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 CBA announces manat rate for June 23 http://www.today.az/news/business/162512.html Business Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:00:00 +0400 By  TrendOfficial exchange rate of Azerbaijan’s national currency, the manat, against the US dollar was set at 1.7022 AZN/USD for June 23, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) said June 22.Thus, manat’s rate against the US dollar remained unchanged compared to the rate on June 22. Uzbek entrepreneurs allowed exporting agro products directly http://www.today.az/news/regions/162513.html World news Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:52:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaFrom July 1 all business entities of Uzbekistan got the right to export fresh fruit and vegetable products, grapes and melons on the basis of direct contracts, under the terms of a 100 percent advance payment, reads the presidential decree published on the official website of the president.Previously, only specialized foreign trade organizations were engaged in the export of fruit and vegetable products.“The analysis of activities in the field of fruit and vegetable exports showed the presence of considerable unused potential and bureaucratic obstacles that hinder the large-scale participation of fruit and vegetable producers in export activities,” the official commentary to the decree said.The resolution provides for the creation of equal conditions for the implementation of export activities, both for producers and for foreign trade organizations that assist domestic producers in promoting their products in foreign markets.The abolition of monopoly, along with the expansion of exports, is also designed to encourage dekhkan and farming enterprises to extend production of fruit and vegetable products in demand on foreign markets and increase crop yields through more efficient use of land resources, including through repeated crops.To ensure compliance of domestic products with the norms and standards adopted abroad, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources was instructed to develop and approve measures to introduce international quarantine regulations into national regulatory documents within a month.The terms for issuance of the certificate of conformity of imported and manufactured goods are reduced to three working days.Along with this, the resolution provides for a measure to reduce the tax burden for enterprises that are forced to export their own products at below-cost prices in the face of unfavorable conditions on foreign markets.The statistics show that more than 360 enterprises have been involved in export activities since the beginning of this year, more than 120 new types of goods have been exported. More than 230,000 tons of fruit and vegetables were exported. Chamber of Accounts recommends to discuss 2017- budget http://www.today.az/news/business/162511.html Business Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:48:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Sara IsrafilbayovaThe Chamber of Accounts of Azerbaijan has recommended to submit to the Parliament [Milli Majlis] a bill stipulating amendments to the 2017-state budget, the Chamber announced on June 22.At a meeting held on June 21, the Chamber also discussed reports on the use of budget funds by the Youth and Sports Ministry of and the Azerbaijan Mortgage Fund.The Law on 2017 State Budget projects the state budget revenues for the year at 16.255 billion manats [$9.537billion] and expenses at 16.9 billion manats [$9.91 billion]. The upper limit of the budget deficit is expected at the level of 645 million manats (1.05% of the GDP) in 2017.  The budget for 2017 predicted $40 oil, $10 less the average price in the first months of the year. The Parliament’s Committee on Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship held a meeting on the bill "On Amendments to the State Budget for 2017" on June 22.MP Vahid Ahmadov, addressing the meeting, stressed that the state budget revenues are expected to be higher by 511 million manats ($300.2 million) and expenses by about 1 billion manats ($587.5 million).“Some 135 million manats ($79.3 million) will be added to the state budget through the Ministry of Taxes. Moreover, 76 million manats ($44.6 million) are planned to be attracted through off-budget revenues. It is also planned to attract additional funds through the State Customs Committee. The profit of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) will also be included in the state budget.As for the expenses, it is planned to allocate a certain amount to SOCAR and the Deposit Insurance Fund. In addition, due to the emission of eurobonds of the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA), the upper limit of the external public debt will be increased to 4.5 billion manats ($2.6 billion). The state will allocate 4 billion manats ($2.3 billion) for restructuring of the country's external debts. Thus, the deficit of the state budget will be about 1.2 billion manats ($70.5 million), which is 1.8 percent of GDP," Ahmadov noted.Ahmadov added that the base price for oil will not be changed.The Parliament will hold extraordinary meeting on June 30 to discuss the state budget. FM Spokesman: OSCE MG co-chairs should draw conclusions from public discontent in Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/politics/162510.html Politics Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:35:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovThere is a lack of security in the South Caucasus region, and the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict lies at the root of this, said Hikmat Hajiyev, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman.Hajiyev made the remark at an international public forum titled “Armenia’s occupation policy: security in the region and humanitarian tragedy.” The forum was organized by the Research Center for International Relations and the Azerbaijani Council of Support to Non-Governmental Organizations in Baku on June 22, Trend reported.The spokesman said that the ceasefire should have created conditions for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. “However, Armenia uses the ceasefire regime as an artificial factor. The situation resembles trench warfare and the World War II,” he said, noting that Armenia has not changed its strategy over the past 25 years.“They are trying to prolong the occupation of our lands and ensure that the negotiations of the parties have only a protocol nature,” Hajiyev said, adding that Azerbaijan stands for substantive talks on the conflict resolution.  Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a lengthy war that ended with signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. Since the war, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.Armenia ignores four UN Security Council resolutions on immediate withdrawal from the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, thus keeping tension high in the region.Hajiyev went on to say that Azerbaijan has been facing a major humanitarian catastrophe during the past 25 years, with over a million refugees and internally displaced persons.“The status quo is primarily based on the fact of military aggression. The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs again visited the region this month. There is a public discontent in Azerbaijan about the co-chairs’ visits to the region. They should draw conclusions from this,” Hajiyev said. He added that although Azerbaijan supports the work of the co-chairs, the result is obvious.While the OSCE Minsk Group acted as the only mediator in resolution of the conflict, the occupation of the territory of the sovereign state with its internationally recognized boundaries has been left out of due attention of the international community for years.The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, tasked in mediation of the peace talks over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, finalized their next visit to the conflict region this week to get acquainted with the real situation on the ground and mull the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution.During the visit, Ambassadors Igor Popov of Russia, Richard Hoagland of the U.S. and Stephane Visconti of France, together with Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, traveled to Yerevan, Armenia-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and then to Baku.Hajiyev mentioned that in their statement, the co-chairs called on the sides to hold substantive talks and demonstrate political will. “The Armenian side should take this into account. The latest statements by Armenian officials show that Armenia does not have a constructive position.”He added that yesterday the U.S. Department of State also called on the sides to resume substantive talks.Hajiyev underlined that the status of Nagorno-Karabakh should be resolved within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and after the return of the Azerbaijani community. “Armenia should realize this. Azerbaijan will never accept violation of its territorial integrity,” he concluded. Russia not to give up interests in Turkish Stream http://www.today.az/news/regions/162509.html World news Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:15:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaRussia will not abandon the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, even if the South Stream project is revived, Deputy Director for energy of the Russian Institute of Energy and Finance Alexei Belogoryev said."Russia will not give up the realization of Turkish Stream due to its obligations to Turkey, not only economic, but also political," he told Trend.Previously, Austrian media reported that Russia’s Gazprom and Austrian OMV are in secrecy discussing the possibility of reviving the South Stream project, which will pass through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Austria.At least the first branch of the Turkish Stream, intended for the supply of Russian gas to Turkey, will be built, according to Belogoryev.As for the construction of the second branch of the pipeline, there are still many questions related to ensuring the demand for this gas, he added.Since gas from the second branch of Turkish Stream can only be used by European countries, it is necessary to build an infrastructure for its further transportation, primarily in Greece’s territory, as Italy is expected to become the main buyer."It's not clear how this issue will be resolved, but in general, Gazprom will not give up Turkish Stream and this is a fact," Belogoryev said.He stressed that the gas transportation to Europe via the South Stream would be economically more profitable for Gazprom.Meanwhile, Deputy Chairman of the Gazprom Board of Directors Andrei Kruglov said that investments in the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project is approximately $6 billion, while the project can be realized only at the expense of Gazprom."The amount of planned investments in the Turkish Stream project is about $6 billion. As for project financing, we said that such an opportunity exists for financing the offshore part of Turkish Stream. Nevertheless, we planned that Turkish Stream can be implemented only at the expense of Gazprom," Kruglov said at a press conference on June 11.Gazprom abandoned South Stream in late 2014 because the European Commission did not