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Saturday, 30 October 2010
October 28, 2010
Reconstruction of Noyemberyan Hospital Complete
Yerevan, Armenia – Armenia Fund (Hayastan All-Armenian Fund) is proud to announce that the reconstruction of the Noyemberyan Regional Hospital is complete. The only regional healthcare institution in Armenia’s Tavush region has been modernized through the co-sponsorship of Armenia Fund’s German, Swiss, Lebanese, and Australian affiliates. Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon also participated in the project with a sizable donation. The total cost of construction was $880,000 USD.
“I am extremely impressed by the new look and feel of the facility. We, the Diaspora, specifically the Armenian communities of Germany, Switzerland, Lebanon, and Australia implemented this beautiful project through our close collaboration. I hope this hospital will long serve our compatriots and continue to facilitate numerous births,” – said Avedis Kizirian, Chairman of the Swiss Affiliate of Armenia Fund - Comite Suisse Du Fonds Armenie.
The three storied structure, of the Hospital, was built in 1961 and has not undergone any major renovation since then. As always in such reconstruction projects, Armenia Fund stripped the building down to structural weight-bearing walls and pretty much built the Hospital anew from inside. The facility was redesigned to correspond to current medical codes. The roof as well as all floors, windows and doors were replaced. The Hospital was also fitted with a new heating system and a hospital-grade elevator. All patient rooms now feature bathrooms and showers with hot and cold water made possible with the addition of a new autonomous boiler house.
“I have the highest regard for the work of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. A standard of excellence and great attention to detail are evident throughout the renovations at the Noyemberyan Hospital. This facility is the only healthcare center of its kind in Tavush, and now, with its reconstruction concluded, is poised to provide an unprecedented level of service,” – said Armenia’s Health Minister Harutyun Kushkyan, who was present at the opening ceremony along with the Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Armen Gevorgyan, Governor of Tavush Region Armen Ghularyan and Executive Director of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund Ara Vardanyan.
The reconstructed Hospital now features 30 patient rooms with 60 hospital beds across the General Medicine, Physiotherapy, Surgery, Urgent Care, Intensive Care, OB/GYN, Labor and Delivery, Infectious Disease and Dental departments. The hospital will serve more than 30,000 residents of Noyemberyan city and surrounding villages.
Medical equipment and furniture was donated by the Union of Armenian Physicians and Healthcare Professionals of Germany while additional furniture and equipment will be provided by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia.
Armenia Fund, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation established in 1994 to facilitate large-scale humanitarian and infrastructure development assistance to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Since 1991, Armenia Fund has rendered more than $200 million in development aid to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Armenia Fund, Inc. is the U.S. Western Region affiliate of “Hayastan” All-Armenian Fund. Tax ID# 95-4485698
Rant Number 417 28 October 2010
In the year 40 of the Hegira – the Emigration – an exceptional man was stabbed to death while at prayer in the great mosque at Kufa, Iraq. His name was Ali ibn Abi Talib. Prophet Muhammad’s cousin and son in law. The first male convert to Islam. Also the husband of Muhammad’s favourite daughter, Fatima, and the father of Hasan and Hussein, boys much dear to their grandfather. Most earnest in personal devotion to Muhammad, Ali showed lion-hearted courage during the wars against the enemies of Islam. In many fights he bore the green standard of the Prophet. At the battle of Badr he engaged in single combat and slew his foes. At Uhud he fought so fiercely that he received 16 wounds. He was the Prophet’s natural successor. Yet, after Muhammad died three times did other men pipped him at the post. The caliphate fell eventually to him but his five-year rule opened the doors of fitna – strife or civil war amongst Muslims. Ali’s assassination by a fanatic was the sad denouement of a lion-like life. But Ali’s noble shade has not been consigned to oblivion. His fame endures. Ali the Lion inspires the actions of millions of Shia Muslims and other marginal Islamic sects. The Islamic Republic of Iran, the martial Shia of Lebanon, the Mahdi Army of Iraq – they are active political actors for whom Ali’s example is a living force.
But why was such a big hero’s political career so ill-starred, against all expectations? Was it that Ali alas ‘lacked the qualities requisite for a ruler in tumultuous times’, as Canon Sell claimed in a forgotten pamphlet, The Cult of Ali? Or was it simply maktub, written or predestined? I fear the predestination move is both too easy and too fast. Reason must have its say, surely. Here are a few tentative, no doubt imperfect, thoughts:
1) One reason why Ali was not appointed the Prophet’s immediate successor was that he was not at a crucial meeting at which Omar offered the caliphate to Abu Bakr. He was absent because he was occupied in a most pious and filial task – washing and preparing his father in law’s body for burial. So his piety perhaps counted against him, in this world at least. (Conversely Trotzky missed out being at Lenin’s funeral unwittingly favouring Stalin. Dubious analogy but...politics is politics.)
2) Ali reached power immediately after the assassination of the third caliph, Uthman. Although the Lion had played no role in the murder – indeed Ali had initially had declined the post - the occasion was unfortunate. It generated much bitterness and hostility.
