Friday, 11 October 2019

Armenian News... A Topalian 3 editorials

Public Radio of Armenia
Oct 10 2019
Armenian-populated cities in Syria come under Turkish fire

The Armenian-populated city of Tel Abyad has been targeted by Turkey as part of its offensive against Kurds, informs Mkhitar Hayrapetyan, the head of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Education, Science, Culture, Diaspora, Youth and Sport.

Provided that the Armenian population in the area is under fire, Hayrapetyan talked to Armenia’s Consul General to Aleppo Armen Sarkissian to get information on the situation on the ground. 

“At this point, Turks are bombing the city of Tel Abyad where 16 Armenian families permanently reside. Their evacuation is currently underway. Apart from this, city of Qamishli, with a number of Armenian residents, is also under attack,” he said on Facebook. 

Turkey launched air strikes, fired artillery and began a ground offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria on Wednesday (Oct 9) after US troops pulled back from the area. 

After Erdogan announced the offensive, Trump called the operation “a bad idea.” Later Wednesday, he said he didn’t want to be involved in “endless, senseless wars.”

Panorama, Armenia
Oct 10 2019
The safety of Armenian population in Hasaka province endangered - High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs

High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan has released a statement about the safety of the Armenian population in Syria amid the military operation launched by Turkey. 
“The military actions launched by Turkey on October 9 in the territory of Syrian Arab Republic are not only unlawful and deplorable as a blatant violation of the international law, but also undermine the security of the Armenian population living in number of settlements. The existence of the Armenian population in Hasaka province is endangered,” the part of the statement by Sinanyan read. 
In his words, the Republic of Armenia is engaged with works to ensure the security of Armenians and the members of the Armenian community . “Armenia and al Armenians stand by their compatriots and will do their utmost to ensure their safety,” the statement added.

Aysor, Armenia
Oct 10 2019
Armenian families leave Syria’s Tal Abyad attacked by Turkish forces

Armenian embassy in Syria’s capital Damascus and Armenia’s Consulate general in Aleppo are working in emergency regime due to the situation created as a result of Turkey’s Syria offensive, embassy officials report.

“Armenia’s diplomatic representations are in permanent communication with the community structures of Syria’s Qamishli and other northern regions,” the statement said.

“We are following the developments and jointly working out possible steps to ensure asylums for our compatriots who will express wish to move from the north of Syria and ensure first aid to them,” the Armenian embassy stated.

It also stressed that over ten Armenian families have left Tal Abyad which is under direct military attack and moved to safe regions.

“Currently there is no urgent issue of immediate evacuation of our compatriots. According to the information we have, about 3,000 Armenians are living in Syria’s northern regions,” the statement said.

Armenian News... A Topalian 6 editorials

RFE/RL Report
Armenia Hosts Eurasian Union Summit
October 01, 2019
Sargis Harutyunyan

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian praised the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) as he chaired a summit of the Russian-led trade bloc in Yerevan on Tuesday.

Pashinian, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of the other EEU member states -- Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan -- met in closed session 
before being joined by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Moldova’s President Igor Dodon and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

“Our organization, which is already five years old, is getting stronger year after year,” Pashinian said in his opening remarks. “It has already proved its viability and attractiveness as an international integration grouping.”

“I am happy to note that Armenia is making its contribution to this process,” added the prime minister who criticized Armenian membership in the EEU when he was opposition to his country’s former government.

Putin likewise declared that the establishment of the EEU has sped up economic 
growth and boosted living standards in its member states. “The EEU is developing steadily,” he said at the summit. “A vast common market has been created and it is functioning with success.”

Putin went on to announce that Russia and its ex-Soviet allies making up the bloc will create a “common electricity space” by 2025. He said they are also planning a common oil and gas market. That requires the “harmonization of member states’ legislations on gas supplies and transport,” added the Russian president.

Pashinian touched upon this issue in his speech. He said the prices of Russian natural gas traded within the EEU should eventually be set in the national 
currencies of member states, rather than the U.S. dollar. Moscow is believed to have objected to this idea until now.

The session ended with the signing of a free-trade agreement between the EEU and Singapore. Armenia, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan signed a 
similar deal with Iran last year. Rouhani’s presence at the summit underscored the deal’s importance to the Islamic Republic.

The Iranian president also used the summit to denounce the “inhuman” U.S. sanctions against his country. “We believe that the international community must counter the U.S.’s hostile and unilateral approach and take serious decisions and effective actions against it,” he said.

