying house' there are no icons, no candles, no decoration and no priests," Matvei Ermolov, Ivanovka, a village elder, says. "Euronews was granted rare permission to film their prayers. The elders sit at the top. If there's a question that needs do be resolved we, the men, stay after the ceremony and think about how to solve it."Almost every house in Ivanovka has a traditional Russian stove. It is not used every day - just on special occasions.Ivanovka is open to new arrivals. John Howarth is from the UK. He came here for a one-day visit and decided to stay and now he and his wife Tatiana run a guest house in the village."John buys duck and eggs from the neighbours," according to the story. "We often get people here coming on the Silk Way route, coming from the Europe or coming from the East. And they come through Ivanovka and they all stop at our house so we get all the nationalities here."John's neighbours are Anastasia and Vasili Kozlotsev. Their home and way of life is a windowonto the past, when the first Molokans arrived in Ivanovka. /Trend/ Romanian media elucidates occupation of Azerbaijan`s Kalbajar region by Armenian armed forces http://www.today.az/news/politics/132757.html Politics Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:33:00 +0500 Romanian “Ultima ora” newspaper has published an article commemorating the 21st anniversary of the occupation of Azerbaijan`s Kalbajar region by the Armenian armed forces.Written by second secretary of the Azerbaijani embassy in Romania Tehran Shukurov, the article is headlined “Gross violation of international law: 21 year pass since the occupation of Kalbajar region of Azerbaijan”.It features the history of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh, and consequences of Armenia`s aggressive policy against Azerbaijan.The article also provides an insight into the state of talks to find a solution to the dispute, blaming Armenia`s “non-constructive position” for failure of the peace negotiations.Shukurov says Kalbajar, the biggest region of Azerbaijan, is an important strategic point of the country, rich with natural resources.He says that shortly after occupying Kalbajar the Armenian armed forces invaded other five regions of Azerbaijan.The full article is available at: http://ultimaora.digi.ro/wp-content/uploads//Azerbaidjan.pdf. /AzerTAc/ Azerbaijani artist to hold personal exhibition in Baku http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/132764.html Arts & Entertainment Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:18:00 +0500 By AzerNewsAn exhibition by Azerbaijani artist Butunay Hagverdiyev will open in QGallery in Baku on April 17.The news was announced by the artist's press-service.Titled "Crossing", the exhibition will be held in April 17-30.The young and promising artist is a member of Azerbaijan's Union of Artists. His career began at the age of 14, when he painted the Orthodox Church of St. Bartholomew together with a group of artists.After entering British Higher School of Design in Moscow, his exhibitions and curatorial projects were held in Baku.Hagverdiyev participated in the 55th Venice Biennale as part of Azerbaijan's national pavilion artists in 2013.His works are parts of private collections in Azerbaijan, Australia, Lithuania, UK, Germany, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Norway, Russia, and the United States.Adhering to conservative views on art and nourishing a great passion for the Renaissance and antiquity, Butunay addresses the world heritage of fine arts in his works, and opens it to new interpretations.He pays a great deal of attention to architecture, construction machinery, trains and subway stations, mechanisms, and people. Russia not to abolish visa regime for Georgia http://www.today.az/news/analytics/132762.html Analytics Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:03:00 +0500 By AzerNewsRussia cannot abolish visas with Georgia in the absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said.Grigory Karasin made the remark after his meeting with Special Representative of Georgian Prime Minister for Russian-Georgian relations Zurab Abashidze in Prague."It is premature to speak about a full liberalization of the visa regime for Georgian citizens," he noted.Georgia and Russia, its giant northern neighbor, have maintained no diplomatic relations since a brief war in 2008. Tbilisi broke off relations with Moscow in August 2008 when Moscow crushed a Georgian assault to reassert control over two rebel regions -South Ossetia and Abkhazia- and later recognized the regions. Georgia announced the two unrecognized republics as occupied territories in September 2008.Georgia abolished visa regime for Russian citizens on February 29, 2012.Karasin went on to say that economic cooperation between Russia and Georgia increased in 2013."Trade turnover between the countries increased by 50 percent," he noted. "The export of Georgian goods to the Russian market increased by two times and 22,000 visas were issued, which was much more than the previous years."Following the meeting with Karasin, Abashidze said Russia does not intend to exert any pressure on Georgia for signing an Association Agreement with the EU in June."What I heard form Grigory Karasin about Georgia's signing the Association Agreement with the EU is very important. My colleague clearly and unambiguously stated that Russia will not exert pressure on Georgia in connection with this," he told local media.Georgia initialed the Association Agreement at the Vilnius summit on November 29, 2013. Signing the Association Agreement is scheduled for August 2014.Recently, Georgian State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili said the Association Agreement will be signed by June. Sanctions against Russia for Ukraine actions working – and more may be on the way http://www.today.az/news/regions/132767.html World news Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:50:00 +0500 Sanctions imposed against Russia are working as a deterrent, President Barack Obama and other White House senior administration officials said Wednesday in a detailed defense and explanation of the U.S. response to the escalating crisis in Ukraine.And new sanctions could be imposed as early as Friday, with key Putin allies, institutions and top oligarchs among the targets, other senior administration officials said.Obama told CBS News Wednesday that the current sanctions are hurting Russia’s economy and will have negative long-term consequences.