Friday, 6 May 2016

Armenian News ... A Topalian... William's Roots

One area in which Azerbaijan is beating Armenia
Illicit financial outflows from 2004 through 2013. 

Country  2004 2005  2006     2007  2008  2009    2010    2011 201        2013 Cumulative Average

Armenia  403    514        499         806    1,155       926    1,201  1,197       1,285      1,848     9,833          983
Azerbaijan    1,147 2,944     5,634    26,816    7,061    8,410    7,860   7,576    12,815    14,736   94,999       9,500
Armenia to participate in NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge 
The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will hold
NASA Space Apps Challenge 2016 for the fifth time, which will be held
from April 22-24. 200 cities around the world will take part in the
event, and Armenia will officially join the competition for the first

The event embraces collaborative problem solving with a goal of
producing relevant open-source solutions to address global needs
applicable to both life on Earth and life in space.

The Head of organizing committee to the competition, ''X-Tech Creative
Studios'' manager Arman Atoyan told that the competition
will last for 48 hours (24 hours in Armenia to be held on April
22-23). The worked out innovative solutions and suggestions will be
submitted to the assessment of the local and international jury.

NASA coordinates the global event, but all locations are independently

Atoyan informed that 30 participants have been registered from Armenia
so far. “Based on the NASA open data the participant will be tasked to
create mobile, virtual reality apps to provide innovate solutions of
applicable to life. The local competition in Armenia will take place
due to the support of the RA National Academy of Science Byurakan
Astrophysical Observatory leadership within a program to promote
participation in the international competitions.

“The Armenian jury will select the winner from Armenia, while all the
designed apps will be submitted to the international Jury. The five
winner teams will participate in the launch of a rocket in NASA
Johnson Space Center, in Houston,” Atoyan informed.

To him, the competition is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the
achievement made in the information technology sector of Armenia as
well as capabilities of Armenian specialists who design applications
of global importance and significance.

“This is a good chance to present the IT products of our state at the
international platforms,” he noted.

Atoyan then added that his company «X-Tech Creative Studios''
previously joined the competition as a virtual participant, and later
on after long negotiations they reached an agreement to register
Armenia as an official participant. 

National Geographic: 
A Century Later, Slaughter Still Haunts Turkey and Armenia
April 2016 Edition

An interesting article about the Armenian Genocide and the 
complex relationship between Armenia and Turkey (and the Kurds) 

AzerTag, Azerbaijan
Diplomat magazine interviews Azerbaijani Ambassador on 
recent developments in Nagorno-Karabakh
April 18 2016

The London-based Diplomat magazine has published an interview with
Azerbaijani Ambassador to the UK Tahir Taghizade on the recent events
in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Ambassador says: “Over the past 22 years we have grown accustomed
to Armenia's frequent violation of the ceasefire regime, however this
time it was on such a massive scale that it almost amounted to the
full flare up of the conflict. Unfortunately, the past few days have
seen an unprecedented escalation of violence and shelling of
Azerbaijani civilian settlements by the Armenian armed forces. The
shelling has led to dozens of civilians being killed and wounded, some
of them in left critical condition. On the second day of this flare
up, Azerbaijan has declared a unilateral halt to military operations
in the spirit of peace, and has shown goodwill to avoid further
escalation and casualties. However, Armenia has rejected this call for
ceasefire and even expanded its theatre of military operations forcing
Azerbaijan to retaliate and take necessary steps to protect the
civilians in the conflict zone.

International media coverage of the tensions has improved, with some
Western outlets recalling that Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of
Azerbaijan, and is recognised by the international community as such.

This is happening for two reasons now. Firstly, the continuing
military presence of Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan
and its refusal to withdraw these forces from the internationally
recognised territories of Azerbaijan.

Since 1994, peace talks have been ongoing under the auspices of the
OSCE'S Minsk Group, but have not achieved any significant progress.
This military occupation has resulted in around one million
Azerbaijanis fleeing from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding seven
districts, to resettle in other parts of Azerbaijan. In fact,
Azerbaijan has the largest population of refugees and IDPs in per
capita terms. These displaced people demand immediate return to their
homes and put pressure on Azerbaijan's government to undertake the
necessary steps to achieve this. Azerbaijan has always shown
remarkable dedication to the peaceful resolution of the conflict. But
the country continues to suffer from military aggression and has to
cope with these economic and social burdens of the loss of territory.

Secondly, the international community – in particular the OSCE's Minsk
Group co-chairs have not taken adequate steps to resolving this
conflict peacefully. The co-chairs have effectively monopolised the
peace process, refusing to cooperate with other institutions or
individual countries that could potentially contribute to the process.
We regret that the co-chair countries have concentrated their efforts
on pursuing their interests in the region, rather than working closely
with a view to drawing up a sustainable peace plan.

