Today.Az http://www.today.az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside http://www.today.az/images/logo_small.gif Today.Az http://www.today.az Azerbaijani sambo wrestlers win two world medals http://www.today.az/news/sports/137202.html Sports Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:10:00 +0500 Azerbaijani sambo wrestlers have claimed two medals at the World Cup in Moscow, the Russian Federation.Emil Hasanov at 74kg grabbed silver medal, while Vasif Safarbayov won bronze in the +100kg weight category. /AzerTAc/ Georgia concerned over Russia-Abkhazia treaty http://www.today.az/news/regions/137201.html World news Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:40:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevGeorgia is concerned over a draft alliance treaty between Russia and the separatist Abkhazia, Georgian Foreign Minister's Senior Deputy Davit Zalkaliani reiterated during a meeting with the OSCE's Special Representative and Co-Chair of the Geneva talks, Angelo Gnaedinger."Russia's such actions will be regarded as the next step to annex Georgia's territory," Zalkaliani noted.The parties talked about the importance of continuing a constructive dialogue on the agenda issues and outcomes of the Geneva talks' last round, which took place on October 8.The issues on the agenda were mainly related to the non-use of force, establishment of international security arrangements in the occupied districts, as well as the return of refugees to their homes.The meeting attendees noted that the results of the Russia-Abkhazia draft agreement will hamper progress on specific issues envisaged in the Geneva talks. They also stressed the possible threats to the security of Georgia and the whole region after the signing of agreement.The draft of "Treaty between the Russian Federation and Abkhazia on the alliance and integration" was prepared and sent to the so-called parliament of Abkhazia by Russia on October 13.The draft says the "introduction of a coordinated foreign policy, formation of a common space of security and defense, creation of a united social and economic space, preservation of the common cultural and humanitarian space are the main areas of cooperation, integration and partnership."Geneva International Discussions was first held in 2008 based on agreements reached after the war in Georgia, in August 2008.On the night of August 8, 2008, Georgia launches military actions were launched in the territory of Georgia's South Ossetia. The Russian forces later seized the city and repelled the Georgian military. Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in late August. Tbilisi has strictly condemned Russia's actions and broke off diplomatic relations with Moscow to recognize Abkazia and South Ossetia as occupied territories. Nearly 20 millionaires in Armenia's National Assembly http://www.today.az/news/regions/137200.html World news Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:22:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevThe latest income and property declarations submitted by members of the legislative body in Armenia have revealed that nearly 20 members of the National Assembly are millionaires, local 168 Zham newspaper reported.Nine of the fortune hunter MPs are reportedly members of the ruling Republican Party's parliamentary faction. Another nine wealthy legislators represent the opposition Prosperous Armenia party. Only one member of parliament, Arayik Grigoryan, appears to be non-partisan.Armenia's constitution unambiguously prohibits the MPs and civil servants to be engaged in business activities. But the state officials in the post-Soviet country have violated the law with their overt and covert fortunes.The declarations disclosed that Armenian MPs owned about $172,7 million altogether as of late 2013. However, the current figure claims that the legislators' total income increased by $62.4 million or 40 percent to reach $235 million since last year.Local media noted that the Prosperous Armenia is the richest parliamentary faction with around $163.6 million total income of its lawmakers. The party's Leader, Gagik Tsarukyan, one of the wealthiest oligarchs in Armenia, is the National Assembly's top richest lawmaker with an income of about $134.2 million.Online map Wikimapia posted the location of a huge mansion which reportedly belongs to Tsarukyan, a rich civil servant with the pseudonym of "Dodi Gogo". The enormous asset on the Sevan-Yerevan highway hosts exotic plants and animals, even lions in its yard. Multi Group, a company of over 40 small and large businesses is also owned by Tsarukyan.Armenia's another MP Samvel Aleksanyan is also ranked among the richest legislators in the poor country of the Caucasus. Hetq, a partner of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, reported Aleksanyan's ownership of Yerevan City supermarkets chain in the capital city. Moreover, the Aleks Grig company, which controls 99 percent of the sugar imports to Armenia belongs to the fortune hunter MP.The latest reports in Armenian media revealed that not only the members of parliament but also its leadership possess huge fortunes. Parliament's Deputy Speaker, Armine Nagdalyan is reportedly the richest woman civil servant in the former Soviet state. Local newspaper Zoghovurd has earlier stated that a $1.1 million agreement on the construction of a road in Armenia was signed between the Transport Ministry and Sisian BUAT company. The paper claimed that the mentioned company belongs to the deputy speaker. While the business activity is banned for civil servants in Armenia, Nagdalyan has "bravely" confessed that she is the sole owner the company.Besides that, an Armenian diaspora organization "Stop Corruption in Armenia" in the U.S. has claimed that Nagdalyan and her husband could make off about $1 billion from the state budget to purchase a great number of mansions in different countries.The weakening economic abilities of Armenia plays a dual role to shatter the resident's life and at the same time to prosper the oligarch statesmen's wealth. As the above reports show, the monopolistic tendency in Armenia's economy waters the mills of civil servants, in particular.The Global Competitiveness Report 2014 has shed light to the widespread monopoly in Armenia that is mostly controlled by the oligarch state officials. The report ranked Armenia 105th out of 144 countries for the effectiveness of antitrust policy. Iran ready to co-op with regional states in fighting terrorism http://www.today.az/news/regions/137199.html World news Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:57:00 +0500 Iran is ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and other countries of the region in fighting against terrorism, Fars news agency quoted Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian as saying on Oct.24.The deputy minister said the leading countries of the region should realize the current situation in the region and play a constructive and effective role in resolving the problems in this difficult period.Abdollahian added that Iran supports Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen in their fight against the terrorist actions targeting Shiites, Sunnis and Christians./Trend/ Azerbaijani banks to increase minimum capital by year-end http://www.today.az/news/analytics/137198.html Analytics Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:55:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Aynur JafarovaBy the end of 2014, the Azerbaijani banks, which control about 99 percent of total assets of the country will meet the requirements of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) to increase their minimum total capital to 50 million manats, CBA Director General Rashad Orujov said on October 24."Currently, the adequacy of capital of the sector is 18 percent, which exceeds the CBA standard by 6 percentage points, and 2.25 times the requirements of the Basel Committee. This shows that the financial stability of the banking sector is expanding the lending capacity of the banks. The credit adequacy, in turn, would increase the transmission capacity of banks and provides an additional opportunity to issue more loans," he told Trend Agency.Orujov also said the capitalization of the banking sector have increased by 80 percent in Azerbaijan over the last two years."Since the announcement of the new requirements for the minimum volume of total capital - [End of July 2012], the total capital of the banking system has increased by 1.7 billion manats. Almost a growth at the level of 80 percent - from 2.1 billion manats to 3.8 billion manats - has been achieved in the past two years. Prior to this, the banks spent six years to increase their capital by 1.7 billion manats," he added.At present, the capital of nine banks exceeds 100 million manats, while the assets of nine private banks amount to $1 billion. In 2000, the assets of all banking system were in the amount of $1 billion."This creates an environment for serious competition and the possibilities to get access to foreign capital markets," Orujov stressed.Touching upon the remaining banks, which can not be capitalized until the end of the year, the CBA official said they have no deposits of the population, because they do not have permission to attract deposits."These banks bear any threat neither for the population, nor the creditors, which is very important. We have reduced the risks of these banks and there is no threat to the population," he noted.The CBA considers various options for these banks: they can join each other, while some of them are still looking for additional opportunities to capitalization.The most important issue in this regard is that the CBA has achieved its strategic goal and in terms of capitalization the banking system of the country has almost doubled. CBA is not considering further increase of capital requirements of banks.There are 44 banks in Azerbaijan: 43 commercial banks and one state-owned bank. There are 22 banks with foreign capital. The share of foreign capital ranges from 50 to 100 percent in seven of them, while up to 50 percent in 13 banks. There are also two local branches of foreign banks.The capitalization of Azerbaijan's banking sector amounted to 3.749.4 billion manats as of September 1, 2014. CIS to create interstate system of space monitoring of emergencies http://www.today.az/news/regions/137197.html World news Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:37:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaThe CIS states will create an interstate system of space monitoring of emergencies and inter-regional satellite communication system in the interests of the Commonwealth countries-participants, the Russian Space Agency reported to TASS news agency.The decision was taken on the results of the meeting of representatives of the executive authorities of the CIS countries on cooperation issues in the field of space activities."The protocol of the meeting included decisions on all issues on the agenda of the event: the creation of the new legal framework of the multilateral cooperation, the need to integrate terrestrial infrastructures, which use GLONASS signal, the issue of accession of the CIS countries to the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters," the Agency said.The participants also agreed to develop a draft agreement on the establishment of an international intergovernmental research organization "Joint Institute for Space Research," as well as to create a unified system of satellite monitoring of agricultural lands of the CIS countries."Responsible executors were appointed for each item of the protocol," the Agency said. "Federal Space Agency will be the coordinator for the implementation of decisions taken at the meeting during the year."The next meeting of the representatives of the executive authorities of CIS member states on cooperation issues in the space sector will be held in Minsk in 2015.Azerbaijan became a member of the space club by launching its own satellite into orbit in February 2013. Azerspace-1 telecommunication satellite covers Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and North Africa. The second satellite is scheduled to be launched in 2017.The country is also considering using Azerspace-1 satellite for the transmission of telemetry data from seismic stations over the territory of the country. Baku to amaze racers, spectaculars of F1 http://www.today.az/news/sports/137196.html Sports Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:32:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaBaku, the city with a love for high speed, will host one of the most captivating and still very adventurous routes of the Formula One European Grand Prix in 2016.Formula 1, the world's most prestigious motor racing competition, is also the world's most popular annual sporting series. The F1 Grand Prix will once again prove the world that Azerbaijan is a perfect venue for the planet's highest profile sports and entertainment events.The capital city has recently hosted V1 Challenge Azerbaijan race, and will soon be home for the Baku World Challenge. The rising interest of the local population to these already traditional competitions is significant. However, the new Baku European Grand Prix street circuit will attract attention not only of Baku residents, but also of all Europe.The length of the route in Baku will be 6 km with 8 turns to right and 12 to left. The speed on the track will reach 340 km/h.Baku wants to hold a track that would showcase the best scenes of the city. The circuit the F1 teams will race on in 2016 is created by German Tilke Engineering Company.Tilke Engineering has recently presented the layout for city's route, and it is simply amazing. It will show the world the modern and old Baku, interconnected by breathtaking whirls.Non-permanent F1 street circuit will spread around the old town of Baku and along the seaside promenade will lead to the Government House. The square opposite will host the paddock with its temporary structures for the pit building, team buildings, media and medical center.The route will consist of an extremely narrow uphill section at the old town wall that will reward pinpoint accuracy and courage, and an acceleration section of almost 2.2kms along the promenade, which will see the cars running flat out at very high top speeds. All these are expected to create an incredible spectacle for the race fans on track and the viewers at home.The street circuits present a number of challenges, in terms of circuit design, but the company has been able to incorporate some unique features that will provide the teams and fans with fascinating racing. However, the engineers of the Formula 1 teams will surely scratch their head over trying to find a compromise in the settings of the car for such a bifacial track.Tilke Engineering said: "We are absolutely thrilled about the project; it is a very challenging street circuit in terms of engineering and design."F1 entered into 9-years contract with Baku, the latest addition to the Formula One calendar.Tilke's layout in Baku will help the Grand Prix in Baku quickly establish itself as one of the most exciting and thrilling venues on the F1 calendar and one that the fans and teams alike are excited about, as Hermann Tilke is famous for his street routes in Malaysia, Bahrain, China, Turkey, Singapore, Spain and others. EU attaches importance to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution http://www.today.az/news/politics/137195.html Politics Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:11:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaThe European Union attaches a particular importance to finding a solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Herbert Salber made the remark a meeting with Chairman of "Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh" Public Union Bayram Safarov in Baku on October 23, AzerTag news agency reported."Settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is very important for the European Union," Salber said, noting that the EU backs an immediate and peaceful settlement of the dispute.Safarov, for his part, expressed regret that "international organizations have taken a double standard approach towards Azerbaijan's problem.""Unfortunately, the organizations which must show a resolute position on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have remained silent and taken a double standard approach towards it," he noted.Safarov said the conflict must be settled only in compliance with international legal norms and within Azerbaijan`s territorial integrity."So we expect the European Union and other international organizations to show their determination in his regard. Azerbaijan supports peace and we want peace in Azerbaijan, in the South Caucasus and the whole world," Safarov said.He also stressed the need for close involvement of the European Union in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict."Building an EU-supported dialogue between the communities, ensuring active participation of the parties in programs and projects of the organization is important in terms of solving the conflict," Safarov added.European Parliament in 2013 adopted a resolution which confirmed that Armenian troops have occupied Azerbaijani territories and called for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions and the L'Aquila statement of the mediating countries' leaders in 2009.According to changes to the resolution, the European parliament recalled its position that the occupation of the territory of an Eastern Partnership member by another member state violates the fundamental principles and objectives of the EU program.For over two decades, Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in conflict which emerged over Armenia's territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor. Since a war in the early 1990s, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. A fragile ceasefire has been in place since 1994, but long-standing efforts by U.S., Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far. Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on its pullout from the neighboring country's territories. Azerbaijan’s northern region marks juicy Apple Feast http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/137194.html Arts & Entertainment Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:51:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliThe third annual Apple Festival was held at a culture and recreation park named after Heydar Aliyev in Azerbaijan's northern region of Guba on October 22.The heads of regions' executive bodies, intellectuals, MPs, Guba businessmen living abroad, as well as more than 100 foreign visitors had been invited to the event.A parade of Azerbaijani three-colored flag, held during the event thrilled up the visitors.Different products reflecting national traditions in Azerbaijan were displayed and various sweets, cocktails and drinks made of apples were presented to the event participants.Stands featuring folklore, cuisine and the lifestyle of minorities living in the region particularly attracted the attention of foreign nationals.Guba Tourism Information Center's members also took part in the event, where several prizes were presented to the guests of the feast.The feast concluded with a concert of popular artists.No accident that Guba people annually celebrate this juicy and flavor festival. Guba is the edge of apple aroma. The region is often called as "apple orchard" because of the great varieties of apples that grow only there.The people of Guba claim that there are more than 40 different varieties of apples there, which have turned into the symbol of the city.Guba , being one of the major cities in Azerbaijan, is one of the favorite places of tourists , who come here to admire the magnificent mountains, forests and canyon of this picturesque region. Indeed, the sceneries of Guba are hard to describe with words. It seems the nature has collected there the brightest colors: juicy greens of the alpine meadows, white snow caps, rapid transparent-blue mountain rivers. A new macroeconomic strategy http://www.today.az/news/analytics/137193.html Analytics Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:26:00 +0500 /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.I am a macroeconomist, but I dissent from the profession's two leading camps in the United States: the neo-Keynesians, who focus on boosting aggregate demand, and the supply-siders, who focus on cutting taxes. Both schools have tried and failed to overcome the high-income economies' persistently weak performance in recent years. It is time for a new strategy, one based on sustainable, investment-led growth.The core challenge of macroeconomics is to allocate society's resources to their best use. Workers who choose to work should find jobs; factories should deploy their capital efficiently; and the part of income that is saved rather than consumed should be invested to improve future wellbeing.It is on this third challenge that both neo-Keynesians and supply-siders have dropped the ball. Most high-income countries - the US, most of Europe, and Japan - are failing to invest adequately or wisely toward future best uses. There are two ways to invest - domestically or internationally - and the world is falling short on both.Domestic investment comes in various forms, including business investment in machinery and buildings; household investment in homes; and government investment in people (education, skills), knowledge (research and development), and infrastructure (transport, power, water, and climate resilience).The neo-Keynesian approach is to try to boost domestic investment of any sort. Indeed, according to this view, spending is spending. Thus, neo-Keynesians have tried to spur more housing investment through rock-bottom interest rates, more auto purchases through securitized consumer loans, and more "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects through short-term stimulus programs. When investment spending does not budge, they recommend that we turn "excess" saving into another consumption binge.Supply-siders, by contrast, want to promote private (certainly not public!) investment through more tax cuts and further deregulation. They have tried that on several occasions in the US, most recently during the George W. Bush administration. Unfortunately, the result of this deregulation was a short-lived housing bubble, not a sustained boom in productive private investment.Though policy alternates between supply-side and neo-Keynesian enthusiasm, the one persistent reality is a significant decline of investment as a share of national income in most high-income countries in recent years. According to IMF data, gross investment spending in these countries has declined from 24.9% of GDP in 1990 to just 20% in 2013.In the US, investment spending declined from 23.6% of GDP in 1990 to 19.3% in 2013, and fell even more markedly in net terms (gross investment excluding capital depreciation). In the European Union, the decline was from 24% of GDP in 1990 to 18.1% in 2013.Neither neo-Keynesians nor supply-siders focus on the true remedies for this persistent drop in investment spending. Our societies urgently need more investment, particularly to convert heavily polluting, energy-intensive, and high-carbon production into sustainable economies based on the efficient use of natural resources and a shift to low-carbon energy sources. Such investments require complementary steps by the public and private sectors.The necessary investments include large-scale deployment of solar and wind power; broader adoption of electric transport, both public (buses and trains) and private (cars); energy-efficient buildings; and power grids to carry renewable energy across large distances (say, from the North Sea and North Africa to continental Europe, and from California's Mojave Desert to US population centers).But just when our societies should be making such investments, the public sectors in the US and Europe are on a veritable "investment strike." Governments are cutting back public investment in the name of budget balance, and private investors cannot invest robustly and securely in alternative energy when publicly regulated power grids, liability rules, pricing formulas, and national energy policies are uncertain and heavily disputed.In the US, public investment spending has been slashed. Neither the federal government nor the states have political mandates, funding strategies, or long-term plans to catalyze investment in the next generation of smart, clean technologies.Both neo-Keynesians and supply-siders have misunderstood the investment paralysis. Neo-Keynesians see investments, public and private, as merely another kind of aggregate demand. They neglect the public-policy decisions regarding energy systems and infrastructure (as well as the targeted R&D to promote new technologies) that are needed to unleash smart, environmentally sustainable public and private investment spending. Thus, they promote gimmicks (zero interest rates and stimulus packages), rather than pressing for the detailed national policies that a robust investment recovery will require.The supply-siders, for their part, seem utterly oblivious to the dependence of private investment on complementary public investment and a clear policy and regulatory framework. They advocate slashing government spending, naively believing that the private sector will somehow magically fill the void. But, by cutting public investment, they are hindering private investment.Private electricity producers, for example, will not invest in large-scale renewable energy generation if the government does not have long-term climate and energy policies or plans for spurring construction of long-distance transmission lines to carry new low-carbon energy sources to population centers. Such messy policy details have never much bothered free-market economists.There is also the option of using domestic saving to boost foreign investments. The US could, for example, lend money to low-income African economies to buy new power plants from US companies. Such a policy would put US private saving to important use in fighting global poverty, while strengthening the US industrial base.Yet here, too, neither the neo-Keynesians nor the supply-siders have exerted much effort to improve the institutions of development finance. Instead of advising Japan and China to raise their consumption rates, macroeconomists would be wiser to encourage these economies to use their high savings to fund not only domestic but also overseas investments.These considerations are reasonably clear to anyone concerned with the urgent need to harmonize economic growth and environmental sustainability. Our generation's most pressing challenge is to convert the world's dirty and carbon-based energy systems and infrastructure into clean, smart, and efficient systems for the twenty-first century. Investing in a sustainable economy would dramatically boost our wellbeing and use our "excess" savings for just the right purposes.Yet this will not happen automatically. We need long-term public-investment strategies, environmental planning, technology roadmaps, public-private partnerships for new, sustainable technologies, and greater global cooperation. These tools will create the new macroeconomics on which our health and prosperity now depend.Copyright: Project Syndicate Azerbaijan-Lithuania trade turnover doubled http://www.today.az/news/business/137192.html Business Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:17:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaThe trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Lithuania increased by 1.9 times, Taxes Minister, Fazil Mammadov said at the fourth meeting of the Azerbaijani-Lithuanian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation in Shamkir on October 22.Mammadov, co-chair of the intergovernmental commission on the Azerbaijani side, praised the successful development of relations between the two countries, stressing the importance of the commission's activities to expand economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Lithuania."The trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $25.1 million in January and June 2014, which is 1.9 times more compared to the same period of the previous year," he added.The minister said Azerbaijan and Lithuania further expanded bilateral ties through numerous meetings, visits and events involving the public and government agencies, as well as representatives of business circles after the previous session."Cooperation is especially intensively developing in the field of culture, tourism, youth and sports. Lithuanian experts actively involved in the twinning project to strengthen the capacity of Azerbaijan tourism, funded by the EU, carried out an extensive exchange of experience concerning the establishment and management of tourist areas," Mammadov noticed.He also highlighted the fact that the agreement on simplification of visa regime between Azerbaijan and the EU was signed at the summit of "Eastern Partnership" in Vilnius, Lithuania, during the presidency of Lithuania in the EU.Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Linas Linkevicius, Co-chairman of the Lithuanian side, expressed satisfaction with the development of relations between the two countries and welcomed the role of the intergovernmental commission in it.He noted the great potential of bilateral relations, the deepening of economic cooperation and cooperation in other areas.The meeting discussed the prospects of bilateral relations, the development of the related legal framework, cooperation in energy, agriculture, environment, science and education, culture and tourism, ICT and other areas, as well as cooperation between the regions of Lithuania and Azerbaijan.The meeting was followed with signing of an intergovernmental protocol.At the meeting, eighth Azerbaijani-Lithuanian business forum was also held attended by about 70 businessmen from both sides.During the event, Fazil Mammadov talked about the investment climate in Azerbaijan and its macroeconomic stability and economic development.He also encouraged Lithuanian businessmen to cooperate with Azerbaijani counterparts.In his turn, Linas Linkevicius noted that such forums have turned into a tradition over the past years."Despite the fact that there is a long distance between Azerbaijan and Lithuania from the geographic point of view, this does not prevent closer cooperation and signing of new partnership agreements is an indication of the parties' interest in mutual investment," he said.He also praised the work of the intergovernmental commission in support of business priorities in the relations between the two countries at the government level.The forum was also marked with presentation of the participants, as well as Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Fund.The event ended with bilateral meetings.Earlier, at the meeting with Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Linkevicius described Azerbaijan as his country's main trade partner in the South Caucasus.The Lithuanian side also highlighted the cooperation with the European Union as part of the Eastern Partnership initiative. He said official Vilnius is ready to contribute to the development of Azerbaijan's relations with the EU. President Ilham Aliyev received ECHR head http://www.today.az/news/politics/137191.html Politics Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:10:00 +0500 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received President of the European Court of Human Rights Dean Spielmann.President of the European Court of Human Rights Dean Spielmann stressed the importance of the Baku-hosted “Application of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms on national level and the role of national judges” international conference in terms of the development of dialogue among judges in European countries and improvement of justice system in Azerbaijan. He noted the fact that the conference is attended by a large number of judges from different countries, saying the event was of big importance at European level.Recalling with pleasure his last visit to Strasbourg, the head of state said Azerbaijan is actively cooperating with relevant European agencies, particularly during its chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, and emphasized the importance of high-profile international evens held in Azerbaijan. President Ilham Aliyev expressed his confidence that “Application of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms on national level and the role of national judges” international conference will contribute to the expansion of relations.The parties discussed prospects for cooperation between Azerbaijan and the European Court of Human Rights. /AzerTAc/ Baku 2015 enters schools of Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/sports/137188.html Sports Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:59:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaThe Baku 2015 European Games begins a nationwide tour of Azerbaijan's schools called 'European Games For Everyone' to educate and inform pupils about next summer's inaugural event on October 24.A team from the Baku 2015 European Games Operations Committee (BEGOC) will travel to the nation's 57 regions for a series of presentations, lectures and sporting displays over the next eight months.Baku 2015 plan to visit more than 500 schools to inspire the country's 14 to 17 year olds with details about the biggest sporting event ever to be held in Azerbaijan.Simon Clegg, Baku 2015 Chief Operating Officer, said: "Part of the lasting legacy of the inaugural European Games will be to excite the next generation of budding Azerbaijani athletes.By taking the messaging of Baku 2015 around the country, the Regional Schools Tour will help to share the anticipation that is already building within the host city, he said."The whole of Azerbaijan will be proud of what is achieved by Baku 2015, so it important that we help educate and inform the country's youth about all aspects of the European Games," Clegg stressed.Elchin Safarov, Corporate Director of Baku 2015, said the Baku 2015 European Games are a very important