Sunday, 29 May 2016

Armenian Church News Letter 25th May _ Volume 2, Issue 18

Armenian News... A Topalian... Armenian-Azerbaijani border

TASS, Russia
May 28 2016
Situation on Armenian-Azerbaijani border remains calm

- Armenian Defense Ministry 
"Overnight to May 28, sporadic chaotic shillings from firearms of 
different caliber by Azerbaijani side at border positions of the 
Armenian army were registered," the defense ministry said

YEREVAN, May 28. The situation on the state border between 
Armenia and Azerbaijan remained calm last night, the Armenian 
Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

"Overnight to May 28, sporadic chaotic shillings from firearms 
of different caliber by Azerbaijani side at border positions of the 
Armenian army were registered," the defense ministry said.

On Saturday, April 2, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh rapidly 
deteriorated when the parties to the Karabakh conflict accused 
each other of violating truce along the front line. The claims came 
from defense authorities of Armenia and of Azerbaijan.

On April 5 Azerbaijan’s Chief of Staff Col. Gen. Nadjmeddin 
Sadykov and his Armenian counterpart Col. Gen. Yury Khachaturov 
in Moscow with Russia’s mediation. At the talks the sides reached 
an agreement on cessation of hostilities at the contact line between 
Azerbaijani and Armenian forces. On the same day, the defence 
ministries of the two countries announced that the ceasefire in 
Nagorno-Karabakh would start at 12am local time.

Though the ceasefire largely holds, both sides continue to report 
occasional violations of ceasefire on the contact line in 
May 28: Armenia celebrates First Republic Day

May 28 marks one of the brightest chapters in the history of 

This day in 1918 culminated in the landmark victories in heroic
battles, symbolizing a glorious beginning in the nation’s history.

The First Republic of Armenia owes its birth to the battles of
Sardarapat, Bash-Aparan and Gharakilisa. But the independent 
statehood was short-lived, as the starvation, migrant flow and 
blockade in the wake of the Young Turks’ genocidal policies, as 
well as the Kemalists Turkey’s invasion (1920), and the Soviet 
Russian government’s expansionist policies would not allow its 
leaders to lay solid foundations for the republic.

The First Republic survived until December 2, 1920, the day
proclaiming the Soviet rule in Armenia. But its role proved invaluable
in future state-building efforts.

The victories against the Turkish Army in the battles of Sardarapat,
Bash Aparan and Garakilisa helped preserve that last remaining pieces
of lands of Eastern Armenia, and the Armenians residing there. Eastern
Armenia thus escaped the tragic fate of many western compatriots.

Hundreds and thousands will head today to Sardarapat (Armavir region)
to visit the memorial complex eternalizing the heroes whose feat saved
the nation from total extermination.  The monument bears witness to
the Armenian nation’s heroic spirit and willingness to fight, live on
and be reborn, as well as its ability to consolidate invincibly at
fatal moments. 
UK Ambassador: Restoration of independence is very important 
for Armenians

YEREVAN. – UK Ambassador to Armenia Judith Farnworth extended her
warmest greetings to the Armenian nation on First Republic Day.

The restoration of independence is very important for proud Armenian
nation who despite centuries of lost sovereignty has not lost its
self-determination and  has not forgotten its heritage, the Ambassador

Mrs. Farnworth said she wishes Armenian people health, happiness and
prosperity for the centuries.

RFE/RL Report
Yerevan Rejects Karabakh General's Criticism
Tatev Danielian ## Artak Hambardzumian

Armenia's government has denied claims by Samvel Babayan,
Nagorno-Karabakh's former top military commander, that it did not
sufficiently reinforce the Armenian military in the years leading up
to last month's heavy fighting with Azerbaijani troops.

Babayan, who headed the Karabakh Armenian army from 1993-1999, said on
Thursday that the government had grown complacent about Azerbaijan's
massive military build-up since 2011. "Unfortunately, unlike in
Azerbaijan, the issue of security was not high on the agenda of
Armenia's political elite until the fierce hostilities in April,"
claimed the controversial general.

Armenia's Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian dismissed the criticism on
Friday. "I don't pay attention to various personal views," he told
reporters. "I think that during all these years we have done serious
work on strengthening and modernizing our army."

Like Babayan, Ohanian is a native of Karabakh who commanded Karabakh
Armenian army units during the 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan. Ohanian
succeeded Babayan as the army's commander in 1999.

The spokesman for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), Eduard
Sharmazanov, also brushed aside Babayan's claims late on Thursday. He
argued that the Azerbaijani army failed to make major territorial
gains and suffered many casualties during the April 2-5 hostilities
along the Karabakh "line of contact."

"With all due respect for the distinguished gentleman's views and his
right to express them, I think that the reality is different," said

Babayan made the comments shortly after returning to Armenian from
self-imposed exile in Russia. He said he will proceed to Karabakh in
the coming days but did not specify whether he will stay there to
resume his political activities or military service.

"Mr. Babayan has not asked the [Karabakh] Defense Army to readmit
him," Sharmazanov told a news conference.

Ohanian, for his part, would not be drawn on the possibility of
Babayan's reappointment to key military positions. "It's not up to me
to decide," the minister said. "As far as military service is
concerned, I can't tell you anything because all of our positions are
filled now and the military personnel and generals properly accomplish
their tasks." 
Die Welt on Armenian Genocide resolution: Bundestag will 
finally call a spade a spade next week
by Alexey Sarumyan
Saturday, May 28, 15:42

German Bundestag will discuss the resolution on Armenian Genocide next
week and finally will call a spade a spade, Claudia Kade writes in her
article published in German Die Welt.