“What I’ve said consistently is that each time Russia takes these kinds of steps that are designed to destabilize Ukraine and violate their sovereignty, that there are going to be consequences,” he said. “And what you’ve already seen is the Russian economy weaker, capital fleeing out of Russia. Mr. Putin’s decisions are not just bad for Ukraine, over the long term, they’re going to be bad for Russia.”Senior administration officials are in Brussels coordinating the rollout of the new sanctions with European allies. All parties are waiting for the results of talks set for Thursday involving Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union. Secretary of State John Kerry is representing the United States in those talks in Geneva. Expectations for a breakthrough at the talks are low.White House officials now say that sectoral sanctions – those that cut off a portion of the Russian economy - will not be enacted unless Russia attempts a full-on invasion of Ukraine. Last month, Obama signed an executive order giving the United States the power to impose such sanctions.Administration outlines state of play in UkraineDuring meeting with journalists Wednesday, senior administration officials laid out their analysis of the militants in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s thinking and what might be next.The groups of heavily armed, highly coordinated militants who have stormed government buildings and caused violent unrest in cities and towns across eastern Ukraine are viewed by the United States as still very small - for example, a hundred or a thousand people within a city of more than a million - and not at all reflective of the desires of the vast majority of the population there.When asked why the United States won’t provide arms to Ukraine to assist in quickly quashing the Russia-backed elements, U.S. officials said they don’t want to risk a violent escalation or start a proxy war with Russia. The White House lauds the restraint that Ukraine itself has employed. And the administration has dismissed Putin’s claims that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war.Obama said that Putin doesn’t want a military conflict, either, and emphasized that Ukraine should determine its relationships with other countries.“They’re not interested in any kind of military confrontation with us, understanding that our conventional forces are significantly superior to the Russians. We don’t need a war,” he said. “What we do need is a recognition that countries like Ukraine can have relationships with a whole range of their neighbors and it is not up to anybody, whether it’s Russia or the United States or anybody else, to make decisions for them.”The senior administration officials elaborated on their view of Putin’s mindset: The takeover of Crimea wasn’t planned, but Putin took advantage of Ukraine’s instability after the ousting of its pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. They believe Putin positioned some 40,000 troops along Ukraine’s eastern border to keep exploiting Ukraine’s vulnerabilities and to see what he might get away with. The move also provides an option to invade.The White House believes Putin was truly surprised by the international reaction to Crimea because of previous inaction after other incidents, such as Russia’s movements into Georgia. Ultimately, they believe that Putin wants to establish a sphere of direct influence to control Ukraine’s foreign and economic policy.Senior officials say Putin has deeply wanted two things: broader international influence and an expanded Russian economy. But his actions thus far have crushed both of those goals and in fact have pushed Ukraine far closer to alignment with the West and away from Russia. It has even potentially strained Russia’s relationship with China. In addition, Crimea, which is enormously expensive to maintain, will now bring far more burden to Russia than benefit.The senior administration officials believe that Putin keeps initiating contact with Obama and other world leaders to show the world that he still has the ability to engage and to appear reasonable. He is also calibrating his moves to see how far he can go.The officials said they want to keep that window of diplomacy open in continued hopes of de-escalation, even though they now say they have very little confidence that a reduction of tension will come via Thursday’s talks. The White House sees this as a fluid crisis that will evolve for a long time, and in the short term - maybe even the medium term or long term—Crimea will effectively be Russia’s.Sanctions imposed against Russia are working as a deterrent, President Barack Obama and other White House senior administration officials said Wednesday in a detailed defense and explanation of the U.S. response to the escalating crisis in Ukraine.And new sanctions could be imposed as early as Friday, with key Putin allies, institutions and top oligarchs among the targets, other senior administration officials said.Obama told CBS News Wednesday that the current sanctions are hurting Russia’s economy and will have negative long-term consequences.