Rouhani also complained that some of Iran’s partners, notably Russia, have been “following the U.S.’s example” and ignoring international law and breaching bilateral agreements. He did not elaborate.

RFE/RL Report
Armenia Pays Tribute To France’s Jacques Chirac
September 30, 2019

Armenia’s leaders described Jacques Chirac as a “great man,” “global political giant” and friend of the Armenian people on Monday as France bade farewell to its former president who died last week aged 86.

Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian joined current and former world leaders in attending a funeral mass in memory of Chirac held at the Saint Sulpice church 
in Paris.

In a weekend tweet, Mnatsakanian said he is leaving for Paris to “pay tribute to a great global political giant and big friend of Armenia.”

“His contribution to relations between our peoples and nations is monumental,” Mnatsakanian wrote. “We bow our heads in deep respect and gratitude.”

In Yerevan, President Armen Sarkissian and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian visited the French Embassy to leave messages in a book of condolences set up 

“France has lost a great statesman and a great man,” wrote Pashinian. “President Chirac was one of the symbols of the awakening of Armenian-French 
interstate relations.”

“The Armenian people will never forget his sincere friendship and valuable contribution made to the process of international recognition of the Armenian 
Genocide as well as the mediation efforts for a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he added.

For his part, Sarkissian described Chirac, who led France from 1995-2007, as a “great politician of our times” and “one of the architects of the special 
French-Armenian relationship.”

Chirac became in September 2006 the first French president and leader of a major Western power to visit Armenia. During his state visit he and then 
Armenian President Robert Kocharian inaugurated a square in downtown Yerevan named after France. Thousands of Armenians gathered there to listen to a speech delivered by Chirac at the ceremony.

While in Yerevan, Chirac also declared that recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire should be a precondition for Turkey’s membership in the European Union. "Every country grows by acknowledging its dramas and 
errors of the past,” he said.

It was Chirac who signed into law in 2001 a French parliamentary bill that recognized the genocide. The leaders of the CCAF coalition of leading French-Armenian organizations emphasized this fact when they offered their “sincere condolences” to his wife Bernadette and French President Emmanuel Macron on September 26.

1 October 2019
Pashinyan, Putin Discuss Strategic Alliance

President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Tuesday met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Yerevan, where leaders of the Eurasian Economic Union member-states and others have gathered for the annual summit of the economic pact.

The two leaders emphasized that their countries continue to be strategic partners to one another, which both said were the result of the historic Armenian-Russian ties.

“I want to emphasize the strategic nature of the Armenian-Russian relations. They are not based just on the period of the recent years or decades, but the centuries-old history of our peoples,” Putin said.

The Russian leader expressed his gratitude to Pashinyan for what was deemed to be a successful EEU summit, which convened earlier in the day.

“It [the EEU summit] was really positive, including in terms of developing our relations with our partners of the third countries. And what is not less important, or maybe the most important for us, is that all the agreements between the member states of the organization have been implemented. You are the individual who made the maximum effort for such a productive work. For that reason I not only congratulate you, but also want to thank you,” Putin told Pashinyan.

Pashinyan evaluated Armenia’s presidency of the EEU, which concludes at the end of 2019, as a positive step toward advancing the mission of the Eurasian economic alliance and told Putin that his government, while satisfied with the ongoing positive ties with Moscow, is ready and willing to expand and strengthen relations.

Oct 3 2019
Armenian prime minister finesses democratic intentions

Pashinyan has little choice but to curry Kremlin tolerance in order to give his reform efforts a better chance.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is proving to be skilled in the art of philosophical juggling. In late September, when he was in New York to attend the UN General Assembly, Pashinyan delivered a full-throated endorsement of liberal democracy. And less than a week later, back in Yerevan, he was acting as the convivial, selfie-taking host of a jamboree of authoritarian leaders.

The mixed optics are indicative of the unique challenge that Pashinyan faces in Eurasia; he wants to make the Armenian government more transparent while staying in the good graces of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who treats transparency like a dirty word. Given that Russia is Armenia’s chief strategic and economic patron, Pashinyan has little choice but to curry Kremlin tolerance in order to give his reform efforts a better chance of success.

Pashinyan swept to power in the spring of 2018 vowing to curb corruption and clean up Armenia’s political culture. In New York, he portrayed himself as an unabashed liberal in the Lockean sense of the term. During a September 25 policy address at Columbia University, he stressed “a need to develop inclusive” institutions in Armenia that make government more accountable to citizens.

