Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... Bishop Hovakim Manukyan

Attached are
Remarks of Bishop Hovakim Manukyan,
Representative of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin,
Community of Sant’ Egidio 

“Martyrdom: a matter of memory and a reality for Christians”

Münster and Osnabrück, September 11, 2017, a conference
attended by Chancellor Merkel and distinguished clergy from 
all religions and geographical areas.

PanArmenian, Armenia
Sept 11 2017
7-year-old Armenian from Chicago wins World Chess Championship 

A 7-year-old American chess player of Armenian origin, Aren Emrikian has won the World Chess Federation's Cadet Championship gold medal for male players younger than 8, The Chicago Tribune reports.

His victory came after 11 rounds of play in the Brazilian city of Pocos de Caldas.

In a recent interview, Emrikian reveals that it was his mom who taught him play chess. The little champion said he practices every week with his coach (Glenview resident Mesgen Amanov) for one hour and 30 minutes.

Also, Emrikian said he is a great Harry Potter fan and has read every single Percy Jackson book.

World Vision: About 40% of children in Armenia are subjected to violence (video)
September 8,2017 

Nearly one billion children or half of all the children in the world are exposed to violence every year, World Vision reports.

The organization says over 40 percent of children in Armenia are subjected to physical punishment.

For more details watch the video of Voice of America 

RFE/RL Report
Armenia Clarifies Stance On Troop Deployment To Syria
September 11, 2017
Sargis Harutyunyan

Armenia is ready, in principle, to send a demining team to Syria as
part of a multinational "coalition" that could be formed by Russia,
the Defense Ministry in Yerevan said on Monday.

A top Russian military official said late last month that Armenia and
Serbia have expressed readiness to join such a coalition which Russia
hopes would help its troops clear landmines in the war-torn
country. Moscow formally proposed its creation at the United Nations
in April.

The Armenian government did not immediately confirm the Russian
official's statement. A spokesman for President Serzh Sarkisian said
only that official Yerevan will make a statement "when a decision is
made and all issues are clarified."

In a written statement to RFE/RL's Armenian service (,
the Defense Ministry clarified that the Armenian and Russian
militaries already held "preliminary working discussions" last year on
the possibility of Armenia's participation in "humanitarian demining
efforts in Syria."

"During the discussions, Armenia expressed readiness to consider
possibilities of becoming involved with a humanitarian demining
detachment -- in case of the launch of such an initiative, the Syrian
government's consent, and observance of all international legal
procedures -- in those parts of Syria where there are no ongoing
hostilities," said the statement.

"At the moment, the Armenian Defense Ministry has no information
regarding the course of the formation of the coalition, its
composition and especially time frames for its deployment," it

The issue was also on the agenda of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey
Lavrov's April 2016 visit to Yerevan. Lavrov discussed possible
Armenian involvement in demining operations in the historic Syrian
city of Palmyra when he met with his Armenian counterpart Edward
Nalbandian. "I hope that our joint initiative can be implemented," he
said after the talks.

It is not clear whether Sarkisian and Russian President Vladimir Putin
spoke about Syria when they met in the Russian city of Sochi on August
23. The Armenian presidential press service said they discussed
"topical international and regional issues."

Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization
(CSTO), a Russian-led military alliance of six ex-Soviet states.

RFE/RL Report
No One Indicted Over Armenian Election Scandal
September 08, 2017
Astghik Bedevian

Armenian law-enforcement authorities will not prosecute anyone in
connection with a secretly recorded audio suggesting that employees of
a pro-government businessman were warned to help him get reelected to
parliament or lose their jobs, it emerged on Friday.

The recording was posted on in the wake of the April 2
parliamentary elections. It features the voice of a man threatening to
fire those employees of Artak Sargsian's SAS supermarket chain in
Yerevan who have failed to guarantee in writing that their friends and
relatives will vote for their boss. The man also promises lavish
bonuses to their colleagues who will "bring votes" to the candidate of
President Serzh Sarkisian's Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).

The website said that the SAS staff meeting took place in the run-up
to the elections won by the HHK. Sargsian, who earned the party 12,000
votes and was reelected to the National Assembly, has since refused to
comment on the audio.

Opposition politicians and other critics of the Armenian government
seized upon the revelation as further proof that public and private
sector employees across the country were illegally pressurized to vote
for the HHK. In an April 3 statement, European election monitors
likewise reported "pressure on civil servants and employees of private

Responding to the uproar, Armenia's Special Investigative Service
(SIS) said on April 19 that it has opened a criminal case under an
article of the Criminal Code dealing with coercion of voters by means
of threats, intimidation or bribes.

A spokeswoman for the law-enforcement agency, Marina Ohanjanian, told
RFE/RL's Armenian service ( that the case has been closed
for lack of evidence of such a crime. She did not comment further.

According to the investigative publication, the man who
threatened to fire SAS employees is Sargsian's elder brother Aram. The
Hetq editor, Edik Baghdasarian, said SIS investigators never asked him
to explain how his media outlet identified the man.

