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Turkey donated hydraulic equipment worth $1.2 million to the government of Niger. The equipment include a drilling rig, two support trucks, and other services, said Barmou Salifou, the landlocked Western African country's water and sanitation minister, during the handover ceremony.

"Turkey has been supporting Niger's water and sanitation sector for nearly a decade. The support began with the realization of water infrastructure in the Maradi region under the supervision of a group of NGOs in 2008," Salifou said. The aid was realized through a project supervised by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), which has built over 258 drinking water wells fitted with pumps, mainly in the Maradi, Dosso, Tillabery, and Niamey regions, Salifou added.

In its latest move, Turkey is in line with the 2008 Turkey-Africa Summit held in Istanbul, said Huseyin Ozdemir, Turkey's ambassador to Niger. “At the summit, Turkey adopted a strategic document for Africa, and a steering committee in charge of coordinating the strategy was set up with the participation of the ministries of forests and other relevant state bodies,” Ozdemir added. "Climate change and recurrent droughts have affected water resources in many African countries, including Niger," he added.

At least 25 civilians have been killed on Wednesday in fresh airstrikes conducted by Russian and Assad regime warplanes in East of Aleppo, according to Syrian Civil Defense. The second largest city of the war-torn Syria has been facing intense airstrikes, especially in the opposition-held areas, that killed hundreds of civilians and left remaining inhabitants without water and electricity.

Babiris Meshal from the Syrian Civil Defense said that Russian jets hit civil areas in opposition-held al-Ferdos neighborhood with penetrating bombs. "The fighter jets had conducted 25 airstrikes earlier this morning,” the SCD representative said. More than 45 people were also wounded as the bombs destroyed a medical facility in the city, according to SCD.

Meshal said that Russian fighter jets have intensified their bombing in the last two days. “Russian had pounded more than 30 penetrating bombs on the area yesterday,” he added. A total of 43 people had reportedly been killed by the Russian forces on Wednesday while more than 80 others were injured in different areas of Aleppo.

The Uzbek Senate approved a mass amnesty of prisoners on Wednesday ahead of the Dec. 8 anniversary of the adoption of the country's constitution.

The amnesty had been proposed by acting President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on Tuesday. It will apply to sentenced women, jailed individuals under the age of 18 and prisoners who are over 60, as well as some to foreign nationals.

People convicted of crimes described as posing no danger to society -- plus first-time offenders – will also be released.

Uzbekistan's parliament named former Prime Minister Mirziyoyev as acting president following the recent death of Islam Karimov.

Karimov had ruled the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Three civilians were killed when two bombings rocked Iraqi capital Baghdad on Wednesday, according to a security source.

Baghdad Police Colonel Salem al-Numaan told Anadolu Agency that the first bomb had gone off near a crowded market in southern Baghdad's Al-Mahmudiya district, killing two civilians and injuring nine others.

Security forces and ambulances had quickly rushed to the scene and cordoned off adjacent streets, al-Numaan said.

In a separate incident, the police officer said, a third civilian was killed in eastern Baghdad's Sadr City district by an explosive device planted in his vehicle.

There has been no claim of responsibility for Wednesday's violence, but such attacks are typically blamed on the Daesh terrorist group, which overran vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq in 2014.

Former NBA star and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's chief sports adviser Hidayet Türkoğlu has announced on Thursday that he will be a candidate for the presidency of the Turkish Basketball Federation in the upcoming elections. Türkoğlu released a statement, saying that "I'm so pleased and excited to announce my candidacy for the federation presidency in the new basketball session".

He said that he was so proud to be one of the members of the Turkish basketball family, adding that "We're aware that we are responsible for our clubs, players, trainers, and families who never desert their children to pursue the love of basketball." Touching on his and his crew's vision for the future of Turkish basketball, Hido said that "Our closeness with basketball lover brands, media outlets and education institutions will increase, we will work shoulder to shoulder with our clubs in harmony."

Türkoğlu, known as "Hido,", is a basketball star who retired last year after 15 years in the NBA where he played for the Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers. Before his appointment as chief adviser to the president on sports affairs, Türkoğlu had also been CEO of the Turkish Basketball Federation. Harun Erdenay, former professional basketball player in Turkey, the current president of the Turkish Basketball Federation announced in the week that he would not be candidate for the federation presidency in the upcoming elections.

OPEC reported a increase in its oil production in September to the highest in at least eight years and raised its forecast for 2017 non-OPEC supply growth, pointing to a larger surplus next year despite the group's deal to cut output. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 33.39 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, according to figures OPEC collects from secondary sources, up 220,000 bpd from August, OPEC said in a monthly report on Wednesday.

The figures underline OPEC's challenge in seeking to restrain supplies for the first time since 2008 to curb a persistent supply glut and prop up prices. Oil is trading near $53 a barrel LCOc1, less than half the price hit in mid-2014. "Inventories stand near all-time highs worldwide," OPEC said in the report. "Although in recent weeks these high levels have been slightly drawn down."

