Sunday, 31 May 2015

Armenian News... A Topalian... We are not a threat!...

We are full of love and have values!...If Turkey feels threatened it is because of their own misgivings!... Seta


According to the results of a recent survey on the country's foreign
policy by Ä°stanbul's Kadir Has University, Turkish people consider
Israel and the US as the biggest threats to their country. The survey
was conducted in April among 1,000 people of the urban populations
across Turkey, Today's Zaman reports.

In response to a question concerning which country they see as the
biggest threat to Turkey, 42.6 percent of respondents said Israel,
35.3 percent mentioning the United States. Syria (22.1 percent)
and Armenia (20.3 percent) come next in the list.

Although Turkey is officially a candidate country for European Union
membership, according to 10.2 percent of respondents, EU countries
pose a threat to Turkey.

8.7 percent of respondents said that no country constitutes a threat
to Turkey, while 38.9 percent of the population found that "Turkey
has no friends."

Among friendly countries Turkish people singled out Azerbaijan (37.5
percent), Northern Cyprus (8.9 percent) and Bosnia and Herzegovina
(6 percent).
29 May, 2015

YEREVAN, MAY 29, ARMENPRESS. Former Police Chief of Istanbul Ali
Fuat Yılmazer, who is already in jail as part of a government-backed
operation against police, was arrested for a second time in a separate
investigation of the murder case of the former Editor-in-Chief of
the Istanbul-based Armenian Agos periodical.

As reports "Armenpress" citing "Today's Zaman", the former police
chief was arrested by an Ä°stanbul court after he testified to a
prosecutor involved in the investigation into Dink's murder.

In his testimony, he said that he was employed in Ankara when the
incident took place. Stating that the Ä°stanbul Police Department was
responsible for providing guards to protect Dink when it received
intelligence he was in danger, Yılmazer said that the fact that
he is being connected to the murder is clearly slander. He pointed
to earlier inspectors' reports that stated Yılmazer had not been
involved in any misconduct regarding the incident.

Previously it was reported that within the framework of revision of
the murder case of the former Editor-in-Chief of the Istanbul-based
Armenian Agos periodical, the Police arrested Ercan Demir, the Head
of Police of Cizre. Ercan Demir, the Head of Police of Cizre, had
been interrogated.

A new prosecutor was appointed to investigate the case of murder of
the Editor-in-Chief of the Istanbul-based Agos periodical Hrant Dink.

>From now on, the member of the Bureau for Struggle against Terrorism
and Organized Crime Gökalp Kökcu will investigate the Armenian
editor's murder case. Yusuf Hakkı Dogan was his predecessor, who
has recently been appointed the Court of Cassation of Turkey.

Ogun Samast, who murdered the Editor-in-Chief of the Istanbul-based
Agos periodical Hrant Dink in 2007, has given new testimony comprising
7 pages to prosecutor Yusuf Hakkı Dogan. As reports "Armenpress",
the Turkish stated about this. At the course of
the interrogation, which lasted about 3 hours, the criminal stated
that he kept silent till this moment, because he was afraid.

Among other things, Samast noted that on the day of assassination
he noticed that he is being followed by two men. He called Hayil and
said that he thinks the Police are following him. Hayil answered to
him saying: "That's possible, but there is no need to be worried,
they're with us."

Samast, who was sentenced to 21 years and six months in prison in 2011
for the murder, is currently testifying as a witness in the ongoing
investigation into the murder. The sources said that Samast has named
the suspect, who can add a new dimension to the investigation following
a three hour interrogation by prosecutor Yusuf Hakkı Dogan.

Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of Agos, was murdered outside his office by
17-year-old Ogun Samast on January 19 2007. An earlier investigation
showed that the prosecutors who worked on the case ignored serious
allegations into the involvement of top police officers in the murder. 

29 May 2015

The head of the PAP parliamentary group Naira Zohrabyan stated during
the weekly parliamentary briefing that they are going to conduct
a joint monitoring with the specialists of the HRD's office in the
streets of Yerevan to identify the status of children begging for
money in the streets.

Naira Zohrabyan objected to the minister of labor and social affairs
Artem Asatryan, referring to her information, that children are picked
from orphanages and used for begging.

"Before dismissing such information they had better address to what
is happening in orphanages and boarding institutions. If he openly
denies the obvious cases of inhuman treatment in boarding schools
which are clearly recorded in the report of the Human Rights Defender,
it is normal that he would deny these cases too," she stated.

Naira Zohrabyan said there is a lot of information that children with
women begging in the streets are the children of their poor neighbors,
there is also information that they take those children from orphanages
on a criminal agreement with the staff of the lower levels.

"I have brought up the issue, now it is their turn to verify. I can
state clear facts, walk along Abovyan Street, go up and ask whether
those children are related to those women. Let us do that monitoring
together. This is what I have proposed, by the way, are going to do
it together with the Ombudsman's office," she noted.

Naira Zohrabyan said she has talked to the Special Investigative
Service, presented the information at hand, what she has witnessed
several times.

"I went up to a child in Abovyan Street and asked if that woman was
related to him, the child said no, and they quickly took the child
away. Moreover, one of the children said he was from the orphanage. I
think this is enough for the relevant bodies to start to monitor the
streets. This is not something difficult, they should just conduct
a monitoring before dismissing," Naira Zohrabyan said, adding that
the concerns she expressed are a possible crime.

