Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Will the UK recognise the Armenian Genocide, yet?

RFE/RL Report
Putin Upbeat On `Strategic' Ties With Armenia
September 21, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed confidence on Wednesday
Russia and Armenia will further deepen their already close relations
"deeply rooted in history."

In a letter that congratulated President Serzh Sarkisian on Armenia's
Independence Day, Putin said Russian-Armenian ties are being "enriched
with promising projects in different sectors." They are also cemented
by the two countries' membership in the Russian-led Eurasian Economic
Union (EEU) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), he

"I am convinced that with joint efforts we will ensure further
development of the whole complex of strategic relations and
constructive cooperation on addressing pressing issues of regional and
international relevance. This undoubtedly is in the best interests of
the fraternal peoples of our two countries," added the Russian leader.

Putin congratulated Sarkisian as Russian soldiers marched in an
Armenian military parade held in Yerevan on the 25th anniversary of a
1991 referendum in which the vast majority of Armenians voted for
independence from the disintegrating Soviet Union. Russia has kept a
military base in Armenia ever since the Soviet collapse.

Putin and Sarkisian most recently met in Moscow in early August for
talks that reportedly focused on the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict. Moscow took the lead in international efforts to bolster the
ceasefire regime in the conflict zone and revive Armenian-Azerbaijani
peace talks following heavy fighting around Karabakh that broke out in
early April.

Putin hosted a meeting of Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham
Aliyev in Saint Petersburg in June. Aliyev and Sarkisian hinted
afterwards at progress towards the conflict's resolution, fueling
media speculation that they are under pressure to accept a Russian
peace plan. Neither side has reported further progress in recent
weeks, however.

Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande reaffirmed his
"commitment to finding a fair and lasting settlement of the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict" in a congratulatory message sent to
Sarkisian on the occasion.

"As I had the opportunity to tell you during our Warsaw meeting on
July 9, I am ready to host a meeting in Paris with a view to
consolidate the ongoing peace process and discuss measures to resolve
this extremely lengthy conflict," Hollande wrote, according to
Sarkisian's office.

The French president appeared to refer to his offer to organize
another meeting of Aliyev and Sarkisian this year. No agreements on
the proposed summit have been reached yet. 

RFE/RL Report 
Karapetian Orders Action Against Government `Theft'
September 22, 2016
Sargis Harutyunyan

Prime Minister Karen Karapetian ordered the Armenian government on
Thursday to root out what he called the embezzlement of budgetary
funds set aside for government officials' travel expenses.

Karapetian alleged and decried the illegal practice after his chief of
staff, Davit Harutiunian, unveiled a new electronic system for the
purchase of air tickets for officials travelling abroad on business.

"It's a quite complex system and you all understand what it is aimed
at," he told a cabinet meeting in Yerevan. "That is why I am issuing a
directive. We are going to put in place quite complex mechanisms for
eliminating the primitive theft. Sort that out in your agencies."

"When they tell me about what [fraud] schemes are devised for tickets
# it takes a lot of fantasy to do that," added Karapetian. "If those
people used their intelligence in another area, the effects would have
definitely been much better."

The premier did not specify the scale of the alleged fraud or name
officials who he thinks engage in it.

Armenia's newly appointed Finance Minister Vartan Aramian was
reluctant to comment on Karapetian's blunt remarks after the cabinet
meeting. "The prime minister's appeal is also an order to the Finance
Ministry," he told reporters. "Let me just get down to work."

Aramian insisted that he was not aware of any cases of ticket fraud
when he served as deputy finance minister in the past.

Karapetian pledged to speed up economic reforms and strengthen the
rule of law in the country after he was appointed prime minister by
President Serzh Sarkisian on September 14. So far he has named only
six members of his new government. Four of them, including Aramian,
did not work in the previous cabinet.

