The European Union’s executive arm announced plans on Wednesday aimed at stopping its countries from striking bilateral deals that cede too much power to oil and gas exporters like Russia.

In June, a group of Azeri bloggers posted a video in which a donkey holds a news conference before a circle of gravely nodding journalists. The video was a sly send-up of the government, which had been accused in the local media of paying exorbitantly to import donkeys. Two of the group that created the video, Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli, 30, were arrested in the last week of July in

BP resumed exports of Azerbaijani natural gas through a pipeline across Georgia to Turkey yesterday. But the company's oil pipeline to the Georgian Black Sea port of Supsa remained out of action.

Both pipelines were closed by the British energy group on Tuesday amid concerns about security.

"BP began filling the South Caucasus pipeline again today because we believe it is now safe enough to do so," said Toby Odone, a BP spokesman.

• The European Union has banned imports of untreated feathers from countries close to or neighbouring Turkey, where cases of avian flu have been recently reported. The countries affected by the ban are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

THE scars left by industrial pollution have failed to heal in Sumgait, a former industrial city located near Azerbaijan's capital, Baku.