Today.Az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside Today.Az Azerbaijan in top five countries-importers of Russian grain Business Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:45:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovAzerbaijan imported 917,600 tons of grain from Russia in the second half of 2016, Russia's Federal Center for evaluation of safety and quality of grain and products of its processing declared on January 16.The share of Azerbaijan in Russia’s overall index of the grain exports amounted to 3.8 percent, thereby making Azerbaijan the fifth in the list of Russian grain importers.In general, Russia exported 20.8 million tons of grains during the last six months of 2016. A total of 16.32 million tons of them made up the export of wheat.Most products were exported to Turkey – 3.61 million tons (15 percent of total grains exports). Next positions were taken by Egypt (3.44 million tons/14.3 percent), Bangladesh (1.63 million tons/6.8 percent) and Iran (1,08 million tons/4.5 percent).The State Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan reported that the country produced 2.84 million tons of grain in January-November 2016, which made up 1.97 percent more than the indicator of the same period in 2015. An average of 29.5 hundredweight were collected per hectare.In general, Azerbaijan satisfies its demand for grains by 70-80 percent through domestic production. The remaining demand is met through imports, mainly from Russia and Kazakhstan.Russia remains one of Azerbaijan’s main foreign trade partners. The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Russia totaled $739.8 million in January-May 2016, according to Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee.Some 170 agreements, with 50 being in the sphere of economy have been so far concluded between the two countries.  President Aliyev attends reception for leaders who participated in WEF more than 10 times Politics Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:41:00 +0400 By Trend A reception was hosted on behalf of Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab for leaders who participated in the World Economic Forum more than 10 times.President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the reception.President Ilham Aliyev met with Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab.Last year Klaus Schwab presented a badge of Davos club of honorary members to President Ilham Aliyev, marking his tenth participation in the World Economic Forum. President Aliyev met with global managing partner of McKinsey Dominic Barton in Davos Politics Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:40:00 +0400 President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today met with global managing partner of McKinsey Dominic Barton in Davos.Dominic Barton recalled with pleasure his visit to Baku. He hailed the development processes and economic reforms in Azerbaijan, Azertac reported.During the conversation, they noted that Baku office of McKinsey has recently been launched, adding that the company has contributed to nearly 20 projects including the preparation of “Strategic road maps for the national economy and main economic sectors”.The sides expressed their confidence that relations between Azerbaijan and McKinsey will further develop, and exchanged views over cooperation prospects. Local tour operators to offer cheaper airline tickets Business Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:25:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliProcessing center of the Global Distribution System (GDS), a worldwide computerized reservation network, in Azerbaijan ( connects to Goldenpay and Millikart payment systems.Project Manager Vugar Bakhshaliyev said that work on the integration of the national payment systems to portal, through which it will be possible to book flights and purchase them online, to be completed in the coming days.The project is implemented at the expense of the State Fund for Development of Information Technologies of Azerbaijan. The Fund allocated 14,000 manats (about $7.600) for the realization of the project. The launch of the local GDS-processing, as previously said Bakhshaliyev, can significantly affect the cost of tickets, which will be more affordable for consumers.Negotiations on the integration of local tour operators to the local GDS-processing are already underway. By connecting to the GDS-processing, tour operators will be able to gain access to the current tariffs of the airlines in other regions and to buy tickets where they are cheaper."For example, a ticket for Baku-Moscow flight of "Aeroflot" airline in Baku can cost 300 manats, in Moscow - 310 manats and in Berlin - 208 manats. The tour operator, for example, working directly with the Galileo system for its platform, can get the current prices exclusively for Baku. Once connected to the same local GDS, the tour operator can gain access to the current tariffs of the airlines in other regions and buy tickets where they are cheaper," Bakhshaliyev said. National karate fighters win gold medals in Croatia Sports Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:14:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaYoung Azerbaijani karate fighters have brought home a clutch of eight medals from the 26th Grand Prix Croatia held on January 13-15.The gold medals came from Tale Yagubov, Eljan Mammadrzayev, Sahib Ahadov, Asiya Malikova and Irina Zaretska, Azertac reported.Madina Sadigova, Farida Aliyeva and Vusal Kamalli claimed the bronze medals for Azerbaijan.The Grand Prix Croatia is one of the best karate tournaments in Central Europe, which was once again organized by the Samobor Karate Club.The National Karate Federation of Azerbaijan was established in 1994.Since 1997, the National Federation became a full member of WKF (World Karate Federation), the world's largest karate organization that unites more than 50 million members of the 180 countries of the world.Azerbaijani karate fighters took part at the European and World championships. At present, the composition of national team consists of repeated World and European champions. Uzbekistan plans to increase export volumes World news Mon, 16 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0400 By Azernews By Nigar AbbasovaUzbekistan, the country with a huge export potential, plans to export production worth $10.8 billion in 2017.Newly-elected Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said that the export by small businesses and private entrepreneurs through UzTadbirkorExport and Uzsanoatexport, as well as a fund under the National Bank is estimated to reach not less than $1.5 billion.    Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, he said that all members of the government should spare no effort to realize agreements inked during International Industrial Fairs in Tashkent and abroad in 2016.Successful implementation of the agreements is expected to provide export volumes worth $7.7 billion.The head of state mentioned that one of the main objectives on increasing export volumes is a growth in supplies of fruit and vegetables.“We should actively seek new markets in Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Belarus and other countries. Our diplomatic missions operating abroad should also join the work in this direction,” he stressed.The country produces more than 17 million tons of fruit and vegetables per year, while some 4 million tons of the output is being exported. The volume of fruit and vegetable products manufactured in the country allow providing the needs of the population and delivering high quality products to foreign markets.The country is in top ten exporter countries of apricots, plums, grapes, nuts, cabbage and other fruits and vegetables in the world.Also, the country is among 14 countries that have received awards for achieving the Millennium Development Goals in the area of food security by the Food and Agriculture Organization. World-famous composer Fikret Amirov remembered in Los Angeles [PHOTO] Arts & Entertainment Mon, 16 Jan 2017 17:47:00 +0400 A commemorative event dedicated to world-famous Azerbaijani composer Fikret Amirov was organized at Azerbaijan’s Consulate General in Los Angeles on January 13, 2017.Members of the “Save a Heart” Foundation of the world-renowned Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of Los Angeles attended the event.Azerbaijan’s Consul General Nasimi Aghayev, addressing the event, informed the guests about the composer’s life and immortal works.Aghayev noted that with his music Amirov enriched not only the Azerbaijani music, but also made tremendous contributions to the world music earning much international recognition.The Consul General mentioned that at the invitation of the U.S. State Department an exclusive group of just four Soviet composers, led by Dmitri Shostakovich, travelled to the U.S. in 1959. Stressing the fact that one of these composers representing the entire Soviet classical music was Amirov, he said that this was illustrative of the importance attached to the great composer’s music.Aghayev mentioned that as part of the tour, the delegation also visited California. Noting that Amirov’s music found much recognition and admiration in the U.S. as well, the Consul General said that his works were performed by symphonic orchestras of New York, Philadelphia and Houston under the leadership of Leopold Stokowski, one of the leading conductors of the 20th century.Aghayev also mentioned that the World Champion Ice Skater from the U.S. Michelle Kwan used Fikret Amirov's symphonic mugham "Gulustan Bayati-Shiraz" in her skating program "Taj Mahal" in 1997.Speaking afterwards, the president of the “Save a Heart” Foundation Dr Yzhar Charuzi and the member of the Foundation Esphir Blaugrund expressed appreciation for Amirov’s music and thanked the Consulate General for the opportunity to get to know the whole richness of the Azerbaijani music and culture more and more though joint events.Then Amirov’s “1001 Nights” ballet was screened. The ballet was received by the audience with much applause and admiration. Azerbaijan, WB sign loan agreement on TANAP Business Mon, 16 Jan 2017 17:33:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Nigar AbbasovaThe World Bank and Azerbaijan signed a loan agreement on Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline project (TANAP) on January 16.The project will transport natural gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to and across Turkey, and further to Europe, aiming to diversify Azerbaijan's gas export markets and improve the security of the energy supply in Turkey and South Eastern Europe.The agreement was undersigned by WB Regional Director for the South Caucasus Mercy Tembon and head of Southern Gas Corridor Company Afghan Isayev, while guarantee agreement was undersigned by Finance Minister Samir Sharifov.    