moment in the history of Azerbaijan, "so we are keen to share our excitement and news of our progress with all of the regions.""Our young people will have the unique opportunity to enjoy elite sport in world-class venues for the very first time, and we want to ensure they feel connected to the European Games," he said.The first European games will take place from June 12 to 28, 2015. More than 6,000 athletes will compete in a total of 20 sports over the 17 days of competition next year. Azerbaijan actively fighting human trafficking http://www.today.az/news/society/137190.html Society Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:45:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevMore than $150 billion is earned from human trafficking in our days. The problematic field, which is predicted to be the third most profitable business, is inflicting damages to many families worldwide, Renate Held, International Organization for Migration's Regional Director on Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said in Baku on October 22.Addressing the opening ceremony of the information campaign "The two little girls" organized jointly by Azerbaijan, Great Britain and IOM, she noted that the IOM is combating the human trafficking by implementing over 100 projects, Trend reports.She said IOM has also helped more than 65,000 families, women and children victims of the human trafficking so far. The organization is also working on public awareness and organizing the protection of the victims.About 23 criminal cases have been filed for 104 human trafficking reports in Azerbaijan in the first nine months of 2014, including 97 cases with direct link to the trade in humans, Imran Najafov, Deputy Head of Department for Combating the Human Trafficking, said addressing the event.Najafov noted that 16 women and 5 men have been held liable for the criminal actions connected to the human trafficking and forced labor. Meanwhile, about 50 victims were recognized and 8 groups engaged in human trafficking were neutralized.Moreover, 7 out of the 23 wanted people engaged in human trafficking were arrested and delivered to judicial bodies.Najafov said about 33 of the victims were transmitted to Turkey, 8 to Russia and 6 to the United Arab Emirates."As a result of our close ties with the law enforcement bodies of other countries, around 580 cases of human trafficking and forced labor have been registered. Meanwhile, 385 people were held liable and 157 criminal groups and organized gangs were neutralized in Azerbaijan over the past ten years," Najafov stressed.He went on saying that about 274 seminars dedicated to the human trafficking have been held in the cities and regions of Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, the Council on State Support for NGOs has financed 33 projects and allocated nearly $294,000 to the activities in this field."Challenges of human trafficking are currently actual all over the world and Azerbaijan, as a leading country in the region, is actively fighting against it. We joined the relevant international conventions and adopted the first National Action Plan in 2004. The third consecutive action plan covering the years of 2014-2018 is currently being implemented in the country," Najafov said.IOM representative in Azerbaijan, Serkhan Aktopark, in turn, said the human trafficking is an actual problem in the whole world and the fight against it should be continuous.British Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Irfan Siddig said the movie "The two little girls" was screened in many European countries. He expressed his hope that the presented campaign will have positive effects on Azerbaijan.The mentioned campaign against human trafficking started in 2009 and will last until 2015. Several leading British charity organizations including Comic Relief and Tudor Trust support the campaign.The film "The two little girls" will be screened in local X?z?r TV. IOM will organize several events jointly with the Red Crescent Society of Azerbaijan to talk on the movie's main themes.Human trafficking is among the most dangerous challenges facing the modern world. Illegal trade in humans brings astronomical profits to make the business more attractive.Havoscope, the Global Black Market Information source posted the price list of the people trafficked in different countries. For instance, traffickers sell the children in Iraq for $300 and $5,500. Woman from Moldova are sold for $2,650. If one wants a girl from Brazil, he has to pay about $5,000 or $10,000. Babies from the North Caucasus and Russia cost at $17,500. The most expensive victims of human trafficking are in Rome which are sold for $270,000. Cigarette prices may further drain wallets http://www.today.az/news/business/137189.html Business Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:29:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliAnti-smoking advocates and health experts hailed the recent government proposals that aim to decrease the number of smokers in Azerbaijan.Musa Guliyev, a member of the Parliamentary Committee has offered to fine people who smoke at home near children and in the doorways of houses.Guliyev underlined the necessity of adopting a law restricting smoking in public places along with the law "On tobacco and tobacco products", which was adopted in Azerbaijan in 2001.Tobacco is one of the main sources of a number of chronic diseases, including cancers, lung and cardiovascular diseases. A number of countries have already adopted legislations to restrict tobacco advertising, and regulating who can buy and use tobacco products, and even where people can smoke.Most of the smoking population in Azerbaijan are men. About 50 percent of men in the country smoke daily, 40 percent of them smoke at least one or two packs of 20 cigarettes per day.Experts assure that the growing price of tobacco products has also turned into an effective measure against smoking in the world.World Health Organization framework convention on tobacco control, the participants almost unanimously voted to increase the share of excise duty on the cost of a pack of cigarettes to 70 percent (excluding VAT).Rufat Guliyev, a Chairman of the European Tobacco Baku (ETB) Company (Azerbaijani producer of tobacco production) said Azerbaijan may also join this campaign in the future."Active integration into Europe and the world economy, as a whole, will certainly affect the prices of cigarettes. In any case, this is the government which should take the final decision about. However, in my opinion, Azerbaijan will soon face the need to raise the price of cigarettes. Talking about the exact timing is not possible yet," the chairman noted.The share of excise duty on the price of a cigarette pack of 12.5 percent, while in Russia it reaches 40 percent and in Great Britain, up to 70 percent.Guliyev stressed that growth of cigarette prices within the countries-importers will not spark a particular concern in Azerbaijan."In Azerbaijan local production covers up to 20-25 percent of its own consumption of tobacco products, whereas the potential capacity of European Tobacco allows to cover the consumption at 80-85 percent.The chairman supposes that the issue is rooted in the cigarette's brand. Last year Azerbaijan imported cigarettes of an amount of 146 million dollars from Russia."As the welfare of population is growing, people prefer expensive cigarette brands. I think that it should not affect import prices, as the increase in the share of excise duty usually affects the prices in the domestic market," Guliyev said.The expert points to the increasing price of raw material as the main reason behind the rise in cigarette price."In Europe, tobacco planting is forbidden and tobacco production moves to Latin American and African countries. As the raw materials are getting expensive, delivering costs are also increasing. So, the producers have to raise the price of their products," he cited.Increase of tobacco production depends on several factors such as agreements with multinational cigarette manufacturing companies, market demands and prices of raw materials. Qarabag FC makes history in Kiev http://www.today.az/news/sports/137187.html Sports Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:35:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevAzerbaijan's Qarabag FC defeated Ukraine's Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1-0 in the third group stage game of UEFA Europa League in Kiev.Qarabag FC's striker Muarem Muarem accomplished a blistering counter attack with a goal in the 21st minute of the game. Driving into the box from the left flank, Muarem curled the ball into the far corner to score the winning goal.The game was a milestone for Gurban Gurbanov`s side as they made a history to win a game in a UEFA Europa League group stage game as the first Azerbaijani football club.Qarabag Fc's Manager Gurbanov said the game was one of the hardest one his side played ever. "We deserved the victory. Unfortunately, the stadium was not full of our fans. If they were, the game would be more interesting," he noted.He added that he is now thinking of the game with Dnipro in Baku. "Dnipro will ,of course, get ready for next game. That's why we should concentrate on the return game," Gurbanov said.Qarabag FC is now the runner-up with four points in Group F behind the Italian FC Internazionale which is the group leader with seven points after a goalless draw with French Saint-Etienne. The French club is third with three points, while Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk is the group's outsider with one point.Qarabag FC will lock horns with its Ukrainian rival in the fourth group stage game in Baku on November 6. Poznan opens bas-relief to Azerbaijani official http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/137186.html Arts & Entertainment Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:25:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliA bas-relief to former Polish Prime Minister Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Speaker of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic Parliament (ADR) Alimardan bey Topchubashov has been inaugurated at the Academy of Music in Poznan, Poland.Addressing the opening ceremony, Rector of the Academy Halina Lorkowska highlighted the life and activities of Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Alimardan bey Topchubashov.Azerbaijani Ambassador, Hasan Hasanov for his turn, hailed Azerbaijani-Polish relations.The diplomat said the opening of the bas-relief demonstrates that "the Azerbaijani people never forget their friends."Ambassador Hasanov and rector Lorkowska cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the bas-relief.Alimardan bey Topchubashev was born in Tbilisi on May 4, 1863. In early year of his young hood, he entered politics. After taking the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, he was elected as the Speaker of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic Parliament and headed the Azerbaijani delegation in the Paris Peace Conference.Topchubashev held meetings with Clemenceau, Wilson, Francesco Nitti and other outstanding politicians of his time.He actively participated in many international conferences. Topchubashev always highlighted that the only way out of plight for Azerbaijani people is to gain independence.His desire was realized in 1991 when Azerbaijan restored its independence. AZN exchange rate compared to world currencies on Oct. 24 http://www.today.az/news/business/137185.html Business Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:15:00 +0500 Below is the exchange rate of Azerbaijani manat (AZN) compared to the world currencies and precious metals on Oct. 24, according to the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBI).Currencies and precious metals23.10.201424.10.20141 US dollar1 USD0.78430.78431 euro1 EUR0.99130.99261 Australian dollar1 AUD0.6870.68671 Argentinian peso1 ARS0.09240.0924100 Belarusian rubles100 BYR0.00730.00731 Brazilian real1 BRL0.31530.31391 UAE dirham1 AED0.21350.21351 South African rand1 ZAR0.07120.0715100 South Korean won100 KRW0.07430.07411 Czech koruna1 CZK0.03580.03581 Chilean peso1 CLP0.13390.13431 Chinese yuan1 CNY0.12820.12811 Danish krone1 DKK0.13310.13331 Georgian lari1 GEL0.44840.44821 Hong Kong dollar1 HKD0.10110.10111 Indian rupee1 INR0.01280.01281 British pound sterling1 GBP1.25891.2579100 Indonesian rupiah100 IDR0.00650.0065100 Iranian rials100 IRR0.0030.0031 Swedish krona1 SEK0.10780.10811 Swiss franc1 CHF0.82160.82281 Israeli shekel1 ILS0.2090.20781 Canadian dollar1 CAD0.69680.69931 Kuwaiti dinar1 KWD2.70992.71161 Kazakhstan tenge1 KZT0.00430.00431 Kyrgyz Som1 KGS0.01410.01391 Lithuanian Litas1 LTL0.28710.2875100 Lebanese pounds100 LBP0.05180.05181 Malaysian ringgit1 MYR0.23950.23911 Mexican peso1 MXP0.05790.05791 Moldovan leu1 MDL0.05410.05371 Egyptian pound1 EGP0.10970.10971 Norwegian krone1 NOK0.11850.1193100 Uzbek soums100 UZS0.0330.0331 Polish zloty1 PLN0.23420.23481 Russian ruble1 RUR0.01910.01881 Singapore dollar1 SGD0.61670.61451 Saudi riyal1 SAR0.2090.2091 SDR (IMF Special Drawing Rights)1 SDR1.16711.16551 Turkish lira1 TRY0.34910.35071 Taiwanese dollar1 TWD0.02580.02581 Tajik somoni1 TJS0.15220.15261 New Turkmen manat1 TMM0.27520.27511 Ukrainian hryvnia1 UAH0.06030.0603100 Japanese yen100 JPY0.73060.72621 New Zealand dollar1 NZD0.61610.6148Gold (1 ounce)1 XAU975.4731966.8458Silver (1 ounce)1 XAG13.478413.5122Platinum (1 ounce)1 XPT996.061989.0023Palladium (1 ounce)1 XPD607.0482606.2639 /Trend/ Azerbaijani climber dies in Himalayas http://www.today.az/news/sports/137184.html Sports Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:59:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaAzerbaijan's famous mountain climber Murad Ashurly has died in the Himalayas.The news of his death has shocked Azerbaijani sports community.Ashurly, 42, made a successful ascent to the mountain Ama Dablam (6856 m) as part of a commercial exhibition of the Seven Summits Club along with eight other climbers. He went missing during the descent.Later, one of the participants of the exhibition talked about the death of Azerbaijani climber.Noel Hanna wrote in a social network: "The last 30 hours were the worst in my life. Yesterday morning at 9:30 am we went from Camp 2 on Ama Dablam, to descend to Camp 1. I went first, the rest of the group was behind me. I was coming down for about 30 minutes, and then this nightmare happened. I just finished the descent on the rope (a lot of old ropes and a new one) and went to the next, when the rope on which after me went down after my friend Murad, broke up. Murad fell down to 300-400 meters to the rocks and snow. We started the rescue work immediately, but the weather was very bad. Early this morning I brought his body out of the mountains to Kathmandu on a rescue helicopter. I lost my favorite partner-climber and my friend. My condolences to Olga and the entire family of Murad."Murad Ashurly was working as a top manager of one of the leading telecommunications companies in the United States. He was a member of Azerbijan's Mountaineering Federation and experienced climbers.In 2007, he successfully conquered McKinley the highest peak of North America. He was the third Azerbaijani to climb Mount Everest and Kangchenjunga, completing the Seven Summits challenge in 2013.Murad was the cousin of Israfil Ashurly , the first Azerbaijani who climbed Mount Everest and Kangchenjunga. Armenia's economy deteriorates amid domestic, foreign challenges http://www.today.az/news/analytics/137183.html Analytics Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:34:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevArmenia's foreign exchange reserves dropped below the red line over the last years. The country failed to follow the international experience since there is a negative balance between the international reserves and national imports.Foreign exchange reserves are the assets held by central bank in different reserve currencies, mostly in the U.S. dollar. The bank uses those money to back its liabilities.Levon Zurabyan, the head of the Armenian National Congress's parliamentary fraction said Armenia has spent its international reserves to ring the alarm bells. "The volume of Armenia's national imports was nearly $4.5 billion in 2013, in the other words; it was about $2.3 billion for six months. At the same time, its foreign exchange reserves was slightly over $2,1 billion in early 2014, nonetheless, it dropped to $1,6 billion in September," Zurabyan noted.The economic crisis in Armenia is seemingly inflicting the country's external reserves after it pushed its domestic reserves into a disastrous condition. The former Soviet country's economy is well-known for the lack of competitiveness. Internal economic troubles have not bypassed Armenia's foreign exchange reserves amid the considerable decrease."The Central Bank's international reserves decreased by $550 million only in six months. Current amount of the reserves is $557 million below the recognized red line which is an important factor for Armenia's economy," Zurabyan said.The situation in Armenia's domestic