Today.Az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside Today.Az A Brexit crisis deepens, tens of thousands gather in London to demand new referendum World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 17:55:00 +0400 By  TrendTens of thousands of people opposed to Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union gathered to march through central London on Saturday to demand a new referendum as the deepening Brexit crisis risked sinking Prime Minister Theresa May’s premiership, Trend reports citing Reuters.After three years of tortuous debate, it is still uncertain how, when or even if Brexit will happen as May tries to plot a way out of the gravest political crisis in at least a generation.May hinted on Friday that she might not bring her twice-defeated EU divorce deal back to parliament next week, leaving her Brexit strategy in meltdown. The Times and The Daily Telegraph reported that pressure was growing on May to resign.“It’s intolerable, the situation that we’re in, and I’m afraid Theresa’s the problem,” Anna Soubry, a pro-EU lawmaker who left the Conservative party to join the Independent Group in February, told BBC TV.“She has to go, and we need some temporary prime minister who can reach out, put the country first, and get this back to the British people. That’s what we’re all marching for today.”While the country and its politicians are divided over Brexit, most agree it is the most important strategic decision the United Kingdom has faced since World War Two.Pro-EU protesters gathered for a “Put it to the people march” at Marble Arch on the edge of Hyde Park around midday, before marching past the prime minister’s office in Downing Street and finish outside parliament.While there was no official estimate of the numbers, a Reuters reporter said tens of thousands of people had gathered even before the event officially started.Organisers were confident that the size of the crowd would exceed a similar rally held in October, when supporters said about 700,000 people turned up. Europe's China ties must be reciprocal: Merkel World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 17:34:00 +0400 By  TrendThe European Union’s commercial ties with China must be reciprocal, German Chancellor Merkel said, meaning that both sides should grant each other equal degrees of market access, Trend reports referring to Reuters.“We are not just partners, but also competitors,” she told reporters after a Brussels summit. “We want a relationship based on reciprocity: if one side has access then the other side should too.”She added that, while there was nothing to criticize in a memorandum of understanding Italy had signed with China, it would be preferable if the countries of the European Union acted together when dealing with China. China, Italy agree to expand legislative exchanges World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 17:17:00 +0400 By  TrendVisiting Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Italian Senate Speaker Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati here Friday on expanding exchanges and cooperation between the two countries' legislative institutions, Trend reports citing Xinhua.China and Italy have enjoyed a traditional friendship, with the ancient Silk Road closely linking the two peoples, Xi said.Since they established diplomatic relations nearly 50 years ago, the China-Italy ties have seen healthy and stable development, and the two countries have become important partners who trust each other and work together, Xi said.The visit is meant to consolidate the stability and strategic nature of the China-Italy relations in the long term, and comprehensively elevate the level of their mutually beneficial cooperation, Xi said.China is willing to enhance high-level guidance with the Italian side, respect each other's major concerns, jointly build the Belt and Road, explore cooperation with third parties, boost cultural exchanges and local-level cooperation, and strengthen popular support for bilateral relations, Xi said.The Chinese president stressed that in recent years, China's National People's Congress and the Italian Senate have established a regular exchange mechanism.China supports the two countries' legislative bodies to carry out multi-level, wide-ranging and multi-channel exchanges and cooperation, and share successful experience on major issues such as legislative supervision, state governing, national economy and the people's livelihood, on the basis of mutual respect and mutual learning, Xi said.He said he hopes that the Italian Senate will continue to play an active facilitating role, and create better conditions for and inject greater momentum into the development of bilateral relations.The Italian Senate warmly welcomes Xi for his visit, Casellati said, noting that the Italian and Chinese peoples have always trusted each other and maintained profound friendship, with close ties in such fields as economy and trade, and culture.The Senate speaker said she agrees with Xi on his remarks about the traditional friendly exchanges between the two countries dating back over 2,000 years, published in leading Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera ahead of his visit.China and Italy are major countries that boast a rich culture, she said, adding that Italy is willing to boost communication and cooperation with the Chinese side in such fields as culture, art, language, heritage protection, tourism, science and technology, and innovation, and encourage their youths to increase exchanges and mutual understanding.The Italian side looks forward to enhancing cooperation with China on jointly building the Belt and Road, She said.Noting that the history of Italy-China exchanges for the past 50 years has been a history of dialogue and friendship, the speaker said the Italian Senate is willing to facilitate exchanges between the two countries' legislative institutions, and continue to make contributions to deepening Italy-China friendly cooperation.Xi arrived in Rome Thursday for a state visit to Italy, the first stop of his three-nation Europe tour, which will also take him to Monaco and France. Zangezur tanker overhauled in Azerbaijan (PHOTO) Business Sat, 23 Mar 2019 17:00:00 +0400 By  TrendZangezur tanker, which belongs to the Marine Transport Fleet of Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company (ASCO) CJSC, has been overhauled, Trend reports with reference to the company.The work was successfully completed at the Zigh Ship Repair Yard.Main and auxiliary engines, auxiliary mechanisms and devices have been repaired in the engine department of the vessel. The work was also carried out on the installation of electricity and automation equipment.The tanker was successfully tested at sea and has been again attracted to transportation.The carrying capacity of the tanker is 13,000 tons. The length of the vessel is 150 meters and the width is 17.3 meters.ASCO’s tanker fleet holds a leading position in the Caspian basin. Two more tankers are being built at the Baku Shipyard. One of them - the tanker Lachin was launched March 22 to implement the next construction phase. It will be commissioned June 2019. Italy Officially Becomes First G7 Country to Join China's Belt and Road Project World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 16:43:00 +0400 By  TrendThe signing of the agreement comes during Chinese President Xi Jinping's three-day visit to Italy in an attempt to improve relations with Rome as China is currently engaged in a trade war with Washington, Trend reports citing Sputnik.Italy approved on Saturday China's Belt and Road (BRI) industrial initiative - this move makes the European country the first member of the Group of Seven (G7) powerful economies to join the Chinese project.In addition to the 'Belt and Road' deal, Chinese and Italian businesses concluded around ten other trade agreements — these include projects in the steel, energy and gas industries.This comes after on 22 March Italian President Sergio Mattarella commented on the planned deal signing with China saying that it would create "perfect conditions" for boosting cooperation between the two countries' businesses.He also expressed hope that the BRI, also known as the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, would be a "two-way road," and it would allow exchanging not only of goods but of ideas. His Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, who is currently on an official three-day visit to Italy, for his part, said that he and Mattarella had reached a "broad agreement."In 2013, Xi unveiled China's planned Belt and Road project; its aim is to accelerate economic advancement and strengthen relations between Eurasian countries. Trump says he is withdrawing earlier North Korea-related sanctions World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 16:28:00 +0400 By  TrendU.