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Baku’s female motor mechanic and her auto repair shop

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“We are soft but not weak,” – that’s what she tells those who advise her to ‘go and cook soup’

Nushaba had already had two children by the time she finished her motor mechanic apprenticeship, but was afraid to disclose it to her family.

Her occupation is regarded in Azerbaijan as a ‘man’s job’. However, Nushaba isn’t an outcast. On the contrary, she has become a local celebrity. She is known as a good ‘box master’ – that’s how motor mechanics who specialize in gearbox repair are referred to in Baku. Nushaba is accustomed to communicating with reporters as she often gives interviews.

She says that this ‘exotic’ profession has influenced her temper, making her tough and harsh: “If I try to be polite and smile at everyone, I won’t work here long.”

Wearing spiffy earrings she makes it clear straight away that she’s not going to reveal her age.

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Azerbaijan

Turkey prevents major terrorist attack in mall

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A major terrorist attack has been prevented in a mall in Turkey’s Adana province as a result of a special intelligence operation, Trend reports via Turkish media.

Reportedly, two terrorists of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been detained, with one of them being a Syrian citizen.

The second detainee is a Turkish citizen, who was trained in a PKK terrorist camp in Iraq’s north.

No other details of the operation have been reported.

The conflict between Turkey and the PKK, which demands the creation of an independent Kurdish state, has been lasting around 40 years, claiming more than 40,000 lives. The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by the UN and the EU.

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China completes Mars lander test ahead of 2020 mission

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China on Thursday completed a test of its Mars exploration lander ahead of Beijing's first mission to the red planet slated for 2020, AFP reported.

Beijing is pouring billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a crewed space station by 2022.

Thursday's hovering and obstacle avoidance test, which took place in Huailai, northern Hebei province, was conducted in a facility that simulated conditions on Mars.

A red platform with steel cables attached mimicked the planet's gravity — which is about a third that of Earth — as the lander descended from a tall, metal structure.

The test is "an important part" of China's plans to land on Mars, said Zhang Kejian, director of the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

"Currently, all development work is going smoothly," he said in a statement.

China is pushing to catch up with the United States and become a space power, with ambitions of a manned lunar landing.

Earlier this year it made the first ever soft landing on the far side of the moon, deploying a rover on the surface.

China's first mission to Mars will focus on "orbiting and landing on Mars and perform a patrol survey on the surface," Zhang Rongqiao, chief designer of China's Mars mission, said at Thursday's test.

"After the probe is launched, it will take seven months to reach Mars," he added.

The final landing process will only last about seven minutes, but is "the most difficult and the most challenging part of the whole mission".

China now spends more on its civil and military space programmes than Russia and Japan, and is second only to the United States.

Although opaque, its 2017 budget was estimated at $8.4 billion by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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Azerbaijan

Kuwaits government submits resignation

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Kuwait’s prime minister has submitted his cabinet’s resignation to the ruling emir of the Gulf Arab state, a government spokesman said on Thursday.

The resignation came after Kuwaiti lawmakers on Tuesday submitted a motion for a no-confidence vote against Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid al-Jarrah al-Sabah, who is a senior member of the ruling Al Sabah family.

Cabinet resignations in Kuwait happen frequently when elected lawmakers are set to question or submit a no-confidence vote against senior government officials.

The emir still has to accept the resignation in order for it to be final. He would then request a new cabinet to be formed.

Lawmakers had questioned Sheikh Khalid over alleged abuse of power, charges he rejected. The country’s public works minister resigned on Friday after being grilled by parliament about flood damage in the desert country following heavy rainfall.

Kuwait, a U.S.-allied OPEC producer, has the most open political system in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, with a parliament that has the power to pass legislation and question ministers.

The government is headed by a prime minister selected by the emir, who has the final say in state matters. Senior posts are occupied by ruling family members.

Frictions between the cabinet and parliament have led to frequent reshuffles or the dissolution of parliament.

The assembly’s speaker, Marzouq al-Ghanem, told state news agency KUNA on Thursday that the emir does not intend to dissolve parliament.

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