economy is not good, as well. The price of oil and oil products in the country is not inclined to drop on the backdrop of oil's decreasing price in the world markets.Analysts say the unchanged price of oil in Armenia is the result of monopolistic economy. Moreover, local media reports that Russia's giant oil company Rosneft controls the current oil price in the country.Though today's oil price is roughly $86 per barrel in the world markets, the importers of the oil products in Armenia are not willing to change the prices.Vahan Khachatryan, economist and the member of the Armenian National Congress Party, said the oil prices in Armenia didn't change because of the monopolistic rule in this field. "There is only explanation for that trend: monopoly. If there is not competitiveness in the economy, then the events in the world markets are unable to affect it," he noted.Armenia continues to see its economy dependent on foreign companies and money. Unlimited privileges possessed by the overseas companies including the businesses from Russia, Britain, the U.S. and etc. is depriving the country of the ability to rule the economic developments. Second International Ashiq Festival due in Baku http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/137182.html Arts & Entertainment Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:58:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliThe second International Ashiq Festival will be held in Azerbaijan on November 10-18.To be co-organized by Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Culture and Tourism Ministry Ashiqs Association, the festival is aimed to promote the art of Azerbaijani Ashiq in the world, to increase the role of Ashiq in the development of the national culture and to bring together performers of Ashiq music throughout the world.Some outstanding performers from Turkey, Iran, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Russia as well as all regions of Azerbaijan will give splendid concerts.The festival will be held in Azerbaijan State Musical Theatre on November 12. During the period of November 13-17 Azerbaijani regions including Yevlakh, Gadabay, Shamkir, Qazakh, Tovuz and Ujar will host the grandiose event.The first International Ashiq Festival was held in Azerbaijan in 2010 attracting lots of attentions.The art of Azerbaijani Ashiqs was included in the UNESCO`s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009, as a symbol of national cultural identity that embodies various artistic spheres practiced by poets, composers, singers or actor-narrators, thus uniting in one artistic expression the communities of the entire country.The art of Azerbaijani Ashiqs combines poetry, storytelling, dance and vocal and instrumental music into a traditional performance art that is a symbol of Azerbaijani culture. Characterized by the accompaniment of the saz, a stringed musical instrument, the classical repertoire includes 200 songs, 150 literary-musical compositions known as dastans, nearly 2,000 poems in different traditional poetic forms and numerous stories.The regional variations may include other musical instruments, but all are united by a common national language and artistic history. Ashiqs take part in weddings, friendly parties and festive events throughout the Caucasus and appear on concert stages, radio and television, sometimes synthesizing classical melodies with contemporary ones as they continue to recreate their repertoire.Their art is considered a symbol of national identity and the guardian of Azerbaijani language, literature and music. Ashiqs also help to promote cultural exchange and dialogue. Four ways for OPEC to react amid falling oil prices http://www.today.az/news/business/137181.html Business Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:45:00 +0500 By Aygun BadalovaOil prices keep on falling on the world markets with Brent now at slightly over $86 per barrel and WTI at almost $83 per barrel. This is roughly a 25-percent decline from their peak in June ($106 per barrel) and at the same time a four-year low.Descending tendency in oil prices has already caused concerns among OPEC member states and the countries that are highly dependent on oil exports. Only some countries may be exception from the list, and Saudi Arabia is among them.The country – the world’s largest oil exporter - with its huge oil reserves ad incomes may remain invulnerable to low oil prices. Saudi Arabia is no longer united with other OPEC members in their decisions regarding oil production quotas. This time the country again refused to cut its oil production level in order to enable for oil prices to slightly recover.Russia and Iran are the countries whose economies will feel the most negative effect of the low prices. In particular, Russia’s 2014 budget was calculated proceeding from the oil price of $93 per barrel. In September the country’s ministry of finance said that Russia’s economy lost two percent of GDP in the third quarter as the result of a drop in oil prices from $110 to $93 per barrel.However, Iran, which always considered $100 per barrel as the ideal price for oil, this time changed its position by saying that it can live with lower oil prices.The Islamic Republic's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh recently said that there is no need and plan for OPEC to hold an emergency meeting regarding the fall of oil prices. At the same time Iran’s ex-OPEC governor Mohammad-Ali Khatibi said that the organization needs to take action in order to prevent oil prices from falling any further."Oil revenues are vital for Iran’s economy, therefore we need to increase prices by any means," he said.It is worth to admit that low oil prices’ negative effect on Iranian economy will be significant. The country’s current year budget envisages the price of $100 per barrel.The issue of whether to keep or cut OPEC’s oil production quotas will be discussed in late November. Cartel’s current production quota amounts to 30 million barrels per day (mbd). OPEC holds 60 percent of the world’s oil reserves and 30 percent of supplies.To stabilize prices at current levels or push them higher, there needs to be a supply adjustment from the OPEC members, analysts from the U.S. bank JP Morgan believe.“However, since OPEC adopted a collective target of 30 mbd in November 2011, no producer can be held accountable for deterioration in the market conditions. Thus OPEC members are jointly responsible for ensuring market stability, and recent pricing decisions by MEG (Middle East Gulf) OPEC members may be seen as forcing the issue of burden sharing onto the negotiating table in the November meeting,” the analysts said in a report obtained by Trend.Competition to preserve market share raises the prospect that OPEC members will be unable to reach an agreement on how to share the burden in an egalitarian manner, said analysts.If OPEC can agree to withdraw production from the market, the analysts estimate a cut of one mbd would be necessary.However, given the inevitable time lag between a decision and its implementation, and the risk that OPEC fails to agree how to share any reduction in the output, further downside price risks remain, they believe.JP Morgan’s analysts think that the likelihood of OPEC agreeing to reduce output in November is around 60 percent.Failure to do so would suggest continuation of the over-supplied market conditions that have characterized third quarter of this year and contributed to weaker prices.“The crucial question is who cuts production and by how much. In recent years, most OPEC members have had little or no spare capacity. Thus, increased demand for crude, either due to demand growth, or loss of supplies elsewhere, e.g. from Syria, South Sudan, Iran or Libya, has been largely met by Saudi Arabia. In the third quarter of 2010, when OPEC last produced 29.4 mbd, Saudi Arabia's output was 8.3 mbd - 1.2 mbd below our 4Q 2014 estimate,” the analysts said.Overall, the experts see four scenarios for the upcoming OPEC meeting. First one is that no agreement will be reached, which will cause further decline of oil prices with the probability to reach $65 per barrel.The second scenario is that OPEC agrees to reduce production by 0.5 mbd. In this case oil prices could fall further in the short-term, but likely by less than $5 per barrel. Depending on the speed of implementation, prices may go up slightly later and remain within the range of $80-$90 per barrel broadly through the first quarter of 2014.The third scenario is that OPEC agrees to cut production by one mbd. In that case prices will likely tick up higher than $10 per barrels.And the last scenario is that OPEC agrees to cut by 1.5 mbd. Such scenario could potentially lead to the prices reaching $100 per barrel at the end of Q3 of 2015./Trend/ ICT sector developing day by day http://www.today.az/news/society/137180.html Society Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:37:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaEnergy rich Azerbaijan is striving to develop its non-oil sector and the development of Information and Communication Technology sphere is of particular importance for the country.Over the past five years, the information technology sector of Azerbaijan has increased two fold. As figures show, revenues of the ICT sector in Azerbaijan increased by more than 12 percent in the nine months of 2014.Currently, the internet penetration rate of Azerbaijan stands at 70 percent. The broadband Internet penetration among the population stands at 50 percent.Operators in Azerbaijan provided services totaling 1140.5 million manats in January-September 2014, which is 12.6 percent higher than the same period of 2013, State Statistics Committee reports.Over 72 percent of the total volume of information and communication services was given to ordinary people with 58.8 percent of the total income received falling on mobile services.The total income received from the mobile services in the country for the mentioned period amounted to 671.1 million manats, which is 7.3 percent higher than in January-September, 2013.Mobile sector is one of the well developing spheres of the ICT sector in the country, the mobile phone penetration in the country stands at 110 percent, thanks to services by its three main mobile operators.Despite this, 55,900 mobile phones and tablets were imported into the country in January-September. Thus, about 7,000 phones were brought to the over 9.5 million people.However, the market remains stable as the number of imported phones decreased by 4.8 percent in comparison with the same period of 2013.Today, Azerbaijanis prefer portable computers to personal ones. The market share of PCs decreased by about 20 percent, while the share of notebooks raised by about 50 percent in January-September. The interest in tablets has also increased by 39 percent.Moreover, with the development of the broadband Internet infrastructure in the capital and the regions, the Internet penetration in the country will increase.The cost of this 'Fiber to the home' project is estimated to reach more than 450 million manats ($573 million). The ultimate goal of the project is to provide the whole country, including remote rural settlements, with high-speed Internet in the range of 30-100 Mbit/s, and bring the number of broadband Internet users up to 85 percent from the current 70 percent.This will allow Azerbaijan to enter the club of developed countries by 2017.The volume of consumed incoming Internet traffic on the network of the Azerbaijani primary provider company Delta Telecom increased by 20 percent and amounted to 120 gigabits in September, compared with August.ICT is supposed to enter every sphere of life in Azerbaijan.From e-health cards to e-contracts, e-signature, e-wallet, e-commerce, and many other sectors are now switches to the electronic format. With launching of the first telecommunication satellite Azerspace-1, the country would switch to the digital broadcasting.The total investment made in the development of information, communication and mail sector amounted to 62.5 million manats or 0.8 percent of the total investment in the country's economy in the first half of 2014.Last year the country invested about 202.2 million manats (over $257 million) in the ICT sector and postal services. Investment in the development of the ICT sector in Azerbaijan is expected to increase to $4 billion by 2020.Azerbaijan ranks 49th in the Global Information Technology Report 2014 in terms of the Network Readiness Index (NRI) compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The country also holds a leading position in the CIS in terms of the number of broadband internet subscribers.The Land of Fire ranks 48th in terms of the number of fixed broadband connections per 100 inhabitants, being ahead of Russia that stands at 50th place and Turkey at 69th.At present, Azerbaijan is the leading country of the region in terms of ICT development, which technically helps other countries.The country has launched a project to create a platform of broadband connection TASIM, which is endorsed by the ITU and supported by the three resolutions of UN General Assembly.The TASIM project envisions the creation of a major transit link from Frankfurt to Hong Kong. The line will connect the major centers of information exchange in Europe and Asia together, stretching through China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and Germany. A reserve North transit line will traverse the territory of Russia, Ukraine and Poland.Thus, with all these and future projects, the ICT may become one of the profitable sphere of the non-oil sector in the near future. Armenia, one of main accomplices of separatism in world http://www.today.az/news/analytics/137179.html Analytics Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:14:00 +0500 By Elmira TariverdiyevaArmenia made another action, describing the support for separatism in a global sense. As it is known, the Crimea is part of Ukraine, which illegally joined Russia in March 2014, was another region, recognized by almost no one in the world.Almost all aircraft flying to the Crimea belong to Russia's airlines and make flights between the cities of this country and the breakaway region.However, as it is known, "Grozny Avia" airline plans to initiate Simferopol-Yerevan flights from Nov. 16. This will be the second international flight from the Simferopol airport opened after the Crimea joined Russia. However, the first flight was a charter flight from Simferopol to Istanbul, rather than a regular Simferopol-Yerevan flight to be initiated soon.As it is known, Ukrainian airlines stopped flying to the Crimea after its joining Russia in March 2014. At the same time, Ukraine urged the International Civil Aviation Organization (?CAO) to condemn the violation of the Crimea's airspace by the Russian aircraft. Thus, in connection with the Crimea's events, Ukraine as a country with the airport of Simferopol on its territory, notified all countries and international organizations, including Russia, about closing the airport.Therefore, flights to an unrecognized region are considered illegitimate and regarded as the violation of Ukraine's airspace.By agreeing to open a direct air service between Simferopol and Yerevan, Armenia, which has single-handedly supported separatism in Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region for many years, openly violated the international law again. However, it is not surprising for the country which has occupied foreign lands for over 20 years.Armenia's position on the Crimean issue became apparent after its ill-fated voting against the resolution on Ukraine at the meeting of UN General Assembly. That time, with overwhelming majority of votes, the UN General Assembly passed the resolution declaring the invalidity of the March 16 referendum on Crimea's joining Russia.This is while Russia's long-standing ally Belarus, which voted for the resolution, didn't violate the international law and cancelled the summer flights of its Belavia Airlines to Crimea. And it is quite clear, since ICAO prohibits passenger aircraft to carry out flights to the airports of unrecognized republics and unrecognized territories.Therefore, Belarus decided to comply with the international law by canceling the flights as distinct from Armenia which wastes no effort to support separatism in its purest form in various regions of the world as many years before./Trend/ President Ilham Aliyev hold meetings http://www.today.az/news/politics/137178.html Politics Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:53:00 +0500 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received the credentials of the newly-appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Serbia Nebojsa Rodic.Ambassador Nebojsa Rodic reviewed the guard of honor.The diplomat handed his credentials to President Ilham Aliyev.The Azerbaijani President had a conversation with the Ambassador.The parties expressed satisfaction with the current state of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Serbia, and noted that there was good potential for the expansion of cooperation in various areas.Ambassador Nebojsa Rodic said he would spare no efforts towards developing the ties between the two countries.