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Azerbaijan

Police Arrest Opposition Leader Ahead Of Baku Rally

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Baku Police detained dozens of opposition activists ahead of a planned protest in the Azerbaijani capital on October 19.

According to RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service, the leader of Azerbaijan’s opposition Popular Front Party, Ali Kerimli, was also among those detained in Baku.

Azerbaijani investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova said police also blocked three subway stations in an apparent attempt to thwart protesters from reaching the rally site. She also said Internet service had been blocked in most of the city.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized the Azerbaijani authorities for refusing to allow the opposition to peacefully gather.

“Azerbaijan authorities continue to display blatant contempt for freedom of assembly in the country,” said Giorgi Gogia, South Caucasus director at HRW, in a comment on Twitter.

The latest crackdown comes after police detained several people at a protest on October 8 in Baku in support of the right to free assembly organized by the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF), an umbrella group of Azerbaijani opposition forces.

President Ilham Aliyev has ruled the South Caucasus country of nearly 10 million since shortly before the death of his father in 2003.

Aliyev has overseen the systematic dismantling of the country’ civil society. Dozens of activists, journalists, and human rights activists have been arrested and convicted on what critics say are bogus, politically motivated, charges. Independent media outlets have also been shut down.

RFRL

Azerbaijan

Iran to raise wages after hike in petrol prices

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The Iranian government's bill on increasing the fuel prices was submitted to the parliament twice, and both times it was rejected with a very high vote, member of Iranian parliament's Energy Commission Qasem Saedi told Trend.

He said the parliament wasn't in favor of increasing the fuel prices.

The MP also said that the Supreme Economic Council was set to raise the fuel prices without the parliament's approval, but with the approval of the National Security Council and the country's leadership.

"Currently, the MPs are very upset with the timing and the manner of enforcing this policy, but since it is within the Iranian constitution, it should be agreed upon by the parliament," Saedi said.

He went on to add that the government will try to help low-income families in the country to get out of the situation with the least amount of damage.

Saedi said the regulation of the market by the government has become more stringent since the rise of the fuel prices.

Speaking of the wage increase, he said that the parliament plans to raise wages as well.

The peaceful protests have been recently held in connection with an increase in gasoline prices in Iran. In some cases, the protests resulted in riots.

Under the new fuel regulations, each driver is allowed to buy 60 liters of petrol a month at 15,000 rials (35 cents) a liter. Each additional liter costs 30,000 rials (71 cents). Previously, drivers were allowed up to 250 liters at 10,000 rials (25 cents) per liter.

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Azerbaijan

Number of particularly serious crime increased by 30 in Armenia

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The number of particularly serious crimes increased by 30% in Armenia, the National Statistics Service reports.

It is specified that from January to September 2019, 18,865 crimes were recorded in the country. In the same period last year, this figure was 17673 crimes.

According to statistics, this year the number of particularly serious crimes increased by 30%. In the first 9 months of this year, 36 murders and 24 attempted murders were committed.

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Azerbaijan

IMF forecasts GDP growth in oil countries of Caucasus and Central Asia

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects the annual GDP growth of Azerbaijan and Central Asian countries to reach at least four percent, Trend reports on Nov. 8 referring to the IMF's regional report on the Caucasus and Central Asia.

In accordance with the report, the GDP growth of oil-exporting countries in the region, namely Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, along with Azerbaijan, will keep at 4.3 percent in 2019 and 4.4 percent in 2020.

The IMF calls relatively weak fiscal policy and growth in lending for the private sector as the internal causes of economic growth. The external obstacles are the slowdown in global growth, a decrease in commodity prices and an increase in geopolitical risks.

At the same time, the average current account balance of the countries included in the report will remain at around 0.5 percent of the deficit in 2019 and one percent in 2020.

The IMF expects the current account surplus to reach $1.7 billion in Azerbaijan. The surplus is planned to greatly increase during the next three years. Thus, a surplus worth $2.7 billion is expected to be observed in 2023.

The report said that the Caucasian and Central Asian countries shall make further efforts to stimulate higher and inclusive growth, create job places, improve living standards, sustainability and reduce exposure to the external shocks. News.Az

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