For her part, Yeva Adamian, the editor, said she
received recently a letter from the SIS asking for more information
about the scandalous recording. Adamian said although she did not
refuse to cooperate with the investigators they did not make further

"It's a cover-up," she charged. "I'm sure that it was ordered from the
presidential administration. Serzh Sarkisian decided that there is no
need make noise and that one of his prot g s must be a parliament

It is not clear whether the HHK-affiliated tycoon or his brother have
been questioned by the SIS. Hetq's Baghdasarian suggested that the SIS
only imitated a probe into the audio.

Varuzhan Hoktanian, the program coordinator at the Armenian branch of
Transparency International, was not surprised by the SIS's decision
not to press charges against anyone. "If a particular force's victory
is to be ensured [at any cost] and that force is the ruling party,
then such methods are not punishable for them," he said. "They would
have been punishable if they had been used by the opposition."

Panorama, Armenia
Sept 9 2017
Englishman Val Ismaili takes adventurous trip to Armenia, conquers four peaks of Aragats 

21 years old Val Ismaili, who lives in England and is currently studying Civil Engineering in Bristol University, has made an adventurous trip to Armenia, conquering the four peaks of Mount Aragats and walking to Batumi through the territory of Armenia within eight weeks.

In an interview with, Val Ismaili has shared the details of his incredible trip.

- Where have you been in Armenia?

- I walked through entire of Armenia. I start in Meghri, walked through Shikahogh to Kapan and climbed Mount Khustup, kept walking to Tatev, then Sisian, through mountains of Vayots Dzor to Artavan and then Noravank and walked all the way through Geghama mountains to Dilijan. This took me 4 weeks. Only walking, no transport!

I stayed in Dilijan to work with The Transcaucasian Trail and build a new hiking trail from Dilijan-Parz Lich-Gosh.

I then continued walking through the mountains in Dilijan National Park to Alaverdi and then to Georgia, I kept walking all the way to Batumi.

I became the first person to walk 1500km of The Transcaucasian Trail.

- You have reached four peaks of Aragats Mountain. How long did it take you to conquer them? Why did you decide to climb the mountain and which part of it was the most difficult for you to overcome?

- I completed the four peaks in a total time of 9 hours, starting at Kari Lake, walking to the n-e pass to completed the East and North peaks and then back to the s-w pass to complete West and South peaks before finishing at Kari Lake. I was only walking for about 7 hours, the other 2 hours I relaxed on the peaks to enjoy the awesome views.

Aragats is such an incredibly beautiful mountain! When I was on the North and East peaks the sky was perfectly blue and I could see most of Armenia. Probably my favourite view on any mountain I've ever climbed! But when I got to the West peak very strong winds began and it actually started snowing - it was cool to experience different weather conditions in one day.

- Please share your impressions about Armenia's nature.

- Armenia has a fascinating range of nature. Down south in the province of Syunik, Shikahogh State Reserve and Arevik National Park offer their own wilderness through dense forests contrasted with the vast sweeping mountains of volcanic origin in the Geghama range or even the rocky cliffs North of Dilijan or the stunning gorge in Alaverdi.

Syunik and Geghama were my favourite areas. Syunik because of the lush greenery everywhere and seeing birds I never even knew existed. Geghama because of how wild and remote those mountains are. People are few and far between; you really feel like you're out there on your own at the mercy of landscape.

For a country the size of Armenia, the range of scenery throughout the country is very impressive. Walking through Armenia and being able to notice the gradual change of scenery was a special experience.

- How long did it take you to walk from the southern Armenia to Batumi? What obstacles did you experience along the road?

-  It took me 8 weeks of hiking to complete the 1500km trek from Meghri to Batumi. I was walking on average 30km per day. Although this was physically challenging; the most difficult was the mental aspect for being alone for such a long time. You start to feel very lonely and not happy. But eventually the loneliness passes. Although I stopped at small villages and stayed with shepherds in the mountains, I don't speak enough Armenian to have a good conversation.

- In general, as a tourist what can you say about Armenia and its cuisine? Where did you usuall y eat?

- Armenian food is amazing! When I walked I was carrying a small camping stove so I could cook myself pasta and tuna or ramen which I would buy when I was in a big town that had a shop. So I would carry food for 3-5 days. But almost everyday when I was walking, shepherds would see me and invite me in for food, coffee and of course Oghri. My favourite dish was probably Matsun and freshly baked breadade by the shepherds.

I pretty much only ate lavash by itself for breakfast and dinner. It's nice because it's easy to carry, tastes good and you can use it as napkin as well.

- What is your profession? Have you taken similar trips in other states? If it is so, which one is the most impressive journey for you?

-  I'm 21 years old and currently studying civil engineering at the University of Bristol in England. Hiking is my passion and my favourite thing to do in my free time.

I've hiked all over England, Scotland and Wales and in Albania, Kosovo and Croatia as well.

