Today.Az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside Today.Az Baku, Tehran express commitment to deepen bilateral ties Politics Thu, 27 Nov 2014 20:39:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaThere is an Azerbaijani proverb saying 'A close neighbor is better than a distant relative'. This adage can be used to describe Azerbaijani-Iranian relations.The two nations who lived side by side over centuries have a long history of close relations. A large number of Iranians live in Azerbaijan and about 30 million ethnic Azerbaijanis live in Iran. These are the basic reasons in minds of the two sides to further develop and strengthen bilateral relations.Observers of cross-border politics believe that the high-level visits of two sides’ officials over the past few months have taken cooperation to a new level. These visits and the agreement signed between the two countries in recent times gave ground to open a new page in Azerbaijani-Iranian relations.“Azerbaijan considers Iran as its close friend, and is trying its best to ensure the development of bilateral ties on all fronts,” Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Ali Hasanov said in a meeting with co-chair of the Iranian-Azerbaijani joint intergovernmental economic, trade and humanitarian commission, Minister of Communication and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi.The sides expressed dissatisfaction with the level of bilateral trade between the two countries, saying Baku and Tehran have enough economic and production potential to multiply trade.Currently, trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran is $500 million.The Iranian officials have repeatedly invited the Azerbaijani businessmen to invest in various fields of the Islamic country’s economy. Iranian investors are also willing to invest in Azerbaijan’s projects.Azerbaijan is also seen as a reliable partner for Iran in connecting the energy-rich country to Europe. As initiator of the Southern Gas Corridor, through which Azerbaijani gas will go to Europe, Baku is implementing a project of passing gas from new reserves to Europe. Iran with huge energy reserves can be one of these resources.Furthermore, during the meeting with Vaezi, Azerbaijani Deputy Premier emphasized the necessity of building closer cooperation in the humanitarian area and in preventing illegal narcotics trafficking. Vaezi, in turn, welcomed Hasanov's proposal to discuss cooperation in preventing illegal drug trafficking and in humanitarian area, adding that the issues will be raised by the Iran-Azerbaijan joint intergovernmental economic, trade and humanitarian commission.Given the urgency of the problem of controlling illicit trafficking, intensive work is underway in Azerbaijan to establish a legal basis for combating such crimes. Especially, Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region occupied by Armenia has turned into a regional center of drug production and trafficking, according to Azerbaijani officials.Iran, which lies on a major drug route between Afghanistan and Europe as well as the Gulf states, also combats with drug trafficking. It cooperates with the neighboring countries in fight against drug combating.Iranian officials thanked the stands adopted by Azerbaijan in dealing with economic sanctions imposed on Iran and appreciated the country's position towards Iran's nuclear program.During the Azerbaijani deputy premier’s visit to Iran, the sides also focused on Azerbaijan’s most painful problem - the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which emerged in 1988 over Armenia’s territorial claims against Azerbaijan.The Azerbaijani official has hailed Iran's position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, saying it has always been objective. “It recognized our territorial integrity and has always supported our stance in international organizations,” Hasanov said.Tehran has repeatedly offered to mediate between Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Earlier, Iranian ambassador to Baku Mohsen Pak Ayeen said the peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is one of the main goals of Iran's foreign policy.Azerbaijani official also thanked the Iranian government for providing assistance to Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs. He hailed the efforts made by Iranian humanitarian organizations such as Iran Red Crescent Society and Imam Khomeini Relief Aid Committee for rendering humanitarian services in the past 20 years. Hasanov said Azerbaijan was committed to continuing its cooperation with the international humanitarian organizations. Norwegian Seabox to lead joint industry project with Azerbaijan ACG Business Thu, 27 Nov 2014 19:22:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Aynur JafarovaNorwegian Seabox Company will lead a joint industry project (JIP) with Azerbaijan ACG Ltd., Suncor, SIPCO, and two oil majors with the support of the Research Council of Norway, aiming to advance subsea water treatment closer to full-scale field development, Offshore Magazine said on November 26.Injection of sterile and ion-optimized water is expected to have a positive effect on oil production. Removal of sulfide ions from the injected water also has positive effects on applications with scaling and hydrogen sulfide challenges. This water treatment method can be expensive and requires a treatment facility on topsides.Seabox’ previous test demonstrated that the combination of Seabox’ proprietary subsea water intake and treatment (SWIT) technology and subsea membranes could produce low-salinity and sulfide-free water for injection purposes. Based on these results and the positive feedback from industry, Seabox and several oil majors have started an extensive technology qualification process.The company recently completed a pilot seabed test of the SWIT system in combination with a membrane process plant for sulfide and salt removal, sponsored by the industry.The new JIP will see Seabox complete a conceptual design of a complete subsea SWIT and membranes plant capable of producing any quality water from surrounding seawater on the seabed. A key objective is to secure maximum longevity for important components in order to prolong intervention intervals.As part of the JIP, Seabox will also identify technology components available in the market and suitable for a use in the SWIT plant. In addition to this, Seabox will conduct a gap analysis to identify and close the technology gaps on components that are not already tested and qualified to international industry standards.The JIP is expected to be finalized in the second half of 2015.Seabox AS is an independent and privately owned company located in the Stavanger area of Norway with local owners. Seabox AS develops and provides state of the art technology for Subsea Water Intake and Treatment (SWIT). This technology forms the basis for our Increased Oil Recovery (IOR) and Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) technology.The company works as an engineering partner with the oil industry and can perform engineering studies to arrive with the optimum technical solutions for subsea water injection both related to clean and sterile seawater and/or tailor made water where sulfide, salinity has be decreased to set level and the water has been given the desired chemical properties. National taekwondo fighters bring 14 medals from Turkey Sports Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:20:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliThe second European Clubs Taekwondo Championships was held in Antalya, Turkey on November 25-26.The event brought together 651 taekwondo fighters from 33 countries. Azerbaijan was represented by 53 sportsmen from the seven national clubs.Successfully participating in the championships, the national taekwondo fighters gained 14 medals.The gold medal winners among men became Ilham Aliyev at 45 kg, Kamil Abdulrazagov (59kg), Zalimkhan Rasulov (63kg). Ilayda Kardelen (44kg) and Gulkhanim Esildal (55) took the first places among women.Other six national sportsmen took the bronze medals.Azerbaijani “Neftchi” club became the second in the men’s competition, while in the women’s one “Gilan” club placed the second.Following Azerbaijani will also take part in the Turkish Open Taekwondo Tournament , which will be held in Turkey on November 28-30. YARAT to start Voices of City project Arts & Entertainment Thu, 27 Nov 2014 17:48:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaYay Gallery and YARAT Contemporary Art Organization said they will hold ‘Voices of the City’ Public Art Project” in November-December.The project, aims to support contemporary art. It is an open contest for an art project installation to be placed on a pedestal in front of Yay Gallery.Yay Gallery has invited all interested artists, sculptors, architects and designers to participate in the contest.The jury will consider sketches of sculptures, installations, large structures and street art projects, including layouts of public art objects created with luminous and other effects.The theme of the contest is ‘Clashes between people’s inner world and modern global factors.’Modern cities are extremely attractive places to live. Urban space has been transformed into the quintessence of modern living, or at least to some extent of this ideal. Based upon their interest, tastes and wishes, different urban classes strive to match their requirements with the arrangement of new cities.Nowadays people find it difficult withstanding the increased urban noise levels. The constant sound of cars, never-ending repair works, many promotional events and unbearable car horns all combine together with other factors to test the limits of urban infrastructure and the integrity of public developments.However, there is always the other side of the coin. How does this unprecedented noise level affect our private spaces? Firmly shutting doors and windows, drawing the curtains and covering our ears are not seen as viable solutions.Today’s big city residents are clearly failing to shelter from the constant urban noise. Yet physical space really should evoke a sense of comfort and harmony as well as an environmental cohesion between the people living there.Application for this project is free and open to all. To apply for the contest, candidates should visit, download and fill in the relevant application form and submit it to between the first of acceptance for applications and the scheduled deadline.Each applicant can present no more than five art project proposals. For this contest only original art project proposals will be considered – they should be specifically designed for this contest, based on original concepts of the applicant (i.e. they must not duplicate or copy previous concepts) and must not previously have been exhibited, published, produced or sold.Appliants are forbidden to submit video or audio material that violates the legislation of Azerbaijan, including material that injures citizens, ethnic minorities, religions and races and promotes violence, extremism, pornography, drug abuse, suicide, violence as well as all other illegal activities.The submitted material, documents and art projects will not be returned to the applicants.Only art objects tailored for an open-air 146 x 324 cm pedestal and resistant to environmental conditions will be considered.Contest finalists will be awarded with certificates. The winning art project will be installed on the pedestal. The winner will also recieve a cash prize.The art project implementation will result in the final selection of the art object (scupture) to be installed on the pedestal in front of Yay Gallery. All costs relating to the implementation of the winning art project will be covered.The winner will be decided through the assessment of the technical and artistic properties of the submitted projects by the contest jury of prominent artists. Armenia bracing for new anti-govt. protest Analytics Thu, 27 Nov 2014 17:41:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevA strong demand for regime change in Armenia may prepare the ground for next stormy protest rally in the country aimed at ousting the incumbent authorities.An opposition group called Before Parliament Initiative intends to gather people on the streets to topple Armenia's ruling regime."The so-called opposition should realize this fact that it is impossible to change the existing khanate system through elections. So, we have decided to use other ways for regime change," said Jirayr Sefilyan, Secretary Coordinator of the initiative.Armenian presidential election in February 2013 was marked with blatant violations, fraudulence and deception. Amnesty International called on the Armenian authorities to investigate the human rights violation facts in the election. The organization received numerous reports of harassment including allegations of intimidation and use of force against voters and observers. In some cases, the Armenian authorities failed to provide adequate protection and to conduct prompt and proper investigation into violations.Sefilyan said they planned to establish a parliamentary foundation by April 24, 2015 to form an interim government to rule the country amid transitional period."We intend to raise a strong protest wave in Armenia to force the authorities surrender the power. Hope that there will be no skirmish. But this time the people will response the violence with violence," Sefilyan noted.Public dissatisfaction with Sargsyan regime is on the rise in Armenia. Economic disability of the post-Soviet country and lack of essential political decisiveness have despaired the residents pushing them to get rid of the incumbent authorities. Most people in Armenia found it unbearable to live in the country, which fueled the emigration and resulted in the outflow of nearly 60,000 people this year.Meanwhile, cars of the four members of the Before Parliament Initiative group were set on fire in Yerevan on November 26.Automobiles of Shagen Petrosyan, Vardan Akopyan, Varujana Avetisyan and Susanna Melkonyan were deliberately burned in unknown circumstances.Earlier on October 19, 2014, the members of the Before Parliament Initiative group attended a large auto marching "The 100th anniversary without regime" on their own cars. The aim of the auto march was to convince Armenians not to believe in Serzh Sargsyan, criminal oligarchs and fake opposition party leaders, calling them "different heads" of the same regime. Marching organizers called on people to stand up and come out into the streets to remove the regime and create a new quality national state by the date of commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the so-called "Armenian genocide" on April 24, 2015.Armenian opposition troika of the oppositional Heritage, Armenian National Congress and Prosperous Armenia parties staged consecutive rallies on September 30, October 10 and October 24 calling for a regime change.Tens of thousands of protesting residents voiced their disagreement with the domestic and foreign policy of the incumbent regime, as well as compressed justice and violated human rights in the country.The recent events in Armenia happened on the background of Armenian parliament's ratification of an agreement on joining the Eurasian Economic Union on November 26.The permanent parliamentary commission on economy sanctioned the agreement with 5 votes in favor of a document following the president's and the Constitutional Court's approval.Parliament will discuss final ratification of the agreement on December 1. Georgian peacekeepers conduct humanitarian operation in Afghanistan World news Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:45:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevGeorgian peacekeepers in the Afghan province of Parwan have successfully completed a humanitarian operation to support the vulnerable people in Afghanistan.The Georgian soldiers, who are based at the Bagram Air Base, completed the mission jointly with the U.S. military forces and the Afghan National Security Forces.The servicemen met with the residents of the village and hold conversations with them. The main goal of the operations was to boost relationship between the locals and the peacekeeping contingent.Georgia continues to act as one of the crucial contributors to the NATO mission in Afghanistan. The Georgian Armed Forces took on the control over the Afghanistan's biggest Bagram Air Base since November 1, 2014. The task of the military contingent is to ensure safety at the air base.Active involvement in NATO peacekeeping operations is very important for Georgia amid its strong aspiration to be the member of the alliance. NATO firmly supports the irreversible decision of the South Caucasus country in regard to the integration into the union. Several military drills, educational trainings carried out jointly by NATO and Georgian armed forces aimed to speed up Georgia's readiness for the membership at the world's strongest military alliance. Azerbaijan, Czech Republic mull economic ties Business Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:36:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Aynur JafarovaThe development of bilateral economic and trade relations between Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic was high on the agenda of talks held between Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek and Azerbaijani Ambassador to the country Farid Shafiyev.During the meeting Zaorálek stressed the importance of resolving Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by peaceful means.The Czech foreign minister also expressed his country’s interest in participating in projects implemented in the construction and transport sectors of Azerbaijan.The sides also discussed the regional security issues.The Czech Republic recognized the independence Azerbaijan on January 8, 1992. Diplomatic relations between two countries were established in January 1993. Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic are interested in future development of mutual cooperation within UN, OSCE, NATO, EU and other international organizations.Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic cooperate in trade and economic fields. In particular, as of 2013, the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to about $1.5 billion. Most of this account fall on Azerbaijan's exports, in particular, oil. Currently, the primary task is to develop cooperation between the two countries in non-oil sector. The agricultural sector is an area with good opportunities for cooperation.The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic amounted to $515.51 million in January-September 2014. As of the nine months, Azerbaijan imported goods worth $35.1 million, but exported goods worth $ 480.4 million. Azerbaijan to construct new glass plant Business Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:21:00 +0400 By Amina NazarliAzerbaijan is going to construct a new plant for the production of glass, said Shahin Mustafayev, Economy and Industry Minister during the conference titled “Industrialization in the 21st Century: Key trends, modern approach and experience of industrial policy” held in Baku on November 26.He noted that discussions on this issue are underway.In Azerbaijan, there are no plants producing flat glass, which is used in the construction, furniture and automotive industries.There are several factories in Azerbaijan producing glass so, the glass containers purchase raw materials from abroad. Among them are Inter Glass, Glass House and Azer Glass. Inter Glass is the biggest enterprise in this field in Caucasus. It produces 100 million pieces of glass per year.Alongside with the domestic supplies, the plant exports its products to Georgia and Russia. The raw materials come from Azerbaijani Ganja and Gazakh regions as well as Ukraine and Russia.Another Azerbaijani producer of glass, the Glass House company produced bullet-proof glass for the first time in the country in 2012. The glass allows bullets of "Makarov", "Kalashnikov" and a sniper rifle gun types pass its produced glasses. Its products have been designed for banks, law enforcement agencies and representative offices of foreign companies.Talking about industrial parks, established in Azerbaijan, he said that Sumgayit and Balakhani as well as High-Tech Park industrial parks have been already opened in the country.The minister also added that the construction works are underway for establishing oil and gas processing and petrochemical complex, complex for the production of steel, as well as Carbamide plant and a plant for the production of polymers.Mustafayev stated that during the past years, five plants will be constructed as part of the CJSC “Azerbaijani complex on Steel Production” project. Their overall production amount will stand at a million ton of steel per year.The CJSC was established by presidential decree in Azerbaijan in April, 2013. It controls design, construction and management of steel production plants in the Ganja and Dashkesan regions of the country.The company covers all the plants stages - from mining of iron ore to steel production, use of new technologies in this field, modernization of material-technical base and its efficient use, as well as other work related to the development of the industry.The CJSC “Dashkesan minerals processing”, owned by the state, was also included in the complex. Youth conference running in Ganja Analytics Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:58:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliYoung people from eight countries will meet at the conference titled “Connecting for Better Future” to exchange experiences on youth participation in decision making in Ganja on November 27.Young leaders will be joined by high-level government officials, including Office of the President, media, district authorities and civil society representatives.The meeting is co-organized by the Youth and Sports Ministry, Executive Committee of Ganja, International Eurasia Press Fund with the support of UNICEF to showcase the results of joint projects conducted in the framework of the ‘Azerbaijani Youth Advocates Programme’.Through this initiative young people were supported by the local executive committees to address the most salient youth issues in their districts.The conference will be preceded by a two-day workshop in Baku - an orientation session on youth participation, volunteerism and mentoring for international participants from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Moldova, as well as young leaders from Baku.“Freedom for youth to participate in the development processes along with the enabling environment for them to voluntarily serve the society are direct indicators for the country to be on the way to the democratic prosperity,” said Andro Shilakadze, UNICEF Azerbaijan Representative.“UNICEF believes Azerbaijan is on the right path and we will continue to provide necessary assistance, so the Forums in Ganja indeed avails an important opportunity to share and learn from others,” he added.Ganja youth conference also commemorates a milestone -- 25 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and is also part of the preparation efforts for the “Ganja European Youth Capital 2016”.UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with its partners, the organization works in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. IPS exhibition to attract major importance to Kuwaiti visitors Business Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:40:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaBeing only 90 minutes’ flight away from Kuwait, Dubai is an ideal location for a second home, or even a primary home, for some Kuwaitis. No wonder, Kuwaitis are one of the biggest investors in Dubai’s real-estate sector, compared to other GCC countries.The figures released by International Property Show (IPS) 2015, which will be held on March 30– April 1, 2015 and UAE Ministry of Finance, showed that GCC ownership in the UAE amounted to 11,761 properties in 2012, an increase of 8 percent over 2011.In fact, the largest share of the total property ownerships was taken up by Kuwaiti citizens, with a total 6,947 properties by the end of 2012, representing a whopping 59 percent of the total GCC property ownerships.“UAE continues to maintain its lead position as a hot property destination among GCC countries since 2008. At IPS, we are working hard to attract as many Gulf visitors as possible to our show and specifically Kuwaiti visitors,” Dawood Al Shezawi, CEO, Strategic Marketing & Exhibitions, organizers of IPS 2015 said.He added that in 2011, investors from Kuwait account for nearly 60 percent of all properties purchased by GCC nationals in the emirate of Dubai, according to figures from the UAE Ministry of Finance. “The picture is still the same and the Kuwaiti investors and purchasers remain the biggest chunk of buyers in the UAE property market.”IPS 2015 will attract companies from Kuwait, especially those with serious potential for partnerships in property industry in the Emirate.“What is more interesting about Kuwaitis is their quick decision making in buying properties in the UAE due to their confidence in the UAE property market and due to the factor of proximity. Thanks to their high spending power, many tend to buy multiple units as vacation homes,” Al Shezawi said.Dubai's real estate market is now more stable and sustainable, which had improved confidence mainly among GCC investors. “The UAE and Kuwaiti construction sectors are linked in several ways, being two leading markets in the Middle East region,” Al Shezawi said.“We are expecting high footfall from Kuwaiti visitors who wish to conduct one-to-one meetings with IPS exhibitors and grab offerings at the three day show,” Al Shezawi added.IPS has registered to date participations from 120 countries, reflecting an increase by 33.3 percent compared to the previous edition. The show will witness wide participation from the Gulf region out of the 300 total exhibitors.Exhibitors are coming from all over Europe, Asia Pacific and North and South-East Africa. These will include developers involved in the development of residential communities and high-rise buildings, entertainment facilities, retail outlets, financial institutions, banks and investment companies, pension funds, asset management companies, authorities, investment zones and engineers of construction and interior design.Strategic Marketing & Exhibitions is the organizer of IPS. The company is a leading exposition and conference organizers in the UAE, based in Dubai that has grown dramatically and contributed immensely to the exhibition industry, thus gaining reputation as one of the leading experts in all aspects related to the exhibition industry. Armenia struggling with growing HIV cases World news Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:23:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevArmenia is leading country in the region in terms of the number of people infected with HIV.UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador Vera Brezhneva and Regional Director in Eastern Europe and Central Asia Vinay P. Saldanha visited Armenia to check the current situation in the post-Soviet country."The main reason why we visited Armenia is its leading position in the region for the prevalence of HIV," Brezhneva said.She noted that the investigations revealed the fatal and rapidly growing virus is spreading in the territory of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.UNAIDS appointed Ukrainian singer, actress and TV presenter Vera Brezhneva as its Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern Europe and central Asia on November 20, 2014. Armenia was the first destination for Brezhneva's official visit as an ambassador."Armenia should work more to prevent the AIDS epidemic," Saldana said.UNAIDS reported that nearly 1.1 million people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are infected with HIV virus and the figure goes up by 110,000 each year.Most of the registered cases are observed among the labor migrants, particularly the Armenians in Russia, according to Samvel Grigoryan, Director of the Armenia's National Center for Aids Prevention."Roughly 90 percent of the HIV carriers in Armenia are the migrant workers, who were infected in Russia. The number of the registered AIDS cases in our country has increased this year," Grigoryan said.Majority of the labor emigrants from Armenia were temporary residents of either the Russian Federation or Ukraine. Data of the Health Ministry confirmed that 65.1 percent of the HIV-infected males were drug addicts, while nearly 98.7 percent of the women in its database got infected through sexual contacts.The most threatening factor behind the spread of HIV infection in Armenia is emigration. Investigations into the issue exposed the actual history of infections and the labor conditions that are increasing contamination risks for the labor migrant Armenians.Armenia recorded massive unemployment and emigration that separated families. Forced emigrations because of severe employment problems in Armenia have led to long separations from family life.Emigrants who depart Armenia during spring months often return in the fall to reunite with their families. Such separations are traumatic, regardless of their reasons. In fact, leaving the homeland help the socially vulnerable Armenians to escape the disastrous economy and sustain their livelihoods at the cost of being a labor migrant and caught by the deadly HIV virus.The first HIV infection in Armenia was registered in 1988. About 1906 AIDS cases were officially filed from 1988 to October 31, 2014. Assessment of the existing HIV trend in Armenia shows that nearly 3700 people in the post-Soviet country suffer from the deadly virus.According to UNAIDS, the prevalence rate of AIDS among the Armenians aged between 15 and 49 is 0.2 percent. Nearly 3,600 adults aged 15 and up in the country are living with HIV. The number of the HIV infected women aged 15 and up is 1,100. Azerbaijan to set orbital position of 2nd satellite soon Business Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:21:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaAzerbaijan will set the orbital position of the second telecommunication satellite by 2015, Deputy Minister of Communications and High Technologies Iltimas Mammadov said on November 26.Signing of contracts for the construction and launching of the geostationary satellite is expected early next year, Mammadov added.The tender for the second satellite program will involve six companies. Earlier, the Ministry said it plans to lease orbital position of the satellite Azerspace-2 in the long term. This will eliminate the problems associated with the coordination of orbital positions.Azerspace-2 satellite is expected to be launched in 2017. The construction of the satellite will take 30 months.Azerbaijan entered the global space club by launching into orbit its own satellite by France’s Ariane 5 ECA launcher, "Arianespace" company in February 2013.Azerspace-1 telecommunication satellite covers Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and North Africa. The satellite was designed to offer digital broadcasting services, internet access, and data transmission. It also creates multiservice VSAT networks and provides governmental communication services.Some 80 percent of the satellite's resources are available for commercial purposes. Currently, Azerspace-1 broadcasts cover 120 TV and Radio channels.The TV content is available when satellite antennas configured with 11,169 MHz frequency, 20,400 speed, Horizontal and FEC - 5/6 polarization.Azerspace-1's term of exploitation in the orbit will remain legal for up to 15 years. Baku is expected to earn $500-600 million by operating the satellite.Azerbaijan’s space agency Azercosmos also jointly uses the low-earth-orbit satellites SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 together with the French company "Airbus Defence and Space".Each of these satellites is capable of daily surveying an Earth's surface area up to three million square kilometers. Memorable evening with top European orchestra Arts & Entertainment Thu, 27 Nov 2014 15:07:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliThe sounds of exciting performances of the famous Viennese Strauss Festival Orchestra was heard for the first time in the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku on November 26.Azerbaijani elite, intellectuals, artists and people of art attended the gala evening to plug on the world of quality music.The orchestra headed by founder, conductor and violin virtuoso Peter Guth is considered among the best in Europe.The orchestra, a keeper of the true Vienna musical culture and fascination of Viennese music introduced immortal works of Johann Strauss, such as "The Blue Danube," "Tales from the Vienna Woods" and other masterpieces of the composer.The mastery of the music, its beauty and charm mesmerized the audience, which welcomed each performance with vigorous applause.Soprano Monica Mosser thrilled the audience with Czardas from the operetta "Gypsy Love." And Guth dedicated a passage from the "The Thousand and One Nights" operetta, to Baku.After the grandiose concert, the incomparable Guth shared his impressions about the evening and Land of Fire -- Baku.