Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Armenian News... A Topalian... 7 editoriala

Click on the above image to expand this historic photo.
Little did the "nerkaghts' know what they were heading for.

AMN Al-Masdar News
Jan 10 2019
Assad to rebuild Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Deir Ezzor
The Chairman of the Syrian-Armenian Community in Armenia, George Barseghyan, was interviewed by ArmenPress this week after he and a group of Armenian businessmen met with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus.

“There was a task that this Board must boost Syria-Armenia ties. The first step was asking for a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. And this request was approved very soon. A meeting was scheduled not only with the Syrian President, but also other high-ranking officials of Syria. The Board has formed a delegation consisting of Syrian-Armenians, Armenian businessmen”, Barseghyan said.         
Barseghyan told the online publication that Assad vowed to rebuild the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Deir Ezzor that was destroyed by Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorists.

“The Syrian government plans to give priority in these programs to those countries which stood together with it during those years. Armenia is among those countries which didn’t close its embassy during the war, always kept the state ties and sent an aid to Syria. And during the upcoming progress, business programs and restoration works the priority will be given to Armenians”, George Barseghyan said, adding that the Syrian government highly values the role of the Armenian community. He said it’s not a coincidence that the Syrian President promised to restore the Armenian Church in Deir ez-Zor with his own resources.
Syria’s historical relationship with Armenia has paved the way for strong political ties between Damascus and Yerevan.

“Our visit pursued several goals. Firstly to strengthen and intensify the Armenia-Syria ties. In addition, we also wanted to express our support to the Syrian President and government. Armenia is one of those unique countries most of the population of which supports the current Syrian government, because we have managed to reach significant success during that leadership’s government. It was a proper occasion to show our support. Eventually, we have an Armenian community in Syria, in Aleppo, Damascus and etc. The local Armenians have very good relations with the authorities, and we also must think about this”, he added.

PanArmenian, Armenia
Jan 10 2019
Armenia, Georgia overtaking Azerbaijan with per-capita GDP growth 

Georgia overtook Azerbaijan in terms of GDP per capita in 2018, while Armenia is expected to achieve the same in 2020, according to a new report from the World Bank.

The reports "Global Economic Prospects: Europe and Central Asia" was published the WB on Tuesday, January 10.

According to data for 2017, Azerbaijan was the leader in the region in terms of GDP per capita ($4131), while Georgia and Armenia followed with $4,078 and $3,937, respectively. The World Bank estimates the growth of the Azerbaijani economy in 2018 at 1.1%, that of the Armenian and Georgian economies at 5.3%. Thus, Georgia will top the other two countries with $4,294 GDP per capita, Azerbaijan and Armenia will come in the second and third ($4,176 and $4,145, respectively).

According to the WB's forecast, the annual growth rate of the Armenian economy will stand at 4.3% in 2019, 4.6% in 2020-2021. Azerbaijan's economy, meanwhile, will grow at a rate of 3.6%, 3.3% and 2.7% in 2019-2021. If the Bank's predictions are correct, by 2019 the difference between per-capita GDPs in Armenia and Azerbaijan will fall to a statistical error of $2-3, and in 2020 the figure will be $4,523 in Armenia and $ 4,470 in Azerbaijan.

According to the forecast, in 2021 Georgia will come close to $ 5,000 per capita, in Armenia the figure will be slightly lower at about $4,730, at about $4,590 in Azerbaijan.

News.am, Armenia
Jan 10 2019
Armenia parliament to have standing committee on Diaspora issues 
The new Armenian parliament will have a standing committee on Diaspora issues, MP Alen Simonyan from the My Step faction told reporters, adding that My Step has introduced the initiative.

As to the vice speaker of the Armenian parliament, Simonyan said Prosperous Armenia representative has to be a vice speaker.

“This is not about preferences, but logic. Prosperous 

Armenia got more votes, and this is a signal for us. We do not see difference [between the factions],” he said.

Fox News
Jan 10 2019
Spanish officials arrest 15 in tennis match fixing scheme
By  Elizabeth Llorente | Fox News

Spanish authorities have arrested 15 people in connection with an international ring accused of fixing tennis matches.

The authorities said those arrested include the leaders of an Armenian gambling ring that was dismantled in October. Another 83 people were involved with the match fixing, Spanish officials said, including 28 professional players. One of those played in last year’s U.S. Open.