“What I’ve said consistently is that each time Russia takes these kinds of steps that are designed to destabilize Ukraine and violate their sovereignty, that there are going to be consequences,” he said. “And what you’ve already seen is the Russian economy weaker, capital fleeing out of Russia. Mr. Putin’s decisions are not just bad for Ukraine, over the long term, they’re going to be bad for Russia.”Senior administration officials are in Brussels coordinating the rollout of the new sanctions with European allies. All parties are waiting for the results of talks set for Thursday involving Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union. Secretary of State John Kerry is representing the United States in those talks in Geneva. Expectations for a breakthrough at the talks are low.White House officials now say that sectoral sanctions – those that cut off a portion of the Russian economy - will not be enacted unless Russia attempts a full-on invasion of Ukraine. Last month, Obama signed an executive order giving the United States the power to impose such sanctions.Administration outlines state of play in UkraineDuring meeting with journalists Wednesday, senior administration officials laid out their analysis of the militants in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s thinking and what might be next.The groups of heavily armed, highly coordinated militants who have stormed government buildings and caused violent unrest in cities and towns across eastern Ukraine are viewed by the United States as still very small - for example, a hundred or a thousand people within a city of more than a million - and not at all reflective of the desires of the vast majority of the population there.When asked why the United States won’t provide arms to Ukraine to assist in quickly quashing the Russia-backed elements, U.S. officials said they don’t want to risk a violent escalation or start a proxy war with Russia. The White House lauds the restraint that Ukraine itself has employed. And the administration has dismissed Putin’s claims that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war.Obama said that Putin doesn’t want a military conflict, either, and emphasized that Ukraine should determine its relationships with other countries.“They’re not interested in any kind of military confrontation with us, understanding that our conventional forces are significantly superior to the Russians. We don’t need a war,” he said. “What we do need is a recognition that countries like Ukraine can have relationships with a whole range of their neighbors and it is not up to anybody, whether it’s Russia or the United States or anybody else, to make decisions for them.”The senior administration officials elaborated on their view of Putin’s mindset: The takeover of Crimea wasn’t planned, but Putin took advantage of Ukraine’s instability after the ousting of its pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. They believe Putin positioned some 40,000 troops along Ukraine’s eastern border to keep exploiting Ukraine’s vulnerabilities and to see what he might get away with. The move also provides an option to invade.The White House believes Putin was truly surprised by the international reaction to Crimea because of previous inaction after other incidents, such as Russia’s movements into Georgia. Ultimately, they believe that Putin wants to establish a sphere of direct influence to control Ukraine’s foreign and economic policy.Senior officials say Putin has deeply wanted two things: broader international influence and an expanded Russian economy. But his actions thus far have crushed both of those goals and in fact have pushed Ukraine far closer to alignment with the West and away from Russia. It has even potentially strained Russia’s relationship with China. In addition, Crimea, which is enormously expensive to maintain, will now bring far more burden to Russia than benefit.The senior administration officials believe that Putin keeps initiating contact with Obama and other world leaders to show the world that he still has the ability to engage and to appear reasonable. He is also calibrating his moves to see how far he can go.The officials said they want to keep that window of diplomacy open in continued hopes of de-escalation, even though they now say they have very little confidence that a reduction of tension will come via Thursday’s talks. The White House sees this as a fluid crisis that will evolve for a long time, and in the short term - maybe even the medium term or long term—Crimea will effectively be Russia’s. Nakhchivan Open 2014 due in Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/sports/132766.html Sports Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:35:00 +0500 By AzerNewsAzerbaijan will host the International Chess Festival Nakhchivan Open 2014 to commemorate National Leader Heydar Aliyev on May 4-12.Co-organized by the Azerbaijani Youth and Sports Ministry, Azerbaijan's Chess Federation and Nakhchivan Autonomic Republic's Chess Federation, the festival will be held in the Nakhchivan Chess Center. Registration for the festival has already begun.The players will be seeded in Tournament A, if rated above 2250 FIDE (For Women above 2100 FIDE), while the lower rated players will compete in Tournament B. Both groups will be played for nine rounds of Swiss system. There will also be a Tournament C for U12 juniors.Besides, representatives of Azerbaijan, some 17 representatives of Georgia, India, Latvia, Iran, Russia and Ukraine