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he was ordering the withdrawal of recently announced North Korea-related sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department, Trend reports citing Reuters.“It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large-scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea,” Trump said on Twitter. “I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!”It was not immediately clear what sanctions Trump was referring to. There were no new U.S. sanctions on North Korea announced on Friday but on Thursday the United States blacklisted two Chinese shipping companies that it said helped North Korea evade sanctions over its nuclear weapons program.White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders did not specify which sanctions Trump spoke of but said: “President Trump likes Chairman Kim (Jong Un) and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.”The sanctions on the Chinese shippers were the first since the second U.S.-North Korea summit broke down last month. Hours after the sanctions announcement, North Korea on Friday pulled out of a liaison office with the South, a major setback for Seoul.North Korea said it was quitting the joint liaison office set up in September in the border city of Kaesong after a historic summit between leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in early last year. US appoints ambassador to Turkmenistan World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 16:12:00 +0400 By  TrendMatthew S. Klimow of Virginia, will be the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Turkmenistan, Trend reports citing the White House.Klimow, a career member of the Senior Executive Service, currently serves as Senior Advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary for Management at the Department of State.Previously, Klimow served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels, Belgium, and as a United States Army officer from 1974 to 2003, retiring with the rank of colonel. Passenger train purchased for BTK delivered to Turkey Business Sat, 23 Mar 2019 15:56:00 +0400 By  TrendA passenger train consisting of 10 railcars, which will run on the Baku-Ankara-Baku route along the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, has been delivered to Turkey, Trend reports via Kars Manset.The railcars of the Swiss company Stadler were delivered to Turkey within six days.The train, which will run on the Baku-Ankara route at night, consists of nine sleeping cars and one dining car.The railcars will be attached to the locomotive and delivered to Azerbaijan.Baku-Ankara-Baku route will start operating from the end of 2019.The BTK railway started to carry out cargo transportation in 2017. Turkey plans to create domestic car with electric engine World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 15:39:00 +0400 By  TrendTurkey plans to build a domestic car with electric engine, said Mehmet Gurcan Karakas, head of the consortium for the production of domestic cars, Trend reports referring to the Turkish media.According to Karakas, production of domestic cars with an electric engine will begin in Turkey by 2022, noting that the production of domestic cars is a priority for Turkey.Earlier, Turkish Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa Varank said that the first prototype of the Turkish domestic car will be ready in 2019.Turkey’s "Zorlu Holding" company, together with four other companies which are members of the consortium for development of a domestic Turkish car, had previously presented the first prototype of the vehicle.The prototype was developed together with the "Vestel Elektronik" company and was named "VEO".Earlier, former Turkish Minister of Science, Industry and Technology Faruk Ozlu said that Turkey will invest $3 billion in creating a domestic car. Ozlu said work is currently underway to develop prototypes of 5 different models of the domestic car. The minister also noted that one of the cars will be equipped with an electric engine. Russian airline company launching new flights to Azerbaijan Business Sat, 23 Mar 2019 15:21:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Russian airline company IrAero is expanding the geography of flights from Azerbaijan, Trend reports with reference to the company.Regular flights to Russia’s Orenburg, Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk cities are available from Baku. The flights will be operated on Russian Superjet 100 aircraft.Baku-Orenburg and Orenburg-Baku flights will start from April 20, 2019. The flight will last two hours and will take place on Saturdays. The ticket price will start from 123 euros one way.Baku-Yekaterinburg and Yekaterinburg-Baku flights will be launched June 18, 2019 and will be operated on Tuesdays. The travel time will be three hours. The ticket price will start from 143 euros one way.Baku-Chelyabinsk and Chelyabinsk-Baku flights will be operated on Tuesdays from April 9 and September 10 and on Thursdays from June 20. The travel time will be three hours. The ticket price will start from 136 euros one way. Trustbank of Uzbekistan resumes participation in currency trading World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 15:05:00 +0400 By  TrendThe PJSB Trustbank of Uzbekistan has resumed participation in currency trading, Trend reports via Uzbek media.“On March 19 this year, the bank didn’t take part in currency trading on the Republican Currency Exchange for the purchase and sale of foreign currency,” the bank’s press service said. “After thorough examination by the regulator of the circumstances that emerged related to transactions at the currency exchange, on March 20, 2019, Trustbank was admitted to currency trading in a regular mode. All the needs of the bank at the request of customers were fully satisfied at the currency exchange.”Trustbank guarantees the fulfillment of obligations under the current legislation and highly appreciates the trust of its customers and partners. Azerbaijani oil prices down Business Sat, 23 Mar 2019 14:47:00 +0400 By  TrendThe price of the AZERI LT CIF oil, produced at the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli block of oil and gas fields, amounted to $67.58 per barrel at the Italian port of Augusta on March 22, or $1.85 less than on March 21, a source in Azerbaijan's oil and gas market told Trend on March 23.The AZERI Light FOB Ceyhan oil price was $67.09 per barrel on March 22, or $1.84 less than the previous price.Azerbaijan has been producing AZERI LT since 1997 and exports it via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Supsa pipelines, as well as by rail to the Georgian port of Batumi.Azerbaijan also exports URALS oil from Russia’s Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. The oil is delivered there via the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline.The price for URALS-NOVO was $65.92 per barrel on March 22, or $1.91 less than the previous price.The price for a barrel of Brent Dated, produced from the North Sea, stood at $66.31 on March 22, or $1.8 less than the previous price. EBRD extends new trade finance facility to UzPromstroybank World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 14:30:00 +0400 By  TrendThe European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is stepping up its support to Uzbek exporters and importers by extending a new trade finance facility of up to US$ 20 million to UzPromstroybank to stimulate international and regional trade, Trend reports citing EBRD.UzPromstroybank is the country’s third largest bank with a network of 45 branches.The longer-tenor funds will be available under the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP). Up to 50 percent of the TFP limit to UzPromstroybank can be provided as cash advances for pre-export and post import financing.The TFP promotes international trade to, from, and within the EBRD countries of operations, including Uzbekistan. Through the Programme, the Bank provides guarantees to international confirming banks, taking the political and commercial payment risk of international trade transactions undertaken by banks in the countries of operations.UzPromstroybank is the country’s third largest bank with a network of more than 140 offices,To date, the EBRD has invested 1.3 billion euros through 70 projects in the economy of Uzbekistan. Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market Business Sat, 23 Mar 2019 14:14:00 +0400 By  TrendThe price of one ounce of gold increased by 13.3195 manats or 0.6 percent last week in Azerbaijan, Trend reports.Accordingly, the average price of one ounce of gold stood at 2,216.47275 manats.Change in price of one ounce of goldMarch 112,205.8945March 182,209.813March 122,204.594March 192,223.1325March 132,217.667March 20-March 142,215.3465March 21-March 152,206.804March 22-Average weekly2,210.0612Average weekly2,216.47275Last week in Azerbaijan, the price of one ounce of silver increased by 0.1779 manats or 0.7 percent.Accordingly, the average price of one ounce of silver stood at 26.1769 manats.Change in price of one ounce of silverMarch 1126.029March 1826.029March 1226.186March 1926.186March 1326.2427March 20-March 1426.1269March 21-March 1525.9619March 22-Average weekly26.1093Average weekly26.1769Last week in Azerbaijan, the price of one ounce of platinum increased by 17.221 manats or 1.2 percent.Accordingly, the average price of one ounce of platinum stood at 1,417.2645 manats.Change in price of one ounce of platinumMarch 111,385.7975March 181,408.6540March 121,404.03March 191,425.8750March 131,419.908March 20-March 141,419.313March 21-March 151,410.048March 22-Average weekly1,407.8193Average weekly1,417.2645Last week in Azerbaijan, the price of one ounce of palladium increased by 58.735 manats or 2.18 percent.Accordingly, the average price of one ounce of palladium stood at 2,615.2375 manats.Change in price of one ounce of palladiumMarch 112,580.549March 182,631.8975March 122,616.521March 192,690.6325March 132,607.0945March 20-March 142,629.713March 21-March 152,642.31March 22-Average weekly2,615.2375Average weekly2,661.265 Washington values Nazarbayev’s contribution in establishing US-Kazakh dynamic relations World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 13:58:00 +0400 By  TrendThe US deeply values the contributions of Kazakhstan’s first President Nursultan Nazarbayev to establishing and promoting enduring, dynamic relations between the US and Kazakhstan, reads a statement by Robert Palladino, deputy spokesperson of the US Department of State, Trend reports via Kazinform March 23.“At this historic moment in Kazakhstan, we salute Nazarbayev’s role as the father of today’s modern, sovereign, and prosperous Kazakhstan, and acknowledge the example he sets for responsible regional and global leadership,” reads the statement. “We once again applaud his significant efforts in the nonproliferation sphere, his leadership in global denuclearization efforts, his exemplary commitment to the peaceful transition of power, and his contributions to peace and prosperity in Kazakhstan and the region.”“Our relationship with Kazakhstan is based in our shared ideals of prosperity, respect for fundamental freedoms, and regional security,” the statement said. “We congratulate Kazakhstan’s new President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev and look forward to continue working with him to deepen our enhanced strategic partnership and advance our longstanding mutual interests in economic development, trade and investment, and safeguarding regional and global security.” Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market Business Sat, 23 Mar 2019 13:43:00 +0400 By  TrendOfficial exchange rate of the Azerbaijani manat against the US dollar, set by the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA), remained unchanged last week, Trend reports.Accordingly, at the end of the week, the average rate was 1.7 AZN/USD.Official AZN/USD exchange rateMarch 111.7March 181.7March 121.7March 191.7March 131.7March 20-March 141.7March 21-March 151.7March 22-Average weekly1.7Average weekly1.7At the end of last week, the official exchange rate of manat against euro, set by CBA, decreased by 0.0017 manats or 0.1 percent.Accordingly, the average AZN/EUR rate was 1.92795 manats.Official AZN/EUR exchange rateMarch 111.9097March 181.9271March 121.9128March 191.9288March 131.9181March 20-March 141.9242March 21-March 151.9241March 22-Average weekly1.9178Average weekly1.92795The official exchange rate of manat to Russian ruble, set by CBA, decreased by 0.0001 manats or 0.4 percent.Accordingly, the average AZN/RUB rate was 0.02588 manats.Official AZN/RUB exchange rateMarch 110.0257March 180.0263March 120.0258March 190.0264March 130.0259March 20-March 140.0260March 21-March 150.0260March 22-Average weekly0.02588Average weekly0.02635The official exchange rate of manat to Turkish lira, set by CBA, increased by 0.0009 manats or 0.3 percent.Accordingly, the average AZN/TRY rate was 0.3117 manats.Official AZN/TRY exchange rateMarch 110.3124March 180.3119March 120.3127March 190.3110March 130.3114March 20-March 140.3112March 21-March 150.3110March 22-Average weekly0.3117Average weekly0.31145March 20-26 are non-working days in Azerbaijan on the occasion of the Novruz holiday, and in this regard, the exchange rate of manat against other currencies wasn’t formed. Zanganeh: Iran to extract 750M cbm of gas from South Pars field World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 13:26:00 +0400 By  TrendBy improving the 27th phase of the joint South Pars Gas Complex, Iran will produce 750 million cubic meters of sour gas daily, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said at a press conference on the launch of the phases of the South Pars gas field in Iran’s southern Bushehr Province, Trend reports referring to Tasnim News Agency.Zanganeh stated that 2 projects will be launched in the 14th phase and will be completed in 2020."Currently, 2 of the 4 platforms in the 13th phase, and 2 out of 4 platforms of the 22nd, 23rd and 24th phases are ready for commission," he said.Praising the role of the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarter in the construction and the development of the 6 phases of the South Pars Gas Complex, the minister said that there are a number of tasks still awaiting completion at the seafront of the 13th, 22nd, 23rd and 24th phases, and that they will be commissioned in the first half of next year (begins March 21, 2019).Zanganeh went on to say that Iran is responsible for 90 percent of the construction work being carried out in the phases and for 60 percent of the equipment.As for Iran's gas exports to Oman, Zanganeh said that the time has come for Oman to cooperate in the implementation of this project."Because the tender documents are all ready, and we are currently expecting the Omani side to continue the cooperation," he said.Regarding the future of the 11th phase of the South Pars Gas Complex, the minister said that a group from China will soon come to Iran and its future will soon be decided.Zanganeh mentioned that during the recent visit of the Iranian president to Iraq, it was offered by the Iranian side to supply Iranian gas through Iraq to Syria and Lebanon. Azerbaijan eyes to greatly increase gas production Business Sat, 23 Mar 2019 13:09:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan plans to increase gas production to 47.6 billion cubic meters in 2025, Elshad Nassirov, vice president for marketing and investments of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR, said in an interview with S&P Global Platts, Trend reports.Azerbaijan’s gas output is set to increase by around 20 percent this year, he said.Last year the country produced 30.49 billion cubic meters of gas, according to SOCAR figures, he added.Nassirov said gas output will rise to 38 billion cubic meters in 2023 and to 47.6 billion cubic meters in 2025. Gas output at Shah Deniz 2 is set to reach 17 billion cubic meters by 2021, he noted.These forecasts may increase as projects such as Shafag-Asiman, currently in the exploration stage, are developed, he added.The contract for the development of the Shah Deniz offshore field was signed on June 4, 1996.The proved reserves of the field reach 1.2 trillion cubic meters of gas and 240 million tons of condensate.Share distribution among the parties to the agreement: BP (operator) -28.8 percent, AzSD - 10 percent, SGC Upstream - 6.7 percent, Petronas - 15.5 percent, Lukoil - 10 percent, NICO - 10 