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 Mehriban Aliyeva’s dynamic character to manifest in state management: official http://www.today.az/news/politics/158972.html Politics Sat, 25 Feb 2017 17:08:00 +0400 By  TrendMehriban Aliyeva’s dynamic character will also manifest in the state management, said Azerbaijani president’s aide for public and political affairs, Professor Ali Hasanov.He was addressing presentation of his books dedicated to the Khojaly genocide’s 25th anniversary, titled “Khojaly genocide: causes, consequences and international recognition” and “Stages of the policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide against Azerbaijanis”.Congratulating Mehriban Aliyeva on her appointment as the First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Hasanov said this appointment will bring great benefits to Azerbaijani people and state.“In the years to come, you will observe dynamism in the state management in Azerbaijan. You will witness the manifestation of Mehriban Aliyeva’s dynamic character in the state management as well,” said Ali Hasanov. U.S. Azeris Network organizes protest rally outside Armenian Embassy in Washington http://www.today.az/news/politics/158971.html Politics Sat, 25 Feb 2017 17:00:00 +0400 By  Azertac U.S. Azeris Network (USAN) has organized a protest rally outside the Embassy of Armenia in Washington to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide.The rally brought together Azerbaijani and Turkish communities in Washington.The protesters held posters highlighting the truth about the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and the Khojaly genocide. They chanted slogans such as “Condemn Armenian terror!”, “Khojaly massacre must not be repeated!”, “Armenia is to blame for ethnic cleansing!”, “Shame on Armenia!”, “Armenia out of Karabakh!”, “Murders of children!”, “Armenia is a vassal country!”.The protesters urged the Armenian government to recognize the Khojaly genocide, and demanded that the Armenian armed forces immediately withdraw from Azerbaijan, free hostages and ensure the return of Azerbaijani refuges to their homelands.They also urged Armenia to fulfill the four resolutions of the UN Security Council. Azerbaijan, Iran to expand bilateral air service http://www.today.az/news/business/158970.html Business Sat, 25 Feb 2017 16:52:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan and Iran are to expand bilateral air service, said Azerbaijani Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev Feb. 25.He made the remarks at a press conference dedicated to the results of an Azerbaijani delegation’s visit to Iran.“It is planned to open direct flights between Gabala and Urmia in the near future,” he said."We have well established air links with Iran. Ten flights are carried out to Tehran, six flights to Tabriz and six flights to Mashhad in a week. Currently, work is underway to establish air service between Gabala and Urmia. All economic and technical aspects on this issue have already been discussed,” Mustafayev said.The minister added that the flights will be carried out by the Azerbaijani and Iranian companies on the basis of the principle of parity. Iran made $1.7B from investments to Azerbaijan: minister http://www.today.az/news/business/158969.html Business Sat, 25 Feb 2017 16:22:00 +0400 By  TrendIran intends to expand investments in the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan’s economy, said Azerbaijani Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev Feb. 25.“Azerbaijani side is also interested in this,” he told a press conference dedicated to results of an Azerbaijani delegation’s visit to Iran.“As you know, Iran has invested $2.7 billion in the Azerbaijani economy, but most of this investments account for the oil sector. They amount to $2.6 billion, and Iranian companies have already received a $1.7-billion income from these investments,” Mustafayev said.“Investments in Azerbaijan’s non-oil sector from Iran amounted to only about $150 million, which does not satisfy either of the sides. Therefore, we – both the Iranian and the Azerbaijani sides – aim at increasing investments in the non-oil sector.”The two countries have already created several joint ventures and their number will increase in the future, according to the minister.On the other hand, the last business forums in Ardabil and Urmia showed that Azerbaijani companies are also interested in operating in Iran, Mustafayev said.Azerbaijani delegation headed by Minister of Economy Shahin Mustafayev visited Iran on Feb. 22-23. The parties discussed expansion of cooperation in various areas. Azerbaijan says wants world be aware of Khojaly genocide victims’ sufferings http://www.today.az/news/politics/158968.html Politics Sat, 25 Feb 2017 16:00:00 +0400 By  TrendBaku hosted presentation of two books dedicated to the Khojaly genocide’s 25th anniversary, titled “Khojaly genocide: causes, consequences and international recognition” and “Stages of the policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide against Azerbaijanis”.The author of the books is Azerbaijani President’s Aide for Public and Political Affairs, Professor Ali Hasanov.During the event, attended by government and state officials, members of the Azerbaijani parliament, well-known figures of science and culture, representatives of the media, the memory of Azerbaijan’s sons, who became martyrs for the freedom of Azerbaijani lands, was commemorated with a minute of silence.“As you know, Head of Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Ramiz Mehdiyev has signed an action plan on marking the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide,” noted Hasanov addressing the event.He said the action plan determines the issues on studying and spreading information about the Khojaly genocide, the aims Azerbaijan wants to bring to international community’s attention and other issues.He said each book contains articles and has 30 pages.The presidential aide also noted that the books, which have been published in 2,000 copies, will also have electronic versions.The most important thing is that the books don’t prompt hatred and vengeance, said Hasanov.“The Armenian people themselves have suffered enough from the current criminal regime of Armenia, maybe they have suffered more than us and they still suffer,” added the Azerbaijani top official.“Today, the Armenian people are the hostages and victims of that criminal regime,” noted Hasanov, adding that therefore there is a call for peace in the books.Meanwhile, the books introduce to the world the people who committed those crimes, he said.The books introduce these people in order to prevent their future such attempts, allow the world to know them and prevent them in time, added Hasanov.He noted that there is a call in the books for good-neighborliness among the peoples of South Caucasus.“At the same time, we can not forget the Khojaly genocide, the memory of innocent people killed in this massacre,” added Hasanov. “We want the whole world to be aware of the sufferings of these people and hate those who caused them.” Mehriban Aliyeva: I have confidence in our country, our creative energy http://www.today.az/news/politics/158965.html Politics Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:11:00 +0400 By  TrendMehriban Aliyeva has expressed gratitude to those who congratulated her on the appointment as the First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.“Dear friends! These days, I have been receiving numerous congratulations from various corners of both my country and the world on my appointment to the office of First Vice-President of Azerbaijan by an order of Mr. President. I have been reading your remarks, your wishes full of support in my new position with the feeling of gratitude,” Mrs. Aliyeva said in an address.“This appointment is a great confidence in me and an honor for me. Throughout my career, I have always given first priority to the interests of our country and people.”“So far, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation has implemented a number of significant projects, and I am proud of this. During these years, we could manage to make our contributions to positive changes occurring in Azerbaijan’s life,” Mehriban Aliyeva said.“The new appointment has set new tasks before me, which, on the other side, opens new possibilities,” she added.“I am optimistic about the future, as Azerbaijan is a mighty state, which has proved itself to be so. We have great potential for growth, with the human capital being the most important one.”“Dear friends, I have confidence in our country, you and our creative energy. We all are responsible for our country’s future, its development and prosperity. Your sincere wishes and support are very important to me. I have always felt this support in all stages of my activity. I think true gratitude should be expressed not only in words, but also in concrete deeds,” Mrs. Aliyeva said.“I want to assure you that I will remain loyal to those principles that I have attached significance to date – serving our Homeland and people, benevolence and justice, tolerance and universal values. I wish each of you success, sound health and prosperity, and peace and development to our Homeland!” Iran may join Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey format http://www.today.az/news/business/158966.html Business Sat, 25 Feb 2017 14:47:00 +0400 By  TrendThe next trilateral business forum of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey may be held in Nakhchivan, said Azerbaijani Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev.This step can attract Iran to this format, leading to future quadrilateral business forums, Mustafayev said in Baku Feb. 25 at a press conference dedicated to the results of an Azerbaijani delegation’s visit to Iran. Turkey, Ukraine to sign visa-free travel agreement http://www.today.az/news/regions/158964.html World news Sat, 25 Feb 2017 14:37:00 +0400 By  TrendUkraine and Turkey plan to sign an agreement to further simplify travel between the two countries during an upcoming visit by Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman to Ankara, Sputnik International quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying.Earlier this month, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said that the two countries plan to sign an agreement on visa-free travel with internal documents after talks with Cavusoglu. His Turkish counterpart said that Turkey was preparing to accept Ukrainian tourists under new rules as early as this year."This is a very important document, given the fact that only 30 percent of Ukrainians have foreign travel passports. The new agreement will allow Turkish resorts to attract a large number of tourists from a range of Ukrainian regions," Cavusoglu said, as quoted by the Anadolu Agency.Ukrainians currently need their foreign travel documents to enter Turkey, where a visa is stamped on entry. The two countries introduced the simplified rules in 2012. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry condemns Khojaly genocide http://www.today.az/news/politics/158963.html Politics Sat, 25 Feb 2017 14:24:00 +0400 By  TrendTurkey’s Foreign Ministry has released a statement in connection with the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide.“As a result of Armenia’s attack on the town of Khojaly in Nagorno-Karabakh on Feb. 26, 1992, 613 Azerbaijani nationals were killed, among whom there were 106 women, 63 children and 70 old people,” says the statement.The ministry said 1,275 people were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 people still remains unknown.“A fifth part of the Azerbaijani territory is still under occupation, over one million of our Azerbaijani brothers and sisters have become refugees and internally displaced persons.”