"Bundestag was delaying it for a long time for a number of reasons.
But already next week mass massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman
Empire in 1915-1916 will be called what they should be called-a
genocide.  Negotiations on adopting the resolution have been held in
Bundestag for already a year. It could be adopted in April of last
year but every time it was postponed because of Turkey we had to be
more diplomatic and respect for important ally in fighting against
terrorists of Islamic State or demonstrate polite restraint for the EU
and Turkey refugee agreement", the author writes.

At the same time the authors expressed hope that after all on June 2
Bundestag will find right words and will demonstrate unity: Christian
Democratic Union, Green Party and Social Democratic Party of Germany
will condemn mass extermination of Armenians happened 100 years ago in
the Ottoman Empire calling it genocide.
The author of the article notes that the word "genocide" is mentioned
in the resolution four times: one time in the title and three times in
the text. "The matter concerns forced deportation and massacres of 1.5
mln of Armenians, Arameans, Assyrians and Pontic Greeks in the Ottoman
Empire. Turkey as legal successor of the Ottoman Empire condemned
these crimes but continues disputing the fact of genocide. Erdogan and
his followers consider such formulation as an attack on modern
Turkey", the article mentions.

At the same time it is noted that adoption of resolution will cause
Ankara's dissatisfaction, which probably will lead to deterioration of
German-Turkish relations. The resolution draft also stressed that
German Empire is partly responsible for these events.

Being the main ally of the Ottoman Empire the German Empire despite
the information received from German diplomats about the organized
forced deportations and killings of the Armenian nation did not try to
stop these crimes against humanity", Claudia Kade writes.

To recall, on April 24, 2015, the German Bundestag held debates on the
resolution on recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Chairman of the
Alliance '90/The Greens Party Cem Ozdemir prepared the draft
resolution.  Two-hour debates resulted in a decision to put off the
adoption till April 30.  This date has already been postponed for
several times.
In early May 2016, German lawmaker Thomas Oppermann (Social Democratic
Party) said that on June 2 Bundestag will clearly qualify the mass
killings and deportation of Armenians during WWI as genocide.  The
given statement caused the negative response of Turkey, which warned
Germany against adopting the resolution.
May 25, 2016 Wednesday 1:27 PM GMT
Arsenal transfer odds: Henrikh Mkhitaryan and N'Golo Kante 
favourites to follow Xhaka to Emirates
by  James Benge

Henrikh Mkhitaryan and N'Golo Kante are among the favourites to follow
Granit Xhaka to the Emirates after Arsenal announced the first major
signing of the summer.

The swift arrival of Xhaka for an estimated £33.8million may herald a
new, more proactive approach to transfer dealings at the Emirates,
with the Gunners already beginning to monitor potential attacking

Alvaro Morata is among the leading contenders in that position, with
Arsenal even considering breaking their transfer record of £42.4m to
bring the Juventus striker to the Emirates.

It would almost certainly be a complex deal, sufficiently complex that
some bookmakers are not offering odds on it,as Real Madrid are likely
to activate a (EURO)30m buyback clause for their former forward at the
start of next month before then starting a bidding war.

Should the Morata deal not be a success Arsenal have also monitored
the likes of Vincent Jannsen, Gonzalo Higuain and Mauro Icardi.
However bookmakers Bet Victor believe a more viable target could be
Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Arsenal transfer odds (Bet Victor)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan -6/4

N'Golo Kante -5/2

William Carvalho -5/2

Michael Carrick -3/1

Victor Wanyama -7/2

Riyad Mahrez -4/1

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang -6/1

They price the Borussia Dortmund forward at 6/4 to be an Arsenal
player by the end of the summer. Were he to arrive he would certainly
give Arsene Wenger a thrilling trident in attacking midfield, with
Mkhitaryan presumably slotting in alongside Mesut Ozil and Alexis
Sanchez to play off a central striker.

Mkhitaryan's future has been the subject of extensive debate in the
German press over recent weeks, with the Armenian international's
current deal set to expire in the summer of 2017.

Dortmund are in negotations with Mkhitaryan over a new deal but until
any agreement is reached he is likely to remain closely linked with

Riyad Mahrez and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are also priced at 6/1 or
lower as Arsenal monitor attacking reinforcements but it appears
bookmakers are not convinced that the arrival of Xhaka marks an end to
Arsenal's midfield purchases.

Arsenal home kit 2016/17:Ozil, Bellerin and Oxlade-Chamberlain launch new strip

They price both N'Golo Kante and William Carvalho at 5/2, with Victor
Wanyama and Michael Carrick also possible reinforcements on Bet
Victor's list. 

Cihan News Agency, Turkey
May 28 2016
President Aliyev: To change status-quo means to end Armenian 
The main issue of Azerbaijan's foreign policy, and not only foreign,
but also its policy as a whole, is the resolution of the
Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, said Azerbaijani
President Ilham Aliyev.

He made the remarks addressing an official reception held on the
occasion of Azerbaijan's national holiday, the Republic Day.

"I have repeatedly expressed my thoughts on this issue. Azerbaijan's
stance has not undergone any changes, and the people support and
endorse this stance," he said.

The president noted that the conflict should be resolved within the
territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

"There is no other way," he added. "The four resolutions of the UN
Security Council, which demand the immediate and unconditional
withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from our lands, should be
fulfilled, and the status-quo should be changed."

He also expressed happiness with the fact that the heads and foreign
ministers of the Minsk Group co-chairing countries and other
representatives are already unanimously stating that the status-quo is
unacceptable and should be changed.

