Friday, 23 March 2018

Armenian News...A Topalian... Quakes in Armenia, Armenia
March 15 2018
6 minor quakes hit Armenia in past one week 

YEREVAN. – Six of the seismic events which the “Survey for Seismic Protection” Agency of Armenia recorded in the past seven days were in Armenia, and one—in the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic/NKR), informed the 911 Artakarg Tert (Emergency Newspaper) of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. 

From March 9 to Monday, six earthquakes measuring magnitude 0.7 to 1.6 were registered in the Ararat, Gegharkunik, Shirak, and Kotayk Provinces of Armenia. 

And on Tuesday, a 1.3-magnitude tremor was recorded 43km northwest of Martakert, Republic of Artsakh. 

In addition, seven seismic activities measuring magnitude 3 and greater were registered in the region, and one such earthquake—outside the region. 

RFE/RL Report
Karabakh Leader Visits Congress On Controversial U.S. Trip
March 15, 2018

Bako Sahakian, the ethnic Armenian leader of Nagorno-Karabakh, speaks at an 
event in the U.S. Congress, Washington,14Mar,2018

Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian leader Bako Sahakian visited the U.S. 
Congress on Wednesday as part of his ongoing trip to Washington opposed by 

Sahakian’s administration said that at the Capitol the Karabakh leader met 
“with a group of members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, discussed 
issues related to the Nagorno-Karabakh-U.S. relations, the settlement of the 
Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict and issues related to regional processes.”

According to the report, a reception devoted to the 30th anniversary of the 
1988 Karabakh movement was organized at the Congress.

In his speech Sahakian highlighted the importance of the meetings organized by 
the supreme legislative body of the United States, noting that they also 
“enhance the degree of our responsibility in the course of carrying out hard 
and painstaking work, further deepening and developing bilateral relations.”

“I am optimistic – it will be definitely so, for we consider the United States 
to be a friendly country, a state which has become a second homeland for 
millions of Armenians. I am optimistic because we have here devoted, sincere 
and honest friends, who have been standing by Karabakh for many years, 
supporting our people, providing objective information about our country 
worldwide. We highly assess our friendly ties, considering them to be a 
precious asset,” stressed the Karabakh leader in his speech, as quoted by his 
press office.

Sahakian reportedly added that Karabakh “greatly acknowledges the support 
rendered by the American people” and emphasized “the special role that the 
House of Representatives, the Senate, our congressman and senator friends have in this process.”

The Karabakh leader also stressed Washington’s “considerable contribution to 
maintaining peace and stability in our region, to the peaceful and fair 
settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict.”

“Cementing and deepening ties with the United States have always been and will remain among the fundamental directions of our foreign policy,” Sahakian 

According to the report, Sahakian handed “Nagorno-Karabakh state awards” to a group of U.S. congressmen and senators for “supporting Karabakh” and for “their tangible contribution to the development of Karabakh-USA relations.” The report did not give any names.

The Armenian National Committee of America, which is the largest and most 
influential Armenian American grassroots organization in the United States, 
stressed that Sahakian’s was the first-ever visit to the U.S. Capitol paid by a 
Karabakh leader.

Ahead of Sahakian’s visit to the United States that began on March 13, Baku 
summoned the U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, Robert Cekuta, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and handed him a note of protest addressed to the U.S. 
Department of State.

In the note, Azerbaijani authorities urged the United States “to adhere to the 
norms of international law and not to allow on its territory activities aimed 
at violating the sovereignty of Azerbaijan.”

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Hikmet Hajiyev claimed the visit would 
“seriously harm the negotiating process [over Nagorno-Karabakh] and increase 
tensions in the region.”

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh for years.

Nagorno-Karabakh, populated mainly by ethnic Armenians, declared independence from Azerbaijan during 1988-94 ethnic tensions and a war that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Three decades of internationally-mediated diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving 
the conflict have brought little progress.

Along with Russia and France, the United States co-chairs the Organization for 
Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group, the main international format helping broker a peaceful solution to the protracted conflict., Armenia
March 15 2018
Istanbul street to be renamed after slain Armenian journalist Hrant Dink 

Şişli District Council of Istanbul, Turkey, has decided to rename a street in the district after slain Istanbul Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

According to the respective decision, Samanyolu Street will renamed to Hrant Dink Street, reported BirGün newspaper of Turkey.

Şişli District Council has forwarded this decision to Istanbul Municipal Council, after whose approval the decision will come into force.