percent and TPAO -19 percent. New Kazakh president on his first working trip to Turkistan region World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 12:52:00 +0400 By  TrendKazakhstan’s new president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is making his first working trip to Turkistan region, the presidential press secretary Berik Kurmangali wrote in Facebook, Trend reports via Kazinform international news agency.The program of the trip includes familiarization with construction of a regional center, inspection of a number of industrial and social facilities, as well as meetings with the public. SOFAZ announces expected total value of investment portfolio as of end-2019 Business Sat, 23 Mar 2019 12:35:00 +0400 By  TrendThe total value of the investment portfolio of the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) as of end-2019 is projected at $ 41.5 billion, the Fund told Trend."If the Fund’s expenses remain at the level approved in the budget for 2019, the total value (weighted average) of the SOFAZ investment portfolio as of end-2019 is forecasted to stand at $ 41.5 billion," said SOFAZ.In addition, the Fund announced the currency structure of its investment portfolio for this year."As you know, the diversification of the SOFAZ investment portfolio in terms of currency is regulated by the Investment Policy. The currency structure of the SOFAZ investment portfolio for 2019 is as follows: 50 percent of assets can be in dollars, 35 percent in euros, 5 percent in British pounds and up to 10 percent in other currencies," the Fund said.SOFAZ was established in 1999 with assets of $271 million.Based on SOFAZ's regulations, its funds may be used for the construction and reconstruction of strategically important infrastructure facilities, as well as solving important national problems.The main goals of the State Oil Fund include accumulation of resources and placement of assets abroad in order to minimize the negative effect to the economy, prevention of "Dutch disease" to some extent, promotion of resource accumulation for future generations and support of current social and economic processes in Azerbaijan. Astana renamed as Nur-Sultan city World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 12:17:00 +0400 By  TrendIn accordance with the decree by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Astana has been renamed as Nur-Sultan city, said the presidential press service, Trend reports via Kazinform.The text of the resolution:“On the renaming of Astana city - the capital of Kazakhstan as Nur-Sultan city - the capital of KazakhstanIn accordance with Article 9 of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated Dec. 8, 1993 "On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of the Republic of Kazakhstan" I RESOLVE:1. To rename Astana city - the capital of Kazakhstan as Nur-Sultan city - the capital of Kazakhstan.2. This Decree shall enter into force from the date of its first official publication.” Azerbaijan Defense Minister meets with the commander of the Land Forces of Pakistan (PHOTO) Politics Sat, 23 Mar 2019 12:01:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov met with the Commander of the Land Forces of this country, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said March 22, Trend reports.During the meeting, the sides expressed satisfaction with the development of relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan, both in bilateral and multilateral formats, in particular, the expansion of military cooperation, as well as the level of strategic partnership.The sides, also noting the importance of organizing mutual visits and holding meetings, once again stressed the need to expand relations in the field of security, including in the military, military-technical and military-educational spheres. Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 25 times Politics Sat, 23 Mar 2019 11:44:00 +0400 By  TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenian armed forces have violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops 25 times, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said March 23, Trend reports.The Armenian armed forces were using heavy machine guns.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. China can speed up financial sector opening, official says World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 11:28:00 +0400 By  TrendChina can speed up the opening of its financial sector if the United States is unhappy with the pace because it will be good for both countries, Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said on Saturday, Trend reports citing Reuters.“If the U.S. side complains that we have opened up too slowly, we can speed it up ... We are fully convinced it’s good for both countries - it’s good for China and good for the United States,” Fang said at the annual China Development Forum.“In the securities industry, mutual fund management, no problem, we can compete.”The two countries have been working to resolve a bitter trade dispute that has rattled financial markets and disrupted world supply chains in a blow to global growth.The United States has accused China of limiting market access for U.S. firms, forcing companies to transfer technology and providing little protection for intellectual property rights. World Bank: Azerbaijan needs more technical assistance, less financial support Business Sat, 23 Mar 2019 11:10:00 +0400 By  TrendToday Azerbaijan needs more technical assistance and less financial support, Mercy Tembon, the World Bank’s (WB) Regional Director for the South Caucasus, said in an exclusive interview with Trend."In 1992, when Azerbaijan joined the WB group, it was not that developed and needed a lot of investments. But as time goes by, we can see that need for financial support is not as big as it used to be back then," she said.Tembon stressed that although the WB’s program with the Azerbaijani government equally consists of all three components (financial assistance, technical assistance, knowledge sharing).Further, answering the question on financing of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), she said that if any help is needed, the World Bank is always ready to provide the necessary support.The regional director said that SGC is a fantastic project, adding that the WB is happy of being one of the first international financial institutions, financing the project.The Southern Gas Corridor envisages the transportation of 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas from the Caspian region through Georgia and Turkey to Europe. The gas from the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field has already gone through the first segment of the Southern Gas Corridor - from the Sangachal terminal to the expanded South Caucasus Pipeline.Azerbaijan joined the World Bank Group in 1992. During this period, the bank allocated loans for the implementation of over 50 projects in the country worth over $3 billion. Seven more projects worth about $1.5 billion are being implemented.Besides the loans, WB allocated 45 grants to Azerbaijan totalling $41.586 million in 1995-2014. Pompeo vows to pile economic, political pressure on Iran World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 10:53:00 +0400 By  TrendSecretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Thursday that the United States would step up financial and political pressure on Iran's theocratic regime as it seeks to "extend its reach" across the Middle East, Trend reports citing Fox News."You've seen us now designate [Iran-backed] militias inside of Iraq [as terror groups]," Pompeo told "Fox News at Night" host Shannon Bream. "You've seen us designate senior leaders inside the [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps]. You've seen us designate financial institutions, financial agents engaged in moving illicit money in support of the Houthis [in Yemen], in support of Hamas, in support of Hezbollah. This administration has taken serious efforts across ... a broad range of efforts [by] Iran to extend its reach."Pompeo spoke to Fox News from Jerusalem, where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the latter's planned visit to the White House next week. The visit coincided with Trump's support for recognizing Israel's control of the disputed Golan Heights. Last week, the State Department dropped the phrase "Israeli-occupied" from the Golan Heights section, instead calling it "Israeli-controlled."Pompeo's