grant exemptions from the Third Energy Package, which, in particular, says that one gas provider should use no more than 50 percent of the pipeline capacity, and the remaining capacity should be put up for auction.Later, the project was replaced by Turkish Stream, which will pass through Turkey. Turkish Stream gas pipeline was announced in December 2014. The intergovernmental agreement on the Turkish Stream project between Russia and Turkey was signed in October 2016.The document envisages the construction of two branches of the main gas pipeline along the bottom of the Black Sea with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas each. One branch is envisaged for the supply of gas directly to the Turkish market, the other for supplying gas through Turkey to European countries. Initially, it was planned to build four branches of the pipeline. Gazprom started construction of the offshore section of Turkish Stream in May 2017. Azerbaijan joins World Theater Festival in Astana http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/162507.html Arts & Entertainment Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:01:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaProfessor of the Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts Israfil Israfilov has participated in the first World Theater Festival "Astana", devoted to the 80th birthday anniversary of Kazakh actor, theater and film director Assanali Ashimov.European and Asian top theaters, the famous critics, playwrights, art and culture figures of Kazakhstan and CIS countries, reputable friends of the anniversary hero and young actors attend the event, inform.kz  reported.Astana’s residents and foreign guests can attend performances by the best theater groups on the stages of the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, Astana Ballet Theater, Palace of Schoolchildren to be held in Astana until June 26.The Chekhov Moscow Art Theater Festival (Russia), Yanka Kupala National Academic Theater (Belarus), the Chinese National Theater (China), Shota Rustaveli State Drama Theater (Georgia), the Berlin Drama Theater and many other world-famous theaters will show their performances. UN releases a forecast on Azerbaijani population in 2050 http://www.today.az/news/society/162508.html Society Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:42:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAzerbaijan’s population is expected to hit 10.68 million people by 2030 and 11.03 million people by 2050, according to a new UN report.The report by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs' Population Division reads that currently the number of Azerbaijan’s population is over 9.8 million people.Roughly 51 percent of the population is people aged 25-59 years, 23 percent - under the age of 14, while 15 percent - aged 15-24 years and 10 percent - over 60 years old.The report forecasts that life expectancy at birth will increase in Azerbaijan. So if in 2015-2020 it is 72.1 years, then by 2045-2050 will increase to 75.7 and in 2095-2100 - to 82.6 years.As for the world population, the figure is 7.6 billion people. By 2030, the world will have 8.6 billion people, in 2050 - 9.8 billion, and in 2100 - 11, 2 billion.India's population is expected to surpass China's in about seven years and Nigeria is projected to overtake the United States and become the third most populous country in the world shortly before 2050, according to the report.Roughly 83 million people are added to the world's population every year and the upward trend is expected to continue even with a continuing decline in fertility rates, which have fallen steadily since the 1960s.The 10 most populous countries with low fertility levels are China, United States, Brazil, Russia, Japan, Vietnam, Germany, Iran, Thailand and United Kingdom, the report said. Airbus to sell 73 aircrafts to Iranian companies http://www.today.az/news/regions/162505.html World news Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:18:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaAirbus has announced new deals with Iran on the sidelines of the 52nd Le Bourget Paris Airshow, reassuring its commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and associated rules.The French aircraft manufacturer announced that Zagros Airlines as well as Iran Airtour Airlines agreed on Thursday to acquire a total of 73 aircraft.Zagros Airlines, one of the leading domestic airlines in Iran, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for the acquisition of 28 new aircraft, covering 20 A320neo and 8 A330neo aircraft.The commitment was signed by Seyed Abdolreza Mousavi, Zagros Airlines CEO and Fabrice Bregier, Airbus COO and President Commercial Aircraft.To date Zagros Airlines is the largest domestic single-aisle Airbus operator in Iran with 11 A320ceo Family aircraft.The Tehran-based Iran Airtour Airlines has also become the French aircraft manufacturer’s newest customer for the A320neo Family after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for 45 aircraft at the Paris Air Show.Airbus assured that the MoUs are contingent upon all necessary approvals, including those from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).Iran has several private and public airline companies in operation, among which IranAir is the oldest one. The number of operational airports in the country is 46.Since sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic were lifted last year, Iran began to take steps to upgrade its air industry, revamp an aging airline fleet, equipment and airports.During a January 2016 visit to Paris by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Tehran signed a major contract with Airbus worth about $27 billion to buy 118 planes.Iran received its first Airbus (A320) in January 2017. Azerbaijani joins Eurasian Book Fair 2017 http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/162504.html Arts & Entertainment Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:09:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaAzerbaijan was represented at the Eurasian Book Fair-2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan.Azerbaijan's pavilion at the fair featured books, brochures and magazines and more than 1,000 items, Trend Life reported.The visitors were presented printed materials about the state, history, rich culture and art, as well as publications promoting the rich tourism opportunities in the country.The book "Dünya az?rbaycanl?lar?n?n palitras?" by journalist Fuad Huseynzadeh was also presented as part of the event.The Eurasian International Book Fair  is an important cultural and educational event for the region. The intellectual platform brings together publishing, bookselling, scientific, educational and printing companies of the CIS countries, Europe and Asia.The exhibition’s agenda features an extensive cultural and business program. It includes conferences, presentations, round tables, forums, competitions and quizzes. Meetings with prominent figures of arts and literature are also hosted at the fair. The preparation has begun: 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix in social media http://www.today.az/news/sports/162506.html Sports Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:42:00 +0400 Formula 1 drivers and teams are almost here: with a few days until the start of Grand Prix all the participants are getting ready for the second race in Baku. Here is the digest of social media posts about the upcoming event.Mercedes AMG Formula 1 Team are the reigning kings of Baku City Curcuit. Last year Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won the race in Azerbaijan and became the world champion. This time competition is much tougherhttps://twitter.com/MercedesAMGF1/status/877139601802096641Red Bull Racing is all about the good photos. Here is a classic shot of Baku City Circuit with the sun coming down and a car near Baku Old Cityhttps://twitter.com/redbullracing/status/877142771009826816Sahara Force India has a good thing to remember about Baku City Circuit: last year Sergio Perez finished on the podium here. The car got pinker these days but the aim is the samehttps://twitter.com/ForceIndiaF1/status/876803891794522112Scuderia Toro Rosso is not dreaming of podiums yet. The team tries to get the most of the car instead. In this video Daniil Kvyat tells us about the details of driving through Baku City Circuit on top speedhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKv_8dWedWwRenault Sport F1 Team is ready for the sunny weekend and high temperatureshttps://twitter.com/RenaultSportF1/status/8767590563037634572016 Grand Prix in Baku was the place of the records. One of the achievements belongs to Williams Martini Racing: last year the mechanics of this team made a great pit-stop which lasted only 1.92 secondshttps://twitter.com/WilliamsRacing/status/877131029391319044An itinerary for 2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix with Fahrenheit temperatures and miles instead of kilometres – somebody had to do it. Thanks to Haas F1 Team: now the Americans fans know the truth. It’s 81 degrees in here!https://twitter.com/HaasF1Team/status/876891596956082176With this kind of photos Finnish fans of Valtteri Bottas would be obliged to visit Baku. The city is way too beautifulhttps://twitter.com/ValtteriBottas/status/877203001777238016Sahara Force India racer Esteban Ocon driving Mercedes AMG on the street of Baku. There’s something wrong, isnt’t it?https://twitter.com/OconEsteban/status/874292698924142593Daniil Kvyat has shared his he top-5 associations of Baku City Circuit. We like this ‘kissing’ thing most of allhttps://twitter.com/kvyatofficial/status/876785443525865474And finally – the detailed guide of 2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix form the championship itself. All the figures and numbers in one short videohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8AWJ-6pGqo Turkey increases defense production http://www.today.az/news/regions/162503.html World news Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:41:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaTurkey has greatly reduced external dependence in the defense industry, said Turkey’s Defense Minister Fikri Isik.Isik noted that currently 65 percent of the defense products are produced in Turkey, Turkish media reported on June 22.