Today.Az http://www.today.az Covering Azerbaijan inside and outside http://www.today.az/images/logo_small.gif Today.Az http://www.today.az Telecommunications network to be launched in Jojug Marjanli soon http://www.today.az/news/politics/161645.html Politics Thu, 25 May 2017 12:24:00 +0400 By  Azertac By Rashid ShirinovThe work has been completed on creation of the telecommunication infrastructure in the liberated Jojug Marjanli village of Azerbaijan’s Jabrayil region, a source in the telecommunication market told Trend on May 24.The interlocutor informed that the commissioning of the telecommunications network in Jojug Marjanli is expected on May 28 – it will be timed to the Republic Day celebrated in Azerbaijan.The work was carried out in accordance with the instructions of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies. Specialists of Aztelecom already visited the village and assessed the work done.The source noted that strengthening of the telecommunication infrastructure in Jojug Marjanli will make the village a distribution point for the further expansion of telecommunications services to other villages.Currently, Jojug Marjanli is provided with a telephone station and a 10-kilometer optical line coming from Fizuli region, allowing the operator to provide other multimedia services, along with the services of communication and the Internet.Jojug Marjanli village was fully liberated from the Armenian occupation in April 2016, when Azerbaijani Armed Forces prevented an Armenian provocation on the contact line. To protect civilian population, the Azerbaijani army launched counter attacks and as a result, the Azerbaijani troops retook hills around the village of Talish, as well as Seysulan settlement, and also took over Leletepe hill located in the direction of Fizuli region.In late January 2017, President Ilham Aliyev ordered to restore Jojug Marjanli. Under the order, 4 million manats were allocated for the construction of 50 private houses, a school building and relevant infrastructure at the first stage.Moreover, President signed an order on additional measures to construct the road leading to the liberated Jojug Marjanli village and allocated 4.3 million manats from the state budget for the construction of 9 km long highway in the village. Azerbaijani boxers to embark on training camp in Ukraine http://www.today.az/news/sports/161644.html Sports Thu, 25 May 2017 12:15:00 +0400 By  Azertac Azerbaijani boxers will be on a training camp in Kharkov, Ukraine on June 14-26.The squad includes 25 boxers. Following the training camp, the Azerbaijani boxers will compete in the European Championships, Azertac reported. North-South transport corridor may eliminate shipping lines http://www.today.az/news/regions/161643.html World news Thu, 25 May 2017 12:00:00 +0400 By  TrendThe International North-South Transport Corridor may bring changes to routes for carrying cargos between Iran and Scandinavian countries abolishing shipping lines.Russia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus and Iran have recently discussed the issue of transporting cargos from Scandinavian countries to Iran through the North-South transportation corridor, a senior Iranian official told Trend.The transportation of cargos from Scandinavian countries to Iran was proposed to be carried out through the International North-South Transport Corridor instead of the current maritime routes, Deputy Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railway Company for Operation Affairs Hossein Ashouri told Trend.The official added that the sides are expected to ink an MoU on cooperation during a meeting in Russia’s Sochi within the coming weeks.The International North-South Transport Corridor is meant to connect Northern Europe with Southeast Asia. It will serve as a link connecting the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia.The corridor is planned to transport 6 million tons of cargo per year at the initial stage and 15-20 million tons of cargo in the future. Memorable moments of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku http://www.today.az/news/sports/161642.html Sports Thu, 25 May 2017 11:46:00 +0400 By  TrendMemorable moments of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.More than 3,000 athletes representing 54 countries competed for 269 sets of medals at the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.Azerbaijan took the lead in medal standings at the Games on May 22. Azerbaijani athletes won 75 gold, 50 silver and 37 bronze medals. Turkey ranked second with 71 gold medals, 67 silver and 57 bronze medals. Iran ranked third with 39 gold, 26 silver and 33 bronze medals. Uzbekistan creates Ministry of Employment & Labor Relations http://www.today.az/news/regions/161641.html World news Thu, 25 May 2017 11:39:00 +0400 By  TrendUnder Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s decree “On measures to further improve the state policy in the sphere of employment and radically increase the efficiency of labor agencies”, the Ministry of Labor has been changed to the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations.The document is aimed at the introduction of new approaches to the implementation of state employment policy, development of labor market infrastructure, including on the basis of public-private partnership, implementation of effective measures for the employment of unemployed people, especially young people.Under the decree, the main tasks of the newly formed ministry are, in particular, the development of state orders for the creation of new jobs, coordination of territorial and sectoral employment programs, measures to ensure the employment of graduates of universities and colleges.A public works fund is being formed under the Ministry, the main tasks of which will be to ensure the participation of temporarily unemployed people in works carried out as part of implementation of large investment projects, construction, repair and reconstruction of road and housing infrastructure, development of cities and regions, as well as seasonal agricultural work.According to official statistics, the number of permanent residents of Uzbekistan was 32 million people in early 2017. The employment level of the economically active population was 94.8 percent and the unemployment rate – 5.2 percent. Erdogan: High interest rates are tool for exploitation http://www.today.az/news/regions/161640.html World news Thu, 25 May 2017 11:21:00 +0400 By  TrendTurkey's president on Wednesday branded high interest rates a tool of economic exploitation, not mere profit, Anadolu reported."There are complaints about high interest rates everywhere. As president I always kept it on my list,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a meeting of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) in the capital Ankara.“Because I see high interest as a tool of exploitation. It’s not a mentality for profit but exploitation," he added.Erdogan has been outspoken in advocating that lenders and Turkey’s Central Bank bring down interest rates.Erdogan said that they continue to stand by everyone whose only aim is to produce and develop the country."We provide all kinds of support to those who are keen to work, produce, and earn rather than standing in their way. We always consult with representatives of the Turkish business environment in all this work," he added.In the year 2035Separately Erdogan predicted that by the year 2035, Turkey's population will exceed 90 million, putting it into the upper echelons of countries by population, and that it will maintain its power."The most important thing is we will utilize this population in the most effective way by joining the world's top 10 economies," he said, adding that they are determined that Turkey's young, educated, and dynamic population will be the engine of the country's economic growth.Erdogan said that by 2035 Turkey will take its place among the world’s most prosperous countries after per capita income rises above $25,000, and wealth will spread across Turkey, reducing income inequality.He added that this will bring solidarity to the country.Citing his call in early February for businesses to create jobs, he said Turkish business circles responded positively, adding 1.17 million people to the employment rolls.In addition Erdogan stressed that they should make Turkey a global hub for information technology, energy, transportation, logistics, and trade by combining economic breakthroughs with new investment opportunities."Let's make a 100 percent Turkish-made car within the TOBB community," he said, adding that Turkey has the people and parts necessary to produce such a car. Armenian troops breach truce with Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/politics/161639.html Politics Thu, 25 May 2017 11:05:00 +0400 Over the past 24 hours, Armenia’s armed forces have 124 times violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported on May 25.The Azerbaijani army positions in the Kamarli, Gaymagli, Farahli, Gushchu Ayrim villages and on nameless heights of the Gazakh district underwent fire from the Armenian army positions located in the Shavarshavan, Voskevan villages and on nameless heights of the Noyemberyan district of Armenia.Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani army positions in the Munjuglu, Aghdam and Hajialili villages of the Tovuz district were shelled from the Armenian army positions located in the Chinari and Aygedzor villages of the Berd district of Armenia.The Azerbaijani army positions on nameless heights of the Gadabay district also underwent fire from the Armenian army positions located on nameless heights of the Krasnoselsk district.Moreover, the Azerbaijani army positions were shelled from the Armenian positions located near the Armenian-occupied Goyarkh, Chilaburt villages of the Tartar district, Shikhlar, Garagashli, Javahirli, Yusifjanli, Marzili villages of the Aghdam district, Kuropatkino village of the Khojavand district, Gorgan, Garakhanbayli, Horadiz, Ashagi Seyidahmadli, Ashagi Veysalli villages of the Fuzuli district, Mehdili village of the Jabrayil district, as well as from the positions located on nameless heights in the Goygol, Goranboy, Tartar, Aghdam, Khojavand, Fuzuli and Jabrayil districts of Azerbaijan.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. Currency rates for May 25 http://www.today.az/news/business/161638.html Business Thu, 25 May 2017 10:45:00 +0400 By  TrendOfficial exchange rate of the US dollar and euro to Azerbaijani manat for May 25 was set at 1.7021 manats and 1.9133 manats, respectively.Below are the rates of Azerbaijani manat against world currencies and precious metals, according to the data from the Central Bank of Azerbaijan.Currencies and precious metalsMay 25, 20171 US dollar1 USD1.70211 euro1 EUR1.91331 Australian dollar1 AUD1.27751 Argentine peso1 ARS0.1058100 Belarusian rubles100 BYR0.91761 Brazilian real1 BRL0.51961 UAE dirham1 AED0.46341 South African rand1 ZAR0.132100 South Korean won100 KRW0.15231 Czech koruna1 CZK0.07231 Chilean peso1 CLP0.25321 Chinese yuan1 CNY0.24771 Danish krone1 DKK0.25711 Georgian lari1 GEL0.70571 Hong Kong dollar1 HKD0.21851 Indian rupee1 INR0.02641 British pound1 GBP2.2098100 Indonesian rupiah100 IDR0.0128100 Iranian rials100 IRR0.00461 Swedish krona1 SEK0.19661 Swiss franc1 CHF1.75091 Israeli shekel1 ILS0.47541 Canadian dollar1 CAD1.27071 Kuwaiti dinar1 KWD5.60181 Kazakh tenge1 KZT0.00551 Kyrgyz som1 KGS0.025100 Lebanese pounds100 LBP0.11291 Malaysian ringgit1 MYR0.39791 Mexican peso1 MXP0.09261 Moldovan leu1 MDL0.09331 Egyptian pound1 EGP0.0941 Norwegian krone1 NOK0.2045100 Uzbek soums100 UZS0.04461 Polish zloty1 PLN0.45841 Russian ruble1 RUB0.03021 Singapore dollar1 SGD1.2311 ?????????? ????1 SAR0.45391 SDR (IMF Special Drawing Rights)1 SDR2.35061 Turkish lira1 TRY0.47851 Taiwan dollar1 TWD0.05661 Tajik somoni1 TJS0.19311 New Turkmen manat1 TMM0.48711 Ukrainian hryvnia1 UAH0.0648100 Japanese yen100 JPY1.52481 New Zealand dollar1 NZD1.1988Gold (1 ounce)1 XAU2131.9654Silver (1 ounce)1 XAG29.2761Platinum (1 ounce)1 XPT1599.974Palladium (1 ounce)1 XPD1295.2981 Gloomy weather to prevail