Thursday, 5 May 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Armenian Domain launch
Armenian .հայ domain launched
04 May 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

The Armenian Ministry of Transport and Communication has launched the
.հայ domain, which will work along the English language .am domain
name. Նախագահ.հայ  will be the first official website to be registered
in the Armenian script.

The current .am domain was assigned to the Republic of Armenia in
1994, the Internet Society NGO got the right to register it in the
same year. The same NGO retains the right to manage the .հայ domain.

The registration process started back in 2012, Vice-President of the
Internet Society NGO Grigory Saghyan told reporters today. He noted
that “writing in the Armenian script is compulsory for the system to
recognize the website you are trying to access.”

For accessing websites registered on the .հայ domain from abroad it
will be necessary to install an Armenian keyboard, and the Windows
provides that opportunity.

The Ministry of Transport and Communication has offered all state
bodies to register their websites on domain. The cost is the
same as with the .am – 9-10 thousand AMD for registration and 1,000
AMD monthly service fee.

150 applications have already been submitted for registration, of
which 70 are government agencies. 

Armenian Church in Turkey can’t receive EU prize because of curfew in Sur
03 May 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

Surp Giragos Church won 2015 European Union Prize for Cultural
Heritage / Europa Nostra Award for its restoration, but cannot receive
it because of the curfew in Sur. The ceremony will be held in Istanbul
on May 5, Agos reports.

Left to its own fate for years, Surp Giragos Church was finally
restored by the great efforts of Armenian community and opened to
worship in 2011. The restoration is granted with 2015 Europa Nostra,
which is the most prestigious restoration award in Europe. There were
263 applicants and 28 projects won the prize in different categories.
From Turkey, Surp Giragos Armenian Church in Diyarbakir was granted
with the prize.

The ceremony will be held in Istanbul

A prize ceremony was planned to be held in the church, where the prize
plaquet will be nailed to the wall of the church. However, since it is
forbidden to enter the province, the ceremony will be held in

The ceremony will be held in the Patriarchate in Istanbul. Europa
Nostra Turkey Representative Nuran Zeren Gülersoy, Archbishop Aram
Ateşyan and Diyarbakir Surp Giragos Armenian Church Foundation Chair
Ergun Ayık will attend the ceremony that will start at 17.00.

Assoc. Prof. Meral Halifeoğlu, who conducted the restoration project,
will make a presentation about the restoration process.

European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage is given to structures and
projects having cultural heritage status. There are four categories:
conservation; research and digitization; dedicated service to
heritage; and education, training and awareness-raising.

The reasons for granting the prize

The prize committee deemed the contribution of local government, local
community and Armenian community worthy of prize: “The efforts to
restore the main church of the Armenians in this place, after the
exile of its people, is an outstanding act of reconciliation for the
city and its citizens. The project developed as a result of extensive
research into old documents for the re-erection of the lost elements,
mainly the roof, the bell tower and interior furnishings. The
involvement of the Armenian community themselves in the restoration of
the monument has contributed immensely to the improvement of peace and
social integration of its people, attracting also visiting Armenians
from all over the world.”

Built in 17th century, Surp Giragos Church’s bell tower was demolished
by cannonballs in 1914 and after 1915, it became deserted. The
restoration started in 2010 and it was maintained by the contributions
of Surp Giragos Church Foundation, NGOs and caring individuals. Then,
thanks to the contribution and support of the local government, the
project was developed and other buildings belonging to the church were
also restored. 
Garo Paylan says he has underwent violence because he is 
by Nana Martirosyan
Tuesday, May 3, 17:35

Garo Paylan, lawmaker of the Turkish Parliament from the People's
Democratic Party, says that he underwent violence by the lawmakers
from the ruling Justice and Development Party during the
constitutional committee meeting only because he is Armenian, reports.