Tembon, addressing the ceremony, said that the agreement culminates many months of the hard work of teams from the World Bank Group and Azerbaijan.“We strongly believe that this project will bring many benefits to the people of Azerbaijan by improving the country's regional trade and competitiveness, and expanding its exports,” she said.The Bank earlier approved a $400 million loan for Turkey and a $400 million loan for Azerbaijan for the implementation of the TANAP project. Total cost of the TANAP project is estimated at $8.5 billion.The recipients of funding are the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) Closed Joint Stock Company with the guarantee of Azerbaijan and the Boru Hatlar? ?le Petrol Ta??ma Anonim ?irketi (BOTA?) with the guarantee of Turkey.The project contributes to achieving the strategic objectives of the Bank's partnership with Azerbaijan, in particular, supporting stronger economic competitiveness, by integrating Azerbaijan with regional and European energy markets, strengthening its connectivity and transit role, and increasing its exports.Turkey will get gas in 2018 and after completing the construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), gas will be delivered to Europe in early 2020. The overall objective of the project is to diversify Azerbaijan’s gas export markets and improve energy security in Turkey and South East Europe.The length of TANAP is 1,800 kilometers with the initial capacity standing at 16 billion cubic meters. The construction work within the project is currently on track. So far, some 55 percent of operations have already been completed. Iran government owes over $216B World news Mon, 16 Jan 2017 17:31:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Iranian government's debts amounted to 7 quadrillion rials ($216 billion, as ?32,367 ?rials make one USD), the country’s economy minister, Ali Tayebnia said.He said that the figure was earlier estimated to be about 1.5 quadrillion rials, but the latest estimates reveal that the government debts to private sector hit 6-7 quadrillion rials, ISNA news agency reported Jan. 15.It was said in August 2016 that the Iranian administration may issue $32 billion worth of bonds to settle its debt to the national banking system.The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said in a report last week that Iranian government's debt (including state-run companies) to the banking system has reached 1.47 quadrillion rials by Nov. 21, 2016, registering a 32.1 percent increase year on year. The figure doesn’t include debts of government and state-run companies to the CBI. Azerbaijani carpets exhibited in Hannover Arts & Entertainment Mon, 16 Jan 2017 17:19:00 +0400 By Azernews By Laman IsmayilovaAzerbaijani carpets are displayed at DOMOTEX international sale exhibition in Hannover, Germany, Azertac reported.DOMOTEX 2017 features the world's biggest offering of carpets and floor coverings. The best examples of Azerbaijani carpet making schools - Iravan, Nakhchivan, Karabakh, Baku, Tabriz, Ganja, Guba, Shirvan and Kazakh-Borchali are displayed at the exhibition.Visitors have shown a great interest in products of “Azerkhalcha”, which joins the exhibition for the first time.Deputy Chairman of “Azerkhalcha” OJSC Orkhan Rzayev heads the delegation participating at the event, which will end on January 17.Notably, DOMOTEX international exhibition, first organized in 1989, annually brings together leading carpet producers, retail and wholesale agents, interior designers, architects in Hannover, Germany.The innovations on display span multiple product categories, including machine- and hand-made carpets, textile and resilient floor coverings, parquet, laminate and wood flooring, outdoor flooring solutions, and application and installation technology.DOMOTEX gives front and center stage to exhibitors' latest and greatest innovations, helping them get all the attention they deserve. Manat’s average rate set at 1.8045 AZN/USD for January 17 Business Mon, 16 Jan 2017 17:07:00 +0400 By  TrendThe average weighted rate of the Azerbaijani manat against the US dollar was set at 1.8045 AZN/USD during a currency auction held on Jan. 16 by the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) with the participation of the country’s state oil fund SOFAZ, said the CBA.Under the new mechanism, the official rate of manat is set, based on the weighted average rate in accordance with the transactions concluded with commercial banks in the interbank foreign exchange market and in auctions. The auctions are held in the format of the unilateral sale of currency.Auctions will be held three times in a week. Meanwhile, the CBA will determine in advance the monthly volume of currency put up for the auction. Foundation stone laid for Azerbaijan-Iran pharmaceutical plant [UPDATE] Business Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:43:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Nigar AbbasovaA foundation stone for the long-awaited Azerbaijan-Iran pharma plant was laid in the Pirallahi Industrial Park on January 16.Project partners are "Tamin Pharmaceutical Investment Company" (Iran, 49%), "Azersun Holding" (26%) and Azerbaijan Investment Company (25%). The project will consist of 3 stages. In the first phase there will be production of pills and capsules, ampoule and vial - in the second stage and production of antibiotic drugs will be in third stage.The event was attended by Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev and Iranian Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Minister Ali Rabiei, Deputy Economy Minister Niyazi Safarov, Director General of Azersun Holding Savash Uzan and head of Azerbaijan Investment Company Rovshan Nadjaf.Mustafayev said that the construction of the Caspian Pharmed will be completed in the third quarter 2018.“Over $20 million will be invested in the new plant, where German and Italian equipment will be installed. Construction of the plant will take around a year and a half, while the plant will start producing 84 kinds of medicines in the third quarter of 2018. The major part of drugs is planned to be sold on Azerbaijan’s domestic market, while a certain part will be exported. The business plan envisages supplying drugs to Russia, Kazakhstan and Georgia,” he said.Mustafayev went on to say that the drugs produced at the plant will meet the highest standards, as well as the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) standard. Besides, since the plant will be built in the Pirallahi Industrial Park, it will receive the same benefits as the residents of other industrial parks.“The payback period of investments in the plant will amount to seven years and two months, and the internal rate of return will amount to 17.24 percent, which is quite a high indicator,” he clarified.The minister added that 90 persons will work at the plant, and their minimum wage will be 700 manats ($ 367.9).  Mustafayev went on saying that the construction of the third pharmaceutical plant will be launched in March 2017.  The plant is expected to be constructed by a private investor, while Azerbaijan Investment Fund will possess a share in the enterprise.“A number of pharmaceutical plants will be operational in the country within the next three years.  We are taking weighty steps to provide pharmaceutical security in the country.  Next years will mark a turning point in the sphere,” he said.Rabii, in turn, said that the plant will export drugs worth up to $100 million a year, mentioning that with the lapse of time the country will bring import of medicines to nought.The Iranian side will invest some $11 million in the plant, while the total volume of investment is estimated at $20.6 million.   Today, Azerbaijan produces only a minuscule share of the medicines that it consumes, while the overwhelming majority of pharmaceutical production is being imported. The import of drugs in 2016 increased by 20 percent compared to 2015. In 2016, some 80 percent of drugs were imported from Europe and other developed countries. The remainder of the imports came in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. In late 2015, the government of the country announced that it will create own enterprises on manufacture of medicines to cease dependence on imports.In November 2016 construction of the first Hayat Pharm joint plant has already been launched. The Azerbaijani-Russian project will be built in the Pirallahi Industrial Park.Besides, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey and some European countries also seek to take advantage and enter the promising pharmaceutical sector of Azerbaijan.A for further development of bilateral cooperation between the two countries, Rabii said that the countries will expand ties in industry, tourism, transport and other sectors.  “I would like to emphasize that Azerbaijan is not only our neighbor. We have a common culture, religion and our cooperation bears a strategic importance,” the minister stressed.Moreover, Mustafayev said that the sides are also discussing t construction of a joint plant for production of agriculture equipment and busses, mentioning that the countries may discuss implementation of joint projects in other spheres.He said that the pharma plant became the second project jointly implemented with the Islamic Republic, reminding that the construction of the joint automotive plant was launched last year in Neftchala Industrial District.Iran Khodro, Iran’s giant carmaker and Azerbaijan’s Azeurocar will jointly manufacture Dena, Rana, Soren and Samand series within the project, which is estimated at $15 million. Capacity of the enterprise is expected to stand at 10,000 per year, while the outputting will be launched in May 2017.     