Today.Az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside Today.Az Number of COVID-19 cases surpasses 8,500 in Kazakhstan World news Mon, 25 May 2020 12:52:00 +0400 By Trend209 new cases of the coronavirus infection have been registered in Kazakhstan over the past 24 hours, Trend reports citing Kazinform. The number of the COVID-19 cases has grown by 2.5% countrywide.209 new cases were detected in the following cities and regions – 32 in Nur-Sultan city (2%), 37 in Almaty city (1.7%), 33 in Karaganda region (5.9%), 33 in Zhambyl region (12.7%), and 28 in West Kazakhstan region (7.3%), 12 in Atyrau region (1.4%), 10 in Pavlodar region (5.6%), 6 in Aktobe region (2.2%), 6 in Kyzylorda region (2.1%), 4 in Almaty region (1.4%), 4 in East Kazakhstan region (6.5%), 2 in Kostanay region (1.7%), 1 in Akmola region (0.7%), and 1 in Mangistau region (0.6%).The number of the coronavirus cases in Kazakhstan has totaled 8,531. The novel virus claimed lives of 35 people. Turkish president makes phone call to Azerbaijani president Politics Mon, 25 May 2020 12:33:00 +0400 President of of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a phone call to President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on May 24.The Turkish president congratulated and extended his wishes for prosperity to the president and the people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of Ramadan holiday.President Aliyev thanked for the congratulations and attention and extended his congratulations and best wishes to the Turkish president and the people of Turkey on the occasion of the holiday.During the conversation, the presidents highlighted the measures taken to combat the coronavirus pandemic, and emphasized that the two brotherly countries and peoples, as always, stand by each other at these difficult times.President Aliyev and President Erdogan expressed their confidence that Azerbaijan-Turkey friendly and brotherly relations would continue to develop successfully in all areas. Kyrgyzstan reports 30 new COVID - 19 cases, 1433 in total World news Mon, 25 May 2020 12:17:00 +0400 By TrendKyrgyzstan on Monday registered 30 new COVID-19 cases and 2 deaths, Trend reports citing Kabar.So far, Kyrgyzstan has reported in total 1433 cases of COVID-19, including 16 deaths and 992 recovery cases, since March 25.During daily news briefing, Deputy Health Minister of the country Nurbolot Usenbaev said that among the new infected 5 are medical workers, bringing the number of contracted medical workers to 280, with 231 recoveries.The official noted that a total of 992 patients have recovered, with 12 new recoveries in the last 24 hours.Usenbaev said that there are currently 425 confirmed cases, who are still in hospitals, 348 patients are in a satisfactory condition without any particular symptoms, while 4 are in the intensive care unit.In total, 2307 people who have had contact with infected patients are under medical observation.In addition, the number of contacts of the infected is 6841, all of them under the supervision of doctors in home quarantine. BSTDB President: Azerbaijan has substantial buffers to mitigate COVID-19 impact on economy Business Mon, 25 May 2020 11:54:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijan has substantial buffers to mitigate COVID-19 impact on economy, the Black Sea Trade and Development (BSTDB), BSTDB President Dmitry Pankin told Trend."Azerbaijan is facing an additional challenge in the form of the fall in the oil prices. Given the share of the oil and gas sector in the economy, falling oil prices naturally impact Azerbaijan negatively, as the external trade balance and consolidated fiscal balances are hurt. However, foreign exchange reserves accumulated over the previous years to the tune of 100 percent of GDP must help to ease pressures from these factors. For example, in case oil prices remain low and/or pandemic lasts longer, Azerbaijan might face consolidated budget deficit both due to the oil price and to weak economic activity. At the same time, unlike most countries of the region, Azerbaijan can finance these deficits with the accumulated reserves, rather than resort to debt instruments. So, Azerbaijan has substantial buffers that it can use in case of need. Still, we believe that rather than to exhaust the reserves, Azerbaijan will likely adjust its economic policy and adapt necessary measures, so that the reserves are saved for the long period ahead, which is the purpose of the Oil Fund," he said.Pankin went on to add that most countries are doing what needs to be done ."Given that lives of people are at stake and public health priorities determining economic policies, there are too many uncertainties to be able to say what to do and when to do it. From the economic perspective, it is necessary to provide support and devise mechanisms so that enterprises remain afloat and are able to start operations as soon as restrictions are lifted. Azerbaijan has done a lot in that direction. Measures have been taken to support people in need with cash payments, tax reliefs incentivized companies not to fire employees, etc.," he said.To sum up, first, policies should be in place to protect public health and, second, emergency measures should be implemented to help people, enterprises, and all economic agents to overcome the pandemic and to restart their activities, noted the BSTDB President.The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), an international financial institution with headquarters in Thessaloniki, Greece, was established by Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Armenia ranks 6th with number of daily confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people World news Mon, 25 May 2020 11:35:00 +0400 By TrendAs of May 24, Armenia ranks 6th in the world with the number of daily confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people, and in particular, in Armenia’s case, this indicator is 126, as reported on Our World in Data, Trend reports citing Armenian media.Ahead of Armenia are Qatar (601 cases), Bahrain (228 cases), Kuwait (210 cases), Chile (184 cases) and São Tomé and Príncipe (182 cases).As of May 24 (11 a.m.), Armenia has reported 359 COVID-19 cases and 4 new deaths. Oil demand projected to drop by more than 10 pct for 2020 Business Mon, 25 May 2020 11:15:00 +0400 By TrendOil demand is now projected to drop by 10.8 percent for 2020, or 10.7 million barrels per day (bpd) year-on-year, Trend reports citing Rystad Energy.lOur estimates show that total oil demand in 2019 was approximately 99.5 million bpd, which is now projected to fall to 88.8 million bpd in 2020,” reads the report released by Rystad energy.May demand is expected to fall by 21.1 percent to 77.9 million bpd. June demand is forecast at 84.5 million bpd, down by 14 percent.Further ahead, total oil demand in 2021 is expected to average at 98.1 million bpd.This update takes into account developments that have occurred up to and including Tuesday, 19 May.Total oil demand in the United States for 2020 is now forecast to fall by 2.1 million bpd to 18.4 million bpd, a 10% decline from 2019’s 20.5 million bpd. April saw a decline of 29.6%, with demand falling to 14.1 million bpd. May will see a decline of 22.1%, with demand falling to 15.8 million bpd. June demand is estimated to decline by 15.1% to 17.5 million bpd.US road fuel demand in 2020 will fall by 1.1 million bpd, a 10.5% decline to 10.1 million bpd from last year’s 11.2 million bpd. April saw a decline of 37%, with demand falling to 7.1 million bpd. May will see a decline of 20.5%, with demand falling to 9 million bpd. June’s road fuel demand will fall by 15.1% to 9.9 million bpd.In 2021, total oil demand in the US is expected to average 19.9 million bpd and road fuel demand 10.8 million bpd.Total oil demand in Europe for 2020 is now forecast to fall by 1.8 million bpd to 12.4 million bpd, a 13.2% decline from 2019’s 14.2 million bpd. April will saw a decline of 37.5%, with demand falling to 9 million bpd. May will see a decline of 28.4%, with demand falling to 10 million bpd, while June demand will drop by 19.3% to 11.4 million bpd.Europe’s road fuel demand in 2020 will fall by 0.8 million bpd, a 12% decline to 6.2 million bpd from last year’s 7.0 million bpd. April saw a decline of 42.7%, with demand falling to 4.1 million bpd. May will see a decline of 27.2%, with demand falling to 5 million bpd. June demand will decline by 14.8% to 6 million bpd.In 2021, total oil demand in Europe is expected to average at 13.6 million bpd and road fuel demand at 6.7 million bpd. Azerbaijani, Turkish FMs hold phone conversation Politics Mon, 25 May 2020 10:41:00 +0400 By TrendOn 24 May, 2020 Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov had a telephone conversation with the Foreign Minister of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Trend reports citing MFA press service.Minister Elmar Mammadyarov accepted the sincere congratulations of his colleague Mevlut Cavusoglu on the occasion of May 28 – Republic Day of Azerbaijan. The sides also exchanged congratulations and best wishes on the end of the holy month of Ramadan.The Ministers also exchanged their views on the successful development of friendship and brotherly relations between the two states. WHO: Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 101,000 in past day World news Mon, 25 May 2020 10:22:00 +0400 By TrendMore than 101,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection were registered worldwide on May 24, with the overall number of such cases exceeding 5.2 million, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its daily bulletin on