He thinks that the attack was planned beforehand. Paylan said that he
underwent violence because he expressed his disagreement with the
intention to deprive the Kurdish lawmakers of deputy immunity. "Over
15 people attacked me and delivered over 100 blows on me within 20-30
seconds because I am Armenian and I am a human rights advocate", he
said, noting that the relevant video footage shows all the details of
the incident. However, he is not going to apply to court because he
does not believe in justice in that country.
To note, during the debates on the bill aimed at depriving the Kurdish
MPs of deputy immunity, the ruling party's representatives attacked
the Kurdish lawmakers for 3 days in a row. On May 3, the target of the
Justice and Development Party was Garo Paylan.  Earlier, Paylan
reminded his colleagues of the Armenian lawmakers killed in 1915,
showing them the lawmakers' portraits. Some of the Turkish MPs were
discontent with Paylan's speech and were trying to hinder it.

Armenian Taverna that could be listed as The Manchester Museum of The 1970s.
03 May 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

The interior of the Armenian Taverna needs to be spot listed as The
Manchester Museum of The 1970s, Jonathan Schofield  writes in an
article published byManchester Confidential.

The Armenian Taverna carries all the tropes of the ’70s and much more
with a big fat extra dollop of wonderfulness.

An absurd muralt stretches around much of the Albert Square basement
dining room. You also get signed pictures across other walls of
‘celebs’ who visited the Armenian.

Thing is with the Armenian Taverna there are no recent pictures of
celebs and there are a few obvious gaps where perhaps the pictures of
Jimmy Saville, Stuart Hall and Rolf Harris have been removed.

“I want the Armenian Taverna to still be around in another 48 years –
with the same murals. If not, I want a museum to buy the decor and
exhibit it, to show off the utterly bizarre taste of the late sixties
and early seventies. Remember this isn’t some kitsch recreation of the
period from some jaded marketing team, this is the real crazy and
crazed deal,” Jonathan Schofield writes.
RFE/RL Report 
Ex-Official Under Investigation Over Panama Leaks
Astghik Bedevian

An Armenian law-enforcement agency has launched criminal proceedings
against a powerful official who resigned two weeks ago after being
accused of having secret offshore accounts exposed by the Panama

Citing the leaked documents, the investigative publication
reported last month that Mihran Poghosian, the controversial head of a
government body enforcing court rulings, controls three shadowy
companies registered in Panama. It said Poghosian has the exclusive
right to manage Swiss bank accounts of two of those firms.

After initial a denial of the report, Poghosian announced his
resignation on April 18. But he stopped short of admitting any

The Special Investigation Service (SIS) told RFE/RL's Armenian service
( on Tuesday that it has formally launched a criminal
investigation in connection with the report.

The SIS said the probe is being conduct under an article of the
Criminal Code dealing with Armenian officials' "illegal participation
in entrepreneurial activity." Poghosian has not been charged yet. and many other independent media outlets have for years
accused Poghosian of having extensive business interests resulting
from his government position. In particular, the 39-year-old is widely
regarded as the main owner of a company enjoying a de facto monopoly
on banana imports to Armenia. Poghosian has repeatedly denied owning
businesses or using his position to enrich himself and his family,

Hayk Gevorgian, a veteran journalist with the "Haykakan Zhamanak" who
has long reported on Poghosian's alleged involvement in business,
played down the significance of the SIS probe. He argued that the
ex-official is not risking prosecution on charges of tax evasion
carrying lengthy prison sentences.

"Instead, they have invoked another, much softer article [of the
Criminal Code,]" Gevorgian said. "This suggests that the whole process
will be an imitation of justice." 

Azerbaijan Sees Red: Bill in Armenia on NKR recognition 
draws Baku’s wrath
By Naira Hayrumyan -
May 4, 2016

In a move that has been condemned as a “provocation” by Azerbaijan,
the government of Armenia on May 5 is going to discuss and provide its
conclusion on a bill dealing with the formal recognition of the
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s (NKR) independence.

After the government’s opinion the bill authored by opposition MPs
Zaruhi Postanjyan and Hrant Bagratyan (ex-prime minister) will be
debated in the country’s legislature where the final decision will be

Postanjyan is known to have repeatedly suggested recognizing the
independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), but the bill
would not become law due to the position of the executive and the
parliament majority that a formal recognition of the NKR would mean
withdrawing from internationally mediated talks with Azerbaijan on the
conflict settlement and could trigger renewed hostilities. In the
current conditions following the April 2-5 war in Nagorno-Karabakh and
continuing tensions in the conflict zone, however, some experts do not
rule out certain progress of the bill.