The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran amounted to $175 million in January-November 2016, with some $130.13 million accounting for import from Iran. Winter photoshoot: Festive mood of Azerbaijani beauties [PHOTO] Arts & Entertainment Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:36:00 +0400 By Azernews By Laman IsmayilovaThe world has too many models to count! So we have found some of the newest Azerbaijani models.We are happy to present you a New Year photoshoot with the gorgeous semi-finalists of national beauty contest "Top Model Miss Azerbaijan-2017".The photoshoot is dedicated to New Year. Makeup artist Esmer Askarova created fantastic winter looks while. The  photoshoot  took place in Ismail Rzayev`s photo studio.The jury of the beauty contest included actor and host Shakhriyar Abilov, the winner of Best Model of Azerbaijan-2004 Ilgar Aliyev, makeup artist Natalya Ismailova, fashion designer and Gunay Mirza, II Vice Miss Azerbaijan-2016 Gunel Mammadova, model Ramina Abasova and choreographer Arif Islamov.Media partners of the event are,,, Reports about forthcoming Reykjavik meeting between Putin, Trump rejected World news Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:35:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaA Sunday Times report claiming that a meeting has been planned between US President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Iceland is “100 percent false”, said Trump’s incoming press secretary and director of communications.Moscow also denied Western Media reports on the preparation of this meeting. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti that this issue is not negotiated at the moment.The Sunday Times reported about the upcoming meeting between two leaders on Sunday night. the newspaper urged that the newly appointed U.S. president is going to make his first visit most likely to Iceland, and moreover there he will have a meeting with Putin. Meanwhile Trumps team has informed British officials of plans for a summit with the Russian president in Reykjavik.In addition, The Sunday Times wrote that the plans were discussed at the Russian Embassy in London and Moscow intends to agree to hold the summit. The newspaper also reported that Trump intends to begin work on the preparation of an agreement with Russia on nuclear arms limitation and a reset of bilateral relations.Venue of the summit has been apparently chosen by analogy as it evokes memories of the historic meeting taken place 30 years ago between the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan. At that time, in Reykjavik, they have taken an important step towards ending the Cold War and laid the foundations for strategic arms reductions.The first one to deny this information was the spokesperson for Trump, who called the article “100 percent false”. In turn, the Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom in comments for RIA Novosti named The Sunday Times posts "nonsense" and "an attempt by the Britons to undermine Donald Trump’s presidency." In addition, in its microblog on Twitter the Embassy reacted to the published "sensation" with the question: "Fake news as the new mainstream?”Embassy of the Russian Federation in Iceland also told RIA Novosti that they had no information about a possible meeting in Reykjavik. Iceland said it was not aware of such a plan but showed willingness to host a summit to help improve relations between Washington and Moscow."If officials in Washington DC make a formal request for the Icelandic government to organize a summit in Reykjavik we will look at it positively and make this our input to improve relations between the U.S. and Russia, remember the summit at Hofdi house in 1986," Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson said.The discussion of The Sunday Times post concluded by Dmitry Peskov claiming that "for the moment there has been no discussion about a meeting".  Yerevan hampers resolution of Karabakh conflict while Armenians praise Baku’s Platform for Peace Politics Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:23:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovThe government of Armenia, which does its utmost to hamper the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, now tries to silence every Armenian, who voices support to peace efforts of Baku.The Platform was established on December 6, 2016, to contribute to the peaceful settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  Several Armenian human rights activists visited Baku to participate in a peacekeeping conference. Right after that, those people became persecuted in their homeland Armenia.For instance, a young Armenian writer Lusine Nersisian was temporarily arrested in Nagorno-Karabakh right after her interview in Azerbaijani mass media where she had expressed her support for the peaceful initiative. Relatives of civil society activist, Armen Virabyan, who requested political asylum in Azerbaijan, were subjected to persecution in Yerevan. Social activist from Yerevan, Tamella Arzumanyan and writer from the U.S. Anna Paitian, as well as their relatives, were also subjected to persecution and pressure.However, the Armenian government did not succeed in its desire to quiet the Armenians, who want establishment of a peace between the two neighboring countries, as more and more Armenians support the Platform.Armenian artist Henrik Khachatryan, who currently lives in the U.S., announced that proponents of peace from both sides must stay in constant communication.Talking to Azvision on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Peace Platform, the artist voiced support to the platform saying that the start of the process deserves ovations.Khachatryan further added that he is familiar and agrees with the position of the Platform member, Armenian human rights activist Vahe Avetyan, who had repeatedly said that Armenia ignores international law and it must respect the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.The artist also shared his views on the current Armenian government. “In 1996, Serzh Sargsyan was one of the direct agents of Levon Ter-Petrosyan [first President of Armenia], who managed to retain control over corrupt government with the help of rigged elections. He is also the successor of Kocharyan [second President], who inflicted a crushing blow to the sovereignty of Armenia,” he added.Khachatryan said that he is against the criminal government of the oligarchs in Armenia, “which dominates in the country in the last 25 years.”He named Sargsyan “one of the most active thieves of power” and “an ordinary criminal.”The artist believes if to bring him to impartial and fair trial, he will get life imprisonment at a minimum. AZAL's announces winter campaign Business Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:17:00 +0400 Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) announced a new winter campaign on popular tourist destinations.A discount of up to 20 percent will be applied while buying economy class "round-trip" air tickets in the period from January 15 to February 28, 2017 on the following directions when departing from / to Baku: London, Milan, Berlin, Paris, Prague, Tel Aviv, Dubai and New York. Departure period: January 16 - March 15, 2017.Air tickets can be booked on the website of the company, purchased at AZAL sales offices and official sales agencies. Points for the flight may be credited automatically in case AZAL Miles member unique number will be entered in the appropriate filed while purchasing online.Detailed information about AZAL Miles frequent-flyer program is available at: Those who are not a member of the program yet, can be registered on the following link: purchase tickets and for more information, please contact: + (99412) 598-88-80;*8880              E-mail:  callcenter@azal.azQuestions regarding AZAL Miles frequent-flyer program can be sent to or through the contact form on the website: Bodies, body parts found at Turkish plane crash sit World news Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:06:00 +0400 By  TrendThirty one bodies and nine body parts have been found at the crash site of a Turkish cargo plane in Kyrgyzstan, the Kyrgyz presidential press service said Jan. 16.“Preliminary data indicates that 31 people have died and nine body parts have been found near the Manas International Airport as a result of the Boeing 747 crash,” the press service said, citing information obtained from the Kyrgyz minister of emergency situations.The Turkish cargo jet crashed near Kyrgyzstan’s Manas International Airport Jan. 16, killing at least 37 people, most of them residents of a village struck by the jet as it tried to land in dense fog, Kyrgyz officials said.According to the airport administration, the plane was supposed to make a stopover at Manas, near the capital city Bishkek, on its way from Hong Kong to Istanbul. It crashed when trying to land in poor visibility at 7:31 a.m. (GMT +6).Kyrgyz transport ministry said there were five people on board.Rescue workers have recovered the bodies of 15 villagers and a plane pilot from the crash site, the Kyrgyz healthcare ministry said earlier. Baku to host F1 Journalism Training Sports Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:01:00 +0400 By  Azertac Baku City Circuit in cooperation with Azerbaijan State Academy of Physical Education and Sports Executive Education will organize “Drive the story: The 2017 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan Journalism Training” delivered by industry expert Dan Mason and guest speaker, F1 commentator - Alexey Popov on January 24-25.This project is a great opportunity for selected senior Azerbaijani sports journalists to find new methods for contextualizing and demonstrating their work about F1 and sports in general.By delivering Multimedia Projects upon completion of the trainings, participants will be able to put into practice skills and knowledge gained during training sessions.The aim of this media school is to get local journalists exposed to experiences and practices shared by motor sports leading experts. F1 Journalism Training will equip passionate journalists with essential skills for covering fast paced world of sports, particularly Formula One.Successful participants will receive diplomas issued by BCC, Azerbaijan State Academy of Physical Education and Sports Executive Education and Dan Mason Media upon completion of the course. Oil prices steady on world market Business Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Nigar AbbasovaOil prices were steady on January 16, supported by a weaker dollar, while the burning question of the oil market is still whether major producers will be able to fully materialize their