Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Armenian News... A Topalian... Radio of Armenia

From The Independent UK
25 February 2018
Apart from orange wines, the other key natural wines trend is amphorea wines – where the wine is fermented in traditional egg shaped terracotta clay vessels, a process which originated many thousands of years ago when wine was first made in central Europe and parts of the Middle East. For the authentic experience, try the Armenian Karasi Areni Noir 2014 (£22.06 thedrinkshop.com ; £22.50 winedirect.co.uk ) made from the Areni grape, which is indigenous to Armenia – a country whose robust red wines are well worth discovering – and named after a village where a 4,000 year old winery was discovered. An extraordinary, iron-fist-in-velvet-glove wine: a perfumed nose, fresh and medium bodied, yet fabulously rich and powerful on the palate, with grippy tannins and layers of ripe red fruits.

Public Radio of Armenia
Feb 26 2018
Church of the Holy Sepulchre to remain closed until demands are met: Armenian Patriarchate 

The doors of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre remain closed Monday in protest to Israeli tax measures and a proposed property law, Chancellor at Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem Hovnan Baghdasaryan told Public Radio of Armenia . 

Christian leaders took the rare step on Sunday of closing Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. 

The Heads of Churches are protesting the Jerusalem municipality’s new policy on municipal tax payments for Church property. 

Christian leaders in the Holy Land also protest against the bill of the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation that would allow the state to expropriate property in the Holy Land leased by the Christian Churches. 

Hovnan Baghdasaryan said the only response to the protest was the decision by the Knesset Ministerial Committee to delay action on the bill for a week. 

“However, we are not satisfied with this. We demand that the bill is cancelled and not brought to Knesset’s plenary agenda,” he said, adding that the church will be opened only after demands are met. 

The Chancellor said for centuries churches and temples have been exempt from taxes. He said churches have property, which they lease and pay taxes, but with the latest decision the authorities want to impose tax on churches and temples, as well, which is unacceptable. 

According to Hovnan Baghdasaryan, this was an “unprecedented” and “a very serious step by Christian leaders. 

“The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is considered the holiest site of the Christian world. We have hundreds of pilgrims and tourists that have arrived here to see it and are deprived of the opportunity to pray in the church today,” the Chancellor said. 

“We expect that the Israeli authorities and the City Hall will revoke their decision,” Hovnan Baghdasaryan said. 

The bill looks to enable the state to expropriate all properties the church will agree to lease to private entrepreneurs and not companies recognized by the state. 

According to the Chancellor of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, “this restricts the opportunities of the church to agree on a better deal with private entrepreneurs and forces churches to conclude agreements with companies recognized by the state only.” 

The decision to close the church was extremely rare. 

In 1990, Christian sites including the Holy Sepulchre were closed for a day to protest the installation of Jewish settlers near the church, located in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem. 

Christian sites were shut for two days in 1999 to protest the planned construction of a mosque near Nazareth’s Church of the Annunciation, where tradition holds the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary she was to become the mother of Jesus. 

Journal Du Cameroun, Cameroon
Feb 26 2018
Turkish ‘traitor’ jibe to Dutch MPs over Armenia sparks anger 

Accusations of treason levelled by a Turkish newspaper at five Dutch MPs of Turkish descent for voting to recognise the massacre of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as “genocide” provoked a strong backlash in The Netherlands on Monday.

Dutch lawmakers overwhelmingly voted on Thursday in favour of a proposal that the country’s parliament refer to the massacre as “the Armenian genocide” — a move strongly condemned by Ankara.

Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah on Saturday said “the five MPs showed again that they are against Turkey” by supporting the “scandalous decision”.

Dutch parliamentary speaker Khadija Arib responded on Sunday, saying that “threatening or inciting threats in reaction to people expressing their opinion in unacceptable”.

“It has no place in a democracy or an open and free society such as ours,” Arib was quoted Monday by De Volkskrant newspaper as saying, adding that “it is called freedom of speech”.

Armenians have long sought international recognition for the 1915-1917 killings in the Ottoman era as genocide, which they say left some 1.5 million of their people dead.

But Turkey — the Ottoman Empire’s successor state — argues that it was a collective tragedy in which equal numbers of Turks and Armenians died.

Another pro-government newspaper, Yeni Akit, labelled the five lawmakers “degenerates” on Sunday.

Since then, the lawmakers — two from the Socialist Party, two from the environmental GreenLeft party and one from the Liberal VVD party — have reported receiving threats and hate mail.

“The era of intimidation and demonisation is over,” Zihni Ozdil, one of the GreenLeft MPs, told the Algemeen Dagblad tabloid.

“I do not feel totally targeted by these kind of people. I am Dutch,” said Dilan Yesilgoz of the VVD, who arrived in the Netherlands as a refugee in 1984.

So far, parliaments in more than 20 countries, including Germany, have voted for laws or resolutions explicitly recognising the Armenian “genocide”.