Sunday, Trend reports citing TASS.As of 12:00 (GMT+4) on May 24, as many as 5,204,508 novel coronavirus cases and 337,687 coronavirus-associated deaths were registered across the globe. The number of confirmed cases grew by 101,502 in the past 24 hours and the number of fatalities increased by 4,286.The WHO statistics is based on officially confirmed data from the countries.South and North America accounts for the majority of confirmed coronavirus cases - 2,338,124. In the past 24 hours, the number of cases grew by 55,636 and the number of deaths - by 2,932 and reached 138,116.The number confirmed COVID-2019 cases in Europe amounts to 2,006,984 and the number of fatalities is 173,886. In the past 24 hours, the number of cases grew by 19,327 and the number of deaths - by 928.The East Mediterranean region has 415,806 cases and 10,988 fatalities as of May 24. In the past 24 hours, the number of cases grew by 12,887 and the number of deaths - by 182.The biggest number of coronavirus cases was reported from the United States (1,568,448), Russia (344,481), Brazil (330,890), the United Kingdom (257,158), Spain (235,290), Italy (229,327), Germany (178,281), Turkey (155,686), France (142,173), and Iran (133,521).A pneumonia outbreak caused by the COVID-19 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV) was reported in China’s city of Wuhan, a large trade and industrial center with a population of 12 million, in late December 2019. Since then, cases of the new coronavirus have been reported from nearly all parts of the world. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 23 times Politics Mon, 25 May 2020 10:19:00 +0400 By TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenian armed forces have violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops 23 times, Trend reports on May 25 referring to Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.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, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding regions.The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions. Azerbaijan discloses number of coronavirus tests Society Mon, 25 May 2020 10:00:00 +0400 By TrendThe number of coronavirus tests conducted in Azerbaijan has been revealed, Trend reports referring to the Azerbaijani Management Union of Medical Territorial Units (TABIB).As of May 24, 5,672 tests were conducted to detect new cases of infection.In accordance with the data, in general, 270,739 tests were conducted throughout the country. First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva extends Ramadan congratulations to the people of Azerbaijan Politics Sun, 24 May 2020 22:00:00 +0400 First Vice-President of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva has congratulated the people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of Ramadan.In a post on her official Instagram account, Mehriban Aliyeva said: "I sincerely congratulate the people of Azerbaijan and world Muslims on the holy Ramadan holiday. May Allah accept your fasting and prayers, and bestow health and happiness on all people, and peace and happy days on our world!" Russian COVID-19 cases increase to 344,481 World news Sun, 24 May 2020 17:21:00 +0400 By TrendRussia has confirmed 8,599 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, raising its total number of infections to 344,481, its coronavirus response center said in a statement Sunday, Trend reports citing Xinhua.The death toll climbed by 153 to 3,541, while 113,299 people have recovered, including 5,363 over the last 24 hours, according to the center.Moscow, the country's worst-hit region, confirmed 2,516 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking its total to 163,913.Everyone, especially the elderly and those with chronic diseases, should minimize access to public places and observe personal hygiene rules, Russia's consumer rights and human well-being watchdog said in a statement. Azerbaijan confirms 140 new COVID-19 cases [UPDATE] Society Sun, 24 May 2020 17:00:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijan has confirmed 140 new COVID-19 cases, while 101 patients have recovered, Trend reports citing the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers.The total number of COVID-19 cases in Azerbaijan stands at 4,122. Reportedly, 2,607 patients have recovered and 1,466 patients are in special hospitals. The death toll stands at 49.As many as 47 of those infected are in critical condition, 58 are in moderate condition, and the health of others is stable.Around 270,739 tests have been conducted in Azerbaijan to reveal COVID-19 cases. Iran and Turkey may open borders soon World news Sun, 24 May 2020 16:48:00 +0400 By TrendThe Iran and Turkey may soon open land and air borders in accordance with health protocols to resume trade between the two countries, Trend reports citing the website of Iranian president’s office.The remarks were made in a telephone conversation between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the occasion of Ramadan Holiday.During the telephone conversation, the Iranian and Turkish presidents expressed hope that in the near future, with the establishment of a joint commission on economic cooperation between the two countries and the end of the coronavirus crisis, economic relations between the two countries will revive.“The presidents of Iran and Turkey noted the positive cooperation between the two countries at different times and stressed the exchange of information and experience in the fight against coronavirus,” the report said.Iran continues to monitor the coronavirus situation in the country. According to recent reports from the Iranian officials, over 135,700 people have tested positive for COVID-19, 7,417 people have already died. Meanwhile, over 105,800 have reportedly recovered from the disease.The country continues to apply strict measures to contain the further spread. Reportedly, the disease was brought to Iran by a businessman from Iran's Qom city, who went on a business trip to China, despite official warnings. The man died later from the disease.The Islamic Republic only announced its first infections and deaths from the coronavirus on Feb. 19.The outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan - which is an international transport hub - began at a fish market in late December 2019.The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11 declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Some sources claim the coronavirus outbreak started as early as November 2019.Iran's exports to Turkey amounted to $72 million in the first month of current Iranian year (March 20-April 19, 2020). Turkey's share in Iran's exports was 4.4 percent, or 48.6 percent less compared to the same month of last Iranian year. Iran imported $246 million worth of products from Turkey. Turkey's share in Iran's imports was 12.8 percent, or 27.2 percent less compared to the same month of last Iranian year. Azerbaijani president extends Independence Day greetings to King of Jordan Politics Sun, 24 May 2020 16:28:00 +0400 By TrendPresident of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has congratulated King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein of Jordan on the Independence Day."I convey my best wishes and congratulations to you and your people on my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of your country’s National Holiday – the Independence Day," the Azerbaijani president said in his message. "On this notable day, I wish strong health and success to you, and everlasting prosperity to the friendly people of Jordan." Over 90% of US investments in Azerbaijan account for oil and gas industry Business Sun, 24 May 2020 15:10:00 +0400 By TrendThe volume of the US investments in the Azerbaijani economy has reached $14 billion, of which $12.8 billion relates to the oil and gas industry, Trend reports referring to Azerbaijani Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov.Jabbarov made the remark at a video conference organized by the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) together with the American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan (AmCham Azerbaijan).Thus, the US is the second biggest investor in Azerbaijan.Jabbarov stressed that Azerbaijan is interested in developing trade and economic ties with the US and is taking important steps to expand cooperation.“So, presently, 257 US companies operate in various sectors of the Azerbaijani economy, including industry, agriculture, construction, services and others,” the minister added.Jabbarov also emphasized that AmCham Azerbaijan is making a significant contribution to the process of preparing a new bill on investment activity.“The priorities for investment activity of the US companies in Azerbaijan are construction industry, mining sector, petrochemical industry, digital economy, transport sector, trade and logistics, telecommunications, agriculture, processing industry and the development of the tourism sector,” the minister said.