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Turkish foreign minister's advisor visits Kurd districts in Iraq

The Turkish foreign minister's advisor, Feridun Sinirlioglu, has metthe head of the Regional Administration of North Iraq, MassoudBarzani, in Erbil, 6news reports.At the meeting they discussed the results of Iraqi elections in March,the fight against insurgents, and the economic cooperation of Turkeywith the regional administration.Sinirlioglu said that the region has great economic potential.

Building machinery to be produced in Azerbaijan's Ganca

An automobile plant in Azerbaijan's Ganca and the German companyHaller signed a long-term agreement today to start production ofmachinery based on MAZ cars with Haller equipment, Trend reports,citing the enterprise.The contract will last 10 years. The vehicles will be produced in Azerbaijan.They plan to produce approximately 100-150 units for sale inAzerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia. The director of the Ganca automobileplant, Khanlar Fatiyev, said that most parts will be produced inAzerbaijan.

Iran launches production of unmanned vertical take-off, landing plane

Iran has produced its first unmanned plane with vertical takeoff andlanding capabilities, Trend reports, citing the IRINN televisionchannel.Modelling, production and tests have been accomplished.The Nasr-1001 plane is capable of rising 3 kms vertically. It can alsofloat in the air, land on water and transport cargoes.

Couriers from Azerbaijan arrested in Moscow

Couriers from Azerbaijan transporting over $5.1 million in bags weredetained in Moscow, RIA Novosti reports, citing a spokesman from theInvestigative Committee of Russia's Interior Ministry."The couriers were delivering cash to Moscow from Azerbaijan severaltimes a week...5.5 billion rubles were transferred to fictitious firms'accounts," the spokesperson noted.

Strong radiation source detected in Vladikavkaz

Radiation greatly exceeding established norms was detected on Thursdayin the center of Vladikavkaz in a shed in a private courtyard withpublic access, RIA Novosti reports, citing a source in the NorthOssetia police.Residents from nearby apartments have been evacuated.The radiation is believed to be coming from fuel rods.Rospotrebnadzor (Russian Agency for Health and Consumer Rights)Interior Ministry and Emergencies Ministry staff are working in thearea.

New Russian co-chairman of OSCE Minsk Group arrives in Karabakh

The new Russian co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, Igor Popov, who replaced Yuri Merzlyakov, arrived in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic from Yerevan today. According to Armenian media, Popov is meeting the leader of the Karabakh Armenians, Bako Sahakyan. Popov visited Ilkham Aliyev in Baku, then Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan in Yerevan, before visiting Nagorno-Karabakh, TURAN reports.

Diplomatic relations with Russia can be restored – Irakli Alasania

Restoring diplomatic relations with Russia is possible, the leader ofAlliance in the name of Georgia Irakli Alasania said at a meeting withteaching staff of the Diplomatic Academy, Trend reports.He believes that the main problem for national interests in the regionis Russia. But improving relations will complicate westernintegration, Europe and the USA point out.

White House may soften sanctions against Iran

US President Barack Obama's administration insists that Congressshould provide exemptions for sanctions against Iran for companiesbased in 'cooperating countries', The Washington Times reports, notingthat this may concern Chinese and Russian interests.The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Actin a House-Senate conference committee and is due to be on Obama'sdesk by Memorial Day.

Front-line Azerbaijan villages flooded

Over a hundred houses in Azerbaijan's Mamirli Tertersk region, whererefugees from occupied regions live, were flooded after heavy rains,1news.az reports.Emergencies Ministry workers of the Tertersk and Agdamsk regions arepumping out water.The Committee on refugee issues and migrants promised that thegovernment will compensate the damage.

Head of Armenian church in north Iran dies

The head of the Armenian church in the northern regions of Iran andthe Iranian provinces of East and West Azerbaijan has died.Nshan Topuzyan was 44 years old. The Lebanese-born religious figure'sbody will be sent to Tabriz, the administrative center of the Iranianprovince of East Azerbaijan, for burial, News Armenia reports.

No radical changes planned in North Ossetia government

No cardinal changes in the government of North Ossetia are planned in relation with Taimuraz Mamsurov's appointment to a second term, the head of the republic said during a parliamentary session, reports RIA Novosti. He noted that changes in government could be on the front burner if the current government does not carry out its duties. "But you know that we have highly valued its work," Mamsurov said.

Resort to force against Iran is unacceptable - Lavrov

Russia is disappointed with Iran's response to the proposals put forward by the international community, though resorting to force against Teheran is unacceptable, Trend quotes Russian Forerign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying. He added that the use of force against Iran would result in disastrous after-effects in the Middle East, Asia, the Caucasus and Europe as well.

Rapid-transit train "Armenia" to be launched on May 30

The high-speed train "Armenia" will be launched on May 30th on the route between Yerevan and Barumi, reports Armenia Today, citing the director of the South Caucasus Railroads, Shevket Shaidullin. He also announced changes in suburban train schedules, with trains running up to four times a on the Yerevan-Armavir and Yerevan-Ararat routes.

Ex air-force general arrested in Turkey

Earlier in February, the Turkish police arrested former deputy chief of the General Staff of the armed forces, Ergin Saygun, and former army General Cetin Dogan, reports Trend.

SOCAR to invest $50mln in Georgia this year

The National Azerbaijani Oil Company (SOCAR) will invest about $50mln in Georgia this year, reports Trend, citing the head of the company Mahir Mamedov, reports Trend. The development of Georgian-Azerbaijani business cooperation was discussed at a business forum hosted by Georgia. Mamedov participated in the forum as a chairman of the Azerbaijani Entrepreneurs Association in Georgia.

Dagestani citizens want to cross the Azerbaijani border on foot

Dagestani parliamentarians have asked for the Dagestani-Azerbaijani border to be fully opened to pedestrians, and have sent an appeal regarding this to Russian Premier Vladimir Putin, reports RIA Novosti. According to a decree of March 29th 1994 "the citizens of Russia and Azerbaijan can pass through border control by car and on foot as well". But pedestrian traffic at the block-posts "Yagar-Kazmalyar" and "Tagirkent-Kazmalyar" is not allowed, impeding the movement of citizens.

Rescue training centre opened in Kazakhstan

A training centre "Semser" for rescue specialists in oil-and-gas industry facilities has been opened in Kazakhstan. "The 'Semser' centre is aimed at training high-skilled fire-fighting specialists to carry out rescue works at oil-and-gas extraction facilities, where risks of fire and environmental pollution are dramatically high," - reported a spokesman for the "KazmunaiGaz" company, which has financed the opening of the training centre. It is expected that more than 300 rescue specialists will pass training courses in the next three months.

US using domestic animals to spy on Iran

US intelligence is using specially-equipped domestic animals for spying purposes on the Iranian-Iraqi border, reports Trend, citing newspaper Djavon-online. The special spying equipment installed on the animals provides high quality audio and video information. In most of cases, US intelligence uses domestic animals belonging to citizens of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, who later moved to Iran.

Abkhaz president bans road-checks of Russian cars

Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh has ordered the head of the Minister for Internal Affairs to ban road checks of cars with Russian state numbers, reports RIA Novosti. The president explained that Russia is investing in the development of the country and it is of vital importance to attract tourists from Russia as well.

Abkhaz president bans road-checks of Russian cars

Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh has ordered the head of the Minister for Internal Affairs to ban road checks of cars with Russian state numbers, reports RIA Novosti. The president explained that Russia is investing in the development of the country and it is of vital importance to attract tourists from Russia as well.