‘King of Instagram’ Dan Bilzerian Has Warrant Out for His Arrest in Azerbaijan

The country of Azerbaijan has issued an arrest warrant for Dan Bilzerian, the social media celebrity with the lavish lifestyle known as the “King of Instagram.”

PEOPLE confirms that the Investigative Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Azerbaijan has initiated a criminal case against Bilzerian, alleging he illegally visited Nagorno Karabakh, a region that is the subject of a conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Authorities allege that Bilzerian illegally acquired grenades and firearms before “demonstratively” opening fire at a shooting range.

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Rolls-Royce admits bribes to SOCAR

In a $170 million settlement paid to the US government for bribery cases in six countries, Rolls-Royce has admitted that it paid $7.8 million in bribes to SOCAR, the Azerbaijan state-owned oil and gas company.

The bribes were paid by the company’s American affiliate Rolls-Royce Energy Systems (RRESI) in order to ensure large orders of turbines in Azerbaijan. The US Justice Department filed the suit because an American company was involved and because it considered SOCAR to be “controlled by the Azeri government and performed government functions for Azerbaijan.”

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Silk Way Airline once linked to Azerbaijan’s ruling family got US loan guarantees, military contracts, planes

Through opaque contracts, an Azerbaijani cargo airline once linked to the ruling Aliyev family has an impressive range of business partners — including the US military.

A cargo airline owned by a company with past ties to Azerbaijan’s ruling Aliyev family won some lucrative contracts from the U.S. military, according to documents obtained in 2016 through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed in the U.S. by a reporter for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

In late 2005, as the war in Afghanistan was in its fourth year, the U.S. government began contracting with the carrier, Silk Way Airlines, to transport ammunition and other non-lethal materials to U.S.-trained Afghan forces and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the country.

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Speculations swirl around closure of pro-government Azerbaijani news agency

The Azerbaijani authorities have pulled the plug on the news agency APA, an indication that even reliably pro-government media are not safe in the ongoing crackdown on press in the country.

APA, as well as its sister agencies Lent.az and APA Sport in the company APA Holding, were all shut down on August 1. The authorities did not provide any explanation, but media observers in the country suggest that there could be internal business struggles behind the move.

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Turkey Makes Overtures to Minorities, but Old Enmities Linger

KARS, Turkey — The history of this city, about 30 miles from the border with Armenia, may best be told through its former Armenian cathedral, the Church of the Holy Apostles, poised at the base of an imposing fortress.

Built in the 10th century by an Armenian king, it was turned into a mosque three times and once into a Russian Orthodox church. It was briefly resurrected as an Armenian church in 1919 before the modern secular Turkish state expropriated it in 1921, eventually turning it into a petroleum depot, then into a museum, then again into a mosque.

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No free speech for ethnic minority

My husband was imprisoned in February 2007. Two weeks later, they stormed into our house at midnight to scare us and told us that he had betrayed his nation.

This is how Maryam Mammadova remembers what happened to her late husband, Professor Novruzali Mammadov.

Novruzali Mammadov was arrested by the now defunct National Security Ministry on 2 February 2007. He died in suspicious circumstances on 17 August 2009 in a Baku prison. At the time of his arrest, he was the head of the scientific-educational sector of the Romance and Germanic Linguistics Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, the editor-in-chief of the “Tolyshi Sado” newspaper, and the deputy chairman of the Talysh Cultural Center. Many, including his wife, believe that he was imprisoned and killed for promoting Talysh culture and especially because of his activities connected with “Tolyshi Sado.”

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Azerbaijan: A River Of Illegal Drugs Runs Through It

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

For 77-year-old Safura Ahmedova, living in Azerbaijan along one of the globe’s most notorious drug-trade routes has come at immense cost: two sons and a husband dead, and another son in prison.

“My elder son was married and had a good job. He later became a drug addict,” Ahmedova tells RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service. “We struggled to cure him, but it didn’t help. He shot up, poisoning his body, and died. He left behind two children.”

But the drugs that have overrun Ahmedova’s home district of Astara, which borders Iran and the Caspian Sea and makes up Azerbaijan’s southernmost corner, were not done destroying her life and family.

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