“Moreover, the factor of wider application of the mechanism of public-private partnership on a number of projects, including infrastructure projects, by the Azerbaijani government creates favorable opportunities for expanding the relations with investors,” the minister said.Moreover, Jabbarov stressed the importance of creating a regional center of the World Economic Forum on the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Baku and Azerbaijan’s readiness to cooperate with the US in building the digital economy.US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Lee Litzenberger stressed Azerbaijan’s successful economic policy, the importance of ongoing reforms in the field of further improving the business and investment environment, as well as attractive tourism resources. Iran reveals COVID-19 data for May 24 World news Sun, 24 May 2020 14:41:00 +0400 By TrendAs many as 2,180 people have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) in the past 24 hours in Iran, said Kiyanush Jahanpur, spokesman for Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Trend reports citing the ministry.According to Jahanpur, 58 more people have died from the coronavirus over the past day.Jahanpur added that the condition of 2,615 people is critical.Jahanpur said that no deaths were reported in 13 provinces of Iran, only 1 death was registered in 8 provinces each.So far, more than 800,000 tests have been conducted in Iran for the diagnosis of coronavirus.Iran continues to monitor the coronavirus situation in the country. According to recent reports from the Iranian officials, over 135,700 people have tested positive for COVID-19, 7,417 people have already died. Meanwhile, over 105,800 have reportedly recovered from the disease.The country continues to apply strict measures to contain the further spread. Reportedly, the disease was brought to Iran by a businessman from Iran's Qom city, who went on a business trip to China, despite official warnings. The man died later from the disease.The Islamic Republic only announced its first infections and deaths from the coronavirus on Feb. 19.The outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan - which is an international transport hub - began at a fish market in late December 2019.The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11 declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Some sources claim the coronavirus outbreak started as early as November 2019. EBRD supports Azerbaijan’s tea industry Business Sun, 24 May 2020 14:22:00 +0400 By TrendWith the right support, including public and private investment and the transfer of know-how, Georgian and Azerbaijani tea industries could see a revival, tea expert John Snell said, Trend reports referring to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.“In recent years, both countries – boasting ideal tea growing conditions and natural tea stock – have taken steps to revitalize their tea sectors,” tea expert said. “Those were among the findings shared by the FAO Investment Centre during today’s online event celebrating International Tea Day.”“The tea bush survives for a century or more, and with care can be brought back into production, which is happening in both Georgia and Azerbaijan,” Snell added.The tea expert added that “new tea plantations have been established in both countries and some incredible leaf teas have been produced, taking us back to the age of Lao Jin Jao, whose Georgian tea won the gold medal at the Paris Expo in 1900.”FAO partnered with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on tea sector studies for Georgia and Azerbaijan to inform potential investors of opportunities and risks.The studies give a comprehensive sector overview, including consumption, production, and trade trends. They also identify potentially profitable opportunities in tea growing and making, and examine sector policies and environmental sustainability, taking into consideration climate change.“The seed-grown tea stock in both countries is robust and able to produce quality tea,” Snell added. “The six-month dormancy delivers the right stress and strength in the tea bush, enabling the production of exceptional first and second flushes akin to India’s famous Darjeeling area.”“The tea stock’s long dormancy combined with the countries’ low humidity also help prevent pests, allowing tea growers to produce organic teas more easily and worry less about pesticide residues,” tea expert said.“Azerbaijan is a nation of tea drinkers, with tea consumption rising by 50 percent since 2008,” Snell said. “Educating the public on what is special about quality Azerbaijani teas could help satisfy the huge domestic demand.”FAO Investment Centre Director, Mohamed Manssouri explained that the studies aim to promote responsible agricultural investment for sustainable and inclusive growth.“Raising tea quality while also reducing production costs could make Georgian and Azerbaijani teas more competitive at home and abroad. And it could create interesting opportunities for small-scale tea growers and enterprises to access new, more lucrative markets,” Manssouri said.Natalya Zhukova, Director, Head of Agribusiness from the EBRD noted the advantage both countries have in their proximity to large and discerning tea markets, like the European Union and former Soviet Union countries.“The international tea market continues to evolve, with trends showing a thirst for different quality tea products, like oolong or white tea leaf,” Zhukova added. “By improving quality and efficiency along the entire supply chain and diversifying, Georgia and Azerbaijan have a lot to offer the tea world and we stand ready to support industry growth.” Ecosystem of startup projects developing successfully in Azerbaijan Business Sun, 24 May 2020 13:30:00 +0400 By TrendTaking into account the previous mistakes, some Azerbaijani startuppers annually create new projects to enter the international markets over the past five years, Director of Azerbaijan’s INNOLAND Incubation and Acceleration Center Mammad Karim said, Trend reports referring to the online event "Investment opportunities of the Azerbaijani startup ecosystem".“To enter the international level, the startups must primarily arise local investors’ interest, that is why the projects begin to develop and inspire confidence among foreign investors,” venture capital investor Farid Musayev said.Musayev stressed that professional investors must follow the trends in startup design worldwide and not to be limited to investing in the projects within their own country.“I prepared the review on the attractiveness of the projects in such countries as Ukraine, Turkey, Dubai, as well as the Silicon Valley,” venture capital investor said. “I consider the Silicon Valley ecosystem to be the most attractive to investors as a simplified and quick process for developing startups has been established there.”“The analysis on the average statistics data of about a hundred startup projects shows that investors make investments in only one project out of 30 considered projects,” Musayev said. “This testifies that the ecosystem of startups is not at such a level that investors want to see.”"The ecosystem of startups is currently at the stage of development in Azerbaijan,” venture capital investor said. “I mean IT specialists, their high qualification, the ideological nature of the projects themselves, as well as the interest of investors. The domestic ecosystem of startup projects is actively developing in this sphere. We have many interesting projects and organizations that may further arise interest of foreign audience and investors, as well as enter the international markets.” ADB reveals planned loans to be allocated for Azerbaijan in 2020-2022 Business Sun, 24 May 2020 13:13:00 +0400 By TrendThe Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced the planned amount of funds for allocation within the business plan on the Country Partnership Strategy for 2020-2023, ADB told Trend.The bank allocated the loans in the amount of 239 million manat ($140 million) for Azerbaijan for 2020 while the total amount of funds planned to be allocated from 2020 through 2022 is about $295 million directly envisaged in the business plan.In accordance with the plan on Azerbaijan, $265 million (89.8 percent) were spent to raise public sector efficiency while $30 million (10.1 percent) to boost private sector development.During 2020–2022, ADB also expects to commit technical assistance (TA) amounting to $5.8 million to be financed from internal sources and supplemented, whenever feasible, by ADB-administered trust funds and other external sources.The business plan of the Strategy will be adopted in September with some new projects included in it. The issue of co-financing and financing from other sources, including the regular reserve of regional cooperation and integration, will also be considered.The final amount of assistance depends on the availability of the government’s borrowed funds, the preparedness of the project and the availability of resources.Proceeding from a wide range of its mechanisms and tools, ADB will strive to offer comprehensive solutions, including public sector lending, private financing, credit enhancement, technical assistance, advisory support and co-financing.ADB will continue to support Azerbaijan’s regional cooperation and integration initiatives. China state planner confident consumption to show improvement in May World news Sun, 24 May 2020 12:58:00 +0400 By TrendChinese consumption will show signs of improvement in May as new forms of consumption such as e-commerce are encouraged, the state economic planner said on Sunday, Trend reports citing Reuters.Consumption has been hit hard by the new coronavirus, but data in April showed that with the epidemic under control, prospects for growth in consumption are stabilising, Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, told reporters at a briefing. Vatican Museums, Holy See's cash cow, to reopen from June 1 World news Sun, 24 May 2020 12:49:00 +0400 By TrendThe Vatican Museums will reopen on June 1, the Vatican said on Saturday, ending a closure caused by the coronavirus lockdown that has drained the Holy See’s coffers, Trend reports citing Reuters.A statement said the Museums, which