“Turkey deeply feels the pain of atrocities faced by Azerbaijani brothers 25 years ago, and shares this pain.”“Perpetrators of this tragedy will be judged by history. We strongly condemn the massacre committed by Armenian armed forces and the occupation of Azerbaijani territories that has been continuing for many years,” says the statement. “We pray for the souls of those killed in this tragedy.”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.On February 25-26, 1992, the Armenian armed forces, together with the 366th infantry regiment of the former Soviet troops, stationed in Khankendi, committed an act of genocide against the population of the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly.The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. OPEC says it, non-OPEC producers in right track to cut oil production http://www.today.az/news/business/158962.html Business Sat, 25 Feb 2017 13:50:00 +0400 By  Azertac OPEC and non-OPEC producers achieved their oil production cut goal in a conformity level of 86 percent, a cartel said in a press release on Friday, according to Xinhua.The Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee said that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Non-OPEC oil producer are on the "right track towards full conformity" with the crude production cut goal.The report said the in January, the producers achieved a conformity level of 86 percent over the output cut agreement, in order to rebalance the global oil market.OPEC members and non-OPEC producers such as Russia agreed to jointly cut the oil production since January 1, therefore, the sides are closely monitor the reduction process.OPEC will discuss if the cartel should continue implementing the output cut strategy in March. The press release said that there is still room for improvement to reach 100 percent conformity in production cut. Ali Ahmadov: Armenians to regret their provocations http://www.today.az/news/politics/158967.html Politics Sat, 25 Feb 2017 13:48:00 +0400 By  TrendArmenians will regret committing provocation, Azerbaijan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ali Ahmadov told reporters Feb. 25.The frontline provocations committed by the Armenian armed forces on the eve of the Khojaly genocide’s 25th anniversary show the instigating nature of Armenians, said Ahmadov.“The Armenian side’s frequent provocations under various pretexts are not news. I would like to note with deep regret that Armenians don’t give up their habit of committing provocations, and, apparently, they are not going to waive that habit,” noted the deputy prime minister. “Armenians have been trying to reach their goals via provocations.”“I am absolutely confident that the Azerbaijani army, our hero soldiers, as always, will give an adequate response to the Armenian provocation,” he added. “The Azerbaijani army is strong enough and resolute, its combat capability is at a high level. Our army is ready to suppress not only Armenian provocations, but also large-scale battles, from which it will emerge as a winner.”Armenian army attempted to infiltrate through the Azerbaijani positions along the line of contact on the night from Feb. 24 to Feb. 25, said the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry Feb. 25.The Armenian side attempted to seize favorable positions on the Khojavand-Fuzuli part of the frontline, said the ministry, adding heavy battles took place between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops.The Armenian side’s large-scale provocation attempt was timely detected and resolutely prevented, said the ministry. “Azerbaijani military units courageously prevented the attacks and the Armenian side was forced to retreat,” according to the Defense Ministry.Azerbaijan has casualties as a result of the battles, said the ministry. The Armenian side, which didn’t succeed in moving forward, continues heavy artillery shelling of Azerbaijani positions.The ministry added that adequate response measures are being taken against the Armenian fire positions and force concentration zones. Azerbaijan, Djibouti discuss inter-parliamentary ties http://www.today.az/news/politics/158961.html Politics Sat, 25 Feb 2017 13:23:00 +0400 By  Azertac Speaker of Azerbaijan`s Parliament Ogtay Asadov has met Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Djibouti Mahmoud Ali Youssouf.The Speaker said reciprocal visits contribute to further deepening relations between the two countries. “Azerbaijan is interested in developing relations with Djibouti. Parliamentary delegation of both countries support each other`s position in international arena,” said Mr. Asadov.The Speaker also praised a resolution adopted by Djibouti National Assembly on recognition of Khojaly massacre. Mr. Asadov invited the Speaker of the Parliament of Djibouti to a visit to Azerbaijan.Saying that there are many similarities between Azerbaijan and Djibouti, Mahmoud Ali Youssouf noted that both countries are situated in volatile regions. Noting that a part of Azerbaijan`s territory was occupied, the FM said they closely follow the ongoing processes to find a peaceful solution to the conflict and stressed the importance of diplomatic achievements in this sphere gained at an international level.The FM also praised declaration of year 2017 by President Ilham Aliyev as a year of Islamic Solidarity.During the conversation, they exchanged views over the issues on development of inter-parliamentary, political, economic and cultural ties between the two countries. 25 years of Khojaly tragedy commemorated in Luxembourg [PHOTO] http://www.today.az/news/politics/158960.html Politics Sat, 25 Feb 2017 13:00:00 +0400 By  Azertac The month of February is always filled with sorrow in Azerbaijan, and amongst those around the world who support the rule of law and the sanctity of human life. This is because, 25 years ago, that month saw the single worst atrocity of the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The Khojaly massacre took the lives of 613 civilians. The death toll included 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people.The event on 23 February was hosted in Luxembourg, a country that has experienced many invasions over the centuries – most notably twice during the 20th century – and has great solidarity with the plight of Azerbaijan. It took place in the centre of the city in the glorious Salon des roses of the Hotel Le Royal and was organised by the Benelux office of The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS), within the Justice for Khojaly campaign. It commemorated the victims of the Khojaly massacre, which occurred on 26 February 1992. The pianist, composer and singer-songwriter Nezrin Efendiyeva, accompanied by Astrid Gallez (flute) and Marie-Carmen Suarez (violin) performed various classical and contemporary works by Azerbaijani, German, Russian and French composers.Speaking before the audience of 130 politicians, VIPs, students and press representatives, Marc Verwilghen, Director, TEAS Benelux, explained: “TEAS is organising these events within the framework of the Justice for Khojaly campaign. This is an international awareness campaign initiated by Mrs Leyla Aliyeva, Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.“The Khojaly massacre was the worst single atrocity of the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and claimed the lives of 613 Azerbaijani civilian victims in 1992. The Armenian perpetrators of this atrocity are well-known and have to be brought to justice. We believe that judicial action against these perpetrators is possible with success, even before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are still housed in camps across the country. In a nation of 9.7 million people, this amounts to one of the highest levels of displacement per capita in the world.”Fuad Isgandarov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Luxembourg, Belgium and the EU, recalled that the Khojaly massacre was a terrible atrocity. He said: “Azerbaijan is renowned for its tolerance, rich cultural heritage and European values. I am glad to say that the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic introduced universal suffrage in Azerbaijan already in 1918, thus making Azerbaijan the first Muslim-majority country ever to enfranchise women. This is one of the numerous examples of the Azerbaijani pro-European orientation. The 613 victims from Khojaly were not only Azerbaijani, they were also European!”The concert featured pianist, composer and singer-songwriter Nezrin Efendiyeva, the granddaughter of Fikret Amirov, one of the foremost Azerbaijani composers, who often combined the microtones of mugham from the occupied Karabakh region with western classical music. She is also the great-granddaughter of Mashadi Jamil Amirov, a khanende (mugham singer) and tar player from Shusha, the cultural hub of Nagorno-Karabakh, who also composed the 1915 opera Seyfal mulk, amongst other works. The concert also featured Spanish violinist Marie-Carmen Suarez and the Moroccan-born Belgian flautist Astrid Gallez.Throughout this evocative and emotional evening, the overwhelming sense was of loss and the umbilical connection of Khojaly, part of Nagorno-Karabakh, with Azerbaijani music. The evening began Fikret Amirov’s mellifluous Lullaby, performed as a piano solo by Nezrin, and the programme include an arrangement for flute and piano of Amirov’s evocative piece Elegy, together with Nezrin’s own arrangement of the Azerbaijani folk song Lachin, which originated in the occupied regions.The concert also included her arrangements of two of the most serene sequences from the score of The Seven Beauties Ballet by Azerbaijani composer Gara Garayev, a protégé of Dmitri Shostakovich – the Adagio and Most Beautiful of the Beauties.The highlight of the concert was the world premiere of Nezrin’s emotionally-charged composition In Memoriam, written for the event for piano and violin and dedicated to the victims of the Khojaly massacre.The concert also included contemplative works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Jacques Ibert, Alessandro Marcello, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, Tommaso Albinoni and Sergei Rachmaninov. Azerbaijan, Maku Free Trade Zone may build cooperation http://www.today.az/news/business/158959.html Business Sat, 25 Feb 2017 12:47:00 +0400 By  Azertac Cooperation may be established between Azerbaijan and Maku Free Trade Zone, said Minister of Economy Shahin Mustafayev in a business forum held in Urmia, Iran.Prior to the business forum, Minister Shahin Mustafayev has met governor of West Azerbaijan Province of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ghorbanali Saadat Qarabagh. They discussed cooperation between the two countries.Mr. Mustafayev praised political relations between Azerbaijan and Iran and stressed the role of the reciprocal visits of the heads of the states in developing these bonds.Touching upon relations with West Azerbaijan Province, Mr. Mustafayev said these bonds were established by national leader Heydar Aliyev. The Minister also said Urmia`s businessmen would benefit from Azerbaijan`s opportunities and will deliver products to the foreign markets.Minister of Communications and Information Technology of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mahmoud Vaezi said Azerbaijani-Iranian ties reached to a strategic level. “Deep historical, religious, cultural relations unite both countries. An Order signed by President Ilham Aliyev on facilitation visa regime will further expand relations between the two countries,” said Minister Mahmoud VaeziGovernor of West Azerbaijan Province of Iran Ghorbanali Saadat Qarabagh highlighted expanding relations between Azerbaijan and the regions of Iran.The event also saw speeches by head of Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) Rufat Mammadov, Vice President of the Confederation of Entrepreneurs of Azerbaijan (ASK) Vugar Zeynalov, Chairman of Urmia Chamber of Commerce. Industries and Mines Agriculture Hassan Intizar.The Azerbaijani delegation also viewed exhibition demonstrating products of companies of West Azerbaijan Province of Iran. Armenia continues breaking ceasefire with Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/politics/158958.html Politics Sat, 25 Feb 2017 12:31:00 +0400 By  TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenia’s armed forces have 120 times violated the ceasefire in various directions along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry told Trend Feb. 25.The Azerbaijani army positions located in the Farahli village and on nameless heights of Azerbaijan’s Gazakh district underwent fire from the Armenian army positions located on nameless heights of Ijevan district and in the Shavarshavan village and on nameless heights of the Noyemberyan district of Armenia.Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani army positions located in the Munjuglu and Aghbulag villages of Azerbaijan’s Tovuz district were shelled from the Armenian army positions located in the Aygedzor and Chinari villages of Armenia’s Berd district.The Azerbaijani army positions located on nameless heights of Azerbaijan’s Gadabay district underwent fire from the Armenian army positions located on nameless heights of Armenia’s Krasnoselsk district.Moreover, the Azerbaijani army positions were shelled from the Armenian army positions located near the Armenian-occupied Goyarkh, Chilaburt villages of the Tartar district, Shikhlar, Garagashli, Namirli, Marzili villages of the Aghdam district, Kuropatkino village of the Khojavand district, Garakhanbayli and Gorgan villages of the Fuzuli district, as well as from the positions located on nameless heights of the Goranboy, Tartar, Aghdam, Khojavand, Fuzuli and Jabrayil districts of Azerbaijan.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. Iran's enriched uranium stock roughly half amount allowed: IAEA http://www.today.az/news/regions/158956.html World news Sat, 25 Feb 2017 12:16:00 +0400 By  TrendIran has roughly half the enriched uranium allowed under a deal with major powers, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Friday, after large amounts were made officially unrecoverable, excluding them from the total, Reuters reported.The agreement that the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia reached with Iran in 2015 restricts Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions against the Islamic Republic.The restrictions include limiting the level of purity to which Iran can enrich uranium, and capping its stock of low-enriched uranium at roughly 203 kg, a cap that Iran had recently come close to."As of 18 February 2017, the quantity of Iran's uranium enriched up to 3.67 percent U-235 was 101.7 kg," the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a confidential report on Iran's nuclear activities obtained by Reuters.The quarterly report to IAEA member states is the agency's first since the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, a vocal critic of the agreement.The major powers and Iran published agreements in December and January specifying types of uranium that would be considered unrecoverable and therefore excluded from its stock of low-enriched uranium.This included low-enriched uranium that has been mixed in with solid waste so it cannot be used without elaborate treatment Iran is banned from using under the agreement.One of those agreements also defined a process by which Iran would flush out low-enriched uranium (LEU) stuck in pipes at a plant in Isfahan and "downblend" it to the level of natural uranium. That process started on Jan. 31, the report said. Roughly 99.9 kg of LEU was excluded from the total as a result. Armenia attempted frontline provocation, says Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/politics/158957.html Politics Sat, 25 Feb 2017 11:56:00 +0400 By  TrendArmenian army attempted to infiltrate through the Azerbaijani positions along the line of contact on the night from Feb. 24 to Feb. 25, said the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry Feb. 25.The Armenian side attempted to seize favorable positions on the Khojavand-Fuzuli part of the frontline, said the ministry, adding heavy battles took place between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops.The Armenian side’s large-scale provocation attempt was timely detected and resolutely prevented, said the ministry.“Azerbaijani military units courageously prevented the attacks and the Armenian side was forced to retreat,” according to the Defense Ministry.Azerbaijan has casualties as a result of the battles, said the ministry.The Armenian side, which didn’t succeed in moving forward, continues heavy artillery shelling of Azerbaijani positions.The ministry added that adequate response measures are being taken against the Armenian fire positions and force concentration zones. First Solar Eclipse of 2017 Visible on Sunday http://www.today.az/news/regions/158955.html World news Sat, 25 Feb 2017 11:51:00 +0400 By  TrendThe first solar eclipse of the year will be visible over the weekend, and for a lucky few South Americans and Africans it will be something special, Sputnik reported.The Sunday eclipse will be annular, meaning that during the celestial event the Sun will be visible from behind the moon. This will cause the Sun to appear to some skywatchers as a fiery ring encircling the moon.The strip where the "ring of fire" will be visible is some 8,500 miles long and about about 45 miles wide, but it mostly passes over water. It will, however, be visible in parts of Chile and Argentina, before crossing the Atlantic and showing itself in Angola, Zambia and the Congo. It will be visible between noon and 4 p.m. GMT, in some places for less than a minute.The eclipse is anticipated to be visible to almost everyone in the Southern Hemisphere, about 500-million people. As the moon is not entirely eclipsing the Sun, it is known as an annular eclipse, rather than a total eclipse. The last annular eclipse occurred in September 2016, and they are slightly rarer than the total or partial varieties.Annular eclipses provide an astonishing spectacle for those fortunate enough to see the fiery ring of sunlight, but for other skywatchers it is somewhat less impressive than a total eclipse. A total eclipse is portended by a dramatic darkening of the sky, and then the Sun's outer atmosphere, a superheated "crown" of plasma known as a corona, becomes clearly visible.2017 is set to be a big year for eclipses, as the February annular eclipse will be followed by an August total eclipse directly across North America. The August eclipse will be clearly visible in all parts of the continental United States, the first total eclipse visible to Americans since 1979.Those intending to view eclipses are encouraged to wear eye protection while viewing. Staring at the Sun is never a good idea, even when 99 percent of it is blocked by the moon. Chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s presidency to visit Baku http://www.today.az/news/politics/158954.html Politics Sat, 25 Feb 2017 11:27:00 +0400 By  TrendChairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mladen Ivanic will visit Baku to participate in the Fifth Global Baku Forum, the Azerbaijani State Committee for Work with Diaspora said in a message Feb. 24.According to the message, Ivanic will participate in the discussions titled "The Future of International Relations" and will hold several meetings as part of the forum.Presidents of Latvia, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Georgia will also participate in the meeting.Some countries will be represented in the Fifth Global Baku Forum at the level of prime ministers and their deputies, and heads of parliaments.More than 200 guests from 50 countries, including influential public and political figures, scholars and experts are expected to participate in the forum. SOCAR commissions new well in Caspian Sea http://www.today.az/news/business/158953.html Business Sat, 25 Feb 2017 11:14:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR will additionally produce 62.05 million cubic meters of gas and 730 tons of condensate annually as it has commissioned a new well on the Gunashli offshore field, SOCAR said in a message Feb. 24.The daily debit is 170,000 cubic meters of gas and 2 tons of condensate are extracted within the range of 2,578-2,404 meters, according to the message.Gunashli field plays an important role in Azerbaijan's oil and gas industry. The field's shallow part is developed by SOCAR on its own, while its deep-water part is developed jointly with foreign partners.SOCAR produced 508.3 million cubic meters of gas from the country’s onshore and offshore fields using its own funds in January 2017, as compared to 543.1 million cubic meters produced in January 2016.SOCAR produced 6.27 billion cubic meters of gas from the country’s offshore and onshore fields using its own funds in 2016, as compared to 6.87 billion cubic meters of gas produced in 2015.The total volume of gas produced from those fields and independently developed ones was 29.37 billion cubic meters in 2016, as compared to 29.05 billion cubic meters in 2015. European Investment Bank eyes to finance TANAP, TAP http://www.today.az/news/business/158952.html Business Sat, 25 Feb 2017 11:00:00 +0400 By  TrendBaku hosted discussions on funding the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), Azerbaijan’s Energy Ministry said in a message Feb. 24.Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natig Aliyev, Director of Central and South Eastern Europe Department at the European Investment Bank (EIB) Flavia Palanza, Director General of Southern Gas Corridor CJSC Afgan Isayev, Head of the Energy Security Division at the EIB Rajan Sanjoy, his deputy Peter Jeffreys, as well as Senior Loan Officer at the EIB Tekin Cotuk took part in the discussions.During the meeting, the Azerbaijani minister said that despite the economic difficulties in the world, there are no problems related to financing and attracting credit sources to the SGC project.“In one year, it was possible to get financial support for SGC from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as attract the attention of the EIB,” he said.In turn, Flavia Palanza said Azerbaijan’s priorities are also the goals for Europe.She said the EIB plans to finance TANAP and TAP projects.Sufficient awareness plays a special role when making financial decisions on any project, added Palanza.She also inquired about gas reserves, export opportunities and domestic demand in Azerbaijan and noted that regular exchange of information will affect the bank’s involvement in the projects.The sides also discussed the prospects for financing renewable energy projects. Ilham Aliyev congratulates Kuwaiti PM http://www.today.az/news/politics/158951.html Politics Sat, 25 Feb 2017 10:26:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev congratulated prime minister of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah Feb. 24.“Your Highness, I extend my most sincere congratulations to you and your people on the occasion of the public holiday of the State of Kuwait,” the president said in a congratulatory letter.“I believe that the development of friendly relations and cooperation between Azerbaijan and Kuwait will further serve the best interests of our nations,” he said.