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A LOOK BACK AT IMPORTANT POLITICAL EVENTS IN AZERBAIJAN IN 2017

The Azeri Times

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On February 6, top-level talks were held in Brussels, with the participation of President Ilham Aliyev, on the draft agreement on strategic partnership.

2. On 21 February, by the order of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Mehriban Aliyeva was appointed the first vice-president of the country.

3. On March 10, Azerbaijan announced the withdrawal from the Initiative of transparency in extractive industries “(EITI).

4. On 28 March, the final blocking of websites criticizing the country’s government began in Azerbaijan: the Azadlig newspaper (azadliq.info), the Internet channel Meydan TV (meydan.tv), the Azerbaijan Radio Liberty (azadlig.org) Azərbaycan saatı “.

5. On May 29, Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was kidnapped and transported to Tbilisi.

6. On August 8, the Ministry of Taxes put forward a fabricated charge of tax evasion against the Turan news agency, which initiated the whole epic: the arrest of director Mehman Aliyev, his release and the termination of the criminal case.

7. On 11 October, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe approved two documents and resolutions relating to Azerbaijan: “The functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan” and the report: “Steps taken in Azerbaijan in respect of human rights during the country’s chairmanship of the Council of Europe (May- November 2014).

8. On 25 October, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe formally notified Azerbaijan of its intention to initiate legal actions related to the need to ensure the implementation of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Ilgar Mammadov.

9. On 15 November, 14 information sites were blocked by the Ministry of Communications at the call of the Press Council, which unfoundedly accused Internet resources of racketeering and introduced them into the so-called “black list”.

10. On December 5, the Minister of Taxation with 17-year-old experience Fazil Mammadov was dismissed.

Summary of the year 2017

Political events of 2017 are marked by two vectors – the growing pressure of the authorities on civil society, as well as the pressure of the West on the regime. This year, the administration of President Ilham Aliyev continued to attack the opposition and independent voices inside and outside the country.

Arrests of political activists, journalists were arrested. In spring, arrested on a fabricated charge of smuggling, the deputy chairman of the Popular front party Gezal Bayramli, the journalist Afgan Mukhtarly was stolen in Tbilisi and sent to Baku by the journalist, and the blogger Mehman Huseynov, channel 13 Orujov executive director was arrested. A special operation was carried out to eliminate the independent news agency Turan and its director, Mehman Aliyev.

The policy of neutralizing free voices continued, which was marked by regular tightening of legislation in the field of media, informatics, arrest of journalists and large-scale and illegal blocking of websites. If in the spring up to five sites were blocked, then in the fall such a blockage was more extensive – more than 20 sites were blocked.

At the end of the year, the institution of representation of lawyers for the protection of citizens in courts and law enforcement agencies was abolished legislatively. This significantly weakened the system of protection of civil activists. In the Bar Association there are about 900 people, of which around 370 are actively practicing and only 5 lawyers go to politically motivated processes.

Only towards the middle of the year after a long peaceful pause, the West renewed pressure on the regime, which was suspended in mid-2016 in exchange for promises of various reforms.

On September 7, the Appropriations Committee of the US Senate approved an amendment to the bill on External Operations for the 2018th fiscal year, proposed by Senator Richard Durbin. It provides for visa sanctions against Azerbaijani officials involved in the arrest of Mehman Aliyev.

On October 10, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe approved two documents and resolutions related to Azerbaijan: “The functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan” and the report: “Steps taken in Azerbaijan in respect of human rights during the country’s chairmanship of the Council of Europe (May-November 2014.)

On October 25, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe officially notified Azerbaijan of its intention to start legal actions related to the need to ensure the implementation of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Ilgar Mammadov.

These actions aroused concern in the government circles, which reflected the immediate release of Mehman Aliyev, the termination of the criminal case against Turan, the readiness to resolve the issue of the release of Ilgar Mammadov, and the signing in 2018 of an agreement on strategic partnership with the European Union. However, at the same time, the pressure line on civil society continued, which demonstrated itself in the arrest of Ragim Gaziyev, the defense minister of the early 1990s, and the issuance of punitive decisions by the Press Council against a number of media outlets.

Summing up, we can say that the year ended politically the same way as it began: the persecution and arrest of opponents, the tightening of legislation, confrontation with international institutions and democratic countries, which during the year itwas systematic and consistent.

Politics

People Got So Mad About This ‘Sexy’ Handmaid’s Tale Costume That the Company Is No Longer Selling It

A “sexy” Halloween costume inspired by the dystopian novel and TV series The Handmaid’s Tale is no longer being sold after receiving a barrage of online criticism for sexualizing the show’s subject matter — women subjugated by an oppressive government. The online retailer Yandy, which designed and sold the costume, issued an apology Thursday following…

The Azeri Times

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People Got So Mad About This ‘Sexy’ Handmaid’s Tale Costume That the Company Is No Longer Selling It

A “sexy” Halloween costume inspired by the dystopian novel and TV series The Handmaid’s Tale is no longer being sold after receiving a barrage of online criticism for sexualizing the show’s subject matter — women subjugated by an oppressive government.