in country http://www.today.az/news/society/161637.html Society Thu, 25 May 2017 10:26:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaChangeable cloudy and gloomy weather awaits Bakuians on  May 25.The Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry reported that lightning and short-rain are expected in Baku and Absheron peninsula.North-west wind will blow.The temperature will be +14-16?C at night, +20-25?C in daytime in Absheron peninsula, +14-16?C at night, +23-25?C in the afternoon in Baku. Air pressure records 763.Relative humidity will be 75-85% at night, 60-65% in the afternoon.Rainy and foggy weather is expected in country's regions. West wind will intensify in some places. The temperature will be +10-15?C at night, +23-28?C in daytime, +5-10?C in mountains at night, +13-18?C in daytime. Oil prices rise as OPEC moves closer to deal http://www.today.az/news/business/161635.html Business Thu, 25 May 2017 10:15:00 +0400 By  TrendWorld oil prices are rising on May 25 after OPEC and non-OPEC countries moved closer to agreeing on the deal extension.The price for July futures of Brent crude oil has increased by 0.82 percent to $54.40 per barrel as of 05:20 (GMT +4).Meanwhile, the price for July futures of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) has grown by 0.76 percent and stood at $51.75 per barrel.OPEC and non-member oil producers moved closer on May 24 to clinching a deal on extending output cuts by nine months.The Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) convened in Vienna, Austria, for its third meeting on May 24 and stated that based on the report of the Joint OPEC-Non-OPEC Technical Committee (JTC) for April 2017, OPEC and participating non-OPEC producing countries have shown steady and convincing progress towards full conformity with their respective adjustments in production.As of April 2017, the OPEC and participating non-OPEC producing countries achieved an impressive conformity level of 102 percent, an increase of 4 percentage points over the March 2017 performance. Queen Elizabeth II congratulates Ilham Aliyev http://www.today.az/news/politics/161636.html Politics Thu, 25 May 2017 10:07:00 +0400 By  TrendQueen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Elizabeth II has sent a congratulatory letter to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.“It gives me great pleasure to send Your Excellency my congratulations on the celebration of your National Day, together with my best wishes for happiness of the people of Azerbaijan in the coming year,” Queen Elizabeth II told Ilham Aliyev in her letter. Azerbaijan, Jordan keen on strengthening economic, trade ties http://www.today.az/news/business/161633.html Business Wed, 24 May 2017 18:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Sara IsrafilbayovaAzerbaijan and Jordan plan to further strengthen economic and trade relations, said Nassar Ibrahim Mohammad Al-Habashneh, Jordan’s Ambassador to Baku.The diplomat, talking to Trend, said that more than 30 agreements and protocols were signed between the two countries as of today.“However, a lot of time has passed since the signing of these documents, and therefore, today there is a need to review all these documents,” added the ambassador.He noted that during the upcoming meeting of the intergovernmental commission, which is scheduled for the second half of 2017, the parties will be able to review all agreements and determine which obstacles stand on the way of development of the  trade and economic ties.A business forum with participation of both countries’ entrepreneurs and investors is planned to be held as part of the upcoming meeting of intergovernmental commission, said the ambassador.The two sides will be able to discuss the nearest and future prospects for cooperation.The parties will also discuss the opportunities for creating joint enterprises, as well as the ways of strengthening relations between the state enterprises, according to Al-Habashneh.Jordan recognized the independence of Azerbaijan in 1991. Diplomatic relations between the countries were established in February 1993. The embassy of Azerbaijan in Jordan was opened in March 2006, the Jordan embassy opened in March 2007.The Jordan Kingdom relates to Azerbaijan as reliable economic and political ally. Jordan repeatedly voiced intention to activate ties with Azerbaijan, which turns recently to the leading country in South Caucasus and to invest heavily in economy of the country. Natig Aliyev: Current oil prices acceptable for Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/business/161632.html Business Wed, 24 May 2017 17:44:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijan will support the proposal to prolong the agreement on reducing oil output between OPEC and non-OPEC countries, said Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Natig Aliyev in his interview with the Caspian Energy magazine.According to him, the Vienna agreement, signed in November 2016, was the first important joint agreement reached throughout the whole history of OPEC and non-OPEC states.“The second significant advantage of this meeting was the determination of the method and mechanism of influencing the market by means of consecutive and agreed reduction of oil production. Monitoring and technical committees were established to study and control the market situation. They have already held two sessions this year. They gave positive conclusions about the fulfillment of these agreements and about the influence of undertaken obligations on the market. Thanks to it, the oil price remained practically stable within $50-55 per barrel starting from January,” noted the minister.He said also that the current oil prices are acceptable for Azerbaijan.“It is rather acceptable for Azerbaijan. Price stability and predictability is of great importance to us. We are the country which is certainly dependent on oil price at the world oil market as it is included into the calculation when setting the budget revenues. As you know, this year we have taken $40 as the basis. If the price stays at $50, it means that we are going to have a budget surplus during five months. It is rather a positive factor for our economy and is certainly of great importance,” he noted.Aliyev also spoke about his expectations from the probable prolongation of the agreement.“Minister of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia Khalid Al-Falih has recently paid a two-day visit to Baku on my invitation. I should say that besides him I talked to ministers of Kuwait, Egypt and they are all quite optimistic. On the other hand, they highly appreciate the results of the reached agreements. I have not had relevant consultations with Iran, but I think that Iran will not also oppose the agreement in this case either,” said the minister.“The way the OPEC members were going to settle this issue among themselves was their internal business. During my meeting with Saudi Arabian Minister Khalid Al-Falih we exchanged opinions, held consultations and agreed that at the next Vienna meeting we would speak for extension of the agreement as it gave such a positive effect – the producers are satisfied and the most important thing is that the global economy managed to absorb this prices. Then the minister left for Russia and Kazakhstan in order to reach agreement with these countries. I think his trip was successful. We also agreed that Azerbaijan would support the proposal to prolong the agreement until the end of the year.”“It is a little bit harder with Kazakhstan’s position as it launched a new field Kashagan. And it is quite natural that the new field has to reach a certain rate of commercial production. But I think that Kazakhstan will find a solution for this problem. Russian Federation’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak has recently met with Khalid Al-Falih. In the course of the meeting it was offered to prolong the Vienna agreement for the following 9 months, namely till the end of the first quarter of 2018,” he said.“I think that the results of the monitoring held by the technical committee will be announced at the next meeting fixed for May 25. Besides, there will be made certain conclusions regarding the trends and tendencies we are to face till the end of the year. I mean trends and tendencies on economic growth rates of continents and countries, the rate of current oil demand and supply, and whether there is a too high difference between supply and demand. I think each of us will make a suggestion how to make sure that oil supply does not exceed demand too much. After discussing these issues we will probably decide to prolong the agreement and in case of the necessity maybe we even will increase the production cut. The appeal to other countries to take adequate measures on oil production cut is also rather important,” said the Azerbaijani minister.One thing is clear that everybody will gain if the price is preserved at $50-60 rate till the end of the year, according to Aliyev.“The higher rate will involve other factors, which will level the production cut. Nevertheless, today I give quite an upbeat assessment of the market condition. Therefore, I do not expect any tricks and surprises from the results of the Vienna agreement. We will manage to reach consensus on the matter that makes the world uneasy,” noted the minister.On May 23-25, Vienna will host a meeting of ministerial council of OPEC and non-OPEC states, during which it is expected that a decision will be made on prolongation of the agreement on oil production cut. New expo opens in Shaki http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/161631.html Arts & Entertainment Wed, 24 May 2017 17:27:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaA new hall “Memory of Motherland” was opened at Shaki`s "Yukhari Bash" State Historical-Architectural Reserve.The hall presents an exhibition of mini layouts of  Shaki`s historical-cultural monuments, including the Palace of Shaki Khans, Albanian Kish temple, fortress "Gelersan-Gerarsan" ("Come and see") and other historical monuments.Famous public and art figures, as well as residents of Sheki attended the opening ceremony, Azertac reported.The visitors had a chance to travel through time to discover the architectural treasuries of the region.Known for its beauty and charm, Shaki is a unique place that has preserved the culture of urban planning inherent to medieval towns. For centuries this beautiful city, which is located along the route of the ancient Silk Road, was an important center of art and commerce.It was one of the biggest cities of the Albanian states in the 1st century. The main temple of the ancient Albanians was located there.Rare historical and architectural monuments of the city - caravanserais, mosques, minarets, walls, bridges, etc.  indicate ancient architectural style of Sheki.The palace of Shaki Khans is one of the most precious pearls of this unique place. The maples in the palace's yard are even older than buildings there.Ashagi and Yukari Caravanserais built in the 18th century are an exotic venue for tourists.Sheki is home to a number of ancient arts. Tinners, potters, hatters and musical instrument makers are working there. Shebeke ornament is one of the ancient arts in Sheki, what made Sheki famous around the world.Rich flora and fauna are "must-see" for any tourist traveling through the countryside in Azerbaijan. The region is famous for its nuts, hazelnuts, chestnut, apple, raspberry, strawberry and some herbals.Shaki wines are very popular outside the country. The region produces red and white wines.  