***President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received President of the European Shooting Confederation and Shooting Union of the Russian Federation Vladimir Lisin.It was noted that high-standard infrastructure for various sports, including shooting sports was built in Azerbaijan. The importance of Azerbaijan`s hosting high-profile international tournaments, particularly ongoing world shooting sports cup final was emphasized.The parties discussed the issues related to the 2015 European Games. It was noted that high-level preparations were well underway for the European shooting sports championship to take place in Azerbaijan in 2017./AzerTAc/ Gabala hosting 2014 ISSF World Cup final http://www.today.az/news/sports/137177.html Sports Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:11:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Nigar OrujovaAzerbaijani northern city of Gabala is hosting the 2014 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup final.The opening ceremony was held with the participation of Tale Heydarov, President of Gabala Sports Club, Chingiz Huseynzade, Vice President of the National Olympic Committee, Ismayil Ismayilov, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, and Franz Schreiber, ISSF Secretary General on October 22.During the ceremony, they spoke about the works done in Azerbaijan to strengthen the material and technical base of the sports and the successes achieved in this field. They also wished bright victories for the competitors.The ISSF World Cup consists of seven rounds. Earlier rounds were held during in the U.S., Germany, Spain, Slovenia, and Kazakhstan. Through these landmark events, the shooters fought for the right to participate in the final stage of the World Cup 2014 in Gabala.The ISSF World Cup Final is the most important sport event after the World Cup and Europe Cup. The competition will be broadcasted by the official channel of the ISSF on October 23-27.The final tournament is co-organized by Gabala Shooting Club, National Shooting Federation and supported by the National Olympic Committee, Youth and Sports Ministry and the International Shooting Sport Federation.The competition started with the women's 10m air rifle final, and will close with the men's skeet on October 27.About 280 of best shooters of the world will compete for the main title in the Olympic disciplines of the pistol and shotgun shooting.Azerbaijan will be represent by Nurlana Jafarova, Emin Jafarov in shotgun shooting, and Irada Ashumova, Ruslan Lunev in pistol shooting.During the tournament, the shooting club will host some 500 representatives of sports delegations from 40 countries, including President of ISSF Olegario Vazquez Rana, President of the European Confederation Vladimir Lisin.Earlier, Gabala Shooting Club hosted the International Grand Prix Shotgun. The club will also host World Cup in 2015, where the Olympic licenses will be issued.Featuring all of the 15 Olympic shooting events, the ISSF WCF takes place every year as a conclusion to the season's World Cup Series, which works as a qualifying round.The first eight athletes in each event at the ISSF World Cup Series will enter the WCF with a maximum of two athletes from each nation for each event. Title Defenders, Olympic and World Championship medalists are also taking part in the competition. Violation against women in Armenia on rise http://www.today.az/news/analytics/137176.html Analytics Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:50:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevViolation against women is on the rise in Armenia, where two women were abducted last week.Two men kidnapped and held a woman hostage in the rural village of Harberd. They demanded a ransom in exchange for the release of the woman. The ransom was denied and the two abductors made off with about $1,220. They later released the woman.The abduction in Harberd was the second incident after the kidnapping of a 15-year old girl. The victim girl claimed that she was taken away by her brother's friend who threatened to kill her, and even threatened her father. The girl was later released.Police has arrested the culprits of the first incident, while the offenders of the second event are still at large.Women in the former Soviet country have long suffered from domestic violence. Beatings and even killings of women have become more common according to local media reports.The New York-based EurasiaNet.Org reports that about five Armenian women between the ages of 28 and 38 were murdered by their husbands in the first two months of 2014.Domestic violence against women is even more prominent in rural areas of the country.Advocates for Human Rights reported that a great number of women confessed that they were victims of regular domestic violence. The report also indicated that the government does not support the NGO efforts to help the victims of domestic abuse.The statistical data revealed about 258 divorces per 1,000 marriages in Armenia in 2014. Domestic violence and sexual harassment have reportedly viewed among the reasons behind the increasing divorce trend.According to the Social Institutions and Gender Index, which measures not only gender gaps but includes captures discriminatory social institutions, such as early marriage, discriminatory inheritance practices, violence against women, son preference, restricted access to public space and restricted access to land and credit, Armenia was ranked 54th among 86 countries in 2012.The 2011 UNDP Human Development Index score for Armenia was 0.716, placing it in 86th place out of 187 countries. Moreover, the SIGI index score for the former Soviet nation was 0.343.Armenia's World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Index rating for 2011 was 0.665 to rank it 84th among 135 countries.Statistical data show that the current situation of women in the country reflects one of the worst experiences in terms of the domestic violence among the CIS states and in the region. No progress expected in KCTS project http://www.today.az/news/regions/137175.html World news Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:15:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Aynur JafarovaKazakhstan doesn't expect any progress in implementation of the project on establishment of the Kazakhstan Caspian Transportation System (KCTS), Kazakh Energy Ministry said adding this is mainly due to investigations which need to be carried out for oil transportation route alternatives to the Russian one.The new planning is expected to be synchronized with the second stage of Kazakhstan's giant Kashagan field in the Caspian Sea, which is still to be specified."Due to the delay in the second stage of the Kashagan field's development, it was decided to suspend the KCTS project," the ministry noted.Recently, Kazakh Energy Ministry said Kazakhstan is considering new oil export routes which could go beyond Russian oil, including oil transportation from the Aktau port through the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan and beyond.The largest markets for Kazakhstan's oil are China and Iran.Currently the transit through Russia is the main route for Kazakhstan among all the other oil export routes. In particular, the pipeline system of the Transneft JSC and the pipeline of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium are the traditional routes for transportation of Kazakh oil.The KCTS envisages providing Kazakh oil exports to international markets mainly from the Kashagan field (second and third phases) across the Caspian Sea, via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and other oil transportation systems in Azerbaijan, as well as in other transit countries.The KCTS is expected to include the Eskene-Kuryk oil pipeline running to the Kuryk oil terminal on the Kazakh coast of the Caspian Sea, as well as an oil terminal on the Kazakh coast, tankers, vessels, an oil terminal on the Azerbaijani coast, and the linking facilities up to the Baku Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.Kazakhstan, one of the five Central Asian countries, is rich with hydrocarbon reserves. The country's production comes mainly from five onshore fields - Tengiz, Karachaganak, Aktobe, Mangistau, and Uzen - and two offshore fields - Kashagan and Kurmangazy, both located in the Caspian Sea.The oil production in Kazakhstan amounted to 81.7 million tons in 2013 which is 3.2 percent more than 2012. The forecasts show that after 2020 around two million barrels of oil will be produced in Kazakhstan per day. The country plans to produce 83 million tons of oil, 41 billion cubic meters of gas, as well as to process 14.7 million tons of oil in 2014. Failed footballer jailed after Kakuta impersonation http://www.today.az/news/sports/137174.html Sports Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:55:00 +0500 A failed footballer who enjoyed a champagne lifestyle by pretending to be a Premier League star has been jailed for four years for £163,000 worth of fraud, according to espn.co.uk.Medi Abalimba, 25, at one stage earned around £20,000 a week with Derby County, but slipped down the leagues.He continued living the high life by passing himself off as Chelsea player Gael Kakuta, staying in the best rooms in the finest hotels in London, running up bar tabs of thousands of pounds and being chauffeur-driven around in a Bentley, Manchester Crown Court heard.Abalimba would enter nightclubs, pre-warned that a VIP was on the way, accompanied by an "entourage" of drivers, bodyguards and sometimes young women, blowing thousands of pounds in champagne at the bar, paid for using stolen credit card details.He had stints as a professional player with Derby, Oldham Athletic, Southend United, Fulham and Crystal Palace and once commanded a transfer fee of more than one million pounds.On Wednesday, he is starting a four-year jail term after admitting 12 offences of fraud and dishonesty, in London, West Yorkshire, Manchester and Derby. He had 19 other offences taken into consideration, totalling a loss to those defrauded of £163,000.Jailing Abalima, Judge Robert Atherton told him: "There is here a catalogue of offences of sophisticated dishonesty, fraudulently representing that you were a person who you were not." /AzerTAc/ Azerbaijan leads Europe on natural population growth http://www.today.az/news/politics/137173.html Politics Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:30:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliThe population of Azerbaijan has increased by 75,400 people or about 0.8 percent reaching 9,552 million people since early 2014, according to the State Statistics Committee.The country is leading European countries in terms of natural population growth, which in turn contributes to the development of economy.Vugar Bayramov, an expert in economy said that the population growth in each country depends not only on consciousness or mentality, but also the economic situation, medical advances, improved life quality and other factors contributing to the extension of life.Rejuvenation of the population in the developing countries is a positive factor which leads to economic development."Azerbaijan's profit rate has increased by 5.4 percent and its inflation by 1.5 percent for this year. This means that the economic growth of the county has outnumbered the inflation growth," Bayramov said.Bayramov said the growing rate of income in Azerbaijan partly enables parents to have more children. "Taking into account the rate of population development in Azerbaijan in 1990s, we see a significant growth in the number of population in 2013," he added.Based on the statistics for the eight months of 2014, a total of 112,000 children were born in Azerbaijan, 53.6 percent of them were boys and 46.4 percent, girls. During the given period, there were registered 37,300 deaths.Working-age population is also growing. They not only consume but also produce goods. This produces more national income, which also creates favorable conditions for GDP growth.The density of population in Azerbaijan is 110 people per square kilometer. The ration is 1,000 men to 1,011 women. The share of urban population is 53.2 percent, whilst the rural population stands at 46.8 percent.Azerbaijan also records influx of immigrants. During the first eight month of 2014, 1,299 people arrived in the country and 575 people left it.The natural population growth means new workforce. It will reduce the need of the government for migrant workers and will give a chance for the country's citizens to meet domestic demands.The "Azerbaijan 2020: Look into the future" Concept of Development reads that during the period covered by the concept, the country's population will increase by 1.1 per cent a year on average and is expected to total about 10.2 million in 2020. Azerbaijan, WB ink credit agreement http://www.today.az/news/business/137172.html Business Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:59:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliAzerbaijan and World Bank (WB) has signed a credit agreement "Judicial services and smart infrastructure" project (JSSIP).The agreement was signed by Fikret Mammadov, a Justice Minister and Larisa Leshchenko, the World Bank Country Manager for Azerbaijan.The total project cost is $200 million including funding from World Bank an amount of $100 million and Azerbaijani government source in $100 million.The realization of the project is planned till December 31, 2018.JSSIP constitutes a second phase of World Bank support for Azerbaijan's efforts to improve the performance of its justice sector and strengthen access to justice, especially for the vulnerable. The project is designed to sustain Azerbaijan's justice sector modernization by expanding access, strengthening due process, and ensuring transparency in the delivery of key justice and legal services.The Project has four components that will upgrade e-justice services, such as case filing and case management systems; improving business registry and inspections, and enforcement of judicial decisions; improving information technology capabilities of the justice sector; and expansion and modernization of judicial infrastructure.In the framework of the project it is also planned to build a new court complex, the widespread use of electronic court system and other advanced information technologies, training of the judiciary and judges, increasing citizens' awareness of different areas of law and other activities.The current World Bank investment portfolio in Azerbaijan includes 17 projects. Since joining the World Bank in 1992, commitments to the country have totaled over $3 billion for 54 projects Voice of America criticied for anti-Americanism http://www.today.az/news/regions/137171.html World news Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:37:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaThe Voice of America radio, tasked with promoting American values and views around the world has come under recent criticism for alleged pro-Iranian bias and cozy ties to the anti-American ruling regime in Tehran.The U.S. Congress called for an investigation into the Voice of America's Persian language news service, according to a letter sent recently to Secretary of State John Kerry, the Washington Free Beacon newspaper reported.The call from Congress for an investigation into these alleged practices comes just a month after the Washington Free Beacon revealed that VOA's Persian News Network had banned from the network a prominent Iranian opposition member and placed him on a so-called "black list" after he attacked Iran's ruling regime for sponsoring terrorism."We are concerned that this network, which is meant to promote freedom and democracy through objective news and information, may have harmed instead of helped the plight of Iranians seeking to claim their human rights," the U.S. lawmakers said.Lawmakers and Iranian dissidents have long accused PNN of producing sympathetic coverage of the Iranian regime and blacklisting prominent Iranian opposition voices from appearing on the air.Nine U.S. lawmakers demanded that the Department of State to launch formal investigation into potential mismanagement at PNN."We have received complaints from our Iranian-American constituents that VOA-PNN programs have neglected to adequately cover the abysmal situation of human rights violations in Iran, particularly the alarming and dramatic rise in executions," the lawmakers said in a letter to Kerry.PNN critics, including former staffers and guests, have discussed systematic corruption at the network that includes a policy of censoring those who criticize the regime and those who may reveal information damaging to the network's senior officials, some of whom have had ties to the Iranian regime, according to the Washington Free Beacon.Banafsheh Zand, an Iranian political analyst and human rights activist said she was also blacklisted by VOA."I have been one of the journalists and analysts, who has been on the black list of the VOA for years...and I have found them to be seriously unprofessional, not to mention selective in their employment records, etc.," Zand told AzerNews.This not the only case of VOA's biased approach towards some issues. Recently, Azerbaijan has strongly condemned the VOA for a documentary film about Azerbaijan's occupied region of Nagorno-Karabakh.Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry said the program prepared by the Voice of America ??about the so-called regime in the occupied territories promotes separatism and aggression.The program, which doesn't take into account and doesn't reflect the position of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as refugees and internally displaced persons who were expelled from their native lands as a result of the Armenian aggression, is unfair and biased, according to the ministry. President Aliyev reviews project of Shooting Complex construction http://www.today.az/news/politics/137170.html Politics Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:36:00 +0500 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his wife, chairperson of the Organizing Committee of the European Games Mehriban Aliyeva have reviewed the progress of construction at the Trap Shooting Complex in Bilajari, Baku.The head of state and his wife were informed that the area of the complex, which is designed to host shooting sports and skeet shooting tournaments, has been expanded to 19.6 hectares. The construction of building and facilities meeting standards of the International Shooting Federation continues here.President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva reviewed a sketch shooting area of the complex. It was noted that all conditions will be created here for holding circular and trench shooting tournaments and trainings. There will be five shooting ranges here with one of them designed to host Olympic competitions and World Cup finals. Chairs and a 500-seat stand will be installed in each shooting range. Special attention is paid to the creation of social facilities here. A four-storey hotel is being built. It will have 20 two-bed, and two VIP rooms. There will be a conference hall, meeting and medical rooms, a room for coaches, a restaurant and a 500-car parking lot.President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva reviewed a shooting sports area. It was noted that 10m, 25m, 50m and 300m shooting sports competitions will be held here. There will be an 80-man 10m indoor shooting range. The facility will handle up to 483 spectators. A 50-man 25m partly-indoor shooting range will handle up to 390 spectators. There will also be an 80-man 50m and a 300m partly-indoor shooting ranges with the latter handling up to 414 spectators. The 15-man 10m, 25m and 50m indoor shooting ranges are designed to host Olympic competitions and world cup finals. These facilities will handle up to 500 spectators.All shooting ranges have rooms for sportsmen, coaches and doctors. In addition, there will be a cafe, a restaurant, waiting and recreation rooms, conference halls, observation balconies, a press center, technical rooms, medical and doping control rooms.It was said that the Skeet Shooting Complex will be one of the largest shooting complexes in Europe.The head of state gave his instructions and recommendations. Iran economy still in dismal state http://www.today.az/news/analytics/137169.html Analytics Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:50:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaSanctions by the international community imposed on Iran have failed to stem the Islamic Republic's economic growth according to Iranian officials.New figures released by Iran's Central Bank in September indicated that the economy grew 4.6 percent in the first quarter of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21, 2014).Reports by the International Monetary Fund included positive predictions regarding Iran's economic growth rate. New projections released by IMF in its World Economic Outlook say Iran's economy will grow 1.5 percent this year, followed by 2.3 percent in 2015.Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran's economy is getting out of recession. Some experts relate it to the change of power in Iran, while others say it was possible due to the sanctions relief following the nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers.However, some are still skeptic about regarding real figures, due the lack of transparency in data collection procedures.Kamran Dadkhah, a professor of economics at U.S. Northeastern University told AzerNews that regarding Rouhani's statement, two issues need to be mentioned."First, there are many people who are skeptical about these figures. Distrust of Iran's statistics has its roots in the behavior of government officials in the past 35 years as well as lack of transparency in data collection procedures. Government officials have frequently made up numbers to justify their actions and to cover up the dismal state of the Iranian economy and society," Dadkhah said.He went on to note that, the statistical procedures employed by different organizations are neither clear nor open to discussion. "This state of affairs became worse during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Some government agencies stopped publishing statistics and Ahmadinejad and his cottiers felt they can make up any number they liked and throw then it in. It is important for the Iranian government to rectify this situation and over time build confidence in government statistics."Dadkhah noted that even accepting government data and Rouhani's statement, the Iranian economy is still in a dismal condition.Rouhani said the country's inflation will fall below 20 percent by the end of the current Iranian calendar year. He vowed to decrease the inflation rate to 5 percent till 2017."According to Rouhani, the rate of inflation has slowed down. Still Iran has one of the highest inflation rates in the world. While many countries aim at inflation rates of two or three percent how can Iran consider a 20 percent inflation rate as a victory? As far as growth is concerned Iran has had negative growth rates for two years and a growth rate of 2-3 percent would not make up for the decline of the previous two years. But more important, given Iran's potentials in terms of resources, educated labor force, and its strategic position, the Iranian economy should be one of top economies of the world. At present it is in a devastating state and touting a meager growth rate as an achievement is unacceptable for someone who has labeled his administration, the government of hope and wisdom," Dadkhah pointed out.He added that Rouhani's government has not implemented any significant policy to get the Iranian economy out of its dismal state. "So the skeptics wonder how the recession ended and inflation was controlled when no significant economic policy has gone into effect."Dadkhah noted that, however, the Geneva agreement, inked last November between six world powers and Iran, changed the expectations, released some of the oil money that had been blocked in foreign banks, and also eased sanctions on petrochemical and car industries. He said the combination of these factors has had a positive effect on the economy.As part of sanctions relief under Geneva deal, Iran earlier got $4.2 billion frozen oil revenue kept in banks abroad. In addition, Tehran will receive $2.8 billion assets over the four months of the deal's extension since July.Dadkhah further said if a nuclear deal is reached and sanctions are lifted, there is a distinct possibility that the Iranian economy will experience a considerable growth."The Iranian economy has fallen behind in terms of investment and introduction of modern technology. This is most troublesome in the oil sector. Many European and American companies are eager to invest in Iran. The prerequisites are lifting of sanctions, curtailing economic activities of the Iranian government and affiliated organizations particularly the Revolutionary Guard, and ensuring the security of private property and capital," Dadkhah said.After an interim deal between Iran and six world powers, foreign companies voiced their intention to resume activity in Iran, especially in the energy sector.In late 2013, Iran named seven Western oil companies it wanted back in its vast oil and gas fields if international sanctions are lifted.Zanganeh named the seven in order: Total of France, Royal Dutch Shell, Italy's ENI, Norway's Statoil, Britain's BP and U.S. companies Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips.Dadkhah further noted that the Iranian government should also be prepared to confront two negative factors. "First, the recent fighting in the Middle East could easily reach the Iranian border and affect the economy. Second, the recent sharp drop in the price of oil would reduce the government revenues and resources. So the lifting of sanctions may not bring the expected amount of revenue.""By the end of Ahmadinejad's presidency, the liquidity (money supply in broad sense or M2) in the Iranian economy was more than six times what it had been at the beginning of his presidency. Thus, the government has to limit its budget deficit and refrain from borrowing from the central bank. On the other hand, while legitimate businesses and investors should have access to reasonable credit, the lavish extension of credit to individuals close to the centers of power (rent seekers) and to government organizations which have no business being engaged in economic activities should be stopped or at least curtailed," Dadkhah said.The inflation rate in Iran in 2005, when Ahmadinejad took office was about 10.4 percent, but in mid-2013, when he handed over the office to Rouhani, the inflation rate and point-to-point inflation rate were 37.5 percent and 44 percent, respectively. U.S. hails amnesty in Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/politics/137168.html Politics Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:35:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Sara RajabovaThe United States praised Azerbaijani president's decision on pardoning more than 80 prisoners.The U.S. Department of State said Washington welcomes the October 17 pardon and release of four civil society activists in Azerbaijan.Earlier, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on pardon of 84 people. Three former members of the NIDA movement - Shahin Novruzlu, Elsever Mursalli and Bakhtiyar Guliyev, head of the NGO Hasan Guseynli are also among those pardoned. Moreover, two Iranian citizens, two Georgian, one Turkish and one Pakistani citizen are also on the list of the pardoned.Earlier, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton and Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule hailed Azerbaijani president's decision on amnesty. Azerbaijan hopes for agriculture to drive its economic diversification http://www.today.az/news/business/137167.html Business Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:59:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Aynur JafarovaA two-day strategy review workshop designed to further improve the agriculture sector in Azerbaijan kicked off in Baku on October 23.The event, organized by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), provides an opportunity for donors, development specialists, civil society and government officials to exchange ideas, share knowledge, identify ways and means to further contribute to rural transformation, strengthen the agriculture sector and promote rural development interventions that can stimulate rural growth, create job opportunities and build vibrant rural communities."Our ongoing investment in agriculture and our partnership with IFAD has allowed us to transform the agriculture sector, put in place a reliable supply of food for our people and create business opportunities," Azerbaijan's Agriculture Minister Heydar Asadov said.Over the course of the last decade, the Azerbaijani government and IFAD have worked together to boost the agricultural sector and lay the foundation for successful and sustainable agricultural growth."Working with IFAD, we were able to implement President Ilham Aliyev's agricultural reforms and as a result today smallholder farmers are producing 80 percent of all agricultural output and acting as an engine of growth, providing jobs to over 40 percent of the workforce," Asadov noted.IFAD-funded interventions, which are closely aligned to the country's agriculture and rural development strategies, have helped to develop the agriculture sector as a dominant force in the rural economy and improve food security by providing rural communities with access to assets and services for the sustainable management of natural resources, including improved irrigation and rangeland management. This has resulted in improved living conditions of disadvantaged rural communities."Building on this sound foundation and in-line with the government's updated agriculture strategy: 2014-2020 Development Strategy of Agribusiness in Azerbaijan, IFAD will be adopting new and innovative approaches to boost rural transformation," Director of IFAD's Near East, North Africa, Central Asia and Europe Division Khalida Bouzar said.She also noted the next generation of IFAD-funded programs and projects in Azerbaijan will focus on developing and strengthening value chains with a focus on the livestock sector."And more specifically on improving traditional husbandry practices, putting in place traceability mechanism, as well as enhancing quality and hygiene standards while helping to access new markets," Bouzar added.IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome - the UN's food and agriculture hub.IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, it has provided about $15.8 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 430 million people.IFAD's partnership with Azerbaijan dates back to 1997. To date, 350,000 rural people have benefited from five IFAD-funded projects and programs. IFAD's total investment of $67.4 million has leveraged an additional $125 million.The agricultural sector is important not only for increasing Azerbaijan's export potential, but also for restoring and protecting the country's food security. Protecting the quality and price of food stuff produced in Azerbaijan and producing them in accordance with quality standards are among the top issues of the country's food security.Azerbaijan is meeting the population's demands for meat products by 90 percent, poultry meat by 81 percent, eggs by 80 percent, dairy products by 75 percent, vegetable oil by 65 percent, and butter by 50 percent through local production.As a result of the measures conducted in Azerbaijan to ensure food security, the production of husbandry goods has increased by 3.1 times, cattle-breeding by 3.4 times, meat production by 1.6 times, and grain production by 1.4 times in the past 10 years. Synergy Baku rider second in Tour of Hainan stage three http://www.today.az/news/sports/137166.html Sports Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:48:00 +0500 Synergy Baku rider Max Averin finished second in the sprint ending the third stage of the Tour of Hainan, while both Samir Jabrayilov and Alex Surutkovych featured in break groups. That moved Averin to seventh in GC, followed by Surutkovych in eighth. Elchin Asadov and Jabrayilov round out the fine team showing, as they are respectively eleventh and 16th.Once again, all of the Synergy Baku riders finished in the same time as the stage winner. Enver Asanov was caught up in a crash in the closing kilometer, but escaped uninjured.Surutkovych was in the first break group of the day, and, as he did yesterday, again picked up bonus seconds at one of the intermediate sprints. When his group was caught, Jabrayilov was amongst the next to get away. The youngster stayed away until nearly the end, and was caught with a mere 1.5 km left on the 134.7km from Haikou to Yueliangwan.“I’m very happy that Elchin and Alex made a perfect lead-out for me in the crosswind,” Max Averin said. “Jeremy made perfect tactics for us this morning. This is great for Azerbaijan cycling.”Samir Jabrayilov was “happy to be in the break and getting so close to the finish, even though I was caught with only 1.5km to go. We are feeling good now after three days here, and happy that Max was second.”Team manager David McQuaid is in Baku to discuss the teams future, and said that “Following Hainan’s opening stages has been rewarding as the team have been one of the race’s most active and were rewarded today with a podium with Max, but supported by a team effort. Before this China bloc we commented that this bloc was for the Azeri guys, to race as an Azeri team and I think they have already shown that they can do that against a very strong field.”