Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Armenian News... A Topalian...5th April 2018 St Gregory of Narek symbol of solidarity

RFE/RL Report
Yerevan Explains Stance On Skripal Poisoning Case
April 05, 2018
Sargis Harutyunyan

A senior diplomat defended on Thursday Armenia’s decision to back Russia’s 
calls for a joint investigation into the poisoning of a former Russian spy in 
Britain which has further strained Moscow’s relations with Western powers.

London has said it is "highly likely" Moscow was behind the March 4 attack with 
a military-grade nerve agent on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, but 
Russia has insisted it is innocent and is taking its case before world bodies. 
Both sides have already suspended high-level contacts, and more than two dozen 
Western countries have joined Britain in expelling over 150 diplomats in 
retaliation for the poisonings, with Russia responding in kind.

On Wednesday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) 
turned down a Russian bid to be involved in a joint investigation of the 
incident with Britain. Only 6 of the 41 countries making up the executive body 
of the global chemical weapons watchdog voted for it.

Armenia is presently not part of the OPCW body. But it did join 13 other 
nations, including neighboring Azerbaijan and Iran, in issuing a statement that 
backed the Russian proposal.

“We are not defending Russia. We just want this case to be fully solved,” said 
Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian.

“At this stage one should refrain from any judgment, evaluation or action [on 
the Skripal case] until there are answers to the three following questions,” 
Kocharian told reporters. “First, where was that chemical weapon manufactured? 
What is its origin? Second, who carried out [the chemical attack?] And third, 
who ordered it?”

Stepan Grigorian, a pro-Western political analyst, insisted that the Armenian 
government has adopted a pro-Russian position on the Skripal case. He said that 
could inflict more serious damage on Armenia’s relations with West than 
Yerevan’s indirect endorsement of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 did.

“That attack [on the Skripals] happened on Western territory,” Grigorian told 
RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “They will take it more seriously and 
I don’t exclude that it will affect the Armenia-West relationship.”

Kocharian was more sanguine about that relationship. “I don’t think that a 
country that wants the truth to be established can have complications,” he said. 

ARKA, Armenia
April 5 2018
St. Gregory of Narek becomes eternal symbol of solidarity between Armenia and Vatican
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s official visit to the Holy See started with a private meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis this morning, Sargsyan’s press office reported. 

It said the President thanked the Supreme Pontiff for his dedication and sustained attention to bilateral relations and for entertaining a sincere and warm dialogue between Armenia and the Vatican. Serzh Sargsyan stressed that this is the fifth meeting with His Holiness for the past few years, which speaks for itself. 

Noting that it is always a great honor for him to meet with Pope Francis, the Armenian President remembered warmly the Pope’s 2016 visit to Armenia, which was held under the motto of “Pilgrimage to the First Christian Country,” as well as his 2015 visit to the Vatican and the participation in the Divine Liturgy at St. Peter’s Cathedral, which became a historical event, since the genius child of the Armenian nation, St. Gregory of Narek was conferred upon the title of Doctor of the Ecumenical Church and was recognized as one of 36 greatest thinkers of the Catholic Church. 

Noting that the statue of St. Gregory of Narek stands among the statues of other great saints in the heart of the Catholic world - the Vatican - Serzh Sargsyan expressed profound gratitude to the Pope for making a decision to that effect and went on to advise that a copy of the statue will be placed in Echmiadzin, the spiritual center of the Armenian Church. Thus, St. Gregory of Narek and his legacy shall become an eternal symbol of solidarity between the two Christian communities. 

During the their private talks, the President of the Republic of Armenia and the Pope expressed readiness to further develop and deepen the Armenia-Vatican interstate relations, strengthen the spiritual and cultural ties between the two countries. 

At the end of the meeting, the parties exchanged gifts. President Sargsyan presented the silver scale-model of St. Gayane Church to the Pope. His Holiness Pope Francis handed to the President a marble copy of the sculpture depicting the Holy Family, kept in one of Vatican’s museums, as well as copies of the last three books authored by the Pope. 

Gregory of Narek (951 – 1003) was an Armenian monk, poet, mystical philosopher, theologian, composer and saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Roman Catholic Church. He is the author of a mystical interpretation on the Song of Songs and numerous poetic writings. His Book of Prayers, also known as "Book of Lamentations", a long mystical poem in 95 sections written around 977, has been translated into many languages. The book, the work of his mature years, remains one of the definitive pieces of Armenian literature. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Francis in 2015.  