Hrant Dink, the founder and chief editor of Agos Armenian weekly of Istanbul, was gunned down on January 19, 2007, outside the then office of this newspaper.

In 2011, the perpetrator, Ogün Samast, was sentenced by a juvenile court to 22 years and ten months for the murder.

After long court proceedings and appeals, however, a new probe was ultimately launched into this murder case, and regarding numerous former and serving senior Turkish officials’ complicity in this assassination.

PanArmenian, Armenia
March 16 2018
Armenian manuscript goes on display in Manchester 

An Armenian manuscript is currently on display at The John Rylands Library ’s new exhibition “The Alchemy of Colour” explores the curious recipes used throughout the centuries to bring vivid colour to manuscripts, The Mancunion reports.

Elaine Sheldon, Conservator at Manchester's The John Rylands Library and Co-Curator of the exhibition said: “Creating The Alchemy of Colour has enabled us to explore the Library’s incredible collection of manuscripts from a wholly new perspective, and appreciate them as exquisite works of art as well as feats of writing, thinking and learning. The exhibition brings to life stories of colour-making from across time periods and cultures, and visitors will be fascinated by the diversity and beauty of the items on show.”

Carol Burrows, Heritage Imaging Manager at The John Rylands Library and Co-Curator told The Mancunion: “The idea was to tell some of these stories of the pigments in the manuscripts, as a way into manuscripts that isn’t often talked about. The stories behind the colours are often very interesting. The first thing we did was to identify the colours and so for that we used microscopy. We took tiny pigment samples and studied them under a microscope to find out from their optical qualities which pigments they were. We also used a fibre optic and a multispectral imaging technique.

“What is interesting is that the colours used are sometimes specific to that area. For example, there is an Armenian manuscript here which uses the Armenian cochineal to produce the pink. That insect is only found in a very small area of Armenia so that specific colour can’t be found anywhere else. We wanted to show the huge geographic range in the exhibition so our manuscripts are from all over the world.”

The Alchemy of Colour started on March 15 and will run through August 27.

Armenia occupies the 129th place by its happiness level. According to surveys conducted in 156 countries, Finland is now the happiest country. 

The United Nations annual report “World Happiness Report 2018” is based on the same question addressed to 1000 random people in each country. The question is: Imagine a ranking from zero to ten.

The tenth degree is the highest point of life you imagine, zero is the worst scenario you imagine. What do you think where you are now in your country? The highest ladder was mentioned by the Finns this year ahead of the Norwegians. By the way, it is commonplace that the Nordic countries, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland occupy the first place in the ranking. The top ten also include Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand and Austria. The United States is behind the happiest 17 countries. Australia, Israel, Austria, Ireland, Germany, and Belgium are ahead of the United States.

Great Britain, United Arab Emirates, Czech Republic, Malta are after the abovementioned countries.

The report also provides an explanation of answers, in other words, what factors of evaluating happiness in their countries are. According to the UN report, these factors are the state of the economy, social services, freedoms, generosity and corruption. And what changes have been observed compared to previous years? If this year Armenia ranked 129th out of 156 countries, it was 121th in the previous year, as well as in 2015. In other words, 8 local drops were registered.

Armenia is ahead Georgia, when it was 4 rankings behind the latter in the previous years. According to the survey held in 2015 Azerbaijan took the 81st place, in 2016 – 85, and in 2018 – 87.

The happiest country of the former Soviet Union is Latvia. From the former Soviet Union countries only Ukraine is behind Armenia.

Turkey is in the 74th place, Iran is in the 106th. Russia occupies 59th place by its happiness level. Countries that are behind Armenia by their happiness level are Myanmar, Congo, Uganda, Sudan, Ukraine, Togo, Guinea, Angola, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Syria, Rwanda.

Burundu takes the last, 156th place. In 10 countries with the highest rate, immigrants consider themselves the happiest., Armenia
March 11 2018
Monument to St. Gregory of Narek to be erected in Vatican 

Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I have recently received the Bishop of Roman Catholic church Ivan Sundus in Lebanon.

It was noted that the purpose of the visit was to officially hand over Pope Francis's invitation letter to Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I on the occasion of opening a statue of St Gregory of Narek at the Vatican on April 5.

The statue was donated to the Pope by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. The ceremony will also be attended by Armenian President and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II.

No GMOs in Armenia
March 16 2018
No GMOs in Armenian farmer products 

There are no genetically modified organisms in Armenian farmer products, Hrach Berberyan, the head of Armenian Farmers’ Association, said Friday at a news conference.