“I and my colleagues are just delighted with Baku” said the great musician .“For me it was a great honor to perform at this stage. I want to thank the audience in Baku for the warm welcome”, he said.Walking along Baku, he was impressed with Icherisheher, Boulevard and synthesis of West and East. Especially, he noted the unusual architecture of Heydar Aliyev Center, designed by the renowned architect Zaha Hadid and which was recognized as “Design of the Year.”Guth describe his group as a big family, gathering people from different European countries.But what makes their performances particularly vivid, emotional and colorful is that music is not a mean of income, but the feeling of something high and beautiful, for his group.They put their hearts on every songs to convey these feelings to the audience.The orchestra was established in 1978. Over 35 years of activity the orchestra, performed in Japan, China, Korea, Russia, Turkey, Romania and other countries. Annually on January, 1 the group opens the famous Viennese Ball.Works by Strauss are very popular: they give a sense of happiness, lightness and at the same time meet the high demands of classical music. Baku is 200 days closer to European Days Sports Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:50:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaBaku is passionately waiting for the Baku 2015 European Games that will captivate the whole country in less than 200 days.A magnificent show held at the iconic symbol of the city, the Maiden Tower, on November 26 suggests more fantastic performances are expected in June with the most grandiose opening and closing ceremonies at the brand new Olympic Stadium.Baku is happy for being granted the opportunity to host more than 6,000 athletes as well as 3,000 accompanying staff from the National Olympic Committees of Europe across 17 days of competition, in what will be the largest sporting event in Azerbaijan’s history.“ 200 days to go” event held at the Old City presented the capital the mascots of the games and all the 20 sports that were included into the program of the inaugural competition, at the ancient walls of the Maiden Tower by means of the laser show.The event attracted not only passersby but also many youngsters who were waiting for the bright show. Thus, the iconic place that was flooded with lights.Baku 2015 Commercial Director Charlie Wijeratna said: "200 days are left to first European Games. We introduced the characters of this great sporting event. Now, as the countdown for the opening ceremony of the games started, such activities will be conducted on a regular basis.""We want to show the world the European Games in 2015 and Baku which is rich in terms of its beautiful architectural monuments including the Maiden's Tower," he noted.The Commercial Director also gave some reports on the rapidly ongoing preparations for the forthcoming games.A series of events around the city of Baku are expected to be held before the start of the fist European Games. Sustainable Development Economics Analytics Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:37:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Jeffrey D. SachsProfessor of Sustainable Development, Professor of Health Policy and Management, and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is also Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals.Two schools of thought tend to dominate today’s economic debates. According to free-market economists, governments should cut taxes, reduce regulations, reform labor laws, and then get out of the way to let consumers consume and producers create jobs. According to Keynesian economics, governments should boost total demand through quantitative easing and fiscal stimulus. Yet neither approach is delivering good results. We need a new Sustainable Development Economics, with governments promoting new types of investments.Free-market economics leads to great outcomes for the rich, but pretty miserable outcomes for everyone else. Governments in the United States and parts of Europe are cutting back on social spending, job creation, infrastructure investment, and job training because the rich bosses who pay for politicians’ election campaigns are doing very well for themselves, even as the societies around them are crumbling.Yet Keynesian solutions – easy money and large budget deficits – have also fallen far short of their promised results. Many governments tried stimulus spending after the 2008 financial crisis. After all, most politicians love to spend money they don’t have. Yet the short-term boost failed in two big ways.First, governments’ debt soared and their credit ratings plummeted. Even the US lost its AAA standing. Second, the private sector did not respond by increasing business investment and hiring enough new workers. Instead, companies hoarded vast cash reserves, mainly in tax-free offshore accounts.The problem with both free-market and Keynesian economics is that they misunderstand the nature of modern investment. Both schools believe that investment is led by the private sector, either because taxes and regulations are low (in the free-market model) or because aggregate demand is high (in the Keynesian model).Yet private-sector investment today depends on investment by the public sector. Our age is defined by this complementarity. Unless the public sector invests, and invests wisely, the private sector will continue to hoard its funds or return them to shareholders in the forms of dividends or buybacks.The key is to reflect on six kinds of capital goods: business capital, infrastructure, human capital, intellectual capital, natural capital, and social capital. All of these are productive, but each has a distinctive role.Business capital includes private companies’ factories, machines, transport equipment, and information systems. Infrastructure includes roads, railways, power and water systems, fiber optics, pipelines, and airports and seaports. Human capital is the education, skills, and health of the workforce. Intellectual capital includes society’s core scientific and technological know-how. Natural capital is the ecosystems and primary resources that support agriculture, health, and cities. And social capital is the communal trust that makes efficient trade, finance, and governance possible.These six forms of capital work in a complementary way. Business investment without infrastructure and human capital cannot be profitable. Nor can financial markets work if social capital (trust) is depleted. Without natural capital (including a safe climate, productive soils, available water, and protection against flooding), the other kinds of capital are easily lost. And without universal access to public investments in human capital, societies will succumb to extreme inequalities of income and wealth.Investment used to be a far simpler matter. The key to development was basic education, a network of roads and power, a functioning port, and access to world markets. Today, however, basic public education is no longer enough; workers need highly specialized skills that come through vocational training, advanced degrees, and apprenticeship programs that combine public and private funding. Transport must be smarter than mere government road building; power grids must reflect the urgent need for low-carbon electricity; and governments everywhere must invest in new kinds of intellectual capital to solve unprecedented problems of public health, climate change, environmental degradation, information systems management, and more.Yet in most countries, governments are not leading, guiding, or even sharing in the investment process. They are cutting back. Free-market ideologues claim that governments are incapable of productive investment. Nor do Keynesians think through the kinds of public investments that are needed; for them, spending is spending. The result is a public-sector vacuum and a dearth of public investments, which in turn holds back necessary private-sector investment.Governments, in short, need long-term investment strategies and ways to pay for them. They need to understand much better how to prioritize road, rail, power, and port investments; how to make investments environmentally sustainable by moving to a low-carbon energy system; how to train young workers for decent jobs, not only low-wage service-sector employment; and how to build social capital, in an age when there is little trust and considerable corruption.In short, governments need to learn to think ahead. This, too, runs counter to the economic mainstream. Free-market ideologues don’t want governments to think at all; and Keynesians want governments to think only about the short run, because they take to an extreme John Maynard Keynes’ famous quip, “In the long run we are all dead.”Here’s a thought that is anathema in Washington, DC, but worthy of reflection. The world’s fastest growing economy, China, relies on five-year plans for public investment, which is managed by the National Development and Reform Commission. The US has no such institution, or indeed any agency that looks systematically at public-investment strategies. But all countries now need more than five-year plans; they need 20-year, generation-long strategies to build the skills, infrastructure, and low-carbon economy of the twenty-first century.The G-20 recently took a small step in the right direction, by placing new emphasis on increased infrastructure investment as a shared responsibility of both the public and private sectors. We need much more of this kind of thinking in the year ahead, as governments negotiate new global agreements on financing for sustainable development (in Addis Ababa in July 2015); Sustainable Development Goals (at the United Nations in September 2015), and climate change (in Paris in December 2015).These agreements promise to shape humanity’s future for the better. If they are to succeed, the new Age of Sustainable Development should give rise to a new Economics of Sustainable Development as well.Copyright: Project Syndicate New realistic barbie doll Weird / Interesting Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:41:00 +0400 Believe it or not, folks, a normally-proportioned Barbie doll has finally hit the market. The doll, called Lamilly, was created in the image of the average young American woman – fuller, rounder, with acne, cellulite, stretch marks, and more!Lammily is the brainchild of artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm, who had always been frustrated with the unrealistic proportions of Barbie dolls. One day, he decided to create a fun, appealing doll with natural makeup and a casual wardrobe.“I feel that, right now, dolls are very ‘perfect’ looking, when, in real life, few of us have perfect skin,” he told reporters. “So, why not give dolls a ‘real treatment?’ Things like acne, stretch marks, and cellulite are a natural part of who we are.” Lamm wanted little girls to get used to the idea that these things are normal and not ‘flaws’ to be ashamed of.He began by scaling the measurements of an average 19-year-old woman and incorporated them into the dolls features. He also added a specialised sticker pack, allowing kids to add ‘marks’ to their dolls – right from tattoos and scars to moles and grass stains.Once he had a Lammily prototype ready, Lamm ran a highly successful Kickstarter campaign through which he crowdfunded $501,000 to manufacture the dolls. Each doll now retails at $24.99, with a $6 sticker pack and fashion options that will be available from January.Lammily’s identity is also customizable, as each doll comes with a passport  that can be filled out with a unique full name and country of birth. Lammily has movable legs and detailed, separate toes that support action, so she actually stands flat on her feet, unlike Barbie’s permanent ‘high heeled’ mode.You know, people were saying this whole project was a joke from the beginning, so I have no doubt some people will take it as a joke,” Lamm commented. “But I hope there are enough people who believe what I believe. I think 25 to 30 percent will think the stickers are stupid and the rest will think it’s good.”Lamm is confident that this is the doll that people have been waiting for. And he might not be wrong, afterall. He filmed a video of school kids reacting to realistic dolls and their responses are quite heartening. Most girls said they like her, while others observed that she’s cool. Many second graders even went as far as to say: “She looks like my sister.”/ Iran develops new projects to revive Lake Urmia World news Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:54:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaIran has been struggling with the shoaling problem of the biggest lake in the country for several years.The government has been working on various measures to revive the lake with launching different projects, but the efforts haven’t borne the desired results.The Iranian government continues to take measures on tackling the shoaling problem of the Lake Urmia that is experiencing its worst drought condition for many years.Ghorban Ali Saadat, the Head of the Iranian province of West Azerbaijan has recently said Iran has prepared a package of proposals to restore the Lake Urmia.“According to these proposals, the lake can be brought back to the condition of 10 years ago. The package of the proposals has been prepared by scholars from several countries,” Saadat said on November 25 at a meeting with Azerbaijani journalists on a visit to Iran, Trend Agency reported.The area of Lake Urmia is the third largest salt water lake on earth, which has 6,000 square kilometers surface. During the migrations of birds, the lake becomes their temporary home. Over 70 percent of Lake Urmia's water has dried up. The level of water has been declining since 1995.The lake's drying up has an impact on the flora and fauna of the region. Experts on environmental issues say that the measures taken by the Iranian government are not enough to save the lake.Iranian President, Hassan Rouhanihas set up a working group for saving Lake Urmia called the Committee for Urmia Lake Restoration.Saadat said the scholars from Russia, Canada, Japan, the U.S. and European countries, who carried out the necessary research for restoring of the shoaling Aral Sea, were invited to Iran. There have been several meetings attended by them on the issue.