To speed up a rebalancing of the market, OPEC agreed at a meeting in Algeria on Sept. 28 to cut supply to between 32.50 million bpd and 33.0 million bpd. The group hopes to finalize details, including how much each of the its 14 members can pump, at a meeting in November. The report showed the supply boost in September mostly came from Libya and Nigeria, which are restoring output after disruptions, and from Iraq, which has questioned the accuracy of OPEC's secondary-source figures.

OPEC uses two sets of figures to monitor its output: figures provided by each country, and secondary sources which include industry media. The reason why two sets of figures are used is because of past disputes over how much countries were really pumping. Iraq told OPEC it produced 4.775 million bpd in September, while the secondary sources put output at 4.455 million bpd. From Iraq's point of view, joining the OPEC supply cut deal from the higher figure would be more favorable.

Baghdad has taken issue with the gap between the two sets of figures. Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi called a separate briefing on the day of the Algeria meeting to complain about the gap. That aside, OPEC's report is the latest to show output is hitting new peaks. The September figure is the highest since at least 2008, according to a Reuters review of past OPEC reports. In the report, OPEC also raised its forecast of non-OPEC supply next year, saying output from outside the group would rise by 240,000 bpd, up 40,000 bpd from an earlier forecast due to a higher forecast for Russia.

With demand for OPEC crude in 2017 expected to average 32.59 million bpd, the report indicates there will now be an average surplus of 800,000 bpd if OPEC keeps output steady. Last month's report pointed to a 760,000 bpd surplus. OPEC made no change to the global oil demand outlook, predicting demand growth of 1.15 million bpd in 2017.

China's state planner has drawn up a five-year plan to develop the China Railway Express to Europe, improving customs clearance and infrastructure, it said on Wednesday. The network was crucial to China's "One Belt, One Road" policy, spearheaded by President Xi Jinping to increase connectivity and cooperation between China and the rest of Eurasia, it said.

The 2016-2020 plan is the first top-level scheme to be proposed for the corridor, which has grown in popularity as firms seek shorter goods travel times, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on its website. Local governments have launched rail services over 39 lines linking Chinese cities like Chongqing to destinations in Germany, Poland and the Netherlands, but Beijing this year moved to take control of the network, rebranding the trains and containers under the "China Railway Express" brand.

The NDRC said the network, seen as an alternative to shipping by sea or air, had been plagued with high costs, disorderly competition and a supply-demand imbalance, creating a need to strengthen regulation. The state planner would focus on developing three routes and 43 transit hubs on the network as well as improve the services and infrastructure, it said.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday that annual trade volume with Turkey would be increased to $3 billion. “We have a long way to go. We will use a variety of mechanisms for this,” Novak said at the opening of the 18th joint meeting of the Russia-Turkish Business Council in Istanbul.

He stated that setting up a positive issue regarding bilateral trade and economy with Turkey would be beneficial for both countries' future relations. Referring to the year-long crisis between Ankara and Moscow following a jet downing incident last year, the Russian minister admitted “our relations were restructuring incrementally”.

“[There will be] new agreements on cooperation in economy, culture and science sectors. We are developing our business in new technologies,” he said, adding that a commission for international cooperation would begin its work soon. Russia-Turkey relations seem to be back on the track as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed several agreements in Istanbul this week alongside the 23rd World Energy Congress. Both countries have shared a common view on the Syrian crisis, and stressed on an immediate solution for the humanitarian crisis.

Turkey and Russia could establish a joint venture to construct the second line of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, said Dr. Volkan Özdemir, head of the Institute for Energy Markets and Policies. Özdemir noted that there is no problem on the first line of the gas pipeline Project, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart signed a deal to establish the line on Monday.

According to the agreement, the construction will start in 2017 and end in late 2019. The intergovernmental deal on the pipeline also envisioned the construction of two underwater legs in the Black Sea, with the annual capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters each.

A Russian company will operate the offshore segment, while a Turkish company will run the onshore segment, he said.

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There are 30 million video gamers in Turkey. That's more than a third of the overall population - and nearly 80 percent of internet users. What's even more important for anyone who is commercially intrigued with this community is that almost two thirds of them are paying for their fun. Coming from Gamecell, the new gaming platform from Turkcell, these figures are hard to ignore for any service provider who wants to win the content game.

Gamecell is hardly the first local digital gaming platform in Turkey: Türk Telekom, another service provider in Turkey, has built its own online marketplace named "PlayStore" years ago. With features like the ability to pay by credit card installment, pay by mobile or even to add the price to user's internet bill, PlayStore built its own local community who has a hard time making online / abroad purchases.