“The world needs positive examples of [political] inclusiveness,” he said.

But when pressed during the question and answer segment of his Columbia appearance, Pashinyan made it clear that his liberal vision has glass walls. Asked to unequivocally condemn Russia’s territorial seizure of Crimea, he demurred, thus highlighting his conundrum of trying to mesh liberal ideals with geopolitical realities in Eurasia.

He described the simmering conflict over Ukraine/Crimea as “sensitive,” adding that “condemnation doesn’t always solve the situation.”

Pashinyan’s punt on the Crimea question is understandable. To call out Russia would doubtless invite Putin’s wrath, and that is something he can’t afford to do right now.

The Armenian prime minister’s relationship with Putin has been far from warm. But during a Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) summit in Yerevan on October 1, the two seemed to get along well enough. After a one-on-one meeting, Pashinyan announced that Armenian-Russian relations are on a “positive track.”

In his Columbia address, Pashinyan expressed a desire for members of the Armenian Diaspora to play an expanded role in promoting reforms. He asserted that previous administrations in Yerevan had sought to limit the role of Diaspora Armenians to several specific areas, in particular efforts to secure broader international recognition of the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman-era Turkey. Getting Diaspora members more involved in all aspects of domestic reforms would be an important element in “making our democracy sustainable institutionally,” he said.

Pashinyan at Columbia described democracy and human rights as “universal values,” but added a qualifier that will reassure Moscow: Democratic institutions need to be home-grown and reflect the “nuances” of the country in question, he said.

“Democracy and freedom should be a choice for a country or people,” he said, going on to emphasize that they “should not be exported.”

War of Words at UN General Assembly
Between Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
The United Nations’ General Assembly held its annual session Sept. 24to 30, 2019 in New York City. The participants were heads of statesand high-ranking officials of UN member countries, including Armenia’s
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoganand Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov. Surprisingly, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev was absent—a big mistake on his part.

The first speech was delivered by Erdogan on Sept. 24. After speakingabout the lofty notions of justice and equality, which are constantly violated by Turkey, Erdogan once again complained about the fact that
Turkey is not represented among the five Permanent members of the UNSecurity Council (US, UK, France, China and Russia) which have a vetopower. Long before Turkey is admitted to such an exclusive club,
India, Brazil, and possibly Germany should have a priority overTurkey. Erdogan also misrepresented Turkey as the country that “has inflicted the first and heaviest blow” to ISIS terrorists in Syria. In reality, Turkey has been the biggest supporter of ISIS terrorists.

Surprisingly, Erdogan blamed Greek Cypriots for Turkey’s continued occupation of Northern Cyprus. He also criticized Israel for itsmistreatment of Palestinians.

Turning to the Caucasus, Erdogan stated: “it is unacceptable that Nagorno-Karabakh and its surrounding areas, which are Azerbaijani
territories, are still occupied despite the [UN] resolutions adopted.”

Nikol Pashinyan, the Prime Minister of Armenia, addressed the UN General Assembly on Sept. 25, condemning Azerbaijan for its unwillingness to resolve the “Nagorno Karabakh” (Artsakh) conflict. He
said that the solution to the conflict must be acceptable to all three populations of Armenia, Artsakh and Azerbaijan.

Regarding Turkey, Pashinyan stated that “by refusing to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia, overtly assisting Azerbaijan against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, Turkey remains a serious threat
to Armenia and the Armenian people, who had experienced the deep tragedy of the genocide and continue to face the fierce denial of truth and justice.”

Speaking at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov stated that “rather than wasting time on attempts to mislead the international community and its own people,Armenia must drop its lousy attempts to prolong the unsustainable status quo and faithfully comply with its international obligations.”

The sooner Armenia gives up its “aggressive and hostile policy in the region,” the better it would overcome its “serious political, economic and social burden,” Mammadyarov said.