The online retailer Yandy, which designed and sold the costume, issued an apology Thursday following the backlash. “Over the last few hours, it has become obvious that [the costume] is being seen as a symbol of women’s oppression, rather than empowerment,” the company wrote in a statement shared on Twitter.

“This is unfortunate as it was not our intention on any level. Our initial inspiration to create the piece was through witnessing its use in recent months as a powerful protest image,” the statement continued. “Given the sincere, heartfelt response, supported by numerous personal stories we’ve received, we are removing the costume from our site.”

Before being taken down, the costume’s product description read: “An upsetting dystopian future has emerged where women no longer have a say. However, we say be bold and speak your mind in this exclusive Brave Red Maiden costume featuring a red mini dress, a matching cloak with an attached hood, and a white bonnet headpiece.”

In the Handmaid’s Tale, women have had their rights eroded by an authoritarian government, which forces them to bear children and effectively act as slaves. The main character describes herself as a “two-legged womb.”

Many Twitter users quickly pointed out the costume was problematic given the show’s subject matter. “This is so far from the point,” one wrote.

“Our society doesn’t take the rape of real women seriously, why should they take the rape of fictional women seriously?” another person tweeted.

Dressing up in the handmaid’s signature red capes has become a symbol of women’s resistance in the real world in recent months. Earlier this month, dozens of women donned the crimson capes and protested at Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.

This is far from the first controversial Halloween costume that has forced a company to roll back its product. In 2016, Disney stopped selling a controversial Moana costume after people said its brown skin was racist.

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Azerbaijan

Opposition activist sentenced to 6 years in Azerbaijan

The Azeri Times

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On 18 September, the Baku Court for Serious Crimes sentenced a member of the youth committee of the opposition Popular Front of Azerbaijan Party (PFAP), Orkhan Bakhishli, to six years in prison.

Bakhishli was detained by men in plain clothes in downtown Baku on the evening of 7 May. On 10 May, the Yasamal District Court in Baku charged the youth activist with drug possession and ordered his detention for four months.

The PFAP has claimed that the charges against Bakhishli are trumped up and politically motivated. Several days before his arrest, on 3 May at a World Press Freedom Day event at the grave of journalist Elmar Huseynov, who was shot and killed in 2005, Bakhishli accused the Azerbaijani government of Huseynov’s murder.

Human rights activists consider Bakhishli a political prisoner. Previously, he served 30 days of administrative detention after being arrested ahead of a 31 March opposition rally.

In recent years, activists Ahsan Nuruzadeh, Murad Adilov, Bayram Mammadov, Giyas Ibrahimov, Elgiz Gahramanov, blogger Rashad Ramazanov and others have also been jailed on charges of drug possession.

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Politics

Jimmy Butler Trade Rumors: T-Wolves Star Requests Deal, Gives Shortlist of Teams

Tim Warner/Getty ImagesMinnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Jimmy Butler has reportedly requested a trade ahead of the 2018-19 NBA season.On Wednesday, Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reported Butler has provided the T-Wolves with a list of the “one to three teams” with whom he’d be willing to sign a contract extension.According to ESPN’s Adrian…

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Jimmy Butler Trade Rumors: T-Wolves Star Requests Deal, Gives Shortlist of Teams
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 25:  Jimmy Butler #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts in the first half during Game Five of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on April 25, 2018 in Houston, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

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Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Jimmy Butler has reportedly requested a trade ahead of the 2018-19 NBA season.

On Wednesday, Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reported Butler has provided the T-Wolves with a list of the “one to three teams” with whom he’d be willing to sign a contract extension.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Butler’s three preferred trade destinations are the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks.

Minnesota acquired the 29-year-old Marquette product in June 2017 in a blockbuster deal with the Chicago Bulls. He averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals while shooting 47.4 percent from the field across 59 appearances last year.

Although Butler enjoyed on-court success, ranking 18th in the NBA in player efficiency rating, there have been rumblings about his unhappiness within the squad.

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In July, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported Butler was “frustrated with the nonchalant attitudes of younger teammates—specifically Karl-Anthony Towns—[and] does not intend to sign an extension with the Timberwolves.”

Per Cowley, the four-time All-Star selection is also keen on linking up with Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving next offseason—both players can decline player options in their contract to become free agents in 2019—to create a potential superteam in the Eastern Conference.

Krawczynski noted Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau was “initially resistant” to the idea of a trade, but Butler remains hopeful of moving to a new team as the new season approaches.

Krawczynski also reported the request has “very little” to do with the reported issues with Towns and Andrew Wiggins and is more related to contract concerns.

Butler is scheduled to receive a $18.7 million base salary for the 2018-19 season, which ranks 12th among shooting guards, seven spots behind Wiggins, per Spotrac.

It’s unclear whether there’s enough time to complete a major trade before the campaign gets underway in less than a month. The Wolves are set to open the preseason against the Golden State Warriors on Sept. 29, and their regular season begins Oct. 17 when they take on the San Antonio Spurs.

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