3) Ali’s political base was in Medina. The desert oasis which many Muslims nostalgically consider the golden age of Islam. There politics, religion and virtue appeared perfectly conjoined under the Prophet’s guidance. But Islam’s later converts in Mecca, the powerful Quraysh, had no desire to submit to the lesser city and hence to Ali.
4) Amongst Ali’s dangerous enemies was Aisha, one of Muhammad’s wives. She later fought against him at the battle of the Camel. Ali defeated her – here again his military ability comes to the fore – and treated her most honourably afterwards. An example of his wisdom and magnanimity but, as Professor Hugh Kennedy comments, the battle had opened a ‘Pandora’s box’. Muslims had killed other Muslims (for the first time?). A fateful development.
5) Muawwiya, the governor of Syria and a relative of dead Uthman, demanded that Ali punish his murderers. But some of them had become Ali’s close supporters. That was a problem he never solved.
6) Ali fought Muawwiya’s followers at the battle of Siffin. It seems he was about to win when his opponents affixed pages of the Qur’an to the tip of their spears. Either a pious or a Machiavellian ruse. Blasphemous to go on fighting? The righteous leader then submitted to arbitration. Unfortunately, Ali’s referee was neither his choice nor was he a particularly clever fellow. The whole thing unravelled, fatally weakening the Caliph’s cause.
7) Worse, a part of Ali’s own followers accused of kufr, apostasy. By submitted to arbitration, a human thing, he had denied the role of the Qur’an, they contended. ‘Confess you have sinned!’ they demanded. Naturally, the Lion refused. His critics then seceded. They became the khawarij – those who went out. Radical religious extremists, addicted to terror and violence. (The fanatical Christian sectarians, the Donatists condemned by St Augustine might be a possible analogy of the Khawarij.) They are now technically extinct but, as my good Arabic teacher Ibrahim rightly suggests, ‘their spirit is still alive today’. Anyhow, it was a Khawarij who later assassinated Ali in Kufa. His rival, Muawwiya, was then elected Caliph, beginning the first historical Islamic dynasty based in Damascus, the Umayyads. Civil wars and internecine strife did not stop Muslims from winning a tremendous worldwide empire.
And so the Lion perished. His was a noble failure but a failure – in the political sense - nevertheless. His own party, the Shia, venerate him, stressing his high qualities, such as piety, sense of justice and military prowess. The Persian Sufi tradition, Professor Lewisohn writes, considers him the founding father of their spirituality, ‘an exemplar of all that is stalwart and steadfast in their mystical discipline’. Other, more outlandish and heterodox sects have scandalously raised him to semi-divine status. An extreme posthumous triumph. Intriguingly, Lewisohn relates some Sufi teachers call Ali Abu Turab, Father of Dust, ‘because of his unkempt and often soiled appearance’. Well, there have been plenty of ‘fathers of dust’ amongst Christian saints and hermits, sure.
I am left with a doubt. Was the Lion just unlucky? Given his many virtues, he should have succeeded politically also. Why not? Bad luck? Call it superstition, yet Napoleon always chose as his generals men with a reputation for fortune. Pope Benedict...somewhat unlucky, isn’t he? The Romans believed in signs, bad omens – Caesar learnt that at his cost, when he ignored the auguries and fell murdered on the Idea of March.
Predestination, destiny, fate...no, the priest cannot venture into those fearful labyrinths now. He will cryptically conclude after the poet Virgil that perhaps ‘God understood Ali in another way’.
Revd Frank Julian Gelli
Friday, 29 October 2010
Near and Middle East Department
Armenian Studies at SOAS
Keeping a Language Alive in a Global Diaspora: Challenges and Initiatives for Armenian in the World
Professor Anne Pauwels
Dean of the Faculty of Languages and Cultures
Chair: Professor Ian Brown
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Globalisation, displacement and migration are among the major forces dispersing speech communities around the world. Moving into a new environment poses significant linguistic challenges for migrants, refugees and other sojourners, not only in terms of learning a new language but also maintaining the pre-migration language. Drawing upon her work in
(Professor Anne Pauwels is Dean of the Faculty of Languages and Cultures and Professor of Sociolinguistics at SOAS. She has been involved in research on multilingualism and language maintenance for over thirty years. One of her recent books focuses on language maintenance in the diaspora: Maintaining Minority Languages in a Transnational Context (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)
Venue: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre
Date: Friday 29 October
Reception will follow
Saturday, 23 October 2010
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Friday, 22 October 2010
[ 2010/10/04 | 17:00 ]
No one is any longer amazed to read stories about Armenian officials
abusing their government posts.
You can no longer shock anyone by writing that this or that person has
spent $500,000 to buy a seat in the National Assembly. It comes as no
surprise to anyone if you prove that the real owner of a commercial
enterprise is actually a government official. It’s become the “norm”
and has entered the Armenian genetic code. Many can argue that this is
the way it has always been, or that the same situation reigns
throughout the world. And there’s not much in the way of response you
can tell such people. Such effort is pointless. Armenians aren’t
capable of creating their world. Here, naturally, we are not referring
to the “Armenian world” as posited by Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan.