"Changing the status-quo means ending the occupation, as the
status-quo suits Armenia, and they don't want peace," added Ilham
Aliyev. "They want the status-quo to remain forever. They want the
negotiations to be endless, that is, the negotiations to be held for
sake of appearance and imitation. We have repeatedly said that it
can't be like this."

"We have already been waiting for more than 20 years. The mediators
always tell us to wait, to settle peacefully. Recently, they have
repeated that often. We also want a peaceful resolution. Who would
want the start of a war?!" said the president.

He said Azerbaijan wants the conflict to be resolved, and that is the
exact difference between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The president went on to add that Armenia wants a peaceful settlement
to the conflict, but hampers its settlement and creates artificial

"Armenia beforehand puts unacceptable terms, so that we don't accept
them and thus the negotiations continue for decades. Meanwhile, our
stance is constructive, and the mediators know that. They do not state
that officially, but acknowledge that," said Ilham Aliyev.

"We are demonstrating a constructive stance so that the issue gets
resolved, our lands get freed from occupation and the displaced
Azerbaijanis return to the lands of their ancestors. Our stance has
not changed," said the president.

He added that the people and government of Azerbaijan will not allow
the creation of a second Armenian state in Azerbaijan's historical

"We will never allow that," the president stressed.

"As for the Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh, let them live there
as they are living," said President Aliyev. "The Armenian leadership
always distortedly presents our stance to its people. But I reiterate:
our position is that all should live where they have lived."
Ilham Aliyev added that Azerbaijan is a model country in terms of
multiculturalism, religious and national tolerance on a global scale.

"Armenia's political leadership, the nationalist groups and people who
show a constant hatred towards Azerbaijan, want to disrupt those
positive tendencies and cross them out," he said.

"Our territorial integrity is not a subject of talks and I believe
that the Vienna meeting was successful," he added. "We expect that
serious, as the mediators call it, substantive talks, that is to say,
meaningful talks will start soon, without wasting time."

"Aside from that, in the future we should certainly increase our
military power, and we are increasing it. The army building process
has been successfully going on for many years," said President Aliyev.
"The fighting efficiency and the logistical support of our army stand
at a high level."

He also said the most modern weapons and equipment are delivered to
Azerbaijan and are manufactured inside the country.

"Over 1,000 types of military products are manufactured in
Azerbaijan," said Ilham Aliyev. "Currently, the Azerbaijani army is
among the leading armies in the world. I have repeatedly said that."

President Aliyev also pointed out that the provocation staged by
Armenia in April and the counter-attack operation carried out by the
Azerbaijani army showed to Armenia and the whole world that the
Azerbaijani army is among the strong armies.

"In the future, we will take additional measures in this regard and
relevant instructions have already been given. I don't want to
disclose them," said the president. "Necessary measures are underway
in terms of logistical support and for obtaining modern equipment."

Ilham Aliyev also noted that the Azerbaijani people should be
confident that this issue is constantly in the limelight.

"We know our capacity, we do not use it, we have simply given, are
giving and if necessary, will give an adequate response to the
provocations and will try to ensure the speedy settlement of this
issue through peaceful means," said the president.

Armenian News... A Topalian... Armenia insists in talks - Karabakh
Armenia insists on involvement of Karabakh authorities in talks

YEREVAN, May 26. Armenia insists on the involvement of
Nagorno-Karabakh authorities in the negotiations to end the
long-running conflict, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian
said Thursday in the parliament.

He said also negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the
Karabakh settlement will resume only in case of compliance with the
conditions, which were announced at the meeting of the two presidents
in Vienna on May 16.

During the May 16 meeting in Vienna, mediated by the United States,
Russia and France Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia and Ilham Aliyev of
Azerbaijan agreed to work out safeguards against ceasefire violations
around Nagorno-Karabakh and resume their search for a compromise peace

"Azerbaijan has not acceded to the statement of  the OSCE Minsk Group
co-chairs on the indefinite ceasefire, creation of mechanisms to
investigate incidents and expanding the presence of representatives of
the Office of the OSCE Minsk Group," said Nalbandian.

According to him, Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers will
separately meet with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in June to
discuss the possibility of organizing another meeting of the

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupted into armed clashes after the
collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s as the predominantly
Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan sought to secede from
Azerbaijan and declared its independence backed by a successful

On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the
military operations. A truce was brokered by Russia in 1994, although
no permanent peace agreement has been signed. Since then,
Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent regions have been under the
control of Armenian forces of Karabakh.

Nagorno-Karabakh is the longest-running post-Soviet era conflict and
has continued to simmer despite the relative peace of the past two
decades, with snipers causing tens of deaths a year.

On April 2, 2016, Azerbaijan launched military assaults along the
entire perimeter of its contact line with Nagorno-Karabakh. Four days
later a cease-fire was reached.
Every third resident of Armenia lives below poverty line 

– minister
YEREVAN, May 26. Armenia’s poverty rate shed 2% in 2015,
compared with the previous year, to 30%, Artem Asatryan, Armenian
labor and social affairs minister, said Thursday presenting his
ministry's 2015 performance report to the National Assembly’s

This result was achieved thanks to some social programs aimed at
poverty reduction and employment of people that are not competitive at
labor market.

Asatryan said that the sizes of benefits and pensions for servicemen
were increased in 2015, since pensioners are considered the most
vulnerable category.

The size of the average retirement pension was increased by 15% in
2015 to AMD 41,000, and payments for participants of the Great
Patriotic War (the World War II) and the Artsakh War (Karabakh War)
were increased by 50%.

The minister said that the size of the benefit for people who survived
the 2015 Genocide was increased fourfold to AMD 100,000. He also said
that 1,600 families receive AMD 30,000 as family benefit.