Voice of America
May 29 2015
Dorian Jones

Turkish voters go to the polls next month in an election buffeted
by concerns about slowing economic growth and mounting worry over
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's increasingly autocratic policies.

But the election will also be momentous for modern Turkish history:
for the first time, three of the country's main political parties
have chosen members of Turkey's Armenian minority to appear on their
party lists.

Armenians figure prominently in modern Turkish history, mainly for the
events that began in 1915 and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of
thousands, possibly more than 1 million, Armenians. A growing number
of historians say the killings amount to genocide, something Turkey
vehemently denies.

Istanbul, meanwhile, has had for years a small but stalwart Armenian
community numbering around 70,000. The community has suffered
persistent discrimination, though no outright persecution for years.

The community has also played a relatively minor role in the country's
political life. Now the prospect of Armenians becoming members of
parliament is being seen as symbolically important.

"We always ask something to change and they say 'we will do it,
we will do it.' It has been a hundred years," said Garo Paylan,
a candidate for the Peace and Democracy Party.

"We don't want to wait anymore and that's why I am going to parliament
to change this situation," he added. "It's very important for our
community. We have not had MPs in parliament since 1960."

Erdogan's AK Party is also fielding an Armenian candidate, Markar
Esayan, a well-known Armenian newspaper columnist, in hopes of courting
the Christian vote in Istanbul.

So is the main opposition Republican People's Party, which analysts
say is traditionally nationalistic and suspicious of Turkey's
minorities. The candidate, a young Armenian lawyer named Selina
Dogan, has been holding numerous meetings, with her first priority
focused on overcoming prejudice within her party and challenging
wider discrimination.

This is a "very big opportunity," she said.

"We are not equal. Legally, on paper, yes. But in fact, no," she said.

"For example, you don't have Armenian officers, you don't have Armenian
police, you don't have Armenian judges in this country. I am going
to fight this discrimination."

Yetvart Danzikyan, of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos,
said this general election is an important sign of significant change.

"More people talking [about the] Armenian issue, Armenian problems,"
Danzikyan said. "I want to think that some reforms, some steps are
permanent. But we know Armenians can't be bureaucrats, for example,
in Turkey. And when the atmosphere is changing, not only Armenians,
Jews, Greeks become a target in Turkey."

Underscoring some of the tensions surrounding Turkey's minority
communities, hundreds of people took to Istanbul's main street
earlier this month to protest the seizure of a hundred-year-old
Armenian orphanage.

The orphanage originally housed child survivors of the mass killings
of Armenians. It was restored later by prominent members of Turkey's
Armenian minority and turned into a cultural center.

For Paylan, this was just another injustice suffered by Armenians.

The orphanage was saved from destruction at the last minute when the
land was handed over to an Armenian foundation. 

RFE/RL Report
More Protests Planned Against Energy Price Hike
Sargis Harutyunyan ## Hovannes Movsisian

A Yerevan-based pressure group said on Friday that it will stage
another larger demonstration next month to protest against the
authorities' plans to raise the electricity prices in Armenia for a
third time in two years.

The non-partisan group called No To Plunder rallied thousands of
people in Yerevan on Wednesday in an effort to prevent a more than 40
percent price rise requested by the national power utility, the
Electricity Networks of Armenia (ENA). It was joined by leaders of the
country's main opposition parties.

Vaghinak Shushanian, a member of No To Plunder, told RFE/RL's Armenian
service ( that the group has scheduled the next
demonstration for June 19. He said it will conduct a publicity
campaign in the next three weeks to ensure that the rally attracts
"three or four times as many people."

"Right from the beginning we opted for a tactic of street struggle,"
said Shushanian. "That means we see no need to embark on a dialogue
with any political force or the authorities."

Armenia's Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) is expected to
rule on the ENA request to raise the energy tariffs before June 19.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Yervand Zakharian implied on
Thursday that the regulatory body will approve a more modest price
rise than is sought by the ENA. Zakharian stood by his arguments that
higher prices are indispensable for enabling the Russian-owned company
to sort out its serious financial problems.

No To Plunder, the Armenian opposition and other government critics
believe that massive losses incurred by the ENA result from poor
management, rather than the existing electricity fees.

Vahram Baghdasarian, the parliamentary leader of the ruling Republican
Party of Armenia (HHK), made clear on Friday that the authorities are
listening to the critics' arguments but will not necessarily accept
them. Baghdasarian spoke of a risk of "the collapse of the energy

Meanwhile, Labor and Social Affairs Minister Artem Asatrian gave
further indications that electricity will soon become even more
expensive for Armenian households. He said the government is already
preparing to compensate people living below the official poverty line.

Asatrian noted that the government raised by 1,000 drams ($2.1)
monthly poverty benefits paid to more than 100,000 poor families when
the electricity price rose by 10 percent in August last year.
Newspaper: Electricity is 5 times more expensive in Armenia 
than UK

YEREVAN. - Electricity is about five times more affordable for a
resident in the United Kingdom (UK) than in Armenia, reported 168 Zham

"There is no need to be surprised [at this fact] if we consider that
the average [monthly] wage in euros (removing the taxes) amounted to
229 euros in Armenia, [whereas]  2,993 euros in the UK in 2014.

"Accordingly, a 100 kWh of [electrical] energy cost makes up 3.3
percent of the average wage in Armenia, [whereas] solely 0.7 percent
in the United Kingdom. In other words, the amount spent on electricity
makes up a small percentage in the salary of an Englishman and it does
not present a burden.

