Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... Stepanakert 25.02.2017

Interfax - Russia & CIS General Newswire
Stepanakert reports 5 Azerbaijani servicemen killed on contact line
February 25, 2017 

At least five Azerbaijani Armed Forces servicemen were killed during
the overnight battles in the Karabakh conflict zone, unrecognized
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic's (NKR) National Security Council secretary
Vitaly Balasanyan said on Saturday.

"As a result of the attempt at assault in south-eastern and eastern
sectors of the contact line Azerbaijan has lost at least five
servicemen killed. Five Azerbaijani tanks, four infantry combat
vehicles and other special equipment approached the contact line,"
Balasanyan told local media.

The situation is currently calm, there is no shootout, he said.

On Saturday, the Armenian authorities and the unrecognized NKR
authorities on the one side, and the Azerbaijani authorities on the
other, accused each other of deteriorating the situation on the
contact line.

The Azerbaijani Armed Forces attempted to carry out an assault
overnight into Saturday, the NKR Defense Ministry said.

In turn, Baku accused the Armenian Armed Forces of committing
provocations. The Azerbaijani military sustained certain losses in the
clashes on the contact line, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry press
service said. 

Report Deadly Fighting Reported In Karabakh
February 25, 2017

Ceasefire violations around Nagorno-Karabakh dramatically intensified
early on Saturday, with Karabakh's Armenian-backed military saying
that it repelled major Azerbaijani attacks at two sections of the

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry confirmed deadly fighting along the
Karabakh "line of contact" but claimed that it is the Armenians who
attacked its frontline positions.

The Karabakh Defense Army said Azerbaijani forces used demining
machines and other "special means" when they attempted to seize its
positions at frontline sections east and southeast of Karabakh early
in the morning. They were pushed back, suffering significant
casualties in the process, the army claimed in a statement.

"Several [Azerbaijani] corpses are lying in no man's land," said the
statement. "Nobody was killed or wounded on the Armenian side."

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, for its part, said Armenian troops
"tried to penetrate our positions." It reported a "heavy combat clash"
in an area near southeastern Karabakh where "the enemy attempted to
capture beneficial positions" but was forced to retreat.

"As a result of the combat clash, our armed forces suffered
casualties," ministry added, according to the APA news agency. It did
not give any numbers.

The Karabakh Armenian army was quick to deny the Azerbaijani
claims. "How can a defending side suffer casualties in no man's land?"
read an army statement released later in the morning.

Armenia's Defense Ministry similarly accused Baku of seeking to
"mislead its own people and the international community."
"Azerbaijan's military-political leadership has been escalating the
situation along the Line of Contact and spreading disinformation for
several days," the ministry spokesman, Artsrun Hovannisian, wrote on
his Facebook page.

"The Armenian side is observing the ceasefire regime and calling on
the Azerbaijani side to refrain from steps aimed at further escalating
the situation," he added.

Azerbaijan's Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov and army chief of staff,
General Nejmeddin Sadiqov, visited the demarcation line around
Karabakh just two days before the latest escalation. News reports said
they instructed Azerbaijani frontline troops to take "tougher and more
resolute measures" in response to what they called growing Armenian

U.S., Russian and French mediators urged the parties to the Karabakh
conflict to "adhere strictly" to ceasefire agreements immediately
after hosting a meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign
ministers in Munich on February 16. The three co-chairs of the OSCE
Minsk Group warned that "war is not an option."

The mediators also renewed their calls for the warring sides to
implement confidence-building agreements that were reached by the
Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents last year. The agreements envisage
international investigations of truce violations and deployment of
more OSCE observers in the conflict zone. Armenia says that Azerbaijan
has been dragging its feet over these safeguards.

Such violations have steadily intensified in recent weeks after
several months of relative calm that followed four-day hostilities
around Karabakh in April 2016. The two sides have accused each other
of using mortars and rocket-propelled grenades on a virtually daily

On February 18, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian warned Azerbaijan
against launching large-scale military operations in the run-up to
Armenia's parliamentary elections scheduled for April 2. "Today some
in Azerbaijan still have illusions that an Armenia focused on
elections will be very distracted and therefore vulnerable # Any
[armed] provocation would receive a worthy response," he said.

Interfax - Russia & CIS General Newswire
Yerevan informs Moscow, Washington, Paris about Azerbaijan's offensive
attempt in Karabakh conflict zone
Feb 25

Armenia informed Russia, the United States and France, the co-chairs
of the OSCE Minsk Group on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, about the
actions of Azerbaijan in the conflict zone on Saturday.