My expedition hiking the Transcaucasian Trail through Armenia and Georgia is by far my favourite trip so far because of both the range of nature in Armenia but also the friendliness and hospitality of the Armenian people. I've never experienced anything like it!

- Will you climb Mount Ararat one day?”

- Hmm that's an interesting're giving me ideas now! I've never been to Ararat (but really want to). You're making me want to try now.

- What is the last thing you intend to do before leaving Armenia?

- I think I'll go up to the cascades and enjoy the view of Ararat one last time. Hopefully it'll be good weather.

Times of India
Sept 9 2017
The benevolent Armenian 
Anthony Khatchaturian
On what would have been his 171st birth day, La Martiniere School has collabo rated with the Indo-Armenian Friend ship NGO to remember Paul Chater, the 'Grand Old Man of Hong Kong'.

This pioneering Kolkata Armenian might only be known to the school's alumni and the people of Hong Kong, but his legacy continues to support millions through his philanthropic work and business acumen. Born in Kolkata on September 8, 1846, Sir Paul studied as a foundationer at Claude Martin's school and left as a qualified surveyor, a minor achievement that would, quite literally , build the foundations for Asia's business hub.

Seen floating in a small dinghy out in the waters off Hong Kong, many thought he was out fishing as usual, but there was no bait at the end of his fishing line; there was a crude depth gauge. Over the course of months, he was measuring the depth of the waters. This data would lead him to carry out one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in Asia: the expansion of Hong Kong by an estimated 57 acres using 3.5 million tonnes of earth, thus increas ing the overall size of the island. This project led to the foundation of one of his many companies, Hongkong Land.

On Friday, at La Martiniere, a number of dignitaries assembled to unveil a bronze bust of Sir Paul, to be located between the Martin and Chater buildings at the school. The Bishop of Kolkata, the Right Reverend Ashoke Biswas, the Armenian Ambassador to India, Armen Armen Martirosyan and the secretary of La Martiniere, Supriyo Dhar, as well as Sir Paul's biographer Liz Chater and National Coordinator of the Indo-Armenian Friendship NGO Karen Mkrtchyan, will be present. "The unveiling of the bust is the product of a long-held ambition to remember and recognise a man who is arguably Kolkata's most important Armenian," says Mkrtchyan, an Armenian from Armenia but who studied at the Armenian College in Kolkata and, before that, at La Martiniere.

In a sign of the growing links between the two nations, an Indian artist has been commissioned to sculpt the bust. Originally from Odisha, Kantikishore Moharana has represented India on various international platforms, including twice at the International Sculptors' Symposium in Nagorno Kharabagh. The bronze bust took him a month to make.

Sonia John, who was both a foundationer and a member of the board at La Martiniere, says: "Sir Paul Chater left a very generous donation for the poor Armenians of Kolkata. His donation has allowed many Armenians to study at La Martiniere, including myself. It is because of these donations that he is still revered at La Martiniere, which was saved from certain closure due to his benevolence."

Dhar holds Sir Paul in equally high regard "The school was in a very grave financial situation and its future looked uncertain. If it hadn't been for Sir Paul's generous donation, I am not sure the school would be here today."

Sir Paul owned, or had a stake in, over 20 businesses in Hong Kong, including many utilities. He held a number of senior government posts -treasurer and chairman of the Queen Victoria Jubilee Committee, member of the governor's executive council, consul for Siam in Hong Kong and chairman of the Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Committee.He had a great interest in sports too -he was the longest serving chairman of the board of stewards of the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club (1892-1926). For his achievements, he was awarded the Legion d'honneur by France and made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George by the British. The myriad of business interests allowed him to donate Rs 11 lakh (its equivalent today would be tens of crores) in the early part of the 20th century to his alma mater when it was on the verge of collapse.

Both Hong Kong and La Martiniere are thriving today, thanks to major interventions by Sir Paul.Hong Kong is the financial trading hub of Asia while La Martiniere is one of the city's top private schools.

"It is a wonderful thing that La Martiniere and Indo-Armenian NGO have done. Sir Paul should have more recognition than he currently gets, and I hope this permanent statue will go some way to helping that happen," says Liz Chater, Sir Paul's distant relative and a genealogist currently working on a biography of Sir Paul.

Sir Paul's legacy is visible elsewhere in the city too: the `Sir Catchick Paul Chater Home for the Elderly' is in the same compound as St Gregory's Chapel near Park Circus, the rear gate of which leads into the Armenian section of the AJC Bose Road cemetery , where many famous Armenians are buried including some of Sir Paul's relatives; one of the companies he founded is still trading here in Kolkata -Jardine Henderson; and two plaques honour his memory at the Armenian Church in Burrabazaar.His palatial mansion in Hong Kong `Marble Hall' accidently burnt down but his final resting place there remains, as does Chater Road and Chater Garden, constant reminders of a Kolkata boy .

The author is an Armenian and a distant relative of Sir Paul Chater . He works as a historian, is a Kolkata heritage enthusiast and conducts heritage walks and tours in the city.

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