Meanwhile, the bill proposed in Armenia has raised hysteria in
Azerbaijan where deputy chief of President Ilham Aliyev’s
administration Novruz Mammadov described it as “another provocation of
the Armenian leadership” aimed at “preserving the status quo.”

Meanwhile, the Armenian side does not hide that the bill is intended
to play a constraining role in the prevention of a new possible
aggression by Azerbaijan.

“If Azerbaijan starts a new military aggression, the issue of the
recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh will be included in the agenda,”
Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan said.

Asked whether it was true that the Armenian government was ready to
endorse the bill on the recognition of the NKR at its upcoming
meeting, the senior diplomat said: “According to the conclusion of the
government, the recognition would be due to the further development of
the situation.”

Vladimir Hakobyan, a spokesman for the Armenian president, said,
meanwhile, that Armenia is closely following the “delusional
statements of Azerbaijani officials, which are not only surprising,
but also ridiculous”. He reminded that the bill was presented by
opposition MPs. “Let there be no doubt that in the event of
recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, the public will learn
about it first from President Serzh Sargsyan,” the presidential press
secretary said.

In his turn, Chairman of the NKR Public Council on Foreign Policy and
Security, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the NKR Masis
Mailyan said: “Armenia must recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
Now the situation has changed. And politicians have revised their
approaches. Earlier in Yerevan they thought such recognition could
lead to a war or disruption of the peace process. But life has shown
that even without this recognition Azerbaijan started the war and
actually torpedoed the negotiation process, as well as violated the
ceasefire agreement of 1994.” Now, the diplomat added, there will no
longer be any fears on this matter, and Armenia must take more drastic

That Armenia may recognize the NKR and conclude with it an agreement
on mutual military assistance was first stated during the April war by
President Sargsyan. He said that if Azerbaijan continues aggression,
Armenia will make a move to formally recognize the NKR’s independence.

So far, Armenia has refrained from formally recognizing the NKR
because of its participation in negotiations under the auspices of the
OSCE Minsk Group. As part of these negotiations, the parties have been
discussing the so-called Madrid principles, which also imply
territorial concessions. And when the question of recognition was
raised, many Armenian politicians would wonder whether the recognition
should take place within the current NKR borders (with territories
gained during the 1992-1994 war) or within the limits of the
autonomous region that existed during the Soviet times. If the
recognition takes place within today’s borders, then the negotiations
and the Madrid principles can be regarded as finished. 
Poverty gap index is still very high in Armenia
May 4, 2016

Institutional, economic and social reforms aimed at achieving the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been implemented in Armenia
for the past 15 years. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) came
into force on January 1, 2016.

The progress towards the implementation of the MDGs in Armenia has
been summarized in the “Armenia - National Progress Report 2015” which
will be made available to the public in the near future.

According to the report, 22 indicators out of 65 were implemented in
Armenia by 2015, and 10 of the non-achieved indicators registered
positive progress. The country’s commitments and achievements in
implementing the  MDGs were evaluated not in general terms, but in the
context of implementation of Armenia’s national indicators for each

2015 was the closing year for the Millennium Development Agenda. UN
member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that
includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a view to
encourage the implementation of the SDGs and to ensure continuous and
sustainable development efforts in the whole world.

Mediamax summarized the main results and evaluations from the chapter
on poverty reduction in the “Armenia - National Progress Report 2015.”

Armenia achieved half of the indicators for reducing extreme poverty
and hunger. According to the report, Armenia has made notable progress
in reducing poverty in the last two decades in general.

The main driving force of poverty reduction was economic development.
Before the global economic crisis, there was an environment conducive
for job creation and income generation, which in turn contributed to a
decrease in poverty. Social security and support mechanisms, including
pensions and family benefits, greatly affected poverty reduction,
especially in regard to decreasing the number of malnourished or
extremely poor people. Nevertheless, the report states that Armenia
was not so effective in the fight against poverty. 2.7% of the
population were malnourished in 2013, and 1/3 of the Armenian people
lived in poverty.