What’s actually going on with Armenians today? The myth of the
Armenian no longer holds water; it has long since turned to dust.
Armenians are destroying their own country, its natural environment.
They destroy and then flee the country.
Sometimes, it seems that all this is part of a conspiracy drafted in
some unknown place. Such thoughts are fleeting, since there is no
conspiracy at work. There is no need for one.
Armenia is being emptied. Armenians are fleeing from their country.
And this doesn’t seem to be of any concern to the authorities in
charge. They are only concerned with one thing – holding on to power
and accumulating more wealth. Their souls are money-driven.
Like curses uttered, depopulated villages are blocked up in the
country’s throat and no government can digest such a reality.
Neglected old folk drag their frail bodies through the dusty streets
of ghost towns. They cry out for their departed children in parental
longing and curse this country for their present plight.
It’s a simple fact. This continuing chain of injustice and lawlessness
has a price – an Armenia being emptied of its people. In the midst of
this crippling widespread poverty, the price paid for the parties and
nightly fireworks, the expensive jeeps, the huge mansions built with
monies ripped off from the taxpayer and a billionaire Robert
Kocharyan, has been an Armenia being emptied of Armenians. There’s a
ghostly specter haunting Armenia; the ghost of a dispossessed people.
People still have faith in one another when it comes to daily matters
of life. But broach the subject of this or that government agency and
that faith turns to unbelief. How did we get here, how did we push the
country to such an abyss? We have even screwed up the army to the
point of collapse and have made life a living hell for that eighteen
year-old facing the enemy on the frontline. Every Armenian once held
the national army as an institution to be revered and above reproach.
Now look at it.
All the apparatuses of the state and the political parties have a hand
in the process of emptying Armenia. Not one of them ever says – Hold
on a minute, we can’t go on living like this.
Our type of Armenian is not capable of building a country. Armenians
like us only sing one song- the song of a lost fatherland. It’s a sad
song that demands no work in return. It was written a long time ago.
We, it seems, have made our choice and have broken down, singing the
song of the lost fatherland.
Over the years we have wasted it all, every square inch of
independence we won. Step by step, minute by minute we caved in
without resisting and swallowed one injustice after another.
This giant wheel is now rolling over us all; crushing each of us under
It should come as no surprise that we are now standing on the
precipice. Who can honestly say that we don’t deserve to be where we
Experts: Demography in Armenia may become national security issue
04.10.10 | 16:47
Members of Sardarapat movement alarm of demography issues in Armenia.
By Naira Hayrumyan
Armenia’s demographic makeup became a topic of public debate following
opposition Armenian National Congress party leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan
stating this summer that migration has become a security threat.
“The weakest point of those advocating the preservation of the status
quo (in the Karabakh settlement) is that they have no answer to the
question of how to stop migration. Thus, demography becomes the
question of questions, it is demography that since the 11th century
has been the cause of all ills of the Armenian people. To disregard
this fact and blindly advocate the status quo means deepening the
demographic crisis and bringing us closer to a national disaster,”
said the former president.
However, in its annual report, the National Statistical Service of
Armenia said that as of 1 January 2010, Armenia’s population has grown
by 12,500 and now exceeds 3.25 million.
Demography was also a subject of a recently held press conference of
the initiative group of the movement Sardarapat. The speakers blamed
the government for failing to take steps to prevent migration and,
furthermore, encouraging it.
(While statisticians present data for a year-on-year change, experts
maintain they evaluate the general trend.)
Sardarapat movement member Zhirayr Sefilyan said that a number of
amendments to Russian migration legislation has given citizens of
Armenia more attractive conditions for settling down in Russia.
Moreover, he claimed that by agreement with the Armenian authorities
the registration of those wishing to move to Russia is being made
“without excessive noise”.
Demographics expert Harutyun Mesrobyan said that whereas in 2005-2006
Armenians constituted only 5 percent of immigrants in Russia, already
in 2008-2009 their number grew to 13.5 percent. Sociologists say this
index may grow more due to the implementation of a target program
being offered by Russia.
Experts say that against the backdrop of a demographic boom in
Armenia’s neighboring states, especially in Turkey and Azerbaijan,
demography is becoming a national security issue. Emigration is caused
not only by the hard socio-economic situation in Armenia, but also the
atmosphere of legal arbitrariness, violations of human rights and
freedoms, a sense of insurmountable despair and hopelessness, experts
Oct 16 2010
"Tatev's wings" aerial tramway officially launched in Syunik
Tatev Monastery bells are ringing marking the launch of the events
scheduled in Tatev for today. `Tatev's wings' aerial tramway,
connecting Tatev-halidzor villages, has been officially launched in
the Armenian province of Syunik today with President Serzh Sargsyan
being the first tramway passenger, Panorama.am reporter said from
Tatev is hosting also over 800 guests, including the governmental
delegation, other high officials who have arrived at Tatev to become
witnesses of Tatev Revival. President Serzh Sargsyan is expected to
deliver a speech, the Supreme Patriarch Karekin II will conduct
Spanning 5.7 kilometers across the spectacular Vorotan River Gorge,
the Tatev Aerial Tramway, `Tatev's Wings' - the longest passenger
aerial tramway in the world - is poised to be one of southern
Armenia's most popular attractions.
