Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... How do you start a country?

BBC News
How do you start a country? 

An informative article on unrecognised countries focusing on those 
that are of interest to Western interests. 

So it excludes Karabagh, but the article explains issues that influence 
the policy of many governments. 

The main one seems to be recognition by other countries and the UN. 
But Kosovo initially broke the rules (again because of Western interests). 
Somaliland has even less reason to be recognised as independent but 
functions democratically just like Artsakh. 

Aug 4 2017
Armenian to Serve in Key Posts In Lebanese Government 

In filling posts, the Lebanese government has assigned three Armenians to key domestic and foreign posts. 

Houry Der-Sakisian was appointed Lebanon’s Comptroller General. 

On the diplomatic front, Ara Khatchadourian was appointed Lebabon’s Ambassador to Columbia. Prior to this Khatchadourian served as the chief of staff of Lebanon’s embassy in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

At the same time, Lebanon’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Vasken Kavalian, having completed his diplomatic tour there, returned to Lebanon. He will retain his ambassadorial rank and is awaiting an appointment in the near future. 

For the first time, the Lebanese-Armenian community has two members within the foreign ministry serving as ambassadors. 

Panorama, Armenia
Aug 4 2017
Visits to ancient Armenian city of Ani double after being placed on UNESCO list 

The archaeological site of Ani, which has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, attracts the attention of both the society and the professionals. 

As Asbarez news reports, the number of tourists visiting ancient Armenian city of Ani has doubled after the city was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. 

The experts claim that Ani is a genuine world heritage, playing an important role for Kars and its surroundings. Therefore, plans have been laid out to restore the site within one-two years. 

Medieval Armenian capital of Ani was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List upon the decision made at the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2016. 

Located on the border of present-day Turkey and Armenia, Ani a medieval Armenian city. Armenian chroniclers such as Yeghishe and Ghazar Parpetsi first mentioned Ani in the 5th century. They described it as a strong fortress built on a hilltop and a possession of the Armenian Kamsarakan dynasty. 

Between 961 and 1045, it was the capital of the Bagratid Armenian kingdom that covered much of present-day Armenia and eastern Turkey. Called the "City of 1001 Churches", Ani stood on various trade routes and its many religious buildings, palaces, and fortifications were amongst the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world. At its height, the population of Ani probably was on the order of 100,000. 

Long ago renowned for its splendor and magnificence, Ani was sacked by the Mongols in 1236 and devastated in a 1319 earthquake, after which it was reduced to a village and gradually abandoned and largely forgotten by the seventeenth century. 

In 1878, Ani went under the control of Russia and in 1920 the region was passed to Turkish control by the Treaty of Alexandropol. 

Ani is a widely recognized cultural, religious, and national heritage symbol for Armenians. 

Artsakh Press, Artsakh Republic
Aug 2 2017
Economic activity index of Artsakh was 115 percent in the first quarter of 2017 

In January-June of 2017 the economic activity index of Artsakh was 115 percent in comparison with the corresponding period of the previous year, the National Statistical Service states. 

 According to the same source, in the first quarter of 2017 the Gross Domestic Product amounted 43.3 billion Drams at market prices as compared to last year’s 108.1%. 

In January- March of the current year higher rates were recorded in industrial production, construction, foreign trade, amounting 115.6%, 151.3% and 160.2% respectively. 

It should be noted that the exploitation of the open pit is particularly noticeable in the sector of industry. The volumes of export in the foreign trade turnover had increased considerably, reaching $ 17.6 billion and providing 170.6%. 

Gross output of the agricultural sector was 5.1 billion drams, which declined by 15.1% as compared to the same period of the last year. Forestry and fishing are also contributed to the agricultural sector. 

The nominal average monthly salary was 101.1%, which did not undergo significant changes as compared to last year. Meanwhile, the consumer price index was 98.8%, dropping to 1.2% as compared to the previous year. 

An increase has been recorded in the trade turnover and services sectors, amounting 106.5 and 108.3 percent respectively. 

Press TV, Iran
Aug 6 2017
Company unveils world’s most secure wallet 

An Armenian-based startup company has unveiled a smart wallet that takes security to a whole new level. 

It comes with a built-in alarm system, a GPS tracker, and even a front facing camera. It may look like a very simple leather wallet on the outside, but it’s a whole different from inside. 