"#Armenia informed @OSCE #Minskgroup [the Minsk Group's] co-chair
countries on #Azerbaijan offensive attempt," Armenian Foreign Ministry
spokesperson Tigran Balayan said on Twitter.

Earlier, the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh's Republic's (NKR) Defense
Ministry accused the Azerbaijani Armed Forces of attempting an
offensive in the early hours of Saturday.

"Around 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., Yerevan time, on February 25, the
Azerbaijani Armed Forces attempted an offensive using the relevant
mine clearing vehicles and special equipment in the southeastern
(Martuni) and eastern (Akhna) sectors of the contact line between the
Karabakh and Azerbaijani forces," the press service for the
unrecognized NKR's Defense Ministry said.

"Forward units of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic's Defense Army [...]
noticed the motions of the Azerbaijani special forces promptly and the
enemy was driven back to the initial positions having suffered
losses," the ministry said.

The Armenian side suffered no losses and no one was wounded, the press
service said.

Baku, in turn, accused the Armenian Armed Forces of organizing
provocations on the contact line in Karabakh.

"In the early hours of February 25, the units of the Armenian Armed
Forces attempted to penetrate the Azerbaijani positions in several
directions for the purpose of committing large-scale provocations
along the entire frontline. The Azerbaijani servicemen were constantly
monitoring the enemy's movements and resolutely prevented the Armenian
saboteurs' attempts to go deeper into our positions," the Azerbaijani
Defense Ministry's press service said earlier on Saturday.

"Clashes resulted in losses on our part. The enemy is currently
continuing to shell our positions from heavy artillery," the press
service said.

The most severe armed clashes took place in the Khojavend-Fizuli
section of the frontline, the press service said.

Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Ali Ahmadov said on the account of
the recent exacerbation of the situation in Karabakh that the
Azerbaijani Armed Forces are capable of properly rebuffing the
provocations undertaken by the Armenian Armed Froces.

"I am confident that today, as always, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces,
our heroic soldiers, are capable of properly opposing the provocations
undertaken by the Armenian Armed Forces' units," Ahmadov said.

He said that it is not the first time Armenian side commits
provocations at the contact line between the Armenian and Azerbaijani
armed forces.

"They always resort to provocative actions on various pretexts. It
appears that the Armenian side is not going to forgo them in the
future," the deputy prime minister said.

He said that such actions of the Armenian Armed Forces are not
accidental on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly tragedy.

"I am confident that the enemy will also be properly rebuffed this
time and will deeply regret these actions. Our army is not only
capable of opposing such provocations, but participating in
larger-scale combats," Ahmadov said.

Showbiz 411
Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac “The Promise”: Thanks to Late Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian All Proceeds to Charity Starting with Elton John AIDS Foundation
by Roger Friedma
February 23, 2017
The Elton John AIDS Foundation– the best of all these celebrity charities, I think– gets a huge boost this Sunday at their annual Oscar party. They’re the first beneficiaries of late billionaire Kirk Kerkorian’s proceeds from the Terry George directed “The Promise.”

Kerkorian put aside over $100 million for George to make this romance set against the Armenian genocide. Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac vy for the same woman in a film that Open Road will open later this year– and was shown for the first time last fall in Toronto. Indeed, all proceeds from “The Promise” will go to charity. EJAF is just the first non profit organization to participate. More will be announced soon.

This is unprecedented and very cool, and only possible because Kerkorian never planned on making the money back. It’s just a drop in the bucket for his estate. The idea was to tell the story of the tragedy of the Armenian genocide in a pedigreed film. Terry George et al have done that.

Donations to EJAF are also going to be matched the film’s production company, Survivor Films, via text and online pledging during the EJAF Oscar party. And there will be LOTS of celebrities there– David Furnish and Elton John manage to pull this event off every year and it gets better and better.

Also, unlike other charities EJAF is very pro-active and very transparent in their work. They are also not about having parties and wasting sponsors’ money shlepping celebs etc around the world. Their money goes to the real work of stopping AIDS worldwide and aiding those with the illness.