visit is likely to further infuriate Palestinians, who have already severed ties with the US over Trump's decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem last year. However, the secretary of state expressed optimism that the Trump administration could broker a lasting peace agreement."This administration has created the conditions which ultimately may well get us to a place where we can achieve the very peace that everyone in the world wants," he said. "A better life for the Palestinian people, a better life and less conflict risk between the Palestinians and the Israelis."Pompeo also discussed the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, where opposition leader Juan Guaido's chief of staff was arrested and detained by disputed President Nicolas Marrero's intelligence forces."We think we understand how this went down, we think we understand those who were involved," Pompeo said. "We will make sure that the world knows who those people were. ... We will do all that we can to hold the individuals accountable, those who conducted this activity and those who ordered it.." US issues new sanctions on North Korea shotly after unsuccessful Trump-Kim talks World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 10:36:00 +0400 By  TrendThe new sanctions have followed a meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam, which failed to bear results due to conflicting demands of the sides, Trend reports citing Sputnik.The US Treasury Department has imposed new North Korean sanctions, targeting two Chinese shipping companies in particular.In addition to this, Washington has updated an advisory listing of 67 vessels believed to have helped Pyongyang allegedly evade the economic restrictions.The decision made by Washington comes just weeks after the second meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un failed to produce an agreement on Pyongyang's denuclearisation between the sides. While Kim wanted all non-military sanctions to be lifted, Washington refused to meet the demand, with Trump announcing his delegation made the decision to walk away of the meeting. According to the US side, North Korea vowed to denuclearise some of the areas of the country in return, with no official confirmation following.When addressing journalists following the talks in Vietnam, the US president stated that he, however, is "open to talking again" to the North Korean leader.The long-awaited second meeting in Hanoi was accompanied by US media reports — strongly rejected by Trump — suggesting that North Korea has been conducting covert nuclear-related activity despite the agreements reached by Trump and Kim at their first historic summit in Singapore.The first Trump-Kim meeting resulted in an agreement stipulating that Pyongyang would make efforts to promote the complete denuclearisation of the peninsula in exchange for the United States and South Korea freezing their military drills, a demand repeatedly voiced by Pyongyang which considers the war games a threat to its security.The summit was conducted following the exchange of harsh rhetoric between the heads of state in the wake of North Korea's last nuclear test that took place in September 2017 and its last missile launch carried out a month later. Azerbaijan reveals projected volumes of Turkmen oil transit via BTC pipeline Business Sat, 23 Mar 2019 10:19:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan expects to transship at least 4 million tons of Turkmen oil via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline in 2020, Elshad Nassirov, vice president for marketing and investments of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR, said in an interview with S&P Global Platts, Trend reports.SOCAR transports crude oil from Turkmenistan across the Caspian Sea in tankers to the BTC pipeline."Last year we transshipped approximately 4.2 million tons [of crude from Turkmenistan]. We expect this figure to be lower this year, but in 2020 I think it will be no less than 4 million tons," Nassirov said.Azerbaijan is also looking to increase cooperation with other Caspian states, particularly on transportation, he added.SOCAR also signed memorandum of understanding with Kazakhstan's KazMunaiGas earlier this year that envisages increasing cooperation on oil and gas production as well as transportation.In the medium term this may include Kazakhstan resuming deliveries via the BTC pipeline network as oil production there grows.The total length of the BTC pipeline is 1,768 kilometers, 443 kilometers of which passes through Azerbaijan, 249 through Georgia and 1,076 through Turkey. Construction of the pipeline was commenced in April 2003, and the pipeline was filled with oil on May 18, 2005. U.S. imposes new sanctions on Iran over weapons programs World news Sat, 23 Mar 2019 10:02:00 +0400 By  TrendThe United States said on Friday it was imposing sanctions on 14 people and 17 entities connected to Iran’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), a body it said had played a central role in Iran’s past nuclear weapons effort, Trend reports citing Reuters.Among those designated for sanctions was the Shahid Karimi group, which works on missile and explosive-related projects for the SPND, and four associated individuals, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a Statement.“The U.S. government is taking decisive action against actors at all levels in connection with Iran’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND) who have supported the Iranian regime’s defense sector,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.“The United States will continue applying maximum pressure to the Iranian regime, using all economic tools to prevent Iran from developing weapons of mass destruction. Anyone considering dealing with the Iranian defense industry in general, and SPND in particular, risks professional, personal, and financial isolation.”It said the steps targeted current SPND subordinate groups, supporters, front companies, and associated officials. The move freezes any U.S. assets of those targeted and bans U.S. dealings with them.“Today’s action serves as a warning to individuals and entities considering dealing with the Iranian regime’s defense sector in general, and SPND in particular: by engaging in sanctionable activity with designated Iranian persons, you risk professional, personal, and financial isolation,” the Treasury statement said.Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday that Tehran was determined to boost its defense capabilities despite mounting pressure from the United States and its allies to curb its ballistic missile program. Zarif meets Turkish counterpart World news Fri, 22 Mar 2019 17:41:00 +0400 By  TrendNo reports have been published yet about the details of the meeting, Trend reports citing IRNA.Zarif, who arrived in Istanbul, Turkey, on Thursday to attend the extraordinary meeting of the OIC, met Çavu?o?lu prior to the OIC event.The OIC meeting will review the recent terrorist attack against two mosques in New Zealand which claimed the lives of tens of Muslims and left 50 others injured.Earlier, following the brutal incident, Zarif called his Turkish counterpart, who is the rotating head of the OIC and asked for an extraordinary meeting of the OIC.During his phone talk with Cavusoglu last week, Zarif strongly condemned the killing of Muslims and the terrorist attack in New Zealand while calling for taking an appropriate reaction by Muslim countries towards the horrific crime.At least 49 people were killed, and 50 others seriously injured, after gunmen opened fire at two mosques in the New Zealand's city of Christchurch earlier in March when hundreds of Muslims had gathered to say their prayers. Zarif to discuss New Zealand killing in OIC's Turkey meeting World news Fri, 22 Mar 2019 17:25:00 +0400 By  TrendForeign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif left Tehran for Istanbul, Turkey to attend the extraordinary meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Trend reports citing IRNA.The meeting will review the recent terrorist attack against two mosques in New Zealand which claimed the lives of tens of Muslims and left 50 others injured.The OIC extraordinary meeting is slated for Friday in Istanbul.Earlier, following the brutal incident, he called his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, who is the rotating head of the OIC and asked for an extraordinary meeting of the OIC.During