“By 2019 we intend to localize 85 percent of the total production of defense products in Turkey,” he said. “The production of military helicopters will be established by 2018.”Turkey plans to implement about 500 projects in the sphere of defense industry. The total value of these projects will amount to 123 billion liras.Just 15 years ago, Turkey's defense industry was 80 percent externally dependent.Defense sector has shown a considerable growth in the last couple of years, with almost all leading arms companies developing new prototypes mostly along with Western partners. Turkey’s defense and aerospace exports rose from around $900 million in 2011 to $1.7 billion last year although its exports in 2016 remained largely flat from $1.65 billion in 2015, (a rise of only 1.4 percent), mainly due to problems that hit the country’s exports overall. Since 2011, the production of mobile outposts, which have proven themselves in the fight against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants, Canik TP9 pistols, ANKA unmanned aerial vehicles and other military equipment has been established in Turkey.In May 2013, the Council for Scientific and Technical Research of Turkey (TÜB?TAK) made a proposal for the creation of laser weapons (YGLSS), with which it is planned to equip the ships of the Turkish Navy.The work within the project will last for six years, and at the first stage two prototypes of laser weapons will be developed. They will be tested in the Black Sea.The rocket system KAAN, manufactured by Roketsan Company, was presented at the international exhibition of the defense industry IDEF-2017 in Istanbul.The KAAN missile with a diameter of 610 millimeters is capable of providing effective fire support to army units. It is equipped with an inertial navigation system and a global positioning system (GPS) for applying accurate shocks to targets. A rocket weighing 2.5 tons is capable of carrying a warhead weighing half a ton. Importing spare parts for bicycle production exempted from customs duty http://www.today.az/news/society/162502.html Society Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:27:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Sara IsrafilbayovaAzerbaijan’s Cabinet of Ministers exempted the import of spare parts used for the production of bicycles from payment of customs duties for a period of 2 years.The related amendments were made to the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers "On the rates of customs duties on export-import operations in Azerbaijan."The decision will take effect from July 22, 2017.A bicycle production factory "?SMA B?KES" was opened in Azerbaijan in summer 2016.The plant is built on the territory of the village of Diyalli, located in 6 kilometers from the city of Ismayilli. The production capacity of the enterprise is 20,000-30,000 bicycles per year.The plant is expected to manufacture 5 categories of bicycles ranging from bikes for children and recreational cycling, to those used by professional riders.Previously, the Cabinet exempted from customs duties the import of fuel oil used by Azerenergy for electricity production. The decision will be valid until January 1, 2018.In late 2016, the Azerbaijani government made several changes to the import procedures of certain goods to protect the domestic production.   The changes applied to meat and edible meat offal (fresh, chilled and frozen poultry meat), eggs, vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, garlic), fruits and nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, grapes, apples, pears, quinces, persimmons), fruit and vegetable juices, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (mineral and soda water), construction materials (bentonite, gypsum, cement, clinker), stone, plaster, cement, asbestos (slabs, bricks, building blocks) and ceramic products. President: Azerbaijan, Moldova have common approaches to current events http://www.today.az/news/politics/162501.html Politics Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:12:00 +0400 By  TrendToday’s exchange of views shows that there are many common features in approaches and assessments of Azerbaijan and Moldova with regard to current events, said Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev during an expanded meeting with Moldovan President Igor Dodon in Baku June 22.Having greeted the distinguished guest, President Aliyev noted that he is very pleased with the visit of the Moldovan president and the delegation accompanying him to Azerbaijan.“We have already exchanged views on important issues of bilateral relations, regional issues. Today we continue our work in an expanded format. I am confident that this visit will be a very important step in strengthening our cooperation, we are interested in it. There is a very big potential for that,” said President Aliyev.Of course, today a good basis is laid for the dynamic development of bilateral relations, said the head of state.President Aliyev noted that it is needed to give dynamics to the Azerbaijan-Moldova relations both in the sphere of political dialogue, and in the trade and economic fields.“There is potential, and we know what issues need to be addressed. I think that following the visit all the necessary instructions will be given to relevant state structures in order to determine a plan of measures for each area, and to implement it,” added the Azerbaijani president. Red Bull pilots to try to break speed record at F1 Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/sports/162500.html Sports Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:03:00 +0400 By  TrendDaniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, pilots of the Red Bull Racing F1 team, say breaking the Baku city circuit speed record in 2017 will be difficult, but they will try to do it.This year, the Formula 1 cars are wider and speedier in the turns, but slower in the straight parts of the circuit due to the big downforce, they told a press conference in Baku prior to the 2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.The Baku city circuit has sections with very narrow turns, where it is just impossible to speed up much, while on the straight road it won’t be that easy to break the record, according to them.The drivers added they look forward to the start of the race.The speed record at the Formula 1 Baku city circuit belongs to Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas.The 2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix will be held in Baku on June 23-25. TAP invests 9M euros for local communities in Northern Greece http://www.today.az/news/business/162497.html Business Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:48:00 +0400 By  TrendThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) AG will donate 92 utility vehicles to local communities in all three Northern Greek prefectures traversed by the pipeline, reads a message posted on TAP AG’s website.This initiative, designed in close collaboration with the Greek government and the competent ministries, is part of TAP’s 32 million euros worth social and environmental investment (SEI) program to be implemented across project-affected areas, according to the message.This investment amounts to 9 million euros, committed for the purchase of 33 ambulances, 22 garbage trucks, 17 forestry vehicles, 14 snowploughs and 6 civil protection vehicles.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). Get e-visa to enter Azerbaijan just in 3 hours http://www.today.az/news/business/162495.html Business Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:33:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliThe Azerbaijani visa application process is actually a lot more simple these days than what it used to be.In 2016, the country applied “electronic visa”, making the process of obtaining correct entry documents cheaper and quicker. And now, it gets easier – foreigners will get e-visas just in three hours instead of three days.President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on June 21 on additional measures to develop and improve the "ASAN Viza" system and amend the decree dated October 20, 2016 on approval of the "Regulations on the "ASAN Viza" system.In accordance with the new decree, ASAN service, Azerbaijan’s leading e-Government institution, should ensure consideration of applications of foreigners and stateless persons to obtain a visa in an expedited manner for those, who want to visit Azerbaijan, within three hours.Today, citizens of 93 countries take advantage of ASAN Visa system. Electronic visa is a document for one entry, which determines the period of stay in the country up to 30 days.Azerbaijan, situated on the Great Silk Road, and divided partially between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, blended the best from both cultures, forming its own unique rich culture, that’s why its people are neither totally Eastern, nor totally Western.Mountains, forests, farmlands, coastal areas, rich natural resources and nine out of a possible eleven distinct climate zones from subtropical to alpine climates provide Azerbaijan with a broad range of natural environments that can be used to develop a range of tourism activities and to attract a diverse group of tourists.But beyond its nature, which is key reason for the tourism, the people of Azerbaijan are wonderfully welcoming and hospitable.This initiative will definitely increase the tourists flow to the country this year. Nahid Bagirov, Azerbaijan Tourism Association (AzTa) Chairman stated that the influx of tourists to Azerbaijan this summer will increase by 15-20 percent compared to the same period of last year.The main flow of tourists to the country is expected from Arab countries, he said."Starting from today, a large number of tourists from Arab countries are expected to arrive in the country to watch the competitions of the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan. In general, it is expected that the number of tourists from the Arab countries will exceed the number of visitors from other destinations. But it should be noted that year by year Azerbaijan is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for tourists from Europe, Asia and America and their number is also growing. Hotels in Azerbaijan are almost completely booked till the end of September. In particular, the hotels in Gabala, Guba and Gusar are filled. I think that, compared to last year, this year the number of tourists coming to Azerbaijan will grow by at least 15-20 percent," Bagirov said.Touching upon the main directions of Azerbaijani tourists this season, Bagirov noted that the most preferable countries will be Turkey and Georgia."For Azerbaijani tourists who will travel by plane, the main direction will be Turkey, in particular Istanbul, Bodrum, Izmir and Antalya. Then comes European countries. As for those traveling by land, the main stream of tourists, in my opinion, will go this summer to Georgia. This is due primarily to the fact that hotels and recreation centers in Azerbaijan have already been filled up to September. And Georgia is the closest country where it is possible to get by land transport," Bagirov said.In the five months of this year, up to 960,000 tourists arrived in Azerbaijan, while in the same period last year this figure was 768,000 people. Azerbaijani army holds live-fire stage of large-scale drills http://www.today.az/news/politics/162494.html Politics Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:25:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovThe Azerbaijani troops conducted a live-fire stage of the ongoing large-scale exercises, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported on June 22.At this stage, artillery, air defense assets, aviation, as well as other forces and formations fulfilled combat-training tasks using weapons and military equipment, according to the ministry.Effective use of troops and control systems was carried out with observance of the principles of modern combined arms operation in difficult relief conditions and taking into account the supposed action of the imaginary enemy.The Azerbaijani troops carried out a live firing and fire maneuvers in various firing ranges and training areas equipped with modern equipment.Azerbaijani Armed Forces started the large-scale operational and tactical exercises on June 19 to check the combat readiness of the troops, organize the command and control of forces and assets, as well as their interoperability. The drills are being held in line with the plan approved by Azerbaijani President, Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev.The six-day exercises involve up to 23,000 military personnel, up to 120 tanks and armored vehicles, up to 180 rocket artillery systems of different caliber, multiple launch rocket systems and mortars, up to 30 combat aircraft for various purposes, as well as new electronic reconnaissance assets and unmanned aerial vehicles are involved in the exercises. Mexican mezcal to be presented in Baku http://www.today.az/news/business/162493.html Business Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:14:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Sara IsrafilbayovaA Mexican trade mission will visit Baku to organize presentations of traditional Mexican alcoholic beverage ‘mezcal’ during Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which will be held on June 23-25.Mescal is distilled alcoholic beverage made from any type of agave plant native to Mexico.The commercial mission will hold 3 presentations to promote the variety of brands and types of this beverage, the Mexican Embassy in Azerbaijan reported.Mexico for the first time participated 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 mezcal were presented.Mexican Ambassador to Azerbaijan Rodrigo Labardini previously noted that the volume of bilateral trade increased threefold and reached $22 million. In 2016 similar figures were observed.The Ambassador stressed that the opening of the embassies of both countries greatly contributed to the growth of bilateral trade, further adding that the Mexican Embassy will further actively promote bilateral relations, developing friendship between Mexico and Azerbaijan.Mexico recognized Azerbaijan's independence in December 1991 and the diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in January 1992. Dodon: Azerbaijan, Moldova have great potential to develop relations http://www.today.az/news/politics/162499.html Politics Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:04:00 +0400 By  Trend Azerbaijan and Moldova have great potential for the development of bilateral relations, President of Moldova Igor Dodon said.He made the remarks June 22 in Baku during a one-on-one meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.Dodon said he is very glad for visiting Azerbaijan at the invitation of President Aliyev.Azerbaijan and Moldova have very good bilateral relations, Dodon noted, adding that the 25th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries was celebrated in May 2017.Unfortunately, no meetings of the Azerbaijani-Moldovan intergovernmental commission have been held over the last five years, he said.The Moldovan president expressed hope that his meeting with the Azerbaijani president will give a new impetus to the two countries’ bilateral relations, because there is a great potential for this, and this potential hasn’t been fully employed so far.Dodon noted that there is a very big Azerbaijani diaspora in Moldova. He said the Moldovan diaspora in Azerbaijan is smaller and consists of 10-15 people, adding that he met the diaspora June 21.Azerbaijan and Moldova have always lived in peace and friendship, Dodon noted.He expressed confidence that even greater achievements await the two countries. Ilham Aliyev: Important to give dynamics to relations with Moldova http://www.today.az/news/politics/162498.html Politics Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:04:00 +0400 By  Trend It is important to give significant dynamics to bilateral relations with Moldova in order to make it possible to carry out activities, said Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev during his one-on-one meeting with Moldovan President Igor Dodon in Baku June 22.Following the official welcome ceremony, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Moldova Igor Dodon held a one-on-one meeting June 22.Having greeted Dodon, President Aliyev expressed confidence that the visit will be successful and important issues of bilateral relations will be discussed.“We will exchange opinions on many issues,” noted President Aliyev adding that leadership, ministers and all employees should work actively. Defense Ministry: Armenia once again used combat UAVs http://www.today.az/news/politics/162492.html Politics Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:56:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovArmenian Armed Forces once again used combat unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) against Azerbaijan Armed Forces units, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry reported on June 22.The ministry noted that due to their poor quality, the UAVs used by Armenian armed forces did not cause any harm to the Azerbaijani troops.The Defense Ministry also warned that adequate retaliatory actions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces will be devastating for the enemy.Earlier in the day, the ministry reported that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces destroyed an Armenian UAV attempting to carry out reconnaissance flights over the Azerbaijani positions in the Tartar direction of the front.Armenia broke out a lengthy war against Azerbaijan by laying territorial claims on its South Caucasus neighbor. Since a war in the early 1990s, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts. German Bundestag OKs withdrawal from Incirlik Air Base http://www.today.az/news/regions/162491.html World news Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:43:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaThe German Bundestag on June 21 approved the decision to withdraw from the Incirlik Air Force Base in southern Turkey.Berlin decided to withdraw its refueling and reconnaissance aircraft from Turkey's Incirlik base after Turkish side refused to let German lawmakers visit the roughly 250 German troops there. They will move to Azraq, Jordan.Earlier, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said that the refueling plane will be moved as quickly as possible after the end of June and should be back in service in the second half of July.Von der Leyen explained that moving the six Tornado reconnaissance planes will take two months, from August to September. Those planes should be fully back in service from October.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan previously said that the withdrawal of the German Air Force contingent from the Incirlik air Base in southern Turkey poses no problem for Ankara.Turkey remains the key NATO member country in the Middle East. The Incirlik Air Base is one of the main bases of the United States and the alliance in the region. Aircrafts of the countries of the international coalition led by the United States, which participates in air operations against ISIS, are based here.German military specialists are involved in the formation of crews for AWACS radar reconnaissance aircraft. Berlin also supports the coalition's actions with the help of six reconnaissance planes Tornado, which are deployed in Incirlik. The Bundeswehr's mandate in the Syrian operation does not involve participation in ground operations. All you Fashionistas! Prepare to be amazed by surprise! http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/162490.html Arts & Entertainment Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:27:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaBaku Fashion Club (BFC) will open in Baku.An official inauguration ceremony will take place in Excelsior Hotel & Spa on June 29.To be held under the slogan “We talk about Fashion plans to convene "under its wings'”, the event will bring together fashion experts, including famous designers, fashion bloggers, popular models, journalists, buyers, etc.The joint meetings will also be held as part of the project.During the meetings, there will be “open microphone” and each member of the fashion club will be able discuss the necessary information, to tell about new trends as well as their activities, ask questions and get answers.“Lively dialogue is the key to solving all problems!" said head of BFC Lyubov Gutorova-Poyraz, commenting on the event.Gutorova-Poyraz is also the president FMS Models Agency and organizer of Baku Fashion Night.Media partners of the event- Trend.az, Day.az, Milli.az, Azernews.az State Advertising Agency established http://www.today.az/news/politics/162489.html Politics Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:15:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Sara IsrafilbayovaPresident Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on establishment of a State Advertising Agency.Under the decree inked on June 20, in order to place advertising media in the open space in the territory of the country, control and unify regulation in the sphere of production and distribution of advertising intended for placement in the open space, a public legal entity "State Advertising Agency of Azerbaijan" is created.The presidential administration was instructed within 15 days to prepare and submit to the President of Azerbaijan a draft statute of  the public legal entity envisaged.The head of state appointed Aydin Ibadov as a director of the newly created State Advertising Agency.Advertising agencies are usually classified according to two criteria - the volume of services provided and the direction of the business, in which they specialize.There are so-called golden rules of advertising. Advertising should be brief, informationally rich, original, something different from the others and memorable, visual, scientifically based, show the distinctive features of the advertised and the last but not least-be just beautiful. Azerbaijani veteran judo fighters win 10 European medals http://www.today.az/news/sports/162488.html Sports Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:07:00 +0400 By  Azertac Azerbaijani judo fighters have brought home a clutch of ten medals, including four golds from the Veteran European Championships held in Zagreb, Croatia.Azerbaijan’s gold medals came from Zulfiyya Huseynova (63kg), Mammad Mammadov (73kg), Vuqar Budagov (73kg) and Zaur Baghirov (+100kg).Babak Hajiyev, Mubariz Jafarov, Farhad Rajabli and Mahammad Muslumzada grabbed silver medals, while Intigam Alakbarov and Zaur Pashayev scooped bronze medals of the tournament.Azerbaijan also won the team event. Junior Azerbaijani gymnasts bring home eight medals from Budapest http://www.today.az/news/sports/162487.html Sports Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:50:00 +0400 By  Azertac Junior Azerbaijani gymnasts have brought home a clutch of eight medals, including a gold from the Budapest Cup in Hungary.The gold medal came from Aghamurad Gahramanov. Shaki Khans’ Palace maybe added to UNESCO World Heritage List http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/162486.html Arts & Entertainment Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:33:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaThe Shaki Khans’ Palace and the historical part of Azerbaijan’s Shaki city may be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.The World Heritage Committee will consider the nominations of cultural sites at its 41st session scheduled for July 2-12 in Krakow, Poland, Azertac reported.Sheki, being one of the most ancient cities of Azerbaijan, is called the architectural reserve of the country. Circle shrine, Gelersen-Gorersen fortress (picture), Shaki Juma, Omar Efendi mosques, Narin Gala and other buildings are the most favorite places for visitors to tour in the area.Ashagi and Yukari caravanserais built in the 18th century is an exotic venue for tourists. It is easy to escape summer heat and city noise.  