Politically and economically, the South Caucasus region is part of
Europe despite being only geographically on its margins. However,
events that take place on Europe's doorstep can most definitely be a
threat to Europe's overall security environment, not to mention a
potentially fatal blow to Europe's energy security. The escalation
occurs at a time when Europe grapples with a wide range of other
security-related challenges. Therefore, it is high time for Europe and
the wider international community to show resolve and political will
to call on Armenia to withdraw its armed forces from occupied
territories of Azerbaijan.

UN Security Council Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 provide adequate
legal framework of the conflict resolution. These resolutions and many
others by other international organisations have reaffirmed
Azerbaijan's sovereignty over occupied territories and called on
Armenia to respect the principle of territorial integrity and
sovereignty by withdrawing its armed forces. A lasting peaceful
resolution of the conflict will only come about from the
implementation of these resolutions, along with international

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratefulness to
the UK government for its reserved position, and to members of the
general public for the outpour of support to Azerbaijan's cause.”

Orkhan Ismayilov
Special Correspondent
Armenia: Panama Papers Prompts Official's Resignation
April 18, 2016 
Marianna Grigoryan
In an unprecedented move, Mihran Poghosian, a senior Armenian official
named in the Panama Papers’ corruption exposé, resigned from office on
April 18. His stated reason, though, was not the accusations against
him, but, apparently, a more patriotic one – the dishonor of sharing
press space alongside Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

In an explanation sent to Armenian media outlets, Poghosian described
himself as “saddened that my name is being raised alongside the family
of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev, who has actually privatized
millions of dollars,” according to an English-language translation of
his comments published by RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “I find it
unacceptable that I might be the reason for any possible civilized
parallel to be drawn between my country and dictatorial Azerbaijan.”

While the four-day conflict with Azerbaijan along the Nagorno-Karabakh
frontline remains the hottest topic in Armenia, Poghosian’s
resignation astonished many. Armenian media has reported before about
corruption among senior government officials, but not with such a

 “Is this a sign that something is changing in this country?” asked
Yerevan resident Naira Soghomonian, 31. “Or is this another way of
distracting people from the truth? Anyway, who would have thought . .

Civil activist Syuzan Simonian, founder of the Front of Armenian
Women, suspects the resignation is intended to quiet potential
frustration with the government.

Recent protests have expressed outrage against Russia, Yerevan's
closest ally, for selling arms to Azerbaijan as well as to Armenia;
another is planned for April 19. Public scandal over a senior official
with a Swiss bank account and three offshore businesses only opens the
government to further criticism at a sensitive time.

Simonian maintains that, to distract the public,  the government could
come up with several more "victims" as well, while Poghosian would be
allowed to fade quietly away.

"His possessions are offshore [registered in Panama – ed], and he will
move there, and we will not find a trace of him anymore,” she
asserted. “We need to present a public demand that he is not allowed
to leave the country. “

Poghosian did not appear in public after published its story
on April 4, but stated today that he would respond to the accusations
against him “as a civilian . . . “ Editor-in-Chief Edik Baghdasarian characterized Poghosian’s
patriotic outburst as “ridiculous,” yet said that he did not expect
his resignation.

“I consider this a victory for Armenian media.” Baghdasarian commented
to “In fact, there are numerous questions which need
to be answered still, and the case should not be closed by a
resignation. There is material to disclose, and we must see what steps
will follow next.”

Like Simonian, Stepan Safarian, head of the Armenian Institute of
International and Security Affairs, believes that many other
high-ranked Armenian officials might feature in the so-called
Panamagate scandal.

“In a small country like Armenia, where the state monitors everything,
all types of capital movement, millions of dollars could not have gone
[into an offshore account] without the knowledge of the senior
administration,” he claimed.

The government, so far, has not commented about Poghosian's resignation. 

Scottish Mail on Sunday
April 17, 2016
Kilt lessons for Armenians

A BIZARRE series of films about Scotland made for Armenian TV and
funded with £10,000 of UK aid was made to teach viewers about kilts,
clans and how to drink whisky.

Entitled Scotland: Mysterious And Real, the programmes also included a
feature on bagpipes and an interview with the former Labour Chancellor
Alistair Darling.

The series, made between 2011 and 2012, received funding from the
Foreign Office, which paid for a four-person television crew to be
flown from Armenia to Britain.

An Armenian official said the aim of the programme was 'to present the
Scottish best practices in the area of governance, politics and
economy to the Armenian society'.

Eben Wilson, director of the TaxpayerScotland campaign group, said:
'This is yet another example of money going to places none of us would
consider to be supporting the poor.' A Foreign Office spokesman said
that the financial support was given to promote Britain 'to a
developing country that will be an important political and economic
partner in the future'. 

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