house some of the world’s greatest Renaissance masterpieces as well as ancient Roman and Egyptian artefacts, can be visited from the beginning of June, though only by making on-line reservations in order to control the number of people.Visitors will have their temperatures checked and will have to wear masks and use hand sanitizer. Staff will wear masks and gloves and health workers will be on hand.Similar conditions will apply to visitors to the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome.Italian museums began reopening on May 18 as part of a staged easing of lockdown measures in the country where nearly 33,000 people have died from the virus.The pandemic has drastically slowed the flow of funds to the Vatican’s coffers. The Museums received some 7 million visitors last year and are the Holy See’s most reliable source of income, previously generating an estimated $100 million yearly.Even after the reopening, officials fear that enhanced security measures, social distancing requirements, new health regulations and an expected dearth of international tourists will erode ticket and souvenir sales. Rome exhibition marking 500 years since Raphael's death to reopen in June World news Sun, 24 May 2020 12:27:00 +0400 By TrendItaly's blockbuster exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Renaissance icon Raphael -- shuttered only days after opening due to the national coronavirus lockdown -- is now set to reopen on the date when it was originally scheduled to close, Trend reports citing Xinhua.Planned for years, Rome's celebration of the short, brilliant career of Raphael had originally been scheduled to run from March 5 to June 2. Instead, it closed as part of Italy's national lockdown, which entered into force on March 10.The fate of the exhibition had been cast in doubt ever since. By far the largest and most comprehensive collection of Raphael's work ever gathered, the exhibition featured works on loan from 55 different institutions around the world, according to Matteo Lafranconi, co-curator of the event. Having the loans extended at first seemed impossible."In the end, it was a great show of solidarity," Lafranconi told Xinhua. "Many of the museums that loaned pieces were in other countries hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak, including France, Spain, the United States, and Britain. There was a great deal of empathy for what we have been going through and in the end, all the loans were extended."Now the exhibition -- which will examine the artist's life in reverse, from his death in 1520 to his birth in 1483 -- will reopen on June 2 and run through Aug. 30."We have a second chance to conduct this important exhibition," Lafranconi said.Still, the new exhibition won't exactly reproduce the original plan. Continued precautions related to the coronavirus outbreak mean visitors will have to use social distancing precautions. That means six people will be let in every five minutes, and visitors will be limited to the amount of time they will be able to gaze upon Raphael's masterpieces.Even though he died at age 37, Raphael is considered one of the top three artists from the Italian Renaissance, along with Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo.Organizers said they would extend the hours of the exhibition to allow more people to enter, but there is no doubt that fewer people will see the exhibition under the new rules.Lafranconi said the second run for the exhibition represents "a great victory" that will be appreciated by those who attend."In addition to its cultural value, there's a new symbolic value to this exhibition," Lafranconi said. "It shows that even amid a tragedy like this pandemic, we can be resilient." Iran parttakes online at NAM summit to combat COVID-19 World news Sun, 24 May 2020 12:03:00 +0400 By TrendIran has participated at a virtual meeting of the health ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) pursuing to bring nations together against the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19), Trend reports citing IRNA.Baku of Azerbaijan hosted the summit and Director General of the International Cooperation Department of the Iranian Health Ministry Mohsen Asadi Lari took part at the event.The Iranian representative called for the key role of the World Health Organization in combating the virus.In the wake of the virus outbreak, Iran has launched a variety of healthcare measures, such as the National Mobilization of COVID-19, he noted.Over 78 million Iranians were screened and the number of patients admitted to the hospitals were remarkably reduced, he undelined.In the second round of screening, Iran targeted 22 million high-risk individuals; he said, adding, the laboratory capacities, outpatient clinics, tracking emergencies, segregation as well as home treatment were expanded.He voiced Iran’s support for the UN Secretary-General's plans to fight the pandemic, condemning unilateral coercive measures against member states that breach the UN Charter and international law. Covid-19 is heavily bearish for global LNG sector World news Sun, 24 May 2020 11:46:00 +0400 By TrendCovid-19 is heavily bearish for the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector, Trend reports citing Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research."The containment measures put in place to slow the spread of the virus led to widespread disruption to global economic activity. Our global economists now forecast a 2.8 percent contraction in global real GDP growth as of early May 2020, which is bleeding through into sharply lower natural gas demand in the power, industrial and commercial sector. Increased residential demand can provide a partial offset in some markets, but only to a limited degree. The loss of this gas demand is compounding the existing glut in the LNG market," Fitch Solutions said in its report.The company recalls that over the past five years, global liquefaction capacity has been rising rapidly, flooding the market with new supply."Initially, China was able to soak a substantial share of this excess, as the government’s gas-switching policies drove the domestic gas market deeper into deficit. However, Beijing has since softened its policy approach and import demand growth has collapsed as a result. As a result, the global market was already facing a significant oversupply in 2020 and the outbreak of Covid-19 has severely worsened the outlook, driving spot prices to record lows," reads the report.The negative price effects are being exacerbated by the outsize impact of Covid-19 on key consumer markets, according to Fitch Solutions."China, Japan and Western Europe are among those markets that have faced the sharpest deterioration in their economic outlooks as a result of the Covid-19. Combined they account for around two-thirds of global LNG imports and, as a result, demand losses in these markets will be hard to compensate for elsewhere," the report says.Fitch Solutions believes that the outlook is brighter for buyers, although absorbing contracted volumes will pose challenges over the near term."Most buyers are struggling to absorb contracted quantities of LNG, due to weak demand and storage limitations. Contract terms vary, but generally include some flexibility to reduce contract volumes or defer or divert cargoes. Some buyers have also invoked force majeure, although these buyers are in the minority. In order for force majeure to apply, certain conditions must be met. Generally speaking, an event must have occurred that was beyond the party’s control and which has prevented that party from fulfilling its obligations under the contract. It is by no means clear cut as to whether Covid-19 would meet these conditions," reads the report.Contracts are designed so that price risk is absorbed by the seller and volume risk by the buyer, as such, loss of demand in and of itself would not be grounds for force majeure, said Fitch Solutions."Additionally, the issue of force majeure is highly contract-specific and where the clause has been invoked, contract disputes have arisen. Despite these short-term challenges, market conditions are broadly favourable to LNG buyers and we see considerable scope for these buyers to negotiate more favourable contract and pricing terms. This trend was already in play in 2019, but the demand loss stemming from the Covid-19 outbreak has accelerated the trend. In light of this, we see upside to medium-term demand as low prices and flexible contract terms draw more buyers into the market." Azerbaijan reveals terms for returning deposits to liquidated banks' customers Business Sun, 24 May 2020 11:33:00 +0400 By TrendCompensation for secured deposits in AGBank OJSC and NBC Bank OJSC will be paid in cashless form, Trend reports referring to the Azerbaijan Deposit Insurance Fund (ADIF).The compensation for protected deposits will be returned in two stages in order to avoid queues and for the systematic payment of compensations and ensuring the satisfaction of citizens.According to the ADIF, compensation for deposits worth up to 30,000 manat ($17,647) in AGBank and NBC Bank inclusively in manat equivalent will be made from June 16, 2020, while compensation for deposits over 30,000 manat in manat equivalent will start from July 15, 2020.In accordance with article 28.3 of the Law of Azerbaijan on deposit insurance, the ADIF accepts applications from depositors within one year from the date of the first publication of the notification of compensation. In accordance with the law, the date of the insured case in the mentioned banks is April 28, 2020. Deposits will also be refunded in accordance with the law.Information on the process of returning deposits to citizens will further be provided, the message said.By the decision of the Board of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) dated May 12, 2020, licenses issued for AGBank and NBC Bank for banking activities were revoked.