In his words, AMD 391 billion was allocated in 2015 for paying
pensions and social benefits.

Speaking about employment, Asatryan said that it is among the
ministry's top-priority focuses.

There are 89,000 registered job seekers in the country now – their
number grew 20%, compared with 2014.

The minister said that some 17,000 people have got jobs through
territorial employment centers. «AMD 1.2 billion was earmarked for
temporary employment programs in 2015 - some 7,000 people were
employed thanks to these programs, and AMD 102 million was allocated
for retraining programs,» he said.

The number of unemployed people booked in territorial employment
centers rose 16.4% to 76,700 in 2015.
Close to $60mn contract signed along lines of Armenia 
North-South Road Corridor

YEREVAN. – A contractor contact totaling $59,955,938.46 was signed
Wednesday at the Ministry of Transport and Communication of Armenia,
and between the ministry and Sinohydro Corporation Limited (China).

The Ministry of Transport and Communication informed Armenian that the contract is regarding the construction of the
18.7-km road of the Talin-Lanjik portion of the Talin-Gyumri Highway
construction being funded by the Asian Development Bank loan, and
within the framework of the “North-South Road Corridor Investment
Program” of Armenia.

Sinohydro Corporation Limited Vice President Liu Liuxan assured that
the work will be completed within the time specified in the
contract—i.e. by the beginning of 2018—, and in high quality.

The “North-South Road Corridor Investment Program” is a major
infrastructure project which aims at connecting the southern border of
Armenia with its northern point by means of the 556 km-long
Meghri-Yerevan- Bavra Highway. The construction of this highly
important strategic road will ensure easier traffic from the southern
border of Armenia to the Georgian border and up to Black Sea ports,
and will allow passenger and cargo transportation in accordance with
European standards. The highway will also provide serious development
opportunities for all communities from the north to the south of

Contracts have been signed with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and
European Investment Bank (EIB) for the implementation of the project,
and the target completion dates are 2017 and 2019, respectively. The
estimated cost of the project is $1.5 billion, and the project is
divided into five tranches. 

Armenia ranks 4th worldwide in pirated software report
May 26, 2016 

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Business Software Alliance (BSA) published the
report Seizing Opportunity Through License Compliance, according to
which Armenia and other South Caucasus nations lead the list of
countries that useunlicensed software.

According to the report, 86% of Armenia’s software, 84% of that of
Georgia and Azerbaijan is unlicensed. Armenia has a commercial value
of $13 million, while Georgia and Azerbaijan have $25 million and $90
million-worth markets, respectively.

The situation has slightly improved in the last several years,
however, as Armenia held a 90% rate in 2009.

The worst indicators were registered in Libya and Zimbabwe (both at
90%), followed by Venezuela (88%), Yemen (87%), Armenia, Moldova and
Bangladesh (86% each), Belarus (85%), Azerbaijan, Georgia and
Indonesia (84% each).
There will remain 17-18 banks in Armenia in one year

YEREVAN, May 26. By 2017 there will remain 17 or 18 commercial
banks in Armenia that will meet the new regulatory requirement of the
Central Bank concerning total capital size, the chairman of the Union
of Banks of Armenia (UBA) Samvel Chzmachyan said Thursday at a meeting
of the International Banking Council in Yerevan.

Last year Armenia’s Central Bank decided to raise the minimum amount
of commercial banks’ total capital to 30 billion drams (about US$64
million) from the current 5 billion drams, effective from January 1,

According to the regulator, the banks established before January 1,
2017 will have to meet the new requirement- that is to have 30 billion
drams worth total capital. The measure is said to be aimed at
encouraging mergers and consolidation of banks, which is expected to
create a sound competitive environment and make banking services more

Chzmachyan noted that more than half of the banks in Armenia have
already met the revised requirement, adding that the banks that will
not be able to meet it  will have to either leave the market,  merge
with other banks or  transform into credit organizations.

In 2015, according to Chzmachyan, the authorized capital of Armenian
banks grew by 74 billion drams (about US$150 million.). He added that
major shareholders of commercial banks are expected to replenish the
capital of their banks to meet the required level.

In May 2016 ProCredit Bank was acquired fully by Inecobank. In the
same month, the Central Bank has confirmed the pre-merger agreement of
BTA Bank and Armeconombank. -0-
Last Bell: Parents, students complain about high 
“school graduation” expenses
May 26, 2016

Despite the fight carried out by different agencies against money
collection at schools, this ongoing phenomenon activates at the end of
every academic year and particularly during preparations for the
so-called Last Bell, or graduation parties, taking place in late May.

On May 27, the Last Bell will ring for around 24,500 students in
Armenia, marking the beginning of a new post-school reality for them.
Graduation expenses usually include gifts to the school principal and
teachers, laying tables during examinations for teachers, who are
involved in the process, costs for the Last Bell and graduation
events. At least 40,000 drams (about $85) are collected at schools for
the preparation of these events.

Minister of Education and Science Levon Mkrtchyan, after becoming a
minister a few months ago, sent a circular to school principals and
urged parents to modestly celebrate that day, “considering the current
situation in our country.”

While school principals on several occasions stated that they “like”
the minister’s message, however, the phenomenon of collecting money
does not seem to have been eliminated from the educational system.

The Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center recently sent a
letter to the Minister of Education, in which facts of fundraising at
schools were presented. Even the amount of money, which is collected,
is mentioned in the letter.