“Their proposals were considered and studied, and afterwards a package of proposals was prepared in six months in accordance with the recommendations,” he said, adding that the package consists of 25 proposals, each of which includes certain paragraphs.The Iranian government has allocated a huge amount of money to solve the problem.Earlier, KioumarsDaneshjou, Head of the Water Resources Department of West Azerbaijan Province said the administration allocated 3.7 billion rials (about $139 million based on official rate of 26,600 rials per $1) to implement projects aimed at revival of Lake Urmia for current fiscal year started on March 21.The shoaling problem of Lake Urmia is a matter of concern not only for the Iranian government, but also other countries and international organizations of the world.UN Resident Coordinator Lewis in October 2013 proposed ways to prevent the death of the world's largest saltwater lake, the Lake Urmia.Lewis warned in his report that the slow death of the Lake Urmia signals a warning for the future.“Funds were allocated for realization of several projects as part of the package of proposals. Under the package of proposals, it is necessary to transform the system of agriculture near the lake,” Saadat said.He further noted that it is necessary to switch from the traditional irrigation system to the efficient one.“There are small ponds and reservoirs near the Lake Urmia, and we are trying to direct their waters into the lake. This will also help its recovery,” Saadat added.Touching upon the possibility of implementing the project for transferring water from the Caspian Sea and Araz River to Lake Urmia, he noted that first it is necessary to define the chemical composition of these waters more exactly.“The waters of the Caspian Sea have a high content of sulfates, while there is much sodium chloride in the waters of Lake Urmia and their interflow can create even more problems,” Saadat said.An investment agreement worth around 875 million Euro for the transition of Araz River’s waters to the Lake Urmia was signed in Iran in July 2013.Under this project, Iran plans to resolve the water shortage problem in eight cities and 81 villages. Azerbaijan to establish protecting walls against Armenian bullets Politics Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:16:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaThe constant shelling by the Armenian armed forces of the border villages and settlements near the contact line of troops, forced the Azerbaijani government to build some protecting walls to save the lives of people against Armenian violence.The frequent ceasefire violations by the Armenian armed forces have caused serious damages to homes and farms in these villages and left many injuries and deaths. Almost, every house in those villages has suffered from the Armenian bullets.Specially, the schools and other educational centers are under the constant danger. There are growing concerns over the life of children. The Armenian armed forces deliberately target the children. Because of the restless shelling, the children cannot go to schools or even play in yard of their homes.Therefore, the Azerbaijani government has developed new measures to protect its citizens from the dangerous and damaging shelling by the Armenian forces.The protecting walls will be built in all villages located near the frontline to protect the schools and kindergartens from the enemy bullets. Several times, the schools in the areas located near the contact line were forced to be closed as a result of ceaseless firing. The works on building the walls around the schools and kindergartens have already been started, the local media reported.The construction work has been carried out in Aghdam village of Azerbaijan’s Tovuz region. The protecting walls of the school in this village are almost completed.Gasim Hajiyev, who leads the construction works, said: “Schools and kindergartens are the open target of the Armenian bullets. The protecting walls for the schools are being built in the village. Also, another retaining wall that was built around the kindergarten of the village will be completed soon."Besides, the houses in this village damaged by Armenian bullets are also being rebuilt.Shamsi Yusifov, a villager said his home now in an emergency condition as a result of the constant shelling by the Armenian armed forces since 1991.Gulmira Rzaguliyeva, another villager said: “During the shooting, the shells hit my house. As a result of the shelling, a part of my house has fallen and it is now in a very poor condition.”Also, Azerbaijan plans to build some protecting walls for the houses located close to the enemy positions.As a result of Armenian troop’s violence, the residents of these settlements have gone through great difficulties. The frequent ceasefire violations by Armenian armed forces have hampered their daily lives.The residents of these villages earn their life by farming. However, the ceasefire violations make it impossible to work on their lands, take their cattle for grazing, as well as use the water of the rivers originating from Armenia. The Armenian armed forces frequently wound the villagers in their homes or on their farms, as well as take them hostage.In September, 15-year-old Javid Mammadov was taken hostage by Armenian soldiers near the village of Chayli in Azerbaijan's Tartar region.They also injured three children while they were playing in their homes' yard.The Armenian forces even don’t hesitate to kill the innocent children. On March 8, in 2011, nine-year-old Fariz Badalov was shot in the head by an Armenian sniper while playing in the courtyard in Aghdam region. The international organizations condemned this brutal action of Armenian invaders.In July of the same year, 13-year-old Azerbaijani girl Aygun Shahmaliyeva fell victim to the Armenia`s inhumane and immoral policy in the Alibayli village of Azerbaijan`s Tovuz region, which borders Armenia. Aygun tragically died as a result of the explosion of a toy with an explosive device, which the Armenian side deliberately dropped into the river flowing to the village.Earlier, in 1994 two children were killed as a result of explosions of some toys that they found in Tovuz River.The precarious cease-fire between Azerbaijan and Armenia was reached after a lengthy war that displaced over a million Azerbaijanis. It has been in place between the two South Caucasus countries since 1994. Since the beginning of the hostilities, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan Politics Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:14:00 +0400 Armenian armed forces have broken ceasefire with Azerbaijan 47 times in numerous positions in the last 24 hours, Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on Nov.27.Armenian armed forces located in the village of Aygepar of Armenia’s Berd district opened fire at positions of Azerbaijani armed forces located in the village of Alibeyli of Tovuz district.At the same time, Azerbaijani positions located in the village of Gizilhajili of Gazakh district took fire from the positions located in the village of Berkaber of Armenian’s Ijevan district.Moreover, Azerbaijani positions underwent fire from the positions located near the villages of Shuraabad, Yusifjanli, Merzili, Shikhlar, Sarijali, Bash Gervend, Novruzlu of Aghdam, Kuropatkino of Khojavend, Ashagi Seyidahmadli, Ashagi Veyselli of Fizuli district.Azerbaijani positions also took fire from the positions located at the nameless heights of Goranboy, Fizuli and Jabrayil districts.The opposing side was silenced with return fire.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions./Trend/ Exchange rate of AZN compared to world currencies on Nov.27 Analytics Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:53:00 +0400 The exchange rate of AZN compared to the world currencies and precious metals on Nov.27, according to the Central Bank of Azerbaijan.Currencies and precious metalsNov. 26, 2014Nov. 27, 20141 US dollar1 USD0.78440.78441 euro1 EUR0.97830.98121 Australian dollar1 AUD0.66950.67431 ArgentinianPeso1 ARS0.09210.092100 Belarusian Rubles100 BYR0.00720.00721 Brazilian Real1 BRL0.310.31361 UAE dirham1 AED0.21360.21361 South African Rand1 ZAR0.07150.0716100 South Korean Won100 KRW0.07090.07131 Czech koruna1 CZK0.03550.03561 Chilean Peso1 CLP0.13090.13091 Chinse Yuan1 CNY0.12790.12781 Danish Krone1 DKK0.13150.13191 Georgian Lari1 GEL0.42950.42931 Hong Kong Dollar1 HKD0.10110.10121 Indian Rupee1 INR0.01270.01271 British pound sterling1 GBP1.23131.2388100 Indonesian rupiah100 IDR0.00640.0064100 Iranian rials100 IRR0.0030.00291 Swedish Krona1 SEK0.10560.1061 Swiss Franc1 CHF0.81370.81611 Israeli Shekel1 ILS0.20310.20261 Canadian Dollar1 CAD0.69610.69651 Kuwaiti Dinar1 KWD2.69362.69461 Kazakhstan Tenge1 KZT0.00430.00431 Kyrgyz Som1 KGS0.01360.01361 Lithuanian Litas1 LTL0.28330.2842100 Lebanese pounds100 LBP0.05180.05181 Malaysian ringgit1 MYR0.23430.23441 Mexican Peso1 MXP0.05730.05721 Moldovan Leu1 MDL0.05230.05231 Egyptian Pound1 EGP0.10970.10971 Norwegian krone1 NOK0.11520.1149100 Uzbek soums100 UZS0.03270.03271 Polish Zloty1 PLN0.23430.23471 Russian ruble1 RUR0.01690.01651 Singapore Dollar1 SGD0.60330.60451 Saudi Riyal1 SAR0.20910.2091 SDR (IMF Special Drawing Rights)1 SDR1.14721.14851 Turkish lira1 TRY0.3530.35471 Taiwanese Dollar1 TWD0.02540.02541 Tajik Somoni1 TJS0.14870.151 New Turkmen manat1 TMM0.27520.27521 Ukrainian hryvnia1 UAH0.05190.0519100 Japanese yen100 JPY0.66580.66851 New Zealand dollar1 NZD0.61310.6209Gold (1 ounce)1 XAU940.4956939.319Silver (1 ounce)1 XAG13.041312.7404Platinum (1 ounce)1 XPT951.4772957.7524Palladium (1 ounce)1 XPD625.1668625.9512 /Trend/ Armenian media admit occupation of Azerbaijani lands World news Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:38:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevFive Armenian helicopters attending illegal military drills in the occupied Azerbaijani territory are still waiting for an opportunity to return their base as Azerbaijani army keeps its airspace under full control."The airspace over the occupied Azerbaijani lands is strictly controlled by the Air Force and Anti-Aircraft Forces of Azerbaijan," Armenian news portal reported.On November 12, an Armenian combat helicopter with three pilots on board deliberately violated Azerbaijan's airspace and attempted to fire at the position of the Azerbaijani army. It was immediately targeted by Azerbaijani soldiers and scattered down on an area in 500 meters of frontline.Armenian authorities claimed that the chopper was engaged in military drills. But the video footage of the incident captured the scene as the shooting occurred when two Armenian MI-24 helicopters clearly breached Azerbaijan's airspace.The source added that one of the attack helicopters, which was in a combat pair with the chopper downed by the Azerbaijani army, was seriously damaged when the crashed helicopter exploded in the sky over the occupied lands of Azerbaijan.The lands which Armenia keeps under its occupation for almost 25 years, are the historical and legal territory of Azerbaijan.Armenian authorities pushed all limits to mask the illegal engagement of its combat helicopters in military exercises in the Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan. Defense Ministry of the post-Soviet country accused Azerbaijani side of shooting a civilian chopper. The brand and technical specifications of the helicopter proved it was a Russia-made attack helicopter, which is called "flying tank" due to its armored body and heavy armament.Three Armenian soldiers, killed on a helicopter crash during a provocative flight over Azerbaijan's airspace, were buried in Yerevan on November 25.While whole Armenia acclaimed them as "national heroes", local media acknowledged the reality, calling the helicopter's crash site occupied territories of Azerbaijan.Pope Pole VI has said: "If you want peace, work for justice." Azerbaijan has repeatedly said the peace is the first option to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. While Azerbaijan remains loyal to peace negotiations, Armenia is continuing provocations impeding justice to win. Azerbaijani Kelaghayi enters UNESCO’s list Arts & Entertainment Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:34:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaAzerbaijani national woman headscarf, Kelaghayi, has been included into the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the Azerbaijan’s Permanent Delegation to UNESCO posted in its official Twitter page.The ninth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritageis examining 41 nominations for the list with 950 participants in Paris on November 24-28.“Azerbaijani Kelaghayi is now in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,” the delegation tweeted.Azerbaijan’s traditional art and symbolism of Kelaghayi was proposed to be added into the UNESCO list by Azerbaijan’s First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and the country’s Culture and Tourism Ministry.The joint activity of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation headed by Mehriban Aliyeva and the Ministry resulted in conformation of Kelaghayi art as one of the most important example of the culture, customs and traditions, national and spiritual values of the Azerbaijani people.Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Sevda Mammadaliyeva expressed gratitude to the members of the committee and emphasized that the inclusion of Kelaghayi art in the UNESCO list will help the development of this art in the country.Kelaghayi is Azerbaijani women's national headscarf made from fine and soft silk in a four-cornered shape. It is an integral part of women's national costume in Azerbaijan.Kelaghayis differ from each other in terms of their color tints and sizes and social status. Unmarried girls cover their heads with kelaghayis of bright colors, such as yellow, pink, gold or purple, while dark colored kelaghayis are for older women.There are special regions of the country famous for kelaghayis production including Ganja, Shamakhi, Sheki, and Nakhchivan, and Basqal settlement of the Ismayilli region. Currently, there are special dynasties that continue the tradition of kelaghayi making.The trend of wearing traditional scarves has already reached modern Azerbaijan.Intangible cultural heritage list consists of living cultural traditions, including oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.At present, the Representative List includes 281 elements. Besides Kelaghayi, the list also includes performance art of Mugham, Azerbaijani ashug art, performance on national music instrument tar, Novruz holiday, the Azerbaijani carpet. Azerbaijani Mugam singer to give concert Arts & Entertainment Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:31:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliThe solo concert titled “Remember” of Azerbaijani Mugam singer, honored artist Konul Khasiyeva will be held in the International Mugam Center at 20:00 on December 16.Khasiyeva has prepaid a new concert program, which will also include folk songs. Her compositions touch the soul of every audience, affect the most cherished in the heart strings and plunge into the world of folk music.The cost of ticket is 38, 45, 75 and 100 manats. International Mugam Center is located at Neftchiler prospect, Boulevard.Azerbaijani Mugham, a unique musical and poetic phenomenon, was created on the basis of historical and cultural traditions that have existed for centuries. It is one of Azerbaijan's most valuable monuments of the material and spiritual culture and the greatest achievement of Azerbaijani people's musical and poetic art.Azerbaijan is proud of its national music. It has been able to preserve it during the hard times of the Soviet Union, when national art forms were out of favor. However, people gave their lives to save this form of art. It was even sent into space as a worthily sample of musical creativity of the world civilization.Nowadays, Azerbaijan encourages the art of Mugham through holding international festivals and competitions. The International Center of Mugham was built in the form of tar in Baku in 2008. South Korean PM arrives in Baku Politics Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:01:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Aynur JafarovaSouth Korean Prime Minister Jung Hong-won embarked on an official visit to Azerbaijan on November 26.A guard of honor was lined up for the prime minister at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport decorated with the national flags of the two countries.He was welcomed by Azerbaijan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ali Ahmadov and other officials.The relations between Azerbaijan and South Korea cover many areas, in particular, politics, economics, culture and other fields.Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in March 1992. In 1997 Azerbaijan's Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) signed an agreement on business cooperation and business promotion.The two countries have signed over 40 agreements.Korea exports to Azerbaijan mainly automobile and plastic and electronic products while the South Caucasus republic exports oil, aluminum and copper products to Korea.Korean companies are involved in the project on intellectual management of transport and construction of Yevlakh-Ganja highway and are also interested in the projects on petrochemical parks in Azerbaijan.There is a great potential for cooperation in the tourism sector as well. SOFAZ considers all risks while investing abroad Business Thu, 27 Nov 2014 10:22:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Aynur JafarovaAzerbaijan’s state oil fund SOFAZ takes into account all possible risks while planning to invest in various financial instruments abroad, in particular in the Russian market which is going through a difficult period.SOFAZ made the statements commenting on the possible impact of the progressive devaluation of the Russian ruble and the stock market decline on the fund's revenues from assets management in Russia during the third quarter, Trend Agency said.SOFAZ owns a real estate in Russia, and is one of the shareholders of VTB Bank.As part of its new investment policy, pursued since 2012, SOFAZ purchased Gallery Actor, a mixed-use office and retail complex located on Pushkin Square in Moscow for $133 million.SOFAZ owns a 2.95 percent stake in VTB Bank, the second largest bank of Russia. The cost of this acquisition amounted to $500 million.“Despite the fact that there are significant changes in the value of shares of VTB Bank on the background of the recent events, we would like to note that in accordance with the investment policy of the fund, such investments do not pursue short-term speculative purposes, but are provided for long-term goals. Along with SOFAZ, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund (4.59 percent), Qatar Investment Fund (2.95 percent), U.S. Blackrock Fund Advisors (1,24 percent), and other significant structures are among the shareholders of VTB,” the fund noted.Before investing in various financial instruments, SOFAZ conducts serious analysis of all possible risks, including financial ones. Along with a thorough examination of the overall credit profile of the issuer, its solvency in the long term, the level of sustainability of external shocks in the short and medium term, the fund seriously considers the factor of systemic importance of the structure in the country and the region in this process.“Investments in Russia, as well as in other countries, are under constant control and study,” SOFAZ stressed.SOFAZ, an entity that accumulates and manages Azerbaijan's oil and gas revenues, was established in 1999 with assets worth $271 million.The main purposes of the fund are accumulation of funds and placement of assets abroad to minimize negative impacts on economy, prevention of the 'Dutch disease', ensuring savings for future generations, and maintaining the current social and economic standards in the country.SOFAZ assets are placed partly in securities, money market instruments (deposits, bank accounts). Azerbaijan to install card payment system in buses next year Politics Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:35:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliAzerbaijan will install card payment system in public transport buses in Baku from March 1, 2015.“All necessary measures are being implemented,” said Musa Panahov, Deputy Transport Minister.The deputy said that the Ministry is working hard to complete to issue plastic public transport cards till March 1.“I can confidently say that the implementation of the e-payment system will be finished before the European Olympic Games scheduled for 2015 in Baku,” Panahov said.He added that these cards further will also be used in subway, catering and taxi.“Besides the transport cards, travel payment will also be possible via bank cards. In this regard, the work is underway,” he noted.Panakhov also spoke about the travel cost in public transport buses. He said that transition to the new card system or purchase of new buses will not affect the cost of travel payment.“The issue of the growth in the travel payment is usually among the most asked questions. However, this issue has not been raised yet,” he stated.Transition to the single card payment system was forecasted in Baku from May 2013, but was repeatedly delayed.The card payment system is being implemented within an intellectual transport management (ITM) system, which was launched in December 2011. The ITM system costs more than $95 million. After full commissioning, it will be controlled from a center in Baku.Panahov further said the Ministry intends to tighten the fight against public transport buses’ drivers to ensure the safety of passengers.He said that the issue of safety of public transport passengers is very important. To this end, the Ministry implements some measures regularly. However, the goal of complete prevention of road accidents at all has not been achieved yet.The deputy added that those public transport drivers, who violate the laws, are strictly punished. For the last years, 17-18 bus drivers have been fired.Panakhov stated that in order to increase the quality of services in public transport, a campaign called Baku Bus has been already established.Baku Bus campaign was founded by the Baku Executive Power. Some 150 Crealis CNG branded buses were purchased from French “Iveco” company, which meet the latest environmental standards (Euro 6). Working via gas, they are also provided with GPS system.Parking machinesPanahov also spoke about one of the most important issues of traffic jam for the city residents. Parking machines has been recently installed in some Baku streets to regulate the process of proper parking and timely departure of vehicles.He said that the decision of installation of parking machines, as part of the measures to improve the street parking is a very well thought plan.“The system is going on now and will continue in future. Some shortcomings may be at the initial stages. However, we think that this is a good measure to prevent traffic jam in the city,” the deputy noted.Department Head at the Baku Executive Power Hasan Abdullayev said that a new system of payment via parking machines will be applied in Baku next year.He said that the new system is almost ready and it has been already tested successfully“Besides cash payment, drivers can pay via SMS and plastic cards. Drivers can use plastic cards from January, while SMS system will be available from January-February of next year,” the department head said.Abdullayev noted that the payment cards have already been ordered. “They will be issued step by step, starting from the city center. Installation of counting systems in park machines has been already begun, as well,” he said.After application of the new system drivers will be notified about the parking with vacant places via electronic scoreboard and special programs, uploaded in smartphones.New electric train Baku-SumgayitThe Transport Ministry is working on the project of launching electronic train on Baku-Sumgayit route, Panakhov stated.He said this is big project requiring a high amount of money. That is why discussions on various financing options are underway.The deputy minister expressed hope that this issue will be solved soon.The need for electric transport between Baku and Sumgayit comes because of the huge passenger flow in this direction. Caspian Sea level falls Society Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:00:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaThe level of the Caspian Sea, the pearl of the region, continues to decrease reaching the mark of 28 meters below the global ocean level.Director of the Geography Institute at the Azerbaijani National Academy of Sciences Ramis Mammadov noted that today’s level of the Caspian Sea approximately corresponds to the level of the sea in the 1970s.He went on to say that the main reason for lowering level is the climate change.Earlier, the institute predicted that the Caspian Sea level will rise by up to two meters after 2020. The Caspian Sea level has relatively stabilized since 1995. This period will last until 2020, the Azerbaijani scientists believe.Each sea has its own water balance, which consists of the flowing rivers falling into it and precipitation and evaporation from its surface. "If the water balance changes, the sea level will also change," he said.Mammadov said that the main water flow into the Caspian Sea came from the Volga River, the level of which has dropped in recent years."This year, the volume of the river fell sharply to 200 cubic kilometers, while earlier it was 300 cubic kilometers. When adding water volume of 5 cubic kilometers in the Caspian Sea, the sea level will rise by one centimeter. The reduction of water flowing into the Caspian Sea on 100 cubic kilometers will lead to the lowering of the sea level by 20 centimeters. In addition, the average annual rainfall has decreased," he added.Both lowering and rising of the sea level have their positive and negative sides. The rising sea level causes floods on the coastal areas, while its reduction will hamper the works of the ports, he stressed.Mammadov also noted that the lowering of the level of the Caspian Sea should not be a cause for concern, since it is one of the features of the sea.Speaking about the possibility of the seawater purification given the concerns over the pollution of the Caspian Sea, he said that this amount of water cannot be cleaned. “So, we need to stop pollution of the sea,” he added.Experts believe that some of the causes of pollution in the sea include: development of hydrocarbon reserves in the sea and its surrounding areas, high density of population and industry in the adjacent areas, intensive agricultural development in valleys and the rivers flowing into them, and its closed ecosystem.The Caspian Sea, a home to about 141 fish species, is rich with natural resources. The resource-rich basin of the Caspian Sea has been in the spotlight of the coastal nations – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Iran.The littoral states have not yet reached a consensus on the basin's legal status. The unresolved status issues have caused many problems, the most significant of which is its increased pollution. Oil production and refining has adversely affected the environmental condition of the sea. President Ilham Aliyev hold meetings Politics Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:53:00 +0400 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received the credentials of the newly-appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Philippines Maria Rowena Mendoza Sanchez.Ambassador Maria Rowena Mendoza Sanchez reviewed the guard of honor.The diplomat handed his credentials to President Ilham Aliyev.President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev then had a conversation with the Ambassador.Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Maria Rowena Mendoza Sanchez conveyed greetings on behalf of President of the Republic of the Philippines Benigno Aquino III to the head of state. Highlighting friendly relations between the two countries, the Ambassador noted with pleasure that the two nations share common values.Hailing the development of bilateral ties between Azerbaijan and the Philippines, President Ilham Aliyev said there were good opportunities for the expansion of relations on various fronts, including political, economic, humanitarian and other spheres.The head of state expressed his gratitude for the greetings of President Benigno Aquino III and asked the diplomat to communicate his greetings to the President of the Philippines.***President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received the credentials of the newly-appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Guatemala Herbert Estuardo Meneses Coronado.Ambassador Herbert Estuardo Meneses Coronado reviewed the guard of honor.Herbert Estuardo Meneses Coronado handed his credentials to President Ilham Aliyev.President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev then had a conversation with the Ambassador.The head of state noted that there was good potential for the development of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Guatemala. Saying that the two countries were successfully cooperating within international organizations, President Ilham Aliyev stressed the necessity of exploring opportunities for the expansion of bilateral bonds in various areas, including economic one.The head of state expressed confidence that the Ambassador would contribute to the development of these ties.Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Herbert Estuardo Meneses Coronado conveyed greetings on behalf of President of the Republic of Guatemala Otto Fernando Perez Molina to the head of state. He noted that the President of his country attached great importance to developing bilateral relations with Azerbaijan. The Ambassador said he would spare no efforts to contribute to the development of ties between the two countries during his diplomatic tenure.The head of state expressed his gratitude for the greetings of President Otto Fernando Perez Molina and asked the diplomat to communicate his greetings to the President of the Republic of Guatemala./AzerTAc/ Baku urges CoE commissioner to ensure rights of refugees, IDPs Politics Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:28:00 +0400 By Sara RajabovaAzerbaijani official called on Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks to ensure the protection of the rights of Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs.Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hikmet Hajiyev told Trend Agency that during the latest visit of Muiznieks to Azerbaijan, all conditions were created to hold meetings at various levels, however, he didn’t fully take advantage of this opportunity.Hajiyev made the remarks commenting on the statement of Muiznieks, who demanded the release of arrested human rights defenders in Azerbaijan.Hajiyev noted that each of the persons named by the commissioner is charged with concrete criminal offenses.“Alongside with other charges, LeylaYunusova is also charged with treason. The charges brought against Anar Mammadli on which the court has already issued a decision, are related to tax evasion,” Hajiyevsaid.He also added that the interference in the work of the judicial system is a violation of the fundamental principle of the Council of Europe. He, however, noted that Muiznieks was given an opportunity to meet with the persons under investigation.“Under the mandate of the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, Muiznieks should ensure the protection of over a million Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs, who have been deprived of their fundamental rights envisaged in the European Convention on Human Rights,” Hajiyev said.The bloody war, which flared up in the late 1980s due to Armenia's territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor, left without home over a million of civilians of Nagorno-Karabakh and the regions adjoining it, as well as the regions bordering with Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.They are temporarily settled in more than 1,600 settlements across 62 cities and regions of Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijanis who were displaced from their homes as result of the brutal war were forced to live in refugee camps, tents and wagons in very difficult conditions.Hajiyev further said the Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights envisages the obligation to respect human rights and the Article 2 states that everyone has the right to live.