Armenia’s UN delegate exercised his “right of reply” to Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Mammadyarov’s speech, accusing him of distorting the conflict of Nagorno Karabakh. Armenia’s representative then mentioned the Azeri massacres of Armenians in Sumgayit, Azerbaijan, in 1988. He added that Nagorno Karabakh was never a part of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan’s representative then responded with his own “right of reply.” The Armenian and Azerbaijani delegates proceeded to deliver a series of remarks replying to each other’s accusations.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu displeased with Erdogan’s criticism of Israel at the UN General Assembly, condemned him harshly
according to the Jerusalem Post: “Prime Minister Netanyahu slammed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday calling him a liar and saying that ‘he who doesn’t stop lying about Israel, he who kills
Kurds in his own country, he who denies the terrible crimes against the Armenians -- that person should not preach to Israel.’“

Netanyahu’s comments did not please Armenians around the world who pointed out that under his leadership Israel has rejected the veracity of the Armenian Genocide and blocked the acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide by the Knesset (parliament). Netanyahu’s words were
viewed as simply a disingenuous attempt to use the Armenian Genocide as a tool to bash Erdogan, while Israel itself has not acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. This is the height of hypocrisy by Netanyahu.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, the Israeli government, as the leadership of a nation that has suffered genocide itself, should have been the first country to recognize the Armenian Genocide, not the
last. At this late stage, even if Israel were to recognize the Armenian Genocide, it would be a pointless exercise as dozens of countries and international organizations have already acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. By continuing its shameless refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide, the Israeli government is simply tarnishing its own reputation in the international community.

Even the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi joined the political fray in New York by meeting with the President of Cyprus and the Prime Ministers of Armenia and Greece to indicate his displeasure at Turkish President Erdogan’s siding with Pakistan in his UN speech. Such a meeting is definitely in the interests of Armenia, Cyprus and Greece in order to counter Pakistan’s cozy relationship with Turkey and
Azerbaijan. In June, the Foreign Ministers of Armenia, Cyprus and Greece met in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia to discuss an expansion of their relations. All three countries share the common goal of opposing Turkish hegemony in the region.

To end on an amusing note, Pres. Erdogan refused to sit at Pres. Trump’s table with other heads of states at a banquet given by the U.S. President at the United Nations last week, since Egyptian Pres. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, whom the Turkish President abhors, was sitting
at that table. Erdogan’s chair remained empty, depriving him of the golden opportunity to brainwash Pres. Trump during dinner.
30 September, 2019
For the first time, Armenia releases into the wild endangered species of birds after treatment

Several saved endangered species of birds have been released into the wild in Armenia after successfully passing a rehabilitation process, the Nature Protection and Subsoil Inspectorate said.

The agency said this unprecedented event was a success thanks to cooperation between the ministry of environment, the National Academy of Sciences Scientific Center of Zoology and Hydro-ecology, the Zoo Fauna Art Rehabilitation Center of Exotic Animals, Protection of Endemic and Endangered Species (PEES) and the Nature Protection and Subsoil Inspectorate.

Months earlier Nature Protection and Subsoil Inspectorate personnel had transferred the birds – which had sustained various traumas in the wild – to the above-mentioned rehabilitation center where veterinarians and zoologists assumed the care for the animals. The Nature Protection and Subsoil Inspectorate said it has regularly monitored the process.

The fully recovered birds have been released into the wild in the Ararat plain, an area nearby the Khosrov Forest and Akhuryan region. The birds are  rosy pelicans, bearded vultures, the  Eurasian eagle-owl and the tawny eagle.

In addition to the endangered animals, the inspectorate has also released into the wild 3 storks and 1 eagle.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan

Armenian News... A Topalian 13 editorials

[this statement shows that the Azeris do not care the people of Karabakh, only the land: they use the term that Armenia made territorial claims ignoring the wishes of the vast majority of the population]

6 October 2019 
Baku, Azerbaijan
President Aliyev: Concept of “the people of Nagorno-Karabakh” does not exist

Concept of “the people of Nagorno-Karabakh” does not exist, said Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, addressing the plenary session of the 16th Annual Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club held in the city of Sochi, the Russian Federation, Oct.3.

9 October 2019
‘NerUzh’ Diaspora Startup Program Application Deadline Approaching

Are you a Diaspora Armenian with an innovative startup or startup idea? Have you considered moving to Armenia to establish your startup in the homeland?

If YES, then check out the “NerUzh” Diaspora Startup Program, launched by the Republic of Armenia’s Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs and the Ministry of High-Tech Industry, in partnership with FAST Foundation.

Selected applicants will have the opportunity to attend a four-day launch event at UWC Dilijan from December 16 to 20, learn about Armenia’s startup ecosystem and the benefits of doing business in Armenia, network with local partners, and develop their startup ideas. At the event, teams will pitch for a chance to win grants ranging from $15,000 to $30,000, as well as entrepreneurial support to establish their startup in Armenia. This year’s target areas are financial, social, governance, educational, mobile, internet, agricultural technologies, healthcare, robotics, engineering, and others.