The unbelievable wallet packs about as much technology as your smartphone, including storage, power bank and Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities. 

One exciting feature is the distance-sensitive alarm system. It will signal you every time the distance between your phone and wallet goes over a certain threshold. 

ARKA, Armenia
Aug 4 2017
Henrik Mkhitaryan nominated for UEFA Europa League Player of the Season award 

Armenia international Henrik Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have been nominated for the UEFA Europa League Player of the Season award, after helping Manchester United to win the trophy, according to

The inaugural prize will be presented in Monaco later this month when the ceremony for the group stage draw of the competition - plus the Champions League - takes place on Friday 25 August. 

Pogba started every Europa League game in 2016/17 and scored the opening goal during the 2-0 win over AFC Ajax in the Stockholm final last May. That helped to earn him a nomination from a panel of judges that consisted of every manager who was involved in the group stage of the Europa League, plus journalists. 

Armenia international Mkhitaryan became something of a specialist in Europe throughout his debut season with United, and his clincher in the final against Ajax was his sixth goal in the tournament. 

Ibrahimovic also scored half a dozen goals during the Reds' successful run to the trophy in Sweden, before the striker suffered a season-ending injury in the quarter-final win over Anderlecht at Old Trafford. Marcus Rashford was fifth in the overall poll and Ander Herrera was joint-seventh. -0- 

Aug 4 2017
KSNG, British soldiers train firefighters in Armenia
Story by Sgt. Zach Sheely
Kansas Adjutant General's Department
"This has been the best experience of my life,” said Staff Sgt. Clinton Mumbower, the medical readiness noncommissioned officer with the 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery. 

Mumbower was part of a joint multinational team of medical and hazardous materials experts from the Kansas National Guard and British Army who participated in a training exchange with firefighters in the Shirak Province of the Republic of Armenia July 18-28, 2017. 

The training team consisted of 12 Kansas Army National Guard Soldiers and six Royal Army Medical Corps soldiers with 6th Battalion, The Rifles. Together, they trained approximately 200 Armenian firefighters at six Ministry of Emergency Situations fire rescue stations across Northwestern Armenia. 

“The Ministry of Emergency Situations is working to increase the firefighters’ ability to provide medical care and to protect themselves and others from chemical weapons and industrial chemical hazards that may occur in everyday life,” said Capt. Jason Davee, a physician assistant with the 73rd Civil Support Team, KSARNG. 

The training teams led instruction on first-response care and the steps to assess and triage a casualty. The course also included basic chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threat awareness, recognition and response information. 

“These fire personnel are already very knowledgeable,” said Cpl. Michael Ward, a combat medic with the 1077th Ground Ambulance Company, KSARNG. “They already have a pretty good basic life-saving knowledge base. We just sort of tweaked that and updated it, gave them some new tools that they can use.” 

The Kansas Guard and British soldiers presented the training curriculum in small, joint teams to a rotating shift of firefighters at fire rescue stations in the towns of Akuryan, Amasia, Artik, Ashotsk, Gyumri, and Maralik Armenia. 

1st Sgt. Sarah Sell, the noncommissioned officer in charge, said she was pleased with the rapid cohesion formed by the American and United Kingdom soldiers, and the training they delivered. 

“This team gelled quickly and worked well together,” said Sell, who serves as the first sergeant of the 190th Air Refueling Wing Security Forces Squadron in Topeka. “That’s a testament to the professionalism and level of expertise of these soldiers.” 

The Kansas National Guard and the Republic of Armenia are partners in the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program and this circumstance management event was the first direct peer exchange of experience with the Shirak Rescue Service in the 14-year partnership. 

While the Kansas and British soldiers were there to teach, the education was mutual. 

“I’ve learned so many things,” said Cpl. Nigel “Scotty” Scott, a combat medical technician with 6 Rifles. “One example is, I have seen these guys make things happen with limited resources. They’re great at improvisation.” 

When combining multiple languages and cultures, communication would be impossible without translators. A team of six Armenian interpreters provided this vital link in communication. 

“The interpreters have been phenomenal,” said Davee. “Not only are they well versed in the language itself, they also studied before we even got here. So even a lot of the acronyms that we’re using and medical terms, scientific terms, they’ve taken the time to study.” 