The Tatev Aerial Tramway has been built by Garaventa, a world leader
in the accessibility industry that has been building award-winning
aerial tramways around the world for over 30 years. The design process
and foundation work began in 2009, and construction took 11 months,
the total expenses estimating as much as 13 mln. euros.
The Tatev Revival Project is designed to revitalize Tatev Monastery
and its surrounding region, highlighting its religious, academic and
cultural legacy, and making it a world-class destination. The project
consists of several components: restoring the monastery, reviving its
monastic and scholarly tradition, and developing tourism attractions
and infrastructure in the adjacent villages, including the world's
longest aerial tramway.
With several exciting initiatives underway, including the restoration
of Tatev Monastery's 17th century oil mill, the development of a
network of village bed and breakfasts, and a cuisine revival that will
highlight and reinterpret local specialties, a trip to the Tatev
region promises to be highly experiential - an invigorating blend of
culture, nature and adventure. The three-year Tatev Revival Project is
one of the frontrunner initiatives of the National Competitiveness
Foundation of Armenia, an independent organization structured as a
public-private partnership and chaired by the Prime Minister of
Armenia. It has a mandate to achieve breakthrough development toward
competitiveness in key sectors of the Armenian economy, including
tourism, healthcare and education.
OVER 5000 PRISONERS IN ARMENIA
Oct 19 2010
At the moment there are over 5000 prisoners in Armenia, 900 more than
last year, Armenian Justice Minister Gevorg Danielyan said speaking
in the Armenian Parliament.
According to him, the number of prisoners is not high. Statistic shows
that there are 750 imprisoned per 100,000 in U.S., in Russia 650 per
100,000, 420 in Georgia and 270 in Azerbaijan. This indicator totals
only 130 in Armenia. The lowest indicator (80-90 people) is registered
COMPULSORY CAR INSURANCE UNDER WAY IN ARMENIA
Oct 18 2010
On October 18 the compulsory car insurance process got under way
Eight licensed companies are selling car insurance policies. All
the car owners are obliged to sign relevant insurance contacts by
If car owners fail to sign car insurance contacts by January 1, 2011,
they will be fined U.S. $140. Insurance companies have no right to
deny insurance contacts to car owners or persuade them into signing
ARTICLE BY DR. MINAS KOJAYAN LOS ANGELES, U.S.A. ՅՕԴՈՒԱԾ ԴՈԿՏ. ՄԻՆԱՍ ԳՈՃԱՅԵԱՆԷՆ ԼՈՍ ԱՆՃԵԼԸՍ, Մ. ՆԱՀԱՆԳՆԵ
Rant Number 416 20 October 2010
A Hall of Fame is a kind of museum designed to honour people. Mostly the heroes of our trashy times, like footballers, rock stars, their memorabilia and so on. Boring! Our twilight era is more suited to a hall of infamy, the priest feels. So, off the top of my head, here it goes:
Silvio Berlusconi’s phoney hair. Forget his strumpets, his dodgy millions and all the rest. The hair is the thing. Compares unfavourably with Mussolini, actually. Whilst the Duce’s bald pate anticipated tough action-movie stars like Bruce Willis, Silvio’s transplant alludes to some botched-up Brillo Pad treatment. Verily, the man’s hair-do discloses his ego. Vanity, all things are vanity, as Ecclesiastes says.
De Maistre wrote that every country has the government it deserves. A profound axiom. Does that mean Italians deserve Silvio? They too belong into the infamous hall? Hope not. Yet, there is no credible opposition. The Italian Left is a joke. There is no alternative to Berlusconi. The President of the Republic, Napolitano, an etiolated geriatric who postures as a pater patriae, is an ex-Communist who once cheered the Russian tanks that crushed the 1956 Hungarian revolution. And Silvio keeps winning elections. Famous or infamous, he and his hair are Italy’s destiny.
Auntie. Meaning the BBC. Auntie knows best, they say. But this Auntie definitely belongs in infamy. Why? Its conspiracy of silence. Like the mafia, the BBC thrives on the omerta’ syndrome. Its journalists bend over backwards to ban references to religion or faith – except negative ones. Take the ‘G’ word. When the Chilean miners emerged out of darkness into the light one of them spoke movingly about his faith, the strength it gave him to bear his 33 days ordeal: ‘I was with God and the devil. They fought. God won.’ Other miners echoed his sentiments. Some were shown on their knees, praying. Even the Chilean President spoke of faith. Did you hear/view that on the BBC? Have they made a Faustian pact? Bargained with the devil to keep God out of the news? Unless it is to claim He does not exist, of course. But I know the reason. It is the evil ideology called secularism. The galloping disease of our age. The BBC is one of its chief agents. The sooner the family of Abraham – Muslims, Jews and Christians - manage to slay the monster, the better. St George, patron saint of England, come back and kill the dragon, I beg you!