"The problem is whether or not this price is affordable for the
resident. And if compared, it turns out that Armenia occupies the
penultimate place among European and regional countries in terms of
affordability of electricity," wrote 168 Zham.

RFE/RL Report
Microsoft To Boost Support For Armenian IT Sector

Microsoft Corporation pledged to step up its contribution to Armenia's
burgeoning information technology sector on Tuesday with a new
regional software development center to be opened in Yerevan soon.

In return, the Armenian government promised stronger protection of the
U.S. giant's world-famous products against widespread software piracy
in the country.

The two sides formalized their mutual commitments with a package of
agreements which Microsoft's top executive for central and eastern
Europe, Don Grantham, signed in Yerevan with Armenia's ministers of
economy, education and defense. Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian and
the U.S. ambassador to Armenia, Richard Mills, underscored its
importance with their presence at the signing ceremony.

"The agreements signed today will serve as a basis for even closer
cooperation between the government of Armenia and Microsoft,"
Abrahamian said at the ceremony.

A statement released by Abrahamian's press office said the deal calls
for the establishment of a Microsoft-sponsored "regional" center" in
Yerevan for mobile applications and so-called "cloud computing," which
allows such software to be operated over the Internet. It said
Armenian students and engineers working there will use Microsoft's
technological resources to develop more advanced solutions of this
kind. This will make Armenia more competitive in global hi-tech
industries, it said.

According to the statement, the new facility will operate in
conjunction with the Microsoft Innovation Center Armenia (MICA), an
enterprise "accelerator" that has assisted in the growth of dozens of
local IT startup firms. The MICA, which is partly funded by the
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided them
with free office space and equipment and even helped some of them
secure funding for their innovative projects.

These and other startups have added to recent years' rapid growth of
the Armenian IT industry, the most dynamic sector of the country's
struggling economy. According to government data, the sector currently
employs over 11,500 engineers. Its overall business turnover was
equivalent to about 5 percent of Gross Domestic Product last year.

The MICA set up was set up in 2011, one year before launch of the
Microsoft IT Academy at the State Engineering University of Armenia
(SEUA). The academy helps to address the still inadequate quality of
education at the IT programs of the SEUA and other state-run Armenian

Abrahamian stressed the importance of the upcoming new Microsoft
center in Yerevan, expressing confidence that it will solidify
Armenia's status as a regional IT leader. Grantham, for his part, said
it will enable Armenian software engineers to develop their skills and
eventually result in new jobs.

According to the statement by Abrahamian's office, Grantham went on to
emphasize the Armenian government's commitment to a stricter
enforcement of Microsoft's intellectual property rights in Armenia.

Mills was reported to make a similar point. The U.S. ambassador said
that a more effective copyright protection will help Armenia attract
more foreign investors into the IT sector.

Major U.S. companies such as Synopsis, National Instruments, Mentor
Graphics and VMware are already present in the sector. Oracle, the
world's second largest software developer after Microsoft, inaugurated
its Armenian branch late last year.

Cybersecurity will be another new area of the government's cooperation
with Microsoft. Under agreement signed by Grantham and Defense
Minister Seyran Ohanian, Microsoft will help Armenia protect its
online databases and resources against hacker attacks.

Teni Matian

Set on London's most beautiful campus, the University of Roehampton offers a high-quality student experience with outstanding staff and facilities.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Turkish... POLITICS...

Jailed Gülenist police chief now charged for the murder of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink

PublishedMay 28, 2015
Jailed Gülenist officer Ali Fuat Yılmazer, who is accused of taking part in a plot to kill Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink has been arrested late Thursday.

Yılmazer, who previously served as the deputy director of Istanbul's police intelligence department gave testimony before a judge on duty at Istanbul 5th Criminal Court. He was arrested following the testimony and transferred to prison.

Testifying on Dec. 5, Samast said Ali Fuat Yılmazer, deputy director of Istanbul's police intelligence department, and Ramazan Akyürek, Turkish National Police's intelligence department director at the time of the murder, knew about the plot to murder Dink and backed him and Yasin Hayal who masterminded the plot.

Yılmazer had already been imprisoned for nine months under the scope of another case involving the crimes committed by the Gülen Movement.

He is accused of covering up their involvement in the murder perpetrated by 17-year-old Ogün Samast. The teen was convicted for shooting and killing Dink in Istanbul and had previously testified to the prosecutor investigating the murder. He said top police chiefs were aware of the murder plot but did not do anything; on the contrary, they encouraged him.

Prosecutor Gökalp Kökçü the intelligence unit's head in Samast's hometown of Trabzon in northern Turkey, on charges of assisting manslaughter by neglecting intelligence concerning the murder, despite having a responsibility to prevent it. He was released pending trial by the court, which banned him from traveling abroad.

Testifying on Dec. 5, Samast said Ali Fuat Yılmazer, deputy director of Istanbul's police intelligence department, and Ramazan Akyürek, Turkish National Police's intelligence department director at the time of the murder, knew about the plot to murder Dink and backed him and Yasin Hayal who masterminded the plot.

The prosecutor's office in Istanbul previously questioned top police intelligence officials including Sabri Uzun, Akyürek and Yılmazer. Moreover, the trio is officially referred to as "suspects" in the prosecutor's case.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Oxford University Armenian Society...'MAYRIG'...