“On this remarkable day, I extend my best regards to you, and wish the friendly people of Kuwait lasting peace and prosperity,” the president said. Azerbaijan to let foreign financial organizations issue manat bonds http://www.today.az/news/business/158950.html Business Sat, 25 Feb 2017 10:15:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FIMSA) is holding talks with international financial institutions (IFIs) for foreign financial institutions to release bonds in Azerbaijani manats, Angela Prigozhina, the World Bank senior financial sector specialist, told Trend.European banks and international financial corporations can provide Azerbaijan with loans in national currency only through hedging of currency risks through the Currency Exchange Fund (TCX), according to her.“For example, Georgia has already created an appropriate regulatory basis allowing IFIs to issue bonds and lend to the economy in national currency in the country. Azerbaijan is now also engaged in such negotiations,” she said.“However, based on the current government policy related to the liquidity in the market, there are additional issues that need to be solved. We recommend that Azerbaijan also try out this tool, which is important both for the development of the country’s stock market and diversification of companies’ risks.”She noted that the World Bank can also issue bonds in manats and use them for lending to Azerbaijan’s economy, but the bank does not use the TCX services, and in case of placement of bonds, will have to issue them in a large amount because the bank traditionally lends to large projects.“Now, the World Bank lends in national currency to China, Japan and Brazil,” Prigozhina added.Currently, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is interested in issuing manat bonds and lending in national currency.Azerbaijan joined the WB Group in 1992. Rainless weather to prevail http://www.today.az/news/society/158945.html Society Sat, 25 Feb 2017 10:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaChangeable cloudy and rainless weather is forecast for February 25, the National Department for Hydrometeorology of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources reported.The temperature will be +2-6?C at night, +10-15?C in daytime in Absheron peninsula, +4-6?C at night, +13-15?C in the daytime in Baku. Air pressure records 759.Relative humidity will be 70-75% at night, 50-55% in the afternoon.In the regions of Azerbaijan, the weather will be mainly dry. It will be foggy in some places at night and in the morning. West wind will blow and intensify in some places.The temperature will be +3-8?C at night, +14-19?C in daytime, -2+3?C  in mountains at night,+5-10?C in daytime.Strong north-west wind will waft in Baku and Absheron peninsula from February 26 to 27. West wind will waft in the regions of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan, Djibouti sign intergovernmental agreement on civil aviation http://www.today.az/news/politics/158949.html Politics Fri, 24 Feb 2017 21:10:00 +0400 By  TrendPresident of CJSC Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) Jahangir Asgarov received the delegation headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Djibouti, Mahmoud Ali Youssouf on February 24.At the meeting the sides discussed bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Djibouti, as well as prospects for trade relations between the two countries.Following the meeting, Jahangir Asgarov and Mahmoud Ali Youssouf signed a bilateral intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in civil aviation.The signed agreement will allow regular passenger and cargo transportation between the two countries, which, in turn, will contribute to the economic and cultural development of international relations.Regular cargo flights from Baku to Djibouti are scheduled to start in late March - early April.Jahangir Asgarov said that according to the agreement reached earlier at the meeting with President of Djibouti, Ismail Omar Guelleh, up to 30 tons of Azerbaijani manufacturers' products under the "Made in Azerbaijan" brand will be transported on the first flight. Presentation of Azerbaijani products to the new market will be a great stimulus for the start of mutual trade relations and increase of trade turnover between the two countries. EU, Georgia to ink deal on visa-free regime on March 1 http://www.today.az/news/regions/158947.html World news Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:44:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaGeorgian citizens will be granted visa-free travel to the European Union (EU) member states from March 1, 2017.The signing ceremony of the agreement on visa-free regime between Georgia and the European Union countries will be held in Brussels on March 1, 2017, Georgia Online reported with reference to Rad?o Liberty reporter Rikard Jozwiak."The ceremony of signing the agreement on a visa-free regime for Georgia and on the mechanism of temporary suspension of the visa-free entry will be held in Brussels on March 1,” he wrote.On March 9, 2016, the European Commission submitted to the European Parliament and the Council a legislative proposal on visa liberalization for Georgia. The same was done for Ukraine on April 20, as well as for Turkey and Kosovo on May 4.At first, it was assumed that visa-free regime for Ukraine and Georgia will be discussed in the same package, but Members of European Parliament (MEPs) offered to divide the countries.In late 2016, the EU approved the completion of the legislative process of providing the citizens of Ukraine and Georgia with the visa-free regime with the EU member states.The prospect of easier travel to Europe has been used by the pro-Western governments in Kiev and Tbilisi to win popular backing for painful EU-sponsored reforms.Negotiations on visa liberalization for Ukraine and Georgia began back in 2008 as part of the Eastern Partnership Program. Georgia entered the practical phase of those talks in 2012 as it prepared for associate EU membership. Ukraine reached that stage in 2014. Ukraine abolished visa requirements for EU citizens back in 2005, and Georgia followed this example in 2006.According to the Eastern Partnership Visa Liberalization Index prepared by the Visa-free Europe Coalition and the Stefan Batory Foundation, Armenia, Belarus, and Azerbaijan are the countries which are next in line to gain ratification of visa-free regimes. Azerbaijan to appeal to UNESCO on illegal archaeological work in occupied lands http://www.today.az/news/politics/158948.html Politics Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:37:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan will once again raise in UNESCO the issue of violation of international law by foreign nationals engaged in illegal archaeological activity in Azerbaijan’s territories occupied by Armenia, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hikmat Hajiyev told Trend.He said Yolanda Fernandez Jalvo, a researcher at the Spanish National Museum of Natural Sciences, Tania King, director of Azokh Project of the Blandford Town Museum, UK, and Peter Andrews, a researcher at London’s Natural History Museum, have carried out excavations since 2002 in the Azykh cave located in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories.“These persons by illegally crossing Azerbaijan’s state border are engaged in archaeological activity in the country’s territory, transport archaeological artifacts found in this area without declaring them at customs,” Hajiyev noted.“The illegal actions of these persons are the violation of the territorial integrity and laws of Azerbaijan.”“By their illegal activities, they also violated international law, international humanitarian law, including the UNESCO Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict,” Hajiyev added.He also noted with regret that Spain’s National Museum of Natural Sciences and Ministry of Science and Technology, the UK’s NUI Galway University, and London Branch of Armenian General Benevolent Union didn’t take the necessary measures to prevent the illegal activity of their staff in Azerbaijan’s territory.He added that Armenia impedes UNESCO from holding monitoring of Azerbaijan’s cultural and historical monuments in the occupied territories.Levon Yepiskoposyan, a research fellow at the Institute of Molecular Biology of Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences, is one of the “leaders” of the illegal research in the Azykh cave, Hajiyev said.“Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office has initiated a criminal case against these persons, investigation is underway,” he noted.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. Turkish Deputy PM: West continues to ignore Khojaly genocide http://www.today.az/news/politics/158946.html Politics Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:23:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovThe West continues to ignore one of the awful crimes of the 20th century - the Khojaly genocide, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus wrote in his Twitter account on February 24.He stated that the international community should no longer remain indifferent to the inhuman crimes committed on the night of February 26, 1992 in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly.Kurtulmus stressed that Armenia must withdraw its troops from the occupied Azerbaijani territories."Turkey and Azerbaijan will always support each other,” he added.Khojaly, the second largest town in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, came under intense fire by Armenia from the towns of Khankendi and Askeran already occupied by the Armenian armed forces in 1992.As many as 613 civilians mostly women and children were killed in the massacre, and a total of 1,000 people were disabled. Eight families were exterminated, 25 children lost both parents, and 130 children lost one parent. Moreover, 1,275 innocent people were taken hostage, and the fate of 150 of them remains unknown.Armenia broke out a lengthy war against Azerbaijan laying territorial claims on 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. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts. Global demand in “Made in Azerbaijan” products ups http://www.today.az/news/business/158943.html Business Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:17:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Nigar AbbasovaThe export promotion portal of Azerbaijan - azexport.az has allowed to increase demand in “Made in Azerbaijan” products.Vusal Gasimli, the director of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communications said that every week the portal receives orders worth $10 million, mentioning that the figures show high interest in Azerbaijani products.Gasimli , addressing a press conference in Baku, February 24, said that ‘Digital Trade Hub of Azerbaijan’ section will soon be available on the portal.He noted that the work on the creation of the new section will be implemented in two directions.The first direction envisages application of “one window” principle for getting all licenses necessary for export of Azerbaijani production in online regime.“This means that holders of e-contract on the export will be able to get all necessary documents by applying to the Digital Trade Hub. Users will be able to get veterinary, phytosanitary certificates as well as certificate of conformity in online regime,” he said.The second direction will cover identification of e signatures. A new service of identification will be developed by the Foreign Ministry, ASAN Service and other relevant structures. "This will allow to expand flow of investments to the country, as foreign entrepreneurs will not have to arrive in Azerbaijan to make investments. They will be able to implement all necessary procedures by means of the hub," he said. Besides, by becoming the users of the hub, entrepreneurs will be exempt from filling customs declarations.  