Tennis may not be the first sport that comes to mind for sports fixing. But the European Sports Security Association, which tracks betting for bookmakers, has said tennis tops the list of sports linked to suspicious gambling, according to the BBC.

Authorities said on Thursday the players fixed results after taking bribes from the Armenian ring. "Our officers have proved the group had been operating since February 2017 and estimate that they had earned millions of euros through the operation," said the Civil Guard in a statement, according to The Independent.

Eleven houses were raided and police seized luxury vehicles, a shotgun, credit cards, and 167,000 Euros ($191,000) in cash. It wasn't clear if the player who took part in the U.S. Open was among those detained.

Police accused Spaniard player Marc Fornell-Mestres, whose highest career singles ranking was 236th in 2007, of acting as the link between players and the Armenian ring that bribed them. No other names had been immediately disclosed by authorities.

The 36-year-old Fornell-Mestres was provisionally suspended from professional tennis at the end of last year, according to the Tennis Integrity Unit, which said the suspension related to an investigation into "alleged breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program."

Fornell-Mestres was ranked 1007th in singles and 772th in doubles at the end of 2018.  It was a warning by the Tennis Integrity Unit in 2017 that prompted Spanish authorities to begin their investigation.

Police said the organized group bribed the players to guarantee predetermined results, and used the identities of thousands of citizens to place international bets on the matches. Authorities said members of the Armenian ring attended the matches to ensure the players complied with the fixes.

European Union law enforcement agency Europol, which supported the operation led by Spanish authorities, said at least 97 matches from lower-tier Futures and Challenger tournaments were fixed. More than 40 bank accounts used by those allegedly involved with the ring were blocked by authorities.

They "attended the matches to ensure that the tennis players complied with what was previously agreed, and gave orders to other members of the group to go ahead with the bets placed at national and international level," Europol said in a statement,according to Sport24.co.za

Police are also investigating what they suspect are strong links between some of the suspects arrested in Spain and an Armenian-Belgian crime gang broken up by Belgium police last year, also suspected of fixing tennis matches. In the Belgium case, police announced in June the arrest of 13 people in Belgium and said the gang also targeted lower-level tennis matches.

News.am, Armenia
Jan 10 2019
Adult adoptees in Armenia can receive information on their biological parents              

Armenia approved Thursday the procedure for providing information to adult adoptees on the place and time of the adoption, as well as on personal information about their biological parents.

The decision was presented by the acting Justice Minister Artak Zeynalyan. 

According to the current legislation, the adult adoptee has the right to receive the above mentioned information only in the event of the death of the adopter or by the court’s verdict.
This provision protected the interests of the adopter, but at the same time ignored the interests of the adoptee and biological parents.