As part of the commemorative events dedicated to the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, Oxford University Armenian Society would like to invite you to a cinema evening in the beautiful Pichette Auditorium of Pembroke College. The screening of the film ‘Mayrig’ (1991), directed by the prominent French-Armenian director Henri Verneuil, will be preceded by a brief presentation on the history of screening of the Armenian Genocide.

7pm, Tuesday, 2 June 2015, Pichette Auditorium, Pembroke College

Admission is free.
Language: French with English subtitles
Duration: 2h 30min.

For any questions, please contact David Zakarian


Armenian News...A Topalian ... Sardarapat Victory...

On May 26 Armenia marks the Sardarapat Battle Victory Day.

The Battle of Sardarapat took place during World War I (1914-1918)
from May 21-29, 1918 between regular Armenian troops and rebels on
one side, and Turkish occupants, who invaded Western Armenia, on the
other. The battle took place in the area of Sardarapat railway station,
near Hoktemberyan city.

Following Russia's victory in the October Revolution in 1917, the
Russian troops left the territories of Western Armenia occupied during
the World War I. Capitalizing on this, Turkey decided to not only
reoccupy Western Armenia, but also Eastern Armenia and Transcaucasia.

Violating the armistice concluded in December 1917, the Turkish army
assumed the offensive and occupied the cities of Erzincan, Erzurum,
Sarikamish, Kars and Alexandrapol (Gyumri). Armenians began to lose
ground to the adversary's forces which outnumbered them for many
times. The Turks were moving toward Yerevan, when Armenian troops,
commanded by Coronel Daniel Bek-Pirumian Pirumian, met them behind
Etchmizadzin city. Armenians defeated and drew them back by a number
of successful attacks.

Sardarapat Battle had a huge significance for Armenia: Armenian
population of the northern area of Ararat valley escaped another
genocide by Turks. Besides, conditions were created for the
re-establishment of the Armenian statehood.

On May 28, 1918 the independence of the Armenian Republic was
declared. Commemorative date was fixed in honor of Sardarapat
Battle and overthrow of the Turkish army on May 26, 1918. On the
50th anniversary of the battle in May 1968, Sardarapat Memorial was
opened (not far from Yerevan). The memorial was designed by architect
Rafayel Israyelyan.
28 May 2015, 13:01

28 May 1918 is one of the glorious days of the Armenian history. On
that day the Republic of Armenia was proclaimed after a pause of
several centuries.

The first two years of the First Republic were years of struggle
against external and internal enemies, hunger and pandemics. The
proclamation of the Republic was preceded by the May battles when
the Armenian troops defeated the Turkish army.

In December 1918 the Armenian-Georgian war took place when the 
Armenian forces defeated the Georgian forces which had invaded Lori.

In the fall of 1919 clashes with Azerbaijani forces started. In
September 1920 the next Armenian-Turkish war started. Then Russia made
a decision on the establishment of the bolshevist rule in Armenia. On
November 29 the Russian army and the Armenian bolshevists invaded
Ijevan, Armenia and proclaimed soviet rule in the country. As a
result, the exhausted Republic of Armenia fell on December 2. In
the same month, the Russians arrested hundreds of officers of the
Armenian army. Among them were Daniel Bek-Pirumyan, Movses Silikyan,
Tovmas Nazarbekyan. Most officers were shot dead.

After the sovietization of Armenia Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan
signed agreements dividing the Armenian territories.

The Armenian independent state survived 2 years with heroic efforts. 

Azerbaijan was overnight hit by a magnitude 4.5 earthquake whose
jolts were also felt in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Citing data obtained from the State Seismic Protection Service's
seismological network, Armenia's Ministry of Territorial Administration
and Emergencies reports that the quake, whose hypocenter depth was
10 km, measured six points at the epicenter.

On the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, jolts measuring three points
were registered in the regions of Martakert and Askeran.

Half-ruined church of the Armenian monastery Arakelots in Mush,
Turkey, continues to be attacked treasure hunters.

They have damaged the walls of the church and dig the graves of
Armenians near the church, Milliyet newspaper reported.

Police conducted investigation after chairman of the Armenians of Sasun
Aziz Dagci addressed the local government. An investigation revealed
that graves had been damaged and the plates of the church stolen.

Aziz Dagci said they had petitioned to the prosecutor's office based
on the report provided by police. 

RFE/RL Report 
Another IT Facility Launched In Armenia

Highlighting the rapid growth of Armenia's information technology (IT)
sector, D-Link Corporation, one of the world's largest manufacturers
of computer networking equipment, inaugurated its newly constructed
research and development center in Gyumri on Monday.

The center is one of the three facilities of its kind operated by the
Taiwanese IT group around the world. Its creation was made possible by
an agreement which D-Link signed with the Armenian government in
January 2013. The government provided the company with a plot of land
in Gyumri for that purpose.

D-Link had opened software development branches in both Gyumri and
Yerevan even before that agreement. It reportedly employed some 200
people in Armenia as of last year.

With annual worldwide sales exceeding $1 billion, D-Link is
principally engaged in the research, development, manufacture and
distribution of computer network systems, devices, wireless
communication products and components.

"This center will play a significant role in the development of Gyumri
and Armenia's strong scientific potential as well as the country's
integration into global information technology processes," Economy
Minister Karen Chshmaritian said at the inauguration ceremony that was
also attended by President Serzh Sarkisian.