Integrating with the most popular electronic trading networks azexport.az, provides information about local Azerbaijani products, being a beneficial platform for sales in foreign and domestic markets. The representation of local production in international platforms, including Alibab.com, has increased almost 50 times after the launch of the portal.Being available in the Azerbaijani, Russian and English languages, the portal acts as a single digital destination for trade, bringing together and connecting local entrepreneurs, international buyers and international investors. The portal offers fast and secure payment to VISA, Master Card and American Express cards owners.The export promotion portal received export offers worth some $4.63 million in January 2017, while the bulk of the orders came from Russia, Turkey, Iraq, Bulgaria, Libya, Moldova and other countries. Local cinemas screen film 'Down the river' http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/158931.html Arts & Entertainment Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaLocal cinemas have started screening of Asif Rustamov's "Down the river" film as part of the "Days of Azerbaijani films 2017" project. Residents and guests of Baku can watch the movie in Nizami Cinema Center, "Park Cinema" and "CinemaPlus", Trend Life reported.For more information, please visit Facebook page of "Azerbaijan" studio."Down the River" is the psychological family drama about rowing team coach Ali, which is dealt a cruel blow by fate. Ali is a tyrant, who cheats on his wife and forces his son Ruslan to become a rower and train hard towards this end. Try as he might Ruslan is unable to live up to his father‘s expectations. Only with his son‘s tragic death Ali is forced to reassess his approach to life as well as towards those around him, in particular his wife. Azerbaijani Parliament passes bill on Khojaly genocide http://www.today.az/news/politics/158940.html Politics Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:54:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovThe Azerbaijani Parliament has held a plenary session devoted to the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly Genocide, which was committed by Armenia’s army against Azerbaijani civilians in 1992.Armenian armed forces occupied the town of Khojaly in Azerbaijan on February 26 1992, and killed more than 600 civilians, wounded more than 1,000 civilians; and captured more than 1,200 civilians.Parliamentary Speaker Ogtay Asadov, addressing the session, stated that the Khojaly Genocide is the most terrible event to which the Azerbaijani people were subjected in the 20th century.“The Khojaly genocide is the bloodiest page of the policy of ethnic cleansing, genocide and aggression carried out against Azerbaijani people,” he said, noting that such a policy has been pursued for more than 200 years against Azerbaijan.“The organizers are some external forces wishing to realize their interests in the region, and the performers are the Armenian chauvinists,” the speaker said.Asadov regretted that up to a certain period, Armenian chauvinists, relying on their patrons, achieved their goals.“An Armenian state was established on the historical Azerbaijani territories, and Armenians were groundlessly provided with autonomy in Nagorno-Karabakh,” he stressed.The speaker also reminded that Azerbaijanis were expelled from both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.“For over 25 years, 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory is under occupation. During the land seizures, the Armenians committed brutal actions against the peaceful Azerbaijani population,” Asadov said, reminding that over 80 civilians were killed in the Garadagli village.Later, the Azerbaijani Parliament passed a bill on the Khojaly genocide.The bill includes an appeal to the parliaments of foreign countries and international parliamentary organizations to assess the massacre of Azerbaijanis on February 25-26, 1992 in the Khojaly town of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region as a genocide.The document also recommends the relevant Azerbaijani governmental and non-governmental organizations to join efforts for spreading the information about the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the exposure of deceitful Armenian propaganda.The bill urges the law enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan to continue measures to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of the Khojaly genocide.The town of Khojaly was situated within the administrative borders of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Its population constituted over 7,000 people.Late into the night of February 25, 1992, Khojaly came under intensive fire from the towns of Khankendi and Askeran already occupied by Armenian armed forces. The Armenian forces, supported by the ex-Soviet 366th regiment, completed the surrounding of the town already isolated due to ethnic cleansing of the Azerbaijani population of the neighboring regions. The joint forces occupied the town, which was ruined by heavy artillery shelling.Thousands of fleeing civilians were ambushed by the Armenian forces. Punitive teams of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh defense army reached the unprotected civilians to slaughter them, mutilating and scalping some of the bodies. 613 people were killed, including 106 women, 70 elderly and 83 children. A total of 1,000 civilians were disabled. Eight families were exterminated, and 25 children lost both parents, while 130 children lost one parent. Moreover, 1,275 innocent people were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 remains unknown. Enjoy YARAT weekly talks http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/158939.html Arts & Entertainment Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:43:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaYARAT Contemporary Art Space provides a platform for a series of talks around its permanent collection and current exhibitions featuring artists, writers, musicians, researchers, entrepreneurs and others.Public figures share their opinions and express their thoughts about contemporary art and specific works from the collection and engage with the audience.  Film director Samir Kerimoglu will share his thoughts about contemporary and classical art, cinematography and latest premieres on March 1.  All interested are invited to take part in a discussion around the artworks featured in current exhibition! Kerimoglu  directed such films as "The Purgatory", "Caress my wings", " Intention", "Ugly", etc. Moreover, he won "Youth Award" 2008  as the best director.The meeting starts at 7 pm. Admission is free.YARAT is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to nurturing an understanding of contemporary art in Azerbaijan and to creating a platform for Azerbaijani art, both nationally and internationally. Based in Baku, YARAT (meaning CREATE in Azerbaijani) was founded by Aida Mahmudova in 2011.YARAT realizes its mission through an on-going program of exhibitions, education events and festivals. YARAT facilitates exchange between local and international artistic networks including foundations, galleries and museums. Putin, Erdogan talks scheduled for March 9-10 http://www.today.az/news/politics/158944.html Politics Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:28:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow on March 9-10, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.“I confirm. Negotiations [between Putin and Erdogan] have been planned,” Peskov told journalists on February 24, RIA Novosti reported.The Turkish leader will take part in the Turkey-Russia High Level Cooperation Council.The leaders are expected to discuss the situation in Syria, as well as boosting up the bilateral relations and trade, especially in the fields of energy. The approval of a visa exemption for Turkish businessmen and politicians is also among the planned topics for the discussions.Both leaders met earlier in October 2016 in Istanbul, where they discussed restoring trade, the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, and cooperation in Syria.The Ankara-Moscow relations appear to be on the mend these days, after a drastic worsening in November 2015, when a Russian Su-24 bomber was shot down by the Turkish Air Force. Russia imposed a wave of economic sanctions against Turkey in response to the incident, with the two countries requiring over a year to mend relations.Erdogan visited Russia in August 2016 – his first meeting with Putin since the downing of the Russian jet. Both sides agreed to restore and develop relations.In December, Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov was shot and killed during a speech at an exhibition in Ankara by Mevlut Mert Altintas, a Turkish police officer. Erdogan condemned the attack and called for an investigation.In February 2017, Russian airstrikes accidentally killed three Turkish soldiers and injured 11 others in northern Syria. Putin immediately apologized for the incident. Ankara said it was satisfied with the Kremlin's actions and statements. President: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan ties dynamically developing http://www.today.az/news/regions/158936.html World news Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:26:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaUzbek President Shavkat Mirziyayev hailed the positive dynamics in the development and strengthening of the Uzbek-Kazakh strategic partnership relations, including in trade and economic areas.The Uzbek-Kazakh ties mulled in Tashkent on February 23 as President Mirziyoyev received the First Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Askar Mamin, who arrived in the country to participate in the meeting of Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan intergovernmental commission on bilateral cooperation.The President emphasized the importance of further expanding of fruitful and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, particularly through promotion and support of specific projects in trade, technology, and transport-communication sectors.The sides noted the need for the establishment and strengthening of close contacts between the provinces of the two countries, which will enhance trade and cultural exchange.Mamin, in turn, confirmed the willingness of the Republic of Kazakhstan to expand full-scale cooperation with our country.Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Kazakhstan and Republic of Uzbekistan were established on November 23, 1992. The legal framework of bilateral cooperation includes more than 100 documents, covering almost all spheres of interstate relations.The Joint Intergovernmental Commission on bilateral cooperation under the chairmanship of the First Deputies of the Heads of the Governments of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan has been operating to expand Kazakh-Uzbek trade and economic relations. The bilateral document called the Basic Directions of Trade and Economic Cooperation between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Uzbekistan was signed at the outcomes of the negotiations in September 2016, as part of which, the parties agreed on the necessity to sign the intergovernmental Strategy for Economic Cooperation for 2017-2018.Particularly, the sides underlined the need to eliminate barriers, stimulate bilateral trade and made arrangements to organize a business forum in 2017 with the participation of Kazakh and Uzbek companies.They also reached an agreement on informational cooperation of customs bodies of both countries.Trade turnover between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan amounted to more than $2 billion in 2016. More than 230 enterprises with the participation of Kazakh partners operate in Uzbekistan.The major products of Kazakh export to Uzbekistan are oil and its processed products, products of flour and cereal industry, grain, ferrous and nonferrous metals, inorganic chemistry products, food products.Energy resources (gas), cotton fiber, chemical products and plastics, fertilizers, fruits and vegetables, and other goods are imported to Kazakhstan from Uzbekistan. SGC to make Azerbaijan Europe’s energy security partner http://www.today.az/news/business/158941.html Business Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:14:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Southern Gas Corridor project will make Azerbaijan the energy security partner of Europe, Sijbren de Jong, analyst at The Hague Center for Strategic Studies and expert in energy security told Trend Feb.24.This project is very significant, as it will bring additional supplies to a part of Europe where there is limited competition, he said, adding that it will strengthen economic ties between Europe and Azerbaijan.Azerbaijan will have to work closely with Turkey to ensure that as many different sources of gas can tap into the Southern Gas Corridor, according to the expert.On Feb. 23, Baku hosted the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council Third Ministerial Meeting.The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. It envisages the transportation of gas from the Caspian region to the European countries through Georgia and Turkey.At the initial stage, the gas to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor projects. Other sources can also connect to this project at a later stage.As part of the Stage 2 of the Shah Deniz development, the gas will be exported to Turkey and European markets by expanding the South Caucasus Pipeline and the construction of Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and Trans Adriatic Pipeline. Federation pins great hopes on national taekwondo fighters at Baku 2017 http://www.today.az/news/sports/158935.html Sports Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:13:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman Ismayilova Vice President of the Azerbaijan Taekwondo Federation, Niyamaddin Pashayev pins great hopes on national taekwondo fighters at the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games. “We will participate in a couple of sporting events before the Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games and we are now preparing for them,” Pashayev said in an interview with the official website of Baku 2017. “We believe in our athletes, they are in good physical and mental shape.” Taekwondo is one of the most popular sports in Azerbaijan. The National Taekwondo Federation has trained many prominent athletes since its founding in 1992. Many of those athletes now enjoy international recognition. Pashayev went on to say that the Federation’s team consists of 8 female and 8 male athletes. “However, we are a little bit concerned about 2 of our heavyweight female athletes who’ve got injured recently,” he said. “Currently, the athletes are in a training camp. They train in the building of Taekwondo Federation and stay in Qafqaz Hotel. We also pay attention to their diet. Our coaching staff consists of the head coach of our team Rashad Akhmadov, men team coach Reza Mehmandoust and women team coach Elnur Salmanov,” he concluded. The Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games is an exciting multi-sport event uniting the Islamic world, which will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan from 12 – 22 May 2017. Athletes from Islamic countries around the world will be representing their nations over 10 days of competition across 20 different sports which include 24 disciplines (Athletics and Para Athletics, Aquatics – Diving, Aquatics – Swimming, Aquatics – Water Polo, Basketball 3x3, Football, Gymnastics – Artistic, Gymnastics – Rhythmic, Wushu, Table Tennis, Handball, Judo and Blind Judo, Wrestling – Greco, Wrestling – Freestyle, Shooting, Tennis, Volleyball, Boxing, Zurkhaneh, Karate, Taekwondo and Weightlifting) in 16 state-of-the-art competition venues across Baku. Official: Armenians continue to kill Azerbaijani children http://www.today.az/news/politics/158934.html Politics Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovDespite a ceasefire reached between Armenia and Azerbaijan back in 1994 following the Karabakh War, Azerbaijani civilians, including children, still became the victims of Armenian aggression.Since the fragile ceasefire, 32 children were the victims of Armenian terror - 13 of them were killed and 19 were wounded, said Hijran Huseynova, the Chairperson of Azerbaijan State Committee for Family, Women and Children`s Affairs.She announced about this while addressing an event "Khojaly tragedy: unforgotten history and innocent children" devoted to the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly Genocide.Huseynova stressed that the killings of Azerbaijani children by Armenians continue to this day. “Armenia wants to annex Karabakh and is ready to commit any crime and atrocity for this,” she said.Residents of the frontline settlements are frequently wounded and killed in their homes or on their farms due to frequent ceasefire violations by the Armenian armed forces. The Armenian militaries even don’t hesitate to kill the innocent children. In March 2011, nine-year-old Fariz Badalov was shot in the head by an Armenian sniper while playing in the courtyard in Aghdam region. In July of the same year, 13-year-old Azerbaijani girl Aygun Shahmaliyeva fell victim to the Armenia`s inhumane and immoral policy in the Alibayli village. She tragically died as a result of the explosion of a toy with an explosive device, which the Armenian side deliberately dropped into the river flowing to the village.Huseynova further stressed that everything possible should be made to bring perpetrators of the Khojaly genocide to justice.Azerbaijan’s Human Rights Commissioner Elmira Suleymanova, in turn, said she does not believe that only 63 children and 106 women were killed by Armenians in Khojaly.“Losses were more. We must raise this issue once again, as then there were no such opportunities to register everything properly,” she said at the event.Khojaly, the second largest town in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, came under intense fire by Armenia from the towns of Khankendi and Askeran already occupied by the Armenian armed forces in 1992.613 civilians mostly women and children were killed in the massacre, and a total of 1,000 people were disabled. Eight families were exterminated, 25 children lost both parents, and 130 children lost one parent.“197 Khojaly residents are registered as missing,” said Ismayil Akhundov, the head of the Working Group of the State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons.He said that the testimonies show that 95 of these 197 residents of Khojaly, including 12 children, were captured by Armenian militaries.“Some 3,868 Azerbaijanis went missing during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  1,437 people were released from captivity and 210 of them were children,” he said.Armenia broke out a lengthy war against Azerbaijan laying territorial claims on 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. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts. Djibouti: Azerbaijan contributing to Islamic solidarity [UPDATE] http://www.today.az/news/politics/158942.html Politics Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:56:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Gunay CamalAzerbaijan and Djibouti have voiced commitment to further expand the existing cooperation and partnership, as the issues of mutual interest were mulled during Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf’s visit to Baku.Youssouf who met with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov on February 24, expressed his confidence that the visit will open up new opportunities between the two countries.Mammadyarov, in turn, assessed the visit as an historic one, noting that it will open a new chapter in the bilateral relations.The ministers discussed the current level of bilateral relations, issues on the agenda and prospects of the development of cooperation in various fields, noting the importance of expanding legal-treaty base, as well as enlarging the economic-trade relations between Azerbaijan and Djibouti.They hailed the level of political relations, in particular fruitful cooperation within international organizations. The successful cooperation within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) between the two countries and joining of Djibouti to OIC Contact Group on Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan was also noted.The Djibouti minister stated that his country always stands by brotherly and friendly Azerbaijani people.The sides emphasized that the favorable geographical and strategic position of both countries could provide more opportunities to strengthen further cooperation in the fields of air and sea transport.  Cooperation has already been launched between Baku International Sea Trade Port and Djibouti Port, as well as Azerbaijan Airlines and relevant authorities of Djibouti.Mammadyarov and Ali Youssouf voiced belief that the recent intensification of contacts between the two countries will contribute to the bilateral cooperation.Noting that the Azerbaijani president signed a decree on declaring the year of 2017 the “Year of Islamic Solidarity” in Azerbaijan, Mammadyarov stressed that this year Azerbaijan is going to host the “Islamic Solidarity Games”.He expressed hopes for the active participation of Djibouti athletes in the Games scheduled for May 12-22.The sides also discussed the cooperation in humanitarian area and issues for the development of parliamentary relations.  Cooperation in the fields of medicine, exchange of students and training of professionals in certain areas were also among the discussed topics.Following the meeting ministers signed the Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral consultations between Foreign Ministries.Azerbaijan is making a huge contribution to Islamic solidarity, and declaration of 2017 as the Year of Islamic Solidarity in Azerbaijan is a vivid proof of that, said Ali Youssouf while addressing a press-conference following the meeting.The minister further said that his country is interested in developing comprehensive cooperation with Azerbaijan, and the great distance between the two countries shouldn’t be a problem for this.“Cooperation in cargo transportation is being discussed currently,” Mahamoud Ali Youssouf said, noting that through cooperation with Djibouti, Azerbaijan can enter the African market.Elmar Mammadyarov, in turn, said that relations between Azerbaijan and Djibouti have been in the process of development for many years.“Djibouti has always supported Azerbaijan’s position in the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” said Mammadyarov, mentioning that the Djiboutian parliament adopted a declaration condemning the Khojaly genocide.”Mammadyarov further noted that the two countries need to raise the level of economic relations to the level of political relations.Mammadyarov said Djibouti plans to sign an agreement on freight traffic with Azerbaijan. “There are plans to cooperate within the free economic zone in Djibouti,” he noted.“The two countries also intend to develop cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, particularly, the education of Djiboutian youth at Azerbaijani universities is being discussed,” added Mammadyarov. Azerbaijan prevents Armenian sabotage [PHOTO/VIDEO] http://www.today.az/news/politics/158930.html Politics Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:43:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Azerbaijani army detected an Armenian sabotage group trying to carry out provocation near the Talish and Gulustan villages on February 23.The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that as a result of immediate measures taken to prevent the sabotage, the enemy was forced to retreat.