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Giant Cake For Azerbaijani President
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A giant 52-meter long cake, baked in honor of the Azerbaijani president's 52nd birthday, has finally been presented to the public, five days after Ilham Aliyev's big day.

Officials in the Azerbaijani city of Sumgayit said that the cake appeared in public five days after Aliyev's December 24 birthday "because it was not ready on time."

The annual giant-birthday-cake-making event is organized by the local governor, Eldar Azimov, who started the tradition a few years ago in the city of Ganja, where he served as a governor.

Opposition activists in Azerbaijan say such events are an example of the increasing personality cult surrounding the president's family.

Aliyev inherited power from his father Heydar Aliyev in 2003. Across the country, there are statues and museums dedicated to Heydar, who died in 2003. Many public spaces are either named after the former president or adorned with his image.

In another event, launched on December 24 in Ganja, 52,000 trees will be planted in the coming months.

In Azerbaijan, governors head regional administrations and are not elected but appointed by the president.

-- RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service
December 19: International Human Solidarity Day.
The Week Ahead is a detailed listing of key events of the coming week affecting RFE/RL's broadcast region.

Now on Twitter! Daily updates at @The_Week_Ahead.

MONDAY, December 16:

Azerbaijan/Goorgia: Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili visits Baku (to December 17).

EU: Foreign Affairs Council opens in Brussels to discuss Iran, Eastern Partnership, Russia, Western Balkans, and other issues.

EU/Russia: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Brussels to meet with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Kazakhstan: Independence Day.

UK/Russia: Chatham House in London hosts a discussion titled "Russia's Strategic Overhaul."

U.S.: Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies hosts release of EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2014.

TUESDAY, December 17:

EU: Brussels hosts a General Affairs Council meeting.
Iran/Turkey: Iranian President Hassan Rohani is scheduled to visit Ankara.
Azerbaijan: Baku hosts the signing ceremony of the agreement on the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project, which suppose to secure natural-gas deliveries to Europe.
UK/Iran: Chatham House in London hosts a discussion titled "Iran Sanctions: After the Geneva Agreement."
WEDNESDAY, December 18:

Czech Republic: Vaclav Havel Day.
Russia: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to address the Russian parliament about the country's foreign policy.

The State Duma intends to announce an amnesty to mark the 20th anniversary of the constitution.

THURSDAY, December 19:

Russia/CSTO: The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Secretariat hosts a roundtable to discuss the interaction between the authorities and the public in the prevention of foreign interference and "color revolutions."

UN: International Human Solidarity Day.

FRIDAY, December 20:

Syria: UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi meets in Geneva with Russian and American officials to prepare for the Geneva II international conference on Syria, which is scheduled for January 22, 2014.

SATURDAY, December 21:

UK: The 25th anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster, which claimed the lives of 270 people, to be commemorated in Britain and the United States.

World: Crossword puzzle marks its 100th anniversary.

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About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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