Thursday, 1 June 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... Article on crosses...Radio of Armenia

Comment received concerning the article on crosses:

I wrote to message to eagle re the Jerusalem Cross but so far they haven't published my comment. 
These are the historic facts about the origins of the so-called Jerusalem Cross:

Armenians invented the "Jerusalem Cross" long before the Crusaders arrived in Jerusalem. You come across countless similar crosses in Armenia, etched on rocks, on church walls, and monuments dating from the pre-Crusader era.
On the walls of the courtyard of the St. James Armenian Cathedral in Jerusalem there are numerous "Jerusalem Crosses". One of them has 965 A.D. at the bottom...more than 130 years before the Crusaders took Jerusalem in 1099.
The Crusaders saw the "Jerusalem Cross" for the first time in Armenian Cilicia. They appropriated it and called it the "Jerusalem Cross" when they took that city. Since then it has become the official cross/symbol of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land. It's high time the cross changed its name to Armenian Cross.

Jirair Tutunjian

Public Radio of Armenia
May 29 2017
Azerbaijani protests serve as an advertisement to tourists flights from Stepanekert Airport 

Yell Extreme Park Company is offering tourists Stepanakert-Shushi flights, an initiative that has sparked outrage in Azerbaijan. Baku says the air tours ‘damage the negotiation process.’

Founding Director of Yell Extreme Park Tigran Chibukhchyan says Azerbaijan’s protests played more of an advertising role.

Flights have been carried out from Stepanakert Airport ever since its liberation. The issue was politicized in 2008, when the Artsakh authorities undertook to renovate the Airport and announced plans to start passenger flights. Regular flights were never launched, because Baku moved the issue to a political domain.

However, helicopters have been flying there regularly. Helicopters carrying the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and high-ranking officials from Armenia also land at Stepanakert Airport.

Azerbaijan has been raising the issue over and over again, claiming that the flights violate its airspace. This was the case a few years ago, when the airport purchased two small planes for domestic flights.

The planes have since been used for agricultural purposes or for tourist flights.

Aside from being a political show, Azerbaijan’s noise pursues practical purposes, as well. The air tours make Artsakh better known to the world and break he stereotypes of a war zone. This is what the Yell Extreme Park is trying to achieve.

The company is currently caring out eight flights a day, but the demands will tend to grow, says Samvel Tavadyan, head of Aviation Department of the NKR Ministry of Economy.

Panorama, Armenia
May 30 2017
Edward Nalbandian comments on Ilham Aliyev’s statements 

For the first time the Minsk Group Co-Chairs pointed Azerbaijan was the violator of the ceasefire regime by opening fire the first, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian stated at a press conference with the OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier on Monday, commenting on the OSCE Minsk Group recent statement on ceasefire violation incidents .

Asked whether the statement, containing targeted messages to Azerbaijan may keep Baku from further ceasefire violations, Minister Nalbandian noted Azerbaijan opposes to the establishment of the investigation mechanism into the ceasefire violation incidents for the same reason - not to allow the Co-Chairs and participant to the mechanism to identify the violator and the side that opened fire the first.

“It is clear even without an investigation mechanism, the latest statement [of the Minsk Group] came to show that as well,” noted Nalbandian, adding previous statement by the Co-Chairs also targeted Azerbaijan though indirectly.
The minister recalled calls for avoiding to escalate the situation in the region, to reiterate the commitment for the peaceful resolution of the conflict, refrain from criticizing the Co-Chairing states and respect the mandate of the mediators, refuse from attempts to transfer the conflict settlement to other platforms, agree to the establishment of the investigation mechanism, etc.

Nalbandian was also asked to express position on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s recent claim that Karabakh conflict should be settled within territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

“My position to that claim is the same as to other assertions from the same speech, alleging Azerbaijan is a global center of multiculturism, its respect to all fundamental rights and freedoms, human rights, it is a center of tolerance, serving example to others and other absurd statements of these series,” Nalbandian said.

“The international community has long been stressing the importance of preserving the indivisibility of the principles of non-use of force, territorial integrity, equality of the people and their right for self-determination, which are reflected, in particular, in five joint statement by the Heads of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairing countries.” added Nalba

Public Radio of Armenia
May 29 2017
George Clooney: Aurora Prize winner a ‘role model’ to us all 

Filmmaker and philanthropist jokes that if he attended this year’s Aurora Humanitarian prize ceremony in Armenia, and “my wife had twins while I was there, I could never come home.”

George Clooney renewed his endorsement of a million dollar peace prize Sunday when he spoke of the power of “individuals to make a difference” in addressing the world’s various humanitarian crises.

In a video address at the awards ceremony of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, held late Sunday in Yerevan, Armenia, the Oscar-winning actor, humanitarian activists and father to be: “I really would have been [in Yerevan] but if I came there and my wife had twins while I was there, I could never come home.”

