Sunday, 20 March 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... 
Artur Aleksanyan wins silver medal in European Championship
12 March, 2016

YEREVAN, March 12. Armenia Greco-Roman wrestler Artur
Aleksanyan lost to the Russian representative in the final of the
European Wrestling Championship.

In the final the Armenian wrestler (98kg) competed with Nikita
Melnikov from Russia. Aleksanyan lost 0:4 in the first round of the
In the 2nd round Aleksanyan was atively fighting but could not score
any points and lost the fight as the result. 
14/03/2016 Armenia

Villagers today cultivate their lands as much as their possibilities
allow, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Garnik Petrosyan told, adding that in current situation one should expect
neither rich harvest, nor quality products.

Â"The quality of the agricultural products is of utmost importance. We
should try to get products which would be competitive at international
markets both on quality and taste parameters," the Deputy Minister

According to him, one precondition to get such product is through
proper fertilization of the soil, yet the statistics show that volumes
of fertilizer prices have significantly declined.

Petrosyan recalls the Soviet times, when 120k tones of phosphorus
fertilizers were spent yet the number today declined for several times.

"Ministry of Agriculture imports several thousand tones of phosphorus
fertilizers, which are chеаper compared with the market prices
with one bag amounting to 7 000 AMD. The consumption is quite low,
and even 2-3 thousand tones are not consumed today," the official said.

The reason for that is the high demand for fertilizers, Petrosyan says,
though villagers are not able to buy it. Therefore, the state subsidies
the agricultural loans, providing an opportunity to villagers to take
loans at 8% instead of the usual 14%.

"The state allocates some 1 bln 163 mln AMDs subsidiary which is
serous amount, although not enough.

Petrosyan then recalls the European experience of receiving rich

"Armenia still employs the methods which were practiced 100-200 years
ago, yet today's life has progressed and intensive parks are created."

"Under usual circumstances 200 apricot trees are planted in 1 -
hectare area, while in European countries the number is twofold,
threefold and even - fivefold. The trees are lower making the harvest
and cultivation works easier. That is the way, according to him,
the quality product is produced.

However, the Deputy Minister admits that the implementation of such
programs requires serous funds. 
YEREVAN, March 15. Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan has instructed
today the chief architect of the capital city as well as YerevanDesign
firm to discuss with the company running the famous open-air Vernissage
fair in downtown Yerevan the reconstruction of the site and to present
a modernization project as soon as possible.

Margaryan was quoted as saying by the municipality that 'Vernissage is
the right place to get little taste of Armenia and a special spot to
witness the fusion between national traditions and modern taste.' The
open-air fair offers various kinds of nice national souvenirs,
jewelry and other traditional items. It is open year round, though
only on the weekends.

According to Margaryan, a working group may be set up with stakeholders
to look deep into the issue.

March 13, 2016

Aleppo - It was once the most stylish hotel in Aleppo, hosting the
likes of former French leader Charles de Gaulle and novelist Agatha

But the feted Baron Hotel has been forced to close its doors as
the Syrian civil war grips the city, with the front line separating
government and rebel forces just metres away from the building.

The hotel was founded in 1911 by late owner Armen Mazloumian's
grandfather, whose name it bears, and was once the fanciest in Aleppo,
Syria's former commercial hub.

In 1958, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser delivered a speech
there. It was also at the Baron that Agatha Christie wrote parts of
'Murder on the Orient Express'. 

Russia Today's Lizzie Phelan visited the hotel that no longer hosts
tourists, but is a shelter to refugees. 
YEREVAN, March 14. About 20% of Armenian rivers are polluted
at an extent that can be called 'catastrophic' because of nearby mines,
an environmentalist Seyran Minasyan told a news conference today.

According to him, these rivers are Akhuryan (near Gyumri), Debed (near
Vanadzor), Hrazdan (near Yerevan), Goris (near Kapan) and Tsaraghpyur
(flows through the resort town of Tsakhkadzor). He said development
of metal deposits has also affected the ecosystems of Akhtala, Voghji
and Karchevan rivers.

However, the condition of about 70% of rivers and tributaries can
be assessed as "good" and "excellent", which is explained by the
small size of population living along these rivers and absence of
industrial enterprises.

"The pollution of rivers is to be blamed on irresponsible mining
companies which dump the waste into rivers. Another pollution factor
is waste waters. In Armenia we actually have no waste water treatment
plants,' Minasyan said.

According to him, the problem is that construction of a waste water
treatment plant may cost from $200 to $300 million, which in turn
would push up the drinking water price for consumers.

He said the territory of Armenia is divided into 14 water basins,
13 of which are being now studied by scientists. The study of water
resources of Tavush region is impossible because of the dangerous
proximity to the border with Azerbaijan. In general, there are 50
rivers and tributaries in the country. 

Daily Sabah, Turkey
March 14 2016

A film about the life and photographs of a legendary Turkish
photographer has won top honors at the Washington, D.C. Independent
Film Festival.

'The Eye of Istanbul', directed by Binnur Karaevli and Fatih Kaymak,
tells the story of 87-year-old Armenian-Turkish photographer Ara Guler
and his preparation process for his famous retrospective exhibition
in Istanbul that captures images of Istanbul from 1950 through 2005.

>From the documentary category, the film won the "best of the best"
amongst all categories against more than 80 movies, feature length
presentations, animation and shorts at the awards Sunday night.