Catholic News Agency
April 4 2018
St. Gregory of Narek statue, a sign of Armenian faith, installed at Vatican
By Andrea Gagliarducci 

At the end of Pope Francis’ visit to Armenia in June 2016, the pope was given a small statue of St. Gregory of Narek, a gift from Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan. 

“This is a present from the Armenian people, and we hope that one day a statue of St. Gregory of Narek will be installed in the Vatican,” he said. 

Pope Francis responded: “I do like both the statue and the idea.” 

The Armenian president’s hope came to fruition April 5, when a large replica of the statue given to the pope was installed at the Vatican gardens, in the presence of the president, Catholicos Karekin II, who is head of the Armenian Apostolic Church II, along with other Armenian dignitaries. 

Before the event, Mikayel Minasyan, Armenian ambassador to the Holy See, stressed to CNA its importance. 

“St. Gregory of Narek,” he said, “is a bridge. He is the bridge between the Armenian Church and Catholic Church. He is a bridge between our two realities, and very importantly, he’s a bridge two worlds: the Armenian world and the Western world. He is a bridge between East and West. He is bridge between land and sky.” 

An Armenian monk, theologian and poet of the 10th century, St. Gregory of Narek is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian national Church of Eastern Orthodoxy. It is one of the most ancient Churches of the world – Armenia was the first nation to proclaim itself Christian – and tradition holds that it was founded by the missions of the apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus. 

Pope Francis proclaimed Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church during an April 2015 Mass for the centenary of Armenian genocide. 

Armenia, a country of nearly 3 million, is situated between Turkey, Iran, and Georgia, in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. 

“St. Gregory of Narek is the author of the spiritual constitution of Armenia and the Armenian people. He is the symbol of our culture, which is, at one time, an Armenian, international and Christian culture,” Ambassador Minasyan told CNA. 

The ambassador said that “St. Gregory of Narek is a real ecumenical doctor of the Church, since he was not a Catholic and has never been a member of the Roman Catholic Church.” 

He added that “St. Gregory of Narek is the symbol of the ecumenism of blood, and the symbol of our destruction and genocide, since even the Narek monastery, where he lived, was destroyed, as was as his tomb, during the Armenian genocide.” 

Minasyan said that the installation of the statue seems like a piece of Armenia is placed in the Vatican, because “St. Gregory of Narek is very present in the daily life of Armenian people, and this is for real. His ‘Book of Lamentations’ is still used as a book to cure sick people, it is in every hospital, and is used not only as a spiritual medicine, but also as a medicine of the body.” 

The installation of the statue also symbolizes the impact of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Holy See, which were opened 25 years ago. 

“Our diplomatic relation are 25 years old and, at the same time, 1700 years old, because it is not just about the relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Armenia, but also between the Armenian world and the Catholic world,” Ambassador Minasyan said. 

This is the reason why, he said, “Armenia will not just be represented by its president, but also by the two Catholicos and by the Armenian Catholic Patriarch, Krikos Bedros XX.” 

The ambassador added that “bilateral relations are not just about Armenia, but all the Christians in the Middle East. Our nation lived a diaspora, our country lives everywhere. But our country is above all in the Middle East, and Armenian are the living witnesses of the Middle East’s dechristianization, and both Holy and Armenia are 

April 4 2018
‘April Winter’ – Snow covers blossomed trees, green parks in Armenian towns
Snowfalls have been reported since April 3 in several regions across Armenia. People began posting photos on social media showing how layers of snow have covered blossomed trees and green parks. Locals of Lori province dubbed the occurrence April Winter.

Earlier meteorologists forecast snowfalls overnight April 3-4 in some parts of the country as a cold atmospheric front was approaching from the Black Sea area.

2, -3 degrees Celsius land surface temperature is forecast overnight April 4-5 in the provinces of Ararat and Armavir, Tavush and the foothill regions of Aragatsotn and Vayots Dzor.

The ministry of emergency situations alerted farmers to shut down greenhouses during the period. Clear weather is expected nationwide midday April 4 and from April 5 through the 9th. Temperature is expected to gradually rise from April 6 to 9.

MediaMax, Armenia
April 6 2018
2491 foreign students study at Armenian universities 

According to the data of 2017-2018 academic year, 2491 foreign students receive education at Armenian higher educational institutions.

Armenian Ministry of Education and Science stated that Armenian universities have students from India (1142), Iran (430), Iraq (404) and Israel (118).

1307 foreign students study at state and 963 private universities, 203 students are involved in international universities and 18 in colleges.