Now with this new service, Turkcell, another big player in the Turkish telecom industry, wants to up the game by siding with eSports fans. And they have partnered with a local startup that has a strong grasp of the Turkish gaming community: Faruk Akıncı, CEO and Founder of BigKazan, the company's partner in gaming business, answered our questions about the new service and Turkish gaming population in general.

"Gamecell is an integrated gaming platform that consists of five different components: Hive, Buzz, PIN, Market, and APP, "Akıncı said. Hive is the first local tournament platform for competitive games. Buzz will cover eSports and gaming industry news. PIN and Market are Gamecell's e-commerce ecosystem with exclusive payment options. And finally, APP is the gateway to mobile gaming. It's a360-degrees gaming platform in general.

Answering a question on how it will compete with the global gaming platforms like Steam, Akıncı said, "E-commerce is just one leg of Gamecell. Still, we want to provide extra value for gamers at every checkpoint. The Gamecell e-commerce ecosystem offers exclusive payment and content delivery options. Turkish gamers can purchase their games via mobile payment and pay in installments."

The launch event of Gamecell. The platform targets every layer of the gaming community: PC, console, competitive, casual, mobile and free2play. Turkish gamers can purchase the games via mobile payment and pay in installments.

"If that purchase is worth TL 20 ($6.50) or more, we're providing a Turbo Button that takes your internet speed to 100Mbit/s and you will not be affected by any quota limitations for 24 hours. When you take into account that an average PC game needs about 20GB of download, it's pretty valuable. In GamecellV2.0 (to be announced) we will be integrating a loyalty program as well where there will be a wallet system for every gamer," he adds.

Gamecell targets every layer of the gaming community: PC, console, competitive, casual, mobile and free2play. If you're a gamer, you will definitely find something for yourself. "Come and be a part of competitive excitement at the eSports tournaments in HIVE; keep up with the latest of gaming in Buzz; purchase the cheapest, easiest and most valuable way in PIN and Market; enjoy the most popular mobile games in APP, Akıncı continued.

The new platform will obviously influence the gaming ecosystem in Turkey. Akıncı said: "The Turkish gaming industry is still expanding with an average 10 percent growth rate every year. We're targeting 40 percent of the local industry at the end of three years but our main strategy is to be the primary partner for game publishers with acquisition, retention and monetization model. We want to create a successful local brand in that manner."

When asked about why the company wanted to invest in gaming industry, Akıncı said that it positions itself not only as one of leading GSM operators in Turkey but also one of the most effective innovation centers. "I've been working with different telco groups from Turkey, but I found the most powerful partnership structure in Turkcell. Gamecell is still a new idea, a fresh business model and the company reacted to this idea very fast. Currently there are hardly any competitors in the local market. It now provides its powerful features to the Gamecell ecosystem. We're targeting not only the local industry but also the different territories in near future," he adds. Gamecell is an alive and breathing platform that will be shaped by gamer feedbacks. By gamers, for gamers.

More than a quarter of European patients with advanced melanoma lack access to new treatments that could extend their lives, according to findings presented at a major cancer conference on Friday. In the last five years, novel medicines have revolutionised prospects for people with metastatic melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. But the high cost of the treatments, which can top $100,000 a year, means thousands still do not get the new drugs, a survey found.

Out of an estimated 19,250 metastatic melanoma patients treated annually, 5,228 or 27 percent do not have access to new drugs that are now recommended under European treatment guidelines. "This is especially the case for eastern and south-eastern European countries, where a majority of patients are still treated with palliative chemotherapy that does not prolong overall survival," said Lidija Kandolf-Sekulovic, a professor of dermatology at Serbia's Military Medical Academy.

New drugs including immunotherapies from the likes of Merck & Co and Bristol-Myers Squibb, as well as so-called BRAFi+MEKi combinations from Novartis and Roche, can prolong overall survival to more than 18 months. In some cases, survival is now measured in many years. But these medicines cost far more than conventional chemotherapy, straining European healthcare budgets.

International experts are meeting this weekend in Copenhagen for the annual European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) congress to discuss the latest drug trials and future cancer care. The public health challenges in patient access to therapies is a major theme of the meeting, as doctors grapple with the implications of using a new generation of medicines.

"Doctors should treat patients with the best drug at the best time ... it is not their role to decide about the cost," Solange Peters, head of medical oncology at Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland. "But I do think we need more doctors going into politics to try and inform this debate because it's going to be a big problem for the next 20 years to come."

In the case of metastatic melanoma, the survey found that in western Europe 70 percent of patients were treated with the latest innovative medicines, while in eastern Europe less than 10 percent of patients got them. Alexander Eniu, who chairs ESMO's global policy committee, said it was "unacceptable" to see such inequalities in drug availability and accessibility.