will participate in Tournament A. Some 23 players from Azerbaijan, Iran, Ukraine and Afghanistan will play in Tournament B, while 17 representatives of Azerbaijan, Iran and Georgia - in Tournament C.Top prizes in the Tournament A are $10,000 + cup/ $5000/ $3000/ $2000/ $1500/ $1200/ $1000. Moreover, there will be 30 convenient and many special prizes. U.S. Congressman hails Azerbaijan`s importance to U.S. http://www.today.az/news/politics/132756.html Politics Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:23:00 +0500 Representative for Texas's 34th congressional district, Congressman Filemon Vela has called on the U.S. authorities “to show their solidarity with former Soviet states such as Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, while encouraging these nations to continue to institute democratic reforms and modernize their economies”.“Countries in the Caucasus region such as Azerbaijan and Georgia are located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe – a strategic location for U.S. foreign policy objectives..” said Vela during his speech at the Congress.“With the volatility and strategic importance of this region, the U.S. must continue to work with its allies as Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Georgia to ensure their sovereignty is protected,” the U.S. congressman added./AzerTAc/ Strict fight against illegal parkings starts in Baku http://www.today.az/news/society/132761.html Society Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:10:00 +0500 Translated by Mushvig Mehdiyev Strict measures are going to be taken against illegal parkings arranged on sidewalks, carriageways, as well as at the park and metro station entrances in Baku. Order No-179 "On the arrangement of parkings in Baku" by the head of Executive Power of Baku city Hajibala Abutalibov envisages the mentioned measures, informs Day.Az. In order to execute the decision by the Cabinet of Minsiters of Azerbaijan Republic dated April 6, 1999 along with the "On the road traffic" and "On the highways" laws of AR and decision to eliminate the traffic jams on the main roads, all illegal parkings on the streets and avenues of Baku, around the parks, alleys, metro stations, on the sidewalks will completely be liquidated. Individuals and legal entities engaged in the arrangement of the aforementioned parkings will be fined with sanctions or measures pursuant to the legislation of Azerbaijan Republic. In purpose to get rid of traffic jams, it was decided to create permanent parking lots along the roads with unlimited movement of transport facilities. Special boards showing parking tariffs and time will be installed in the new parking lots. Order of the head of Baku EP has been signed on April 16, 2014.  Spanish FM comes to Baku http://www.today.az/news/politics/132755.html Politics Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:56:00 +0500 Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo will pay his first official visit to Azerbaijan on April 23-24.The visit is aimed at discussing ways of deepening the bilateral relations and prospects for further cooperation.The Spanish FM is expected to hold a range of official meetings in Baku.The itinerary also includes a business forum and the signing of an agreement on double taxation avoidance.Spain`s official representative accredited in Azerbaijan will be presented to the government during the visit./AzerTAc/ "Sprinter" Bale sinks Barca to win Copa del Rey - PHOTOS http://www.today.az/news/sports/132760.html Sports Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:43:00 +0500 It may have cost a reported $134 million to bring Gareth Bale to Spain, but on Wednesday he scored a priceless goal as Real Madrid beat archrivals Barcelona 2-1 to win the Copa del Rey.The Welshman, who was signed from Tottenham Hotspur in September 2013, produced a stunning solo strike to give Real their first trophy under Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti.Real's triumph condemned Barca to three successive defeats for the first time since January 2003 and crushed the Catalan team's final realistic chance of winning silverware this season.It capped off a miserable seven days for Gerardo Martino's Barca, who were last week knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid before losing at Grenada in La Liga on Sunday.While Real's big-money recruit flourished, Barca's star signing floundered.Neymar arrived at the Nou Camp amid much fanfare last June, but the Brazilian spurned a glorious opportunity to level the match in the final moments when he fired a close-range effort against the post.The first goal of a tense contest at Valencia's Mestalla Stadium arrived on 11 minutes after a rapid Real counter attack.Bale set Angel di Maria racing free and the Argentine composed himself before firing a low shot through goalkeeper Pinto and into the corner of the net.Pinto's attempts to save the shot had Barca fans pining for Victor Valdes, the team's longstanding goalkeeper who is unavailable after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last month.Real had injury problems of their own with FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo missing through a hamstring injury, although his absence was barely felt as Los Blancos dominated the first half.Barca struggled to match their vibrant opponents, with Lionel Messi cutting a particularly forlorn figure.It looked as if Bale had doubled Real's lead midway through the second period, but the winger saw his close-range header chalked off. Moments later, Barca found an equalizer from the unlikeliest of sources.Young defender Marc Bartra chose the perfect time to score a rare goal as he powered a firm header beyond