“We expect that Muiznieks will put pressure on Armenia under the mandate and demand it to return the Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs to their native lands,” Hajiyev added.As a result of the military aggression of Armenia, over 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, 4,866 are reported missing and almost 100,000 were injured, and 50,000 were disabled.The UN Security Council has passed four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal from the Azerbaijani territory, but they have not been enforced to this day. Importers in Armenia grappling with low purchasing power World news Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:26:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevDecline in the number of population and purchasing power in Armenia seriously affected the imports, making it go down.Large importers in the post-Soviet country expect more modest spending by the people in the new year. That prediction urges them to revise their seasonal import plans.Importers intend to bring in 5-10 percent less goods to Armenia compared to their regular amount of importation. Two main problems - decreasing number of the population and weakening purchasing power - are behind the reduction in imports.Money inflow into Armenia is on a catastrophic decrease amid the sharp fall of the Russian ruble. Particularly the remittances from Russia has dropped for the fourth month in a row since June. Migrant money from Russia plays a vital role for low-income and socially vulnerable Armenians, portraying their power of purchase. So, the decrease in private money transfers from the overseas delivers a hard blow on the common purchasing power in Armenia.Importers have already predicted the stagnation in Armenia's domestic markets before the sudden devaluation of the Armenian dram. Now, the ruble is going to hit the record low, losing its value nearly by 23 percent against the euro and 30 percent against the dollar. This trend is a SOS signal in Armenia given the huge influence of the Russian economy on it. So, the importers warned on a deficit of several goods in the markets on the new year's eve.Armenian markets are also observing a price hike, which is conditioned with the decrease in the weight of goods and increase in their market prices."Hike in the prices of nuts, buckwheat, meat, even bread is currently observing in the markets of our country," said Armen Pogosyan, Head of the Association of Armenian Consumers.Pogosyan said Armenia spends about $90 million to import goods from foreign markets instead of producing those goods. "Allocating $20 million to production measures would help the local farmers to cultivate the imported goods here in Armenia."The National Statistics Service has recently reported a 1.8 percent fall in the overall production of bread in Armenia. About 219 tons of bread produced in the first nine months of this year compared to nearly 222 tons of production of the vitally essential food product last year.Declining bread production is reportedly linked to the weak consumer demand and purchasing power in the country. Moreover, the emigration from the country plays a negative role to worsen the situation in markets. The resident population in Armenia was 3.02 million last year until the official data revealed about 54,000 permanently emigrated residents this year. Decrease in a demand for bread is directly proportional to the fall in number of the population. Seems, the Armenians want to eat bread abroad instead of meeting their daily intake norm in their native land. Paris to learn about Baku 2015 Sports Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:22:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaThe Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Azerbaijan’s embassy in France will present Baku-2015 European Games in Paris on November 26.Within the framework of the event, the guests will familiarize with an exhibition comprised of bronze statues devoted to “Baku-2015”. Called “We Together”, this exhibition will demonstrate over 20 works by Azerbaijani sculptors.Following, attendees of the event will be presented a documentary devoted to the first European Games. Preparation works carried out in Baku in connection with this competition, the sports infrastructure created and other actions taken have been reflected in the documentary.At the presentation ceremony, violinists of the State Chamber Orchestra of Azerbaijan named after Gara Garayev will perform.The guests of the ceremony will be also presented various publications about Azerbaijan.Presentations of the first European Games Baku-2015 have been held so far, with the organizational support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, in the cities of Cannes, Athens, Berlin and Istanbul.Each of these events was remembered by various presentations related to Azerbaijan’s history and culture. The presentations aimed to inform onlookers in other countries of the inaugural European Games, as well as preparation works carried out in Azerbaijan for these Games, and popularize the culture, art and traditions of Azerbaijan.Baku will host the first European Games next summer from 12 – 28 June, involving more than 6,000 athletes from the National Olympic Committees of Europe across 17 days of competition, in what will be the largest sporting event in Azerbaijan’s history. NATO resolution highlights Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity Politics Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:10:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaAzerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty issue has been included into the NATO resolution.Malahat Ibrahimgizi, an MP and member of the Azerbaijani delegation to NATO PA told TrendAgency that the article on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan has been added to the resolution on “NATO Reassurance and Support to Partners”, adopted at the 60th annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, held in The Hague on November 24.Ibrahimgizi said the Armenians tried to prevent the introduction of this article in the resolution. But despite their efforts, as a result of the arguments of the Azerbaijani side, this resolution was adopted.She went on to add that the Armenians have also tried to add an article on "self-determination of minorities" to the resolution, but the Azerbaijani delegation was able to prevent this attempt.The delegation said at the meeting that the Armenians have once realized self-determination, and the other delegations rejected this article, according to Ibrahimgizi.Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, after laying territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor that caused a brutal war in the early 1990s. Long-standing efforts by U.S., Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far.As a result of the military aggression of Armenia, over 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, 4,866 are reported missing and almost 100,000 were injured, and 50,000 were disabled.The UN Security Council has passed four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal from the Azerbaijani territory, but they have not been enforced to this day. Heavy rains hit Azerbaijan's southern region Society Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:42:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliThe heavy rains falling in Lankaran, the south region of Azerbaijan on November 24-25 have left widespread devastation.More than 1,000 homes have been flooded in Lankaran as well as in its various villages and towns.People and some livestock of Lankaran’s villages have been evacuated.Rescuers of the Regional Emergency Center and the State Service for Water Rescue evacuated 38 people and 30 sheep and goats, as well as 10 cattle from Gekshaban village.Houses and gardens in the Girdani village of Lankaran region were also hit by flood. In Havzava village, 20 houses were left without electricity. Majority of agricultural products have been spoiled.All the necessary measures are taken to eliminate the consequences of heavy rains.Meanwhile, snow fell in Azerbaijan again covering mountain villages in Sheki region.The weather will be rainy in Azerbaijani regions for November 26. Sleet and snow, fog in some places are also expected.In Baku and Absheron Peninsula, cloudy weather with rains and winds will dominate. The temperature will be 4-6 at night and 6-9 during the day. Baku hosts int’l industry conference Business Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:27:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliThe international conference entitled "Industrialization in the 21st century: main trends of industrial policy, a modern approach and practices" kicked off in Baku on November 26.Addressing the event, Azerbaijani Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev said the conference will discuss new approaches in modern industrial policy.He noted industry was the main priority of the Azerbaijani economy, adding 2014 was declared a year of industry by President Ilham Aliyev.Li Yong, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) attended the event via video message.“The Baku Industry Conference is a significant platform for holding discussions of modern approaches in the world industry,” Li Yong said.Yong hailed the Azerbaijani government’s policy to develop industry.He expressed his confidence that the Framework Programme on Cooperation between the Government of the Azerbaijani Republic and UNIDO will contribute to ensuring the sustainable development of Azerbaijani industry and Azerbaijan-2020 development concept.UNIDO Director of Business, Investment and Technology Services Mohamed Lamine Dhaoui said he believes the conference will yield fruitful results.As part of the event Azerbaijan and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have signed a Framework Programme on Cooperation for 2014-2018. The document was inked by Shahin Mustafayev and Mohamed-Lamine Dhaoui. Azerbaijani, Turkish Ashiqs perform in Baku Arts & Entertainment Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:15:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliAs part of the Days of Turkish Culture, a concert titled “Competition between National Poets” was held in Azerbaijani State Music Theatre named after Rashid Behbutov in Baku on November 25.Addressing the event, Deputy Director of the Policy Department of Culture and Tourism Ministry Fikrat Babayev stressed the importance of holding Turkish Days in Azerbaijan.He noted that such projects play a big role in strengthening relations between fraternal countries. “The both countries respect Ashiq art, which is an integral part of our ancient culture. I hope that the concert, which has brought Azerbaijani and Turkish Ashiqs together, will please all the music lovers,” the deputy said.Talking about the importance that Azerbaijani government attaches to the Ashiq art, Babayev recalled the second International Ashiq Festival held on November 12-17.He also added that holding such events is among the further aims of Azerbaijan, as it serves as a bond among the Turkish world.Speaking at the event, Culture and Information Officer of Turkish Embassy in Azerbaijan Seyid Ahmad Arslan underlined that the two countries has common language, religion and culture and Ashiq art as a sample of common culture has been developing regularly.Following, the Ashiqs performed at the concert. Firstly, Azerbaijani Ashiqs showed their talent. Then Gultakin Buludoglu and Baheddin Yildizoglu performed Ashiq songs.Battles of Gadabay Ashiqs made the event more interesting. The concert was welcomed by applause.Also, the “Colors from Turkey” exhibition was also held in the Baku Museum Center on November 25 as pat of the Days of Turkish Culture.During the exhibition, Turkish art masters demonstrated their skills: artistic metal stamping, painting of ceramic products and the art of embroidery. Moreover, Turkish artists demonstrated their talents in the process of creating paintings in the “Ebru” art.The Days of Turkish Culture will go on in the capital of Azerbaijan till November 27. Azerbaijan steps up in ITU rating Business Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:15:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaAzerbaijan has taken the 64th place in the world in terms of ICT development, the International Telecommunication Union said. The country improved its rating by one position - from 65th place in 2012 to 64th in 2013.The ranking has been published regularly by the ITU from 2009. It is recognized by governments, UN agencies and industries as the most accurate and impartial measure of overall national ICT development.ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI) ranks 166 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills. The average value of IDI for all the listed countries is 4.77.It combines 11 indicators into a single measure that can be used as a benchmarking tool globally, regionally, and at national level, as well as helping track progress in ICT development over time.The report measures ICT access, use and skills, and includes such indicators as mobile cellular subscriptions, households with a computer, Internet users, fixed and mobile broadband Internet subscriptions, and basic literacy rates.Azerbaijan is among 10 most rapidly developing countries in the ranking, while Denmark ranked first , followed by the Republic of Korea.The IDI’s top 30-ranking include countries from Europe and high-income nations from other regions including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Japan, Macao (China), New Zealand, Singapore and the U.S.In terms of regional comparisons, Europe’s average IDI value of 7.14 remains well ahead of the next best-performing region, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS - 5.33), followed by the Americas (4.86), Asia & the Pacific (4.57), the Arab States (4.55), and Africa at 2.31.The CIS and the Arab States showed the highest improvement in regional IDI averages over the past 12 months. Almost all countries surveyed improved their IDI ranking this year.The highest result in the CIS region for IDI was recorded in Belarus (6.89) and Russia (6.70). In all CIS countries, the index is below the average for developed countries - 7.20.The most noticeable improvement was recorded in Belarus - the country came from 43rd place in 2012 to 38th in 2013 and Georgia that is not included in the CIS, but included in the ranking of the Commonwealth countries - from 83rd to 72nd. All other CIS countries have deteriorated by one notch, except for Kazakhstan, whose rating has not changed, and the Ukraine, which has lost two points.More growth was recorded in the number of households with Internet access in Russia (67 percent and 70 percent respectively).This figure exceeds 50 percent in Azerbaijan, Belarus and Kazakhstan, while it is less than 10 percent in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.Azerbaijan and Russia have relatively wide fixed broadband coverage with 17 percent, while Belarus takes the lead for this index in the region with 30 percent.Azerbaijan has also promoted its ranking in the ITU’s study "State of Broadband Report 2014". The study showed that Azerbaijan has risen three points compared to last year and ranked 63rd with 58.7 percent among 191 countries. The world's average index on internet penetration among individual internet users is 37.9 percent.Among the CIS countries, Azerbaijan ranked second after Russia that settled at the 56th place.Azerbaijan also ranked first among the CIS countries in terms of broadband internet penetration among home users in developing countries. The country has improved its position by one point, taking 24th place with 58.7 percent, while the world average is 29.9 percent.In fixed broadband Internet per 100 inhabitants, Azerbaijan ranked 48th with 17 percent. The country improved its position by four points. The global average in this segment is 9.4 percent.As for the degree of penetration of mobile broadband, Azerbaijan improved its position by four points, securing 46th place with 43.9 percent, ranking fifth among the CIS countries.Azerbaijan is now undertaking measures to develop its non-oil segment of economy. In this context, ICT is one of the prominent sectors. Over the past five years, the income of information technology sector of Azerbaijan has doubled. Azerbaijan’s forex reserves enough to cover three-year import Business Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:49:00 +0400 By Aynur JafarovaAzerbaijan’s strategic foreign exchange reserves have increased by 7 percent or $3.5 billion in the first nine month of 2014.This was noted in a report on monetary policy in January-September 2014, released by the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) on November 25.The strategic foreign exchange reserves of the country are sufficient for covering import of goods and services for three years.The foreign exchange reserves of CBA increased by 6.1 percent compared to the beginning of the year reaching $15 billion.