Are you ready to apply? Visit the website and fill out the application form by October 21.
8 October 2019
Unemployment rate drops in Armenia

Unemployment rate has dropped in Armenia by 2.6% in the second quarter of 2019, compared to the same period of 2018, amounting to 17.7%, The Statistical Committee released the respective data.

The number of unemployed people comprised 207.2 thousand in the second quarter of 2019, against the 236.4 thousand people in the second quarter of 2018.

The unemployment rate has significantly dropped by nearly 4.2% in the second quarter compared to the first quarter of this year.

In the second quarter of 2019, compared to the same period of 2018, the employment rate increased by 1.6%, amounting to 47.9%.

Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan
Aysor, Armenia
Oct 9 2019
Decision made over my arrest: Former director of Hayatsan All-Armenian Fund

Former director of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund Ara Vardanyan wrote on Facebook that a decision has been made over his arrest. He stressed that he does not admit the charges and will fight till “the end of this absurd.”

“It is a primitive step to silence me. They do not understand that being arrested in conditions of dictatorship is not a punishment but an honor. I have not caused even a penny harm to the state, just the opposite I have sought to be useful to my homeland. And soon everything will come to its place,” he wrote.

Aysor, Armenia
Oct 9 2019
Armenia has big potential of human talent: Alexis Ohanian meets with Armenia’s PM

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received today Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanyan who is in Armenia to participate in the WCIT 2019.

The Prime Minister welcomed Ohanian in Armenia and in the Armenian government and highlighted his participation in the event.

“We are proud of the achievements of our counterparts who are known with their successful activity, who make our homeland recognizable in the world. I am happy to host you here and discuss opportunities of implementation of mutually beneficial projects,” Pashinyan said.

Alexis Ohanian expressed gratitude to the prime minister for voiced assessments, noting that he is happy to visit Armenia where such important technological event is taking place.

“Armenia has a big potential of human talent and various opportunities to develop and prosper and make part of world technological progress,” Alexis Ohanian said.

Armenia’s PM and the American-Armenian businessman discussed the pace of the WCIT-2019, cooperation in the IT sector, issues on involvement of young people and women in the IT sector.

Nikol Pashinyan stressed that the government has declared IT sector a priority aiming to make Armenia a technological country.

ARKA, Armenia
Oct 9 2019
Armenia's struggle against shady dealings exceeds four times IMF's recommendations
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, speaking Wednesday at the economic congress "What to Do - 2", said that the results of Armenia's struggle against shady dealings exceeded four times the International Monetary Fund's recommendations.  
"There are both good and bad news in the struggle against shadow," Pashinyan said. "The good news is that the International Monetary Fund said in one if its reports that if the ratio of tax revenue to GDP will change by 0.3 percent every year in Armenia, this will be success for the country. Now this indicator is improved by approximately 1.2%, i.e. it is four times better than the IMF's best recommendations."
The premier said that figures can be corrected upon completion of the year, but unprecedented measures are being taken in the country to root out shadow economy.
As bad news, Nikol Pashinyan pointed out the component connected with people's behavior. As an example, he pointed out the celebration of the Day of Gyumri in Armenia's second biggest city. All day along the city's restaurants and cafés were hosting people, and the people's flows were not dwindling. Gyumri hosted some 15,000 visitors that day.
"I wondered what trade turnover was recorded that day, and it became known that the number of cash register slips provided that day didn't differ from that provided before," Pashinyan said.
The government has take a step toward businesses in Gyumri by organizing such a large event, he said, but business people should take return steps.
But as a whole, he said, over eight months of this year the number of slips have been 75 million more than at the same period a year before. 

Aysor, Armenia
Oct 9 2019
Armenia’s Catholicos expresses concern over increasing number of divorces in Armenia

One of the serious concerns nowadays is the destruction of families, divorces which makes a big number in the world and in Armenia as well, Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II stated at the Church and Family in 21st Century: Values and Challenges international conference.

“The causes of this reality differ starting from social, economic, moral issues ending with dependence on technology which harm the inter-personal relations inside the family. In the pre-context of this challenge we pay a special attention to the cooperation with the state for the sake of the preservation of families and prevention of existing threats. A real, firm family having Christian system of values means guaranteed future of the state and the country,” the Catholicos stated.