his phone talk with Cavusoglu last week, Zarif strongly condemned the killing of Muslims and the terrorist attack in New Zealand while calling for taking an appropriate reaction by Muslim countries towards the horrific crime.At least 49 people were killed, and 50 others seriously injured, after gunmen opened fire at two mosques in the New Zealand's city of Christchurch earlier in March when hundreds of Muslims had gathered to say their prayers.A group of senior international figures, including Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif, the Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani together with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) have so far condemned the heinous terrorist attacks. Iran launches local mechanism similar to INSTEX World news Fri, 22 Mar 2019 17:17:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Governor of Central Bank of Iran has announced the official launch of the Special Trade and Finance Institute (STFI) in the country, a mechanism similar to the EU’s INSTEX trade channel."This institute can cooperate with its European counterpart to facilitate trade between Iran and Europe and resolve the limitations that are caused by the US sanctions," said CBI governor Abdolnasser Hemmati, Trend reports citing IRNA."The people of Iran expect to see the mechanism operates as soon as possible and establishing this STFI is an important step by Iran to hasten the process," he added.Hemmati said that Iran's banking network and the Central Bank of Iran are using all the solutions to meet the needs of business companies and the financial mechanism is one of them.The official expressed hope that Iran would have positive role in the mechanism in the current Iranian year (started March 21,2019)."The Iranian mechanism has been established with $238,000 and the volume of financial resources for STFI would increase according to its needs," he added.On Jan. 31, three European countries – France, Germany and the UK (shortened as E3) – officially announced the creation of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a special purpose vehicle, to allow them bypass US sanctions on trade with Iran.INSTEX facilitates non-dollar trade with Iran, allowing European companies to trade with the Islamic Republic without being hit by the sanctions. Attempts of Armenian National Assembly president to achieve his goals in Bundestag failed: expert Politics Fri, 22 Mar 2019 17:05:00 +0400 By  TrendAttempts by the President of the National Assembly of Armenia to achieve his goals in the Bundestag failed, chief editor of the Baku Khabar newspaper and political expert Aydin Guliyev told Trend.On March 18, the 7th symposium on the topic "Security and Stability in the South Caucasus – German-Azerbaijan Cooperation Perspectives", dedicated to the 27th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide, was held in Germany’s Bundestag. It was attended by members of the Bundestag, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, journalists, public and political figures. During the same period, meetings were also held in the Bundestag with the President of the National Assembly of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan.As Guliyev noted, after Armenia’s attempts to establish close ties with the European Union failed, a similar situation can be observed in relations with some leading European countries as a whole.According to him, participation in discussions during the German-Azerbaijani symposium of German MPs, officials of the country's Foreign Ministry, public and political figures, and representatives of the press not only increases the authority of the event, but also negates the effectiveness of the meetings held with the President of the Armenian National Assembly.Earlier, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was unable to achieve his goals in Brussels, whose attempts to get financial assistance did not bring results, Guliyev noted."The European Parliament’s adoption of an official document unequivocally supporting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan was another blow to Armenian diplomacy," the expert said.Guliyev went on to say that the efforts of the President of the Armenian National Assembly in this direction, apparently, were also not crowned with success.He also said that it is no coincidence that the events dedicated to Khojaly in the German parliament and discussions on security in the Caucasus were held at the same time as the meetings with the President of the Armenian National Assembly. This is one of the manifestations of Azerbaijan’s diplomatic superiority over Armenia, he added."This fact once again demonstrates that Armenia’s attempts to achieve recognition of the results of its aggressive policy have been completely exposed," the expert noted. EU leaders give Britain 'last chance' for orderly Brexit World news Fri, 22 Mar 2019 16:58:00 +0400 By  TrendEuropean Union leaders warned Britain on Friday it had a final opportunity to leave the bloc in an orderly fashion after giving Prime Minister Theresa May two weeks’ reprieve until April 12 before Britain could tumble out without a deal, Trendreports citing Reuters.Arriving for a second day of a summit dominated by talks over Britain’s departure, Belgium’s prime minister said he hoped for a “rational” decision by British lawmakers to back the withdrawal treaty that May concluded with Brussels.Preparations for a no-deal, in which Britain would face sudden trade barriers and restrictions on business, still were underway, however, Charles Michel told reporters.“This is perhaps the last chance for Britain to say what it wants for the future,” Michel said. “More than ever, this is in the hands of the British parliament,” he said, adding that the 27 EU leaders were not blind to the risks of a no-deal.Seven hours of summit brainstorming on Thursday kept a host of options open for leaders, who say they regret Britain’s decision to leave but are eager to move on from what they increasingly see as a distraction. President Aliyev congratulates Pakistani counterpart Politics Fri, 22 Mar 2019 16:44:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has congratulated Arif Alvi, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.“On my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Azerbaijan, I extend my sincerest congratulations to you and through you to all your people on the occasion of the national day of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.Azerbaijan and Pakistan are bound by relations of strong friendship and partnership. Based on mutual confidence and support, the high level of intergovernmental relations reflects the will of our brotherly peoples.I am sure that the development of our bilateral ties, the deepening of our cooperation in all areas will continue to serve the benefit of our peoples and countries.On this joyful day, I wish you the best of health, successes in your activities, and the friendly people of Pakistan peace and prosperity,” reads the congratulatory letter. Azerbaijan, Pakistan discuss development of military cooperation Politics Fri, 22 Mar 2019 16:31:00 +0400 By  TrendA meeting was held between the Azerbaijani and Pakistani defense ministers Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov and Pervez Khattak, Trend reports referring to the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan.Pervez Khattak noted that friendly relations have historically formed between the peoples of the two countries. Stressing that relations in various spheres were sufficiently strengthened while developing, the Pakistani minister noted the great potential for military cooperation between the two countries.Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov noted that the friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan have deep roots. Referring to the military-political situation in the region, the Minister of Defense provided detailed information about the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Noting that Azerbaijan and Pakistan support each other in international organizations, he stressed that this is an indicator of partnership relations that come from the will of the peoples of both countries.During the meeting, the parties discussed the development of cooperation in the field of security, as well as military, military-technical, military-educational and other spheres, and also exchanged views on many other issues of mutual interest. Central Bank of Azerbaijan to issue notes of large amount Business Fri, 22 Mar 2019 16:25:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Baku Stock Exchange (BSE) will hold an auction on the placement of short-term notes of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan for 300 million manats on March 27, 2019, Trend reports referring to the BSE.Some 3 million securities with par value of 100 manats each, and a circulation period of 28 days, will be put up for auction. The maturity date of the notes is April 24, 2019.The short-term notes are an instrument of monetary and credit policy for regulating the money stock in circulation. Only banks can acquire notes.According to the requirements, each bank can submit no more than two applications - one competitive and one noncompetitive.