Iker Casillas from Xavi's 68th-minute corner.But Real, and Bale, were not to be denied.With 85 minutes on the clock and extra-time looming large, Bale unleashed a punishing burst of pace to surge past Bartra near the halfway line.Bale soared towards goal and, under pressure from the pursuing Bartra, coolly poked a shot under the advancing Pinto.Barca should have leveled in the 90th minute, but Neymar could only find the post when presented with a clear sight of goal.While Martino's men must now contemplate a somber end to the season, Real have it all to play for.Ancelotti's team face Bayern Munich in the Champions League semifinals, while they also sit just three points behind city rivals Atletico at the top of the La Liga table. /CNN/ Caught in the Syrian tempest Saudi Arabia replaces chief spy http://www.today.az/news/analytics/132750.html Analytics Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:30:00 +0500 By Claude Salhani- Trend:A Saudi royal decree announced that the kingdom's top spy, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the head of the country's intelligence services was being relieved of his post, at his own request, and that his deputy would replace him.Politics in the desert kingdom are not simple, to say the least. To better grasp what is happening in the country, one needs to look at Saudi Arabia's involvement in Syria. And to better understand what is happening in Syria it is important to zoom out of the picture a little bit and to take in a wider scope, one that includes Iran.Saudi Arabia's battle with Syria is nothing personal. Well, it is actually, and we will come to that in a moment. But what is really driving the House of Saud - and what has been driving it since the beginning of the Syrian revolt - is Saudi Arabia's mistrust and fear of Iran. More precisely, fear of what they regard as Iran's desire to expand its influence, and its desire to obtain nuclear weapons.Saudi Arabia and most of the other oil rich emirates regard Iran as a threat to their immediate security, from both internal and external approaches. Internally by instigating the Islamist element and externally by obtaining nuclear weapons.In the past the Saudis had relied on the United States for their defense. Indeed, a pact first reached between King Abdel Aziz ibn Saud and President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the close of WWII, guaranteed the United States would be able to buy cheap gas from Saudi in return for providing protection to the kingdom.But now the region has changed and the rules of engagement have also changed drastically. So important is the issue of making certain that Iran does not walk away from the Syrian conflict with a victory that in July 2012 the king appointed one of the most noted and capable men of the kingdom to handle the Syrian dossier.Indeed, Prince Bandar bin Sultan had served as his country's ambassador to Washington for nearly three decades. While in D.C. the Saudi envoy became the center of Washingtonian diplomatic life, where fine wines and cognac and Cuban cigars were abundant. Bandar spared no expense to entertain his guests. He became close to the Bushes and was a frequent guest at the Bush ranch in Texas, so much so that he was given the nickname "Bandar Bush."Upon leaving Washington, Bandar served as head of the National Security Council, often carrying messages back and forth between Washington and Riyadh.When it became apparent that the war in Syria would drag on, the king appointed Bandar as the kingdom's chief spy and front man in charge of overseeing Saudi's role in the Syrian conflict. What exactly is that role? It is twofold. First it is to try and check Tehran's influence in the region. And second - we mentioned the personal aspect of the conflict - was to get back at Syria for the killing of Lebanon's former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, who enjoyed immense Saudi backing.Bandar promised he would have the Syrian situation cleared up in a matter of months. Instead, it has worsened with more groups and countries and factions involved and rather than being ousted from power, as Riyadh had hoped, Syrian President Bashar Assad appears to have the upper hand once again.Bandar tried to convince the Russians to abandon their long time friend and ally but President Vladimir Putin was adamant in his support for the regime in Damascus.So perhaps in part due to his inability to achieve any headway, perhaps in part due to Bandar's failing health, King Abdullah announced in a report carried on the official news agency that the prince was being replaced as head of the intelligence services by Youssef al-Idrisi. The Saudi Press Agency stated that "Prince Bandar was relieved of his post at his own request and General Youssef al-Idrissi was asked to carry out the duties of the head of general intelligence."Bandar had become extremely upset with the Obama administration's lack of positive action regarding Syria and relations with Washington were at their lowest point.The Saudis in recent months re-evaluated their policy regarding Syria and the Islamist threat and the recent appointment of Prince Nayef as Interior Minister, a powerful position in the kingdom, was an indication that Riyadh wanted to focus more on internal security and prevent trouble from erupting in the country rather than becoming more involved in Syria.The Saudis are not without blame in the mess that is taking place in parts of the Middle East today. For years they followed a two-tiered policy; supporting terrorists on the one hand and trying to fight it on the other. It was a policy that would come back to bite. And it did.