The Independent - Daily Edition
January 9, 2019 Wednesday
Mother has to travel nearly 100 miles with newborn to sign on with Home Office
An asylum seeker woman has been forced to travel nearly 100 miles every month with her newborn baby in order to attend a routine meeting with the Home Office or face losing her allowance.
In a case that has been branded a "disgraceful" consequence of the hostile environment, the single mother from Armenia was at one point forced to breastfeed her child while crouched down on a crowded platform at Manchester Piccadilly station, according to a volunteer who accompanied her on the trip last month.
The woman, who has not been named to protect her identity, had been travelling from her asylum accommodation in Stoke-on-Trent to Dallas Courtin Salford in order to comply with immigration rules after her local reporting centre was closed last October.
She is one of hundreds of asylum seekers in Britain who are having to take long journeys to attend sign-on meetings after the Home Office closed a number of reporting centres in a bid to "effectively manage the reporting population" - in what was branded an expansion of the hostile environment policy.
The Independent revealed in November that asylum seekers in Stoke-on-Trent were having to spend up to three-quarters of their £37.75 weekly allowance on travelling to the reporting centre in Salford after the local immigration service closed. Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said there was no upper limit to the distance a person may be required to travel in order to attend their nearest reporting location.
Chris Lawler, who volunteers for Stoke-based refugee charity Sanctus St Mark's, said he was "mortified and shamed" to accompany the Armenian mother on the round trip -which entailed two trains and a bus each way, at a cost of £32.80, which the charity paid for.
"The journey was very stressful indeed and very poignant, too. At one point she had to breastfeed her child on the crowded platform at Manchester Piccadilly," he said. "There were no facilities whatsoever. I asked but was told waiting rooms had been removed. In the end, she had to crouch down and feed her baby like that. It was upsetting to see this young woman struggle with her baby, struggle with the cold and with the crowds looking on. How mean, how brutal and how humiliating? I was, appalled, frankly but I could do nothing to alleviate the situation."
Responding to the young woman's experience, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: "This is disgraceful and shows just how inhumane the Tories' hostile environment is. The creation of these barriers are clearly causing distress and hardship to already vulnerable people trying to do the right thing."
Reverend Sally Smith, who runs Sanctus St Mark's, said that at the charity's weekly drop-in providing assistance to asylum seekers, one of the most common worries for people was how they would afford to travel to their reporting sessions. While there is purportedly a reimbursement scheme, she said that most asylum seekers did not receive travel cost refunds, and that some were even instead told to save money out of their food allowance.
"The lack of concern for vulnerable individuals and families demonstrated by the Home Office is shocking and should not be tolerated in any civilised society," she added. "The journey itself is difficult for people who have no English and are not familiar with the public transport changes. Once they arrive, queueing to get in can take several hours without shelter from the weather."
Reverend Smith said a particularly shocking aspect of the young woman's case was the fact that she was being forced to sign on with a five-week-old child, despite the fact that according to Home Office guidelines, women should not be required to sign for six weeks after giving birth. "Despite efforts to get her appointment changed, the Home Office insisted that she had to go on that day, and their reason was that they stipulate a six-week break from the due date rather than the actual delivery date," she said.
Gareth Snell, Labour and Co-operative MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, who has contacted the Home Office about the woman's situation, said: "This case demonstrates everything that I feared was the case when this first came up as an issue. Clearly the decision to move the reporting centre from Stoke is ridiculous. I can't understand why anyone would look at this new system and not notice that it deliberately and by design makes registering at the points where you're asked to register more onerous and more expensive, and ask what is the possible benefit of adding all those extra hurdles into the system if not to dissuade people from doing it?"
Jude Hawes, manager of Stoke's Citizens Advice Bureau, who has raised concerns about the long journeys before, said she was "horrified" that a vulnerable young woman and her baby were put at such risk. "This is one of many instances where people who are vulnerable, physically disabled or severely mentally unwell have been forced to try to make a journey which puts them at physical risk or pushes them into severe financial hardship," she added. "Despite Home Office claims, it is crystal clear that no proper examination of the risks or impact on individuals was undertaken before the unwise and irrational decision to close the local reporting centre was made."
The Home Office has been approached for comment.

The Jerusalem Post
Jan 11 2019
Are Israeli-Armenian relations warming up? 
With Armenian Christmas set to be celebrated in the Holy Land on January 18, we take a closer look at this republic in the Caucasus. 

Armenians are proud of their small country, which has a rich culture and history, and love to point out the many similarities between Israel and Armenia. Another topic they never seem to tire of discussing is the Armenian Genocide, and how many countries have yet to recognize it as a fact of history.

Nana Makaratchian, director of an Armenian tourism company that organizes flights to Israel, says they were disappointed when the vote in the Knesset to recognize the Armenian Genocide was canceled. “I would expect that the people of the Jewish State would understand how important this is to us,” she said. 

Many people picture Armenia as a poor country with inferior infrastructure. It’s true that tourists won’t encounter many highways, gas pipelines in small villages are an eyesore, and cows are often seen wandering around aimlessly. One of the most common sights is of elderly women baking traditional flatbread, called lavash. Food in Armenia is simple and cheap. While almost no one speaks English, nonetheless, several luxury hotels have popped up in the capital Yerevan. The country is hoping its tourism sector will pick up speed, despite the conflict with its neighbors, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Now that Armenia Air is operating twice weekly flights to Ben-Gurion, the country is hoping for increased tourism from Israel.

“We identify strongly with the Jewish people,” says Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. “We are very different from our neighbors. We have a long history, and have survived many wars and invasions. We know how to adapt to different cultures.”

THE REPUBLIC of Armenia is located in the Caucasus region of Eurasia, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Adjoining Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran, it shares a strong historical and political connection with Europe.