“We received anonymous calls from parents of students at primary
schools No. 14, 51, 82, and 174, as well as at high school No. 29. The
parents said that due to the mere fact that the 4th, 9th and 12th are
graduating classes a certain amount of money is collected to be just
given to the principal,” says Diana Ter-Stepanyan, a representative of
the anti-graft center.

While on a visit to the city of Gyumri this week, Mkrtchyan told media
that they work with Transparency International and try to verify the
authenticity of anonymous calls.

“I have spoken publicly about this several times. The problem is a
little out of school. It is more a problem of the society. Fundraising
is done by parents. We do not have any fundraising process at schools.
We must urge parents, while gathering some money, to consider the fact
that in the same class students from both high- and low-income
families are studying, and one child should not have a luxurious
celebration at the expense of the other. And if there is an instance
of fundraising which is done for school principals, we will punish
them. However, fundraising is carried out mainly for graduation
parties,” said the minister.

However, the Last Bell will be celebrated, and if the appropriate
departments have been unable to curb the Armenian traditional luxury,
the early April renewal of hostilities in Karabakh has influenced the
scenarios of traditional Last Bell events.

“Well, at the beginning we had quite a different idea, but this war
has changed [everything], and now even our [Last Bell] event is to
focus on the soldiers. Well, we’ll soon have to become a soldier, too.
Besides, we have decided not to celebrate the graduation event so
luxuriously. I still do not know: maybe we will just not do it at all.
Almost everyone has a brother at the frontline,” said one of the male
graduate students at high school No. 65 after Leo, in Yerevan’s
Shengavit community. 

Soccer: Western Armenia at FIFA Outsiders’ World Cup in Abkhazia
May 27, 2016

A team of Western Armenia is among the 12 sides that are going to
participate in the second World Cup for associations outside
international soccer’s governing body, FIFA.

The championship is scheduled to open with fanfare in the Georgian
breakaway republic of Abkhazia on May 28.

The tournament to be played under the umbrella of the Confederation of
Independent Football Associations (ConIFA) – a body representing
nations, dependencies, unrecognized states, minorities, stateless
peoples, regions, and micronations not affiliated with FIFA – brings
together teams from such internationally unrecognized or partly
recognized countries as Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, Kurdistan, Panjab,
as well as obscure territories and entities like Chagos Islands,
Padania, Raetia, Sapmi, Somaliland, Székely Land and United Koreans in

Matches in four groups of three teams will start on May 29. The
tournament in the Abkhaz capital of Sukhumi will end on June 5.

Western Armenia is included in Group A and its rivals are hosts
Abkhazia and Chagos Islands (a group of seven atolls in the Indian
Ocean south of the Maldives).

Two years ago, a team of Nagorno Karabakh participated in a similar
tournament played under the aegis of ConIFA in Ostersund, Sweden. The
Karabakhi soccer players then failed to place high in the 12-team
tournament (finishing ninth among 12 participants), but still managed
to register two signal victories – over the teams of Darfur (12-0) and
Laplanders (5-1) – in so-called Placement matches.


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Friday, 27 May 2016

ARMENIAN NEWS... A Topalian... Preserve Disappearing Snows of Armenia 

Scientists come up with the idea to preserve the disappearing 
snows of Armenia
25 May 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

A team of scientists comes up with an unusual idea to preserve the
disappearing snows of Armenia, according to Fair Observer.

Because of climate change, the weather in the small mountainous
country of Armenia is getting hotter and hotter. The mountain snows
that normally serve as a source of water now melt earlier, meaning
floods in the spring and droughts in the summer.

Filmmaker Vardan Hovhannisyan follows a team of Armenian scientists on
Mount Aragats who has come up with an unusual new idea to preserve the
mountain snows. 
BBC: Azerbaijanis’ animosity and hatred for Armenians sometimes
reaches unimaginable level

Currently, there are hard times for the beautiful Karabakh, as the
Karabakh conflict broke out with a new force in April, journalist
Rayhan Demytrie reports in a BBC program The Fifth Floor.

The journalist particularly speaks about her first visit to the
Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR) in 2015. Then, she visited settlements
close to the frontline and met a local woman, who told her that people
there lived with constant fears of the war starting again.

A year later, in April 2016, Demytriewent back to the same villages
and it was quite shocking for her to see that there was a grad rocket,
which landed not far from the house of the woman she had met a year
ago. The entire village was evacuated, and she watched with horror how
people were leaving in a rush.

Demytrie notes that at first glance,it is impossible to imagine how
deep the conflict is. Sometimes, the Azerbaijanis’ animosity and
hatred for Armenians reaches an unimaginable level.

For example, an Azerbaijani soldier undergoing training in Hungary in
2004 axe-murdered a sleeping Armenian military officer.It was a
cold-blooded murder. There was a trial, he was jailed; however, in a
few years, the Azerbaijani authorities brought this person back
promising that he would serve the remaining of his sentence at home.
He was greeted in his country as a national hero, and his photograph
is in every school in Azerbaijan. “It is absurd that this person is
considered a hero, only because he axe-murdered a sleeping man,”
Demytrie says in the interview with the BBC.

In 2004, the Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan took part in the
three-month English courses of the NATO titled "Partnership for Peace"
in Budapest. He was killed on 19 February, early in the morning.
Murderer, Azerbaijani officer RamilSafarov struck in the face of
sleeping Armenian officer with an ax for 16 times. Subsequently he was
recognized as imputable by the Hungarian court and was sentenced to
life imprisonment without right of pardon for 30 years. On August 31
it was stated that RamilSafarov will be extradited to his fatherland
and was pardoned by the decree of Azerbaijani President IlhamAliyev.