(Guess I am unfair about Auntie. When even His Lordship the Bishop of Liverpool manages to give a ‘thought for the day’ without even a single time mentioning God or Christ, well, how can you then blame the Beeb’s bosses?)
Sheykh Abdul Hadi Palazzi’s beard. A portly Italian Imam. A most amazing fellow this Professor Palazzi. Ever heard of a qualified Muslim sheykh enthusiastically waving the Star of David flag? I kid you not. This Italian alim says: ‘the Quran shows that God have the land of Israel to the Jews and will restore them to it at the end of days’. And he gives chapter and verse. So Arabs must recognise the state of Israel. The PLO are gangsters... By Allah! I would never have believed it, but I have read the stuff online. Palazzi is not just pazzo, mad. Nor a fake or crazy convert. (Know a few of the latter...) He was born a Muslim. Has plenty of degrees and doctorate validated from the Saudis and Al Azhar University. Yet he goes to America on anti-Palestinian conferences sponsored by Zionist organisations – the Zionist answer to the Neturei Karta brigade, I guess. Italians can be more eccentric than the English when they try. He is so unreal, I almost like him. But my Palestinian friends insist: Palazzi and his bushy beard definitely must abide in the Hall of Infamy.
The shoes thrown at President Bush. It would be pleonastic to urge George Jr into the Hall – he is there already. But here is my wee problem. The shoe-thrower was a Shia. Under Saddam the Sunnis ruled, the Shia were downtrodden, persecuted, could not keep their festivals etcetera. Now thanks to the US invasion the Shia have all their religious freedom and are politically on top. You may argue Bush was the Iraqi Shia’s liberator. This is going to be as popular as the plague but here is a haunting thought: the shoes, their fame – are they really infamous? Or do they perhaps stand for the newly-found Iraq’s freedom and democracy? Huh!
A nun’s discarded wimple. Karen Armstrong’s. An ex-religious. Has acquired a certain reputation as a religious writer. Spirituality, things like that. But why does she remind me a bit of Martin Luther? The German monk who could not keep his monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, so he ferociously denigrated those values, triggering off the reformation. Ms Armstrong also opted out of the convent. Fair enough. If someone discovers she has not got the vocation, that’s right. Just get out. But in her books she constantly slags the Church’s glorious ascetic tradition. Virginity, chastity and sexual abstinence, especially. The key monastic vows – part of the pride of Christianity. All patriarchal, repressive stuff. Very bad. I loathe Freud but... a person who could not/would be a nun - a woman devoted to a key Christian ideal – does she then have to vilify that ideal? The high ideal to which scores of martyrs witnessed with their blood? Sad, sad, sad. March into the hall, lady!
Next is a diagram. That of the London Tube. Bright and coloured, with plenty of famous place names on it, but the reality is infamous. They say Dante based his Inferno on the idea of an underground prison. Were the poet to return, the London Underground would provide a better model. A Tube journey is getting a pretty squalid and dangerous affair. Won’t try to describe it. Tube users know already and those who don’t should steer clear of it. The Government has charitably exempted aid to the third world (‘developing countries’) from the spending cuts but surely charity begins at home. The Tube is a segment of third world snaking throughout London. Utterly third rate. Unworthy of a world metropolis. Truly, its name is infamy.
Phoney Tony, Lady Gaga, Pete Doherty...there are too many of them. Luckily, the infamy hall is vast – plenty of space there.Revd Frank Julian Gelli
Monday, 18 October 2010
October 13, 2010
Varugan Amroyan is led in handcuffs from FBI headquarters in New York
Wednesday, Oct, 13, 2010. Amroyan is one of 73 people across the country
charged by federal prosecutors in a scheme to cheat Medicare out of $163 million,
the largest fraud by one criminal enterprise in the program's history,
U.S. authorities said Wednesday. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
NEW YORK (AP) - A vast network of Armenian gangsters and their associates
used phantom health care clinics and other means to try to cheat Medicare
out of $163 million, the largest fraud by one criminal enterprise in the
program's history, U.S. authorities said Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors in New York and elsewhere charged 73 people. Most of
the defendants were captured during raids Wednesday morning in New York City
and Los Angeles, but there also were arrests in New Mexico, Georgia and
The scheme's scope and sophistication "puts the traditional Mafia to
shame," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a Manhattan news conference. "They
ran a veritable fraud franchise."
Unlike other cases involving crooked medical clinics bribing people to sign
up for unneeded treatments, the operation was "completely notional,"
Janice Fedarcyk, head of the FBI's New York office, said in a statement. "The
whole doctor-patient interaction was a mirage."
The operation was under the protection of an Armenian crime boss, known in
the former Soviet Union as a "vor," prosecutors said. The reputed boss,
Armen Kazarian, was in custody in Los Angeles.
Bharara said it was the first time a vor - "the rough equivalent of a
traditional godfather" - had been charged in a U.S. racketeering case.