"Actually there were very good movies competing at the festival.

Winning 'the best of the best' is a surprise for us. I'm so happy,"
producer Umran Safter told Anadolu Agency.

"We want to introduce Ara Guler to the world, both his personality
and his photos. But we also want to introduce Istanbul. Our film is
not only about Ara Guler, it's actually about the history of Istanbul
and Turkey."

The movie was completed in November and made its world premier at
the festival.

Safter said she has now set her sights on her next project, possibly of
a movie that tells of how all world religions and races live together
in peace, adding that Guler was a perfect example of such a story
due to his Turkish-Armenian identity.

The octogenarian Guler could not attend Sunday's premier because
of his advanced age but Safter, along with the film's writer and
associate producer, Ahsen Diner and project consultant Nezih Tavlas,
attended the ceremony.

Although Guler is mostly recognized for his black and white photographs
of Istanbul, he is also renowned internationally for a career that
spans more than 60 years and has shot more than 1 million photographs.

>From poor workers in Istanbul to the goat herders of Anatolia to
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Guler has captured the essence of
the second half of the 20th century, according to the film's website.

Guler describes himself not as a photographer but a historian who
has captured the lives of people and major historical events since
the 1950s.

The Eye of Istanbul will be screened in Greece at the Thessaloniki
Documentary Film Festival later this week and at the South East
European Film Festival in May in Los Angeles.

The film was co-sponsored by the Turkish Embassy in Washington and
the American Turkish Association of DC. 

Armen Kazaryan

KAPAN -- "I don't need to see the route, I feel it by my feet," says
Armen Kazaryan adamantly, as he swiftly navigates the lush terrain
of Southern Armenia for an afternoon hike. Armen is probably the
only blind hiking tour guide in the world, or at the very least,
the only one in Armenia.

Over a decade ago, he was working at an international bank as an
accountant in Moscow, when all of a sudden his eyesight quickly began
to deteriorate. Before he knew it, he was nearly 90% blind. No longer
able to continue his desk job, he was at a crossroads. What followed
was a spiritual journey that took him first through Sochi, where he
worked as a massage therapist for 4 years, and finally, back to his
native land. In Armenia, Armen met Siranush, now his loving wife. The
two resettled in Armen's hometown of Kapan.

It was in Kapan, capital of the Syunik region, surrounded by some
of Armenia's most breathtaking landscapes that made Armen realize
perhaps he had gained more than he had lost. His senses rejoiced in
the healing powers of nature and he reconnected with the people and
landscapes that so profoundly shaped his youth.

With all the tourists that travel to Armenia each year, less than 1%
make the trip to Kapan, making the city and its surrounding villages
extremely neglected and underexposed. Meanwhile, Kapan is a mere hour's
drive from Tatev Monastery, one of the largest tourist attractions
in Armenia.

"For too long, Kapan has been branded only as a place for mining,"
says Armen, "Too long it's been neglected as a touristic destination
by the international community. The situation needs to change, needs
to become more sustainable and encourage eco-friendly practices.

Tourism is a great place to start for that."

Recognizing the incredible potential of Southern Armenia to provide
joy and healing to others, it wasn't long before Armen and his
wife made the bold decision to launch an NGO called ARK Armenia,
which immediately started marking hiking trails in the region, making
various landmarks accessible to the tourists passing by. Before long,
they were acquiring volunteers, who provided valuable labor, helping
build the region's first eco-camp and marking more hiking trails.

This is why ARK Armenia has recently launched an ambitious effort
called the ARK Bridge Project, which is raising $3,764 to mark and
map a hiking trail from Tatev to Kapan. The project will lead tourists
to integrate with local, rural communities and find shelter in newly
built eco-camps along the way. The campaign started mid-February and
will be running until the end of March, 2016.

ARK Ecological NGO is a registered NGO based in Kapan, Armenia. Its
mission is to develop ecotourism infrastructure in the region and
spread sustainable ideas of organic farming and permaculture to
the great community. ARK's activities mainly rely on crowdfunding,
volunteering and use of recycling materials. If you'd like to be a
volunteer, please visit our website: 
YEREVAN, March 15. A new checkpoint will be opened in Lars on
Russia-Georgia border to facilitate freight traffic between Armenia
and Russia, Arthur Arakelyan, Armenian deputy transport minister,
told ARKA News Agency.

In summer 2015, Armenian freight companies lost much time on the
Russian section of Upper Lars checkpoint in queues consisting of
Georgian and Turkish cargo vehicles.

Armenia's government asked the Eurasian Economic Union to ensure
special treatment to cargo vehicles from its member countries.

Arakelyan said that ways to put things right are being discussed now
with partners from Russia.

"It is planned not only to open a separate border checkpoint - we want
to find solutions to problems appearing there," he said adding that
queues of trucks appear because of bad weather, since this segment
of the road is squeezed in between mountains and troubled by spring
and fall floods.

The deputy minister said that solutions will be beneficial not only
to Armenia, but also to the Eurasia Economic Union's other members.

"Design work is under way now, but Armenia can't take an active part
in it, since this is Russia's territory," he said.

Makar Arakelyan, the president of the Association of Armenian Freight
Forwarders, on his side, said that considerable investments are needed
to widen the road. Besides, it is a very difficult and dangerous
technical task and there is the necessity of blasting operations.

But, in his opinion, investments are economically feasible, since in
spring Armenia's export is rallying and its volumes are growing.

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