---Claude Salhani is senior editor at Trend Agency in Baku and a political analyst specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and terrorism. You can follow him in Twitter @claudesalhani. President Ilham Aliyev received delegation led by President of OSCE PA - UPDATE - PHOTO http://www.today.az/news/politics/132737.html Politics Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:15:00 +0500 On April 16, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received a delegation led by Speaker of the Montenegrin Parliament, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Ranko Krivokapic.Ranko Krivokapic informed the head of state of the OSCE PA`s recent activities.Stressing the importance of holding an annual session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Azerbaijan, Ranko Krivokapic described this as a new stage of cooperation.Ranko Krivokapic said the OSCE was interested in developing cooperation with Azerbaijan in various areas.President Ilham Aliyev expressed confidence that the OSCE Baku office`s staring to operate under a new status would contribute to expanding cooperation between the country and the organization.Touching on the regional situation, President Ilham Aliyev said that as a result of Armenia`s aggression Azerbaijan`s territorial integrity was violated, and expressed regret over the fact that the country had faced double standards.International and regional issues were discussed at the meeting./AzerTAc/ Dilara's "Start a fire" available in Azerbaijani language now http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/132754.html Arts & Entertainment Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:05:00 +0500 Dilara Kazimova, Azerbaijani entry to the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, has released a brand new version of her soulful ballad Start a Fire a long-waited version in native language.Azerbaijani version for Start a Fire is called “Bir qigilcim” (A single spark). Dilara wanted to make it from the first moment she has heard the song.“The story that tells my song is very close to me and to my country. I couldn’t miss chance to translate it into Azerbaijani language,” said Dilara.Dilara Kazimova performs with song Start a Fire under #8th in the first Semi Final of the Eurovision Song Contest on May 6th, 2014 in Copenhagen. /AzerTAc/ Turkey under US, Europe pressure over Chinese missile deal http://www.today.az/news/regions/132752.html World news Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:50:00 +0500 European and U.S. defense companies, which were not chosen for Turkey's first long-range air and anti-missile system, have been reportedly pressuring Turkey's defense industry giants to dissuade Turkey from choosing a Chinese firm, Hurriyet Daily News reported.The U.S. partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin and the Italian-French consortium Eurosam have been holding talks with C-level executives of local defense companies, like military electronics specialist Aselsan, defense software specialist Havelsan, missile manufacturer Roketsan and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), according to information obtained from sources close to the matter.According to sources, European and American companies, which have billion-dollar joint projects with the Turkish companies at issue, gave an ultimatum to Turkish companies, saying "If Turkey buys missiles from China, our partnerships in certain fields will be over."Foreign companies reportedly also said they would give consent to co-production, which has been one of Turkey's top priorities, but not at the extent that China agreed.Turkey's defense procurement bureaucracy has been reassessing commercial and political aspects of negotiations with the Chinese winner of the bid, CPMIEC, after snags emerged during contract negotiations with the firm, including projected cost overruns of hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the necessity of integrating the system into the Turkish air defense system.NATO has strictly objected to the integration of the systems, saying it would not be possible to integrate the Chinese-built system with NATO and the U.S. systems due to cyber security threats. The company is also on a U.S. sanction list for violating the Syria, North Korea and Iran on proliferation acts./Trend/ Azerbaijani parliament nods to OSCE PA session in Baku http://www.today.az/news/politics/132748.html Politics Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:35:00 +0500 An agreement was signed between the Azerbaijani Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on holding the 23rd annual session of this structure in Baku.Speaker of Milli Majlis (parliament) Oktay Asadov and President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and Parliament of Montenegro Ranko Krivokapic signed the agreement.Meanwhile, during the meeting of the Azerbaijani speaker and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly president held at the Azerbaijani parliament, Asadov said that the visit of Krivokapic, will contribute to the development of inter-parliamentary ties between Azerbaijan and Montenegro.Asadov, providing information on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, said the UN Security Council adopted four resolutions on the settlement of the conflict, but despite this and the resolutions of other organizations, Armenia still continues to occupy 20 percent of Azerbaijani lands.Krivokapic in turn noted that there are good opportunities for expanding cooperation between Azerbaijan and Montenegro.Touching upon the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly president noted that they seek to further strengthen the mediating role of OSCE Minsk Group in the settlement of the conflict./Trend/