Chshmaritian added the Armenian government has a strong interest in
having "multinational corporations" expand their presence in the
domestic IT industry, the fastest-growing sector of Armenia's economy.

The export-oriented sector had expanded by an average of 22 percent
annually since 2008. The government expects this growth to continue
unabated in the years to come. Some officials have forecast that the
sector's annual turnover will pass the $1 billion mark by 2019.

According to government estimates, the combined output of the nearly
400 IT firms operating in the country reached almost $475 million last
year. The figure is equivalent to about 5 percent of its Gross
Domestic Product.

Much of this growth has been driven by U.S. hi-tech giants like as
Synopsys, National Instruments, Mentor Graphics and VMware. Synopsys,
a global microchip design leader, employs about 700 engineers in
Armenia, making its local branch the country's largest IT enterprise.

YEREVAN, May 26. More than 100 cameras and 160 speed sensors
are installed on Armenia's roads, deputy head of Armenia's police
Vardan Yeghiazaryan said at 2014 budget execution hearings in the
parliament on Monday.

Introduction of automated control systems was completed in 2014,
and there are currently 104 video cameras ad 166 speed sensors on
the roads, he said.

A car license plate detection system was also introduced in 2014,
and a total of 261 cars having problems with their license plates
were detected during the year, Yeghiazaryan said.

During 2014 the police procured various devices worth a total of 418
million drams and vehicles worth 667.4 million drams, he said.

Some 57.1 billion drams was appropriated for the police under the
2014 budget. (1$ - 478.32 drams). -0-

The Irish Times
May 25, 2015

Daniel McLaughlil

Caucasus conservtion project aims to help rare wildlife and local

High on an Armenian hillside, Gor Hovhannisyan eases a camouflage-green
box from its hiding place in the trees and opens the back to see what
he has caught.

This time, only a bird and a rabbit triggered the camera trap's motion
sensors. But far bigger beasts also roam the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge:
lynx, bears, wolves and at least one of Europe's last remaining

Across a deep gorge speckled with thyme and wildflowers, Hovhannisyan
points to the snowy ridge where a Caucasian leopard was last captured
here on camera; behind him, far below, a lush plain of farmland and
fruit trees stretches away to Mount Ararat, an ice-clad 5,000m volcano
just over the border in Turkey.

The refuge is breaking new ground in Armenia and the region, by leasing
a large area of outstanding beauty and biodiversity and ensuring that
local people contribute to and benefit from its protection.

The challenge is considerable in a country where environmental
awareness is low, large predators are seen as a threat to life
and livestock, and the rule of law is too weak to control either
small-scale trappers or wealthy hunters.

Geopolitics doesn't help, either. Barely 25km south of the refuge
is Azerbaijan, which officially is still at war with Armenia after
an early-1990s conflict. Some 10km further lies Iran. The leopard's
territory spans all three countries, further complicating conservation

Hovhannisyan is one of several local men who work as wardens in the
refuge, patrolling its 4,000 hectares in a battered green 4x4 and
on horseback.

Hunting ban "All hunting is banned in the refuge," he shouts, as the
groaning 4x4 bounces beneath a troop of iridescent bee-eaters preening
on a telephone line.

"We make sure no one's in the refuge without permission, and we talk to
the villagers. We tell them that if they hunt bezoar goats or boar or
even rabbits, then there will be less food for the wolf and bear and
lynx. And then they are more likely to come to our yards and fields
and take a sheep or cow."

People's lives are intertwined with nature here, to a degree that is
not always comfortable. In winter, hungry wolves sometimes come down
from the mountains to snatch a sheep, chicken or dog from a yard;
in spring and summer the shepherds take their flocks to the high
meadows, into the domain of the big carnivores; and autumn is the
bears' favourite time to raid the valley's orchards - though they
also amble down in warmer months to feast on fruit.

"Last year a bear family ate lots of apples and damaged the trees,
and they like to come for apricots," says Ashot Manatsakanyan, who
lives in Urtsadzor, a village on the edge of the refuge.

"And I've seen a bear sitting and eating watermelons like a man -
splitting them open in his lap, eating the best bits, throwing away
the rest and grabbing another," he recalls.

"Sometimes a wolf comes into the village, but it's the shepherds in the
hills who have the most problems. Even with six or seven guard dogs,
a pack of wolves can take a sheep or even a horse. They complain that
the wolf is taking money from their pockets, but I'm glad the wolves
are here - and they need to eat too."

The refuge aims to boost and diversify the local economy through
eco-tourism, and it helps villagers access clean and cost-saving
technology such as solar panels, and runs classes for adults and
children on nature and sustainability.

Conservation model "We want this type of conservation model to be
spread more widely through the Caucasus," says Ruben Khachatryan,
the founder of the refuge and director of Yerevan's zoo.

Though it is barely an hour's drive from Yerevan, there are few
visitors to the refuge, which is supported by the UK-based World
Land Trust.

Most that do make the trip dream of glimpsing a Caucasus - also know
as Persian - leopard, but the chance is minuscule: only a handful
survive in Armenia, and the entire population may be less than 1,000.

"In Armenia, people and leopards have co-existed since the early
prehistoric times. Depictions of leopards can be found in many ancient
petroglyphs . . . recounting origin myths and tribal traditions of
ancient Armenia," says Khachatryan.

"The inhabitants of Caucasus region should be proud of not killing
the last of the species, and to have this amazing feline thrive in
their territory."