During the First World War, Ottoman Turkey was unhappy that its Armenian minority was working to achieve independence and openly supported Czarist Russia, which had advanced across the Caucasus and was headed towards Anatolia. The Armenians, who were hoping to liberate their country, occupied an area that was especially susceptible to foreign invasion. And so, in 1915, the Ottoman government decreed that all residents in Anatolia of Armenian descent would be expelled. By the end of 1918, Turkey had systematically murdered some 1.5 million Armenians. Ever since, Armenia has been demanding international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, which until today remains a subject of great tension with Turkey.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia received independence. However, most of its territory remains under Turkish control. Israel and Armenia have had diplomatic relations since 1992. The Armenian people and the Jewish people share a number of common attributes. Both have relatively small numbers, are dispersed in a diaspora around the world, have long-standing aspirations to be an independent nation-state, are surrounded by hostile Muslim countries, and have an influential lobby in the US. Both have considerable experience dealing with national traumas.

Relations between Israel and Armenia are underdeveloped, due to the latter’s conflicts with Turkey and Azerbaijan, both of which have highly developed relationships with Israel.

“Armenia has so much to offer Israel in the fields of agriculture, science, technology, education and innovation – and especially in the area of early childhood education,” says Mnatsakanyan. “We’ve developed a number of mobile apps that have attracted millions of users. I plan on traveling to Israel myself in the near future to promote joint ventures.”

How did you feel when the Knesset vote to recognize the Armenian Genocide was canceled?

“The vote wasn’t just about recognizing the Armenian Genocide. It was about taking a moral stance. 1.5 million of our people were murdered. My parents were refugees who were forced to flee from the atrocities, and that’s how we ended up in Tbilisi. Many of my relatives were killed in the genocide. But we do not feel like victims. We were not disappointed that the vote didn’t take place in the end. We know that this issue has great political weight, and that Israel is wary of how it will affect relations with Turkey. This is very unfortunate.”

Is there military cooperation between the two countries?

“Armenia is extremely concerned about its security issues, especially with respect to Nagorno-Karabakh (an enclave inside Azerbaijan, which has unilaterally declared its disengagement from the secular Muslim country. Armenia, which has a Christian majority, has been in conflict with its Muslim Azeri neighbors for many years.) People there are in danger. As is well-known, Israel sold weapons to Azerbaijan, and as a result we’d like to develop military cooperation with your country.”

What is Armenia’s relationship like with Iran?

“We have an extremely long history with Iran,” continues Mnatsakanyan. “They are very aware of the cultural contribution Armenia has had in Iran. Since we have what could be described at best as hostile relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan, Iran functions as an important media channel for us. We have good relations with many countries, and it’s essential for us that our relationship with one country not jeopardize our connection with others.”

How do you think Iran will react if Armenia’s relations with Israel continue to warm up?

“Like I said, relations with one country won’t jeopardize our connection with others.”

What’s your opinion about Avigdor Liberman quitting his position as Defense Minister? He was quite involved in the Caucasus, wasn’t he?

“I don’t think I’m going to lose any sleep over it. He’s the one who sold arms to our enemies in Azerbaijan.”
Azeri sources have reported that a huge monument to Armenian nationalist Garegin Nzhdeh, who is said to have collaborated with the Nazis, was erected in Yerevan. What do you think about this?

“People must be careful when they make proclamations. This is pure propaganda promoted by our enemies.”

Does it bother you that our countries do not have embassies in each other’s country?

“I’m optimistic that this will happen soon. We’d be more than happy to upgrade our relations with Israel.”

Would you agree to open a future Armenian Embassy in Jerusalem?

“We understand the delicate nature of this controversy, and we’ll make an effort to make the move a positive one.”

Artak Zakaryan, who until recently served as Armenia’s deputy defense minister and chairman of the Armenian-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship League, is the driving force behind the new flights between the two countries. “Our relationship with Israel is very important,” Zakaryan says. “Like us, Israel is a small country surrounded by enemies, and we would love for our economy to be as strong as yours. We are pushing to expand our tourist-related interaction to the defense arena – and not because we fear the Russians. I think we haven’t done enough to accomplish this and in the meantime Azerbaijan and Georgia managed to establish closer relations with Israel.”

“Israel needs to ask itself where its values lie,” says Dr. Chen Bram, a research fellow at the Truman Institute of the Hebrew University. “On the one hand, Azerbaijan is an important ally for Israel, and we should not jeopardize this relationship. And of course relations with Turkey are particularly complex. On the other hand, maybe Israel can actually help bring about peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Israel should be able to stand up to Azerbaijan and say, ‘We are your ally, but we would like to establish relations with Armenia, too, and you should not view this as a move that will harm our relations.’ This might cause a bit of an uproar at first, but it’s possible to do. I think it’s a shame Israel hasn’t made such an effort until now.”