Vogue Magazine 
Feb 25 2017
An Intimate Armenian Wedding in Normandy
Alexandra Macon

Singer-songwriter Tamar Kaprelian and Chris Stang, the co-founder and CEO of the restaurant-rating website and app, The Infatuation , became romantically involved while they both were working in the music industry. “I was out with a friend from Atlantic Records for her birthday,” remembers Chris. “Another one of our friends who worked for Interscope came to meet up with us, and Tamar, then an L.A.-based artist who was signed with them, was with her. From the second she walked into the room, I was enamored with her. We hit it off immediately—and also she had Momofuku Milk Bar cookies in her purse. That’s when I knew we would one day marry.”

In the beginning, the two were just friends, but a work trip sent Chris out to Los Angeles a few months later, and then they started dating. Tamar moved to New York about a year after that. The two had been seeing each other for five years when Chris proposed.

“Just like any healthy marriage, it all started with a lie,” he jokes. “I had been telling Tamar for a few months that I was going to Detroit for a weekend in September to go watch a Denver Broncos/Detroit Lions game with The Infatuation’s Chicago Editor. Once that weekend arrived, I packed a bag and left the apartment early in the morning. But instead of going to Detroit, I went to a coffee shop near the apartment and waited. I was waiting for Tamar’s friend to take her out for coffee, which I had arranged as a diversion. Once Tamar got to the coffee shop, I ran back to the apartment. I had about an hour window to set up the living room—stringing photos from the five years we had spent together across the ceiling and lining the floor with roses. When Tamar got back, I was there, standing in the middle of the room with a ring. Once the shock wore off and she accepted, I helped her quickly pack a bag so we could head for the airport to spend the weekend in Charleston.”

As soon as the two started talking about where they might want to get married, France was at the top of their list. “Chris and I knew that we wanted the focal point of our wedding to be food and wine, and that neither of us wanted a 400 person event,” explains Tamar. “Had we done it in either Los Angles or New York, that would have been the case. Back in 2012, we spent a week in Paris over Christmas and jumped on a train to Normandy for a few days just to get out of the city. That’s how we discovered the town of Honfleur and Ferme Saint Simeon, both of which we fell in love with instantly. The second we got to the property, we knew we had stumbled upon something special. The aesthetic of the space is warm, but regal, and the whole property smells like apples and firewood. Once we realized doing it there, was something we could maybe pull off, we didn’t really consider any other options.”

Tamar did most of the planning herself, but also relied on the staff of the Relais & Chateaux property. “We could never have pulled this wedding off without Ferme Saint Simeon’s event planner, Pauline Parizot,” says Tamar. “She really made sure that everything came together seamlessly and helped so much in dealing with the church, the flowers, the restaurants for the cocktail reception and the rehearsal dinner—basically everything.”

Because she was having a fall wedding, Tamar felt strongly about wearing a dress with long sleeves. “I also wanted something timeless and that had lace,” she says. “The Monique Lhullier gown that I chose was one of the first dresses I saw in a photo. We went to every single bridal boutique you can imagine. I must have tried on every long sleeved dress ever made, but I could never get that Monique gown out of my mind.” Tamar didn’t want anything to take away from the dress, so she kept her jewelry simple and only wore the diamond drop earrings that her mother wore for her own wedding.

The service was an important part of the celebration for Tamar. “I am Armenian and wanted to have a traditional Armenian ceremony,” she says. “But Honfleur did not have an Armenian church. In fact, the nearest Armenian Church was in Paris, which is about 2 hours away. The local Catholic Church, however, was nice enough to let us have an Armenian ceremony, which is very different from the Catholic ceremony. They also let us fly in our own clergy. We flew an incredible Bishop in from Armenia, Bishop Bagrat Galstanyan, who really made our ceremony special with his warmth and humor.”

After the ceremony, there was a cocktail hour that featured fresh oysters from the local harbor. The group then moved into the main dining room, where there was a six-course meal in the property’s Michelin Starred restaurant. The menu included local scallop carpaccio with caviar, hot foie gras and apple, a traditional Norman palate cleanser of apple sorbet and Calvados called Trou Normand, beef filet, a cheese course, and everyone finished the meal with vanilla cake with seasonal fruits and other traditional French pastries.

Throughout dinner, toasts were given by family members and a local jazz band played. “We also wanted our guests to have a unique experience, so we brought two Armenian dancers in from Leon to perform during dinner,” says Tamar. “In full Armenian color and dress, they performed several traditional dances, one of which included Chris and I dancing with them. They taught us moves on the spot, and we got up there and had a great time.” The two kept dancing until around 2:00 A.M. “At that point, we went to our suite and passed out!” laughs Tamar.

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