reduction pledges. Brent crude futures were trading at $55.40 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures stood at $52.32 a barrel.Support came as weaker greenback made fuel purchases cheaper for countries that use other currencies domestically, potentially spurring demand. Following a strong upward tendency, the currency lost its positions falling nearly 2.5 percent against a basket of leading currencies since its early-January peak.Oil pricing is currently more dependent on the U.S. dollar, as market watchdogs are focused on the inauguration of Donald Trump that is deemed to be the big event of the week.However, doubts that producers would fully implement announced crude output cuts is still looming over the market and dragging prices down.Previously, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that the OPEC state intends to put forward a new proposal on stabilizing the oil prices"Venezuela, as of next week, will circulate a letter with a new proposal, a new formula for the stability of real and just prices so that it can be studied and debated by all the governments that have signed this deal," he said.OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo arrived in Venezuela to meet with authorities of the country and exchange views on the current situation in the oil market. The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently announced that volatility is expected to be a dominating tendency in 2017 even though markets may rebalance in the first half of the year should output cuts pledged by producers are implemented.Rising U.S. oil output is also among factors preventing crude from climbing further. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) earlier revealed a notable increase in production, particularly in 48 southern states. Total production stood at 8.95 million barrels per day (bpd) last week, the highest index since April 2016. Goldman Sachs forecasts year-on-year U.S. oil production to rise by 235,000 bpd in 2017, while the primary reason is that new wells are likely to start producing in the first half of the year. Azerbaijani FM to attend OIC meeting Politics Mon, 16 Jan 2017 15:45:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov will attend the meeting of Foreign Ministers Council of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to be held in Kuala Lumpur on January 19, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman Hikmat Hajiyev told Trend on January 16.Mammadyarov is expected to have bilateral meetings during the visit. Azerbaijan's top bank ups authorized capital Business Mon, 16 Jan 2017 15:14:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaThe International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) takes steps to up the authorized capital after the change in the management.The bank’s authorized capital will be increased by 600 million manats up to 1,241 billion manats through the new share issue, registered by the Financial Market Supervisory Authority.“This capital increase is our next step towards successful recovery of the IBA,” said Khalid Ahadov, chairman of the IBA Board.He added, that the Bank will continue reforms aimed at strengthening its capital base.The shortcomings in the management, investment and loan policy of the IBA in recent years, as well as financing of less efficient, risky investment projects worsened the bank's financial state, caused increase in the share of distressed assets and reduced its liquidity.In July 2015, President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on the measures for rehabilitation related to the preparations for privatizing the state-owned shares of the IBA.To overcome the current situation, restore the bank's financial position and ensure its sustainability, the distressed assets of the bank were transferred to the state-owned Aqrarkredit CJSC non-banking credit organization. Azerbaijani MP: Criticism of CoE Sec.Gen’s appeal is far from human thinking Politics Mon, 16 Jan 2017 15:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovAzerbaijani MP has stated that Armenia’s criticism of Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland for his appeal on the immediate return of Azerbaijani serviceman’s body is inhuman thinking.“A biased opinion and criticism, which was voiced by Chairman of the Armenian Parliament’s Standing Committee on European Integration, Naira Zohrabyan, over Jagland’s call is far from human thinking,” said Rovshan Rzayev, member of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).Rzayev said that the Armenian side always acts under such positions and all the activities of the Armenian delegation to PACE are aimed at the continuation of the occupation policy.“They are trying to direct the opinion of international community to a different direction with a view to conceal their occupation policy, including the Khojaly genocide and other cases of bloodshed, repeatedly committed against the Azerbaijani people,” he added.The MP stressed that by voicing such a biased and contrary to international principles appeals of a provocative nature, the Armenian side tries to evade from meetings with the Azerbaijani side.“The PACE established a Subcommittee on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but due to the fact that the Armenian side unilaterally refuses the meeting, the Subcommittee failed to carry out activities so far,” Rzayev said.The MP reminded that Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan told the PACE that the Subcommittee was created in vain and that Armenia does not want it, and it will not work. “For these reasons, the Subcommittee cannot act,” said Rzayev.A reconnaissance group of the Armenian Armed Forces attempted to violate the Azerbaijan-Armenia state border on December 29, 2016. The Armenian group found itself in the ambush of the Azerbaijani army while violating the borders and suffered heavy losses. During the fighting, Azerbaijani serviceman Chingiz Gurbanov went missing. Later, it was clarified that he was killed by the Armenian Armed Forces and his body remained on the territory controlled by the Armenian Armed Forces.The Azerbaijani side officially appealed to the Azerbaijani representation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), OSCE Minsk Group, as well as the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk in order to return the body. Despite this, the body of Azerbaijani soldier has still not been returned.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. National heroes to be commemorated in Baku Arts & Entertainment Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:55:00 +0400 By Azernews By Laman IsmayilovaDocumentary films dedicated to the 27th anniversary of the January events of 1990, which went down in the history of Azerbaijan as Black January, will be screened in Baku.Co-organized by the Culture and Tourism Ministry of Azerbaijan, Baku City Main Department of Culture and Tourism and "Yadda?" film studio, the films will be shown in cultural institutions on January 17-19.On January 20, 1990, hundreds of civilians were crushed or injured by the Soviet troops in Baku, on an order from the USSR leadership that was trying to maintain the Communist regime in Azerbaijan and strangle the national liberation movement.The invasion was launched at midnight and was committed with brutality; even children, women and the elderly were not spared.Some 137 people were killed, 611 were wounded, 841 were illegally arrested, and five went missing as a result of the intrusion of troops into Baku and other regions of the country. ICD to launch talks with potential investors of Baku FTZ Business Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:49:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Nigar AbbasovaThe first meeting with potential investors interested in Baku Free Trade Zone (FTZ) will be held in February 2017.  A source in the financial market told Trend that the meeting will be held abroad, however exact date and place of the meeting have not yet been disclosed.The source added that the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank's private sector arm, will act as an organizer of the meeting.This will be the first meeting on the attraction of potential investors to the FTZ.The meeting is a result of a MoU signed between the Baku International Sea Trade Port and the ICD in December 2016 within the first International Investment Conference.The main objective of the MoU is to study a potential capacity of the port and FTZ in Alat settlement, as well as the opportunities to attract private sector to the process of creating the FTZ.The ICD became the second international organization, attracted to FTZ for consultations.The Azerbaijani government and the group of companies DP World (Dubai Port World – one of the world's largest port operators) earlier signed an agreement to provide consulting services for the establishment of the FTZ. Applications from investors wishing to work in FTZ will be accepted starting from March 2017.The FTZ is expected to become operational in the first half of 2017.  Measures on the creation of a free trade zone type special economic area covering the territory of the Baku International Sea Trade Port in the Alat township of Baku’s Garadagh district was inked by a presidential decree on March 17, 2016. The FTZ envisages the development of transportation and logistics industry, the pharmaceutical cluster, common database of oil supply facilities, as well as the areas of manufacturing, packaging, labeling and consolidation. Azerbaijan, Czech Republic plan to sign memo in energy Business Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:30:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliAzerbaijan, which is one of the largest suppliers of oil to the Czech Republic, is interested in development of cooperation in the energy sector.Azerbaijani Ambassador to Czech Republic, Farid Shafiyev said that currently the two countries are preparing a memorandum of understanding in the energy sector."The signing of the memorandum will create new opportunities for the deepening of cooperation between the two countries," he told Trend.Earlier, the governments of the two states have proposed to sign a memorandum of understanding in the energy sphere between the Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.The document was planned to be sign during the forthcoming visit of Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic Jan Mládek to Baku on January 17, however, due to the inconsistent provisions in the draft memorandum, experts continue to work on the document.The diplomat expressed hope that after completion of work over the project of the memorandum, it will be submitted for signing during the visit of Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natig Aliyev to Prague, which is scheduled for current year.Azerbaijani oil provides about a quarter of the annual consumption of the Czech Republic, therefore, Azerbaijan, by providing a significant contribution to the diversification of energy resources of this country emerged as an important strategic partner of the European country.The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic amounted to $312.02 million in January-November 2016, and $214.17 million of which accounted for the export of Azerbaijani goods to the Czech Republic, according to the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee. Czech Republic mainly imports Azerbaijani oil, while industrial equipment and consumer goods are exported to Azerbaijan. The country is a reliable partner for Azerbaijan in several fields.The Czech Republic ranks 12th in the list of main importers of Azerbaijani goods. The share of the Czech Republic in the total export from Azerbaijan totaled 2.58 percent in January-November 2016. Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix debuts stand at 2017 Autosport International Show Sports Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:25:00 +0400 By  Azertac Baku City Circuit debuts its stand at the internationally renowned Autosport International car racing show at the NEC Arena in England. Taking place over the course of 4 days from January 12th to 15th, Autosport International is Europe's largest indoor pre-season motorsport event and will be celebrating its 27th anniversary this year when it will once again feature the very latest in motorsport, automotive and performance engineering technology, alongside cars and exhibitors from every level of motor racing.Currently in the middle of its early bird ticket sales period - with discounts of up to 30% on the cost of all 4-day tickets for the 2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix on offer to all fans – Baku City Circuit will be making its first appearance at the annual Birmingham event with an engaging and interactive stand designed to educate, inform and enthuse the attending public on the newest Grand Prix race weekend on the F1 calendar. In addition, the BCC stand will also offer visitors the chance to challenge their driving skills on the fastest street circuit in F1 via its own branded simulator. Furthermore, there will also be a raffle that will see two lucky guests win flights and tickets to Baku for the 2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, taking place on the weekend of June 23-25.Speaking ahead of the first visit by the BCC team to the Autosport International Event, Head of Marketing & Communications, Nigar Arpardarai commented: “We are tremendously excited to visit the Autosport International show for the first time this weekend and showcase our wonderful city and circuit to such a passionate and knowledgeable motorsport audience. Since the rebranding of our race weekend to the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, we eager to spread the word about our race weekend and country to as many people as possible. Not only will fans get to witness the world’s best drivers racing around the fastest street circuit in Formula 1 net June but they will also experience Baku as a vibrant, modern and beautiful city, steeped in history and with a real modern edge that appeals to visitors of all ages and backgrounds. We look forward to seeing everyone in Birmingham this weekend!” President Aliyev offers condolences to Kyrgyz counterpart Politics Mon, 16 Jan 2017 13:29:00 +0400 Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has offered condolences to his Kyrgyz counterpart Almazbek Atambayev over the casualties after a plane crashed near Bishkek.The message reads:“Dear Almazbek Sharshenovich,I was deeply saddened by the news of tragic death of the people as a result of plane crash near Bishkek.On behalf of the people of Azerbaijan and on my own behalf, I extend my deepest condolences to You, the bereaved families, loved ones of those who died and wish the injured the swiftest possible recovery.”At least 32 people, including six children, were killed when a cargo plane crashed near Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek on January 16.The aircraft on a flight from Hong-Kong to Bishkek crashed during a landing approach due to bad weather conditions at 7:31 local time (01:31 GMT), Kyrgyzstan Deputy Prime Minister Muhambetkaliy Abulkaziyev announced Monday, Anadolu Agency reports. Month of Francophonie due in Baku Arts & Entertainment Mon, 16 Jan 2017 13:24:00 +0400 By Azernews By Laman IsmayilovaBaku will host the Month of Francophonie in April to celebrate French language and cultural diversity with a series of cultural events involving music, literature, film and history along with debates and contests.Famous writers, members of the international organization of French-speaking countries and other public figures will gather in Baku to inform about cultures of  Francophone countries, Trend Life reported.  All of the cultural creativity and diversity of francophone countries will be celebrated over a month of events.Besides, the French Gastronomy Week will be held in the capital city in mid-March.Overall, the days of French language and culture are annual spring event in Azerbaijan that brings French-speaking people together.The International Organisation of La Francophonie was created in 1970. Its mission is to embody the active solidarity between its 80 member states and governments (57 members and 23 observers), which together represent over one-third of the United Nations’ member states and account for a population of over 890 million people, including 220 million French speakers. More state objects to be put up for privatization Business Mon, 16 Jan 2017 13:14:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovAzerbaijan’s State Committee on Property Issues will hold another auction for privatization of state objects and enterprises on February 14.The auction will put on sale 71 state properties, including 20 joint stock companies, six small enterprises and facilities, 34 non-residential areas and 11 vehicles.The six small enterprises are located in Khachmaz, Jalilabad, Oguz, Masalli and Shamakhi regions.Meanwhile, the greater part of the non-residential areas are located in Baku. The most expensive of them is an area located in the Bakikhanov village of the capital’s Sabunchu district. Its starting price is set at $60,200.The joint stock companies set for privatization operate in the areas of construction, industry, agriculture, transport and other sectors. Azinterservis, Azermetalinvest and others are among these companies.The third stage of privatization in Azerbaijan started in the framework of the presidential decree dated May 19, 2016. Under the decree, the acceleration of the state property privatization process has been defined as an important direction of the economic policy.The portal for privatization –, launched in July 2016, reflects all necessary information about the facilities, their addresses, location, and even initial cost and aims at facilitation of the process. The website is available in two languages - Azerbaijani and English. “Why Azerbaijan is special” section available on the website explains the reasons and advantages of investing in the country.The privatization process is designed to attract both foreign and local investors, as well as improve the business environment of Azerbaijan. Oil prices rise on world markets Business Mon, 16 Jan 2017 13:14:00 +0400 By  Azertac Oil prices have increased on the world markets.On NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) cost of the US Light crude oil increased $0.11 to stand at $52.48. Price of the Brent crude oil at the London ICE (Intercontinental Exchange Futures) rose $0.12 to trade at $55.57. Wallet One launches new service in Azerbaijan Business Mon, 16 Jan 2017 12:35:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Nigar AbbasovaWallet One international payments system has launched its eWallet solution in Azerbaijan via a franchising model, making the multi-currency digital payments service available through both a mobile app and web interface.Customers in Azerbaijan will be able to refill the balance by means of eManat payment terminals and bank cards in online regime, as well as in banks, a source in the market of e-payment services told Trend. The system is used to implement financial operations through the Internet, while the services available in the system include payment for goods and services, money transfers and others.    The franchising scheme allows to connect not only to global acquiring (financial institutions processing credit or debit card payments) but also to a local one, as well as local payment systems (communication, communal services, and others).The app is available in IOS and Android supported mobile devices.  