Kazarian, 46, of Glendale, Calif., and two alleged ringleaders - Davit
Mirzoyan, 34, also of Glendale, and Robert Terdjanian, 35, of Brooklyn - were
named in an indictment charging racketeering conspiracy, bank fraud, money
laundering and identity theft.
The indictment accused Terdjanian and others of hatching other schemes
involving stolen credit cards, untaxed cigarettes and counterfeit Viagra. It
also alleges that during a meeting last year at a Brighton Beach restaurant,
Terdjanian pulled a knife on someone who owed him money "and threatened to
disembowel the individual if the debt was not paid."
A judge jailed Terdjanian without bail on Wednesday at a brief hearing.
Afterward, his attorney said his client denies the charges.
Kazarian and Mirzoyan were scheduled to appear in court Wednesday in Los
Authorities began the New York-based investigation after information on
2,900 Medicare patients in upstate New York - including Social Security
numbers and dates of birth - were reported stolen.
The defendants in the New York case also had stolen the identities of
doctors and set up 118 phantom clinics in 25 states, authorities said. The names
were used to submit fake bills for care that was never given, they said.
Some of the phony paperwork was a giveaway: It showed eye doctors doing
bladder tests; ear, nose and throat specialists performing pregnancy
ultrasounds; obstetricians testing for skin allergies; and dermatologists billing
for heart exams.
In the New York portion of the case, more $100 million in fraudulent bills
were submitted and Medicare paid out at least $35 million, sometimes by
wiring it to the clinics' banks accounts, investigators said.
Most of the defendants "were Armenian nationals or immigrants and many
maintained substantial ties to Armenia" and criminals there, the indictment
said. Couriers would often carry cash proceeds from the fraud back to Armenia,
Prosecutors were seeking forfeiture of real estate in Las Vegas; Palm
Springs, Calif.; and elsewhere, and of a 2007 Maserati and a 2006 Jaguar.
Oct 14 2010
Three Armenian companies - VIVACELL-MTS, Innova Solutions LLC,
VISTAA Plus LLC - have been awarded the 'Ruban d'Honneur' prize of
the European Business Awards, sponsored by the HSBC Bank.
Talking to NEWS.am, Aram Pinajyan, Head of HSBC Bank Armenia Commercial
banking, reported that 1,035 companies laid claims to the 'Ruban
d'Honneur' prize. Nine Armenian companies applied for the prize,
and three of them are among the 100 winners now.
The winners are selected on the basis of their financial accounts
and achievements during a year.
The 'Ruban d'Honneur' is awarded in each of the award categories:
The Infosys Business of the Year Award, The RSM International
Entrepreneur of the Year Award, The UKTI Award for Innovation, The
Award for Customer Focus, The HSBC Growth Strategy of the Year Award,
The Employer of the Year Award, The Award for Corporate Sustainability,
The Environmental Awareness Award and the Chairman's Choice Award.
All the 'Ruban d'Honneur' recipient are invited to attend the European
Business Awards Gala presentation ceremony at the Westin Hotel in
Paris on November 16.
Visit Armenia, It Is Beautiful
And tell everyone you know, the longest aerial tramway in the world is in Armenia to see the Monastery of Datev.
With a different slant:
A year of super-latives - world's oldest shoe found a couple of months back, Kara Hunge - Armenia's Stone Henge - is older than the UK's according to Cambridge academics and... may the list continue! :)
Choc - in case you didn't get the news
Keghart.com Team Editorial, 18 October 2010
Continuous threats by Azerbaijan and preconditions by Turkey on resolving Artsakh's status prior to engaging in talks with Armenia, contrary to what was spelled out in the infamous Protocols, prompt us to consider the possibility of an attack on Artsakh and Armenia by our two hostile and belligerent neighbours. Is such an invasion unthinkable? There have been many martial instances when the “unthinkable” has materialized. The present context of rivalries and overt provocations by Azerbaijan cannot be dismissed with simple theoretical assumptions that negate such an attack.
....Read more >>
- Threatened Armenia Needs Diaspora Muscle Keghart.com Team Editorial http://www.keghart.com/Editorial_DiasporaMuscle
- Translators' Day Hrayr Jebejian (video clip in Armenian) http://www.keghart.com/Jebejian_Translators
- Turkish Nationalists Accused of Killing Bishop Vatican City http://www.keghart.com/Vatican_KillingBishop
- Harper Policies Doomed UN Bid Chantal Hébert http://www.keghart.com/Hebert_UNBid
- Keurkune’s Church, a Cultural Landmark Vahe H. Apelian http://www.keghart.com/Apelian_Keurkune
- Groundwork Laid for Narrative of Failed Peace Talks Alex Kane http://www.keghart.com/Kane_PalestiniansFault
- The Centuries Old Armenian Epic Song - Moghats Mirza Prof. Khatchatur Pilikian http://www.keghart.com/K_Pilikian_MoghatsMirza
- "Hushed Voices" Emeritus Professor Heribert Adam (book presentation) http://www.keghart.com/Adam_HushedVoices
- Վերադարձ Դէպի Ախթամար Գրիգոր Գրաճեան http://www.keghart.com/Krajian_Akhtamar
- Parlous State of Diaspora Armenian Schools Lalai Manjikian http://www.keghart.com/Manjikian_Schools
- Fondation Hayastan Canada Inc. (Announcement) http://www.keghart.com/Hayastan_Announcement
NEW TURKISH-ENGLISH BOOK TO SHED LIGHT ON HISTORY
Despite being an object of dispute between Turks and Armenians,
the historic Surb Khach Church (Holly Cross) on Akhtamar Island has
also recently paved the way for dialogue between Armenian and Turkish
scholars, writes Turkish Daily News.