Karapetian on Thursday also moved to abolish one of Armenia's 19
government ministries: the Ministry for Urban Development. A relevant
government bill presented by Harutiunian would also change the name of
the Economy Ministry to the Ministry for Investments and Business

Knesset Deputy Speaker:
 “We cannot recognize the Armenian Genocide”
September 22, 2016 17:27

Israeli Knesset Deputy Speaker Tali Ploskov said in an interview with Mediamax that "Today Israel does not have the opportunity to recognize Armenian Genocide on state level”.

“President of Israel and President of Knesset said that they accept the fact of the tragedy. But the political relations between Israel and other states do not allow Israel to recognize Armenian Genocide on state level. Although all of us deep inside accept that horrible tragedy and offer our support to the Armenian side,” Knesset Deputy Speaker said to Mediamax correspondent during her visit to Yerevan.

Nevertheless, Tali Ploskov emphasized that progress was registered in the process of recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Israel, when Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee officially recognized it in June, 2016.

“The next step is supposed to be the recognition by President of Israel or Minister of Foreign Affairs, but I am not quite sure it will happen. This issue is not going to change yet. Such issues are not solved quickly,” he said.

Knesset representative noted that it is very important for Israel that “Everyone in Yerevan understands that we do not have anything against Armenia”.

“Yes, we cannot declare what our Armenian counterparts would like us to say. We have reasons that everyone understands. But this does not mean we cannot cooperate,” the MP said

Tali Ploskov informed that he is in Armenia to participate in the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Independence of Armenia.

“Besides the main purpose of my visit, my counterpart Artak Zakaryan and I decided to hold a conference for entrepreneurs, which will host representatives of different spheres from both countries. We plan to hold the first such meeting on September 24,” Tali Ploskov said.

Israeli Knesset Deputy Speaker informed that he will have meetings with the Speaker and MPs of Armenian National Assembly to discuss inter-partliamentary cooperation related issues.

“Last year cooperation was intensified in different spheres between our two countries, which should be continuous. We should work hard to achieve it. I am convinced that there will be no obstacle on our way,” Israeli Knesset Deputy Speaker Tali Ploskov said in an interview to Mediamax .

Ha'aretz, Israel
Sept 23 2016
Jewish Right-wing Extremists Riot During Performance 
by Christian Choir in Jerusalem
By Nir Hasson
Two members of anti-assimilationist group Lehava arrested, including
leader Bentzi Gopstein, after trouble flares during song by Armenian
Church Choir
Right-wing extremists rioted during a performance by a Christian choir
at a contemporary arts event in Jerusalem on Thursday. The police
arrested two members of the anti-assimilationist Lehava organization,
including its leader, Bentzi Gopstein.

Dozens of extremists infiltrated the Manofim contemporary arts
festival event, being held in the Clal Center mall, and clashed with
attendees. The event was the finale of Manofim’s ninth annual
festival. Organizers had wanted to take advantage of the circular
shape of the Clal Center interior, one of the oldest commercial
centers in Jerusalem.

Various choirs performed on the ground floor during the evening while
hundreds of people stood on the floors above to watch.

The right-wing demonstration erupted during the performance by the
city’s Armenian Church Choir. An eyewitness said the disruption
started when the choir began singing, and that it took a long time for
the police to arrive.

Meanwhile, Gopstein and other activists allegedly shouted at the
choir, “Christians!”, “Go to Syria!”, “Jew murderers!” and more. The
choir was forced to stop performing after one song.

Following the event, security guards and police blocked the entrance,
and several Lehava members gathered in front of the building and
protested that they were not allowed to go inside.

“Two right-wing activists were arrested after they refused to obey
police orders, and continued to interfere with the event and disrupted
the public order with shouts and confrontations with police,” the
police said in a statement.

Right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir claimed that officers hit Gopstein
in the head during the clash, adding that Gopstein needed medical
treatment for his injuries.