No one in Armenia has a better hope of seeing a leopard than refuge
warden Hovhannisyan.

"Sometimes, when I'm alone on my horse in the hills, I wonder if it
might attack me," he says. "But I'd still love to see a leopard up
close. It's great to know that it's out there."
27 May 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

16 years ago, Claire sent a shoe box with a letter and some other items
to children in Armenia, and had hoped to get a letter in response.

She did eventually get word back from the person who received her
donation, but it wasn't until just this week that she heard from them,
according to

Arsen Khachatryan, the boy who got the box, managed to track her down
and sent her a text message saying that he still remembers getting the
clothing and gifts that she sent and that he "always wanted to express
my gratitude for that gift-box". For her part, Claire was completely
taken aback, but shared her story with the Galway Advertiser, who
posted screengrabs of the messages up on their Facebook.

Writing on Facebook, she explains what happened:

"When I was 8 years old I wrote this note and put it inside a shoebox
filled with crayons, gloves, a toothbrush and loads of other bits
and it got sent off to children in disadvantaged countries.

"This morning, 16 years later, I got a message from a man in Armenia
to say he's been searching for me for years to thank me for his gift
box. He took a picture of the note and sent it with his message. This
is amazing."
26 May 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

12 players from foreign clubs have been called up to the Armenian
national team, Press Service of the Football Federation of Armenia

Armenia will play a Euro-2016 qualifying round match against Portugal
on June 13.

Acting coach of the Armenian national team Sargis Hovsepyan has called
up 12 players from foreign clubs to take part in training campaign:

Roman Berezovsky, Dinamo Moscow (Russia)

Robert Arzumanyan, Amkar (Russia)

Hrayr Mkoyan, Esteghlal (Iran)

Gael Andonyan, Olimpyque (Marseille, France)

Gevorg Ghaazaryan, Kerkyra (Greece)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Borussia Dortmund (Germany)

Marcos Pizzelli, Aktobe (Kazakhstan)

Aras Ozbiliz, Spartak (Moscow, Russia)

Rumyan Hovsepyan, Metallurg (Donetsk,Ukraine)

Norayr Aslanyan, Almere City (Netherlands)

Artur Sarkisov, Volga (Russia)

Ruslan Koryan, Lokomotiv Tashkent (Uzbekistan)

The full list of the players from abroad as well as Armenian Premier
league will be announced later. 
25 May, 2015

YEREVAN, MAY 25. Bullets whistled overhead, a black ISIS
flag flapping in the distance, but all Friar Najeeb Michaeel could
think of as he fled the jihadis was how to save hundreds of ancient
manuscripts, including Armenian scrolls, in his possession.

"Armenpress" reports about this citing The Daily Star.

"You are going to get us killed with your archives," Michaeel's
assistant Watheq Qassab grumbled as he struggled to carry six boxes
of the documents dated between the 13th and 19th century across the
border from Iraq into Kurdistan in August last year.

The Roman Catholic Dominican Order arrived in Iraq in the 13th century,
and set up a permanent church in the second city of Mosulin 1750.

Michaeel first smuggled his precious library out of Mosul to Qaraqosh -
Iraq's largest Christian town - during an Islamist insurgency in 2008
which saw thousands of Christians flee the city.

Last year, the friar again felt the tide turning as ISIS seized town
after town, destroying priceless artifacts and documents in museums
and libraries in their rampage across Iraq and Syria.

As ISIS Thursday seized the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, raising
fears of further destruction, Michaeel told AFP in Paris how he
became obsessed with saving the remnants of Iraq's 2,000-year-old
Christian heritage.

"It was imperative that these manuscripts, conserved in the Dominican
library in Mosul and then in Qaraqosh, escape the systematic
destruction of the non-Muslim cultural heritage," Michaeel told AFP.

So, when ISIS seized Iraq's second city of Mosul in June, a short
distance from Qaraqosh, Michaeel again took action.

"We loaded a large part of the manuscripts in a truck and drove them
to Irbil, in Kurdistan, which is 70 kms away," he told AFP.

And when the jihadis descended on Qaraqosh on Aug. 7, forcing the
last Dominican friars to flee, he stashed the remaining manuscripts
in boxes in his car.

"We were engulfed in the massive exodus of Christians and Yazidis who
were fleeing to Irbil," the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, Michaeel said.

"We could see the black flag of ISIS from a distance. We were protected
by armed peshmerga but they wouldn't let our car cross the border.

"So I started to take the boxes of manuscripts out of the car and
hand them to passers-by," he said.

Watheq Qassab, an Iraqi working for the Dominican order, helped
Michaeel save the manuscripts.

"Bullets were whistling above our heads and I thought we were going
to die," he told AFP.

"Children were crying, women too. I was carrying six boxes, it was
heavy, I couldn't run."

Luckily, a car was waiting for them on the Kurdish side of the border,
and all the boxes arrived safe and sound and are now hidden in Irbil.

Michaeel's collection includes historical and philosophical texts,
documents on both Christian and Muslim spirituality, music and
literature written in Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic and Armenian.

They bear testament to the long Christian tradition in former
Mesopotamia - seen as the cradle of Western civilization - which
survived even as most of the region between the Tigris and Euphrates
rivers converted to Islam in the seventh century.