“Concluding successful talks and planning for 2015 and beyond in Baku the last few days, I now look forward to traveling onto Hainan this evening for a brief visit to the race and shaking the hands of our riders and staff, hopefully there is a lot more Baku aggression and success to come later in the week.” /AzerTAc/ Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/politics/137165.html Politics Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:58:00 +0500 Armenian armed forces have broken ceasefire with Azerbaijan 14 times in numerous positions in the last 24 hours, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said on Oct.23.Armenian armed forces, located at the nameless heights of Armenia’s Ijevan district, opened fire at the positions of Azerbaijani armed forces located at the nameless heights in Gazakh district.Azerbaijani positions also took fire from the position located near the villages of Ashagi Veyselli of Fizuli district, Tapgaragoyunlu of Goranboy, Yusifjanli of Aghdam and at the nameless heights of Fizuli, Goranboy and Khojavend 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 U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.Armenia has not yet implemented four U.N. Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions./Trend/ Azerbaijan's macroeconomic situation a unique one in crisis-hit world http://www.today.az/news/analytics/137164.html Analytics Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:33:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Aynur JafarovaThe macroeconomic situation in Azerbaijan is a unique one on the background of ongoing world financial and economic crisis.In recent years, the GDP in Azerbaijan has increased, which is reflected in the GDP per capita. GDP has increased by 16 times over the past 20 years.In its recently published report, the World Bank ranked the countries in terms of their level of GDP per capita (GNI per capital-Atlas Method).According to this ranking, the world countries are divided into four groups: the first group includes the countries with low-income - less than $1,035 per capita, the second group consists of the countries with lower-middle income - $1,036 - $4,085 per capita, the third group comprises upper-middle-income countries - $4,086-$12,615 per capita, and at last the fourth group includes the high-income countries - $12,616 and higher."Based on the World Bank classification, Azerbaijan was included in the list of the countries with upper-middle income. Moreover, Azerbaijan is included in the group of countries not only in the World Bank estimations, but also in the classification of other well-known international organizations," Chairman of the Center for Economic and Social Development, Vugar Bayramov told local media.The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts Azerbaijan's GDP growth at 4.5 percent in 2014 and 4.3 percent in 2015. The Asian Development Bank predicts the rate of GDP growth will amount to 5 percent in 2014, and 4.8 percent in 2015.The expert predicts further growth of Azerbaijan's GDP per person."Azerbaijan's GDP is projected to double by 2020. In this regard, the country's GDP per capita will reach $14,000 by 2020. This, in turn, will exclude Azerbaijan from the group of countries with middle income and include it in the list of countries with high income," Bayramov believes.According to Azerbaijan's State Statistics Committee, the GDP in 2013 increased by 5.8 percent and reached 57.7 billion manats, while the GDP per capita exceeded 6,207 manats (over $7,912).Azerbaijan's Social-Economic Development Concept, developed by Economy and Industry Ministry, said the real GDP growth in the country will be equal to 5.2 percent. This figure is predicted to reach 59.4 billion manats in 2015.Azerbaijan leading CIS country for FDIInvestment is the most important indicator of each country's macroeconomic development. In this regard, Azerbaijan is leading among the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in terms of foreign investment per capita.Political and macroeconomic stability, secure protection of investors' rights, favorable geographical location, rich natural resources and highly skilled workforce have turned Azerbaijan into one of the most attractive countries for foreign investments.In the first nine months of 2014, some $19 billion was invested in the Azerbaijani economy, of which $8 billion accounts to the share of foreign direct investment.The foreign direct investment made in Azerbaijan's economy will exceed the forecasts made for 2014. The economic experts forecast that in 2014 some $20 billion investment will be made in the country's economy.Chairman of the Sustainable Development Research Center, Nariman Agayev told local media that Azerbaijan occupies a special place among the investment-attractive countries.He believes this is due to the fact that the inflow of investment to the Azerbaijani economy has been on the rise, and this trend will continue in the future."Currently, the oil and gas sector of the country is still in the focus of foreign investors. However, the situation will change in the coming years, and the proportion will lean toward the non-oil sector," the experts said."Besides the agricultural sector, production of building materials and tourism sector would be interesting for foreign investors. It is possible that in the future the interests of foreign investors will extend the fields of housing construction and the construction of roads. Also, the banking sector may be interesting for investors. In particular, the banking sector would become attractive for the investors from the Arab countries," Agayev added.Today, Azerbaijan has turned from an importer of investment to an exporter of it. In particular, in 2012 the export of investment amounted to $1.128 billion, exceeding the relevant figure for 2011 twice.One of the main priorities of Azerbaijan's government is promoting its non-oil sector, attracting investments, advanced technologies and management experience from abroad.Azerbaijan has achieved most of its goals in this field, and successfully attracted $83.8 billion worth foreign investment from 1995 to 2013, some $35 billion out of which accounted for non-oil sector.It is expected that the non-oil sector will develop more dynamically in Azerbaijan which also enjoys a capacious financial cushion of security in the form of gold and foreign exchange reserves worth $53 billion. This figure is eight times higher than the foreign debt of the country. Azerbaijan is ahead of all CIS countries for this indicator.Azerbaijan has set a goal: to minimize the dependence of the national economy on the oil factor and to double the country's GDP by developing non-oil sector by 2020. No progress expected in Kazakhstan’s Caspian oil transportation system http://www.today.az/news/business/137163.html Business Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:51:00 +0500 Kazakhstan doesn’t expect progress in realization of the project for creation of the Kazakhstan Caspian Transportation System due to searches for oil transportation route alternatives to the Russian route, Kazakh Energy Ministry told Trend Oct. 22.The ministry said the further schedule of the KCTS project is to be synchronized with the schedule of the second phase of Kashagan field’s development, which is still to be specified.“Due to the postponement of the second phase of the Kashagan field’s development it was decided to suspend the Kazakhstan Caspian Transportation System project,” according to the ministry.The Energy Ministry earlier said that due to the Western sanctions on Russia, Kazakhstan is eyeing other oil export routes that will be an alternative to the Russian one, including the possibility of transporting oil to Azerbaijan through the Aktau sea port and the Caspian Sea.“Given the current situation, one can assume that the anti-Russian sanctions will not block oil and gas deliveries from Russia to the EU, including Kazakhstan’s oil through the Russian pipelines. However, the diversification of oil exports is being studied,” the ministry told the News-Kazakhstan Agency.The ministry said that currently the transit through Russia is the main route for Kazakhstan among all the other oil export routes.In particular, the pipeline system of the Transneft JSC and the pipeline of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium are the traditional routes for transportation of Kazakhstan’s oil.The KCTS is to provide Kazakh oil exports to international markets mainly from the Kashagan field (second and third phases) across the Caspian Sea, via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and other oil transportation systems in Azerbaijan, as well as in other transit countries.The KCTS is assumed to include the Eskene-Kuryk oil pipeline running to the Kuryk oil terminal on the Kazakh coast of the Caspian Sea, as well as an oil terminal on the Kazakh coast, tankers, vessels, an oil terminal on the Azerbaijani coast, and the linking facilities up to the Baku Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.The Oil and Gas Minister of Kazakhstan Uzakbai Karabalin earlier told Trend that the need for the KCTS project will occur no earlier than 2020.The production at the Kashagan field started Sept. 2013, but in October, it was ceased after a gas leak in one of the main pipelines.The analysis conducted over several months revealed numerous micro-cracks on the pipeline that appeared due to the impact of the associated gas with high sulfur content to the metal.The project’s operator, the North Caspian Operating Co. (NCOC) confirmed the need for a complete replacement of the gas and oil pipelines, which have a total length of about 200 kilometers.The government said the replacement of pipes will take at least two years.Earlier, the Deputy Energy Minister of Kazakhstan Magzum Mirzagaliyev said the production at the Kashagan is expected to resume in the second half of 2016./Trend/ EU seeks to renew talks on Trans-Caspian pipeline http://www.today.az/news/business/137162.html Business Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:15:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Aynur JafarovaThe European commission is interested in holding negotiations with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan regarding the joint activities on the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, Head of the EU delegation to Azerbaijan Malena Mard told journalists on October 22.She said there is a tripartite format of the meeting on the Trans-Caspian project between the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.However, Mard noted she can't tell the exact date of the meeting yet.Earlier Azerbaijan's Energy Minister Natig Aliyev informed about EU's plan to hold another round of trilateral talks with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the establishment of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline."EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger has proposed to hold another round of negotiations with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in Brussels," he told journalists. "But, unfortunately, the Turkmen side has not yet responded for some reasons but Oettinger assured me that the meeting will take place."The Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline with a length of around 300 kilometers will be laid from the Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan, where it will be linked to the Southern Gas Corridor. The pipeline's capacity is 30-40 billion cubic meters of gas per year.Both Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, two Caspian littoral countries, are interested in using alternative routes for transportation of energy resources from the resource-rich Caspian region to European markets.Talks on the construction of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline between Turkmenistan, the EU, and other countries have been held regularly since late 1990s.The negotiation process intensified after the EU issued a mandate to start negotiations on the preparation of an agreement between the EU, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan on the Trans-Caspian project in September 2011.Ashgabat believes that the agreement between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan is sufficient for laying a pipe under the Caspian Sea.Baku has expressed readiness to create transit opportunities and provide means to take advantage of them, as reported by representatives of Azerbaijan's state energy company SOCAR.Azerbaijan will benefit from transportation of gas through the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline because the implementation of this project will make Azerbaijan not only a supplier of gas, but also a transit country.However, Iran and Russia have expressed their skepticism towards the project, saying that the construction of the pipeline may damage the Caspian Sea ecology.Recently, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said the Caspian-littoral countries face interventions while constructing pipelines. KazMunaiGas to spend hugely on geological exploration http://www.today.az/news/regions/137161.html World news Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:05:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Aynur JafarovaKazakhstan's KazMunaiGas National Oil and Gas Company will spend $5 billion on the geological exploration in the country in the next three years, Kazakh Energy Minister Vladimir Shkolnik said at a parliamentary meeting on October 21."This measure will ensure the growth of the company's proved reserves of oil and gas condensate from 823 million metric tons to 1.4 billion metric tons in 2022," he added.He also noted the expansion of the hydrocarbon resource base, increase of the efficiency of the existing fields and preparation of the domestic industry for new conditions are among the main priorities of Kazakhstan's government.In May 2014, the Kazakh government approved a geological exploration program for 2015-2019. Based on the program, the country would allocate 119 billion tenge (around $654 million) from the state budget to conduct geological survey. This program is believed to increase gold, copper and complex ores forecast resources.Kazakhstan also plans to attract large national companies and subsoil users to invest in geological exploration, as well as to establish a Geological Research Center which will lead to a substantial reduction in financial expenditure and time for processing geological materials by conducting analyses in the country. Armenian authorities ignoring public sufferings http://www.today.az/news/regions/137160.html World news Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:45:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevContinuous protests in Armenia reveal nations' deepening dissatisfaction with the ruling regime. One third of the whole population is deprived of their Constitutional rights in Armenia."About 1 million people in Armenia are deprived of their Constitutional rights and this has led them to hold numerous protests over the last year," MP from the Prosperous Armenia party Vahe Enfiajyan said on October 21.Enfiajyan underlined the protests against the funded pension system, increase of tuition fees at the state universities, as well as the new turnover tax on small and medium business owners adding that they are the results of a weak constitution in Armenia."We can add to this list the unfair court decisions, stealing money from the citizens' pockets by the paid parking and highway cameras and the draconian bank interests. These are the reasons behind the upcoming protest at the Liberty square on October 24," Enfiajyan noted"Troika" of the three main Armenian opposition parties - Heritage party, Prosperous Armenia party and Armenian National Congress held a large-scale protest rally in the capital city Yerevan on October 10. Tens of thousands of residents flocked to the Liberty Square to demand the power change in the country. During the rally, protesters chanted anti-government slogans.Government CrisisThe "opposition trio" has recently expressed its concern over the continuing crisis in Armenia. It adopted a statement to shed light to the dark sides of the crisis at government level.The lawmakers of the three leading opposition forces said the corruption, monopolies, high poverty rate, as well as the skyrocketing emigration and mistrust in the electoral system were deepening the crisis."Corruption and monopolies are the greatest evils in Armenia's economy and governance system. Local and international organizations have repeatedly confirmed this fact," Secretary of the Armenian National Congress parliamentary group Aram Manukyan said.Armenians are overwhelmingly leaving the country amid the economic and political crisis in the ex-Soviet state. Poverty and unemployment along with the regular violations of human rights leave no choice for the residents but to abandon their native land."About 213, 000 people have emigrated from Armenia during the last four years. This trend has damaged Armenia's international reputation," Manukyan noted.The government fails to meet the society's needs in terms of implementing economic, political, social, financial and other projects to ease public life in the country. Constant failure of taking the right measures deteriorated the situation in the South Caucasus state and all in Armenia started to describe it as a governing crisis. Neither the Constitution's, nor the National Assembly's Rules of Procedure's demands are correctly observed to get rid of the multi-sided crisis.Now, about 30 percent poor, 20 percent unemployed and 7 percent beggar Armenians are going to demand their rights at the upcoming rally in October 24. Disagreement between the regime and residents is reaching to its cutting edge in Armenia. The people will either make or break the justice in the country as the ongoing events promise nothing but a dark future. NATO commander visits Georgia http://www.today.az/news/regions/137158.html World news Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:38:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevThe NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of U.S. European Command, General Philip Breedlove paid a visit to Georgia on October 21.Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania met NATO's high-ranking official on October 22 to discuss NATO-Georgia partnership, implemented defense reforms, participation of Georgia in international missions and the future plans of cooperation between two sides.They also focused on the fulfillment of the Substantial Package granted to Georgia at the NATO's Wales Summit. Discussions also covered the regional security environment. The two sides discussed the threats posed to Georgia given Russia`s aggressive policy. They called for taking steps by the international community to ensure stability in the region.Head of the NATO Liaison Office in Georgia William Lahue and NATO Military Liaison Officer Colonel Maximilian Eder also attended the meeting. The Chief of the Georgian Armed Forces' General Staff, Mayor-General Vakhtang Kapanadze, Deputy Defence Minister Mikheil Darchiashvili and other officials represented Georgia at the talks.General Philip Breedlove will meet with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. He will also visit Ivane Javakhishvili State University in Tbilisi during his two-day visit to the South Cucasus country. NATO General will deliver a lecture for students from different higher institutions and will answer their questions.NATO has earlier approved the NATO-Georgia package during the meeting held in 28+1 format in Brussels. The military alliance expressed its full readiness to timely and effectively fulfill the package.Georgia has become one of the five countries to achieve the new elevated status among the NATO partners. Iran, P5+1 pass over 90% of nuclear talks, difficult steps ahead http://www.today.az/news/regions/137159.html World news Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:36:00 +0500 Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said that Iran and the P5+1 have passed over 90 percent of nuclear negotiations and final “sensitive, difficult and important” steps lie ahead, Iran’s State IRINN TV reported Oct. 22.She made the remarks while commenting about the chief Russian negotiator Sergei Ryabkov's statements who said 98 percent of a final deal has been agreed upon, following the latest round of nuclear talks in Vienna in mid-October.Iranian Spokeswoman underlined that all parties try to take advantage of next 40 days to achieve a final deal before 24 Nov. deadline.She noted that extending the deadline is not in the sides’ agenda yet.Afkham suggested to the parts to avoid exposing to media the topics which are under discussion by nuclear negotiating teams and not finalized during the remaining sensitive period(till Nov. 24).Her remarks came after the report was made by Reuters about the Iranian officials demand for partial removal of sanctions only in specific areas.In the negotiations with six major powers, the Iranians has said they are no longer demanding a total end to economic sanctions in return for curbing their nuclear program and would accept initially lifting just the latest, most damaging, sanctions, Reuters said Oct. 21.The Islamic Republic’s foreign ministry officials have rejected the report.Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) held their latest round of talks in Vienna in mid-October to work out a final agreement aimed at ending the long-standing dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program.Last November, the two sides clinched an interim nuclear accord, which took effect on Jan. 20 and expired six months later. However, the parties agreed to extend their talks until Nov. 24 as they remained divided on a number of key issues. /Trend/ Liverpool, Chelsea and the teams Ronaldo has struggled to score against http://www.today.az/news/sports/137157.html Sports Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:20:00 +0500 Cristiano Ronaldo is in the form of his life for Real Madrid. With 19 goals in 12 games in all competitions this season, the 29-year-old is virtually unstoppable right now.And, having hit an incredible 271 goals in 258 appearances since signing for Madrid from Manchester United in 2009, and a total of 394 club goals in 581 career games, it is fair to say that Ronaldo is not scared of any opponent.However, there are some teams who have fared well against the current Ballon d'Or holder - and one of those is Wednesday's Champions League opponents, Liverpool.In nine games against the Reds - all of which came during his six seasons at Manchester United - Ronaldo scored just two goals. He has never registered at Anfield, the venue of this midweek's game.Ronaldo's most difficult opponents have been Chelsea. He has scored just once in 15 games against the Blues, although that solitary strike arrived in United's 2008 Champions League final triumph in Moscow.Other English clubs that can be proud of their record against the Portuguese include Blackburn (three in 12), Sunderland (one in five), Charlton (one in five) and Birmingham City (two in eight). Away from England, Espanyol are the standout bogey side in Spain, with four goals in 10 games. The 29-year-old actually prefers playing a more illustrious Catalan opponent in Barcelona - against whom he has struck 13 times in 24 outings.The only English team that he's faced more than once where he has a ratio of 1:1 or better is actually Manchester United, having scored twice against them in the Champions League with Real Madrid in 2012-13.Ronaldo did not score more than 11 goals per season in his first three years at Old Trafford and 'only' scored 117 times in 290 competitive matches under Sir Alex Ferguson, compared to his aforementioned 271 strikes in 258 games at Madrid.It is worth remembering, too, that once upon a time Ronaldo was taunted by some for not performing in big games. Liverpool were United's fiercest rivals throughout his time in England and his small tally helps to explain how this reputation was forged.The former Sporting player also failed to net in his first 26 Champions League games (excluding qualifiers) for United, whereas he is now on the verge of becoming the competition's all-time top goalscorer.Clearly, a lot has changed since Ronaldo last played at Anfield in 2007, although Liverpool will be hoping that his hoodoo against them continues on Wednesday evening./Goal.Com/ Armenian MP's mike deliberately turned off http://www.today.az/news/regions/137156.html World news Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:20:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Mushvig MehdiyevDissatisfaction with Armenian president's domestic and foreign policies is on the rise in the country. The recent call "Sargsyan, go out!" reveals the public opinion about the president of the ex-Soviet country.Massive disillusion with President Serzh Sargsyan gained a new momentum at a parliamentary session on October 20 when an opposition MP was giving a speech.But the microphone of the Member of Parliament from the Heritage party, Zaruhi Postanjyan was suddenly and deliberately turned off while she was addressing the meeting.The 4-day session of the Armenian parliament started on October 20. During her speech, Postanjyan claimed that Serzh Sargsyan is not the president of Armenia. "First of all, I would like to say that Sargsyan is not Armenia's president, but the head of a certain group," the parliamentarian said. The MPs from the ruling Republican Party started to interrupt Postanjyan's speech.Postanjyan added: "If Sargsyan is not a president, then he has no right to order the parliament." Her microphone was suddenly turned off by the parliament's vice-speaker Edward Sharmazanov at that moment. "I'm not sleeping here. I know how to switch off your mike. You have to follow the ethics and civility like we all do," he told Postanjyan.The MP's outrageous words directed at President Sargsyan are the fruits of Sargsyan's policies since his first election as president in 2008. Economic experts accuse Sargsyan of feeding a stranglehold on the country's economy to push it into a big slump. Weak competitiveness in economy has propelled the former Soviet country to drop to 85th place among 144 countries in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2014.At the same time, the political analysts claim that lack of Sargsyan's political skills and will has tarnished Armenia's image in international arena. The government's U-turn to change plans from integration into EU to getting closer to Russia has also sparked public dissatisfaction.Sargsyan has been named as a violator of the civil rights in Armenia. About 1.3 percent of the articles published in the local media this year blamed the country's head for breaching human rights.Martin Luther King's famous saying "I have a dream" has now turned into a reality in Armenia as the residents are dreaming about a country without Sargsyan. Very recent protest rally on October 10 and plans to continue it on October 24 hint to desire of Armenia's 3 million populations to breathe new life into the country. President Ilham Aliyev hold several meetings http://www.today.az/news/politics/137155.html Politics Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:50:00 +0500 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received President of the General Confederation of Trade Unions and vice-president of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions Mikhail Shmakov and Secretary General of the General Confederation of Trade Unions Vladimir Shcherbakov.During the meeting, the sides stressed the importance of the Baku meeting of the Executive Committee of the General Confederation of Trade Unions in terms of international cooperation. It was noted that Azerbaijan maintained successful cooperation with the General Confederation of Trade Unions and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.The parties discussed cooperation prospects.***President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by Governor of Astrakhan Region of the Russian Federation Aleksandr Zhilkin.During the meeting, the sides noted that bilateral relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation have been developing successfully on all fronts, and expressed their satisfaction with the expansion of Azerbaijan`s cooperation with the federal subjects of Russia, including Astrakhan Region. It was noted that the 4th summit of the heads of state of Caspian littoral states recently held in Astrakhan contributed to the development of ties among these countries.Governor Aleksandr Zhilkin hailed projects implemented by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in Astrakhan, saying these projects were welcomed by people of the region with great sympathy.The parties also exchanged views on prospects for cooperation between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Astrakhan Region of the Russian Federation.***President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Qatar Mubarak bin Fahad Al-Thani as he ends his diplomatic mission in the country.During the meeting, the sides noted with pleasure that bilateral relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the State of Qatar have been successfully developing. The parties said that there were good prospects for the expansion of cooperation between the two countries, and expressed confidence that the bilateral ties would continue to deepen. /AzerTAc/ Hungary marks Independence Day in Baku http://www.today.az/news/politics/137154.html Politics Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:40:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Amina NazarliBaku marked Hungarians' national holiday - Independence Day on October 20.The Hungarian embassy hosted an event on this occasion, where Hungarian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Zsolt Chutora, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammadguliyev and many other officials took part.Addressing the event, Chutora spoke about the history of Hungary's Independence Day, which is very important day for Hungary people."We have brought together all our close friends on this significant day for us," he said.The diplomat also touched upon relations between Azerbaijan and Hungary, noting that the two countries have strong partnership and expressed confidence that this partnership would continue to strengthen.Stressing that the mutual visits contribute to developing ties between the two countries, Chutora praised the countries' bilateral relations in the political, economic and humanitarian fields.Mammadguliyev, in his turn, congratulated the Hungarian government and people on the Independence Day.Highlighting the diplomatic relations between the two countries, he lauded the two countries` cooperation within international organizations.Mammadguliyev also noted the importance of Hungarian composers` works, featured in Azerbaijan's stages.Later, Foreign Ministry's official Parvin Mirzazade and CEO of "HUNAZ" Organization Nazim Aghamaliyev were awarded with the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary for their contributions to developing Hungary-Azerbaijan relations.Hungary recognized Azerbaijan's independence in 1991, and diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in April 1992.Azerbaijani-Hungarian high-level relations pave the way for the development of cooperation in economics and other fields. The two countries enjoy great opportunities for the expansion of economic cooperation, establishment of relations between the players of the securities market, and exchange of experience and knowledge in this sector.The cooperation in industry, energy, transportation, agriculture, communications and information technology, pharmaceuticals, environment, culture, tourism and other areas are carried out successfully, and trade relations boost between Azerbaijan and Hungary. In 2013, the trade turnover between the two countries increased by nearly 40 percent up to 3.3 million. SOCAR to launch new car service centers in Switzerland http://www.today.az/news/business/137153.html Business Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:35:00 +0500 /AzerNews/By Aynur JafarovaAzerbaijan's state energy company SOCAR plans to commission three car service centers under its own brand in Switzerland by late 2014, Trend agency reported with reference to SOCAR Energy Switzerland.Two service centers will be opened in Valbella and Lommise on October 22 and 24 and in Vaduz on November 5, as well as other centers will be inaugurated in Walenstadt and Grono on January 7, 2015.SOCAR, which is keen on expanding operations in the retail oil products market abroad, is involved in exploring oil and gas fields, producing, processing, and transporting oil, gas, and gas condensate, marketing petroleum and petrochemical products in the domestic and international markets, and supplying natural gas to industrial and public sectors in Azerbaijan.It has representative offices in Georgia, Turkey, Romania, Austria, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Britain, Iran, Germany and Ukraine, and trading companies in Switzerland, Singapore, Vietnam, Nigeria, and other countries.SOCAR started its operation in Switzerland in September 2012 with commissioning its first petrol station in Zurich. In December, the first gas station under the SOCAR brand was opened in western Switzerland.SOCAR is now selling classic fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuel in Switzerland. However, they are enriched with special additives that ensure optimal level of combustion which is important from an environmental point of view and in terms of the cost and performance of the internal combustion engine of the car.SOCAR acquired all shares in Esso Schweiz GmbH and thus took over Esso's network of petrol stations in Switzerland in July 2012. The total cost of the assets acquired by SOCAR in Switzerland is $330 million.With the acquisition of Esso Schweiz, SOCAR received the retail network, the company's division for marketing of fuel for industrial and wholesale customers (the division sells household fuel and bottled gas to independent distributors throughout Switzerland).SOCAR has also taken over the Wangen-Olten gas station group and a number of others as well as joint ventures specializing in aircraft refueling at Geneva and Zurich airports and the Swiss Provision and Supply Company that controls joint ventures managing terminals and pipelines.SOCAR's revenues obtained in 2013 as a result of the activity in Switzerland amounted to 30.69 billion manats compared to 3.33 billion manats in 2012.