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Arsenal leaves out Mkhitaryan from Europa League final amid safety concerns

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Armenian national Henrikh Mkhitaryan has chosen together with Arsenal not to attend the final match of the Europa League to be held in Baku, CNN reports.

The English club says Mkhitaryan was omitted from the final squad as his safety in Baku is a matter of concern. Mkhitaryan is also the captain of the Armenian football team.

Arsenal said it was “disappointed” by the absence of its main attacking midfielder in Baku, but added that the decision was made after discussions with him and his family. In a letter to UEFA, Arsenal expressed they are "deeply concerned" that the player is missing out on the final calling it “a big loss" for the team.

"Micki will continue to be part of our preparations until we depart for Baku at the weekend," the club stated.

On Twitter, Mkhitaryan said being left out of the final against Chelsea “hurt a lot."

UEFA said on May 10 that they did everything possible to ensure security of Mkhitaryan in Baku. “UEFA sought and received assurances regarding the player's safety in Azerbaijan from the highest authorities in the country," the statement reads.

"While the club acknowledges the efforts that UEFA and the Azeri government have gone to in this matter, we respect the personal decision not to travel with the player."

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva has said that despite the tense relations with Armenia, Mkhitaryan can play in Baku.

"Sports and politics are separate," Abdullayeva told AP.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have no diplomatic ties due to the decades-long Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that left the region in “no war, no peace."

England's Arsenal and Chelsea clubs will compete in the Europa League final in Baku on May 29.

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Azerbaijan

26 years pass since occupation of Azerbaijans Aghdam District

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Today, 26 years pass from the occupation of Azerbaijan’s Aghdam district by Armenia, Trend reports.

Armenian invaders occupied the major part of the Aghdam District on July 23, 1993, seizing around 882 sq km of 1,094 sq km territory of Aghdam, one city, and 80 villages.

More than 6,000 people died during the battles in Aghdam, while 128,000 people became internally displaced persons after the occupation.

The district’s occupation inflicted a damage of $6.179 billion to Azerbaijan. The damage inflicted to the region’s agriculture only is estimated at 992.8 million manats.

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.

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Azerbaijan

India launches second Moon mission

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India`s mission to the moon has blasted into space one week after a technical glitch forced scientists to abruptly halt its scheduled launch, according to The Guardian.

Thousands gathered to watch Chandrayaan-2 take off at a 2.43pm local time on Monday from Satish Dhawan space center in Sriharikota, north of Chennai.

Last Monday, the unmanned mission was aborted 56 minutes from takeoff. The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) blamed a “technical snag”.

In a speech after the launch, Kailasavadivoo Sivan, chairman of Isro, said the agency’s staff had worked tirelessly to fix the fault and had “bounced back with flying colors”.

“It is the beginning of a historical journey of India towards the moon, and to land at a place near the south pole to carry out scientific experiments to explore the unexplored,” said Sivan.

With India poised to become the world’s fifth-largest economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ardently nationalist government is eager to show off the country’s prowess in security and technology.

Chandrayaan-2 aims to become the first mission to conduct a surface landing on the lunar south pole region, where it will collect crucial information about the moon’s composition. It would be India’s first surface landing on the moon – a feat previously achieved by only Russia, the US, and China.

The $141m (£113m) mission is a “demonstration of the growing sophistication of India’s space power”, said Dr. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, head of the nuclear and space policy initiative at the Observer Research Foundation thinktank in Delhi.

India launched its first lunar probe in 2008 and guided a spacecraft into orbit around Mars in 2014.

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Azerbaijan

Fires become frequent in Armenia

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Cases of fires in Armenia have become very frequent this year hitting the record high – they increased 2.1 times in the first half of this year, compared with the same period a year before, Sergey Hayrapetyan, spokesman of the emergency ministry’s firefighting service, said on Monday.

“As for the fires on territories covered with plants, their number was four times greater this year than at the same period a year earlier,” he said.

In his words, the territories swallowed by flames were 5.7 times greater.

Over 20 days of July 2019, he said, more than 1,200 fires have been reported, and 75% of them happened on green spaces.

Hayrapetyan said that the high frequency of fires was caused by heat and also by a human factor.

He said that most frequently fires happen in Yerevan as well as in Kotayk, Ararat, Syunik, Armavir and Aragatsotn provinces.

He stressed that fire-preventing efforts are not only the emergency ministry’s business – citizens themselves, local governing bodies and various organizations should do something as well.

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