(1 USD = 1.7 manat on May 23) Azerbaijani startups win chance to take part in int'l training programs Business Sun, 24 May 2020 11:12:00 +0400 By TrendAn online presentation on completion of the pre-acceleration program implemented by the Barama Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center was held on May 20, the Innovation Agency of Azerbaijan told Trend.“Within the framework of the 12-week program, five startups got the opportunity to take part in international training programs, to develop the project from the idea stage to the prototype, and also to develop their knowledge in the fields of finance, investment, law, IT and other areas. Following the results of a three-stage selection of the competition, five following projects took part in the pre-acceleration program: ??IQ – mentor on career creation, ABC Planet - Dualingo project for preschool children, WinFi - an application that unites owners and users of Wi-Fi, DOGET - a platform that instantly brings together professionals and customers,” Spokesperson for the Innovation Agency Sevinj Muradova said.Spokesperson also said that all these projects belong to Azerbaijani startups.“Over 50 mentors (60 percent - foreign and 40 percent - local) provided professional support in all areas necessary for successful development. During the mentoring support program, partnership programs were implemented with the following countries: Jordan, the US, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Georgia, Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain, as well as with international organizations such as Impact Hub, 500 Startups, Startup Grind, GiX, Delloite. An anonymous survey conducted among the teams showed that 90 percent of the participants are satisfied with the work of mentors. The mentors held 85 hours of one-on-one workshops and sessions,” said the agency.Pre-acceleration programs were carried out in accordance with international criteria for startup projects, which are aimed at participating in other international programs and attracting investments from the world market, the agency noted.“The ABC Planet startup project had already been accepted for participating in certification programs at Draper University, located in the US state of California, and Scaleink business development platform. In the future, projects that completed the pre-acceleration program will be able to take advantage of the university’s capabilities and Silicon Valley’s wide network. The developers of ??IQ project have already held initial strategically important negotiations with international universities, including Arizona State University and the University of British Columbia. The process of establishing ties between startups and representatives of organizations such as Bo?aziçi Ventures, Startup Grind and Seedstars is ongoing with the goal of attracting investment and bringing projects to the global level. The Innovation Agency will continue its activities in this direction, supporting projects that have completed the Barama Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center,” added the agency.Despite the pandemic, pre-acceleration programs were fully implemented thanks to the online meetings. Death toll from Pakistan airliner crash 97, black box found World news Sun, 24 May 2020 10:51:00 +0400 By TrendThe flight data recorder from the Pakistani airliner that crashed into a residential neighbourhood of Karachi has been found, an official said on Saturday, as the death toll rose to 97, Trend reports citing Reuters.There were two survivors from onboard the aircraft, while no fatalities were reported in the densely populated area of the city where the aircraft crash-landed on Friday.Pakistan International Airlines flight PK 8303, an Airbus A320, was flying from Lahore to Karachi with 99 people on board when it went down in mid-afternoon while trying a second landing attempt. [nL4N2D4374]“The black box had been found late yesterday, we are handing it over to the inquiry board,” PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan said. He said that included both the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.The airline’s chief executive, Arshad Malik, said on Friday the last message received from the pilot indicated there was a technical problem.Another senior civil aviation official told Reuters it appeared the plane had been unable to lower its landing gear for the first approach.Aviation safety experts say air crashes typically have multiple causes.Seconds before the crash, the pilot told air traffic controllers he had lost power from both engines, according to a recording posted on, a respected aviation monitoring website.Airbus said the jet first flew in 2004 and was fitted with engines built by CFM International, co-owned by General Electric and France’s Safran.Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, announced soon after the crash that there would be an inquiry, and a four-member team was constituted Friday night, according to a notification from the government’s aviation division, seen by Reuters.The team includes three members of the Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board and one from the Pakistan Air Force’s safety board. The team will issue a preliminary statement within a month, the notification says.A statement from the provincial health minister’s office on Saturday put the death toll at 97, with no confirmed deaths on the ground.Army and civil administration personnel were clearing through the debris in the Karachi neighbourhood on Saturday and assisting residents whose homes had been damaged.“Rescue Op in progress ... 25 affected houses cleared, their residents accommodated at various places with assistance of Civil Administration,” the Army said on Twitter.Pakistan only last week resumed domestic flights it had suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people travelling for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, expected to fall on Sunday or Monday in the country.Friday’s crash is the worst air disaster in Pakistan since 2012, when a Bhoja Air passenger aircraft, a Boeing 737, crashed in Islamabad, killing 127 people. Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 22 times Politics Sun, 24 May 2020 10:37:00 +0400 By TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenian armed forces have violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops 22 times, Trend reports on May 24 referring to Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.The Armenian armed forces were using large-caliber machine guns.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, 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 the withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts. Uzbekistan becomes one of Tajikistan's top donor countries World news Sun, 24 May 2020 10:17:00 +0400 By TrendTajikistan has received humanitarian aid from Uzbekistan totaling $2.5 million since January 2020, Trend reports citing Asia-Plus News Agency.During the four months of this year, Tajikistan received humanitarian aid from 43 countries worth $7,8 million, the message said.The aid from Uzbekistan accounts for almost a third of the total amount received by the country. The top three donors to Tajikistan also include China (about $2 million) and Russia ($865,000).Earlier, Tajik media reported that Covid-19 patients were provided with everything they needed.Uzbekistan has sent to Tajikistan 144 cars and everything necessary for the mobile hospital, including air conditioners. Azerbaijan's Azeri LT oil price down Business Sun, 24 May 2020 10:00:00 +0400 By TrendThe price of Azeri LT CIF Augusta, produced at the Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Gunashli (ACG) field, amounted to $35.09 per barrel on May 22, which is $1.31 less compared to the previous price, Trend reports with reference to the source from the country's oil and gas market.The price of Azeri LT FOB Ceyhan amounted to $34.34 per barrel on May 22, which is $1.3 less compared to the previous price.Azerbaijan has been producing Azeri LT since 1997 and exporting it via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) and Baku-Supsa Western Export Pipeline, as well as by rail to the Georgian port of Batumi.Azerbaijan also sells its URALS oil from the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, delivering it through the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline.The price of URALS with shipment from the port amounted to $33.97 per barrel on May 22, which is $1.25 more compared to the previous price.The cost of a barrel of Brent Dated oil, produced in the North Sea, amounted to $32.85 per barrel on May 22, showing a decline by $1.28. Azerbaijani, world Muslims celebrate Ramadan holiday Society Sun, 24 May 2020 00:05:00 +0400 By Akbar MammadovToday, Azerbaijani and world Muslims celebrate Ramadan Holiday, also known as Eid Al-Fitr.Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the most sacred and anticipated month in Muslim calendar.Throughout Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset. While fasting, believers should also avoid all forms of sinful behavior during the holy month.Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. The Night of Power, when the Quran, the holy book of the Islamic world, was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, falls in the final 10 days of Ramadan.Celebrations start with the sighting of the new moon, which means the end of the holy month of fasting. The dates change annually as they’re determined by the sighting of a new moon.During Eid Al-Fitr, Muslims usually visit a mosque and participate in mass prayer, give charity, abstain from committing sins.The Eid prayer is performed in congregation in open areas or mosques. After the prayers, Muslims visit their relatives, friends, and acquaintances and exchange gifts or hold large communal celebrations in homes, community centres, or rented halls. Delicious pastries are baked for the occasion of the great holiday, the graves of relatives are visited, and people pray in mosques.This year's Eid Al-Fitr is rather quiet as most countries are in lockdown due to the coronavirus parndemic across the world. The social distancing rules make it impossible for Muslims to perform mass prayer on the last day of Ramadan.Earlier, on 24 March, Azerbaijan banned religious gathering as part of the special quarantine regime. The country also banned the gathering of more than ten people as part of the lockdown. The Caucasus Board of Muslims said it is impossible to resume mass prayers in Azerbaijan, including the Ramadan prayer, due to the ban on gatherings of more than 10 people amid COVID-19.The Caucasus Board of Muslims also said that on the Ramadan holiday, people can congratulate each other, but collective prayers are not necessary. There is no need to pray in a group of 3-5 people at home.Azerbaijan, a predominantly Muslim country, has been celebrating the Ramadan officially since 1993, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.The country has always been one of the historical and cultural centres of the Islamic world. TABIB talks recent peak of COVID-19 cases recorded in Azerbaijan Society Sat, 23 May 2020 17:10:00 +0400 By TrendThe peak of coronavirus infection cases in Azerbaijan was recorded last week, Chairman of the Management Union of Medical Territorial Unit (TABIB) Ramin Bayramli said, Trend reports on May 22.Bayramli made the remark at a briefing of the Operational Headquarters under Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers on May 22."On May 16 a record 158 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the country. Last week, 755 infections were detected. This week, the infection cases reached 581. We are still observing a high intensity of infection,” Bayramli said.“It is difficult to formulate a specific idea about the stability of the situation, since various indicators were observed on different days, the numbers fluctuated. We expect that the number of recovered people will increase next week,” noted Bayramli. Azerbaijan reveals 127 new COVID-19 cases Society Sat, 23 May 2020 16:42:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijan has revealed 127 new COVID-19 cases, 107 patients have recovered, and 3 patients have died, Trend reports on May 23 citing the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan.Citizens born in 1948, 1952 and 1982, who tested positive for coronavirus, have died.Up to now, 3,982 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Azerbaijan. Some 2,506 of them recovered, 49 people died. Presently, 1,427 people are being treated in special treatment hospitals.The condition of 44 patients out of those 1,427 is assessed as severe, 57 people are in moderately severe condition, and the rest feel normal.To detect the cases of infection, 265,067 tests have been carried out in the country so far. EnC Secretariat welcomes Georgia's adoption of energy efficiency laws World news Sat, 23 May 2020 16:23:00 +0400 By TrendThe Energy Community Secretariat welcomes adoption of key energy efficiency legal acts by the Parliament of Georgia, Trend reports via the European Union (EU).As reported, the two laws - the Law on Energy Efficiency and the Law on Energy Performance of Buildings - transpose the EU Directives in this field.The laws were developed under the coordination of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia in close cooperation with the Secretariat, and with technical assistance provided by the EU supported project EU4Energy for the Buildings Law and by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the Energy Efficiency Law.By adopting the two laws, the Government of Georgia paves the way for significant investments in public building renovation programs in the amount of 80 million euros from EBRD and the German Bank KfW, as well as 26 million euros in investment grants and 8.5 million euros in technical assistance from the EU.The reforms are also financially supported with a 150 million euros policy-based loan tranche from KfW and the French Agency for Development AFD."The new framework will not only make Georgia's building industry more competitive, but also its households better supplied with energy services and its building stock better insulated. It will boost the usage of greener energy sources for heating, cooling and lighting," said Head of Energy Efficiency Unit at the Secretariat Violeta Kogalniceanu.As he noted, the adoption of the two energy efficiency laws is all the more praiseworthy given that Georgia has managed to stay on course with market-oriented and sustainable energy reforms despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Surprising ways music affects humans Society Sat, 23 May 2020 15:50:00 +0400 By Laman IsmayilovaIt goes without saying that music is the universal language of mankind. Listening to your favorite songs can wash away all your worries and fears and lift your spirit up. In one word, no matter what, music will always be there for you.  The power of music never fails to surprise us as it can trigger a wide range of emotions.Numerous studies have shown that music impacts brain function and human behavior in unexpected ways. Let's see some of the most intriguing facts about the power of music!Brains of jazz and classical pianists work differentlyScientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in Leipzig have found out that brain activity of jazz pianists differs from those of classical pianists, even while playing the same music piece.  The scientists invited 30 professional pianists to take part in the experiment. Both groups of musicians got to see a hand on a screen which played a sequence of chords on a piano scattered with mistakes in harmonies and fingering. The professional pianists had to imitate this hand and react accordingly to the irregularities while their brain signals were registered with EEG sensors on the head. According to the current study, the main difference between the two groups of musicians is the way in which they plan movements while playing the piano.Classical pianists focus on how to play music pieces perfectly regarding their technique and adding personal expression. By contrast, jazz pianist focus more on harmonies and being comfortable adapting to unexpected musical changes. "Indeed, in the jazz pianists we found neural evidence for this flexibility in planning harmonies when playing the piano. When we asked them to play a harmonically unexpected chord within a standard chord progression, their brains started to re-plan the actions faster than classical pianists. Accordingly, they were better able to react and continue their performance. Interestingly, the classical pianists performed better than the others when it came to following unusual fingering. In these cases their brains showed stronger awareness of the fingering, and consequently they made fewer errors while imitating the chord sequence," says Roberta Bianco, first author of the study. Musicians read emotions betterNeuroscientists asked 30 people to watch a subtitled nature film while listening to a 250-millisecond clip of a distressed baby’s cry. Using scalp electrodes, they measured how sensitive the people were to the sound.After experiment, the researchers concluded that the musicians were able to hone in directly to the emotional aspect of the sound, while non-musicians weren't able to compartmentalize the sound as easily."That [musicians'] brains respond more quickly and accurately than the brains of non-musicians is something we’d expect to translate into the perception of emotion in other settings,” said Dana Strait, a graduate student at Northwestern University and first author of a paper detailing the findings in the latest issue of the European Journal of Neuroscience.Another research was conducted by University College London in 2018, proved that people with more musical training repeatedly demonstrate enhanced auditory perception abilities.The study involved both musician and non-musician groups, who took part in a version of the audio-visual emotional Stroop test, using happy, neutral, and sad emotions.During research, participants were presented with congruent and incongruent combinations of face and voice stimuli while judging the emotion of either the face or the voice.The study proved that musicians were less susceptible to interference from visual information on auditory emotion judgments than non-musicians.Moreover, they were also more accurate than non-musicians at identifying visual emotions when presented with concurrent auditory information.Music has a colorSome people are able to see colors when hearing music. This rare neurological condition is known as "synesthesia" or chromesthesia.The studies have reveled unusual connections in synesthetes' adjacent brain regions, similar to those in babies; in fact, it is believed that all babies have synesthesia until they are about four months old.The earliest recorded case of synesthesia is attributed