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. </p> </div></body> </html> New hydro power plant to appear in Kazakhstan http://www.today.az/news/regions/158932.html World news Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:36:00 +0400 By  TrendNew hydro power plant with a capacity of 24.9 MW will be built on Turgusun river in the East Kazakhstan region, the Kazakh Development Bank reported.Turgusun HPP-1 will produce up to 79.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year.The Turgusun hydro power plant in Zyryanovsk district of East Kazakhstan region will produce 23 percent of the electricity demanded by the district and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 680 tons per year.The project will cost 11.6 billion tenge (312.6 tenges $1), 5 billion tenge of this sum will be provided by the Development Bank of Kazakhstan.The project is financed within the State Program on industrial-innovative development in 2015-2019. The loan term is 12 years.To date, all the infrastructure required for the hydro power plant has been built - roads, power lines, bridges. Construction of the hydro power plant will start in 2017 and expected to be completed by 2018.China International Water and Electric Corporation is a general contractor of the project. It also supplies equipment for the plant.The demand for electricity in East Kazakhstan region is increasing. In 2015 electricity shortage in the region hit 2.2 billion kilowatt hours. It was covered by supplies from other regions of Kazakhstan and import from Russia.Development Bank of Kazakhstan is state owned bank which promotes sustainable development of Kazakhstan’s national economy through investments to non-energy sector of the country. Vera Brezhneva to give #NUMBER1 concert in Baku http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/158933.html Arts & Entertainment Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:15:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayiloavRussian pop-singer Vera Brezhneva will please her fans in Baku with a new concert.The pop-singer will perform on the stage of Heydar Aliyev Palace, the main music venue of Baku, on April 20, Trend Life reported.For Baku audience Brezhneva prepares an interesting and vibrant program, featuring both new and old songs.Tickets price is 40-380 AZN ($ 22-212). Tickets are available at all ticket offices of the city, the centers of ASAN Service as well as at website: http://iticket.az/For more information, please contact: (012) 598 17 72, 598 17 74.Media partners of the event are Trend.az, Day.az, Milli.az, Azernews.azVera Brezhneva is famous pop-singer, television presenter and actress. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the celebrated title of the “Woman of the Year” in Russia.In 2002, Brezhneva was invited to a casting organized to find a girl to replace Alena Vinnitskaya in Nu Virgos (VIA Gra) girls band.In July 2007, Brezhneva decided to have a break from the band, which ended in December 2007 with the official announcement of her leaving the band.In May 2008, Vera premiered her first single called "I Don't Play". The song was written by her former producer Konstantin Meladze. The second single Nirvana came out on 27 October 2008. Third single Ljubov "Love in the big city" was released in 2009.Vera has also appeared in a number of Russian-language films. She played Katya in the film Love in the Big City in 2009 and its two sequels in 2010 and 2013. Most of her film work has been in romantic comedies. President Aliyev receives Djibouti`s FM [UPDATE] http://www.today.az/news/politics/158908.html Politics Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:09:00 +0400 By  Azertac President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today received a delegation led by Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Djibouti Mahmoud Ali Youssouf.Hailing cooperation and partnership between Azerbaijan and Djibouti, the head of state expressed his gratitude for the Djibouti Parliament`s decision to recognize the Khojaly genocide, and described it as an important sign of brotherly relations between the two countries and support for Azerbaijan. Emphasizing that more than ten countries have already recognized the Khojaly genocide, President Ilham Aliyev said it is important in terms of spreading the historical truth and bringing the perpetrators of this terrible crime to justice. The head of state said Azerbaijan and Djibouti successfully cooperate within the UN and other international organizations, adding the two countries have always supported each other in discussion of important issues. Noting that strong political relations between the two countries pave the way for the development of economic cooperation, President Ilham Aliyev pointed out practical development of the bilateral cooperation. The head of state underlined that there are very good prospects for cooperation between the two countries in the fields of transport and cargo shipment, and stressed the significance of reciprocal visits and contacts in this regard. President Ilham Aliyev expressed hope that the visit of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Djibouti to Azerbaijan will be successful and fruitful and contribute to strengthening relations between the two countries even further.Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf handed a letter of President of the Republic of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh to President Ilham Aliyev. The Minister noted that he is happy to receive brotherly welcome in a beautiful city as Baku. Saying that there are many similarities between Azerbaijan and Djibouti, Mahmoud Ali Youssouf noted that both countries are situated in volatile regions. Noting that a part of Azerbaijan`s territory was occupied, the FM said they closely follow the ongoing processes to find a peaceful solution to the conflict and stressed the importance of diplomatic achievements in this sphere gained at an international level. Touching upon Djibouti`s membership of the UN Security Council in 1993, Mahmoud Ali Youssouf said his country then urged the international community to condemn the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan and took a tough stance on this issue. He also recalled that the UN Security Council adopted four resolutions condemning the occupation. Hailing Azerbaijan`s becoming a strong country, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Djibouti said Azerbaijan took a fair position, and therefore is supported by the international community.They exchanged views over the development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and Djibouti in various areas. Baku: Yerevan leaves no chances to positively assess conflict settlement process http://www.today.az/news/politics/158937.html Politics Fri, 24 Feb 2017 15:52:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaThe Armenian foreign minister hasn’t left chances to positively assess the process of settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov made the remark in Baku on February 24, while commenting on the conflict settlement process and upcoming meetings to be held in this regard.Mammadyarov noted that he is not optimistic about the negotiations on the conflict resolution.“Armenia continues to accuse Azerbaijan of unconstructive position, while the Armenian side tries in every possible way to interpret the principles of international law,” Mammadyarov said.“Azerbaijan has repeatedly voiced its position on the peaceful settlement of the conflict, and it is clear who create obstacles to this.”Azerbaijan and Armenia for over two decades have been locked in conflict, which emerged over Armenian territorial claims. Since the 1990s war, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal, but they have not been enforced to this day.The minister further added that he intends to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement during an official visit to Moscow in March."During my visit to Moscow, we will discuss with the Russian side, which for many years is acting as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, further actions on the conflict settlement,” he said.Russia along with the U.S. and France is a co-chair country of the OSCE Minsk Group established to broker a peace to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.While the OSCE Minsk Group acted as the only mediator in resolution of the conflict, the occupation of the territory of the sovereign State with its internationally recognized boundaries has been left out of due attention of the international community for years. WB offers Azerbaijan to OK lending in national currency http://www.today.az/news/business/158938.html Business Fri, 24 Feb 2017 15:32:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Nigar AbbasovaThe government of Azerbaijan may allow international financial organizations to launch issuance of manat loans.Angela Prigozhina, WB expert on financial and private sector work in the South Caucasus told Trend that the Financial Market Supervisory Body (FMSB) and foreign financial entities are currently in talks on the issue.She clarified that for the time being European banks and international financial corporations have a right to issue credits in national currency only by means of hedging their foreign exchange risks in the currency exchange fund (TCX).“For instance, Georgia has already created a relevant regulatory basis, due to which international financial organizations have a right to issue loans in national currency. Similar system may be used in Azerbaijan. However, the market liquidity policy of the country raises certain issues, which should be solved. We recommend Azerbaijan to use the instrument, which is important for the development of securities market, as well as for diversification of risks of companies,” she said.Prigozhina went on to add that the WB may also issue manat loans and use them for crediting of the Azerbaijani economy. However, the bank does not use the TCX services and traditionally places its loans in large scale projects.“WB implements crediting in national currencies in China, Japan, and Brasil,” she said.Azerbaijan became a WB member in 1992. As of September 2016, the Bank allocated loans to the country worth $3.99 billion, while the funds were used to finance more than 70 projects. Kazakhstan’s import of jewelry falls http://www.today.az/news/regions/158929.html World news Fri, 24 Feb 2017 15:18:00 +0400 By  TrendKazakhstan imported 31.1 tons of jewelries worth $31.1 million in 2016, Energyprom.kz monitoring agency reported.   The import volume decreased by 68.3 percent, import in monetary terms decreased by 29. 3 percent in the reporting period compared to 2015. Silver jewelry on Kazakhstan’s retail market rose in price by 6 percent over the year and hit 1,302 tenge (312.6 tenge = $1) per gram in January 2017. The most high prices for silver jewelry were in the cities of Atyrau (1,734 tenge per gram, 10.2 percent up year over year), Almaty (1,724 tenge per gram, 4.2 percent up) and Kyzylorda (1,608 tenge per gram, 1.9 percent up).Gold jewelry increased in price by 12.1 percent in 2016 and hit 14,100 tenge per gram in Jan. 2017. The most expensive gold jewelry are in the cities of Astana (20,900 tenge per gram, 54 percent increase year over year), Ust-Kamenogorsk (17,900 tenge per gram, 3.1 percent up) and Aktau (17,000 tenge per gram, 2 percent up). Colorful painting ideas turn barrels into piece of art [PHOTO] http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/158927.html Arts & Entertainment Fri, 24 Feb 2017 15:00:00 +0400 By Azernews By Laman IsmayilovaPainting a metal barrel with an interesting design can be a cumbersome task, but Azerbaijani artists do so for a good cause and welcome the challenge.Local artists turn barrels into beautiful pieces of functional art within an environmental art-project "H. E. Art", aimed at greening of Baku.  