The region has its own unique and rich cuisine. Georgia realizes some 150 new renewable energy projects http://www.today.az/news/regions/161630.html World news Wed, 24 May 2017 17:17:00 +0400 By  TrendGeorgia is implementing 146 new renewable energy projects with a total installed capacity of 5,358 MW, according to the updated document published by Georgian energy ministry on May 24.The total cost of the projects will reach $8.79 billion. Annual generation capacity of new projects is expected at 19,943 GWh.About 50 projects out of the list are expected to be launched by the end of 2020.As much as 47 projects with a total capacity of 1,659 MW are at licensing and construction stage. These projects worth $2.99 billion will annually produce 5,486 GWh.The biggest projects of this group are Khudoni hydro power plant and Nenskra hydro power plant in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region with an installed capacity of 702 MW and 280 MW, respectively, and Shuakhevi hydro power plant in Adjara region with an installed capacity of 178 MW.Moreover, 21 renewable projects in Georgia are at feasibility study stage with construction liabilities. These projects worth $1.87 billion will have an installed capacity of 1,075 MW and annually produce 4,740 GWh.Other projects with a total capacity of 2,624 MW are at the feasibility study stage. They will add 9,717 GWh annually. Iran army kicks off massive drill http://www.today.az/news/regions/161625.html World news Wed, 24 May 2017 17:00:00 +0400 By  TrendIranian army has launched military drill dubbed "Beit al-Moqaddas 29" in central Esfahan Province on May 24, ISNA news agency reported.The drill is being held on the occasion of the 35th liberation anniversary of southern city of Khorramshahr during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) on May 24, 1982.Various units of the Iranian Army's Ground Forces including infantry, artillery, quick response, drones and helicopters are involved in the drills.The army's elite forces namely "the 65 Nohed Airborne Brigade" as well as fighters of Army Air Forces also have taken part in the military exercise.A number of army’s domestically produced weapons will be tested during the two-day drill. The military drill also comprises day, night and anti-terrorist operations.Iran regularly conducts various drills to enhance the defense capabilities of its armed forces and to test modern military tactics and equipment.The Islamic Republic’s military program has always been a point of concern for the world powers as they often show strong reaction against the country's missile tests, in particular.But Tehran has repeatedly announced that its military might poses no threat to other countries, reiterating that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence. More air companies want to fly to Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/business/161628.html Business Wed, 24 May 2017 16:59:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliThose who prefer to go unbeaten path, to explore less visited places and check national charisma will undoubtedly have an interesting experience in Azerbaijan, a small country in Southern Caucasus on the edge of Europe. More and more air companies intend to implement flights to this rather newly-discovered travel destination on the world tourism map.Russian airline "IrAero" will open new flights from the cities of Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk to Baku this June.The first flight on the Irkutsk-Krasnoyarsk-Baku route and back will be performed by the airline on June 4, and further be performed twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays.The new flight will be serviced by Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft.IrAero is an air carrier based in Irkutsk, Russia. The company provides domestic and international scheduled passenger services, charter and cargo flights.Besides, the Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways chose Azerbaijan as the first destination to launch of new direct flights to Eurasia, starting with Baku.The company will start flights to Baku on June 23. Jazeera Airways will provide a frequency of two weekly flights scheduled on Mondays and Fridays to the city, hailed as a popular destination for summer vacationers.Onur Air, a Turkish low-cost airline, plans to resume flights to Azerbaijan.Onur Air announced that it plans to launch direct flights between Baku and Turkey’s Trabzon, and the first regular direct flight from Baku to Trabzon is scheduled for June 17.The price of a round-trip ticket will start at 99 euros. The flights will be carried out every Saturday.Earlier, Onur Air carried out flights from Turkey’s Istanbul to Azerbaijan’s Ganja city. Baku Shopping Festival: 30-day boost for economy and tourism http://www.today.az/news/business/161634.html Business Wed, 24 May 2017 16:36:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliThe first-ever Baku Shopping Festival has set a momentum for economic, tourism and business growth for the capital city of Azerbaijan.The 30-day shopping extravaganza offered its participants a whole lot of options: shopping, entertainment, food and street performances during the city’s busiest time of the year.  Many city malls offered special discounts, Tax Free, and temporary pop-up shops presented a broad range of Azerbaijani and foreign brands.The next edition of the Baku Shopping Festival scheduled for October promises all this and more.The first shopping festival has played a very important role in raising the profile of Baku as a premium shopping and tourist destination, say the organizers.The festival brought revenues worth 5.6 million manats ($3.3 million) to the state budget, Culture and Tourism Minister Abulfas Garayev said at a press conference in Baku May 24.The minister added that the revenues surpassed the volume of funds spent for organization of the shop fest.“We expected the state budget revenues from organization of two shopping festivals by late 2017 would be around 40-50 million manats ($23-29 million). Moreover, we expected certain expenses for organizational work and advertising,” the minister said, adding that however the real figures were different.“A short period and a sufficiently tight budget gave us other figures in another recalculation. So, only 700,000 manats ($413,000) was spent from the state budget for holding of the shopping festival, while total expenses did not exceed 1 million manats (about $591,000), which means that the revenues exceeded the expenses by almost six times."Garayev noted that this indicator is quite successful, since such an event is being held in Azerbaijan for the first time. "We also have carried out a customer satisfaction survey. The survey revealed that 98 percent of the participants appreciated this festival,” added the minister.During the festival period about 260,000 tourists visited Azerbaijan, Garayev stressed."As many as 187,577 tourists arrived in the country in April. Compared to the same period of the previous year, the growth was 23 percent from 15 target- countries,” the minister said. “Moreover, on the first 10 days of May some 70, 776 people visited Azerbaijan, and this means an increase of 32 percent.”The minister went on to say that the number of participant stores is planned to be brought to 500 during the next edition of the festival.“The stores were offering various discounts within 30-70 percent,” the minister noted. “According to the information received from the festival participants, the volume of sales in stores of premium clothes and accessories increased by 15 percent, in stores of mass-market brand clothes - by 46 percent, and in stores of consumer electronics and household appliances – by three times compared to figures of April 2016.”Garayev mentioned that 1.8 million manats ($1.06 million) of VAT were refunded to customers at the Baku Shopping Festival held from April 10 to May 10.“As many as 205 stores joined the first Baku Shopping Festival, and 172 of them took part in the VAT refund program,” Garayev said. “Thanks to the Tax Free system, buyers received 23,242 invoices, the total turnover of which amounted to about 18.17 million manats ($10.7 million).”The VAT rate in Azerbaijan is 18 percent. During the festival, a buyer [Azerbaijani citizens or foreigners] had the VAT refunded at the banks in case the amount of the purchased goods exceeds 100 manats ($59) [including VAT]. For VAT refund services a commission of 20 percent of the refund amount was charged.The rules for VAT refund within the framework of the next shopping festival in Azerbaijan may be changed, according to Garayev.He said that the changes will mainly concern the period of VAT refund and the promotion of non-cash settlements.Deputy Taxes Minister Sahib Alakbarov, in turn, said that the VAT refund during the second Baku Shopping Festival will be carried out not only through branches of banks. “Despite a sufficient number of branches of banks involved in the VAT refund process, there were queues during the last days of the festival,” he said. “To solve this issue, we are developing a system that will allow the VAT refund through ATMs. When registering an invoice, the buyer will receive a special code through which he/she can receive his funds through any ATM of authorized banks.”The deputy minister added that work is underway to create the appropriate software. "This will avoid queues and greatly facilitate the process for buyers," he said.The Shopping Festivals are being promoted as tourism products worldwide, thus attracting large number of tourists to the country.  Recent years have seen the shopping gaining greater significance in tourism, given its contribution to the retail and tourism sectors of a destination. Erdogan OKs creation of Joint Committee on Customs Issues with Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/business/161627.html Business Wed, 24 May 2017 16:35:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Sara IsrafilbayovaTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Turkish Ministry of Customs and Trade and the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan “On the establishment of the Joint Committee on Customs Issues”.The document was signed in Ankara in 2015, with participation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.The Joint Committee will coordinate the cooperation in the customs sphere between the two countries, determine the directions for the development of this sphere, facilitate the simplification of customs procedures and promote the introduction of new technologies to enhance the effectiveness of customs control.Turkey was the first state to recognize Azerbaijan's independence in 1991 and has been a staunch supporter of Azerbaijan in its efforts to consolidate its independence, preserve its territorial integrity and realize its economic potential arising from the rich natural resources of the Caspian Sea.The contractual base of bilateral Turkish-Azerbaijani trade and economic relations includes more than 40 documents aimed at expanding economic cooperation between states.The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Turkey in the first quarter of 2017 amounted to $553 million, of which $308.7 million was exported to Turkey, according to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan. For the first quarter of this year, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Turkey increased 2.15 times, as compared to the same period of the previous year. FM: Russia interested in maintaining friendly relations with S. Caucasus states http://www.today.az/news/regions/161626.html World news Wed, 24 May 2017 16:18:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovRussia is interested in maintaining friendly relations with all its neighbors in the South Caucasus, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported on May 24.The ministry reported that a board meeting on “the situation in the South Caucasus and Russian policy in the region” was held under the chairmanship of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on May 23.The meeting discussed the main aspects of the work of Russian diplomacy for implementation of the tasks defined by the Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation in the South Caucasus direction.The meeting participants discussed the state and prospects of Russia’s relations with each South Caucasus country, as well as regional security issues.