to the Oxford University academic and philosopher John Locke. In 1690, he made a report about a blind man who said he experienced the color scarlet when he heard the sound of a trumpet.Another interesting fact is that synesthesia is more prevalent in musicians, artists and writers. Vladimir Nabokov, Franz Liszt, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Vincent Van Gogh, Patrick Stumph (Fall Out Boys), Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams, Brendon Urie (Panic! at the Disco) are among them.Music can boost your mood Listening to music can have the same effect on your brain as opioids and endorphins.McGill University scientists has revealed that the chill you get from listening to your favorite track releases natural opioids such as endorphins thus blocking pain and induce feelings of pleasure. "Preliminary studies have shown that music listening and performing modulate levels of serotonin, epinephrine, dopamine, oxytocin, and prolactin.Music can reliably induce feelings of pleasure, and indeed, people consistently rank music as among the top ten things in their lives that bring pleasure, above money, food, and art," McGill University scientists wrote. Turkey’s daily death toll from COVID-19 stands at 27 World news Sat, 23 May 2020 15:20:00 +0400 The total number of COVID-19 cases in Turkey rose to 154,500 on Friday with 952 new infections reported over the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry announced. Meanwhile, the daily death toll fell to 27 bringing the total number of fatalities since March to 4,276, Trend reports citing Daily Sabah.In the last 24 hours, 37,507 tests have been carried out, with the total number of tests reaching 1,767,495.Some 1,121 people have recovered from the virus in the last 24 hours, while 800 patients remain in the ICU. WHO: Azerbaijan exemplary country in fight against COVID-19 Society Sat, 23 May 2020 14:40:00 +0400 By Ayya LmahamadHead of the World Health Organization's country office Hande Harmanci has hailed Azerbaijan's efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, saying that the country is first to implement REACT-C19 project.“Azerbaijan is the first country implementing a project such as REACT-C19, and in this sense, it can be an example for countries in the world,” Harmanci said on May 22, addressing the briefing on the REACT-C19 project results.The aim of the project is rapid development of basic skills related to the treatment of patients infected with COVID-10 in hospitals of Azerbaijan.During the briefing, she stressed that Azerbaijan aims to purchase new developed tests."So far, PSR tests have been conducted to detect coronavirus. Currently, serological tests for coronavirus are being developed to detect whether a person has been infected with the virus or not, i.e. to detect the presence of immune system antibodies against the virus. Azerbaijan intends to buy these tests. As a result, the number of infected people will become known," said Harmanci.She noted that before developing a vaccine against coronavirus, other issues such as compliance with certain rules to prevent the spread of infection must also be taken into account.It was noted at the briefing that the second phase of the REACT-C19 project, which aims to strengthen basic skills related to measures to combat coronavirus COVID-19 in hospitals in Azerbaijan, has been completed.The delegation of REACT-C19 worked in four hospitals in Baku, and also visited hospitals in Ganja, Agdash, Goranboy and Shamkir, prepared an activity plan and gave recommendations. Over 400 medical specialists took part in the trainings during the period.Furthermore, Harmanci emphasized that more than 100 types of work related to the coronavirus vaccine are being carried out and already 8 vaccines have begun to be tested on humans."We hope that one or two of them will be used by the end of this year," she pointed.Harmanci stressed that although with the easing of the quarantine regime, the number of affected people is increasing, this cannot be called a second wave of the pandemic.The REACT-C19 project has been launched upon the initiative of the World Health Organization, with support from the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, TABIB, and the Ministry of Health, in a bid to strengthen basic skills related to measures to combat coronavirus COVID-19 in hospitals in Azerbaijani regions. The project involves 19 Azerbaijani doctors working in Turkey.As of May 22, Azerbaijan has registered 3.749 COVID-19 cases and 44 coronavirus-related deaths so far. The total number of recovered patients is 2.340. Over 600 healthcare workers in Azerbaijan test positive for COVID-19 Society Sat, 23 May 2020 14:40:00 +0400 By TrendThe COVID-19 tests have revealed 681 healthcare workers of Azerbaijan to be infected, Chairman of the Management Union of Medical Territorial Unit (TABIB) Ramin Bayramli said at a briefing of the Operational Headquarters under Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers, Trend reports on May 22.He noted that this made up 18 percent of the total number of infected. Of all infected, 537 health workers recovered and were discharged from the hospital, treatment of the remaining personnel continues.To date, four healthcare workers infected with coronavirus have died.According to Bayramli, last week the Operational Headquarters continued anti-pandemic measures, discussions were held and decisions made.“Today, 106 people tested positive for coronavirus. In total, 3,855 cases of infection have been recorded in the country as of now, 2,399 people recovered and discharged from the hospital,” reminded the chairman. President of India congratulates Azerbaijani president on Republic Day Politics Sat, 23 May 2020 13:11:00 +0400 By TrendPresident of the Republic of India Ram Nath Kovind has sent a congratulatory letter to President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Trend reports referring to the Azerbaijani presidential press-service.“I have the pleasure of extending warm greetings and felicitations to Your Excellency and the friendly people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of your Republic Day,” the letter said.“India and Azerbaijan share close cultural and historical links which are reflected in our mutual desire to strengthen our bilateral cooperation,” the letter said. “I hope that our joint efforts would further strengthen our multi-faceted cooperation.”“The COVID-19 pandemic poses an unprecedented challenge to humankind,” the letter said. “India remains committed to work together with the international community to defeat this disease.”“I convey my best wishes for Your Excellency’s good health and personal well-being, as well as for the continued progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Azerbaijan,” the letter said.“Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration,” the letter said. MP: Illegitimate “inauguration” in Shusha aimed at disrupting Karabakh peace talks Politics Sat, 23 May 2020 12:30:00 +0400 By TrendOrganizing of the so-called “inauguration” in Shusha [Azerbaijani city occupied by Armenians] serves one purpose - to disrupt the peace negotiations, Azerbaijani MP, Chairman of the Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, Tural Ganjaliyev, said, Trend reports on May 22.“By taking a step that dealt a blow to the peace negotiation process on May 21, Armenia organized an illegal ceremony of the so-called "inauguration" of the "president" elected as a result of the "election" show organized by the Armenian community of the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan,” the chairman added.“This provocation with the participation of the Armenian political leadership was arranged in the building of "Azerbaijan" cinema in the occupied Azerbaijani city of Shusha,” Ganjaliyev added. "All steps, namely, an illegitimate show of "election", the so-called "inauguration" and in particular, the holding of this event in the city representing special spiritual significance for Azerbaijan, serve one purpose - to leave the peace talks without results.”“Yesterday’s “event” was so meaningless and baseless that the new puppet “leader” of the occupant regime in his speech repeated the same phrase “Karabakh is Armenia”, voiced by the Armenian prime minister in Khankendi city in August 2019,” the chairman said. “In this case, such a question arises - if Karabakh is Armenia, then who are you? The answer is actually clear. An unrecognized "representative" has been appointed by Armenia in the occupied Azerbaijani territories to distort the essence of the conflict."Ganjaliyev emphasized that these games of the Armenian political leadership will bring no results."The essence of the conflict was legally confirmed at the highest level in the resolutions and statements of the UN and other international organizations,” the chairman added.“In accordance with the final document of the CSCE summit (now the OSCE) in Helsinki in March 1992, the parties to the conflict are Armenia and Azerbaijan, while the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan are interested parties to the conflict,” Ganjaliyev said.“The Karabakh region occupied by Armenia is an integral part of Azerbaijan and this cannot be changed,” the chairman said. “In accordance with the article 11 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan, its territory is united, inviolable and indivisible.”“We reiterate that the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be resolved only within the internationally recognized territorial integrity of Azerbaijan after the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied Azerbaijani territories and the return of internally displaced people expelled from their lands,” Ganjaliyev added.