($1=1.7 AZN on March 22) Arif Alvi: Pakistan supports Azerbaijan’s fair position in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Politics Fri, 22 Mar 2019 16:06:00 +0400 By  TrendPakistan supports the fair position of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as said by the President of Pakistan Arif Alvi during a meeting with a delegation of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense in Pakistan, Trend reports referring to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.Expressing gratitude for the reception, Azerbaijani Minister of Defense Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov conveyed warm greetings and best wishes from President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to Arif Alvi. Noting that Azerbaijan attaches great importance to relations, particularly to military cooperation with Pakistan, the Minister of Defense stressed the importance of expanding cooperation in the field of security, as well as military, military-technical, military-educational and other spheres.President of Pakistan Arif Alvi, in turn, asked to convey his greetings and feelings of deep respect to the President of Azerbaijan. The President of Pakistan, noting the high level of interstate relations, as well as friendly relations between the two nations, stressed the importance of developing cooperation in defense, military-technical and other fields.Arif Alvi, expressing satisfaction with Pakistan’s support for Azerbaijan in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and noting that this will continue in the future, stressed that Pakistan does not recognize Armenia as a state due to its occupation of Azerbaijani lands. He noted the importance of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.The parties also exchanged views on many other issues of mutual interest during the meeting. Investors show significant interest in Azerbaijani government bonds Business Fri, 22 Mar 2019 15:33:00 +0400 By  TrendAn auction for the placement of medium-term state bonds of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Finance worth 15 million manats and a maturity period of 1092 days was held at the Baku Stock Exchange (BSE) on March 19, Trend reports referring to the BSE.Eight investors made 10 appeals for bonds worth almost 22.84 million manats. Bonds worth 15 million manats were sold during the auction.The applications were made within the price range of 97.5871 manats (with a yield of 9.95 percent) and 100.3102 manats (8.8799 percent).Stop-out price on competitive bids was 100.129 manats (8.95 percent) and the weighted average price was 100.2246 manats (8.913 percent).The deadline for the payment on bonds is March 15, 2022.($1=1.7 AZN on Mar. 22) Turkmenistan introduces internal money transfer system World news Fri, 22 Mar 2019 15:18:00 +0400 By  TrendTurkmenistan’s Turkmenpochta (Turkmen Post) national company is expanding the range of services provided to the public, Trend reports referring to the Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper.It is possible now to make internal electronic money transfers in post offices. For express sending / receiving money, it is enough to present an ID at the post office and indicate the full name and address of the recipient. Two tariffs are in place: regular and student.The list of services also includes accepting payments for utilities, as well as an expedited postage to 190 countries within the Universal Postal Union.In addition, it is possible to purchase railway tickets in post offices, along with making an electronic purchase, cashless payment, and benefiting from home delivery services.The company's website ( provides an opportunity to call a courier for mailings online. Syria’s Homs province ready to receive refugee World news Fri, 22 Mar 2019 14:59:00 +0400 By  TrendSyria’s Homs province is ready to receive refugees, including those from the Rukban camp, and ensure decent living conditions for them, Homs Deputy Governor Amir al-Khalil told reporters, Trend reports citing Reuters."I would like to point out once again that the Homs provincial administration is ready to receive refugees, particularly from the Rukban camp, and provide them with all necessary assistance. We know that people are suffering from inhuman conditions in that camp so we need to do everything possible to stop it," al-Khalil said.In particular, the provincial authorities are ready to provide refugees with accommodation and jobs. Most of those refugees come from the Homs province and want to return home. Homs was one of the first Syrian provinces seized by militants so hundreds of thousands of civilians had to flee their homes. As many as seven million people left Syria during the war and now the country is facing labor shortages.Authorities say about 5,000 homes for refugees are ready. Schools are opening after renovations, teachers are working to compile intensive courses to help students make up for the lost time. "More than 1,300 schools have been reconstructed in the Homs province, they are ready to receive students, particularly children from the Rukban camp," the provincial deputy governor noted. Star refinery to help Turkey reduce diesel imports to 40% Business Fri, 22 Mar 2019 14:40:00 +0400 By  TrendStar Refinery will help Turkey reduce diesel imports to 40 percent, Mesut ?lter, director general of Star Refinery, said addressing the Uludag Economy Summit, Trend reports citing Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR.“The diesel market has been growing significantly over the last 10 years. Currently, Turkey meets 60 percent of its diesel demand by import, however, with the production capacity of Star Refinery, this figure will drop to 40 percent. Turkey will also fully cover its demand for jet fuel,” he said.?lter also noted that SOCAR has already made $15 billion out of $19.5 billion worth investments in Turkey.“These investments are important steps towards ensuring Turkey’s energy supply security,” he added.The opening ceremony of the Star oil refinery took place on October 19, 2018 in Izmir, Turkey.The total refining capacity of the refinery will be 10 million tons, and Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR is the main supplier of crude for the refinery. The refinery will significantly reduce the dependence of Turkey on imports of petrochemical products.The refinery worth $6.3 billion, built by SOCAR in the Aliaga District of Izmir, will produce 1.6 million tons of naphtha, 1.6 million tons of aviation fuel, 4.8 million tons of low-sulfur diesel, 700,000 tons of petroleum coke, 420,000 tons of mixed xylene and 160,000 tons of sulfur. Oil hovers below 2019 highs amid OPEC supply cuts, U.S. sanctions Business Fri, 22 Mar 2019 14:19:00 +0400 By  TrendOil hovered slightly below 2019 peaks on Friday, propped up by ongoing supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and by U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, Trend reports citing Reuters.Concerns that an economic slowdown might soon impact fuel consumption are preventing crude prices from rising further, analysts said.Brent crude oil futures were at $67.90 per barrel at 0617 GMT, 4 cents above their last close. Brent hit a four-month high of $68.69 per barrel the day before.U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $59.96 per barrel, down 2 cents from their last settlement. WTI also marked a 2019 peak the previous day, at $60.39. Snam, Tamoil to build 5 natgas filling stations in Italy Business Fri, 22 Mar 2019 14:01:00 +0400 By  TrendTamoil, the Netherlands-based company and Italy’s Snam, through its subsidiary Snam4Mobility, signed a contract to build a first batch of 5 natural gas filling