“Among our priorities are peace and stability, advancing development of the countries of the region, and strengthening of their constructive interaction in solving common problems,” the foreign ministry stated.The long standing Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains the most important and dangerous problem in the South Caucasus. The conflict 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 regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.Armenia still controls fifth part of Azerbaijan's territory and rejects implementing four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts.Russia along with the U.S. and France is a co-chair country of the OSCE Minsk Group established to broker a peace to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Ramadan comes to Azerbaijan on May 27 http://www.today.az/news/society/161629.html Society Wed, 24 May 2017 15:46:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliMillions of Muslims around the world are preparing for Ramadan, a holy month of fasting and religious devotion that starts this week.Although Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This difference means Ramadan moves ahead in the Gregorian calendar by approximately 11 days every year. This year Ramadan will start on May 27.Ramadan or as it is also called “The Sultan of Eleven Months” is an incredibly sacred time for Muslims, who believe that during this month the holy book Koran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad.Ramadan is considered a time for intense prayer and religious devotion, with Muslims encouraged observing daily prayers throughout the day.Many recite the Quran just before sunset and the start of their feasting. People donate money to charity during Ramadan and help to feed the hungry. And Muslims will also take the time to cut down on vices such as gossiping, swearing and fighting.Ramadan teaches the faithful to love Allah, and of huge importance across the Islamic world to test their will and patience, and to be wiser and more honest.The history of fasting in Ramadan starts when the Prophet Muhammad determined the holy month in Medina during the second year of pilgrimage.Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of the Islamic religion and one of its main practices. The resulting hunger is seen as a means of developing sympathy for the less fortunate, while learning to be humble and appreciate all of God's bounties.For 30 days, during fasting hours from the dawn until the sunset Muslims do not eat, drink, smoke, or engage in sexual intercourse, testing their patience and ability to overcome temptations.In Islam, fasting is obligatory for all the faithful with the exception of minors, the elderly and ill, mentally ill, pregnant women and nursing mothers, travelers, and soldiers.The holy Koran says, "As morning comes and white thread distinguishes from black thread, you may eat and drink and then complete your fast till the night."It is better to invite those who have fasted to your iftar table, according to the hadith. It says that the one who feeds a person who fasted will receive the same reward as the one who fasted.The month is intended to improve morality and character, so there are more regular mosque visits alongside a personal attempt to work on positive traits and thoughts."Ramadan Mubarak" and "Ramadan Kareem" are common greetings exchanged in this period, wishing the recipient a "blessed" and generous Ramadan.  At the end of Ramadan, after 29 or 30 days, Muslims celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday. Eid al-Fitr in Arabic literally means "festival of breaking the fast".On the Eid celebration, which is to be held on June 26, it is required that all wealthy Muslims aid the less fortunate. Memorable moments of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku http://www.today.az/news/sports/161624.html Sports Wed, 24 May 2017 15:33:00 +0400 By  TrendMemorable moments of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.More than 3,000 athletes representing 54 countries competed for 269 sets of medals at the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.Azerbaijan took the lead in medal standings at the Games on May 22. Azerbaijani athletes won 75 gold, 50 silver and 37 bronze medals. Turkey ranked second with 71 gold medals, 67 silver and 57 bronze medals. Iran ranked third with 39 gold, 26 silver and 33 bronze medals. "Who cares?" expo due in Baku http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/161623.html Arts & Entertainment Wed, 24 May 2017 15:15:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaYARAT Contemporary Art Space will host a one day exhibition on May 15. Entitled "Who cares?", the event will bring together participants of ARTIM Lab. The artists will highlighting the topics and subjects that matter to them the most.Sometimes when we are not appreciated, our voices are not heard, surrounding people are not showing empathy, we tend to feel lonely and useless. Then, we feel that we mean nothing to “the universe” revolving around us.Who cares about what I do? Who cares about what I read, do or wear? Who cares about what I think? Who cares that the birds are singing, the weather is changing or who got married or died? The statement of “who cares” can be continued in many different forms. This is a characteristic expression commonly used to describe the representatives of younger generation likely to have been underappreciated by others.In his installation, Etibar Ismailov reflects on ornate funeral ceremonies recently trending in Azerbaijan. The artist shows his ironic attitude by exaggerating all of the displayed objects.Agil Tahirli’s “X” photo series touches upon people’ personal life choices. He points out everyone’s right of free decision making by leaving them to face the contradictions of life.Through her graphic series, Shahnaz Aghayeva shares her perception on possibility of dual life. According to the artist, the choices are in the hands of people themselves, decisions have to be made independently without the interference by outsiders.Aydan Mirzayeva’s interactive installation - performance is dedicated to the life problems bothering the artist. Hatem Alizadeh deals with obstacles, barriers and stereotypes existing around us. The artist explores the origins of the difficulties; where they come from and by whom. Mousa Beyzada devotes his performance to different personal identities formed under the influence of religion in various regions of Azerbaijan. Chinara Valiyeva complains about formation of international conflicts and their victims being sadly ignored by everyone involved in those geopolitical problems. Pop-art style collage by Leyla Guliyeva invites everyone to mind their own business and not intrude into her life.The exhibition opens at 19:00. Admission is free. Iran can contribute to diversification of gas supplies to Europe http://www.today.az/news/regions/161622.html World news Wed, 24 May 2017 14:53:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaThe Islamic Republic of Iran, a country with the largest natural gas reserves in the world after Russia, strives to sell its natural gas in the European markets. From the EU point of view, Iran could contribute directly or indirectly to the diversification of natural gas supplies to Europe, a source in the European Commission told Trend on May 24.The source noted that the supply of Iranian gas to Europe could be provided by connecting Iran to the Southern Gas Corridor, designed to bring Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas to Europe."The launch of the Southern Gas Corridor will provide Iran with an excellent opportunity to enter the EU gas market," the source said, further adding that the Iranian gas supplies to Europe in the form of LNG are possible.The source noted that the Iranian LNG can increase the liquidity and availability of gas on the world market, and thereby increase the availability of supplies and reduce prices.Besides, the source added that the issue of how to supply gas to Europe - through pipelines or through LNG should be decided by Iran itself.Iran's proven reserves amount to 33.5 trillion cubic meters of gas. However, the country lacks necessary export infrastructure to realize gas sales. Under sanctions, Iran was banned from the global financial system, preventing the development of its oil and gas fields and necessary infrastructure.Currently, Iran considers exporting its gas in LNG form as well. To date, Iran does not have the capacity to liquefy gas, but the country is negotiating with foreign companies to implement such projects.The country has a semi-finished LNG plant, suspended mid-2000s due to sanctions, but hasn’t re-launched the plant yet. The capacity of project is 10.4 million tons per year of liquefaction of natural gas. It has costed $2.5 billion and needs further $5.5-9.5 billion to be completed.Moreover, there is no transit gas pipeline connecting Iran with the EU. Iran has two main options to deliver its gas to Europe which are to either construct new pipeline via Turkey or build a connector to the Trans-Anatolian pipeline - TANAP (Turkish leg of the Southern Gas Corridor).Given the damages caused by sanctions on Iran’s energy sector and the delays in the development of its gas fields in the Persian Gulf, Iran needs at least 5-6 years to prepare its exports to Europe, for the construction of new pipelines and development of new fields.Iran’s gross gas output stands at 285bn m3/yr. However, it plans to increase this volume to about 440 bcm/y by 2021 after full operational of South Pars and starting gas production from other projects like Kish gas field. Turkey imposes new restrictions on Russian wheat imports http://www.today.az/news/regions/161621.html World news Wed, 24 May 2017 14:42:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaTurkey has imposed new restrictions on the import of Russian wheat.From now on, only 20-25 percent of all issued licenses for imports should fall for Russian share, RIA Novosti reported citing the newspaper Vedomosti.Top managers of two Russian exporters specializing in supplies to Turkey confirmed this data. A representative of the Agriculture Ministry informed that there had been no official information from the Turkish side.This relates to licenses for the supply of wheat in the “internal processing” mode.  Such a license allows delivering grain to the country without duty for processing and further export, explains one of the traders. This regime operates in Turkey for all countries for protecting the domestic market.Turkey from March 15 suspended the issuance of licenses for duty-free supplies of wheat, corn and sunflower meal from Russia. Meanwhile, Russia's food embargo on Turkey's food and agricultural products remains partly in place.In early 2016, Russia imposed a number of restrictive measures, including a ban on food and flowers imports, on Turkey in response to the downing of a Russian military aircraft by a Turkish fighter jet in Syria on November 24, 2015.The meeting held between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on May 3 has marked the "full-format" restoration of bilateral ties and focused on trade restrictions and barriers lifting. During this meeting, Russia and Turkey agreed upon comprehensive settlement of restrictions in bilateral economic relations.Many restrictions have been recently removed in accordance with agreements reached with Russia following the results of the talks between Turkish Prime minister Binali Yildirim and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Istanbul.For Ankara, Moscow is a strategic supplier of agricultural products. In recent years, 70-75 percent of the flour in Turkey was produced from Russian wheat. In turn, Russia delivers 12-13% of exported wheat to Turkey.In fact, Turkey has decided to quote supplies of Russian wheat, said the director of "Sovecon" Andrei Sizov. Probably, this is due to the fact that Russia has not yet lifted the ban on tomatoes, which remains a very sensitive issue for Turkey. Oil producers may extend production cuts for whole 2018 http://www.today.az/news/business/161616.html Business Wed, 24 May 2017 14:25:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Sara IsrafilbayovaThe Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will gather in Vienna on May 25 to mull together with non-OPEC oil producers extension of the production cuts put in place in November as a way to shore up prices, which have been choppy this month. Russia and Saudi Arabia has already announced that they are eager to extend oil production cuts through the first quarter of 2018. Following this announcement, a number of OPEC and non-OPEC producers began signaling support to the initiative.Now the oil exporting countries are discussing the prolongation of the oil cut agreement for the entire 2018, said Noureddine Boutarfa, Algeria’s Energy Minister."We have many options, not only for nine months ahead, but the whole next year," he said."But the main proposal concerns the extension for nine months," Boutarfa said, adding that everything will depend on the data on oil reserves.Ecuador Oil Minister Carlos Perez also confirmed that OPEC and other oil-producing countries would discuss a six- or nine-month extension to output cuts and probably choose the latter."Six and nine months are both proposals on the table ... we will support the majority, probably the nine months," Perez, whose country is in OPEC, told reporters after arriving in Vienna on Tuesday.Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih earlier won support from OPEC's second-biggest and fastest-growing producer, Iraq, for a nine-month extension and said he expected no objections from anyone else.Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi said almost all countries participating in the cut had agreed to extend it, though there was no consensus yet on how long the extension should be. “Some ministers say nine months, some ministers think six months,” al-Luaibi said.Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh announced on May 24 that Iran agrees with the extension, but the negotiations are focused on the period of extension, Shana reported. The country was the only OPEC member allowed to increase its output under the supply cut deal.Azerbaijan, whose participation in joint oil production cuts is defined at 35,000 barrels per day, also supports prolongation. Energy Minister Natig Aliyev underlined Azerbaijan’s readiness to further take steps for achieving stable oil prices.The statements of top energy officials about prolongation pushed up the price of oil.Today, the price for July futures of Brent crude oil has increased by 0.22 percent to $54.27 per barrel, meanwhile, the price for July futures of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) has grown by 0.17 percent and stood at $51.56 per barrel. Richmond Times-Dispatch: Armenia must comply with UNSC resolutions http://www.today.az/news/politics/161617.html Politics Wed, 24 May 2017 14:12:00 +0400 By  TrendWhile terrorism by ISIS engulfs the Middle East, Armenian aggression against US ally Azerbaijan is largely neglected, reads the article published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the US online newspaper.“May 18 marks the 25th anniversary of occupation of Lachin district of Azerbaijan,” the article said. “After occupying the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan on May 18, 1992, the Armenian units attacked and ethnically cleansed the city of Lachin, subsequently destroying hundreds of cultural facilities monuments. More than 63,341 Azerbaijani citizens living in 121 villages of Lachin district were driven out their homes as a result of the occupation. As per official statistics, 267 residents of Lachin were killed during the occupation.”District after district followed suit after Lachin’s occupation, resulting in the displacement of nearly 750,000 Azerbaijani civilians, according to the article.Following the ceasefire agreement of May 1994, Armenians started an illegal mass resettlement program relocating Armenians from Armenia and abroad to Lachin district in order to change the demographic situation, reads the article.According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as of April 2011, Armenians have illegally resettled 14,000 persons of Armenian origin to occupied Lachin district against all accepted international laws and norms, including the Article 49 of the 1949 Geneva Convention forbidding the “occupying power” to transfer parts of its own civilian population into occupied territories, the article said.For justice to prevail, the US must exert pressure on Armenia to comply with UN Security Council resolutions and remove all Armenian military forces illegally stationed in Azerbaijan, allow return of Azerbaijani displaced persons back to their homes and condemn Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, according to the article.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. Discover beauty of Ganja http://www.today.az/news/society/161618.html Society Wed, 24 May 2017 13:45:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaThere's no better place to experience Azerbaijan's natural beauty rather than in Ganja, one of the country's stunning regions.Locating some 375 km away from Baku, Ganja is significant to the politico-economic and cultural life of the country since the earliest of times. The city was also the capital of Azerbaijan, when the country first declared its independence in 1918, thus playing a leading role in the history of the country.With about 313,300 residents, city has many amenities that offer a wide range of cultural activities, drawing both from a rich local dramatic portfolio and an international repertoire.The region is famous for its nature, namely Goygol Lake and reserve. A large mountain lake surrounded by the mountains of the Lesser Caucasus was formed at a result of a devastating earthquake that destroyed the mountain Kapaz in the 12th century.Ganja River which originates in the Caucasus Mountains is especially beautiful in spring. As the snow melts, wonderful scenery with the lots of grass opens to us.Photos: Azertac Power and Alternative Energy Exhibition due in Baku http://www.today.az/news/business/161619.html Business Wed, 24 May 2017 13:28:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaBaku Expo Center will host the only event in the Caspian region specialized in energy efficiency and renewable energy, the 7th Caspian International Power and Alternative Energy Exhibition, Caspian Power 2017.The exhibition scheduled for May 31-June 3 is part of a series of major energy events from the leading exhibition company ITE Group and is a proven brand among industry companies. The exhibition is organized by Iteca Caspian and its partner, ITE Group (UK).Traditionally, the Caspian Power exhibition will take place on the same platform as the largest event in the Caspian region's oil and gas sector - Azerbaijan International Oil and Gas Caspian Oil&Gas exhibition.The relevance of the exhibition is preconditioned by the launch of the new power plants, the use of hybrid power stations, and the installation of wind turbines and solar panels in Azerbaijan. The Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the State Agency for Alternative and Renewable Energy Resources officially support the exhibition.Among the exhibitors are leading vendor companies in the field of power engineering from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Turkey and other countries. The exposition of the exhibition will present hydra and heat to the electric power industry, nuclear power engineering, instruments and means of measurement, control, automatic regulation, industrial and household energy, energy saving technologies, radio frequency cables, cables for industrial automation and much more.The Caspian Power 2017 exhibition provides a unique opportunity to meet with leading specialists of the electric-power industry, to get information about the latest technological developments and strategies for the development of the electric power industry, and to expand and establish new effective and mutually beneficial contacts, as well as to enter into prospective contracts. Trade turnover between Azerbaijan, Mexico doubles http://www.today.az/news/business/161620.html Business Wed, 24 May 2017 13:03:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Sara IsrafilbayovaThe trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Mexico has doubled since 2014, the Mexican embassy said in a statement issued on the second anniversary of the activity of Ambassador Rodrigo Labardini in Baku.Labardini is the first ambassador of Mexico in Azerbaijan. Labardini took the office after 8 months since the opening of diplomatic representation of this Latin American country in Azerbaijan.The embassy stressed that the opening of the embassies of both countries greatly contributed to the growth of bilateral trade.  “Since the opening of the embassy in 2014 and in 2015, the volume of bilateral trade increased threefold and reached $22 million. In 2016 similar figures were observed. In turn, bilateral tourism in the same period tripled,” the statement reads.However, the current trade turnover indicators still do not correspond to the potential that exists between the two states, according to the embassy.The embassy further highlighted that Mexico for the first time took part in the Azerbaijan International Food Industry Exhibition in 2017, where 16 categories of Mexican products, including ground chili, sweets with chili, fruits, drinks, beans, and also Mexican beer, tequila and mescal, were presented.Besides, various Mexican films have been screened in Baku, while some of them have been translated into the Azerbaijani language.2016 saw exhibitions of Mexican artists in Baku and in the regions of the country. Such exhibitions were organized in Ganja, Mingachevir, Gabala and Shamakhi. Currently, works of Mexican sculptor Jorge Marina are on display at the Heydar Aliyev Center. The exhibition, which opened in October 2016, will last until the end of August 2017.The embassy stated that it will further actively promote bilateral relations, developing friendship between Mexico and Azerbaijan.In December 1991, Mexico recognized the independence of Azerbaijan. On 14 January 1992, both nations established diplomatic relations. Huffington Post: First VP Mehriban Aliyeva secures success of major events in Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/politics/161615.html Politics Wed, 24 May 2017 12:39:00 +0400 By  TrendWhile the world’s attention was absorbed by President Trump’s address to Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia offering America’s partnership to its allies and calling for rejection of radical ideologies, another major international event was concluding in a different predominantly Muslim nation, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the US Elin Suleymanov wrote in his article published by Huffington Post.“To be more specific, the Republic of Azerbaijan just hosted the Fourth Islamic Solidarity Games in the capital city of Baku this month,” the article said. “Following the newly established pattern, the opening and closing ceremonies in Baku, an increasingly frequent destination for significant sport and cultural events, offered a colorful, spectacular and, more importantly, a meaningful, show.”“In addition to the stunning visuals, the ceremonies focused on Islamic traditions of learning, science and inclusiveness, a welcome message in the world full of divisions,” the article said.According to the article, the 2017 Solidarity Games follow the inaugural European Games held in Azerbaijan in 2015 and, along with the annual Formula One Azerbaijan Gran Prix, indicate Baku’s emergence as a regional convening center.“This should not be surprising,” the article said. “Standing right at the heart of the historic Silk Road and the cross-roads of civilizations, Azerbaijan established the first ever republic in the Muslim world in 1918 and granted equal voting rights to all its citizens, including women and minorities.”