“As in previous years, the external position of the country was at an acceptable level. As a result, positive developments in the foreign sector affect the dynamics of foreign exchange reserves, which continued to rise over the last 9 months,” the report said.The activity of foreign investors remains high in the country, and in January-September 2014 the total volume of foreign investments made in the economy exceeded $4.5 billion, accounting for 29.6 percent of total investments.The volume of foreign exchange reserves of the CBA will increase to $15.5-$15.7 billion till the end of 2014.Rapid growth of the currency reserves was the main factor for the formation of a strong macroeconomic buffer and reduction of sensitivity of the domestic economy towards external shocks.The increase in reserves has led to continuation of investment making of the country. Saakashvili accuses Georgian authorities of treason World news Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:38:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevGeorgia has missed the right time to make use of the situation to settle the problem with its territorial integrity, said Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia's former President."We missed the time when we had to act. Now, we are behind the processes in the world and standing face to face with Russia," he said.Saakashvili once again blamed former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, as well as the incumbent government for the political relations with Russia."They are talking about their unique approach to relations with Russia ignoring the interference of West, which satisfies Russia. It doesn't make a sense whether it is unpresentable incompetence or they fulfill the orders of Russia, anyway, it is treason," Saakashvili added.The relations between Georgia and Russia pushed all limits when Georgian troops launched military operations to retake the breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions on August 8, 2008. Russian armed forces entered the regions to stop the military attacks by Georgian troops. After four days of tense fighting, Georgian forces were expelled from South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia carried out massive air strikes on the military and logistical targets inside Georgia, particularly in Gori city. Both sides agreed to a ceasefire on August 12. Russia is currently dominating the collective peacekeeping missions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.Saakashvili has left Georgia following the inauguration of incumbent President Giorgi Margvelashvili, in November 2013. Attorney General's Office of Georgia announced him wanted within the country's territory. Saakashvili is accused of the embezzlement of state funds for personal needs, as well as the misuse of official authority on the case of dispersing the rally on November 7, 2007 and beating the parliamentarian Valeri Gelashvili. Iran invites Azerbaijani, Turkish businessmen to invest in Maku Business Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:17:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaAn Iranian official has called on the Azerbaijani and Turkish businessmen to invest in Maku free economic area.Hossein Forouzan, the Executive Director of Iran’s Maku free economic area told Azerbaijani reports that investments in the free economic area are beneficial both for Iran and Azerbaijan.He noted that Maku has all the conditions required for making investments, adding the export of goods produced in the free economic area is exempt from customs duties.“The Maku free economic area, in particular, produces furniture and clothing. A preferential taxation for 20 years is applied for the enterprises working in the free economic area,” Forouzan added.Iran’s Maku free economic area was established in 2012. It is located on a land of 5,000 square meters. It unites the cities of Maku, Poldesht, Bazargan and Shot.Currently, the necessary infrastructure is being built for the development of this free economic area, and in six months an airport will be commissioned there.The road infrastructure has been improved in the Maku free economic area, and some land plots have been developed to construct industry facilities.At the moment, the Maku free economic area has 30 industrial enterprises that manufacture petrochemical products, furniture, plastic doors and windows.Forouzan also proposed to establish a joint free economic area on the border with Azerbaijan.“If Azerbaijan agrees, we are ready to create a free economic area near the Poldesht-Shahtakhti border checkpoint,” he said.Forouzan added that in the next two months, the economy and industry minister of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic will review the activities of the Maku free economic area.“I believe that after this visit, opportunities will be expanded for joint activities of the citizens of Iran and Azerbaijan,” he noted.Forouzan also expressed hope for strengthening relations between Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey.Iran and Azerbaijan have had diplomatic relations since 1918. Iran recognized Azerbaijan's independence in 1991, and diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992.Tehran has in recent years focused seriously on development of ties with neighboring countries, including Azerbaijan which enjoys various commonalties with Iran in religious, historical and cultural fields.The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran stood at $144.045 million in January-September 2014, according to the State Customs Committee (SCC) of Azerbaijan.In the past nine months, goods worth $115.6 million were imported to Azerbaijan, and the goods exported by the country amounted to $28.45 million. UNESCO backs Azerbaijan's initiative Arts & Entertainment Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:09:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliAzerbaijan's initiative on two projects, aimed at the protection of intangible cultural heritage of Bangladesh and Guatemala was supported by UNESCO.Azerbaijan’s initiative has highly appreciated in the ninth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which is being held at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris, France from November 24 to 28.Azerbaijan is represented by Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Sevda Mammadaliyeva, Head of International Relations and Cultural Affairs Department of the Ministry Vasif Eyvazzade and Azerbaijan's permanent representative to UNESCO Anar Kerimov.UNESCO Secretariat, president of the committee, as well as representatives of Bangladesh and Guatemala praised Azerbaijan for the initiation.The financial aid will be provided by the Trust Foundation, established as part of the agreement between Azerbaijan and UNESCO, signed in 2013.The foundation was established on the initiative and with the participation of the First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, MP, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO, Mehriban Aliyeva.Addressing the event Azerbaijan's permanent representative to UNESCO noted that that the country’s promotion on the UNESCO's activity is an indicator of the republic’s goodwill in the development of culture on an international level.The event discusses future implementation mechanisms of 2003 Convention, reports submitted by the member states on the implementation of the Convention, as well as the Representative list on Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO.The session is also focused on accreditation and evaluation of non-governmental organizations, the date of the 10th session of the Committee and the selection of committee Bureau members of the 10th session.Composed of 24 States and elected by the General Assembly of the States Parties to the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Intergovernmental Committee meets once every year. Armenia's 2015 state budget, another failure World news Wed, 26 Nov 2014 11:54:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevArmenia's state budget for 2015 remains to be in a hot seat over some controversial points that spark mixed reactions to it.Bagrat Asatryan, ex-Head of Armenia's Central Bank, said the budget for the next year was the remnant of the mid-term program initiated by the previous government."The document does not reflect the realities connected with the membership of the country at the Eurasian Economic Union and existing economic situation in Armenia," Astryan added. "It clearly shows that the authorities aim to wash their dirty hands."Focusing mostly on social and cultural domains expenditures is the key goal of Armenia's 2015 state budget. Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan said about 21.4 percent of the budget would also be spent for defense, maintenance of public order and national security. It proves that the government targets to tackle a mountain of unresolved problems in various fields, as well as to improve Armenia's defense capabilities.Maximum amount of the budget expenditures is nearly 57 percent, while roughly 22.8 percent of the overall budget will be allocated to maintain the police and judicial system along with increased expenditures for external debts, according to Asatryan."Providing expenditures for legislative and executive powers from the budget is a positive step. But I don't think it will eradicate the bribery in the main governmental bodies in Armenia," he said.Asatrayn went on to say that the budget needs thorough revision given the inadequate articles in the document, which are inversely proportional to the economic condition amid devaluation of the ruble and Armenia's integration into the EEU.Armenia's current condition requires immediate measures to forestall the economic decline. Numerous social problems in the country remain the same due to fruitless domestic policy of the government. The state budget provides no special measures to improve the condition of poor residents amid the National Statistics Service's report on a 32 percent of poverty rate in the country.Asatryan annulled the government's reports about the social-oriented image of the budget, saying the budget bears no sign of social involvement. "Socially vulnerable people will be provided with $92 social aid. Can it be a social-oriented budget?" said Asatryan, adding that the expenditures to maintain governmental bodies have considerably increased.The former head of the Central Bank noted that a large increase in budget expenditures is a crime against Armenians as the statesmen drive luxurious cars, use expensive mobile phones. "The state budget for 2015 is inadequate amid the realities in the country. The chance of succeeding with that budget is equal to zero," Asatryan said.Money cannot solve every problem, but it can overcome numerous challenges in the modern world. But the power of money is weakening against the huge problems almost in every field. Economy is falling, politics is in deadlock, industry is barely surviving, social life is facing its hardest ever days and the budget is out of strength to tackle these problems. So, Armenia needs a budget equal to Germany's $4 trillion GDP to get rid of its alarming challenges. Street photography, a gambling requiring patience Arts & Entertainment Wed, 26 Nov 2014 11:53:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliWe sat for talks with Fuad Viento, a young British-Azerbaijani photographer making a big name for himself with his stunning photography. Based in Glasgow, Scotland, Viento’s works capture the soul of a city, revealing a spotless natural beauty that seems to glow with vibrancy.He began photographing in 2002. At Cleveden Secondary School, he became interested in various artistic endeavors, and began to write and play music.In 2012, he graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University with BA Hons Management, Technology and Enterprise degree.His works have already been published in the Financial Times, Marie Claire, Courrier International, Le Monde and L’Uomo Vogue.Viento is also the author of books of short fiction and short stories. In 2014, Viento made his literary debut in Russia with a short story called Wind of Change.Viento is known for his social activism and criticism of corporate globalization. He has also written on politics, in support of socialism and Scottish independence, and on the history of Azerbaijani literature.Question: How do you describe your own photographic style?Answer: People often comment on the elegance of my pictures, which seems to be out of the ordinary. My photographs are not necessarily beautiful, but they do show delicate moments of the urban jungle.Q.: How do you find your subjects?A.: Street photography requires good reaction and observation skills. For that reason, the better photographs "happen" when my mind is free and I have time to switch to “photography mode”.Q.: How do you get so close to your subjects?A.: I carefully observe the scene and try to stick around for a while. Sometimes it’s called patience, and sometimes luck. The photographer needs to be faster than the subject.Q.: When you take photo, do you have a theme in mind?A.: I just go out with my Canon camera to capture natural moments of the urban life.Q.: Who have had strongly influenced you?A.: Tough question. Street photography just hit me by accident. In 2008, I bought a digital SLR and I simply started to take photographs of the streets as they seemed to be the accessible targets in Glasgow.Q.: What projects are you currently working on?A.: I do have a few projects like "Humans of Glasgow", which will come out by the end of year.Q.: Will you ever leave Glasgow?A.: Glasgow offers endless opportunities for street photography, but I can see myself leaving the city for other aspects of my life.Q.: What continually drives you to photograph on the streets?A.: My passion for the fine-art photography. Street photography is like gambling. You are lucky or you get nothing. The key phrase is "never give up". President Aliyev reviews preparatory work for European Games Politics Wed, 26 Nov 2014 11:43:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaAzerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has visited several facilities in Baku to review landscaping and construction work related to the preparations for the first European Games to be held in the Azerbaijan’s capital in 2015.Baku will host 17 days of competition on June 12-28, 2015. The games will attract over 6,000 athletes to compete in 20 sports.President Aliyev enquired about the progress of the execution of projects