Rinat Edelstein and Lee He Shulov, the directors-curators of the
Manofim festival, said in a statement: “We are still shocked and
pained about the violent and vulgar behavior of Lehava, headed by
Bentzi Gopstein. We wish to express our solidarity with the Armenian
choir that was forced to leave the event because of Lehava’s violence
against them.

“We were shocked to find that in Israel in 2016, such a violent
organization is not outlawed and its members are not sitting in jail,”
they added.

Rabbi Noa Sattath, executive director of the Israel Religious Action
Center, which organized a counterdemonstration against Lehava on
Thursday evening, said, “The fact that Lehava thugs do not rest for a
moment, and that while hundreds of citizens — Jews and Arabs —
demonstrate against them, they choose to violently interrupt religious
Christian activities, is clear proof that the head of this criminal
organization, Bentzi Gopstein, should be prosecuted as quickly as
possible, before more blood is spilled in the capital.”

10,000 square meters of mined areas demined in Armenia’s 
Syunik Province

Over the course of the current year, the peacekeeping mining engineering battalion of the Armed Forces of Armenia has demined about 10-thousand square meters of mined areas in Syunik Province.

In parallel, the Humanitarian Demining and Expertise Center has started the marking of respective hazardous areas in Armenia.

The objective of this marking is to prevent people from entering hazardous areas, and to raise awareness of the danger caused by landmines.

Mark Moogalian honored for helping thwart 2015 train attack
23 Sep 2016 

A French-American man who helped stop a heavily armed gunman on a train in France in 2015 has received the country’s highest honour, the BBC reports.

Mark Moogalian and five other passengers overpowered the suspect, Moroccan national Ayoub El-Khazzani.

Mr Moogalian was shot in the neck during the struggle on the high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris.

The Legion d’honneur was given by President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace.

When a French passenger tried to enter a toilet on the train, he encountered the gunman and tried to overpower him.

Seeing the struggle, Mr Moogalian tried to intervene but was hit by a bullet.

Three other Americans – off-duty military servicemen Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler – then overpowered the attacker.

They also had the help of UK businessman Chris Norman.

The Americans and the Briton received the honour in August 2015.

Sorbonne professor Mark Moogalian, has lived in France for more than two decades, but is originally from Midlothian and is of Armenian descent.

Cheese Tops Dairy Exports from Armenia: Most Goes to Russia
Seda Hergnyan
September 22, 2016

During the first seven months of 2016 Armenia produced 13,000 tons of
cheese, 3,600 tons of yoghurt, 3,500 tons of sour cream, 550 tons of
cottage cheese, 317 million liters of milk, and 7 million liters of
ice cream.

These figures are provided by the country’s National Statistical Service (NSS).

When compared to the same period last year, cheese production
increased by 19.1%, milk by 2.7%, and sour cream by 3.2%.

Yoghurt production decreased by 3.8%, cottage cheese by 5.3%, and ice
cream by 10.6%.

When it comes to Armenian diary exports, cheese and cottage cheese top the list.

The NSS reports that Armenia exported 3,300 tons of cheese and cottage
during the first half of 2016 at a customs value of US$8.4 million.
(The NSS, for some unknown reason, lumps the two products together)

Nevertheless, given the smaller production amounts of cottage cheese,
most of the exports in this category consists of cheese.

The primary market for Armenian cheese is Russia, with smaller
quantities this year to the USA and Georgia.

Surprisingly, cheese and cottage cheese exports skyrocketed in 2015,
despite complaints from cheesemakers regarding less than conducive
market conditions.

[the US Armenians do not seem to have heard of Lord Darzi]

Getreated Medical Travel.com
Sept 20 2016
5 Medical Innovations You Didn’t Know were Armenian
History of Medicine - Hopkins University
Raffi Elliott

Armenia is making its mark as a global medical tourism hub, yet to the keen observer, this should come as no surprise. Despite its tiny size, this caucasian nation has contributed disproportionately to the medical profession, through advances in medical research over the course of many centuries. Armenians have been found in every aspect of medical innovation, from the publication of Mkhitar Heratsi’s ‘Relief of Fevers’ in 1184 to the pioneering work of Drs. Simeon Minasian, Garabed Galstian, and Baronig Matevosian during the American Civil War , though their contribution goes much deeper.