stations in Italy, Trend reports citing a message from Snam.Reportedly, the agreement will see Tamoil and Snam4Mobility collaborate on the design, construction, maintenance and operation of 4 new CNG plants (compressed natural gas) and one new L-CNG plant (liquefied and compressed natural gas) within Tamoil’s national distributors network.The contract is part of Snam4Mobility’s initiative to boost the growth of the CNG and LNG distribution network in Italy, through direct investment and agreements with other operators in the sector, said Snam.Italy is the European leader in methane mobility, with about 1 million vehicles on the road and over 1,300 service stations, which will increase as a result of Snam’s investments, according to the message.Snam is Europe’s leading gas utility. It has been building and managing sustainable and technologically advanced infrastructure guaranteeing energy security for over 75 years. Snam operates in Italy and, through subsidiaries, Austria (TAG and GCA), France (Teréga) and the United Kingdom (Interconnector UK). It is one of the main shareholders of TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) and is the company most involved in projects for the creation of the Energy Union.Tamoil is the trading name of the Oilinvest Group, a fuel energy provider within the European downstream oil and gas sector. The Oilinvest Group refines crude oil and markets refined oil products primarily under the Tamoil and the HEM brands in Europe. Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 30 times Politics Fri, 22 Mar 2019 13:42:00 +0400 By  TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenian armed forces have violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops 30 times, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said March 22, Trend reports.The Armenian armed forces were using heavy machine guns.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. Turkey condemns US intention to recognize Golan as part of Israel World news Fri, 22 Mar 2019 13:28:00 +0400 By  TrendTurkey has condemned US intention to recognize Golan Heights as part of Israel, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Chavushoglu said.Chavushoglu noted that territorial integrity is a fundamental principle of international law."Attempts by the United States to legitimize Israel’s actions against international law will only lead to more violence in the region," the Turkish Foreign Minister said.He also added that Turkey supports the territorial integrity of Syria.Earlier, US President Donald Trump said it was time to back Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.“After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” Trump wrote on Twitter. Microsoft starts notifying Windows 7 users about end of support Business Fri, 22 Mar 2019 13:16:00 +0400 By  TrendMicrosoft has started rolling out an update to Windows 7 that will notify existing users about the end of the support. The software maker is stopping support of Windows 7 on January 14th, 2020, and it’s now starting to warn about this cutoff date. Microsoft is using a notification to warn Windows 7 users, similar to the prompts the company used to get people to upgrade to Windows 7, Trend reports citing The Verge.Microsoft’s end of support date means that Windows 7 users will no longer receive security updates, and the company wants consumers to upgrade to Windows 10 PCs instead. While the notification doesn’t mention Windows 10, Microsoft links to a new Windows 7 site that encourages consumers to upgrade their PCs.Microsoft revealed earlier this month that these notifications would arrive on Windows 7, but the company says it will only be displayed a “handful” of times during 2019. The notifications will stop once Windows 7 support ends in January, or if you select “do not remind again” on the notification. Microsoft’s previous Windows 10 upgrade notifications irritated a number of Windows users, and the company has clearly learned to respect that people want to hide them.Windows 10 is still edging closer to Microsoft’s goal of having it installed on 1 billion devices. The Windows 7 upgrade cycle will help push Windows 10 further, and it recently passed Windows 7 in market share earlier this year. Windows 10 is now running on more than 800 million devices. EU27 unanimously agree to May's request for Brexit delay Politics Fri, 22 Mar 2019 12:56:00 +0400 By  TrendMember states of the European Union, excluding the United Kingdom, have reached a consensus on their response to UK Prime Minister Theresa May's request for a delay of the deadline for the UK's withdrawal from the bloc, said European Council President Donald Tusk on Thursday, Trend reports citing Sputnik."EU27 unanimously agrees on its response to UK’s requests," Tusk wrote on Twitter. "I will now meet PM [May]," Tusk added.?According to a final communique, EU leaders will give the UK until May 22 to leave if the UK Parliament backs May's Brexit deal next week. But if the lawmakers won't pass the deal, the EU will give the UK until April 12 to indicate a way forward."The European Council agrees to an extension until 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week. If the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until 12 April 2019 and expects the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward before this date for consideration by the European Council," the European Council said in its conclusions on the Brussels talks dedicated to Brexit delay, requested by the United Kingdom.The European Council also reiterated that the deal on the UK withdrawal from the European Union was not subject for reconsideration in the wake of London's request for the Brexit deadline extension."The European Council reiterates that there can be no opening of the Withdrawal Agreement that was agreed between the Union and the United Kingdom in November 2018. Any unilateral commitment, statement or other act should be compatible with the letter and the spirit of the Withdrawal Agreement," the European Council said."The European Council calls for work to be continued on preparedness and contingency at all levels for the consequences of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal, taking into account all possible outcomes," the council said. Zarif heads to Istanbul to attend emergency OIC session Politics Fri, 22 Mar 2019 12:39:00 +0400 By  TrendIran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif headed to Istanbul Thursday evening to attend an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on terrorist massacre of Muslims in New Zealand, Trend reports citing IRNA.The meeting will be held on Friday to condemn the attack on two mosques in Christchurch, which left at least 50 worshipers dead and wounded dozens others last Friday.Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday that Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu would chair the meeting.Representatives from the UN, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have reportedly been invited to the event.The emergency meeting comes following a phone conversation between Zarif and Cavusoglu earlier this week, in which they censured the "heinous crime".Among the victims of the terrorist attack were nationals from Syria, Jordan, India, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Facebook admits keeping passwords of millions of users without encryption World news Fri, 22 Mar 2019 12:20:00 +0400 By  TrendThe social media giant previously came under fire when it turned out that companies like Cambridge Analytica could easily gather vast amounts of information about Facebook users and later use it in various campaigns, including political ones, Trend reports with reference to Sputnik.Facebook has posted a statement saying that its latest internal security review has revealed that the passwords of hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users were kept in a plain "readable format" on its severs.This means that some Facebook employees could potentially have access to them, but the company states that it registered no attempts to do so. It also assured that no one from outside Facebook could access password records and that now all passwords are kept in the form of hashes, meaning the actual passwords can no longer be seen, even by Facebook employees.The social media company has notified all the affected users, urging them to change their passwords. The exact number of those affected remains unclear.