Dutch parliament decision declaring 1915 events as 'genocide' null and void for Turkey, EU Minister Çelik says 

The Dutch parliament decision declaring the 1915 events as "genocide" are null and void for Turkey, the Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Ömer Çelik said Friday.

"We condemn this parliamentary decision. It has no validity as far as Turkey is concerned," Çelik tol reporters in Ankara.

"What we expected from the Netherlands -- which has a high degree of responsibility in an act of genocide like Srebrenica -- is be more careful about these issues," he said.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry also summoned the Dutch charge d'affaires over the parliament's "genocide" decision.

Dutch lawmakers Thursday overwhelmingly voted in favor of recognizing the deaths of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as "genocide", in a move likely to worsen already-strained ties with Turkey.

"The motion is accepted," parliamentary speaker Khadija Arib announced after the lower house voted 142 to 3 in favor of the proposal "that parliament in no uncertain terms speak about the Armenian genocide."

The decision has no legal binding character or validity, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Thursday evening.

"The baseless decisions taken by the parliament of a country that turned a blind eye to a genocide — whose pain still has not eased — in Srebrenica, in the middle of Europe, have no legal binding or validity."

The Parliamentary Speaker's Office has said that the Dutch Parliament's recognition of 1915 events as "genocide" violates international law, and that it considers it null and void.

Turkey accused the Netherlands instead of turning a blind eye to the genocide of Muslim Bosniaks by Bosnian Serb troops that took place in Srebrenica during the Bosnian War in 1995.

Dutch U.N. peacekeepers had surrendered the enclave to the Bosnian Serbs without firing a shot just before 8,000 Bosniaks, mostly men and boys, were slaughtered in the worst mass murder in Europe since World War II.

After the controversial motion was given, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy also issued a statement, saying it was unacceptable for Turkey for the Netherlands to recognize Armenian claims politicizing the 1915 events, which is a sensitive issue for the Turkish state and nation.Aksoy noted that legal precedents in European law have ruled that 1915 events are a legitimate issue of discussion.

"In this context, we invite Dutch politicians to review their biased attitude against Turkey and not to politicize history," the statement said, adding that the Netherlands could back Turkey's proposal of an independent joint history commission open for academics expert on Ottoman history if it wants to contribute to the solution of this historic issue.

Despite the vote in the lower house of the parliament, acting Foreign Affairs Minister Sigrid Kaag said that the Dutch government wouldn't follow the parliament's lead. Kaag says the Cabinet will "continue to exercise restraint" in the politically charged issue.

Kaag told lawmakers in the Second Chamber of parliament that the Dutch government only recognizes events as genocide if that description is supported by a binding U.N. Security Council resolution or a verdict from an international court.She said that because those conditions haven't been met for Armenia, "the Cabinet will not follow the chamber in this judgment."

However, Kaag did say that the government would comply with a motion calling on the administration to send a representative to a service in April in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, commemorating the massacre.

The Dutch government did not describe the 1915 events as "genocide" before as the government preferred to use the word "issue" to describe the incidents, a policy which was approved by the Dutch parliament in 2004.

Turkey denies the alleged Armenian "genocide", but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events taking place in World War I.According to Turkey's viewpoint, the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 occurred after some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.Turkey describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.

PanArmenian, Armenia
Feb 24 2018
The son of Armenian immigrants and Donald Trump’s idol: Fortune
February 24, 2018 

One of Donald Trump ’s idols in the business world may come as a surprise. He was little known, and liked it that way. He was a daring pilot during World War II. And on the playing fields of deal-making, he was the future president’s polar opposite—the very embodiment of self-discipline, humility and grace under pressure.

Fortune unveils an article about Kirk Kerkorian , a self-made billionaire and fellow hotel developer, who started out as a penniless eighth-grade dropout from California before becoming a Hollywood movie mogul, a Las Vegas casino magnate, and one of America’s richest men. His largely unheralded charitable giving also made him one of the country’s most generous tycoons.

In many ways, he was the un-Donald, yet Trump regarded Kerkorian as business royalty. When a New York Times columnist was calling Kerkorian—then in his late 80s—“the god of all deal makers,” Trump was likewise calling him “the King” and publicly declared: “I love that guy.”

The stories of the two fellow billionaires have obvious parallels, but perhaps more interesting than that, is how vastly they diverged in their approaches to achieving remarkably similar versions of the modern American dream.

By the time Kerkorian died at age 98 in 2015, he owned most of the major hotels and casinos on The Strip. But his name was on none of them. And though he transformed the American gambling mecca, Kerkorian’s name never appeared on a street sign, a park site or so much as a private parking spot.

The Las Vegas skyline does, however, have the giant gold letters T-R-U-M-P atop the 64-story Trump International Hotel.

The reticent Kerkorian avoided media engagement. He declined most interviews and lived by his own rule against divulging anything about his personal or business interests. The first Kirk commandment was: don’t talk too much. His second was: never talk about yourself.