Armenian doctors, medical researchers and inventors are responsible for some of the most important life-saving innovations of the last century. 

 1- Varaztad Kazanjian: Father of Modern Plastic Surgery 

The Invention:

As a young man, Varaztad Kazanjian fled the Ottoman Empire, where he worked in a local post-office due to the anti-Armenian pogroms known as the Hamidian Massacre. Settling in Boston to start a new life, Varaztad started working at a local wiring factory, where his extraordinary dexterity with tools led him to study dentistry at Harvard. During the Great War, Kazanjian was sent on a medical mission to the battlefields of France. Despite being trained as a dentist, his compassion for the sheer number of soldiers with horrific facial wounds he met lead him to experiment with various treatments. The innovative procedures he worked with were often accomplished in primitive conditions, in field hospitals near the front lines.

Why it’s important: 

Dr. Kazanjian’s pioneering procedures directly lead to establishing the medical field of plastic surgery, earning him the prestigious position of first ever Professor of Plastic Surgery at Harvard . His efforts didn’t go unrecognised by others either. He was awarded the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George by HM King George V of Great Britain, as well as the Honorary Award of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons.

His work helped propel battlefield medicine into the 20th century, allowing many wounded soldiers to recover from some of the most horrific wounds brought by modern warfare. These techniques eventually became commonplace in the civilian world as well. Victims of crashes, burns, and other accidents now had access to some of the most cutting-edge facial reconstruction technology in human history.

The importance of Dr.Kazanjian’s efforts may go unnoticed for today’s casual consumers of cosmetic plastic surgery, but it’s worth remembering that the history of perfect noses and perfect breasts starts with an Armenian dentist’s struggle to stitch up wounded soldiers of World War One. 

2- Michel Ter-Pogossian: PET scan 

The Invention:

The Positron Emissions Tomography scanner, better known to the layperson as the PET scan, is one of the most recognisable pieces of medical technology today, but had it not been for the efforts of the German-Armenian nuclear physicist Michel Ter-Pogossian, this may not have been the case.

A son of Armenian Genocide survivors, Michel Ter-Pogossian was born in Berlin , Germany in 1925. Having witnessed the rise of the Nazis, his family quickly eed to France when he was still a child. Michel was not ready to let his adopted country fall to the same fate as his birth place. He promptly took up the fight against the Nazis as part of the French Resistance Movement during WWII while earning his degree at the University of Paris’s Institute of Radium. He continued his studies after immigrating to Missouri in 1946, where he attended classes at the Washington University of St. Louis, eventually securing a faculty seat in its School of Medicine.

Why it’s important: 

His most notable contribution to Science, the PET scanner is known as one of the most promising methods of detecting early stages of cancer, as well as for monitoring heart disease, allowing millions of people to identify these life-threatening diseases in time to treat them. 

3- Raymond Vahan Damadian: Inventor of the MRI 
The Invention:

If mo damadianst of us ever confuse the PET scanner with anything else, it’s almost always the MRI Machine, but that’s OK, because the MRI was also an Armenian invention ; This time, by the Armenian-American physician, Raymond Vahan Damadian.

Born to an Armenian family in New Mexico, Raymond had an early interest in the physical sciences. With a bachelor’s degree in mathematics already under his belt, he decided to pursue his interest in medicine, graduating as an M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1960.

As a doctor, Raymond researched the effects of sodium and potassium in living cells, eventually leading him to his first experiments using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Raymond conducted the first-ever diagnosis of cancer with a full-body scan in 1977 when he used his newly-invented Magnetic Resonance Imagine (MRI) machine on a patient. Despite controversy revolving around his being denied a Nobel Prize for the invention that many believed entitled him to, Damadian never stopped improving on his important research.