In Azerbaijan, the pardoned murderer RamilSafarovwas met as a hero, he
was given a department and was paid and officer salary for the 8 years
he had spent in prison. In addition, Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister
awarded Safarov with a special rank of mayor wishing him “further
In connection with the extradition of Safarov to Azerbaijan, Armenian
President SerzhSargsyan announced a termination of diplomatic
relations with Hungary.

U.S. President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of State, Foreign
Ministries of Russia and France, Secretary General of the Council of
Europe, Secretary General of the CSTO, NATO and international
organizations of human rights condemned Safarov’s extradition,
pardoning and glorification in Azerbaijan. On September 13, European
Parliament adopted the resolution of condemnation too.

To the 10th anniversary of GurgenMargaryan’s murder, in the frameworks
of "Ordinary Genocide" project, a video-footage has been prepared
called "Azerbaijan: Racism has no borders." The footage is in English,
Russian, and Hungarian. It concisely presents the history of a murder,
which shocked the world, as well as the subsequent transfer and
glorification of Safarov in Azerbaijan. It is significant that the
authors chose a part of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 (called
Leningrad) known as invasion of fascists as the soundtrack.

The "Ordinary Genocide" project is being implemented by the
Information and Public Relations Center under the RA President’s

RFE/RL Report 
Reforms `Critical' For Armenia'
Artak Hambardzumian

A senior official from the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday
urged the Armenian government to make good on its latest pledge to
step up the fight against corruption and significantly improve the
domestic investment climate.

"I think now is a critical moment [to do that,]" said Teresa Daban
Sanchez, the head of the IMF office in Yerevan. "If you have shocks
like Armenia has, fighting against corruption, curtailing monopolies
and improving the business environment becomes more important than
before. This process needs to be accelerated."

Daban Sanchez commented on Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian's May 12
pledge to speed up reforms because of "new challenges" facing Armenia
as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In particular,
Abrahamian said the Armenian authorities will make tax administration
less arbitrary and investigate de facto monopolies owned by wealthy
businesspeople close to the ruling establishment.

The premier went on to promise that the authorities will liberalize
lucrative imports of fuel and other essential commodities to Armenia
that have long been effectively controlled by a handful of
"oligarchs." "Any citizen can import anything they want," he
said. "There will be no artificial obstacles."

The IMF as well the World Bank have for years been calling for such
reforms, saying that they are vital for faster economic growth in the

Daban Sanchez stressed that a stronger ruler of law would translate
into more jobs and other economic opportunities for Armenians.

"Armenia is a small economy with a small-sized market," she told
RFE/RL's Armenian service ( "There is no room for many
players. Therefore, the rules of the game should be improved so that
even if there are only a few players [in a particular sector] they act
in a competitive way." 

Analysis: German bill on Armenian Genocide recognition 
seen as tool
against Turkey
By Naira Hayrumyan -
May 25, 2016

Germany’s Bundestag plans to consider passing a resolution on the
Armenian Genocide on June 2. Experts speak about the likelihood of
such a resolution being adopted, but note that this would depend on
global agreements between Germany and Turkey.

The German parliament failed to discuss a similar resolution in 2015,
when Armenians marked the 100th anniversary of the Ottoman-era
Genocide. The vote then was repeatedly delayed, and many experts now
also believe that the Bundestag is using the resolution as a tool in
negotiations with Turkey. In particular, it concerns the issue of
immigrants to Europe. Turkey is accused of encouraging the flow of
migrants towards the continent and Brussels is trying to arrange a
deal for Turkey to keep migrants and refugees coming from troubled
regions of the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Meanwhile, a German Bundestag delegation headed by Vice-Speaker
Edelgard Bulmahn has been in Yerevan this week. At a press conference,
the German politician said that the text of the resolution condemns
the violence and deportation against the Armenians and other peoples
of the Ottoman Empire, but also notes a sinister German role in the
crime. Germany was Turkey’s ally during World War I and, according to
historical evidence, did nothing to prevent the crime.

During these days German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in Turkey where
she is attending the United Nation’s World Humanitarian Summit. During
talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Merkel expressed
dissatisfaction with the law adopted by the Turkish parliament on the
eve of her arrival under which lawmakers in Turkey will not enjoy
parliamentary immunity. The international community regards this as an
act against the Kurdish deputies in the Turkish parliament, who are
now effectively left defenseless before the authorities.

Germany is home to quite a large Turkish community, but a large part
of immigrants are also ethnic Kurds and other ethnic groups opposed to
Turkish dominance. Germany supports the Kurdish movement, including as
a tool of pressure on Turkey, whose authorities are now conducting
military operations against the Kurds. In this context, the assertion
that the Armenian issue is also a similar tool does not seem

It is noteworthy that the author of the Armenian Genocide bill is
German MP Cem Ozdemir, the son of a Turkish-Circassian gastarbeiter
from Turkey. 
Turkish nationalist threatening to hunt against Armenians 
in Kars city convicted
25 May, 2016

YEREVAN, MAY 25. Court of Turkey has convicted nationalist
Tolga Adıgüzel, who had earlier threatened to launch “hunt against
Armenians” in the streets of Kars city. Armenian member of the Turkish
parliament Garo Paylan filed a lawsuit against him after the
announcement of Tolga Adıgüzel. “Armenpress’ reports, citing Turkish
“Hurriyet”, the court sentenced him to imprisonment of 7 months and 15
days and obliged him to pay 11 thousand and 24 Turkish liras
(3800USDD) as penalty.

But the sentence has been postponed considering the fact that Adıgüzel
has not been convicted in the past.