Modern Sheki was actually rebuilt in 1772 after the city was destroyed by mud streams - River Kish.Sheki is also 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.The palace of Shaki Khans remains one of the most precious pearls of this unique city. The maples in the palace's yard are even older than buildings there.The Palace was built in 1797 by Muhammed Hasan Khan. The unique beauty of the Palace amazes with its magnificent interior and exterior.Measuring thirty-two meters by eight and a half meters on the exterior,  the unique beauty two-storied building elongated on the north-south axis and covered with a wooden hipped roof with long eaves.The basic material for the Palace construction was raw bricks, river stones, plane trees and oaks. The most amazing is that not a single nail or glue drop was used for the construction! Everything is in place due to a special solution the formula of which was lost forever.There are only 6 rooms, 4 corridors and 2 mirrored balconies in the Palace. All the windows and doors of the palace were skillfully assembled from pieces of wood and colored Venetian glass. So the light getting inside the palace plays with all colors of a rainbow.The interior walls of the residence are covered entirely with frescoes painted at different times during the eighteenth century.Many of the them feature flowers in vases, while a series of paintings on the first floor halls depict hunting and battle scenes. Signatures on frescoes list the names of artists Ali Kuli, Kurban Kuli and Mirza Jafar from Shemaha, Usta Gambar from Shusha, and Abbas Kuli, who may also have been the architect of the summer residence.The rooms of the first floor were intended for ordinary visitors - they show the riches and power of khans. On the walls and ceilings there are trees, flowers, animals and birds - the symbols of fertility and noble origin.The second floor is divided into two parts - female and male. The female half is painted with flowers and oriental ornaments.The male part was intended for visitors reception. It is the richest room of the palace. The miniatures on the walls show the military power of the khanate, its attitude to friends and enemies. The room's ceiling is painted with images of the khan's coat of arms and various symbols.The Shaki Khans' Palace has been repeatedly restored and today it is open for tourists in all its majesty and beauty.The gems of Azerbaijani culture, including  the Icherisheher (Old City), Maiden Tower and Shirvanshah's palace was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000, while since 2007 the Gobustan National Historical-Artistic reserve also listed among these heritages.UNESCO’s Heritage list also includes the Novruz holiday, Azerbaijani mugham, national ashig art, the national carpet, traditional Kalagayi headwear and national musical instrument “tar.” Moldovan president officially welcomed in Baku [UPDATE] http://www.today.az/news/politics/162471.html Politics Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:24:00 +0400 By AzernewsAn official welcome ceremony was held on June 22 for President of Moldova Igor Dodon, who is on an official visit in Azerbaijan.A guard of honor was arranged for the Moldovan president in the square decorated with the national flags of the two countries, Azertac reported.The chief of the guard of honor reported to President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.President Aliyev greeted President Dodon.The national anthems of Moldova and Azerbaijan were played. President Aliyev and President Dodon reviewed the guard of honor.State and government officials of Azerbaijan were introduced to President Dodon, and members of the Moldovan delegation were introduced to President Aliyev.The guard of honor marched in front of the presidents to the accompaniment of a military march.President Aliyev and President Dodon then posed for official photos.Following the official welcome ceremony, President Aliyev and President Dodon held a one-on-one meeting. Later, the Presidents held a meeting in an expanded format.Following the ceremony of signing documents, President Aliyev and President Dodon have made press statements.An official dinner reception was later hosted on behalf of President Aliyev in honor of President of the Republic of Moldova Igor Dodon. NFES to receive investment proposals on development of Sabirabad http://www.today.az/news/business/162485.html Business Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:18:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Sara IsrafilbayovaThe National Fund for Entrepreneurship Support (NFES) under the Economy Ministry of Azerbaijan started receiving investment projects on priority development areas of Sabirabad region, the Economy Ministry reported on June 21.Following the business forum in Sabirabad, the NFES has launched accepting entrepreneurs' proposals for financing investment projects on creation of large farming and horticultural farms, livestock breeding farms, cotton growing, greenhouses, milk, fruit and vegetable processing enterprises.Entrepreneurs can apply to the Fund through authorized banks and non-bank lenders, in accordance with the rules for using the funds of the NFES. Small projects can be fully financed through concessional loans.About 150 million manats ($88 million) will be issued for granting preferential loans to entrepreneurs in 2017.The main goal of the Fund, which was established in 1992, is to provide preferential loans from the state budget for small and medium business, in order to develop entrepreneurship in the Republic of Azerbaijan.Allocation of funds by NFES is aimed at the minimizing of the impact of global economic crisis to the national economy and minimization of its dependence on the oil sector. The country takes steps in its bid to diversify the national economy and provide for the development of entrepreneurship in the country.   Turkey sends armored personnel carriers to Qatar http://www.today.az/news/regions/162483.html World news Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:15:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Kamila AliyevaTurkey will send 25 servicemen and five armored personnel carriers to Qatar on June 22, Turkish media outlets reported quoting sources in the country’s General Staff.The first group of military instructors left for Qatar on June 19.A military agreement entered into force between Qatar and Turkey on June 9. The document was signed on November 10, 2016 in Ankara.Earlier, the Turkish parliament ratified an agreement between the two countries on the deployment of a Turkish military contingent in Qatar.Moreover, the Turkish parliament ratified the Protocol on Cooperation in the Field of Education and Training for Gendarmerie between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the State of Qatar.Several Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing the latter of supporting ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other terrorists and destabilizing the situation in the Middle East. They were later joined by Libya, Yemen, the Maldives, Mauritius and Mauritania, with Jordan and Djibouti announcing they would lower the level of diplomatic contacts with Qatar. Senegal and Chad recalled their ambassadors from Doha.Doha denied allegations over its support to terrorism and extremism adding that the diplomatic rift was based on "baseless fabricated claims."Turkey has been providing food and water supplies to Qatar and expressed its full support to the country.Since the first day of the Qatari crisis, Turkey, which enjoys authority in the Islamic world, has been playing an active role in settlement of the conflict and held a number of negations. SOCAR enters Kazakhstan’s energy sector http://www.today.az/news/business/162484.html Business Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:12:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Sara IsrafilbayovaAzerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR, along with other interested companies, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on implementation of the Eurasia project, which envisages development of the Caspian Depression in Kazakhstan.The memorandum was also signed by KMG Eurasia LLP, Agip Caspian Sea B.V., RN-Exploration LLC, CNPC International Ltd., and NEOS GeoSolutions, the Kazakh Energy Ministry said June on 21. From the Kazakh side, the memorandum was signed by the Energy Ministry and the Committee of Geology and Subsoil Use of the Kazakh Ministry for Investments and Development.Talks will be held on key commercial, technical and contract conditions of the Eurasia project for signing a contract for geological exploration of the Caspian Depression in line with the legislation of Kazakhstan.The Caspian Depression is a low-lying flatland region encompassing the northern part of the Caspian Sea, the largest enclosed body of water on Earth. Probable reserves in the Caspian Depression are estimated at 60 billion tons of oil. The project’s implementation is expected to provide the oil and gas industry of Kazakhstan with a stable source, letting avoid the decline in production, which may occur in 15-20 years, and it will also become the foundation of the country's energy security.The Eurasia project is supposed to consist of three stages. The estimated cost of the project is about $500 million.SOCAR is a wholly state-owned national oil company headquartered in Baku, Azerbaijan. The company produces oil and natural gas from onshore and offshore fields in the Azerbaijani section of the Caspian Sea.The company includes such production associations as Azneft (the enterprises producing oil and gas onshore and offshore), Azerikimya (the chemical enterprises) and Azerigas (distributor of gas produced in the country), as well as oil and gas processing plants, service companies, and the facilities involved in geophysical and drilling operations. Azerbaijani troops destroy Armenian UAV http://www.today.az/news/politics/162482.html Politics Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:00:00 +0400 By Azernews  By Rashid ShirinovAzerbaijani Armed Forces destroyed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of the Armenian side attempting to carry out reconnaissance flights over the Azerbaijani positions in the Tartar direction of the front on June 21.Armenia uses UAVs against Azerbaijan from time to time. Last time, Azerbaijani Air Forces detected and destroyed a tactical UAV near Azerbaijan’s Agdam region on March 2. On February 25, Azerbaijani armed forces destroyed Armenian UAV and pillbox near the Talish village. Another UAV belonging to the Armenian armed forces was destroyed on January 22 in the direction of Azerbaijan’s Tovuz region.Armenia captured Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions from Azerbaijan in a war that followed the Soviet breakup in 1991. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and nearly 1 million were displaced as a result of the war.Large-scale hostilities ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire in 1994 but Armenia continued the occupation in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions calling for immediate and unconditional withdrawal. Russia’s air carrier launches flights to Azerbaijan http://www.today.az/news/business/162481.html Business Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:41:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliRussia’s IrAero carried out the first international flight from Krasnoyarsk to Baku, the Yemelyanovo International Airport reported.The first flight on the Krasnoyarsk-Baku route was carried out on June 21. Further flights will be carried out until the end of the summer schedule twice a week – on Wednesdays and Sundays.The flight is carried out via Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft.In early April 2017, IrAero obtained the permission from Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) to carry out flights to Azerbaijan.IrAero is an air carrier based in Irkutsk, Russia. It carries out domestic and international scheduled passenger services, charter and cargo flights.Baku is among the most visited  CIS cities among Russian tourists.The increase of tourists coming from Russia to Azerbaijan is mainly related with the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe, various festivals, active promotion of the country’s tourism in the Russian market and new flights launched between the Russian and Azerbaijani cities.Azerbaijan offers numerous must-see spots, one of which is the Shahdag Winter-Summer Tourism Complex. It was recently claimed to enter the Top 3 popular resort for mountain hiking among Russia and CIS countries, according to the tourist portal TurStat.Over the past year, Azerbaijan received over 2 million tourists, 685,000 of whom were guests from Russia. Taking into account all mentioned above, this figure is expected to rise by the end of 2016. Polad Bulbuloglu: Ethnic, religious diversity is Azerbaijan's national asset [ http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/162480.html Arts & Entertainment Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:37:00 +0400 By Azernews  By Laman IsmayilovaAzerbaijan`s Permanent Mission to UNESCO has arranged an iftar party with the participation of candidate to UNESCO Director General`s post Polad Bulbuloglu.Head of Azerbaijan`s Permanent Mission to UNESCO Anar Karimov, addressing the event, stressed that the month of Ramadan is the month of tolerance, peace and solidarity.The ambassador said that Azerbaijan has turned into one of the fastest developing countries of the world in the last years, Azertac reported.He also stressed that Azerbaijan is historically tolerant country and spoke about the country's role in intercultural dialogue. “Azerbaijan is a country, where representatives of different confessions and nations lived in peace,” he added.Karimov further talked about what was done by the Azerbaijani government preserve and promote multiculturalism globally.He noted that the Heydar Aliyev Foundation under the leadership of Azerbaijan`s First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva carried out a number of projects in several countries for preservation of religious and historical monuments.In his speech, Bulbuloglu said all religions served to tolerance and dialogue, describing Azerbaijan as an example of co-existence of people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds. He said multiculturalism is an integral part of state policy of Azerbaijan.Bulbuloglu pointed out that ethnic and religious diversity is Azerbaijan's national asset.He said that Azerbaijan has developed an exemplary model of multiculturalism, adding the country pays special attention to preservation and further development of historical and cultural heritage.“UNESCO has an invaluable role in protecting the cultural heritage and intercultural dialogue. We need to support this Organization”, he said.Jeyhun Rustamov highlighted living in peace and stability of representatives of various confessions in the country, adding various peoples of the region have historically enjoyed good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation based on the robust tolerance traditions, mutual respect and trust.Azerbaijan signed and ratified almost all the conventions and other legal instruments of UNESCO. In 2003, Azerbaijan and UNESCO signed the framework agreement on cooperation in the areas of culture, science, education and communication, which allowed Azerbaijan to become one of the donors of UNESCO. U.S. concerned over ceasefire violations on Azerbaijani, Armenian troops’ contact line http://www.today.az/news/politics/162479.html Politics Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:26:00 +0400 By Azernews  By Rashid ShirinovThe United States is deeply concerned over the recent violations of the ceasefire on the line of contact between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops over the last week, which have resulted in multiple casualties.“We urge the sides to avoid escalation and encourage immediate consideration of measures to reduce tensions along the line of contact and the international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” the U.S. Department of State has said in a message.“In their statement released on June 19, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs called upon the parties to re-engage in negotiations on substance, in good faith, and with political will. The Co-Chairs further underscored that such negotiations are the only way to bring a lasting peace to the people of the region, who expect and deserve progress toward settlement of the conflict,” said the Department of State, adding that the United States continues to engage intensely with the sides.Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a lengthy war that ended with signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. Since the war, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.While the OSCE Minsk Group acted as the only mediator in resolution of the conflict, the occupation of the territory of the sovereign state with its internationally recognized boundaries has been left out of due attention of the international community for years.Armenia ignores four UN Security Council resolutions on immediate withdrawal from the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, thus keeping tension high in the region. Nizami Ganjavi Int’l Center hosts forum in Chine http://www.today.az/news/entertainment/162478.html Arts & Entertainment Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:18:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaA forum titled “Role of China in international relations: prospects of 'One belt, One road' initiative” was held in China.Co-chairs of the center, former Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga and Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandria in Egypt Ismail Serageldin, and members of the center former Serbian President Boris Tadi?, former Latvian leader Valdis Zatlers, former Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliyev, as well as scientists, researchers, public and political figures of China attended the event.The two-day forum saw discussions on role of China in international relations, as well as contributions of “One belt, one road” strategy to regional and international cooperation, Azertac reported.The event was  co-organized by the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, Beijing University, Azerbaijan`s Embassy to China and Pangoal Institute.Nizami Ganjavi International Center was created with the multiple aims of preserving the reach cultural heritage of the past as well as encouraging and fostering current scholarship, research, cultural activity, and social outreach.The Center moves forward to build, an institution worthy of bearing the great name of Nizami Ganjavi with a hope it will become “a source of pride for Azerbaijan and the world”.   China to host SCO exercises on combating cyberterrorism http://www.today.az/news/regions/162477.html World news Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:54:00 +0400 By  TrendThe command and staff exercises of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on combating the use of the Internet for terrorist, separatist and extremist purposes will be held in China in December 2017, Director of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) Executive Committee Yevgeniy Sysoev told reporters in Tashkent June 21.Sysoev noted that this will be the second online counter-terrorism exercises of the SCO member countries.“The first such event was also held in China’s Xiamen city December 2015,” he said.He noted that the Xiamen-2015 exercises made it possible to form a general idea of ??the degree of readiness of the competent bodies of the SCO member countries for the mechanisms of interaction in combating terrorism and extremism.The SCO was founded in 2001. Its members are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia are the SCO observer countries, while Turkey, Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal are dialogue partners. South Stream not a rival for SGC: expert http://www.today.az/news/business/162476.html Business Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:46:00 +0400 By  TrendThe South Stream project, even if implemented, will not become a rival for the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), said Deputy Executive Director for Energy Studies at the Russian Institute for Energy and Finance Alexei Belogoryev.“The Southern Gas Corridor with its current parameters reaches Greece and Italy. It does not intersect and does not in any way compete with the South Stream, which, as expected, had to pass far to the north,” he told Trend.The South Stream could compete with the unimplemented Nabucco pipeline, which was supposed to run from Central Asia to the EU, according to Belogoryev.Out of the ongoing projects, the second phase of Russia’s Turkish Stream project may to a certain extent compete with the Southern Gas Corridor, which will supply Azerbaijani gas to the EU, as it runs along the same route and to the same market, Italy, he noted.“On the other hand, the volume of gas offered to Europe by Azerbaijan as part of the Southern Gas Corridor project, and by Russia as part of the Turkish Stream project, is not so large for them not to be able to fit into the European market,” he said.The Azerbaijani and Russian gas deliveries are more likely to compete in Southern Italy with North African and Middle Eastern gas deliveries as well as LNG cargos in terms of price, than with each other, according to Belogoryev.He also noted that any Russian pipeline project to supply gas to Southern and Southeast Europe will not be able to create problems for the Southern Gas Corridor, as this project was initiated earlier and is at a much more advanced implementation stage.