According to the ministry, as of 2017-2018 academic year, 3757 students from Diaspora study at Armenian educational institutions, of which 1847 attend state, 536 private and 1012 international universities, 362 - colleges.

The largest number of Armenian students comes from the Russian Federation (1454), Georgia (1209), Syria (536) and Iran (139).

Of 1847 Armenian students from Diaspora, 607 study at Yerevan Mkhitar Heratsi State Medical University, 234 at Yerevan State University, 203 at National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia.

Panorama, Armenia
April 4 2018
Armenia’s unemployment rate remains unchanged since 2008, economist says 

Over the past ten years, Armenia experienced numerous economic challenges prompted by the 2008 financial and economic crisis, which was the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s in the US, economist Vahagn Khachatryan told a conference on Wednesday, summing up the country’s economic challenges and achievements over the past ten years.

The economist did not agree with the claims that Armenia was left untouched by the 2008 economic crisis since it was not involved in global developments, adding no country could have escaped the crisis sweeping the world.

According to him, the crisis further aggravated the problems faced by Armenia, in particular the issues of low living standards, income polarization, unemployment, monopolies, corruption risks, migration and shadow economy.

Speaking about the unemployment rate, Khachatryan said it has remained high at 16-19% since 2008. “I was expecting the unemployment rate to fall due to the 7,5 percent economic growth recorded in the country, however it remains unchanged according to the NSS figures. It turns out that every fifth person is jobless, with the unemployment rate standing at 40% among the youth,” the economist said.

He stressed the issue of tackling the unemployment must be Armenia’s key priority.

Chairman of the Informed and Protected Consumer NGO Babken Pipoyan, in attendance of the conference, said that Armenia has recorded significant progress in a number of spheres, which is improving the country’s international image.

“We have recorded a progress in media and speech freedom, as well as in the judiciary. This shows that if the economy were not in a steady grave condition, Armenia would not have such a terrible emigration rates,” he said.

Pipoyan added that although the country saw an economic growth of 7%, people do not feel any improvement since the value of the minimum consumer basket has increased by 7%. “They naturally do not feel that increase,” he said.

Modern Diplomacy
April 3 2018
Armenian Research Team Awarded for Innovation in Preventing Gender-Based Violence
The World Bank Group and Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) today awarded US$99,500 to an Armenian technology business foundation to help reduce incidents of gender-based violence (GBV).

The Award, part of the 2018 Development Marketplace for Innovation to Address Gender-Based Violence*, will support the Armenian Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) to deploy mobile applications and digital technologies that empower women with real-time expert support and information, and that collect critical data needed to inform policy on a larger scale.

The Award will also enable EIF to promote dialogue among stakeholders in the field of GBV and ICT professionals.

“I am very pleased to congratulate the Enterprise Incubator Foundation, our long-standing partner, with this outstanding award,” said Sylvie Bossoutrot, World Bank Country Manager for Armenia .

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 35% of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

“Studies show that gender-based violence can cost economies up to 3.7% of GDP due to lost productivity, in addition to the direct harm caused to women and men,” said Caren Grown, Senior Director, Gender, World Bank Group . “The World Bank Group is proud to support the Development Marketplace winners, whose projects seek to find sustainable and scalable approaches to preventing GBV for us today and for future generations.”

Launched in 2015 in memory of Hannah Graham, daughter of a longtime World Bank Group employee, the Development Marketplace is an annual competition for researchers to findi innovative solutions that can help individuals, communities, and nations stamp out GBV.

This year’s winners, chosen from more than 250 submissions from research institutions, NGOs, and aid and other organizations around the world, come from Armenia, Cambodia, Colombia, Honduras, Jordan, Kenya, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Rwanda, and South Africa.

Winning teams received up to US$100,000 each and were chosen based on overall merit, research or project design and methods, significance, team expertise, and ethical considerations.

The SVRI Grant, a global innovation award started in 2014, previously awarded more than US$1 million to nine projects in seven countries. With more than 5,500 members, SVRI is one of the largest global research networks focused on preventing violence against women. SVRI supports research by disseminating and sharing knowledge and nurturing collaboration and networking, and improves policy and practice by supporting and funding research and capacity development. It hosts an international forum every two years to advance and expand research on sexual and intimate partner violence.

The Register, UK
April 5 2018
Britain's 4G is slower than Armenia's
Եկեք տեղափոխենք Երեւան:
By Andrew Orlowski 

The firm’s international survey placed the UK in 39th spot internationally, four behind the mountainous Transcaucasian Republic, which can now boast an average download speed of 24.08Mbps. With an average 4G speed of 23.11Mbps, the UK has found itself two places behind Mexico.