“It is possible to ensure the stable and fair peace in the region only through joint living of the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan in peace within the internationally recognized territorial integrity of Azerbaijan,” the chairman said. “This is the main condition for us to ensure peace in the region."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, 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 the withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts. Azerbaijan repatriates over 10,000 citizens amid COVID-19 pandemic Society Sat, 23 May 2020 12:00:00 +0400 By TrendOver 10,000 citizens have been brought back to Azerbaijan during the pandemic at the state expense, Spokesman for the Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers Ibrahim Mammadov said.He made the remark at a briefing of the Operational Headquarters under Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers, Trend reports on May 22.“Because this process could not continue at the expense of the state constantly. Until now, the state has created all the necessary conditions for the return of its citizens to the country,” stressed Mammadov. Azerbaijani, Ukrainian FMs underline importance of developing relations Politics Sat, 23 May 2020 11:38:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov had a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian colleague Dmytro Kuleba on May 22, 2020, Trend reports referring to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.Touching upon the current global situation, the ministers exchanged views on the measures taken by the countries to fight the global health crisis. The importance of mutual support and solidarity was highlighted amid the coronavirus pandemic.The ministers discussed bilateral cooperation issues and underlined the importance of developing the relations in economic and energy spheres, as well as enhancing cooperation in transport, transit and logistics spheres in accordance with the national interests of both sides.The sides also exchanged the views on other issues of mutual interest. Azerbaijani, Russian FMs discuss fight against COVID-19 Politics Sat, 23 May 2020 11:02:00 +0400 By TrendAOn May 22, 2020 Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov held a telephone conversation with his colleague from Russia, Sergei Lavrov, Trend reports citing MFA press service.The Ministers exchanged views on measures taken by both states to fight the global pandemic.Cooperation on multilateral platforms, especially the actual issues on the agenda of the Commonwealth of Independent States were discussed by the Ministers.The general exchange was held on the recent online session of the World Health Organisation in Geneva, where mainly the issues related to fighting against coronavirus pandemic were addressed. Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 24 times Politics Sat, 23 May 2020 10:35:00 +0400 By TrendOver the past 24 hours, Armenian armed forces have violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops 24 times, Trend reports on May 23 referring to Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.The Armenian armed forces were using large-caliber machine guns.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, 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 the withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts. Azerbaijan not to tighten coronavirus quarantine regime Society Sat, 23 May 2020 10:10:00 +0400 By TrendThe Operational Headquarters has repeatedly analyzed the sanitary-epidemiological situation in the country and came to conclusion that the current situation does not give a reason to tighten the quarantine regime, Spokesman for the Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers Ibrahim Mammadov said.He made the remark at a briefing of the Operational Headquarters under Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers, Trend reports on May 22.According to him, the situation in Azerbaijan is not as tense as in some other countries."The situation in our country is not so tense. Although it is not yet stable, nevertheless it is under control,” he said. “There is no need to soften the established regime. That is, based on the results of the analysis by the Operational Headquarters, softening of the quarantine regime in the country is not advisable.”“In the near future the Operational Headquarters will make a decision on this matter," added Mammadov. President Aliyev: Fight against COVID-19 largely depends on civic responsibility Politics Sat, 23 May 2020 10:00:00 +0400 By Ayya LmahamadPresident Ilham Aliyev has said that success over the fight against coronavirus pandemic largely depends on the civic responsibility among the population. Aliyev made the remarks during his Ramadan address published by the president's press service on May 22."The success of the fight against the global threat depends largely on the high level of responsibility and disciplined behavior of each member of the society. I am confident that our people, always distinguished by such qualities as unity, equality and benevolence, will be able to overcome these difficulties,” the letter reads.President Ilham Aliyev noted that this year, Ramadan ends at a time when the world is facing the threat of pandemic.“This situation forces us to take urgent action for the health and well-being of our people," he said.In his letter, the president stressed that Ramadan, which is the most sacred month for the Muslims worldwide, calls humanity to purity, unity, compassion and kindness."I express solidarity with all prayers and wishes for the prosperity of our people, and I remember with gratitude our heroes who gave their lives for Azerbaijan's independence and territorial integrity," said the president. Turkmenistan discusses tourism development with WTCF World news Fri, 22 May 2020 18:00:00 +0400 By Trend World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) and Turkmenistan have discussed priority areas of cooperation aimed at developing the national tourism industry, Trend reports with reference to Turkmenistan’s State News Agency.A meeting was held between the heads and representatives of the Ashgabat administration, the ministries of culture and foreign Affairs and representatives of the WTCF.The capital of Turkmenistan - Ashgabat - joined the WTCF in early May, 2020. Thus, joining this organization will help to promote the country's tourism opportunities.World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF), voluntarily formed by famous tourism cities and tourism-related institutions in the world under the initiative of Beijing, is the world’s first international tourism organization focusing on cities.Established on September15, 2012 in Beijing, the headquarters and Secretariat of WTCF are based in Beijing. Chinese and English are its official languages.Guided by the core vision of improving urban life through tourism, WTCF provides its members with services that cover the entire tourism industry chain. It is aimed at facilitating exchange and cooperation between participants, spreading the experience of developing tourist cities, promoting tourism products and resources, and promoting the development and prosperity of the global tourism industry. Azerbaijan detects 106 new COVID-19 cases Society Fri, 22 May 2020 17:45:00 +0400 By TrendAzerbaijan has detected 106 new COVID-19 cases, 59 patients have recovered, and two patients have died, Trend reports on May 22 citing the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan.Thus, 71-year-old and 58-year-old citizens, whose coronavirus tests were positive, died.Up until now, 3,855 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Azerbaijan. Some 2,399 of them recovered and were discharged from the hospital, 46 people died. Presently, 1,410 people are being treated in hospitals.The condition of 48 patients out of those 1,410 is assessed as severe, 61 people are in moderately severe condition, and the rest feel normal.To detect the cases of infection, 259,155 tests have been carried out in the country so far. Mugham Center holds virtual lecture Arts & Entertainment Fri, 22 May 2020 17:37:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman ?smayilovaInternational Mugham Center continues to hold virtual lectures on traditional music instruments.During the lecture held in the Center recently, the head of the Research Laboratory on Improving traditional musical instruments under Azerbaijan National Conservatory, provided insight into Azerbaijani string music instrument shahrud.Shahrud is classified as a "short-necked lute." This music instrument was widely played until the 16th century.Shahrud is a music instrument similar to rud, but larger in size. It has 5 pairs of strings and sounds one octave below than rud,The instrument created in the 9th century was restored and improved in the 14th century by Abdulgadir Maraghi.The next evolution of the instrument occurred thanks to Mammadali Mammadov in the research laboratory. Today it is included in the exposition "Ancient Musical Instruments" at the International Mugham Center.Famous for its spectacular concerts, scientific-theoretical and research projects, the International Mugham Center is now switching to online projects, which can be found on Facebook and Instagram.The Center successfully implements cultural projects aimed at promotion of national music: "Evenings of ashug music", "Treasury of Secrets", "Unforgettable", "Pearls of ethnic music", "Evenings of mugham music", etc.