Digital wallet applications provide a more convenient transaction processing method for customers, giving businesses that employ this technology a competitive edge in the market. How Armenians settled in South Caucasus Politics Mon, 16 Jan 2017 12:18:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovThe fake arguments of the Armenian historians that the Armenians are natives of Nagorno-Karabakh have always resented serious historians. There are numerous facts from Russian sources that Armenians were brought in the west Azerbaijani lands only in the 19th century.Back in Soviet times, the Armenian historians invented fake research works about the history of Caucasus. Meanwhile, this area of history somehow remained out of sight of Azerbaijani historians. Taking advantage of this, the Armenians tried to present these territories as Armenian through falsifying the historical realities of individual regions of Azerbaijan.Armenian historians showed excessive zeal in these attempts. They went so far that shamelessly distorted the political map of the Caucasus region, created stories that do not correspond to historical reality, made up fictional maps and spread them around the world. And now Armenians continue insisting on their unfounded claims. In this context, the study of the historical geography of Azerbaijan as a whole and of its individual regions is very important.If to carefully consider the facts given in the works of Russian military historians, it becomes clear that the Armenians do not know their history or they are just unable to digest the facts that are contrary to the nationalist picture of Armenian historians.Some Armenian historians without any evidence say about the alleged residence of Armenians in the Azerbaijani lands for centuries. They in particular mention historical Azerbaijani lands of Nakhchivan, Irevan and Karabakh.However, Azerbaijani, as well as Russian historians, exposed this unscientific reasoning through referring to existing historical documents. They clearly show that the settlement of Armenians in the regions of Nakhchivan, Irevan and Karabakh was related to the Turkmenchay Treaty signed in 1828 between Russia and Iran.As the Russian historian of that time Sergey Glinka noted, it hadn’t even been three months from the date of signing of the treaty, when the Russian Empire resettled 40,000 Armenians in the newly conquered Nakhchivan, Irevan and Karabakh khanates.The initiator of this resettlement was an ethnic Armenian Christopher Lazarev. He made up and presented to the Russian government the project of resettling Armenians in Northern Azerbaijan. In the project, he introduced the idea of "reestablishing the Armenian Kingdom" within the Russian Empire. This idea served as a pretext for the ruling circles of Russia to form a Christian region on the borders with Iran and Turkey.In March 1828, Lazarev's project was presented to the Emperor Nicholas I. The territories of the Azerbaijan khanates of Nakhchivan, Irevan, Shaki and Shamakhi were mentioned as “the ancient Armenian areas” in this infamous project.Emperor Nicholas I was primarily interested in strengthening the border line with Turkey and Iran, which were Muslim countries. That's why he abolished the Nakhchivan and Irevan khanates by a special decree of March 21, 1828, and established artificial "Armenian province" in those areas. This region existed until 1850, and then it was transformed to Erivan governorate. Nakhchivan region was also included into it.Thus, as a result of migration to the aforesaid territories, the Armenian population in Caucasus increased significantly. Moreover, the Imperial Russia decided to settle the migrant Armenians in those areas where the Armenians were a clear minority. For example, 50,739 Armenian families were resettled in Irevan and Daralayaz regions where only 58 Armenian families lived previously. Nakhchivan region, where only 100 Armenian families lived, was settled with 941 new families. Overall, after the conclusion of the Turkmanchay Treaty, the Armenian population increased by 4 times.Since then, Armenians inexplicably consider the territory of today’s Armenia as “the ancient Armenian land.” Moreover, they constantly make claims to the territories of countries neighboring Armenia. However, Armenia's biggest claims are concentrated on Azerbaijan.Not satisfied with living in Azerbaijan’s historical west lands, Armenians for over two decades occupy the Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions of Azerbaijan. This makes up a fifth part of Azerbaijan's territory. Despite the constant calls of the international society to leave the Azerbaijani lands, including four UN Security Council resolutions, Armenia rejects withdrawing of its armed forces from Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent regions. Armenian armed units violated ceasefire with Azerbaijan 42 times throughout the day Politics Mon, 16 Jan 2017 12:06:00 +0400 By  Azertac The Armenian armed units shattered ceasefire with Azerbaijan a total of 42 times throughout the day using 60, 82, 120-mm mortar launchers, Azerbaijan`s Defense Ministry said.The Armenian armed forces, stationed in Armenia`s Aygepar and Chinari villages and nameless hills in Berd district subjected to fire the positions of the Azerbaijani armed forces located in Aghbulag, Alibayli and Kokhanabi villages in Tovuz district.The ceasefire was also violated in Garaqashli village in Aghdam district, Kuropatkino village in Khojavand district, Horadiz and Garakhanbayli villages in Fuzuli district as well as nameless hills in Goranboy, Tartar, Khojavand, Goygol and Fuzuli districts. President Aliyev meets with EBRD President in Davos [UPDATE] Politics Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:50:00 +0400 By  Azertac President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has today met with President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Suma Chakrabarti as part of his visit to the Swiss Confederation to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos.Suma Chakrabarti thanked President Ilham Aliyev for supporting his re-election as the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and expressed his hope that Azerbaijan-EBRD interaction will be fruitful in the coming years.Describing Azerbaijan-EBRD relations as excellent, President Ilham Aliyev hailed this cooperation. He noted that the productive relations were established for the implementation of various projects.Touching upon the economic reforms carried out in Azerbaijan, the head of state underlined that special attention is paid to the development of the private sector in the country.It was stressed that there are good prospects for cooperation in implementing projects in Azerbaijan in agriculture, transportation, infrastructure and other areas, adding these projects paved the way for the bilateral cooperation.The sides also exchanged views on a number of other issues of mutual interest. Turkish MPs pass Article 17 of Constitution chang World news Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:23:00 +0400 By  TrendLawmakers on Sunday adopted article 17 of a new constitutional reform package that regulates parliamentary and presidential elections, Anadolu reported.A total of 484 of 550 deputies participated the secret ballot session on Sunday evening at Parliament’s General Assembly.The changes were approved by a total of 342 votes. The motion was rejected by 135 MPs, three voted blank, two were invalid and two abstained.According to the Article 17, the parliamentary and the presidential election will be held in Nov. 3, 2019. Until the next election day, current deputies and president will remain in office.One last amendment is slated to be voted on in the coming hours.Lawmakers have so far passed regulations that define and lay out parliament’s responsibilities -- one of the most discussed items -- and the regulation of criminal liabilities for the president and top officials, as well as structural reforms to the nation’s highest judicial body.Constitutional reform and the change to a presidential system has been on the political agenda since Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a former prime minister and Justice and Development (AK) Party leader, was elected president in August 2014. This marked the first time a Turkish president had been directly chosen by popular vote.On Dec. 30, a constitutional committee of deputies from the ruling AK Party and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) submitted a proposed bill to parliament for ratification. Turkey's largest opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) remain opposed to the proposed changes.If it passes parliament by 330 of 550 deputies, it will be voted on in a national referendum. If it obtains the support of 367 lawmakers, it can pass into law without referendum although Erdogan has said he would push for a referendum even if the draft is approved by the two-third majority.Proposed changes to the constitution require a simple majority (51 percent). The AK Party has 316 seats and Erdogan hopes the support of the MHP, which has 39 seats, will secure a referendum. Uzbekistan completes copper mine expansion project World news Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:04:00 +0400 By  TrendUzbekistan’s Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Combine (AMMC) has completed a project worth $75.2 million to expand its main source of raw material – the Kalmakyr copper-porphyry deposit, a representative of the AMMC told Trend.The project envisaged involving the non-registered (extra-balance) ores of the quarry, making it possible to increase the volume of ore processing by 4 million tons annually and bringing the total copper enrichment capacity of the AMMC to 40.2 million tons per year.Russia’s Tyazhmash JSC was the contractor of the project and supplier of the main technological equipment.The project was financed with a $28 million loan from the Fund for Reconstruction and Development of Uzbekistan, as well as loans of Uzbek banks and the equity of the AMMC.The AMMC is the only copper producer in Uzbekistan. Kalmakyr and Sary-Cheku deposits of copper-porphyry ores in Tashkent province, Uch-Kulach deposit of lead-zinc-barite ores in Jizzakh province, as well as Khandiza deposit of polymetallic ores in Kashkadarya province are its raw material sources.The AMMC produces refined copper, metallic zinc, lead concentrate and other products. Tax Free system to cover cultural heritage items in Azerbaijan Business Mon, 16 Jan 2017 10:37:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Tax Free system will cover the items which are considered to be the cultural and historical heritage and are of great importance for the protection of cultural heritage in Azerbaijan.This point is envisaged in Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s decree on amendments to the "Procedure for refunding value added tax for the goods not intended for production or commercial purposes, acquired by foreigners and stateless people in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan".According to the decree, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Taxes will cooperate along with Azerbaijan Airlines CJSC, Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company to promote the use of the Tax Free system in the country.Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company CJSC will also organize educational activities, distribute booklets to the tourists coming to the country.Another amendment stipulates that at present, the above-mentioned procedure also applies to the goods which are exported by sea. Previously it applied only to air transport.The air transport, as well as maritime transport crew members, who are performing their duties, will be unable to use the Tax Free system.The Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers has been charged with bringing the normative-legal acts in accordance with the decree, as well as preparing relevant proposals and informing the president during three months.The Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers has been also charged with solving other issues arising from the decree.The Azerbaijani Ministry of Justice has been charged with bringing the normative-legal acts of the central executive bodies in accordance with the decree and informing the country’s Cabinet of Ministers.According to the procedure, in order to use the Tax Free system, the price of goods purchased through a single e-invoice must not be less than 300 manat (including VAT).How does the Tax Free system work in Azerbaijan?The goods must be exported from the territory of Azerbaijan within 90 days from the date of purchase. After the period expires, the amount of VAT paid for the goods, will not be refunded.The VAT rate on all goods in Azerbaijan is 18 percent. Regardless of the way of transfer, 20 percent will be deducted from the VAT amount as the payment for service, and the rest sum will be refunded.While purchasing goods in the stores displaying a Tax Free sign, it is necessary to inform the seller about the desire to use the Tax Free system.In order to fill in the e-tax invoice, which allows claiming a VAT refund, it is necessary to show a passport to the seller.After writing down passport details, the seller will give a signed and stamped e-tax invoice in duplicate.Along with other information, the e-tax invoice includes the amount of paid VAT and the last date of the VAT refund.While leaving Azerbaijan, it is necessary to present the purchased goods, e-tax invoice, passport to the customs desk at the airport.After making the appropriate notes in the e-tax invoice, the representative of the customs desk will seal it.In conclusion, it is necessary to present the e-tax invoice obtained at the customs desk, to the authorized bank.Depending on the chosen way, the payment is made in foreign or national currency as follows: 1) cash - immediately after presenting a proper document to the bank; 2) non-cash payment - within 10 days after presenting the credit card details to the bank.Which products are not covered by Tax Free system?At present, the Tax Free system does not apply to excisable goods and foodstuffs; medications and medical equipment; products, exempt from VAT in the country; goods which may require an export license; raw or ungraded precious gemstones; precious metal ingots; goods exported from the territory of Azerbaijan in an unaccompanied baggage; vehicles and spare parts; goods exported by mail or through the Internet.Who does not the Tax Free system apply to?The Tax Free system does not apply to the Azerbaijani citizens, stateless people and foreigners who have received a permit for temporary or permanent residence in the territory of Azerbaijan or get a work permit for paid employment, air transport, as well as maritime transport crew members, who are performing their duties, people under 14 years old. Bishkek plane crash death toll reaches 37 [UPDATE] World news Mon, 16 Jan 2017 10:19:00 +0400 By  Trend At least 37 people died in a Turkish cargo plane crash near Kyrgyzstan's capital of Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Ministry of Emergency Situations said on January 16.09:32 (GMT+4) The plane has crashed several kilometers from the Manas airport, said the press service of the Bishkek airport, TASS reported."There were only crew members onboard, we cannot tell the exact number," the airport’s press service said.The Kyrgyz government's message said the plane damaged houses in the crash area, several houses caught fire, and the firefighters were sent to the scene.The death toll in the Boeing 747 cargo plane crash near Bishkek’s airport has soared to 32, the republic’s Health Ministry told TASS."Another eight people, including six children, were hospitalized from the crash scene, and are in serious condition," the ministry said.08:32 (GMT+4) The death toll after a cargo plane crashed near Bishkek has risen up to 30, Sputnik news agency reported.The death toll after a Turkish cargo plane on a flight from Hong-Kong has crashed near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, has risen up to 30, said the message of the Kyrgyz Health Ministry.08:14 (GMT+4) The plane has crashed in a village, destroying at least 15 homes, a representative of Kyrgyz Emergency Ministry told RIA Novosti.The ministry's message said the crash resulted in deaths of at least 20 people, including 6 children. Also, 15 houses in the area of the crash were damaged.07:26 (GMT+4) "A cargo plane of Turkish airlines en route from Hong Kong crashed while landing in Manas airport in Kyrgyz capital due to poor weather conditions," head of Crisis Management Center's told RIA Novosti.According to the message of the Kyrgyz government, the crash resulted in deaths of at least 16 people.Kyrgyz emergency ministry also said there were 4 crew members onboard aircraft, one of them survived.06:49 (GMT+4) A cargo plane on a flight from Hong-Kong has crashed near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Sputnik reported.A cargo plane on a flight from Hong-Kong has crashed near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, the country's Emergency Ministry reported.According to the Kyrgyz emergency ministry, the plane belonged to a Turkish company.The plane reportedly crashed during landing, due to bad weather conditions. No reports on casualties were available. Real estate prices records decrease in 2016 Business Mon, 16 Jan 2017 10:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Nigar Abbasova2016 recorded slight, but periodic decreases in the real estate market of Azerbaijan. The early months of the year saw more dynamic decreases, but later the trend lost its strength, said real estate expert Ramil Osmanli.“A 3-5 percent fall was recorded in the first months of 2016, while stability was observed in the summer months. In the end of the year, the market once gain observed decrease. In tote, price decreases in the secondary market amounted to nearly 22 percent,” he told Trend.As for the prices in the primary housing market, he said that it faced a reverse situation and prices increased. The expert mentioned that activity in both markets was very low. “A decrease of almost 30 percent was fixed in sale and purchase operations,” he added.Commenting on possible effects of the construction of social houses on prices, Osmanli said that the process will not have an influence on the market.  “I do not agree that the construction of social houses will have some effect on the market. The number of social houses is limited. Besides, such houses are meant for certain category of the population. Also, such houses may not be subjected to buying and selling operations within 3 years after acquisition,” he clarified.The expert mentioned that it is too early to speak about price forecasts for this year. “The real estate market is highly dependent on macroeconomic indices of the country.  Therefore, increase in revenues of the country as well as stabilization in the exchange rate of the national currency is needed to provide changes”.The average apartment cost per square meter in Baku city centre currently amounts to approximately 2,500.00 manats ($1,409.09). Prices outside of centre are 1,065.68 manats (600.654 in dollar equivalent). Azerbaijani serviceman killed during Armenian provocation Society Sun, 15 Jan 2017 11:58:00 +0400 BY TrendAzerbaijani serviceman Fikret Bashirov was killed as a result of shelling the positions of the Azerbaijani army by the Armenian armed forces, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a message Jan. 15.According to Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov’s order, Bashirov, who died as a result of Armenia’s another provocation on the line of contact between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops, was posthumously awarded with the third degree medal "For Distinction in Military Service".The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry expresses condolences to the family of the killed serviceman.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. German business delegation to visit Iran early February World news Sat, 14 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0400 By  TrendA 12-member business delegation from Germany is planning to visit Iran February 5-8 to seek cooperation opportunities, Dawood Nazirizadeh, management consultant and organizer of the business trip told Trend January 13."We will be in Tehran February 5-6 and in Tabriz February 6-8. The companies are from different business fields, mostly chemistry, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and consulting," he said.According to Nazirizadeh, a German deputy minister of economy will accompany the delegation."There will be meetings with Iran and Tabriz chambers of commerce and with different ministries in the areas of renewable energy and innovation.""Most of the companies want to have a first impression on Iran’s business. Some of them want to open a branch or hire some staff in Iran," Nazirizadeh further said.Germany was Iran’s biggest trade partner prior to 2012 when heavy sanctions cut Iran off from world business.Germany remained fifth top goods exporter to Iran during the first eight months of the current fiscal year (March 20-Nov. 21, 2016) with $1.461 billion worth of exports.Germany’s exports to Iran increased by 25 percent in the 8-month period compared to the same period a year earlier. Sanctions on Iran were removed in January 2016. New appointments in Turkmenistan’s Cabinet of Ministers World news Sat, 14 Jan 2017 17:55:00 +0400 By  TrendDadebay Amangeldyev and Bayram Annameredov have been appointed the new deputy chairmen of Turkmenistan’s Cabinet of Ministers, according to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s decrees.Amangeldyev will supervise the power and construction industries, while Annameredov is to supervise transportation and communications.During a government meeting, the Turkmen president said a large-scale construction program is expected to be implemented in 2017, the Turkmen Dovlet Habarlary state news service reported.Also, the