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RUSSIA, IRAN and AZERBAIJAN LEADERS MET IN TEHRAN

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Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani and Ilham Aliyev are speaking before the press after trilateral talks in the Iranian capital on Wednesday.

In his speech the Russian leader pointed out several important aspects of the trilateral cooperation, noting that ensuring regional stability and safety was one of the main priorities.

“We should improve coordination between the intelligence services and law enforcement agencies, ensure intensive exchange of information on the activities of international terrorist and extremist organizations, fight drug trafficking, transnational crime and avert attempts of the movement of militants via our countries,” Putin said.

OPEC. (File)

The Russian president also noted that it was important to continue negotiation on the convention of a legal status of the Caspian Sea, which is bounded by the three countries. He also stressed the importance of mutually beneficial cooperation in trade and economy through facilitating customs procedures and eliminating the obstacles to the free movement of goods and services between the countries. Putin also suggested considering the broader use of national currencies in the transaction between the countries, as well as closer ties between financial and banking companies.Vladimir Putin also pointed out there were opportunities for cooperation in transport infrastructure, in particular in the initiative of constructing the western line of the International North–South Transport Corridor. He also reminded that Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan held leading position in hydrocarbon production and could efficiently collaborate in energy sector.

“We see the perspectives for enhancing cooperation in energy sector … I believe that joint exploration of oil and gas fields is in our common interests, as well as launching joint projects in production and transportation of resources,” Putin said.

Iranian oil technician checks the oil separator facilities in Azadegan oil field, near Ahvaz, Iran (File)

The Russian leader stressed the relevance so-called Russia-Azerbaijan-Iran greater energy bridge project, which stipulated integration of the electricity systems of the three countries, noting that the initiative would contribute to the energy security of the whole region. He also named industry, agriculture, high-tech, medicine, pharmacy as important areas of trilateral cooperation.Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan want to deepen high-level cooperation on global energy market platforms and expand cooperation in the oil and gas sector, a joint statement signed by the countries’ presidents in Tehran on Wednesday said.

“The parties point out the key role of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran in the sustained functioning of regional and global energy markets, support the expansion of cooperation in the oil and gas as well as petrochemical sectors, including in the area of exploration and development of oil and gas fields, transport and swap deliveries of crude oil and petroleum products, as well as deepening cooperation on the international platforms,” the statement said.

The parties also supported the projects on connecting the electric grids of the three states as well as agreements on electric power trade.

“We discussed different issues in the sector of stability, fighting crime and terrorism. But the issues of economic nature are at the forefront, of course,” Putin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed, in his turn, Russia’s plans to supply natural gas to the north of Iran via Azerbaijan’s gas transit network.

The Russian president added that he also discussed Syria with Rouhani and Aliyev, and the countries were successful in coordinating their positions.

“We have evaluated the security situation in the region in details, discussed the issues related to the Iranian nuclear deal and, of course, focused on the situation in Syria. I would like to stress that we are working with Iran in a very productive way. We are able to agree our positions on the Syrian issues,” the Russian leader said.

Future Summit in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin highlighted the importance of high-level meetings identical to Russia-Iran-Azerbaijan trilateral summit and invited the Iranian and Azerbaijani leaders to Russia for the next meeting.

“The meetings in such format are at demand. They enable us to coordinate positions on the most sensitive issues of the regional and global agenda, to engage in a constructive search for solutions to common issues in the area of security, fights against global terrorism, to enhance cooperation in trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian areas … I would like to invite you to Russia for the next trilateral summit,” Putin said at the summit with his Iranian and Azerbaijani counterparts in Tehran.

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…

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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

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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)

Tim Warner/Getty Images

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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