“In addition, due to political reasons, the Azerbaijani gas will always be more preferable for European countries, at least in Southeast Europe and Italy, than the Russian gas, the dependence on which is perceived with certain strain,” Belogoryev said.Gazprom abandoned South Stream in late 2014 because the European Commission did not grant exemptions from the Third Energy Package, which, in particular, says that one gas provider should use no more than 50 percent of the pipeline capacity, and the remaining capacity should be put up for auction. Later, the project was replaced by Turkish Stream, which will pass through Turkey. Gazprom started construction of the offshore section of Turkish Stream in May 2017.The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. It envisages the transportation of gas from the Caspian region to the European countries through Georgia and Turkey. At the initial stage, the gas to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor projects. Other sources can also connect to this project at a later stage.As part of the Shah Deniz Stage 2, the gas will be exported to Turkey and European markets by expanding the South Caucasus Pipeline and the construction of Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and Trans Adriatic Pipeline. Erdogan calls on Turkish NGOs to observe FETO trials http://www.today.az/news/regions/162475.html World news Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:35:00 +0400 By  TrendTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday called on Turkish non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to observe the trials stemming from last year’s deadly coup attempt, Anadolu reported.The failed coup attempt on July 15 last year, which the Turkish government believes was organized by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), martyred 250 and injured nearly 2,200 others.Speaking at a Iftar (fast-breaking) dinner with NGO representatives in Ankara, Erdogan praised their contribution to inclusive democracy and peace in the country.“We don’t see NGOs as a threat but the keystone of the nation’s unity and solidarity. You are tools of inclusive democracy and social peace in our country,” he said.The president stated that the NGOs are not against the state but complementary to it.“Without the support of and cooperation with NGOs, a state cannot reach its goal, regardless of how strong it is,” he noted.“I would like to ask NGOs to attend FETO’s coup trials,” he underlined, stressing the judicial process against the coup suspects.No sacrifice of youth to PKK, FETOFollowing the deadly coup attempt, the Turkish government has launched wide-ranging investigation into the FETO terror network.The government has also accused FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.Erdogan also praised NGOs’ support against terrorism, including FETO and the PKK.“We cannot sacrifice this country’s youths to the terrorist barons in Qandil and Pennsylvania, nor to drug terrorism,” he added, referring to the PKK base in Iraq and the U.S. home of FETO leader Fetullah Gulen.“Turkey’s NGOs have a big role to play in the struggle against drug abuse… Both armed terrors and drug terrors are same to us,” said Erdogan.The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU -- resumed its armed campaign against Turkey in July 2015. Since then, it has been responsible for the deaths of around 1,200 people, including women and children. Short-term rain is predicted in Baku http://www.today.az/news/society/162474.html Society Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:21:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Laman IsmayilovaChangeable cloudy weather is forecast for June 22.The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources reported that short-term rain is predicted in some placesMild north-west wind will blow in Baku and Absheron peninsula. The temperature will be +18-20?C at night, +22-25?C in daytime in Absheron peninsula, +18-20?C at night, +23-25?C in the afternoon in Baku.Air pressure records 758. Relative humidity will be 80-90%.Temperature of sea water in Absheron beaches will be +19-20?C in Sumgayit, Novkhani, Pirshagi, Nardaran, Bilgah, +20-21?C in Zagulba, Buzovna, Mardakan, Shuvalan, +22-23?C in Turkan, Hovsan, Sahil, Shikh.Lightning and intermittent rain is expected in country's regions. West wind will waft and intensify off. The temperature will be +15-20?C at night, +23-28?C in daytime, +8-13?C in mountains at night, +15-20?C in daytime. Currency rates for June 22 http://www.today.az/news/business/162473.html Business Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:11:00 +0400 By  TrendOfficial exchange rate of the US dollar and euro to Azerbaijani manat for June 22 was set at 1.7022 manats and 1.9015 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 metalsJune 22, 20171 US dollar1 USD1.70221 euro1 EUR1.90151 Australian dollar1 AUD1.28581 Argentine peso1 ARS0.105100 Belarusian rubles100 BYR0.88381 Brazilian real1 BRL0.51041 UAE dirham1 AED0.46341 South African rand1 ZAR0.1304100 South Korean won100 KRW0.1491 Czech koruna1 CZK0.07231 Chilean peso1 CLP0.25581 Chinese yuan1 CNY0.24921 Danish krone1 DKK0.25561 Georgian lari1 GEL0.70431 Hong Kong dollar1 HKD0.21821 Indian rupee1 INR0.02641 British pound1 GBP2.1569100 Indonesian rupiah100 IDR0.0128100 Iranian rials100 IRR0.00461 Swedish krona1 SEK0.19461 Swiss franc1 CHF1.75071 Israeli shekel1 ILS0.48051 Canadian dollar1 CAD1.27761 Kuwaiti dinar1 KWD5.60581 Kazakh tenge1 KZT0.00521 Kyrgyz som1 KGS0.0248100 Lebanese pounds100 LBP0.11291 Malaysian ringgit1 MYR0.39721 Mexican peso1 MXP0.09341 Moldovan leu1 MDL0.09311 Egyptian pound1 EGP0.09381 Norwegian krone1 NOK0.1996100 Uzbek soums100 UZS0.04331 Polish zloty1 PLN0.44691 Russian ruble1 RUB0.02831 Singapore dollar1 SGD1.2251 Saudi riyal1 SAR0.45391 SDR (IMF Special Drawing Rights)1 SDR2.34691 Turkish lira1 TRY0.4821 Taiwan dollar1 TWD0.05591 Tajik somoni1 TJS0.19321 New Turkmen manat1 TMM0.4871 Ukrainian hryvnia1 UAH0.0654100 Japanese yen100 JPY1.53211 New Zealand dollar1 NZD1.2349Gold (1 ounce)1 XAU2114.9835Silver (1 ounce)1 XAG28.2225Platinum (1 ounce)1 XPT1560.9174Palladium (1 ounce)1 XPD1501.3404 Armenia breaks ceasefire with Azerbaijan 140 times in 24 hours http://www.today.az/news/politics/162472.html Politics Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:00:00 +0400 Over the past 24 hours, Armenia’s armed forces have 140 times violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said June 22.The Armenian armed forces were using 60-mm and 82-mm mortars (52 shells).The Azerbaijani army positions in Mazam, Bala Jafarli villages of the Gazakh district underwent fire from the Armenian army positions located in Berkaber village and on the nameless heights of the Ijevan district of Armenia.Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani army positions in Aghdam, Kokhanebi, Esrik Jirdakhan, Munjuglu villages of the Tovuz district were shelled from the Armenian army positions located in Chinari village of the Berd district of Armenia.The Azerbaijani army positions on the nameless heights of the Gadabay district also underwent fire from the Armenian army positions located on the nameless heights of the Krasnoselsk district of Armenia.Moreover, the Azerbaijani army positions were shelled from the Armenian positions located near the Armenian-occupied Goyarkh, Chilaburt villages of the Tartar district, Bash Garvand, Javakhirli, Sarijali, Novruzlu, Marzili villages of the Aghdam district, Kuropatkino village of the Khojavand district, Ashaghi Veysalli, Garvand, Qarakhanbayli, Gorgan, Horadiz villages of the Fuzuli district and Mehdili village of the Jabrayil district, as well as from the positions located on the nameless heights in Goranboy, Tartar, Aghdam, Khojavand and Fuzuli districts.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. Armenia fails to fight corruption http://www.today.az/news/regions/162467.html World news Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:18:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovIt is no secret that corruption remains one of the main problems of Armenia and key obstacle for its development. Instead, however, the Armenian government does not seem very bothered by it.The authorities have so far failed to find an effective way to fight the problem, but come up with unnecessary actions that only angered the society.Most recently, the Armenian Parliament approved a bill on the establishment of the Corruption Prevention Commission. Thus, in addition to the Anti-Corruption Council, Armenia is going to create the second body, now not for fight against corruption but for its prevention. So far, the Anti-Corruption Council failed to fight the problem, which is destroying the country and its economy. Therefore, people do not expect the newly-established commission to make any major changes.The officials also admit it. Former Armenian Minister of Justice Hrayr Tovmasyan, who is currently an MP from the Republican Party, told Armenian reporters that no drastic changes should be expected from the Commission.He noted that this commission will not be able to do anything significant: “The only thing it may succeed in is showing that something is wrong.”Today everyone in Armenia is aware that ‘something is wrong’, and there is no need to spend money and form a special body for that. Thus, the clarification by Tovmasian caused despair among Armenian population.Moreover, the MP excluded that the corrupt high-ranking officials would end up in prison as a result of the Commission’s work. “Not at all, this Commission and the law are not about it. It does not mean that these people should be imprisoned due to this law,” Tovmasyan said.That is, if Armenian officials get caught on a bribe, it does not mean that they should be punished – it just means that ‘something is wrong’ in the system.The fact of destructive corruption in Armenia was repeatedly pointed out by many foreign representatives in the country. U.S. Ambassador Richard Mills has repeatedly demanded from the Armenian authorities to stop this outrage. The diplomat noted that if Armenia does not manage to solve the problem of corruption, it will affect the relations between the two countries in specific areas – for example, in investments.The 2015 report of the Transparency International Anti-corruption Center showed that Armenia is one of the most corrupt countries of the world. More places in Baku covered with free Wi-Fi http://www.today.az/news/society/162466.html Society Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:00:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliThe reach of free Wi-Fi in Baku expanded, as two more public places were added to the coverage area. Now free access to Wi-Fi is possible in Sabir and Khagani parks of the capital city.To use the service, one will need to enable the option of Wi-Fi networks detection on his/her mobile device, select ‘Baku loves you’ network and pass through authentication process via the phone number.Work to expand the coverage of the wireless network has been carried out since March in the framework of the project "Public Wi-Fi". The goal of the project is to provide residents and guests of the capital with access to the Internet in places of mass congestion.Currently, the free Wi-Fi project covers the territory of the National Seaside Park, Icherisheher, Sahil Park and Heydar Aliyev Center. In the near future, free access to Wi-Fi will also cover the territory of the Winter Park, Huseyn Javid and Dede Gorgud parks, as well as the Park of Officers.Since the launch of the service, over 250,000 connections have been recorded in these territories.Azerbaijan ranks first among the countries of Post-Soviet region for the level of broadband internet penetration. Moreover, Azerbaijan is the 58th country in the world over number of its Internet users. Statistical project Internet Live Stats noted that the number of Azerbaijani Internet users has exceeded 6 million, accounting for 61.1 percent of the country’s population.The signal of the digital broadcasting covers approximately 99 percent of Azerbaijan, while over 75 percent of the country’s population has access to the Internet. Association of Banks hints at further capitalization http://www.today.az/news/business/162469.html Business Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:51:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Sara IsrafilbayovaThe banking sector of Azerbaijan has not yet fully recovered from the challenges it faced in 2016, and, most likely, some banks will resort to capitalization in 2017.  