Ara Sarafyan, director of the London-based Komitas Institute, and
Osman Koker, owner of Birzamanlar Publications, have published a
book about Akhtamar Island. The book is titled "Aghtamar: A Jewel of
Medieval Armenian Architecture / Akhtamar: Ortacag Ermeni Mimarlgi'nin
Mucevheri" and is available in both English and Turkish.
Armenian General Benevolent Union, or AGBU, one of the most important
organizations in the Diaspora, gave its support to the book, which
Koker and Sarafyan wrote from research conducted by Armenian Stepan
Mnatsakanian in 1980.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the book is its drawings of
the Surb Khach Church. Speaking to the Hurriyet Daily News, Sarafyan
said, "I realized that Turkish people are interested in the history
of this land."
Koker shared the reasons he and Sarafyan published the book. "By
publishing this type of book, we are trying to raise public awareness,"
he said. "The traditional historical ideology should be broken in
Turkey, and I think this book will help do that."
Noting that many Armenian cultural sites in Anatolia have been damaged,
and kept away from their rightful owners, Sarafyan said, "There is a
big paradox here, because the ownership of Armenian cultural sites is
not written in the Van Archaeology Museum, but the Surb Khach Church
is now open to worship." He admitted that Turkey has made important
steps toward democracy, but not enough has been done.
"I noticed the dialogue between the Turks and Armenians improving
during the worship," he said. "The Diaspora may react negatively
to what I am saying, but I think this shows progress. No positive
development should be ignored."
Sarafyan said he and Koker deliberately published the book
simultaneously with the opening of the church. "Everyone was talking
about the church, but no one was aware of its historical significance,"
"I totally agree with him, and believe that our work was very
successful," said Koker. "Since 2007, everyone has been debating which
cross should be displayed on the dome of the church, but nobody knows
the building's historical significance. I have been conducting research
on the history of Armenians for years, and even I was not aware of
the historical significance of the island until preparing this book.
"The island was the capital of the Armenian kingdom of Artsruni,"
said Koker. "A palace, a tower and some houses were built on the
island. It was not a place where priests lived in seclusion."
Asked about the architectural drawings on the back of the book, Koker
said, "These drawings and figures will enable people to understand the
island in a more general sense. We did not want the book to be thick.
We wanted it to be an easy read."
Noting that Anatolia has been home to various civilizations throughout
history, Koker said, "We always choose to forget the history of this
land. We are all under the impression that everything began and has
continued with Turks. This is mainly because the new generation is
comprised of many nationalist and discriminatory individuals. This
is why differences are not tolerated. It is time to break away from
this way of thinking."
Koker also said he was very excited about the interest the book has
garnered. "I know that this interest will increase in the future. As
historical awareness increases, people will be more willing to
New ecologic threat hangs over Armenian town of Alaverdi
ArmInfo. A new threat hanged over the Armenian town of Alaverdi, the
ecology of which is in a deplorable state.
According to Head of OSCE grant programme Larisa Paremuzyan, Alaverdi
copper plant intends to transfer the pipeline to Koshaberd, as a
result of which new regions within a radius of 2,5 km will be affected
by emissions. These regions include Lalvar forest, as well as Odzun
and Haghpat settlements.
"I think that transfer of the pipeline just imitates the plant's
management concern over the ecology issues", L. Paremuzyan told
According to the report "Geo Alaverdi - environment and town
development", Alaverdi plant annually discharges 25,000 tons of
sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere. The soil within the radius of 3
km from the enterprise is contaminated with heavy metals, the
concentration of which exceeds the maximum allowable rates from 20 to
40 times. For example, copper concentration exceeds the maximum
permissible concentration 32,3 times, and concentration of lead - 16,0
times. Moreover, the soil is contaminated with such elements as
mercury, arsenic, molybdenum and nickel.
According to the town residents, the plant's emissions in cloudy and
windy weather fall on the town. Moreover, this fog has its specific
smell of hydrogen sulfide, sulphur dioxide and natural gas, which is
used in production. According to specialists' estimates, just the
industrial and photochemical smog is the most aggressive for people's
breathing passages. Increase of NO2 gas (nitrogen dioxide) and SO2
(sulphur dioxide) in the atmosphere affects morbidity with bronchial
Oct 9 2010
On inflation in Armenia
By Albert Khachatryan
According to a report released by the Statistical Service of Armenia,
the consumer price index was 107% this January-September as compared
with last January-September.