Acrossword puzzle has been discovered in Smyrna, the ancient settlement where the modern Aegean city of İzmir was founded. The crossword puzzle, located on the wall of the basilica in the market place of the ancient city, is composed of Greek words top to bottom and from left to right.

Speaking to the press, the head of the Smyrna Agora excavations, Associate Professor Akın Ersoy, said the ancient city dates back 2,500 years. Ersoy noted that they discovered only one crossword on the wall of the basilica and continued: "It looks like an acrostic. The same words are written both from top to bottom and left to right in five columns. The word 'logos,' which is located in the center, is on the third column."

Ersoy said it is hard to totally make sense of the crossword since there are also names of people featured in the crosswords. "There are scientists and historians who claim that the Christian community of the time was heavily pressured by the Roman authorities, and they invented these kinds of crosswords to communicate among themselves. However, we consider this as just a crossword because it's very out in the open. There should have been stalls in front of these walls since this was a market place. This finding gives us a clue about how the sellers of the time entertained themselves during their spare time in the market place."

The agora (the market place) was the heart of one of the most important harbor cities in the ancient period. Archaeologists have discovered numerous descriptions about ships, the natural habitat of the city and gladiators on the walls. As Ersoy indicated, love poems written on the walls have also been unearthed during the excavations.

International law firm Amsterdam & Partners filed an official complaint on Tuesday to the Ohio State Auditor about Ohio-based Horizon Science Academies and Noble academies due to their alleged improper relationships with their contracted management corporation, their landlord and its subsidiaries. The complaint said governing boards siphon money from classrooms to the schools' real estate arm New Plan Learning, Inc., forestall insolvencies, and use profits from excessive rental payments to acquire new properties to expand the network of Gülen-affiliated schools.

Speaking to journalists in Columbus Ohio, Robert Amsterdam, the lawyer hired by Turkey to investigate the improper financial and legal practices of the Pennsylvania-based cult leader Fetullah Gülen, who is believed to be the mastermind of the failed coup in Turkey, said his firm requested a comprehensive investigation into the evidence on 17 charter schools. The evidence presented showed that New Plan Learning and its subsidiaries had made an estimated total net profit of $18.75 million from its excessive rental arrangements with Concept Schools.

Gülen is under the spotlight throughout the world following the July 15 failed coup in Turkey. His organization is estimated to have control of up to 150 Charter schools in the U.S. and Amsterdam has been investigating Gülen-affiliated schools for months.

Concept Schools is famous for its ties to Gülen due to an FBI investigation which began in 2014 for various alleged white-collar crimes. The founders of the organization consist of Turkish-American educators who claim they were inspired by the teachings of Fetullah Gülen.

Local Ohio Concept Schools are not different than the parent company; the staff members of the schools are Turkish teachers who immigrated to the United States through the H-1B program, despite more qualified American teachers being available. Several news reports and investigations showed that Gülen's disciples have taken advantage of this visa system to move human resources to America and fund the Gülen network with forced donations of the school salaries. Amsterdam said 84% of Ohio Concept school governing board members are Turkish.

According to Amsterdam, Ohio Concept Schools used its related landlord entity New Plan Learning to move financial assets to private vendors and specific people. "The Turkish individuals that founded New Plan Learning in 2004, played important roles in the creation of Concept and the first Ohio Concept schools also, constituting yet another example of the closed loop decision-making and conflicts of interest among these organizations," the complaint said.

For example, Murat Arabacı, a former Concept employee, has managed New Plan Learning and each of its subsidiaries since 2005. Vedat Akgün co-founded the first Horizon Science Academies, then Concept as a management corporation, and lastly New Plan Learning's subsidiary Breeze, Inc., to serve as landlord to Concept schools. Taner Ertekin, co-founder of the first Horizon Science Academies and Concept, served alongside Akgün on Breeze's governing board.

The complaint added, "New Plan Learning's current three-member board has confused lines of loyalty as well. Savaş Kaya has served on the boards of Ohio Concept Schools Horizon Science Academy (HSA) Toledo (2006), HSA Columbus (2006), HSA Cincinnati (2006-present); HSA Dayton (current); HSA Dayton HS (current)—all schools paying rent to New Plan Learning."

Amsterdam said 10 of the 17 Ohio Concept Schools pay rent to New Plan Learning, Inc and three schools who rent their buildings from unaffiliated companies pay far lower rents than the other schools. Amsterdam says Horizon Science Academy in Cincinnati provides a very fruitful example on how Gülen's disciples misuse public funds. In 2005, New Plan Learning's subsidiary bought the property and the land for $1.25 million.

The complaint said: "Founder of Concept and Breeze, Vedat Akgün, signed the lease with Breeze on the school's behalf as the school's founder, a clear conflict of interest. - Since 2005, the school has incurred over $3.6 million in rental fees. Note that this is three times the original purchase price of $1.25 million and constitutes the rent for only one of the three parcels bought for that original purchase price."


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