Last year OpenSignal caused handbags to fly after it declared that the UK’s mobile broadband was slower than Peru’s. In fact Peru has excellent 4G coverage and 4G performance, but this drew criticism from rival network surveyors including the granddaddy of the market, GWS.* Peru has now fallen behind the UK in 4G performance.

PanArmenian, Armenia
April 5 2018
Germany's role in Armenian Genocide detailed in crucial report 

Turkish forces mainly used German rifles and other weapons to carry out the Genocide of the Armenian people, a new report has found, according to Deutsche Welle.

Mauser , Germany's main manufacturer of small arms in both world wars, supplied the Ottoman Empire with millions of rifles and handguns, which were used in the Genocide with the active support of German officers.

"German officers who served in Turkish-Ottoman military staff actively helped carry out individual murders," the report by Global Net - Stop the Arms Trade (GN-STAT) said. "The majority of the aggressors were armed with Mauser rifles or carbines, the officers with Mauser pistols." Many German officers witnessed and wrote about the massacres in letters to their families.

The report represents the first "case" being researched and developed by Global Net, a new multilingual worldwide network of over a 100 organizations, and a database for activists, whistleblowers, journalists, artists, and others interested in arms exports.

The Turkish army was also equipped with hundreds of cannon produced by the Essen-based company Krupp , which were used in Turkey's assault on Armenian resistance fighters holding out on the Musa Dagh mountain in 1915.

In 2015, German President Joachim Gauck acknowledged Germany's "co-responsibility" for the Armenian Genocide, while a book published in the same year by journalist Jürgen Gottschlich detailed the political collusion of Turkey's most important European ally in the first world war, which provided military advice and training for the Ottoman Empire throughout the Wilhelmine period. But the new GN-STAT report is the first to detail the sheer extent of the material support provided by Mauser and Krupp.

"Mauser really had a rifle monopoly for the Ottoman Empire," said the report's author Wolfgang Landgraeber , a filmmaker who has made several films about German weapons exports. Mauser is now defunct as a company, but Krupp's successor, German steel giant ThyssenKrupp, has never publicly acknowledged the part it played in the Genocide.

"The question of who actually supplied the weapons, not only for the Genocide but also for the First World War in Turkey, no one has really addressed that question before," said Landgraeber. "And to what extent German officers took part in murders by actually picking up the rifles and firing them themselves — that wasn't known before."

Many of the first-hand German accounts in the report come from letters by Major Graf Eberhard Wolffskehl, who was stationed in the southeastern Turkish city of Urfa in October 1915. Urfa was home to a substantial Armenian population, which had barricaded themselves inside houses against Turkish infantry. Wolffskehl was serving as chief-of-staff to Fahri Pasha, deputy commander of the fourth Turkish army, which had been called in as reinforcement.

"They (the Armenians) had occupied the houses south of the church in numbers," the German officer wrote to his wife. "When our artillery fire struck the houses and killed many people inside, the others tried to retreat into the church itself. But … they had to go around the church across the open church courtyard. Our infantry had already reached the houses to the left of the courtyard and shot down the people fleeing across the church courtyard in piles. All in all the infantry, which I used in the main attack … acquitted itself very well and advanced very dashingly."

While German companies provided the guns, and German soldiers the expert advice on how to use them, German officers also laid what Landgraeber calls the "ideological foundations" for the Genocide.

That the German Reich shared the Ottomans' mistrust of the Armenians was no secret — both feared they were colluding with mutual enemy Russia, while Gottschlich's book quotes navy attache Hans Humann, a member of the German-Turkish officer corps and close friend of the Ottoman Empire's minister of war, Enver Pasha, as saying, "The Armenians — because of their conspiracy with the Russians — will be more or less exterminated. That is hard, but useful."

Landgraeber is keen to underline that the new research does not absolve the Ottoman Empire of its guilt — but simply fills in the gaps in the historical record. "It happened as we have researched it, and nothing should be sugarcoated — but the entire picture should be more complete."

Some three dozen countries, hundreds of local government bodies and international organizations have so far recognized the killings of 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as Genocide.

On June 2, 2016, a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide passed almost unanimously in the German Bundestag. In response, Turkey recalled its ambassador in Berlin and Germany's Turkish community held protests in several German cities.

Turkey denies to this day.

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