If considered month by month, the consumer price index shows
inconsistent trends. Specifically, it showed an upward trend this
January-April (107% up to 108%). However, lower inflation rates - down
to 107.3% - were registered from January to June.
If we compare the periods from January to July and from January to
September, higher inflation rates were registered - from 107.4% up to
107.8%. This is evidence that prices do not show any downward trend.
Many experts think that the rise in prices for agricultural produce,
particularly crop production, was the main cause of inflation. This
year's unfavorable weather destroyed a considerable part of fruit and
vegetables, which caused a jump in market prices. Specifically, the
fruit prices showed a 10% rise, prices for vegetables and potatoes
rose by 22.6%. The general rise in food prices was 7.6%, being only
0.2% lower than the consumer price index.
That is, the rise in food prices, which maintained general inflation
trends, was not the only `generator' of the inflation level. We get a
clearer picture if we consider the rise in prices in commodity groups
and for paid services. Among the groups showing a higher-than-general
inflation are footwear and clothing, which show an 11.6% rise, rent
and utilities (an 11.8% rise), transport and communication (an 8%
rise) and other goods and services (a 9.1% rise).
As regards other groups, drugs showed an 11.3% price rise, personal
cars a 21.4% rise, personal services a 14.2% rise, recreation services
a 10.5% rise and utilities a 12.3% rise.
Thus, a higher price rise was mostly registered among essential goods
and services, which had a negative impact on consumption. This year
retail trade turnover has hardly made any progress compared with the
corresponding period last year.
Focus Information Agency, Bulgaria
Oct 10 2010
World Bank predicts below 4 pc growth for Armenia this year
10 October 2010 | 02:22 | FOCUS News Agency
Yerevan. The World Bank has predicted a growth rate of less than 4
percent this year for Armenia, Xinhua informed.
While updating growth predictions for Europe and Central Asia, the
World Bank maintained its prediction for the South Caucasus region at
World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Philippe le
Houerou said that the recovery in the region would be not only
moderate but jobless as well.
Main drivers behind recovery, however, will be exports and capital
inflows, the official added.
Philippe le Houerou explained that the World Bank's policy in the
region would be placed on managing three key challenges -- competitive
strategies, salvation of a strong social protection and energy
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), also modified downward its 2010
growth prediction for Armenia from 4.8 percent to 4 percent in late
But the IMF predicted a 4.5-percent growth for Armenia next year.
Armenian American Medicare Fraud
October 16, 2010
U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Visits Armenia Fund
Los Angeles, CA – On Thursday, October 14, 2010, the Honorable Marie Yovanovitch, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia visited the Armenia Fund U.S. Western Region office as part of her continuing visit to the Armenian-American Diaspora communities. The Ambassador was accompanied by Mr. Jeff Paretchan, Public Private Alliance Specialist at USAID Armenia and her executive assistant, Ms. Susan Christy.
Armenia Fund U.S. Western Region Chairman Ara Aghishian, Esq. and Board members welcomed the Ambassador. During the meeting, the Ambassador was briefed about Armenia Fund’s past projects, including the recently completed ones, as well as future plans. The Ambassador also took time to discuss U.S.-Armenia relations, issues of importance to the Armenian-American community, as well as presented members with the works of the U.S. Embassy.
“I was really pleased to be able to meet with Board members of Armenia Fund to discuss U.S. programs in Armenia, the important work the Armenia Fund is doing, and bilateral U.S.-Armenia relations,” stated Yovanovitch.
“Ever since her appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Ms. Yovanovitch has sought to maintain a productive, open dialogue with the greater Armenian-American community. I thank her personally for this visit, as well as her efforts for a stronger U.S.-Armenia relationship,” stated Aghishian.
U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch flanked by Armenia Fund Board members
Organization members of Armenia Fund’s board that were present at the meeting included: the Armenian Cultural Foundation, the Armenian Relief Society, Nor Serount Cultural Association, Tekeyan Cultural Association, the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, the Western Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and the Armenian Assembly of America.
Armenia Fund, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation established in 1994 to facilitate large-scale humanitarian and infrastructure development assistance to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Since 1991, Armenia Fund has rendered more than $200 million in development aid to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Armenia Fund, Inc. is the U.S. Western Region affiliate of “Hayastan” All-Armenian Fund. Tax ID# 95-4485698
Armenia Fund, Inc., 111 North Jackson Street, Suite 205, Glendale, CA 91206
ph: (818) 243-6222 • fax: (818) 243-7222 • toll free: (800)888-8897
e-mail: email@example.com • www.ArmeniaFund.org
United Way Campaign
If you are a Canadian resident and your workplace participates in the annual United Way campaign, then this message is for you!
Did you know that when making a contribution to the United Way campaign you can designate the Armenian Community Centre as your preferred charity? United Way will transfer your generous donation of $25 or more to the Armenian Community Centre, who in turn will mail you an official tax deductible receipt.
To designate the Armenian Community Centre as your preferred charity all you need to do is designate the charity number while making your donation.
Armenian Community Centre
Charitable Business # 118789759RR0001
Thank you for your continuous support and generous donations.
Armenian Community Centre