The project is realized by "Heath Environment and Art" and "Arts Council Azerbaijan", Trend Life reported.The project allows to use metal barrels in an environmentally responsible manner as well as to develop creative thinking. Bright painting ideas turn metal barrels into colorful and beautiful yard decorations.Funny characters, images of birds, insects or exotic animals, flower designs and geometric patterns, stripes and ethnic motifs are excellent painting ideas for decorating and recycling metal barrels."Metal barrels are very elegant and modern, and fit well into any architectural style", said  Dadash Mammadov, project designer."Colorful barrels are perfect addition to the urban landscape. Such ideas are a wonderful way to reuse and recycle metal barrels and transform used metal barrels into stunning centerpieces of yard landscaping. This is also one of the most effective ways of urban gardening in the challenging small spaces that are impossible or difficult to redesign," he added.The mobility of barrels allows to quickly move them to new locations. These art objects also attract the attention of tourists and locals. Blogger’s new lawyer says Lapshin has no complaints on health, conditions of detention http://www.today.az/news/politics/158926.html Politics Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:37:00 +0400 By Azernews By Rashid ShirinovBlogger Alexander Lapshin, who is under arrest in Azerbaijan, has no complaints on his health state and conditions of detention, the blogger’s new lawyer told Trend.The lawyer was hired by the blogger’s family. The lawyer confirmed that he has signed a contract with the mother of Alexander Lapshin.“His mother arrived in Baku and signed a contract with me. I currently protect the rights of Alexander Lapshin,” the lawyer said on February 23. “Safar Huseynov is a lawyer appointed by the Azerbaijani state, and I have been appointed by his family. There is no information yet if Lapshin refused Huseynov’s services.”Blogger Lapshin will stand trial in Baku for his illegal visits to the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.Lapshin, who owns citizenships of several countries, paid a number of visits to Azerbaijan`s occupied lands, where he voiced support for "independence" of the illegal regime, and made public calls against Azerbaijan`s internationally recognized territorial integrity. The blogger was arrested in Belarus and later was extradited from Minsk to Baku.The lawyer added that he has already submitted his warrant to the investigation, met with Lapshin and inquired about the conditions of his detention and his health. “He has no complaints,” the lawyer said.He added that the case is being followed by the Russian and Belarusian embassies in Baku. The lawyer said that the investigation is still ongoing and can be completed in the near future.Earlier, representatives of the Russian and Israeli embassies in Azerbaijan met with Lapshin. After the meeting, the embassies confirmed that Lapshin has no complaints about conditions of detention. Representatives of the ICRC and Azerbaijan Ombudsman Office also met the blogger.Baku has repeatedly warned foreign officials and diplomats of unauthorized visits to its territories that are occupied by Armenia, calling them contradictory to international law.Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry and diplomatic missions pay special attention to the illegal activity in the occupied areas of Azerbaijan. The work is constantly carried out to prevent such illegal actions. Selector PRO holding music forum at Yarat Contemporary Art Space [PHOTO] http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/158920.html Arts & Entertainment Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:26:00 +0400 By  TrendThe British Council in collaboration with ASAN Radio and Yarat Contemporary Art Space is holding a two-day music forum: Selector PRO, bringing together leading music theoreticians and practitioners from the UK and Azerbaijan on 23 and 24 February 2017 at Yarat. The programme includes workshops for radio DJs to discuss radio programming and producing, as well as public events to discuss the music industry in Azerbaijan and the UK.Produced by the British Council, The Selector is a weekly broadcast from London to an audience of over three million radio listeners in more than 40 countries. The show features artists' interviews and comments, live and studio sessions from London and is broadcast here twice a week (Saturday at 21:00 and Sunday at 16:00) by DJ Bazaur on ASAN radio 100FM and online (asanradio.az).Selector PRO aims to provide both professionals and the general public with the fullest insight into music trends in contemporary society as well as the specifics of the British music industry. The event has evolved out of the Selector music programme, produced by the British Council, which includes a radio show and a series of Selector Live parties which will bring the best new music from UK to Azerbaijani audience.Selector PRO includes an open conference, a DJ event and workshops with the participation of leading British and Azerbaijani musicians and journalists. The British Council has invited three leading professionals of the British music industry: Abbie McCarthy, Cecile Communal and Charlie Arme. British Council Director Elizabeth White said ‘Music is a universal, as we all know – and here in Azerbaijan as in the UK, there is tremendous talent and scope for young musicians and producers. Music is also an important part of the creative economy, and in these workshops we’ll be talking about how to get the best out of the music industry today. Come along to the meetings – and don’t miss Fridays’ party!’.The workshops will take place on 23 and 24 February and the entrance to all sessions including the Selector Live DJ party is free of charge. The Selector Live DJ party will take place on 24 February at 22:00 in Eleven Club with participation of British and Azerbaijani musicians. American Council of Engineering Companies awards SOCAR Tower http://www.today.az/news/business/158922.html Business Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:17:00 +0400 By Azernews By Laman IsmayilovaSOCAR Tower has earned the National Recognition Award in the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) 2017 Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) competition - “The Academy Awards of the engineering industry”.The National Recognition Award is a prestigious distinction honoring project that demonstrates exceptional achievement in engineering.SOCAR Tower is located on the Heydar Aliyev Avenue, a long highway from the Baku International Airport to the downtown. The building has already turned into one of the landmarks of Azerbaijani capital, along with Flame Towers and other architectural masterpieces.The awarding ceremony is scheduled for April 25, 2017 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington D.C. Representatives of SOCAR and the engineering firm has received invitation by ACEC to attend the ceremony.As part of the special EEA 50th anniversary celebration, SOCAR’s project will receive an onstage tribute with all the National Recognition Award winners during the Gala.SOCAR Tower was built by Tekfen Construction and inaugurated by President Ilham Aliyev on May 30, 2016.  SOCAR Tower’s designing work is based on the concept of “wind and fire” by Korea’s Heerim Architects & Planners Co. LTD. The two-tower project rises from an elongated, canopy-like podium and snake its way skywards. Curving into each other, the seemingly shorter tower almost looks like its resting its head on the chest of the taller tower. The taller tower's peak is slightly bending over it in a confident, reassuring manner. The 40-storey building is 200 metres in height. The headquarters mainly house office space but also have conference and sports facilities, a guest house, retail spaces and food outlets.Started in 2010, the five-year construction work created one of the most beautiful architectures in Baku. The building meets all contemporary international standards and security requirements. It has unified system of security and technical measures. WB to help deal with bad loans in Azerbaijani banking sector http://www.today.az/news/business/158921.html Business Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:00:00 +0400 By Azernews By Nigar AbbasovaThe World Bank (WB) and Azerbaijan’s Financial Market Supervisory Body (FMSB) will start realization of the second phase of the project on financial sector modernization.FMSB Chairman Rufat Aslanli said that the project will cover three directions, in particular formation of effective regulative framework for financial sector, increasing sustainability of the banking sector and protection of consumer rights.Aslanli made the remarks while addressing the event dedicated to launching of the second phase’s implementation on February 24.  He noted that the second phase will also cover such issues as bad loans, rendering of help for troubled banks and others.  The WB mission will stay in Baku until March1, and discuss a variety of issues covering the insurance market, strengthening of the financial market and problem of overdue loans. Besides, the mission will also discuss the issue of improving the deposit insurance system in Azerbaijan.The first phase of the Financial Sector Development Program was completed in June 2016. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) allocated a grant of $4 million for its implementation in 2012.The SECO is also expected to allocate $3 million as part of technical assistance to the second project on modernization of financial sector in Azerbaijan. The agency, which is responsible for planning and implementation of economic and trade policy measures, is expected to initially allocate some $2.2 million. Further, SECO will allocate additional $400,000 by November 30, 2018, and the same sum by November 30, 2019. The three tranches are expected to be totally drawn by August 2021.Parabank may turn into NBCOAslanli further touched upon the issue of transforming Parabank (which earlier lost its banking license) into non-banking credit organization.He said that FMSB will consider the issue in the upcoming meeting of the Board of Directors. Should the authority take the decision , the country will see the first transformation of bank into NBCO, while uninsured depositors will be offered to put the financial means in bonds.The license of Parabank was revoked due to the failure to comply with statutory minimum capital requirements of the regulator as well as to manage activities in a safe and prudent manner.In late 2016, Azerbaijan Deposit Insurance Fund (ADIF) completed payment of compensations to insured depositors of Parabank.The volume of paid compensations amounted to 42.9 million manats ($24.5 million). The volume of uninsured deposits in Parabank stands at 43 million manats ($ 24.64 million). Non-banking credit organizations in Azerbaijan do not have the right of raising deposits from the population.Insurance marketAslanli said that the FMSB will introduce certain changes to the insurance legislation of the country, noting that the main objective is to assist insurance companies in generation of long term charges. He recalled that last year was dedicated to rendering assistance to the banking sphere.“The current stability in the sector allows us to create a platform for profound reforms,” he said.Aslanli also said that Bashak Inam insurance company will leave the insurance market of the country, saying that FMSB took the decision after the company appealed to the authority with the request.