“The matter has been discussed also in the National Assembly,” he said. “We have sent a written request to the head of the appropriate committee to show a field where GMOs are used, but nothing has been shown, since there is nothing like that in Armenia. Our Armenian farmers don’t use genetically modified seeds.”

At the same time, Berberyan said that there are other GMO-related problems, which are not discussed openly.

“I mean soybeans, which are imported in the country from different countries under various names, particularly soy flour, soy powder and milled soy, and used for producing sausages and cakes and processing milk,” he said. “This soy is GMO.”

A few months ago, Monsanto’s presentation in Armenia has aroused public outcry, since the company is engaged in selling GMOs.

Berberyan said he has worked in Monsanto under the exchange program and has seen the use of GMOs there.

“Farmers bring the grown genetically modified corns to spirit-producing plant – four tons of spirit is produced from eight tons of corn, then spirit is mixed with petrol for producing bio fuel.”

Emerging Europe
March 16 2018
Moody’s Changes Armenia’s Credit Outlook from Stable to Positive 

Tamara Karelidze 

Ratings agency Moody’s has changed the outlook on Armenia’s debt from stable to positive and reconfirmed the country’s B1 long-term issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings.

“The change in the outlook on Armenia’s sovereign rating to positive indicates that Moody’s sees the next 12-18 months developing positively,” read a report issued by the Armenian Central Bank.

Moody also raised the country’s long-term local-currency bond and deposit ceilings to Baa3 from Ba2. Moreover, long and short-term foreign currency bond and deposits will remain the same. A decisive factor in the change was GDP growth, high level of affordability of state debt and strengthening of institutions, as well as the development of a macroeconomic stability assistance policy.

Moody’s also outlined the risk factors which served as a base for keeping unchanged the country’s rating and changing the outlook from stable to positive.

According to the agency, upward pressure on Armenia’s rating would stem from further economic and institutional reforms that point to sustained improvement concerning economic competitiveness and institutional strength. Moody’s expects that Armenia’s fiscal deficit will narrow to 2.6 per cent of GDP in 2018 and 2.5 per cent in 2019, from 4.7 per cent in 2017. The organisation expects levels of government debt to decline by approximately 2 per cent by the end of 2019. 

RFE/RL Report
Armenia Slams Azerbaijan Over Large-Scale War Games
March 13, 2018
Lusine Musayelian

Official Yerevan has accused Baku of failing to meet its obligations
to an international organization after Azerbaijan launched large-scale
war games on Monday.

"Azerbaijan began its military exercises without notifying in advance
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) member
states and with a gross violation of its obligations before the
organization," Tigran Balayan, a spokesman for Armenia's Ministry of
Foreign Affair, wrote on Twitter.

Azerbaijan's five-day war games involving about 25,000 troops and a
large number of military hardware come weeks before the country's
early presidential election scheduled for April 11.

The issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-control region that broke
away from Azerbaijan as a result of a war in the early 1990s, is
likely to feature prominently during the campaign leading up to the
vote in which current President Ilham Aliyev is expected to win his
fourth consecutive five-year term.

Military authorities in Azerbaijan do not specify the location of the
current war games, only mentioning that they are unfolding "in the
difficult conditions of the mountainous terrain."

Some 250 tanks and other armored vehicles, up to 1,000 artillery units
of different calibers, multiple rocket launcher systems and mortars,
as well as up to 50 units of army and front-line aircraft are also
involved in the exercises, according to Azerbaijan's Ministry of

According to official sources in Azerbaijan, during the exercises
"army units will repulse the attack of the conventional enemy and will
launch a counteroffensive."

During the five-day exercises, the Azerbaijani armed forces will also
reportedly use a number of new types of weapons recently acquired from
Russia, Israel and the Czech Republic.

Responding to the criticism coming from Yerevan regarding the conduct
of the exercises, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Hikmet Hajiev
insisted that the war games taking place "in the sovereign territory
of Azerbaijan" correspond to "the OSCE's Vienna document of 2011".

In 2017 Azerbaijan conducted several military exercises, causing the
wrath of the Armenian side. The largest exercises last year were held
in April and involved some 30,000 troops. Those war games came a year
after the deadliest Armenian-Azerbaijani fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh
since the 1994 ceasefire known as a four-day war. 
Armenian team remains 91th in FIFA monthly ranking 
The Armenian national football team maintained its positions in FIFA Ranking.

Armenia’s team is again ranked 91th in FIFA Ranking of March 2018. In February 2018 as well the team was ranked 91th.

The top ten are the teams of Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, France and Chile. 

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