“I’m sorry I can’t be there with you in Yerevan, but I can say with all sincerity that I’m with you in spirit. As co-chair of Aurora Prize selection Committee, I’m impressed by this year’s finalists. All of them are modern-day heroes, individuals who put themselves at risk to help those in the greatest need,” Clooney said.

“The finalists are role models for all of us and demonstrate that individuals can truly make a difference. I believe we all have a role to play in global challenges,” he added.

“United we can make a difference,” Clooney stated.

The $1 Million Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity was awarded to Dr. Tom Catena , a Catholic missionary from Amsterdam, New York who has saved thousands of lives as the sole doctor permanently based in Sudan’s war-ravaged Nuba Mountains where humanitarian aid is restricted.

The Aurora Prize, granted by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, was announced at a ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia. He was selected as the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate from more than 550 nominations submitted from 66 countries.

George Clooney, Academy Award-winning actor, Co-Founder of both The Sentry and Not On Our Watch, and Co-Chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, commended Dr. Catena by stating, “As violence and war continue to threaten people’s spirits and perseverance, it is important to recognize, empower and celebrate people like Dr. Catena who are selflessly helping others to not only survive, but thrive. Dr. Catena is a role model to us all, and yet another example of people on the ground truly making a difference.”

Dr. Catena will receive a $100,000 grant and the opportunity to continue the cycle of giving by donating the accompanying $1,000,000 award to organizations of his choice. Dr. Catena will donate the award to three organizations:

    • African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), USA
    • Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB), USA
    • Aktion Canchanabury, Germany

RFE/RL Report
EU Envoy Hails New Anti-Graft Body Planned In Armenia
May 29, 2017
Narine Ghalechian
A senior diplomat from the European Union welcomed at the weekend the
Armenian government's decision to set up a new body tasked with
tackling endemic corruption in the country.

Under a package of bills approved by Prime Minister Karen Karapetian's
cabinet on Thursday, the body is to prevent and detect corrupt
practices among Armenian officials. It will be created on the basis of
the existing State Commission for the Ethics of High-Ranking

The commission receives income and asset declarations from Armenia's
600 most high-ranking state officials, including ministers and
judges. It has until now lacked the legal authority to check the
veracity of those statements questioned by anti-corruption activists
and media.

"For quite some time the European Union and me personally have been
encouraging the creation of such a [new] body," said Piotr Switalski,
the head of the EU Delegation. "We therefore welcome this move and the
drafting of the government bill because we believe this is a step
forward," he told reporters.

Switalski stressed that the new anti-graft agency will have to be
independent if it is to achieve the objectives declared by the
Armenian government. "We will judge the independence of this body from
its actions," he said. "We will see how it works."

Representatives of a coalition of Armenia's non-governmental
anti-corruption watchdogs have already voiced serious misgivings about
the government initiative.They say that the government largely ignored
their proposals and recommendations when it drafted the bills that
will be debated by the parliament soon.

Armenia ranked, together with Bolivia and Vietnam, 113th out of 176
countries evaluated in Transparency International's most recent
Corruption Perceptions Index released in January. In its policy
program unveiled in October, Karapetian's cabinet described corruption
as "the biggest obstacle to the development of the state."

The U.S. ambassador to Armenia, Richard Mills, suggested earlier this
year that the authorities in Yerevan set up a "fully independent
anti-corruption body that can both investigate and prosecute cases."
The new body planned by them will have no such powers.

Opera Wire
May 28 2017
BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition Preview: Anush Hovhannisyan’s 
Powerful Soprano To Make Waves At Competition
David Salazar

Armenia’s Anush Hovhannisyan has made her mark in numerous theaters around the world and this summer she will look to do so on the biggest stage there can be – the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.

Short Bio

The Armenian soprano studied at the Yerevan State Conservatory and then at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. From there, she became the winner of the First Prize and Public Prize at the 2016 Stella Maris Competition. She also won a prize at the New Year Music Festival in Gstaad, among other prizes.

She also studied and developed her craft at the Jette Parker Young Artists Program at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. While there she worked with such conductors as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Antonio Pappano, Daniel Oren and Semyon Bychkov among others.

Major Roles and Performances

The soprano has appeared at the Stadttheater Klagenfurt in the title role of “Maria Stuarda.” She also took on such operas as “Le Roi de Lahore,” “Don Giovanni,” and “Peer Gynt,” among others appearing at the Teatro Verdi, Trieste, among others.

The 30-year-old also has a recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon and previously recorded songs by Glinka for Vivat and songs by Scriabin for Decca.

She is also engaged in the project that is bringing Liszt’s opera “Sardanapale” to life for the very first time.

The soprano will be appearing at the Scottish Opera next season as Violetta in “La Traviata.”