Tens of thousands of Christians have been forced to flee what
PopeFrancis called the "intolerable brutality" being inflicted on
them and other minorities in Iraq and Syria by ISIS militants.

Historian Francoise Briquel-Chatonnet, a researcher at the French
National Center for Scientific Research, said there were about 50
manuscripts written in the ancient Christian language of Syriac,
dated "before the arrival of Islam in the same region."

"Most are conserved in the British Library in London. The oldest
dates back to 411."

Michaeel's collection is not that old, but "they are a sort of bridge
between civilizations, they bear witness to the past and say a lot
about the present," the friar said, adding that he sees them as his

In Qaraqosh, Michaeel and his staff have been working for years to
collect and digitize the ancient manuscripts, photographing them and
storing them on a hard drive.

"Since 1990 we have digitized 8,000 manuscripts from the region. Half
of the originals no longer exist as they have been destroyed by
[ISIS]," he said.

Copies of seven of these documents are currently being displayed at
the National Archives in Paris at an exhibition entitled: "Mesopotamia,
a crossroads of cultures."

Helena Paul 7 hrs · Instagram · I can't describe how I felt to see my great great grandfather's photo in Sardarapat museum.

 I am very happy my family is so patriot. I am very happy to be a little part of Armenia. ‪#‎happy‬ ‪#‎first‬ ‪#‎Republic‬ Day ‪#‎Armenia‬

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Armenian Institute...WIGMORE HALL...Centenary Concert


FATHER FRANK’S RANTS Rant Number 633 27 May 15 GOD’S DNA


A DNA test has confirmed that Jesus is the Son of God! How could the priest not delight in it? Still…does it make sense? And, if true, what would follow from it?

It seems Jesus’ purported DNA comes from the Shroud of Turin. A long linen cloth that bears the image of a crucified man. Believed by many to be Jesus. Most unlikely but…assume it is authentic. You check its DNA traces and…what? Does the molecule display ‘God’s material’, as someone exults online? Alas, God is not made of any ‘material’. God is not made of anything. If he were, he would not be God but something else. An idol, perhaps. Or some finite entity or energy or freak. Once again, God is not that.

St Athanasius’ Creed affirms that Jesus Christ is both God and Man, ‘yet he is not two but one Christ’. The human and the divine essences coexist harmoniously in Jesus’ person. Two natures, united but not confused. The divine does not absorb the human and vice versa. Heretics like Paul of Samosat (a courtier of Queen Zenobia of Palmira, city now unhappily occupied by ISIS) held that Jesus was a special human person whom God only used as a minister. Such Jesus’ DNA would have shown no trace of divinity, therefore.

Another heretic, Apollinaris of Laodicea, reacted to Paul of Samosat by teaching the contrary. In Jesus, Apollinaris has it, you would find a human body but no soul – that was replaced by the Logos, the Spirit or Operation of God. The Logos however, being divine, does not consist of matter or molecules so again, how could divinity ever be detected?

Famously, the DNA molecule resembles a spiral staircase, or a double helix. The helix is ‘right-handed’, i.e. it coils in a clockwise direction. What, say, if Jesus’ DNA showed a helix coiling the other way? Remarkable but…what would it prove? Left-handed helices have been produced experimentally but…so what?

Possibly the problem is caused by translating Hebrew concrete ideas and language into technical Greek metaphysical categories. Christians sought evidence for Jesus’ divinity first not from philosophy but from Old Testament prophecies. Isaiah refers to the Messiah as Immanuel, ‘God with us’. The Prophet Micah even suggests a Messiah pre-existing creation, hence divine. Psalm 110 has Christ majestically seated ‘at the right hand of God’.

Other evidence emanate from Jesus’ critique of the Jewish Law. When Christ said, referring to himself, that ‘The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath’, he asserted his supremacy over the Old Law given to Moses on Sinai. He had the right, as God’s son, to modify what his Father had established before him. That shocked many pious Jews because to alter the Law implied that Jesus of Nazareth had revealed himself as Son of God. And so he did.

Examples could be multiplied. Jesus’ tough pronouncements about the Jerusalem Temple, his miracles, his power to forgive sins, his transfiguration, his resurrection and ascension – these are dynamic, Scripture-attested data, not logical lucubrations. Obviously, they will not persuade those determined not to be persuaded – they never did. Even some hard-hearted eye-witnesses of Jesus’ wonderful healings ascribed them to the action of devils!

Radical Christians like the scholars of the Jesus Seminars reject a supernatural Jesus. They prefer to see him as a sort of wandering Zen Master, a spiritual rebel or iconoclast. That is not new. German idealist thinkers like Hegel understood Christ as a rational, ethical figure, bringing a message of inward moral authenticity, a challenge to Hebrew rabbinical legalism. Later, theologian Rudolf Bultmann conceived Jesus’ person as embodying a call to crucial existential choice, risk, authenticity…you get my drift. Present-day sceptics have ditched even that thin pubulum. Regardless, they all postulate a Jesus with a purely human DNA. Divinity these unbelievers and scoffers they have long given up, like belief in Father Christmas or King Arthur.

Another trendy but reductionist school of thought falls back on Wittgenstein. On a device he describes in the Philosophical Investigations. It is about ‘seeing an aspect’. You can see an illustration now as one object, now as another. You see it as you interpret it. Wittgenstein draws the seemingly simple, childish figure of something he calls ‘a duck-rabbit’. You can see it as a rabbit’s head or as a duck’s head but not simultaneously as both. (Actually I think I can!) Then an aspect ‘dawns’ on you. A revelation, an epiphany or, to  call it less grandly, ‘the penny drops’ effect. Upshot, you can see Jesus Christ as both and divine, at the same time.