Trump was notorious for self-promotion well before entering politics. Even before becoming the nation’s Tweeter-in-Chief, he sometimes posed as his own public relations guy to pass along all kinds of personal and business information to the press. In 1989 he even talked his way onto a Forbes list of billionaires, only to be summarily dumped for inflating his net worth—found to be “in hailing distance of zero” upon review by magazine editors.

Though fiercely competitive, Kerkorian carried no grudges. Even after intense negotiations, Kerkorian’s business competitors often ended up as social friends. His closest associates said he never had a bad thing to say about anyone. Trump’s response to his Forbes list demotion was also typically Trumpian—accusing deceased magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes of “finally getting back at me from the grave.”

Kerkorian studiously avoided both the trappings of celebrity and any involvement in political activism. But he also admired, perhaps even envied, Trump for his easy command of audiences. The naturally shy son of illiterate Armenian immigrants was almost paralytic about public speaking. “I wish I could talk like Trump,” he told friends.

And, had Kerkorian lived to see it, he almost certainly would have been impressed with the audacity of Trump’s 2016 presidential bid. For Kerkorian, a heroic wartime aviator and seemingly fearless gambler—who once risked a million dollars on a single roll of the dice, who wagered his fortune more than once on major Las Vegas developments, and who favored big bets, win or lose—seeking the White House would definitely have qualified as a praise-worthy whale of a big bet.

PanArmenian, Armenia
Feb 26 2018
How two British comedians spent £8,000 in Armenia’s top restaurant 

Back in 2014, British comedians David Baddiel and Richard Herring spend £8,000 at a restaurant in Armenia for Dave's TV series, "24 Hours to Go Broke".

Baddiel and Herring travelled to the Armenian capital of Yerevan for the opening episode of the Brewster's Millions-inspired show.

The duo were challenged to spend £8,000 in one day, and were not allowed to give any of the money away, or pay over the going rates for goods or services. At the end of each episode they must have spent all of the money but own nothing.

“One meal was an enormous blowout, at Yerevan’s top eatery,” Baddiel said in a conversation with The Guardian.

“It involved that coffee which comes via a cat’s digestive system. It had 15 courses and Prince Charles had eaten there. I think it came to about 70 quid. At the hotel later we tried to order champagne and caviar. But they didn’t have any, so they just brought us their most expensive room service item: a single portion of tiramisu.”

PanArmenian, Armenia
Feb 24 2018
Azeri blogger: Armenians haven’t destroyed Azerbaijani monuments 

Armenians have not destroyed Azerbaijani graves and monuments in Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh), Azeri political emigrant, blogger Orduhan Teymurhan said in a speech in Europe.

"Yes, pigs and goats walk on and around Azerbaijani graves, but Armenians haven’t committed vandalism against our monuments," he said, according to Haqqin.az.

Teymurhan’s statement stirred an extremely negative reaction among Azerbaijani social media users.

RFE/RL Report
Armenia Edges Up In Global Corruption Rankings
February 22, 2018
Nane Sahakian 

Armenia's has slightly improved its position in an annual survey of
corruption perceptions around the world conducted by Transparency

Still, it ranked, together with Macedonia, Ethiopia and Vietnam, only
107th out of 180 countries and territories evaluated in the
Berlin-based watchdog's 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)
released late on Wednesday.

By comparison, neighboring Georgia is 45th while Azerbaijan 122nd in
the rankings based on interviews with businesspeople and
experts. Armenia was also rated less corrupt than Russia (135th),
Ukraine (130th), Moldova (122nd) and all five ex-Soviet republics in
Central Asia.

Armenia occupied 113th place in the 2016 CPI that that covered 176
nations. Transparency International assigned it a CPI "score" of 33
out of 100 last year. It raised the country's score to 35 in the
latest survey.

Varuzhan Hoktanian, the director of programs at Transparency
International's Armenian affiliate, the Anti-Corruption Center (ACC),
downplayed the slight improvement, saying that it was within the
survey's margin of error. "We could have said that there has been a
[real] improvement if [the score] had reached 37 or 38," Hoktanian
told a news conference on Thursday.

Bribery and other corrupt practices have long been widespread in
Armenia despite successive governments' pledges to tackle the
problem. The current Armenian government described it as "the biggest
obstacle to the development of the state" shortly after it was
reshuffled in September-October 2016. And President Serzh Sarkisian
declared in November that combatting corruption has become "a matter
of national security."

The ACC and other civic groups remain skeptical about these
pledges. Hoktanian insisted that the authorities still lack the
"political will" to fight against graft. "They do enact
[anti-corruption] laws," he said. "The problem is their

A Transparency International statement similarly noted that in
lower-ranked countries such laws are "often skirted or ignored." It
also said: "Higher-ranked countries tend to have higher degrees of
press freedom, access to information about public expenditure,
stronger standards of integrity for public officials, and independent
judicial systems."

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