president noted that the opportunities of the North-South and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan railways should be used more efficiently and the construction of the Turkmenbashi International Seaport should be continued. Turkey neutralizes over 2,000 terrorists in Syria since Aug 2016 World news Sat, 14 Jan 2017 17:42:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Turkish Armed Forces have neutralized 2,085 terrorists in northern Syria since the start of the “Euphrates Shield” operation, says a message on the website of the Turkish General Staff.Of them, 1,775 were members of the “Islamic State” (IS) terrorist group and 310 were members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) terrorist group, said the message.Turkey’s ally, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), has established control over 226 settlements in northern Syria since the beginning of the “Euphrates Shield” operation on Aug. 24, 2016. Foreign businessmen positively assess reforms in Azerbaijan Business Sat, 14 Jan 2017 17:32:00 +0400 By  TrendForeign entrepreneurs working in Azerbaijan positively assess the reforms implemented in the country, according to the 1st Business Climate Survey Azerbaijan 2016 conducted by the German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce.Foreign businessmen gave the highest assessment to three key indicators of business climate in Azerbaijan: political and social stability, infrastructure, qualification and productivity of employees, according to the survey.The survey covered some of the reforms recently carried out in Azerbaijan.These reforms include suspension of inspections related to entrepreneurial activities for two years, simplifying the licensing procedure and reducing the number of licensable activities from 56 to 37, the provision of services related to the issuing of business licenses by ASAN services, given that they are countrywide known for eliminating bribery and corruption in the provision of public services.ASAN is the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan meaning “easy” in English. It is the Azerbaijani model of service delivery mechanism to render public and private services from one single space.The most important reforms reflected in the survey also included the establishment of the Financial Market Supervisory Authority, the issuance of documents promoting investment, the preparation of strategic roadmaps of Azerbaijan’s economy.As much as 40 percent of respondents state that, they would choose Azerbaijan as an investment location again, whereas 20 percent remain undecided, according to the survey.Looking ahead, streamlining taxes and customs procedures and liberalizing tariffs would further stimulate investment and thus raise the prospects for capital inflows, according to the respondents of the survey.In this context, providing transparency will play a key role and “ASAN” services, which have eliminated corruption and removed bureaucracy in public service delivery, can act as instructive models amidst institutional reforms, the respondents said.In addition to that, the comments indicate that further improvements in visa and work permit regimes are necessary to stimulate capital inflows and support industry professionals active in Azerbaijan.The survey conducted with the support of the Eurochambres and the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan was designed to reflect the assessment of EU companies being active in Azerbaijan. It was circulated to over 300 companies representing 19 EU countries.The report was shaped by the valuable insights of CEOs, general managers and department heads, among others, regarding the current situation and prospects for short-term growth, business environment and investment climate in the country, and their company demographics.As much as 12 percent of the respondents did not occupy leading positions. At the same time, 76 percent of the respondents represented companies operating in the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan. More than 38 percent of the respondents work for companies with a number of employees over 50 people. Turkmen president says important to ensure economic stability World news Sat, 14 Jan 2017 17:25:00 +0400 By  TrendPresident Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov instructed the Turkmen officials to develop a new national program for social and economic development during a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, reads a message from the country’s government.Berdimuhamedov noted the importance of ensuring the stability of economy and investment activity in Turkmenistan, sustainability of the national currency, as well as increasing the exports and the reserve monetary fund.He said the main goal in banking sector is to keep inflation at a level not exceeding the specified parameters and provide the economy with necessary funds by regulating the money supply and controlling its circulation.Turkmenistan has embarked on a policy of gradual transition to the market economy, which is reflected in the country’s constitution.A number of measures have been implemented in Turkmenistan, such as the denomination of the national currency and switching to international accounting standards. Canadian bank to pay fine due to Iran sanctions violations World news Sat, 14 Jan 2017 17:13:00 +0400 By  TrendToronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank), a financial institution headquartered in Toronto, Canada agreed to pay $516,105 to settle its potential civil liability for violations of the US sanctions on Iran and Cuba.TD Bank processed 39 transactions totaling $515,071 between Dec. 1, 2008 and March 28, 2012, to or through the United States in apparent violation of the Iranian transactions and sanctions regulations, the US Treasury Department said.In 2014, the United States imposed a record fine on French bank BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA), which agreed to pay almost $9 billion to resolve accusations on its violation of US sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran.In another similar case, Commerzbank AG (CBKG.DE), Germany’s second largest lender, agreed in 2015 to pay US authorities $1.45 billion to resolve an investigation of its dealings with Iran and other countries under sanctions as well as a separate probe on money laundering.Over the past decade, in a bid to curb Iran's nuclear program, international community took measures against Tehran, including restrictions imposed on the country’s financial system, as well as its connection to the SWIFT, which have had catastrophic impacts on Iranians' economic situation and life conditions.Although the nuclear related sanctions on Iran were lifted following the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in January 2016, Iran still has difficulty in establishing ties with leading European banks as they are worried about running afoul of US regulations. E-signature used in Azerbaijan to be recognized in EU Business Sat, 14 Jan 2017 16:41:00 +0400 By  TrendElectronic signature used in Azerbaijan will be recognized in the EU countries, Christian Rupp, spokesman of the Digital Austria platform in the Austrian Federal Chancellery, told reporters in Baku on January14.A working group was established within the EU Eastern Partnership program to deal with the issue of mutual recognition of electronic signatures, according to him.Rupp said the main purpose of his visit to Baku is to present the projects and solutions on the introduction of e-signature, e-services, cyber security, and to explain how these technologies can be used in Azerbaijan.He said it is also important to improve the skills of employees of government agencies so they can educate Azerbaijani citizens to use e-services.“We also intend to directly participate in this work via technology transfer to your country,” Rupp added. US extends national emergency on Iran World news Sat, 14 Jan 2017 16:39:00 +0400 By  TrendPresident Barack Obama extended the United States’ national emergency against Iran, the Press Secretary Office of White House announced.In a letter to the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate, on Jan. 13, Obama said the national emergency with respect to Iran that was declared on March 15, 1995, will continue in effect beyond March 15, 2017.The US president underlined that certain actions and policies of the Iranian government are contrary to the interests of the United States in the region and continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.The National Emergencies Act requires the US president to extend a national emergency within 90 days of its anniversary date, before it is automatically terminated. Oil prices decrease on world markets Business Sat, 14 Jan 2017 16:28:00 +0400 By  Azertac Oil prices have again fallen on the world markets.On NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) cost of the US Light crude oil decreased $0.64 to stand at $52.37. Price of the Brent crude oil at the London ICE (Intercontinental Exchange Futures) fell $0.56 to trade at $55.45. Iran still negotiating oil swap with Kazakhstan, Russia World news Sat, 14 Jan 2017 16:05:00 +0400 By  TrendIran is negotiating with Russia and Kazakhstan to resume crude oil swap, Gholamreza Manouchehri, deputy director for development and engineering affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said.Talks are underway with Kazakh firms and government as well as Russia in this regard, Manouchehri said, ISNA news agency reported Jan. 14.He further said that grounds are prepared for resuming crude oil swap with Caspian states, adding that it is not clear when the talks would be concluded.Last year Iran announced that will start crude oil swap with Caspian states within weeks, however the issue is not realized so far.In 2010, Iran stopped oil swaps with Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.The Hague International Court of Justice fined the National Iranian Oil Company $5.5 million due to stopping the swap of oil with its international partners.Under the oil swap agreements, which started in 1997 and were in place for over 12 years, Iran received crude oil of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in the Neka port and delivered an equal volume to the clients of the same countries in Persian Gulf.The total income received by Iran from these swap transactions from 1997 to 2009 amounted to about $880 million.