Armenian interpreter Sophie Simonyan said that, in Armenia, it is common to speak multiple languages, and English courses start at the primary school level. 

“Being a very small country, we have the need to learn many languages,” said Simonyan. “Learning English and speaking it well is the first step to communicating with anyone in the world.” 

In addition to translating the language, the interpreters also served as liaisons to help cultural assimilation on all sides. 

“Through our fantastic interpreter, we could joke back and forth, and once we established that we both have the same sense of humor, they accepted me, and we moved right along as a family,” said Spc. Matt Chastain, a combat medic with the 1077th. 

For many of the Kansas and British soldiers, it was their first trip to the Republic of Armenia. 

“I’ve never been out of the (U.S.) before,” said Pfc. Audrey Wilson, a combat medic with the 1077th. “I’ve also never been in a teaching position before, so that’s some excellent experience for me that I can take back to my unit and be better at communicating there as well.” 

Multinational partnerships are strengthened at the ground level between peers, and 6 Rifles Cpl. Jessica Pike said that this mission was about more than improving health care and medical readiness. 

“It’s been about building a relationship between the (three) countries,” said Pike. “Wherever we’ve gone, we’ve done that.” 

While this was this first event of its kind, many participants noted the strong relationships they built with their Armenian counterparts. 

“I think we’ve built some strong bonds, we’ve been invited back,” said Ward. “Anyone I’ve talked to has said ‘You can come stay at my house.’ That is a bond. That’s about as good as you can get. 

“My experience has been fantastic I’d come back in a heartbeat.” 

RFE/RL Report
Government Sees Improving Investment Climate In Armenia
August 04, 2017
Tatevik Lazarian

The World Bank will acknowledge an improvement of Armenia's business
environment in an annual report that will be released later this year,
according to government officials in Yerevan.

The Doing Business survey assesses investment climates around the
world through a range of specific indicators. Armenia ranked 38th out
of 190 nations that were covered by the World Bank's most recent
research released last fall.

The bank found improvements in two of its ten categories used for
evaluating the ease of engaging in entrepreneurial activity: "Getting
credit" and "Enforcing contracts." But Armenia continued to score
poorly in four other categories: "Paying taxes," "Resolving
insolvency," "Dealing with construction permits," and "Getting

The government has repeatedly pledged to address lingering problems in
these areas as part of its declared efforts to improve the domestic
business environment. Prime Minister Karen Karapetian met with two
dozen ministers and other senior officials on Thursday to discuss
progress in the implementation of relevant measures promised by his

A government statement on the meeting cited some of those officials as
saying that 20 of 49 policy measures planned for this year have
already been taken. Those include stronger government support for
small and medium-sized businesses, better investor protection, easier
access to credit and more simple procedures for registering property
and obtaining construction permits.

This should help Armenia move up to 26th place in the next Doing
Business survey that will be released by the end of this year, the
officials said, according to the statement.

"We must already start working on the 2018 plan of actions for
improving Armenia's business environment," Karapetian was quoted as

In its policy program approved by the parliament in June, Karapetian's
government pledged to put Armenia among the top 20 countries in the
Doing Business rankings "as a result of reforms of the next four or
five years." It promised to not only streamline business regulations
but also reform tax administration and combat widespread corruption.

Opposition lawmakers dismissed the five-year program as a
gimmick. They said that the authorities are still not interested in
genuine economic and political reforms.

Some analysts are also skeptical about the practical impact of the
World Bank rankings. "Armenia's position in the rankings has always
been high, but that has not affected the quality of our economy in any
way," said Hayk Gevorgian, an economics writer for the "Haykakan
Zhamanak" daily. He pointed to recent years' steady decline in foreign
direct investment in Armenia.

Gevorgian said that the country is facing more serious economic
challenges such as the existence of government-linked business
monopolies, corruption and a lack of judicial independence. A World
Bank survey released in 2013 said that "oligopolies" control 68
percent of economic activity in Armenia, making it the most
monopolized economy in the former Soviet Union.

Vahagn Khachatrian, an economist affiliated with the opposition
Armenian National Congress (HAK), claimed that the government is so
focused on the Doing Business surveys for propaganda purposes. "This
is their latest step to please international structures," he said.

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