Paylan has mentioned, “Hate speeches pave the way for crimes committed
on the grounds of hate. The verdict for the hate speech against the
Armenian identity gives hope to Armenians and the public order of
Turkey, as well as those who believe in justice. We will continue our
struggle against crimes on racial and hate grounds, search for justice
and make efforts for public order”.

Tolga Adıgüzel - head of the Kars branch of the “Ülkü ocaklar”
(Hearths of Ideal) radical group of the Grey Wolves - has voiced
threats towards Armenians of Kars after renowned jazz pianist Tigran
Hamasyan performed Armenian chants and verses in the ruins of the
historical capital of Armenia – Ani. Tigran Hamasyan’s and Yerevan
State Chamber Choir’s concert program “Luys i Luso” (Light of Light)
kicked off in Turkey on June 21. Adıgüzel threatened Armenians by
saying “What should we do now? Should we start a hunt for Armenians in
the streets of Kars?”

He accused Armenians of the ‘events of 1915’ and Khojalu. He also
accused all Turkish journalists and officials, who ‘support Armenians
launching activity in Turkey.” He urged Armenians not to test the
patience of Turks. He later added, “Turks, for example, cannot arrive
in Armenia and freely organize an event at a sacred site for
Armenians.” He threatened to take necessary measures if such steps
U.S. Military renovates elderly institute in Yerevan
25 May 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

Since May 10, dozens of civil engineers and structural craftsmen based
at the Robins Air Force Base in the U.S. state of Georgia have been
working on important renovations at Yerevan Elderly Institute #1,
improving the safety and conditions of 12 residential suites and the
common area of the institute.

These members of the 116th Civil Engineer Squadron of the Georgia Air
National Guard came to Armenia as part of the U.S. military’s
Humanitarian Civic Assistance Program. The military engineers replaced
the flooring of the institute, making the entire facility safer for
the elderly who rely on it. They also repaired bathrooms in the
building, worked on sewage lines and electrical wiring, and replaced
and refinished many walls. The renovation provided crucial skill-set
training for the engineers, who were able to practice their skills in
real-world settings. At the same time, the renovation continues the
long-lasting friendship between the Armenian people and the citizens
of the United States.

“We will be grateful for many years for the work you have done here,”
said Khachik Sargsyan, director of Yerevan Elderly Institution No. 1.
“The work carried out here will help our residents with hot water and
heating and provide a safe and cleaning living environment.”

“These members of the Georgia Air National Guard represent some of the
best of the best in the U.S. military, and now they have a personal
understanding of the Armenian people that they can carry with them as
they return home,” said U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, Jr.,
who was joined at a ribbon cutting for the renovated facility on
Wednesday, May 25, 2016, by the Armenian Minister of Labor and Social
Issues Artem Asatryan.

This is the third year the U.S. European Command’s Humanitarian Civic
Assistance Program has been active in Armenia.

“Through efforts such as this renovation, in partnership with the
Armenian government and civil society, we at the Embassy are working
to improve the lives of the Armenian people and help this historic
nation have the secure, peaceful, and prosperous future it deserves,”
Ambassador Mills said. 
Serj Tankian releases “Aurora’s Dream”
25 May 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

Grammy winning singer-songwriter and activist Serj Tankian has
released “Aurora’s Dream,” a song he was commissioned to write for the
recent “Aurora Prize” ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia, according to

“Aurora’s Dream” was featured as the main theme song for the inaugural
“Aurora Prize” ceremony, which was organized by the 100 Lives
initiative to honor individuals whose actions have had an exceptional
impact on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes. On
behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to
their saviors, an Aurora Prize Laureate will be honored each year with
a $100,000 grant as well as the unique opportunity to continue the
cycle of giving by nominating organizations that inspired their work
for a $1,000,000 award. Though the April event was the first official
ceremony, it marked the second time an Aurora Prize has been awarded.

“‘Aurora’s Dream’ is the result of some of my best compositional
efforts in years,” says Tankian. “I’m glad it was for the 100 Lives
organization and for the wonderful things they’re doing with bringing
attention to devastating tragedies and the real heroes that rise to
the occasion, especially with their Aurora Prize events.”

An instrumental version of “Aurora’s Dream” served as the backdrop to
“Aurora,” a film by Eric Nazarian that was featured during the

“Aurora’s Dream” follows the recent release of “Artsakh,” an acoustic
song Tankian wrote in support of the people of Artsakh.

“These people have lived on those lands for thousands of years,” said
Tankian. “They have great struggle but also great beauty written on
their foreheads. The whimsical appropriation of land by an empire
(Stalin) placed them under Azerbaijan. They have since gained their
independence and have lived a prosperous existence for the last 20 or
so years. I do not believe in wars and ultimately borders but I deeply
believe in self-determination and life without oppression. Therefore
it is time for the world to recognize them as the Republic of Artsakh

Tankian recently composed the soundtrack for The Last Inhabitant and
just released the soundtrack for 1915, a film created by
writer-directors Garin Hovannisian and Alec Mouhibian about the
Armenian genocide, an attempted extermination of the Armenian people
by the Ottoman Empire.

With his band System of a Down, last year Tankian commemorated the
100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with a global arena tour
that included the group’s first-ever performance in Yerevan’s Republic

Bundesliga Man: Mkhitaryan voted best in Germany’s soccer 
in 2015-16
May 25, 2016

Borussia Dortmund’s Armenia international Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been
named the player of the Bundesliga 2015-16, according to a poll
conducted by German magazine Kicker.

The 27-year-old attacking midfielder topped the list with over 31
percent of the votes, followed by Bayern Munich’s Polish striker
Robert Lewandowski, who has about 22 percent of the votes.