A recently published report by the Armenian National Statistical
Service, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children’s Fund
(UNICEF) states that a high number of households in Armenia have
serious nutrition problems reflected in large numbers of stunted

According to the report, Armenia is exposed to multiple risks, and 28%
of households are at risk of becoming food insecure if affected by any
shock. Moreover, 19% of children aged under 5 are reported to be
stunted. The stunted condition, where children do not grow fully, is
caused by chronic malnutrition.

As argued by the authors of the “Armenia - National Progress Report”,
two external factors threaten Armenia’s future recovery, negatively
affecting the progress in poverty reduction.

These factors include the global financial crisis of 2008, as well as
the economic sanctions against Armenia’s large economic and trade
partner Russia and the resulting economic decline.

The number of poor and extremely poor people grew in 2008-2013. Rising
refugee flows in the region, conditioned by the deteriorating
geopolitical situation in the region, is another important factor that
affected Armenia’s social condition. From the perspective of efforts
aimed at poverty reduction, the 17,000 people evacuated from Syria due
to the conflict, who applied for asylum in Armenia, became an
additional challenge.

Armenia chose targets for ending poverty, the first one being to
reduce the poverty level to lower than the 1990 level by 2015.

Almost 1/3 of Armenia’s population (967 thousand citizens) are still
considered poor by 2013. Extreme poverty rate was 1.7 times higher
than that of 2008. The level of middle class development (e.g. persons
earning more that USD 4) in Armenia lags behind the global level.

The poverty gap index also remains very high, although it decreased in
recent years. The resources allocated to social assistance are
insufficient for covering the poverty gap. International experience
suggests that effective targeting is very difficult, which implies
that resources significantly larger that 2% of GDP will be required to
cover the poverty gap.

Another target for ending poverty was to halve the proportion of
people who suffer from hunger between 1990 and 2015.

Children aged 0-5 are especially vulnerable to poverty. Furthermore,
households with three or more children are at a higher risk of poverty
in Armenia. Despite the general decrease in poverty rate, the rate of
children’s poverty rose in 2012 compared to 1.1 % in 2013.

The next target was to achieve full and productive employment and
decent work for everyone, including women and young people.

The unemployment rate did not improve but wavered between 16.5 and 19%
in 2008-2014. Armenia achieved its MDG target for ensuring jobs for
more than half of population of working age. However, the authors
consider the situation with people of working age, especially young
people, worrying.

Armenia did not achieve the target of ensuring jobs for 70% of youth.
The unemployment rate of young people is more than two times higher
than the overall unemployment rate (36% compared to 17.6%).

Armenia did not achieve the target of decreasing the number of
employed poor people to 5%. One of the worrying signs is the fact that
over 1/4 of employed people are still poor, although salaries
increased by more than five times in the last decade.

Labor productivity almost doubled in the last decade, but is still
quite far from the target of USD 31,000.

Challenges and prospects

The key mid-term challenge for the Government is to mitigate the
economic and social impact of external shocks, while continuing
political and institutional reforms. In this regard, increasing the
economy’s resilience to external shocks and creating new possibilities
for development are important priorities.

The fact that the share of malnourished and stunted children aged
under 5 has grown since 2000 is a worrying and alarming sign. Children
under 5 are among the most deprived and vulnerable group of society,
and their issues should become a priority in the fight against
poverty. Furthermore, it is important that the right to food becomes a
priority in Armenia, and access to food is ensured for all.

Creation of jobs in Armenia has been and will continue to be a
challenge. Almost 40% of the country’s labor resources are
economically inactive, and 1/3 of young men and women neither receive
education, nor are employed. Moreover, Armenia will have to tackle the
challenge of increasing economic productivity in order to protect
employed people from poverty and give them an opportunity to earn for
decent living. Such a challenge can be effectively addressed through a
dialogue and cooperation between the public and the private sectors.

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