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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was critisized by Muslim clergy for saying that it is fine for men to wear ties. In particular, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, an ally of the president, reminded that a fatwa, issued by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, forbids Muslims to wear ties and neckchiefs, News.ru reports.

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Armenia is participating in the 57th international industrial smelting exhibition in Damascus, the press-service of the Armenian Foreign Ministry reports. According to the statement, the Armenian stand is popular among the visitors of the exhibition. Syrian Premier Muhammad Naji al-Otari, members of the government and diplomats visited the stand. In his conversation with Armenian ambassador Arshak Poladyan, the premier expressed satisfaction with the Armenian participation in the exhibition, Armenia Today reports.

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The head of the Dagestani Agency for Tourism, Anatoliy Karibov, had a meeting with an honored master of sports, the president of the Russian Yachting Sport Federation, Sergey Sherbakov. The vice-president of the Yacht Sport Federation of Dagestan, Daud Mukhumayev, and the head of Dagestani regional organization „Federation of Yacht Sport“, Mukhtar Omarov, were also at the meeting, RIA Dagestan reports.

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Informal OSCE summit in Alma-Ata

An informal summit of foreign ministers of OSCE members started on Friday in the former Kazakh capital of Alma-Ata. One of the main issues to be discussed is the situation in Kyrgyzstan.

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Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said he has no plans to discuss the return of the Lacninskiy and Kelbadjar regions in a meeting with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Interfax reports. Nalbandian said on Armenian television that the issue was also not discussed at the meeting of the presidents in Saint-Petersburg. Mammadyarov said earlier that he expects Nalbandian to clarify the dates of Yerevan withdrawing its forces from the two regions in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said after his recent visit to Georgia that the world today uses dialogue to solve problems, not confrontation. He pointed out that Ukraine and Poland had begun a dialogue with Russia. The minister noted that France and the EU have been expecting a proposal from Georgia to start a similar dialogue, Gazeta.ru reports.

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A terrorist attack in Zakhedan, south-east of Iran, killed 22 people and injured 160, the head of the Sistan-Beludjistan province, Ali Mohammed Azad, said, Trend reports, citing Iranian media.

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An improvised explosive device equal to 5 kg of TNT went of on Thursday at 13.40 on the roadside near the village of Verkhniy Baksan in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. There were no casualties, police told RIA Novosti.

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Two militants have been killed during a special operation carried out near the city of Khasavyurt, Interfax reports.The militants were suspected of involvement in attacks on law-enforcement authorities, including a prosecutor's assistant, the head of the city's criminal police department and the assassination of the deputy head of that department.

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EU wants cooperation with the Caucasus - Ashton

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton will pay an official visit to Georgia on July 15, the Georgian foreign ministry reported.The post of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy was introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, which, along with the European External Action Service, aims at ensuring the effectiveness and consistency of EU Foreign Policy.

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On July 15, a special sitting of the youth subcommittee of the Republic of Armenia's Public Council (PC)?discussed suggestions by the Chairman of the PC, Vazgen Manukyan, which he addressed to members of the Council in an open letter.Specifically, the youth subcommittee touched on the most topical issues: the army and education.

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The radio frequency control department of the city of Sochi, has stated that a special commission will monitor radio frequency during the Winter Olympics - 2014, RIA Novosti reports.The commission has already been formed and there is information that it will include representatives of RosTelekom. There is unconfirmed information that mobile operator Megafon?could also be represented in the commission.

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Prague has launched direct flights to Baku. The route Baku-Prague-Baku will be operated by the Azerbaijani company "AZAL", flights will be carried out once a week.The cost of an economy class ticket is 450 euros.

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Unknown assailants have killed a Dagestani bishop of the Russian evangelical church "Osanna" Artur Suleimanov, RIA Novosti reports, citing local police.The murder occurred around 07.00 Moscow time in Makhachkala. Five suspects were seen at the crime scene.

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The Iranian authorities care about the historical heritage of Armenia in Iran, historian Samvel Karapetyan said at a news conference, Armenia Today reports.According to him, Iran , unlike Georgia which tries to appropriate Armenian Churches, pays respect and attention to the churches located on its territory. Karapetyan carried out research work on the state of Armenian cultural monuments in some 100 Iranian villages, leading his team to the conclusion that Iranians respect Armenian churches and religious sites.

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Belarus has not introduced a ban on its citizens travelling?to South Ossetia and Abkhazia and has no such plans, the foreign ministry's press-secretary Andrei Savinih said."The foreign ministry of Belarus did not give any recommendations on visits to South Ossetia and Abkhazia and is not going to do so. Moreover, rumors about a ban are absurd," he said, Interfax reports.Several days ago reports on a ban appeared in several Russian newspapers. "The reasons for these publications are unclear," Savinih added.

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Cinematographers of Armenian origin from all over the world will create an association, director of the "Golden Apricot" film festival Arutun Hachatryan announced today, RIA Novosti reports.The initiative was proposed by famous French producer and moviemaker of Armenian origin?Alen Terzyan. The main aim of the association is to help younger generations succeed in the cinema industry. It is expected that the issue will be discussed at a meeting with the Armenian premier, and the minister for diasporas and culture.

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Two explosive devices have been set off at a municipal beach in Makhachkala. The explosives were placed under deck-chairs. According to preliminary information there were no casualties, Gazeta.ru reports.

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It is expected that the presidents of Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan will hold a meeting in the near future. This was announced today by the Iranian foreign minister Manuchehr Mottaki at a news conference, following a meeting with his Afghani counterpart Zulmai Rasul, Trend reports.

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