and redevelopment and construction work.The head of state reviewed landscaping work in areas around the Baku Olympic Stadium, road and transport infrastructure in the central streets and avenues, areas around the Aquatic Palace in Bayil settlement and the progress of work to establish different sports facilities.The president gave relevant instructions. Impeachment of Armenian president on parliamentary plate World news Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:51:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevArmenian parliament may discuss the issue on the impeachment of President Serzh Sargsyan in December.Member of the Parliament Nikol Pashinyan said he planned to initiate a draft decision to announce the president impeached."I hope that the project will gain the essential 44 signatures by the legislators to get discussed at the next extraordinary four-day meeting," Pashinyan said.Article 57 of the Armenian Constitution provides the possibility of impeaching the country's president due to treason and other serious crimes. The parliament should appeal and obtain the opinion of the Constitutional Court to start the impeachment process.President Serzh Sargsyan is targeted as the main negative personage in the journey to the Eurasian Economic Union. He made the decision on the EEU joining without taking into consideration the pubic opinion in his country. Now, the pro-European residents held Sargsyan liable for all negative outcomes, which will reportedly emerge after joining the Russia-led union.Sargsyan takes care of himself rather than delving into the solution of problems facing his country and people. Nearly one third of Armenians live in poverty, but the president visits South Korea to rejuvenate himself, paying about $200,000 for stem cell therapy, spa and anti-aging therapy, as well as body polishes and massages, weight-control programs during an eight-day treatment.MP from the parliamentary fraction Prosperous Armenia, Stepan Markaryan has earlier said the call "Serzh Sargsyan, go out" was the solution of all problems in Armenia. It signals about Sagsyan's diminishing influence, at the same time increasing disillusionment with his domestic and foreign policy.Political experts say the majority of the ruling Republican Party members at the parliament will not allow the parliament to discuss and ratify the president's impeachment. Baku to host young writers' forum Arts & Entertainment Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:39:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliBaku will host again the forum of young writers, poets and researchers of Turkic world on November 27-30.The event will be held as part of the “Organizations Union and Establishment of the Board for further Development of Turkic Literature” project.It is co-organized by the World Association of Young Turkish Writers (WAYTW) and Azerbaijani Youth and Sport Ministry.The forum will include various programs such as round tables, contests and poetry readings.Writers from Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Russia and Iraq will attend the event.The guests will also enjoy visiting places of sights in Baku, museums, exhibitions and cultural centers.At the end of the forum the most distinguished writers will be awarded with honorary diplomas.WAYTW was founded in Kazakhstan in 1998. In 2013, the forum, held in Baku was dedicated to the 15th anniversary of WAYTW. Shahriyar Mammadyarov’s move, check and mate Sports Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:18:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliSometimes art imitates life. Sometimes it is a game like chess. There are a lot of similarities between chess and politics. It's just a weird analogy, lingering over the centuries. Chess was born in the Asian sub-continent, and then moved to Persia (checkmate from Persian means the king is dead). It got its most widespread fame during the Arab conquest, from the 17th century AD.The world of chess is enigmatic, mysterious and unpredictable. It does not leave anyone indifferent. Having tried just once the play, you can not forget about it. How nice it is to play a game of chess, giving yourself up to the end, without thinking about problems.Azerbaijan is proud of its tactical and aggressive chess player, Shahriyar Mammadyarov who always distinguishes himself from others with his smart mind and the ability to find a way out of a difficult situation in the game.Mammadyarov achieved his world fame from the very young age. This once again proves his persistence and extraordinary abilities to fight with world great chess players.The fact that he is the only player in the world, having become world champion under 20 year old twice, speaks for itself.It is no accident that he has such abilities, as Mammadyarov's family is composed from very talented people. His personal trainer is his father, who is a former boxer. Mammadyarov has two sisters, Zeynab Mammadyarova and Turkan Mammadyarova, who are Woman Grandmasters, therefore, all in his family are well aware of chess rules. This is amazing, as nothing like a family can support one player in difficult matches.He believes that chess is his fate, for the sake of which he has sacrificed all his childhood."I sacrificed my childhood for the sake of chess. I trained up to 10-13 hours a day until 17-18 year old," he said. "I sometimes think about what chess gave me. And I understand that the sport took me more than it could give me in return."However, he does not regret a bit about linking his life with this specific and very complex kind of sport. Notwithstanding, he has decided some times to take a short break in his career but his love and devotion to chess made him come back to this sport without which he no longer imagines his life."I would like to do more rest and enjoy the youthfulness like my peers and not devote all my time to chess. But eventually I realized that it is just simply impossible and I have to return to the sport and to make up leeway," the world champion in rapid chess noted.The two-fold European champion is not fearful of failures, thinking that they make people stronger. Based on an expression that each wrong step brings wisdom, Shahriyar considers a person should make a lesson of them and confidently move on.Young Shahriyar's chess career is developing rapidly, what leaves no doubt that he takes honorable place among the influential players in the world. With the gift of intuition, a bright vision he still has plenty of time to show more great games. President Ilham Aliyev received the CEO of BBC Global News Politics Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:47:00 +0400 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received Chief Executive Officer of BBC Global News Jim Egan.Chief Executive Officer of BBC Global News Jim Egan informed President Ilham Aliyev about the activities of the company and its work in the field of international cooperation. He stressed the importance of delivering comprehensive information about the history, cultural development of Azerbaijan and ongoing development processes in the country to a wider audience.President Ilham Aliyev spoke of Azerbaijan`s economic achievements after the independence, its cooperation with the European Union, the country’s achievements in the field of energy, and the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. President Ilham Aliyev noted the importance of spreading objective and unbiased information about the rich history, culture, development processes of Azerbaijan.During the meeting, the sides exchanged views on the issues related to cooperation prospects./AzerTAc/ Vulnerable Armenia critically needs Russia World news Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:41:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevArmenia suddenly stepped back from its intention to integrate into Europe and knocked on the door of the fresh Eurasian Economic Union, initiated and led by Russia.The U-turn in President Serzh Sargsyan's foreign policy course resulted in the membership of the country in the economic alliance. Several European players called it a disrespectful approach by Armenia, while some others said the country was free to choose its way."Armenia is a vulnerable country with a limited number of choices. Security cooperation and strategic partnership with Russia is critically important for it," said Catherine Lynch, British Ambassador to Armenia.Russia has always had a great influence on Armenia's foreign and domestic policy. Political activity of the post-Soviet state remains imperfect without Russia's participation. Both countries are strategic allies, having relations since April 3, 1992.Lynch said Armenia's sudden decision to prefer the Eurasian Economic Union over the European Union was not so unexpected."That decision is no longer a surprise for me. All we know that Armenia is a vulnerable country, having limited options of choice. Relations with Russia are extremely important for this country," Lynch said.Europe realizes Armenia's non-free diplomacy characterized by a strong dependence on Russia and other international players. Russia is the chief ally of the former Soviet nation.The Armenian government has never cherished a desire to cut its ties with Moscow, as it needs Russia as a patron and strong partner far more than Russia needs Armenia. One of many reasons why Russia has kept Armenia in its orbit over the last two decades is that the U.S. mostly ignored Armenia in the Karabakh war, which resulted in Armenia's violent occupation of the historical and legal territories of Azerbaijan.Russia played a significant role to prevent Armenia from being economically isolated given to its aggressive policy in the region. Its aggressive approach towards Azerbaijan and Turkey, as well as several reported problems with Georgia pushed the occupant country out of important regional projects. To this end, Armenia took its utmost to keep friendly and strategic relations with Russia. The northern giant has turned into Armenia's vertebral column amid the former Soviet state's pale image due to its weak political will and strong political dependence.Would Armenia dare to downgrade universally beneficial relationships with Russia and look for closer ties with the western states, which opt for closer relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan? No. Armenia was historically interrelated to Russia and is continuing to feel the dominating role of its northern neighbor in its political and economic life. No doubt, Armenia's future will remain under Russia's strong influence amid its full-speed preparations for the EEU membership. President Serzh Sargsyan has warm-heartedly ratified the agreement on the entry to the union, receiving full backing from the Constitutional Court. Now the parliament is close to join the economic alliance. In other words, Armenia is just a step back from opening a new page where the name of Russia comes first and keeps no room for Europe. Sparkling Baku's skyline Society Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:24:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaBaku is an attractive city for tourists throughout a day; however, its night-lights is more interesting for any visitor.These days with their pleasant weather are an ideal time for travelling along Baku streets and enjoying its architecture and historic atmosphere. Here is the list of some bright places to visit in Baku at night.The Flame Towers definitely crowns the list of the most good-looking night attractions of Baku. The facades of the three towers are sparkling with the tricolor and vigorous fire flames at nights. All these make the constructions a new iconic symbol of Baku.Baku bay is another place where at nights shines like a diamond with its lights reflecting on the surface of the Caspian Sea. Here you can walk from the new boulevard starting with the Flag Square, to the old part that are illuminated equally. Even trees brought from around the world are highlighted here.The old symbol of the city, Maiden Tower also shines by a light show in the evenings.Turning to the Sahil subway, you will see another city attraction: Nizami Street aka Torgovaya. Here, surrounded by the bright windows shops, you will have a chance to familiarize yourself with the city’s prominent architecture even at night. The street has funny street-lamps and highlighted modern fountains. Even the floor is gleaming here.Torgovaya is shining on the New Year Eve, when it is all decorated with the fluoresce of New Year’s trees.Rambling around the city, you should visit local parks that are also lightened at nights. The special attractions there are their numerous fountains. One of the best fountains is the one located in front of the Government House.The list of the richly illuminating buildings in Baku also includes sparkling Crystal Hall, Icherisheher Metro Station, TV tower, Hilton hotel, and Socar building, which is still under construction.Travel around the city to see them all before the windy Baku starts to prove its name. Baku 2015 unveils official mascots Jeyran and Nar Sports Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:34:00 +0400 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaBaku 2015 European Games unveiled Jeyran and Nar as the exciting official mascots for the inaugural sporting event on November 25.Inspired by Azerbaijani nature and heritage, Jeyran (the Gazelle) and Nar (the Pomegranate) reflect both the country’s proud history and promising future. The pair will symbolize the first European Games around the world as they feature on branding to promote Baku 2015.Azerbaijan’s Minister of Youth and Sport and Chief Executive Officer of Baku 2015 Azad Rahimov said: “We are extremely happy to introduce Jeyran and Nar to the world, and we hope that they will come to represent the excitement of the inaugural European Games.“As symbols of Baku 2015, they will inspire, excite and entertain a new generation of sports fans in Azerbaijan and will be visible around the city and the country in the coming months,” he added.Jeyran will become the cultural ambassador of the Games, offering visitors a glimpse into Azeribaijan’s rich heritage. From high up in the Caucasus mountains to the shores of the Caspian Sea, Jeyran likes guiding visitors around the country and showing them all that Azerbaijan has to offer.Jeyran, the Azerbaijani word for gazelle, is a symbol in the country of natural beauty, grace and purity. The gazelle is a protected species in Azerbaijan.Nar is a sun loving, playful pomegranate who grew up outside of the city of Goychay. Full of life and energy, Nar loves participating in new sports and will be getting involved with the European Games action.The pomegranate symbolizes unity in Azerbaijani folklore, and features heavily in the colorful Baku 2015 branding already displayed extensively around the city.Baku 2015 Chief Operating Officer Simon Clegg said: “Our mascots are important symbols of the inaugural European Games and we are delighted to be welcoming them to the Baku 2015 family.“Jeyran will be an elegant cultural ambassador for the Games and for the rich heritage of Azerbaijan. Nar represents the energy, enthusiasm and fun of the Games and will be seen explaining and getting involved with the sports at our venues.”Baku 2015 Commercial Director Charlie Wijeratna said: “We wanted to help bring the European Games to life in a playful and colorful way, and we hope that Jeyran and Nar will become popular across all of Azerbaijan as we look forward to hosting Europe’s elite athlete here at Baku 2015.”“The mascots have started life as flat illustrations, but will soon be animated, and of course transformed in three dimensions to form a part of the merchandising of the European Games,” he added.Baku will host the first European Games next summer from 12 – 28 June, involving more than 6,000 athletes from the National Olympic Committees of Europe across 17 days of competition, in what will be the largest sporting event in Azerbaijan’s history.