Arminfo, Armenia
Oct 9 2019
WB Report: More than 40% of emigrants from Armenia are people with  higher education

In Europe and Central Asia, demographic trends are worsening, in addition to all, the number of able-bodied people is declining, which further  exacerbates the problem. The latest World Bank Economic Update for  Europe and Central Asia evidences this. (Migration and Brain Drain.  World Bank Europe and Central Asia Economic Update).

The report examines migration trends and gives an idea of both  countries of destination and countries of origin. The report also  indicates concern about the "brain drain" of skilled labor from  countries of origin, as people with higher levels of education are  more likely to migrate throughout the region.

"Statistics show that 55% of people with higher education from Bosnia  and Herzegovina live abroad, and this figure is more than 40% for the  educated population of Armenia and Latvia, and almost 40% for  Albania, Moldova, Northern Macedonia, the Kyrgyz Republic,  Kazakhstan, Romania and Tajikistan, "the report says, while pointing  out that these are more likely symptoms of the problem, rather than  their cause.

However, the reporting experts are convinced that improving  governance and strengthening institutions in countries of origin is a  long-term policy that can address the root causes of continued  emigration.  World Bank experts believe that promoting the private  sector and stimulating job creation, investing in higher education  and empowering women in the economy will eliminate the causes of the  outflow of the population, especially the highly skilled.
8 October, 2019
First Smart Bus Stop in Armenia launched in the city of Etchmiadzin

On the occasion of the 2704th anniversary of the city of Etchmiadzin (Vagharshapat), the first and still only one Smart Bus Stop was put into operation in Armenia.

The ceremony was attended by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, several members of Cabinet, Mayor of Etchmiadzin Diana Gasparyan, Yerevan Mayor Hayk Marutyan, LSG representatives, MPs, other guests.

The Smart Bus Stop has been launched by the initiative of the Etchmiadzin Municipality and the Smart Bus Stop LLC.

The Smart Bus Stop has been built in accordance with the new bus network and appearance of the city.

The installation of the bus stop aims at ensuring the comfortable travel of the locals, making the waiting time enjoyable and efficient.

With the special screens of this multi-functional bus stop the citizens can be informed about the number of the route, the time of its approach, etc.

In addition, the Smart Bus Stop also includes information interesting to tourists, such as where to go, what to see, where to eat. It also has a free Wi-Fi, USB outlets, ATM, etc.

It’s an indoor bus stop equipped with air conditioning and heating systems. There are special bins in the bust stop for sorting the garbage. There is also a fire fighting system. Passenger transportation is controlled by cameras.

The Smart Bus Stop is the first of its kind in Armenia.

Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan

RFE/RL Report
October 08, 2019
Russian Management Of Armenian Rail Network Under Review

The chief executive of the Russia Railways (RZD) company managing Armenia’s railway network met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian on Tuesday to discuss the uncertain future of its operations in the country.

RZD runs the network called South Caucasus Railway (SRC) in line with a 30-year management contract signed with the former Armenian government in 2007. The deal committed it to investing $230 million in Armenia during the first five years of operations and another $240 million in the following years. The 
state-run company, which operates Russia’s vast network of railways, claims to have honored those commitments.

Law-enforcement officials raided the SRC offices in Yerevan and confiscated many documents kept there in August 2018 three months after a dramatic change 
of Armenia’s government. They subsequently launched criminal proceedings against the company, saying that it is suspected of large-scale fraud.

RZD and SCR denied any wrongdoing. None of their executives in Armenia are understood to have been charged to date.

Russia’s Deputy Transport Minister Vladimir Tokarev warned last month that RZD is considering unilaterally scrapping the 2007 contract because the continuing investigation prevents it from “operating normally” in Armenia. “Our arguments about compliance with the terms of the contract are ignored,” Russian media quoted him as saying.

Earlier in September, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian defended the probe and said the Armenian government is “actively” discussing the matter with the Russian side.

Pashinian’s office reported few details of his meeting with RZD’s visiting chief executive, Oleg Belozerov. It said vaguely that they discussed “prospects for making investments and implementing concrete projects in the future.”

RZD did not immediately issue statements on Belozerov’s talks with Pashinian.

Tech Crunch
Oct 7 2019
Armenia and the technology of diaspora
Jon Evans

It’s a tough world out there for small countries. Technology is the future, everyone knows that; but how do you claim your share of that future when you’re competing with America, China, the EU, and India?

How do you build a thriving ecosystem of tech wealth and tech education — successful international businesses whose alumni found and invest in burgeoning startups — when you face the triple threats of a small population, limited capital, and a potential  brain drain? Even nations as wealthy and successful as my homeland Canada often struggle with this.