“With its heritage of tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness, Azerbaijan is home to centuries-old Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian communities and temples,” the article said. “Today, Azerbaijan’s emphasis on promoting inter-cultural dialogue and bringing different cultures together, among other things, by sharing its own experience and hosting the Baku Forum of the world’s religious and cultural leaders.”As the sadness envelopes the globe following the treacherous attack in Manchester, a necessary and a timely response would be to empower young women internationally and to provide equality in education and employment, the article said.Even more symbolic is that the organizing committees for both the European and the Islamic Solidarity Games were led by Azerbaijan’s First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva, the article said.According to the article, through her leadership, Mrs. Aliyeva secured the success of these major events in Azerbaijan and inspired young women to pursue greater opportunities in their lives.“Therefore, long before the United States reiterated its call to Muslim friends to take concrete steps in order to curtail the spread of intolerance, Azerbaijan has been working diligently to bridge divides and to promote equality,” the article said. “In partnership with the United States, Europe, Israel and other Muslim nations, Azerbaijan’s initiatives provide exactly the example of capitalizing on a strategic location and celebrating diversity that is so eagerly sought globally.” Azerbaijani GMs to join European Individual Chess Championship http://www.today.az/news/sports/161614.html Sports Wed, 24 May 2017 12:22:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAzerbaijani grandmasters will vie for medals at the European Individual Chess Championship to be held in Minsk from May 29 to June 11.The national team includes Arkadij Naiditsch, Rauf Mammadov, Eltaj Safarli, Gadir Hüseynov and Nijat Abbasov.The tournament will bring together more than 150 chess players, Azertac reported.The Swiss system tournament will feature 11 rounds, with the time control 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one.Those who will take 1-22  places have the right to participate in the Chess World Cup in Georgia.The European Individual Chess Championship is a chess tournament organised by the European Chess Union. Since its establishment in 2000, it has taken  place on a yearly basis. Apart from determining the European champions (absolute and women's), another object of this tournament is to determine a number of players who qualify for the FIDE World Cup and the knockout Women's World Championship. Mechanism of alerting on cyberattacks practically never used by US - spokesperson http://www.today.az/news/regions/161613.html World news Wed, 24 May 2017 12:01:00 +0400 By  TrendThe U.S. did not activate a Russian-American mechanism of mutual alerting to cyberattacks since the start of the emergence of hacking charges against Russia, Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesperson told, TASS reported."We have a special mechanism of alerting each other to cyberattacks and if the U.S. has apprehensions about a cyber threat of some kind that’s coming out of Russia, then a mechanism of data exchange gets into action," she said."The same system applies to us, too, but the U.S. didn’t enact it virtually a single time," Zakharova said. FM Mammadyarov leaves for New York http://www.today.az/news/politics/161612.html Politics Wed, 24 May 2017 11:45:00 +0400 By  TrendAzerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has left for a working visit to New York, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported on May 24.Mammadyarov will take part in an event timed to the 25th anniversary of Azerbaijan’s establishing relations with the UN.The Azerbaijani foreign minister will also hold a number of meetings with UN officials within the framework of the visit. Enjoy last days of spring http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/161610.html Arts & Entertainment Wed, 24 May 2017 11:38:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAzerbaijan's National Art Museum will open its doors to a new photo exhibition on May 30.The spring exhibition is dedicated to Azerbaijan's majestic nature."Azerbaijan is a unique country with contrasting natural areas. Here you can see an amazing variety of landscapes: deserts, steppes, tropical plantations, rocky gorges, seashores, plateaus and much more," the organizers say in a message.The project aims to showcase the beauty and diversity of Azerbaijan's nature through photography, to promote interest in the region's tourism potential and to draw attention to landscape photography as a genre of art.The exhibition will present fifteen works of photographers Rustam Huseynov Ilkin Kangarli, Emil Gazi, Denis Svechnikov. Specifically for the project, the artists spent several months in the country's regions, "hunting" for the best moments of Azerbaijani spring.The exhibition which will run June 2 is curated by Rustam Huseynov. Entrance is free. Snam supporting TAP to ensure gas supply on schedule http://www.today.az/news/business/161609.html Business Wed, 24 May 2017 11:24:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), and the Southern Gas Corridor at large, is a key project both for Italy and for Europe, a source in Italian Snam company, which is one of the shareholders of TAP, told Trend.The Southern Gas Corridor represents the most concrete opportunity to further diversify gas sources and routes, as well as to strengthen security of supply in Europe, said the source.The source pointed out that Snam is supporting TAP with its capacity, experience, qualifications etc. in permitting and project management services in Italy to ensure the delivery of Caspian gas according to the schedule.The microtunnel area has been prepared with the temporary removal and safe transplantation of the olive trees, said the source, adding that TAP remains on schedule to transport Shah Deniz gas in 2020.TAP is a part of the Southern Gas Corridor, which is one of the priority energy projects for the European Union. The project envisages transportation of gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz Stage 2 to the EU countries.The pipeline will connect to the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) on the Turkish-Greek border, run through Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Italy’s south.TAP will be 878 kilometers in length (Greece 550 kilometers, Albania 215 kilometers, Adriatic Sea 105 kilometers, and Italy 8 kilometers).TAP’s shareholding is comprised of BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Snam S.p.A. (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), Enagás (16 percent) and Axpo (5 percent). World leaders congratulate President Aliyev on Republic Day http://www.today.az/news/politics/161611.html Politics Wed, 24 May 2017 11:20:00 +0400 By AzernewsThe leaders of numerous countries have congratulated Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the Republic Day, May 28.May 28, 1918, marks the establishment of the ADR, the first independent republic and democratic state on the East. Although it existed for only 23 months, it brought about great progress in foreign policy, and introduced Azerbaijan to the international community.To appreciate the historical significance of this event not only for Azerbaijan, but also for the entire Islamic world, it is enough to recall that at that time there were only seven independent Muslim states in the world - Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, Emirate of Bukhara, and three small monarchies of Inner Arabia.President of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in his message that Germany will remain Azerbaijan's reliable partner. “I extend my sincere congratulations to you and the people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of your national holiday – Republic Day,” Steinmeier said in his letter.“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries,” Steinmeier said. “About two hundred years ago, the first Schwobe immigrants settled in the territory of the present-day Azerbaijan. These jubilees will encourage us to develop and expand bilateral relations between our two countries.”“I would like to welcome Azerbaijan’s readiness to build its relations with the European Union on a new foundation through the negotiations on a new partnership agreement,” he added. “Germany will remain Azerbaijan's reliable partner in this regard. Please accept my best wishes for you and for peace and prosperity of the people of Azerbaijan.”Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia Peter Cosgrove, in turn, voiced belief that the friendly relations between the two countries will continue to prosper. “This year, Australia and Azerbaijan will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries. Our two nations share a warm bilateral relationship and Australia remains a consistent supporter of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said in his letter to President Aliyev.“Australia looks forward to working closely with Azerbaijan in the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to preserve Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. I also commend you for your work on the 4th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, an important platform to support diversity and mutual understanding among nations.We would very much welcome Azerbaijan’s support for Australia’s candidacy for the Human Rights Council (HRC) for the 2018-20 term. Australia has never before served on the HRC. If elected, we would bring a unique perspective and a pragmatic, consultative approach to the work of the Council.”King of Sweden Carl Gustaf, King of Norway Harald V, King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander, King of the Belgians Philippe also sent congratulatory letters. Currency rates for May 24 http://www.today.az/news/business/161608.html Business Wed, 24 May 2017 11:05:00 +0400 By  TrendOfficial exchange rate of the US dollar and euro to Azerbaijani manat for May 24 was set at 1.7021 manats and 1.9029 manats, respectively.Below are the rates of Azerbaijani manat against world currencies and precious metals, according to the data from the Central Bank of Azerbaijan.Currencies and precious metalsMay 24, 20171 US dollar1 USD1.70211 euro1 EUR1.90291 Australian dollar1 AUD1.26711 Argentine peso1 ARS0.1057100 Belarusian rubles100 BYR0.9191 Brazilian real1 BRL0.52051 UAE dirham1 AED0.46341 South African rand1 ZAR0.1298100 South Korean won100 KRW0.1511 Czech koruna1 CZK0.0721 Chilean peso1 CLP0.25241 Chinese yuan1 CNY0.24691 Danish krone1 DKK0.25571 Georgian lari1 GEL0.70811 Hong Kong dollar1 HKD0.21851 Indian rupee1 INR0.02621 British pound1 GBP2.2084100 Indonesian rupiah100 IDR0.0128100 Iranian rials100 IRR0.00461 Swedish krona1 SEK0.19531 Swiss franc1 CHF1.74391 Israeli shekel1 ILS0.47351 Canadian dollar1 CAD1.25731 Kuwaiti dinar1 KWD5.61141 Kazakh tenge1 KZT0.00551 Kyrgyz som1 KGS0.0251100 Lebanese pounds100 LBP0.11261 Malaysian ringgit1 MYR0.39571 Mexican peso1 MXP0.09111 Moldovan leu1 MDL0.09311 Egyptian pound1 EGP0.09421 Norwegian krone1 NOK0.203100 Uzbek soums100 UZS0.04461 Polish zloty1 PLN0.45261 Russian ruble1 RUB0.03021 Singapore dollar1 SGD1.2241 Saudi riyal1 SAR0.45391 SDR (IMF Special Drawing Rights)1 SDR2.35471 Turkish lira1 TRY0.47571 Taiwan dollar1 TWD0.05641 Tajik somoni1 TJS0.1931 New Turkmen manat1 TMM0.48631 Ukrainian hryvnia1 UAH0.0647100 Japanese yen100 JPY1.52181 New Zealand dollar1 NZD1.1905Gold (1 ounce)1 XAU2131.2845Silver (1 ounce)1 XAG28.8882Platinum (1 ounce)1 XPT1603.4888Palladium (1 ounce)1 XPD1316.319 Hydrometeorologists warn weather-sensitive people http://www.today.az/news/society/161607.html Society Wed, 24 May 2017 10:43:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaChangeable cloudy and gloomy weather  is forecasted for May 24 in Baku.The Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry reported that lightning and short-rain are expected in Baku and Absheron peninsula. North-west wind will blow.The temperature will be +15-17?C at night, +21-26?C in daytime in Absheron peninsula, +15-17?C at night, +23-25?C in the afternoon in Baku. Air pressure records 758.Relative humidity will be 80-90% at night, 60-70% in the afternoon.Foggy and rainy weather  is expected in country's regions. West wind will blow and intensify in some places. The temperature will be +12-17?C at night, +23-28?C in daytime, +5-10?C in mountains at night, +13-17?C in daytime.Mild hesitation of the meteorological factors in Absheron peninsula on May 24 and close to normal temperature is suitable for sensitive people, on May 25 and intensify occasionally windy weather can cause discomfort in some people. Azerbaijani company starts export of snails http://www.today.az/news/business/161606.html Business Wed, 24 May 2017 10:28:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Sara Israfilbayova Thanks to protein, lectin, iron and Omega-3, snails are being touted as the new superfood.  