Do you think Israel should recognize the Armenian Genocide?

“Israel should not have the sole rights to using the term genocide,” continues Bram. “A number of countries that have diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey have recognized the Armenian Genocide. I’m not saying it will go over smoothly, but things will eventually settle down. A number of Israeli representatives in Yerevan made inappropriate comments about the Jews’ unique connection with the Holocaust, but we need to accept that each genocide has its own special characteristics. And we cannot deny that the Armenian Genocide and the world’s reaction to it had a paramount effect on the Nazis’ ability to carry out the Shoah. Israel has lots of room to make improvements in this area. Luckily, the Armenians know how most Israelis feel about this issue, but this does not absolve us of the responsibility to make this change official.”

Translated by Hannah Hochner.

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Interview with Armenian Public Television!

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Interview with Armenian Public Television!

Here is Jivan Avetisyan’s Interview with Armenian Public Television in regard to Azeri’s aggression towards our non-Armenian producers!

Հայաստանի Հանրային հեռուստաընկերության անդրադարձը

Ջիվան Ավետիսյանի հարցազրույցը Հանրային հեռուստաընկերությամբ՝ մեր արտասահմանայան համարտադրողներին ուղղված ադրբեջանական ագրեսիայի դրսևորման վերաբերյալ։

Kind regards/Հարգանքով,

Gate to Heaven Team/«Դրախտի դարպասը» ֆիլմի թիմ

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Armenian Church News
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Latest issue of newsletter
The Year 2019 is proclaimed the Year of Family
2019 has been proclaimed a year of the family by His Holiness KAREKIN II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. In His Christmas message, which was read throughout the Armenian Churches across the world, Catholicos of Armenians makes an emphasis on safeguarding the pattern of the traditional Armenian families. “We encourage our ecclesiastical and diocesan bodies and clergymen to initiate family centred assistance projects and events, undertake pilgrimages to the Fatherland and Holy Etchmiadzin, to the dominical and national sacred sites, in order to strengthen our faith, warmly kindle the flame of love toward the homeland and the sacred realization of being a son and a daughter of the nation and the Fatherland” said the Catholicos.
The message was read by the Primate on 6th January who was the celebrant at St. Yeghiche Church on the feast of Nativity and Theophany of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. After the liturgy, he blessed the waters, which is done in remembrance of the Jesus' baptism in the river of Jordan.
Please watch the Divine Liturgy on our YouTube channel
January 5th - Eve of the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany
Ճրագալոյցի Սուրբ Պատարագ
On the eve of the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the primate attended Divine Liturgy at St. Sarkis Church. The celebrant was Very Rev. Jirair Tashjian, a visiting clergyman from Paris. The primate congratulated the congregation, sharing with them the good news of Christ’s birth. Commenting on the Gospel of Luke 2:1-14, he invited the faithful to ponder over the meaning of Christmas. In particular, that it is an invitation by God almighty to choose between the comfortable ways of the world and the Christian way.
Please read more in the newsletter
Saturday, January 26th, at 2-3:30 pm - Armenian Children’s club

Wednesday, January 16th, 23rd, 30th, 7: 30 pm - Spiritual Journey through the Bible.

Saturday, January 19th, 12:00 pm - Tea and Coffee with the Bishop. It is on this date Christmas day is celebrated in the Old Calendar. There will be a screening of the celebrations in Bethlehem and River Jordan.

Friday, January 25th, 7:30 pm - The Armenian Book club. Pieces of Hagop Barnoian, 19th-century Western Armenian Satire will be read and discussed.
Episcopal visits and celebrations in January and February
Sunday, January 20th - St. Sarkis Church

Sunday, January 27th -St. Yeghiche Church

Sunday, February 3rd- Holy Trinity Church in Manchester

Saturday, February 9th- Pembroke College in Oxford

Wednesday, February 13th - vespers at St. Yeghiche Church on the eve of the feast of
the presentation

Sunday, February 10th - St. Sarkis Church

Saturday, February 15th - St. Sarkis Church on the eve of the feast of St. Sarkis

Sunday, February 17th - St. Sarkis Church

Sunday, February 24th - Armenian Parish in Dublin, Ireland

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