So imagine what it’s like for, say, Armenia, from which I write, a former Soviet republic turned tiny nation of three million, sandwiched between unfriendly neighbors in the Caucasus Mountains. I’m here because the Armenian government is, at obvious expense, hosting one of the world’s seemingly countless / endless Major Tech Conferences, this time the World Congress of Information Technology, presumably in the hopes of garnering international attention for — and investment in — Armenia’s tech sector.

This may seem quixotic. Armenia styles itself as “the Silicon Valley of the former Soviet Union,” and its tech sector is successful enough to have played a prominent role in last year’s ‘velvet  revolution.’ But it’s still a country of three million in a relatively obscure corner of the world. However, Armenia has a fascinating secret weapon — its diaspora.

Thanks to their homeland’s troubled 20th-century history, many more Armenians live scattered around the world than in Armenia proper, including, most famously, hundreds of thousands in Los Angeles. It is “one of the largest and most sophisticated diasporas in the world.” Obviously there’s cultural drift — but at the same time, I’m repeatedly assured it’s a rare Armenian who doesn’t have a distant friend or relative in L.A. and/or Moscow.

The effects of this unusually large and loose-knit diasporal web are significant. It leads, sometimes directly, often indirectly, to American clients, German universities, and Russian partners; to international connections to venture capitalists and startup
 incubators; to brain gain as well as drain. It means Armenia isn’t just a landlocked nation of three million, but the beating cultural heart of ten million, inadvertently strategically scattered across the globe. That’s a far, far stronger position.

I’ve argued before that as technology shortens and tightens the bonds between distributed communities, they’ll grow more significant, culturally, financially, and eventually politically. (And of course tech also makes entire sub-industries even possible;
 one of WCIT’s sponsors here is a slick and fast-growing crowdfunding marketing company, not exactly a traditional strength of the former Soviet bloc.) The Armenian diaspora is almost a natural experiment testing this theory.

This natural experiment will test whether this secret weapon will help Armenia continue to punch further and further above its weight in technology, tourism, and other diaspora-enhanced fields. If that happens, and I expect it to, it will be especially interesting
 to see which other distributed communities follow in its wake … and whether those will be affiliated with any nation-state at all.

Turkey Purge
Oct 8 2019
Armenian human right activist detained in house raid: report

Arlet Natali AVAZYAN, an Armenian-origin Turkish human rights activist, was detained following a police raid on her house on Tuesday.

According to a Twitter account, police teams searched Avazyan’s house and then took her to the Anatolia Courthouse in İstanbul’s Kartal district.
Avazyan yesterday tweeted that she had been summoned by Turkish police to testify in a case filed against her for alleged terrorism links.

“I was just called by the law enforcement agency. I was called to testify due to my tweets. If I am not checked in an hospital by my doctor tomorrow, I will go to the police to give a testimony. Until 864 imprisoned babies are set free, I will continue my tweets,” Avazyan tweeted.

Avazyan is known in Turkey with her tweets that are in critical of the Turkish government.

In the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, more than 17,000 women from all walks of life including teachers, doctors and housewives have been jailed in Turkey on coup charges in government-led operations. There are currently more than 800 children accompanying their mothers in Turkish jails.

RFE/RL Report
Global IT Forum Starts In Armenia
October 07, 2019
Emil Danielyan

More than 2,000 technology professionals, business executives and government officials from around the world are taking part in the latest World Congress on 
Information Technology (WCIT) that began its work in Yerevan on Monday.

The three-day forum is held under the aegis of World Information Technology and Services Alliance, a global consortium of national IT associations. It will 
feature more than a dozen keynote speakers and over 80 prominent panelists.

The participants include senior executives of tech giants like Google, Siemens and Ericsson as well as Armenian-American celebrities such as reality TV star 
Kim Kardashian, the Reddit social media platform’s co-founder Alexis Ohanian and rock musician Serj Tankian.

Kardashian arrived in Yerevan early on Monday together with her children and sister Kourtney. Organizers have said that she will speak, both as a “special keynote speaker” and panelist, about “how decentralized technologies have democratized the worlds of entertainment, media, and journalism.”

Armenia is using the WCIT conference to promote its burgeoning IT industry that employs some 15,000 engineers and generates more than 6 percent of the 
country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian touted the industry’s achievements and tax breaks granted to it by the current and former Armenian governments in his 
speech at the opening session of the conference. “As a result, the IT sector grew nearly fivefold over the past seven years, boasting a sustained 20-25 
percent annual growth,” he said.