Although snails are not on top 10 list of favorite foods for many, snails are rich in protein and other beneficial substances, which are essential for building and repairing muscle. Not only for health, but there are some types of snails that are beneficial for skin beauty. While the market for snails is not well known or widespread in Azerbaijan, because many of us do not consume, the opposite happens in the European market, where its consumption is significantly higher especially in France, Italy and Spain. Considering high consumption volumes in the European market and the demand, an Azerbaijani company has set eyes on the production and export of this nutritious and delicious mollusk to Europe. The company noted that the "snail business" is very profitable, and for this reason many families in villages of the country are eager to collect snails. Currently, the collection of snails is carried out in 30 villages. Snails are brought to the collection point located in Shamakhi city. Here snails are removed from the shell, frozen and prepared for export, marja.az reported.  “Villagers get 0.5 manats (30 cents) for a kilogram of snails,” the company said, noting that villagers bring more snails after rainy days. The collected snails lose weight very quickly, so they are immediately sent for processing. After processing, snail meat is stored in refrigerators at a temperature of -18 degrees. The company, established in February 2017, has collected 183 tons of snails to this day. Until the end of the season, the company plans to collect 270-300 tons of snails. During the processing, the product volume decreases by about 25 percent, so there will remain only 200-230 tons. There are several types of edible snails. Burgundy snail (grape snail) is a large-sized mollusk having a shell of yellow shade with strips. The second species is a small Burgundy snail, characterized by a dark coloration and also having strips on the shell.  Snails have been in existence ever since the Roman era. They were picked up from Liguria and fattened in snail gardens until they reached a stage suitable for consumption.  Today, France is largest consumer of snail in Europe, as people here eat approximately 500 million snails a year. Steinmeier: Germany to remain Azerbaijan’s reliable partner http://www.today.az/news/politics/161603.html Politics Wed, 24 May 2017 10:17:00 +0400 By  TrendFrank-Walter Steinmeier, president of the Federal Republic of Germany, has sent a congratulatory letter to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.“I extend my sincere congratulations to you and the people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of your national holiday – Republic Day,” Steinmeier told Ilham Aliyev in his letter.“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries,” Steinmeier said. “About two hundred years ago, the first Schwobe immigrants settled in the territory of the present-day Azerbaijan. These jubilees will encourage us to develop and expand bilateral relations between our two countries.”“I would like to welcome Azerbaijan’s readiness to build its relations with the European Union on a new foundation through the negotiations on a new partnership agreement,” he added. “Germany will remain Azerbaijan's reliable partner in this regard. Please accept my best wishes for you and for peace and prosperity of the people of Azerbaijan.” Trump set to exchange views with Pope Francis at Vatican http://www.today.az/news/regions/161604.html World news Wed, 24 May 2017 10:10:00 +0400 By  TrendU.S. President Donald Trump visits the Vatican on Wednesday for talks with one of his most high-profile critics, Pope Francis, after the two men exchanged sharp words during the presidential campaign last year, Reuters reported.Trump's meeting at the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, his third stop on a nine-day foreign tour due to end on Saturday, is part of his world tour of religions after meeting leaders of Muslim nations in Saudi Arabia and visiting holy sites in Jerusalem.But while his talks in Saudi Arabia and Israel were mostly friendly, the meeting between the head of the Roman Catholic Church and the thrice-married, blunt-spoken Trump could be a little more confrontational.The pope last year said a man who thinks about building walls and not bridges is "not Christian," a sharp reprimand for Trump's vow to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.Trump said it was "disgraceful" of the Argentine-born pope, who represents just over half of the world's two billion Christians, to question his faith."If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS' ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president," Trump said during the campaign.Trump's softer stance on environmental regulations also is at odds with Francis' view that climate change is caused mostly by human activity.The Vatican also took a dim view of Trump's anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric, although Trump softened his tone considerably in a major speech in Riyadh.Francis said last week he would be "sincere" with Trump but did not want to judge him before listening to him in person.Part of Trump's motivation for meeting the pope was to dramatize how the three major religions should rally against the threat from Islamist militants.“We thought that this trip was essential to put together the Muslim faith, the Jewish faith and then the Catholic faith, the Christian faith," said a senior White House official who briefed reporters on Trump's Air Force One flight to Rome."By putting everybody together you can really build a coalition and show that it’s not a Muslim problem, it’s not a Jewish problem, it’s not a Catholic problem, it’s not a Christian problem, it really is a world problem," the official said.Trump at first did not plan to stop in Rome during his visit to Europe, which some in the Vatican saw as a snub. When he changed his mind, the Vatican squeezed him in at 8:30 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, an unusual day and an unusually early time.Francis holds his weekly audience with the general public on Wednesday at 10 a.m. in St Peter's Square.After the meeting, Trump moves on to Brussels for a NATO summit, followed by the last stop on his trip, to a Group of Seven summit in Sicily. Armenia breaks ceasefire with Azerbaijan 120 times in 24 hours http://www.today.az/news/politics/161605.html Politics Wed, 24 May 2017 10:00:00 +0400 Over the past 24 hours, Armenia’s armed forces have 120 times violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported on May 24.The Azerbaijani army positions in Gizilhajili, Kamarli, Farakhli, Jafarli villages of the Gazakh district underwent fire from the Armenian army positions located in Dovekh, Voskevan villages of the Noyemberyan district, Paravakar village and on the nameless heights of the Ijevan district of Armenia.Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani army positions in Aghdam village and on the nameless heights of the Tovuz district were shelled from the Armenian army positions located in Mosesgekh village of the Berd district of Armenia.The Azerbaijani army positions on nameless heights of the Gadabay district underwent fire from the Armenian army positions located on nameless heights of the Krasnoselsk district of Armenia.Moreover, the Azerbaijani army positions were shelled from the Armenian positions located near the Armenian-occupied Nemirli, Shikhlar, Shirvanli, Javahirli, Yusifjanli villages of the Aghdam district, Kuropatkino village of the Khojavand district, Gorgan, Garakhanbayli, Horadiz, Ashagi Veysalli, Ashagi Seyidahmadli villages of the Fuzuli district, Mehdili village of the Jabrayil district, as well as from the positions located on nameless heights in the Goygol, Goranboy, Tartar, Aghdam, Khojavand, Fuzuli and Jabrayil districts of Azerbaijan.The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. Minister: Bill on FTZ in Azerbaijan ready http://www.today.az/news/business/161602.html Business Tue, 23 May 2017 18:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliThe UAE-based Dubai Port World (DP World), one of the world’s major port operators, which provides consulting services for creation of Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Azerbaijan, has prepared a draft law “On a Free Trade Zone”, said Shahin Mustafayev.Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister made the remarks during the presentation of a report on the FTZ in the Alat township of Baku’s Garadagh district.“Last year we signed a contract with DP World. The company has done a great job, which can be divided into three main areas. This is the preparation of the territory’s general plan, development of a draft law “On a Free Trade Zone” and feasibility study of the project,” noted the minister.Mustafayev said that proposals, prepared by DP World after discussions with representatives of relevant government structures, will be presented to the head of state.The minister further added that the freight traffic increased significantly in the first quarter of 2017.“The volume of oil transportation increased by 34 percent and non-oil – by almost 50 percent in the 1Q17 as compared to the same period of 2016. Moreover, the volume of road freight also increased by 50 percent. Last year, the Port of Baku transshipped three million tons of cargo, and after completion of the port’s construction, its cargo transshipment capacity will be 15 million tons of cargo per year after the construction of the first phase is completed,” said the minister.DP World Adil Al Zarooni, in turn, said that the company has proposed creating an independent arbitration system in the FTZ.This system will be able to focus not only on Azerbaijan, but also on international law, according to Zarooni."The legal system of any state chosen by the parties when signing the agreement can become the fundamental legal system. This may be both the legal system of Azerbaijan and, for example, the UK," he said.This arbitration, according to him, should deal with both administrative and criminal hearings between residents of the FTZ, as well as between residents and non-residents of FTZ (both locals and foreign)."Compliance with arbitration decisions concerning residents of the FTZ should be controlled by the FTZ itself, and with respect to non-residents by the appropriate courts in the appropriate order. As for the judges, they can be local or foreign arbitrators," said Al Zarooni.Also, DP World representative added the FTZ will have to observe its labor, environmental and investment regimes.President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree March 17, 2016, on measures to create a free trade zone type special economic area covering the territory of the Baku International Sea Trade Port in the Alat township.The free trade zone is expected to bring up to $1 billion just in the first few years. Special tax and customs policy, which will be pursued in the territory of the free trade zone will also stipulate further development and simplification of a number of procedures.Moreover, seeking to become the largest logistics zone in the Caspian region, the FTZ will offer comprehensive logistics services to its residents and international clients, serv­ing as a major regional intermodal distribution hub. Taking into account that many manufacturers now prefer to put the final touches onto their products at the distribution centres, such as FTZ’s nearby consumer markets, the provision of value added logistics services at the FTZ becomes an even more compelling prospect. This would not only generate signifi­cant non-oil trade for Baku Port at Alat and Azerbaijan in whole, but would establish it as a regional logistics leader with all three main services of import/export, transit shipment and logistics. Iran denies reports on suspension of Kazakh Uranium deal http://www.today.az/news/regions/161601.html World news Tue, 23 May 2017 17:52:00 +0400 By  TrendIran has denied a recent report on Kazakhstan’s decision to suspend a deal on supplying uranium to the Islamic Republic.Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi has described the report as fake news, IRNA news agency reported.The Brussels-based New Europe weekly has recently reported that the Iran policy of the new US administration has made it impossible for Kazakhstan to supply uranium to Iran.Kazakhstan’s national company Kazatomprom and the nuclear energy organization of Iran have a contract for supply of 950 tons of uranium.According to Kamalvandi, the members of the P5+1 group of countries had earlier endorsed the agreement but the UK after the election of Donald Trump as the US president expressed its disagreement with the uranium deal.  President Aliyev: Our successes based on love to Motherland [UPDATE] http://www.today.az/news/politics/161588.html Politics Tue, 23 May 2017 17:45:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliOur successes are based on the love to the Motherland, and this is the main factor of the victories of our athletes.President Ilham Aliyev made the remark at a meeting held with the Azerbaijani athletes, who won the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, their coaches, and representatives of Azerbaijan`s sports community.First Lady, Chairperson of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games Organizing Committee Mehriban Aliyeva and family members also attended the ceremony."We saw how happy the athletes are, how happy our people are. During these ten days we once again saw that our people and society are united. We are united by our ideas, our history and our vision for the future. Today, Azerbaijan is a country that deserves a lot of respect on a global scale. Azerbaijan is a country that deserves a very big sympathy in the Muslim world," the President said.      President Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan showed a new approach and applied new standards at the Islamic Solidarity Games.“This is a sign of our respect for the guests and a manifestation of responsibility. At the same time, it generally shows our policy, since we want all events in Azerbaijan to be held at the highest level. Therefore, our country is developing, that's why all foreign guests who arrived in Baku admire our city,” he said.President Aliyev went on saying that the Organizing Committee of the Games under the leadership of Mehriban Aliyeva did very great job.“The Organizing Committee made all the necessary arrangements to the smallest detail in order to create good conditions for both athletes and guests,” he said.The head of state emphasized that “we are committed to our national and religious values. We protect and will further protect them.”At the same time, President Aliyev noted, that Azerbaijan is open to the world, “we are modern, we are developing, and these important factors really represent the modern Azerbaijani state today.”"We are building a modern state on deep national and spiritual roots, the state that every patriotic person is now proud of," he added.The President  said the country made an additional contribution to its policy through sport.“On the eve of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games I said that our main goal is to ensure that athletes, guests representing Muslim countries come together in Baku, get to know each other, shake hands and strengthen friendship, cooperation. And we achieved this. We saw this at the Games. On some occasions, representatives of countries that are not so close from a political point of view were congratulating each other, were happy for each other`s success, and were shaking each other`s hands,” he said.The head of state said Azerbaijan's policy with respect to the Muslim world aims to strengthen unity, solidarity, and to end some confrontations, wars among Muslim countries.More than 3,000 athletes representing 54 countries competed for 269 sets of medals at the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.Azerbaijan took the lead in medal standings at the Games. The national athletes won 75 gold, 50 silver and 37 bronze medals. Azerbaijan Fashion Week starts http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/161600.html Arts & Entertainment Tue, 23 May 2017 17:33:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaThe 5th season of Azerbaijan Fashion Week will take place at city's best venues, including Fairmont Baku Hotel, the Stone Chronicle Museum and Icherisheher.A press-conference devoted to Azerbaijan Fashion Week was held in Baku on May 22, Trend Life reported. The large-scale project will bring together foreign and Azerbaijani designers."Every day will be marked with bright fashion shows of Azerbaijan and foreign designers from France, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine," Director of AFW Sayat Dossibaev said.Moreover, this year organizers of Paris Fashion Week will be among the honorable guests of the event.Representative of Administration of the State Historical-Architectural Reserve "Icherisheher" ,Zeynab Jahan said that tomorrow fashionistas will be able to see the collection by Dastan brand of the Icherisheher Centre for Traditional Arts".The fashion show will be held in the Palace of the Shirvanshahs.Art Director of Kazakhstan Fashion Week Alex Chzhen, in turn, said that Azerbaijan Fashion Week has already become popular."AFW – becomes a brand, and it's wonderful. Among the Azerbaijani designers, there are those who have already presented their collections in Europe," he said.Foreign designers said that they are very excited to participate in Azerbaijan Fashion Week and will try to surprise the audience with exquisite collections.AFW is held twice a year in November and May. More than 60 fashion shows were held during the last four seasons.The event is organized with the support of Azerbaijan Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Administration of State Historical-Architectural Reserve "Icherisheher".AFW showrooms will be opened in the Stone Chronicle Museum and the Old City. Guests will get a chance to buy trendy fashion style clothes presented at the shows. The representatives of the fashion retail business will be able to personally meet with the designers and agree about orders and cooperation.The main purpose of the Week is to popularize growing fashion industry in Azerbaijan and give an opportunity to young and talented designers to show their work to the world. It's a place that gathers local and international buyers, press and fashion critics together.The event is open for fashion experts, including buyers of fashion retail chains and shops, representatives of glossy international as well as local publications.Media partners of the event are Trend.az, Day.az, Milli.az, Azernews.az Memorable moments of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku http://www.today.az/news/sports/161598.html Sports Tue, 23 May 2017 17:05:00 +0400 By  TrendMemorable moments of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.More than 3,000 athletes representing 54 countries competed for 269 sets of medals at the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.Azerbaijan took the lead in medal standings at the Games on May 22. Azerbaijani athletes won 75 gold, 50 silver and 37 bronze medals. Turkey ranked second with 71 gold medals, 67 silver and 57 bronze medals. Iran ranked third with 39 gold, 26 silver and 33 bronze medals. PM: Russia's restrictions regarding Turkish companies to be lifted http://www.today.az/news/regions/161596.html World news Tue, 23 May 2017 16:34:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaMany restrictions have been removed in accordance with agreements reached with Russia, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, commenting on the results of the talks with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Istanbul.The meeting discussed the issues of bilateral cooperation, Anadolu Agency reported referring to Yildirim.On May 22, Russian Deputy Prime Ministers Arkady Dvorkovich and his Turkish counterpart Mehmet Simsek have signed a joint statement on mutual lifting of trade restrictions."One more step has been taken towards normalizing bilateral relations. In accordance with the agreements, many restrictions have been removed. During May 2017, restrictions regarding Turkish companies will be lifted," the Turkish prime minister said.He mentioned that the limitations of the Russian side covered six directions: contractors, technical consulting services, travel agency activities, tourism management, hotel business, participation in state tenders and woodworking industry.Yildirim then touched upon the topic of delivering tomatoes to Russia."Tomatoes turned into a symbol of Turkish-Russian relations. In fact, serious progress has been made on many other issues. Russia is informed of the sensitivity of the Turkish side regarding the supply of tomatoes. I think that it will take a little more time to resolve the issue with tomatoes," he said.A separate point of the joint Turkish-Russian statement signed in Istanbul was dedicated to this issue."The first step stipulates the seasonal supply of agricultural products. That is, new steps will become possible with regards to seasonal needs. In the subsequent stages, of course, new discussions will take place on this issue," Yildirim added.He pointed out that Russia acts from the standpoint of protecting local producers of agricultural products, and Turkey respects its position.Although Turkey and Russia could mend relations after a long-crisis due to Turkey’s downing a Russian warplane in November 2015, a number of sanctions imposed on Turkish goods, as well as a strict visa regime on Turkish nationals have not been lifted for a long time. The meeting held between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on May 3 has marked the "full-format" restoration of bilateral ties and focused on trade restrictions and barriers lifting. During this meeting, Russia and Turkey agreed upon comprehensive settlement of restrictions in bilateral economic relations. IBA offers its creditors swap into sovereign debt http://www.today.az/news/business/161595.html Business Tue, 23 May 2017 16:14:00 +0400 By  TrendThe International Bank of Azerbaijan has offered creditors several options in its debt restructuring, including swapping into 12- or 15-year sovereign bonds, the former involving a write-down, Reuters reported.Eric Lalo, managing director at Lazard which is advising the bank, said trade finance instruments could be exchanged for sovereign paper at par, repayable over four years and amortizing annually.Lalo said senior creditors, including Eurobond holders would have three options, the first being swapping into sovereign bonds with a 12-year maturity but amortizing in three annual installments in years 10,11 and 12. These would carry a 5-1/8 percent rate and with an "enhancement value" priced at 20 cents in the dollar."This is nor one for one exchange," Lalo told investors.The second option involves a one-on-one swap into 15-year sovereign debt while the third option is to stay with IBA, with bonds exchanged at par for a 7-year 3.5 percent issue, Lalo said.The bank last week said it was suspending payments on some liabilities and seeking creditors' support to restructure more than $3 billion of debt.Finance Minister Samir Sharifov told creditors the government debt-to-GDP would rise by $2.34 billion to 27 percent of GDP as a result of the restructuring. He said debt holders would receive significant "credit enhancement" by getting instruments of the higher-rated sovereign.IBA is being also represented by White & Case.