Check her out in a clip from the upcoming “Sardanapale” below. ff-singer-of-the-world-competi tion-preview-anush-hovhannisya ns-powerful-soprano-to-make- waves-at-competition/ 
[and they lecture to us about corruption!!]

Azeri Billionaire Gives Erdogan
$25 Million Oil Tanker as a ‘Gift’
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier 

When Recep Tayyip Erdogan first came to power as Turkey’s Prime Minister in 2003, he was welcomed by the majority of Turks as a devout Muslim and honest politician, after being ruled by corrupt leaders for several decades.
Regrettably, as time passed, Erdogan and his fellow Islamist Party leaders (AKP) became gradually corrupted! Greed replaced their piety, and the temptation of big money was too hard to resist. The _expression_, ‘power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” aptly describes the transformation of Erdogan into a corrupt and autocratic leader.
In a lengthy article on the website , Andrew Fishman disclosed the unusual circumstances of Erdogan’s family receiving a $25 million oil tanker as a gift, under a secretive offshore arrangement! This sensational revelation comes a few years after the exposure of Erdogan’s recorded telephone conversations with his son Bilal, during which he advised him how to hide hundreds of millions of dollars in cash obtained mysteriously by Erdogan. 

According to Fishman, the oil tanker was donated to Erdogan by Azeri billionaire Mubariz Mansimov back in 2008, as revealed by the European Investigative Collaboration (EIC) network, composed of 49 journalists from 13 media organizations in 16 countries. “Mansimov became a Turkish citizen two years earlier and adopted a Turkish name, Mubariz Gurbanoglu, allegedly at Erdogan’s suggestion,” Fishman reported. Not surprisingly, “after the deal was struck, his business dealings in Turkey took off, including lucrative contracts with state firms.” 

Mansimov also befriended Pres. Donald Trump and was an invited guest at the presidential inauguration earlier this year, as a major investor in Istanbul’s Trump Towers. “When the 39 floors of residential and office block of Trump Towers opened in Istanbul in 2009, Mansimov was the first customer -- buying eight apartments, including the penthouse,” according to the website: . 

Fishman’s article on the intriguing and convoluted details of how the 13,000 ton ship was donated to Erdogan was based on the Malta Files, an investigation led by EIC, using a leaked cache of 150,000 documents from a Malta-based provider of legal, financial and corporate services, as well as a scraped version of the Malta Public Register of companies. In 2007, Mansimov purchased the oil tanker Agdash in Russia and registered it in the name of Pal Shipping Trader One, a Maltese holding company. In 2008, Bumerz, a company registered in the tax haven Isle of Man [UK] co-owned by Erdogan’s son (Burak Erdogan), brother (Mustafa) and brother-in-law (Ziya Ilgen) purchased all shares for $25 million. “The next day, that firm took out a $18.4 million loan arranged by Mansimov…. Documents show that Mansimov pledged to pay off the entire seven-year loan plus interest in exchange for leasing rights through 2015 (the remaining $7 million of the purchase price was paid by a close personal friend of Erdogan for reasons unknown. Mansimov’s company, which controls two-thirds of Black Sea oil shipping, extended the leasing option through 2020 for $1.2 million a year. All told, the deal amounts to a $21.2 million cash transfer from Mansimov to Erdogan’s family.” 

Another source, , estimated the value of the oil tanker donated to the Erdogan family as $29.64 million. This website also disclosed that the “close personal friend of Erdogan” who paid $7 million for the purchase of the oil tanker is Sitki Ayan, a Turkish businessman. 

The newspaper, Malta Today, revealed that Erdogan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, in 2012 set up eight companies in Malta to avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes for his company, Calik Holdings, a massive energy, textile and construction conglomerate that earned billions of dollars in public tenders. He also opened four companies in Sweden.
Albayrak, the husband of Esra Erdogan, the President’s eldest daughter, received from a close associate an email in 2011, warning him that the secretive offshore companies are “based on tricking the finance authority; it’s not a secure system. If the finance authority discovers this, it wouldn’t be good for [Calik’s] reputation,” according to Malta Today.
In the end it turns out that Albayrak did not need a secret offshore network because in 2015 he was appointed by Erdogan as Minister of Energy and Resources. He helped pass the “Wealth Peace Act,” a tax amnesty which allowed Calik Holdings to repatriate unlimited amounts of offshore cash, tax-free! 

Malta Today also reported that Erdogan is grooming his son-in-law Albayrak as his successor. It is not surprising that Albyarak accompanied Pres. Erdogan on his recent trip to the United States. 

The reason many foreign companies are registered in Malta is that the country “boasts the lowest effective corporate tax rate [5%] in the European Union and has become a preferred destination for tax avoidance in the EU,” whereas in France, for example, the corporate tax rate is 33.33%, according to Fishman.

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