Bayern’s Thomas Muller and Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came
third and fourth with 13.6 and 13.2 percent, respectively.

Scoring 23 goals and creating a further 32 in 51 appearances for
Dortmund in the 2015-16 season, Mkhitaryan earlier made it into the
Bundesliga and Europa League dream teams decided by media. With five
goals scored in the Germany Cup, Mkhitaryan has also been recognized
as the tournament’s best scorer.

Mkhitaryan is likely to stay in Dortmund for 2016-17 despite media
speculations linking him with possible Arsenal or Chelsea moves.

The Bild wrote earlier this week that Borussia’s management had made a
“shock decision” to keep Mkhitaryan for one more season and allow him
to leave for free next year. The decision, the paper suggested, was
due to the apparent unpreparedness of the Bundseliga’s 2015-16
runners-up to lose another player after Mats Hummels’ transfer to
rivals Bayern Munich and Ilkay Gundogan’s likely move to Manchester



‘I wait for the stroke of death without fear’ said Archbishop St Thomas Becket, that exemplary turbulent priest, refusing to run away from the wrath of King Henry II. And death did come to him when he was slaughtered in Canterbury Cathedral on 29 December 1179.

St Thomas’ medieval shrine drew pilgrims from all over England and Europe, until pillaged by another crowned head, the syphilitic wife-murderer, monster and tyrant Henry VIII. He had the Saint’s remains sacrilegiously destroyed or scattered but after 800 years a bit of Becket is back. Lo and behold, a relic, a surviving bone from Thomas’s elbow kept in Hungary will tour major English churches. A quaint, outmoded veneration to make you smile? Not if it reminds Christians of St Thomas’ immense present significance. Verily, a Saint for our time.

Why so? The King demanded that the Archbishop take an oath that he and the clergy would abide by the ‘customs of the kingdom’. Thomas knew that many of those customs were abusive and unjust, so he added to the oath the rider ‘as far as lawful’. Lawful meaning not just the law of the land, the State’s law, but the Law of God.

Becket’s reasoning was logical, Christian and daring. If the secular law, i.e. the ruler’s, conflicts with Divine Law it is a Christian’s sacrosanct duty to disobey it, to challenge it and to oppose it. This is what Christ commands. As St Peter proclaimed long ago in Jerusalem before the Jewish High Priest: ‘We must obey God rather than men’. (Acts 5:29) Hear! Hear!

Cardinal Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England, spoke so well in answer to a somewhat sneering female on BBC radio. Becket’s relic sends out the powerful message that ‘there comes a point when loyalty to Christ becomes an overriding loyalty for Christians…they may have to pay the final price.’ He meant a price paid with your own blood. It is called achieving the crown of martyrdom.

‘Crown’ is the right word. Till the Reformation the crown-shaped part of Canterbury Cathedral which housed the Saint’s body was known as the Crown Chapel. An allusion to a gruesome detail as to how he was murdered. One of the four Norman knights who did the bloody deed was Richard Le Breton. With a mighty stroke of his big sword he sliced off the top of the Archbishop’s head. So violent was the blow that the knight broke his sword against the pavement, striking sparks as he did.

T.S. Eliot’s fine play about Becket’s death, Murder in the Cathedral, was written in the 1930’s, when communism and fascism were alive and kicking. Was Eliot gunning for dictators? That would date him. Today it is democratic regimes and squalid politicos that hold unrivalled sway over Europe. Secularism – the peculiar lie that God does not matter in the life and mores of the polis, the national community – is the dominant, arrogant hegemony. Secularism tolerates no rivals. It seeks to bully, even criminalise people of faith when they follow their conscience and stand up to the State. Secularism relegates religion to the ghetto of the inner, the private, the merely personal. But you can’t have a private God, an exclusively private religion – anymore that you can have, as Wittgenstein conclusively showed, a private language…

Becket was a man of tremendous holiness, asceticism and character. Virtues that enabled him to resist the will of a bossy, fiery monarch like Henry II. In fact, there is a tradition that the Saint’s mother was a Syrian Arab. A Saracen princess, daughter of an Emir, who had fallen in love with Becket’s father when a pilgrim in the Holy Land. She had followed him to England and embraced her husband’s faith. As an incurable romantic, the priest fancies that the ancient, noble Arab blood running through Thomas’ veins might have fortified his resistance to the obnoxious, secular powers that be.

Like the early Christian martyrs, Becket did not oppose armed resistance to his killers. That is Christ’s example. Besides, as a priest it would have been unbecoming for him to shed human blood, even if self-defence, because a priest is ordained to the ministry of the altar which sacramentally re-enacts Christ’s own sacrifice. However, that rule would not apply to a layman.

Instances come from the 1925 Mexican Cristero War. The fanatical, anti-clerical masonic President Calles sought to suppress Mexican Christianity. Public worship became illegal. Even using phrases like ‘God willing’ was made a criminal offence. Then the faithful formed themselves in Cristeros – Soldiers of Christ. They felt they had no choice. The Cristeros took up arms to defend themselves and their religion. Many were killed, martyred but they fell fighting. Graham Greene’s novel, The Power and the Glory, alludes to that impressive struggle.

British Christians are not like hot-blooded Mexicans. Cannot see them rising up in rebellion against the ungodly ensconced at Westminster and Downing Street. Unless the Becket’s holy relic works the most impossible miracle…But of course Archbishop Nichols is right. The bit of the Saint’s elbow bone will perform a miracle if it reminds faithful people of that timeless verity: the will of God must be accomplished – whatever the cost. Even martyrdom.

Revd Frank Julian Gelli


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