Head of the Association of Banks of Azerbaijan (ABA) Zakir Nuriyev stated that about 10 banks do not meet the capital requirements of the Financial Market Supervision Body [50 million manats-$29.4 million].These results were obtained following the audit of the activities of local banks by international audit companies, according to the head of ABA."Based on the results of the audit in Azerbaijani banks, it was revealed that about 10 banks do not meet the requirements of the FMSB on capital level," Nuriyev told reporters on June 21.Licenses of 11 Azerbaijani banks were annulled in 2016 as they faced a shortage of capital. The total volume of the closed bank’s assets exceeded several billion manats, and liabilities - 2.9 billion manats as of early 2017.Nuriyev went on to say that consolidation of Azerbaijani banks is an inevitable process, further adding that “consolidation in the banking sector will continue, but it would be wrong to name any specific deadlines”.Currently, 31 banks are operating in the country, after the consolidation of two banks- Atabank and Caspian Development Bank earlier this year.The economist also spoke about the Azerbaijani manat rate, saying that it depends on the economic processes taking place in the country.Stabilization of the manat rate in recent months does not mean that it will constantly be at the current level, according to him."The Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) adheres to the policy of the floating manat rate [since early 2017], so the rate may rise and fall, depending on the economic processes in the country," Nuriyev added.The Head of the Association further noted that the reference rate of the CBA can be reduced to 12 percent."The monetary situation in the country is not unambiguous, but I believe that the formed positive trends will create all the conditions for lowering the reference rate. Everything depends on the decision of the monetary authorities, but personally I think this is quite realistic.  I do not know the exact figure, but I suppose that the rate can be reduced to 12 percent," Nuriyev concluded.Currently, the CBA’s reference rate is as the level of 15 percent. Rouhani says will not back down from missile program http://www.today.az/news/regions/162464.html World news Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:42:00 +0400 By  TrendIran’s President Hassan Rouhani has said he will not back down from pursuing a robust missile program.“They are taken by mistake if the new US rulers think they can pressurize Iran with bills … in the Senate and Congress,” he said in reference to a new Senate move to impose new sanctions on Iran over its missile program, IRNA news agency reported June 21.“Our missiles are for self-defense and we will not seek permission when it comes to our defense power.”The president also commented on the Revolutionary Guards Corps’ recent missile attack on the “Islamic State” (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) in Syria and said, “If the masters of terrorism have decided to extend terrorism into the holy land of Iran, they should know that the Islamic Republic will not let them do that.”On June 7, gunmen mounted almost simultaneous assaults on Iran’s Parliament and the Mausoleum of the late Founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini. The IS claimed responsibility for the assaults. The attacks killed 17 people and injured over 50 others.In retaliation, the IRGC launched missiles into Syria where IS command headquarters were situated on June 18. Sources announced that at least 65 IS terrorists, including several high-ranking intelligence commanders, had been killed in the missile attack. ICRC visits Azerbaijani hostages in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh http://www.today.az/news/politics/162465.html Politics Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:35:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Rashid ShirinovRepresentatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have visited Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev, two Azerbaijanis, who are kept hostages by Armenian forces in  the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region.Spokeswoman for the ICRC Baku office Ilaha Huseynova told APA on June 21 that the hostages were provided with an opportunity to exchange news with their families. The visit was conducted in line with the standard ICRC procedures.Huseynova noted that the ICRC, in accordance with its mandate, visits the hostages to check their detention conditions and treatment, as well as to help the hostages communicate with their families.Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev were detained by the Armenian armed forces in July 2014 while visiting their native places and graves of loved ones in the occupied Azerbaijani Kalbajar region. Moreover, Armenian forces killed the third captivated Azerbaijani, Hasan Hasanov.Later, Guliyev and Asgarov were judged illegally by the unrecognized courts of a separatist regime in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. Following an expedited “judicial process” in December 2015, Asgarov was sentenced to life imprisonment and Guliyev to 22 years. Attempts of Azerbaijan to provide justice and to free the hostages are still unsuccessful.Azerbaijan’s State Committee on Affairs of Refugees and IDPs, the State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons and other agencies have repeatedly urged international organizations, including the ICRC, to assist in release of Guliyev and Asgarov, whilst the problem remains topical yet.Moreover, Armenian armed forces took hostage an Azerbaijani citizen Elnur Huseynzade under unknown circumstances in the direction of Talysh village in February this year.Azerbaijan, whose over 4,000 citizens were taken captive, hostage, or went missing as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh war, has repeatedly declared its readiness to begin negotiations with Armenia to free the captives and resolve the long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.However, the Armenian side keeps ignoring all attempts of Azerbaijan and international organizations, thereby disrespecting the international law and hindering the settlement of the conflict. Iran postpones presidential inaugural day http://www.today.az/news/regions/162461.html World news Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:27:00 +0400 By  TrendThe date of the presidential swearing in ceremony at Iranian parliament has been delayed, an MP said.MP Behrouz Nemati has said that the ceremony was scheduled to be held on August 6 but it has been changed, ISNA news agency reported.He did not provide further information on the date for the ceremony and reasons behind postponing the official date saying that the date of the inaugural ceremony will be announced later.Iranians on May 19 re-elected Hassan Rouhani as the country’s president for a second term.According to Iranian constitution, the president-elect needs to be endorsed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.Iran’s Press TV on Wednesday reported that the endorsement ceremony will take place on August 3. Azerbaijan records fall in child mortality http://www.today.az/news/society/162470.html Society Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:21:00 +0400 By AzernewsBy Amina NazarliChild mortality rates have plummeted in Azerbaijan, according to a new report released on June 20. The statistics show that the number of deaths [of children aged under one] dropped from 1,843 in 2010 to 1,666 in 2016.Among the reasons of child mortality, cases that occur in the perinatal period, rank first. Last year, 1090 children died for this reason.  In 2016, 173 infants died from disease of the respiratory system, 37 from infectious and parasitic diseases, 151 from congenital anomalies (malformations), deformations and chromosome disorders, and seven children from injuries, poisonings and other consequences of external influences.Last year, 113.6 deaths per 10,000 children born alive was recorded in 2016. In 2015, this indicator was 109.5, while in 2014 - 102.5, and 107.9 in 2013.Azerbaijan has recorded a dramatic and accelerating progress in reducing mortality among children in recent years.The child mortality rate, especially among infants, has decreased threefold in Azerbaijan over the past 25.Between 1996 and 2015, child mortality under-five rate of Azerbaijan was declining at a moderating rate to shrink from 92.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1996 to 31.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015. Jolyon Palmer: You have to be alert on a street circuit! http://www.today.az/news/sports/162460.html Sports Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:10:00 +0400 Baku, located on the western edge of the Caspian Sea, is in anticipation of the grand sport events as for the second time the city will host Formula 1 race.Back-to-back eleventh place finishes for Jolyon Palmer means he is getting ever closer to his first points score of the season as he targets a stronger Saturday to propel him into the top ten on race day.-What do you make of the Baku street circuit?I think it is a cool track, there are some high-speed sections - especially for a street circuit - and overtaking is a possibility. The middle sector is busy and difficult with its undulation and the sector is extremely tight. Any mistakes on a street circuit tend to mean you are into the wall, so you have to be alert. It is wider than Monaco, apart from through the castle section. You’ve got to get as close to the walls as you can to open up the line and carry the speed through.-Are you excited to get out there?I’ve loved street circuits ever since I drove Marrakesh in F2 and then Monaco in GP2. I’ve always got on well with them. I’m looking forward to getting back out on another city circuit and approaching it very differently to Monaco and building up a little bit more. It’s great when you’re so dialled in and you get close to the walls; that’s the best buzz for us. That is two eleventh place finishes in a row. I think in Baku we can at least be in the top ten, maybe top eight. We are doing well at the moment, we will keep going and I am feeling strong, I need to work on qualifying pace and being higher on the grid.-Does the weather in Baku make things tricky?It is going to be very hot and it is very windy in the city, so that could affect us as well. The wind affects the airflow over the car. We’ve had cars crash in the past because of a sudden, big gust of wind and these F1 cars are very sensitive. Race day in Canada was like that, it was very windy especially across the back straight! Baku is by the coast as well so you could get a bit of coastal wind coming in, according to my GCSE geography…-What do you remember from Baku’s debut outing last season?It is always tricky getting to grips with a new circuit, it is very high speed and it brought a lot of challenges. We now know where the bumps are and which gears to use. I qualified on the final row last year and managed to work my way up to fifteenth in the race. I think I put in the eighth fastest lap of the race which is very positive, I am looking forward to getting out there and building on that knowledge.