Of course, this is not about anything physical or supernatural. It is only an analogy. A seductive one, though. So, forget about cells, chromosomes, DNA sequences, all that. What matters is total commitment to the dual aspect, the illumination dawning on you. You give up all you have, give it to the poor and follow Jesus. Kierkegaard, Heidegger or Bultmann? Or Pope Francis, maybe?

In conclusion, what if, for real, Jesus’ DNA was uncovered somewhere? Examined by a scientist, what would it show? The simple answer: nobody knows. A philosophical voice inside me whispers: ‘It is a category mistake. Christ’s divinity could never come through in a lab.’ But there is also another voice: ‘Look, don’t be dogmatic. Isn’t God the God of surprises? What if the results surprised us?’

What indeed!

Revd Frank Julian Gelli

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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Armenian Institute...AGBU YO LONDON... MED` BAZAR COLLECTIF...

Dear Friends,

The Armenian Institute and AGBU YP London have the pleasure of inviting you to the historical Wilton's Music Hall on Friday 12th June 2015 from 8pmwhere the Medz Bazar Collectif will perform their UK premier.

This talented band of young Armenian from Paris has taken their audience by storm so make sure you buy your tickets online to avoid disappointment.

For more information contact the Wilton's Music Hall box office on 0207 702 2789

Please note that all tickets are standing. There will be some seating benches at the back and there will be access to the bar area, where some tables are available.

Hope to see you there.

Best wishes,

On behalf of the
AI and AGBU YP London organising committee

Monday, 25 May 2015

31 May - Gulbenkian Hall, Kensington (St Sarkis Church Parish Council) This presentation follows the morning Divine Service

The Revd Canon Patrick Thomas, Chancellor of St Davids Cathedral 
in Wales & Vicar of Christ Church Carmarthen, will talk about his new
book 'Remembering the Armenian Genocide 1915'. He will speak
about his motivation for writing the book and his deep interest in 
Armenian culture, history and spirituality.
A Question & Answer session follow his presentation, and wine will be 
served by the Parish Council.

This is Canon Patrick's second book on Armenia and the Armenians
the first being 'Carmarthen to Karabagh'. Both books will be available
for sale, and Canon Patrick will be happy to sign or write a personalised
message on the day.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

A Note by Professor Hovhanness I. Pilikian - Centenary of the Arrmenian year of the Genocide

Winston Churchill, Britain's national hero promoted heavily this year by the British imperialist Right-Wing news media (spearheaded by the Daily Mail), was the creator of the greatest most stupid disaster in any nation’s military history – the Gallipoli Campaignover 250.000 casualties within a few weeks of a ridiculous attack up hills defended by Turkish cannons looking down on the poor Australian and New Zealand soldiers fighting for ... Britain. 

For his gross military stupidity, Churchill was nicknamed in the British Parliament (the House of Commons) "the Butcher of Gallipoli" – that was the beginning of the First World War and closely linked with it, the genocide of the Armenians (the Gallipoli War had started one day after our 24th April, 1915).

Nancy Astor, the wife of an ex-Prime Minister shouted in Parliament, “Oh Winston, if you were my husband, I’d poison your coffee!”

During the Second World War, Churchill committed an equally great war crime  nobody wishes to remember nowadays – In 1940, after the fall of France to Hitler’s Nazis, today’s great national Hero of the British Empire, Sir Winston Churchill decided  totally madly, to sink the French Navy, so that the Nazis won’t get it ...

It wasn’t as if Churchill had any secret information that Hitler was planning to do so ... it was not as if the French Navy was stationed on the seashores of France, in the European theatre where Hitler was having a field-day...

The French Navy was stationed in distant ... Africa, at the port of Meirs El Kabir in Algeria! 

The French were Britain’s ally.  Without any consultation with the French or even informing them, Churchill had the sheer inhumanity and indecency of sinking their navy, knowingly and deliberately drowning 1,300 sailors...

All right Mr. Churchill, do drown the hardware by British warships bombarding them, but why murder the poor sailors?  

Nothing, but nothing can justify such a ... Nazi crime Hitler loved!

Churchill’s 3rd major crime was the creation of the Cold War, by reversing the image he had invented during the War of an avuncular Uncle Joe Stalin – Churchill thought he was displaying his genius by getting Stalin to destroy Hitler, and himself getting the credit for it ...   

Churchill then turned Stalin into a hate figure, inspiring one of the greatest idiots of American history – Joseph McCarthy to persecute the greatest stupidity of modern history – Reds-under-the-carpet ... devastating the lives of many American creative artists and scientists. 

Churchill’s notorious Iron Curtain speech-metaphor was a shameless plagiarism from one of Hitler’s own cancerous pests – from a Nazi public speech delivered by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Nazi propaganda ...
A compulsive mentally-ill hater of Communism (just like Goebbels and his boss Hitler), Churchill tried to persuade America’s President Truman to nuke the Soviet Union, before Stalin acquired the Bomb himself and stopped Churchill’s lunacy. 

That Sir Winston was also a homosexual and lacked the courage to come out (just like Hitler) preferring to stay a Closet Queen -- see the Link below, in no less than ... Daily Mail itself;