“Hosting such a major event is a great honor and pleasure for us, because it is a great opportunity to talk to you and to the international community about our strategy to make Armenia a high-tech country,” declared Pashinian.

“I hope that this truly memorable event will change a lot in the technology world’s relations with the Republic of Armenia,” he added.

The Armenian tech sector is dominated by local subsidiaries of U.S. corporations as well as a growing number of homegrown firms. Some of them, notably the U.S. software giant VMware, are among the sponsors of the 2019 WCIT.

VMware’s chief operating officer, Rajiv Ramaswami, met with Pashinian later in the day. He noted that the number of IT engineers working at his company’s 
Armenian branch has increased more than tenfold, to 200, since it was opened in 2010.

“We are very happy to invest in human talent which is available in Armenia,” Pashinian’s press office quoted Ramaswami as saying. “We have only one request 
to you: please increase human talent, invest in technology education.”

A shortage of skilled personnel is widely seen as the main challenge facing the local IT sector. Industry executives have long complained about the inadequate quality of education at IT departments of Armenian universities. Many of their students require additional training after graduation.

In a bid to alleviate the problem, an Armenian organizer of the WCIT, the Union of Advanced Technology Enterprises (UATE), has opened over the past decade over 284 engineering labs in schools across the country. They offer schoolchildren 
extracurricular robotics and computer programming courses mostly financed by the government. The Armenian Education Ministry announced last week a sharp rise in government funding for the UATE which will be used for doubling the number of those labs by the end of this year.

The Daily Mail, UK
Oct 8 2019
Kim Kardashian reveals she's 'excited' to open Skims factory in Armenia... after being criticized for making products in Turkey

Kim, 38, is of Armenian heritage through her late father Robert Kardashian

She's proud of her Armenian heritage.

And now Kim Kardashian has announced she hopes to move production of her Skims range to the country, in an attempt to bring more business to the Eurasian country, which borders Iran and Turkey.
The reality star, who is currently visiting Armenia with her children and sister Kourtney, revealed in a Reuters interview: 'I'm really excited because tonight I have a meeting to talk about future investments and how to open up a factory here and how to really bring business to Armenia.'

The move comes after Kim was criticized for selling products made in Turkey. During and after the First World War, Turks engaged in ethnic cleansing of Armenians  during attempts to establish a nationalist Turkish state from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. 
Kim herself has called for the U.S. government to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, as it is widely known.

Kim said she was not involved in the decision to manufacture products in Turkey, explaining: 'I actually wasn't really a part of production at the beginning.'
She explained she was presented with 'tons of samples from many different factories and I picked quality. I didn't ask like 'Well where's each one made?' and no one thought to tell me until after production.'
During this week's trip to Armenia, Kim had her three youngest children baptised.

Saint, three, Chicago, 20 months, and four-month-old Psalm were welcomed into the Christian faith at the Etchmiadzin Cathedral in Vagharshapat on Monday.
Video footage posted on Kim's Instagram Story showed the family, including her eldest daughter North, six, walking to the ceremony, with the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star carrying her youngest child.

Kim's husband, the children's father Kanye West, has not joined them on the trip.

Kim - whose paternal ancestors were Armenian - was very excited to be in the country.

She tweeted on Sunday: 'Almost 3 am in Armenia and I can't sleep I'm so excited to be here and see everyone!'

Last month, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star tweeted: 'I will be visiting Armenia in the next 2 weeks and hope to seek ways I can help increase trade and hopefully create jobs for Armenians which includes @skims production there in the future.
'As a brand, we believe in embracing all people and as an individual I have been working towards broader goals in hopes of bringing forward the recognition of the Armenian genocide which I remain very passionate about. @ANCA_DC.'

Kim's late father, O.J. Simpson attorney Robert Kardashian, was born to Armenian-American parents and his great-grandparents were ethnic Armenian immigrants. 

Back in April 2011, Kim had expressed anger after her image appeared on the front cover of Turkish Cosmopolitan the same month that commemorates Genocide Remembrance Day. 

'Cosmopolitan Magazine has a number of international editions all around the world that run in various territories, and when I did this shoot for the international covers I had no idea that Turkey was planning to run my story on their cover THIS month, considering Genocide Remembrance Day is this month,' she said in a statement at the time.