Why it’s important: 

By inventing the MRI machine, Dr Damadian discovered a new way for medical professionals to diagnose cancer and conduct follow-ups without exposing the patient’s body to ionising radiation. This revolutionised the field of cancer researched, and allowed for easier and safer cancer diagnosis.

The MRI machine is also a very versatile as an imaging technique . Today, it is also widely used in biomedical research, as well as in the imaging of non-living objects. There are currently over 25 000 MRI machines used in hospitals and research labs across the world, used in diverse fields of research and medicine, including, but not limited to neurology, cardiovascular research, oncology, and much more. The MRI machine is even preferred to CT scanners when either technique could be used for the same effect. 

 4- Hrayr Shahinian: Pioneer in Microsurgical Techniques 
The Invention: 

dr-shahinianHrayr Shahinian, M.D., F.A.C.S. is recognised as a pioneer of endoscopic surgical techniques, commonly used in order to treat all sorts of skull-based disorders. After graduating from the American University of Beirut in 1981, he continued on at the University of Chicago’s Medical School. Having completed fellowships at the Department of Head and Neck Surgery in the swiss city of Zurich, and in craniofacial surgery at New York University, Dr Shahinian was certified by the American Board of Surgery in 1992.

Why it’s important: 

Dr Shahinian’s new techniques provide a less invasive alternative to older neurosurgical technology . His pioneering endoscopic approach has since widely replaced traditional techniques across the United States and is being used around the world from Canada to South Korea. He has published over 80 academic papers on endoscopic techniques.

Dr Shahinian has since received numerous awards for his work and has secured various patents. he was also honoured by NASA for his work in the field of advanced medical technology. 

 5- Dr John Najarian: Father of modern Organ Transplantation 
The Invention:

Though organ transplant procedures have been attempted for decades, a high rate of rejection by the patient’s immune system made the operation extremely dangerous and incurred a high probability of failure. This all changed thanks to the pioneering work of Dr John Najarian.

Why it’s important: 

The medical field that Dr Najarian entered back in the early 1950s was quite different from what it is today. Modern organ transplant techniques were in their infancy when a young John Najarian was considering cardiology as a career option. The first successful kidney transplant in 1954 lead him to reconsider his path, leading him to proclaim : “That’s the field, that’s something. If you can put in an organ in an individual and save his life, that is remarkable and that’s the direction I want to go.” From that point on, Dr Najarian concentrated his efforts in immunology in order to facilitate kidney transplants, which until then had been complicated by a high rejection rate by the body.

As the first surgeon in the world to conduct successful pancreas and kidney transplants, his invention garnered him both praise and controversy over the years. Despite overseeing the development and manufacture of AntiLymphocyte Globulin (better known through the acronym “ALG”), which helped patients bodies’ recognise and accept foreign organs, for over 25 years at the University of Minnesota, his programme was eventually shut down by the FDA because it had never received its approval. Despite Dr Najarian eventually being cleared of all charges, the damage to his institution had already been done. His research facility had lost a lot of funding, and a lot of skilled researchers.

Despite this major setback, his groundbreaking research and contribution to his field was recognised by many. Dr Najarian even recalls: “To this day I can’t walk down the street and people don’t come up and shake my hand. It’s the most amazing thing in the world”. After all, he managed to save the lives of countless millions with his breakthroughs in organ transplants.


Though the field of medicine is the result of the collective effort that has been propelled by the work of thousands upon thousands of doctors, scientists, and inventors across millennia, one should not discount the unique contribution of the inhabitants of a tiny nation, nestled between the high mountains of the Caucasus. Their endeavours have made now-mundane treatments such as Cancer prevention, plastic surgery, organ transplants, and microsurgery unmistakable parts of modern medicine, saving countless lives.

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