Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Gibrahayer: Read the latest issue by clicking here: www.gibrahayer.com


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► Cyprus to continue offshore gas projects despite Turkish threats
► Turkey angered by Dutch decision to recognise the Armenian Genocide
► Mc Donalds to come to Armenia in April
► Pepi Martin exhibits on Monday 5 March at Opus 39
► The Armenian community of Paphos presents
► The Icon Hunter
► Armenian Relief Society's (HOM) Michink on Sunday 11 March
► Dashnaktsoutiun's youth at the Socialist International
► Save the date: SIPAN Dance Group on Sunday 13 May
► Armenian-language Artsakank's latest issue
► The Turkish-occupied Magaravank by Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra
► Homenetmen - AYMA honours the athletes that brought back 10 gold medals
► Cyprus tennis legend Haig Ashdjian honoured during Haghtanagi Yerego
► Interview with ArtZard's Maral Assilian
► Team Cyprus flies to the Czech republic
► Gibrahayer Calendar
► Pharos Arts Foundation 1998 - 2018
► Ararat Brandy now in Cyprus
► Award-winning Karas wines in Cyprus
► The first Melikian school football team in 1925: (Diran Der Avedissian photo archive)
► Mane cocktail bar in Yerevan
► The Seamstress of Ourfa by Victoria Hardwood Butler-Sloss
► Hamazkayin's summer forum in Armenia & Artsakh 5-18 July 2018
► The new Arsenal logo

Click here for the latest updates from Armenia, Artsakh, the Diaspora and Cyprus
Latest [February 2018] issue of Gibrahayer E-Magazine:
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Armenian News... A Topalian... Radio of Armenia

From The Independent UK
25 February 2018
Apart from orange wines, the other key natural wines trend is amphorea wines – where the wine is fermented in traditional egg shaped terracotta clay vessels, a process which originated many thousands of years ago when wine was first made in central Europe and parts of the Middle East. For the authentic experience, try the Armenian Karasi Areni Noir 2014 (£22.06 thedrinkshop.com ; £22.50 winedirect.co.uk ) made from the Areni grape, which is indigenous to Armenia – a country whose robust red wines are well worth discovering – and named after a village where a 4,000 year old winery was discovered. An extraordinary, iron-fist-in-velvet-glove wine: a perfumed nose, fresh and medium bodied, yet fabulously rich and powerful on the palate, with grippy tannins and layers of ripe red fruits.

Public Radio of Armenia
Feb 26 2018
Church of the Holy Sepulchre to remain closed until demands are met: Armenian Patriarchate 

The doors of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre remain closed Monday in protest to Israeli tax measures and a proposed property law, Chancellor at Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem Hovnan Baghdasaryan told Public Radio of Armenia . 

Christian leaders took the rare step on Sunday of closing Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. 

The Heads of Churches are protesting the Jerusalem municipality’s new policy on municipal tax payments for Church property. 

Christian leaders in the Holy Land also protest against the bill of the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation that would allow the state to expropriate property in the Holy Land leased by the Christian Churches. 

Hovnan Baghdasaryan said the only response to the protest was the decision by the Knesset Ministerial Committee to delay action on the bill for a week. 

“However, we are not satisfied with this. We demand that the bill is cancelled and not brought to Knesset’s plenary agenda,” he said, adding that the church will be opened only after demands are met. 

The Chancellor said for centuries churches and temples have been exempt from taxes. He said churches have property, which they lease and pay taxes, but with the latest decision the authorities want to impose tax on churches and temples, as well, which is unacceptable. 

According to Hovnan Baghdasaryan, this was an “unprecedented” and “a very serious step by Christian leaders. 

“The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is considered the holiest site of the Christian world. We have hundreds of pilgrims and tourists that have arrived here to see it and are deprived of the opportunity to pray in the church today,” the Chancellor said. 

“We expect that the Israeli authorities and the City Hall will revoke their decision,” Hovnan Baghdasaryan said. 

The bill looks to enable the state to expropriate all properties the church will agree to lease to private entrepreneurs and not companies recognized by the state. 

According to the Chancellor of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, “this restricts the opportunities of the church to agree on a better deal with private entrepreneurs and forces churches to conclude agreements with companies recognized by the state only.” 

The decision to close the church was extremely rare. 

In 1990, Christian sites including the Holy Sepulchre were closed for a day to protest the installation of Jewish settlers near the church, located in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem. 

Christian sites were shut for two days in 1999 to protest the planned construction of a mosque near Nazareth’s Church of the Annunciation, where tradition holds the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary she was to become the mother of Jesus. 

Journal Du Cameroun, Cameroon
Feb 26 2018
Turkish ‘traitor’ jibe to Dutch MPs over Armenia sparks anger 

Accusations of treason levelled by a Turkish newspaper at five Dutch MPs of Turkish descent for voting to recognise the massacre of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as “genocide” provoked a strong backlash in The Netherlands on Monday.

Dutch lawmakers overwhelmingly voted on Thursday in favour of a proposal that the country’s parliament refer to the massacre as “the Armenian genocide” — a move strongly condemned by Ankara.

Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah on Saturday said “the five MPs showed again that they are against Turkey” by supporting the “scandalous decision”.

Dutch parliamentary speaker Khadija Arib responded on Sunday, saying that “threatening or inciting threats in reaction to people expressing their opinion in unacceptable”.

“It has no place in a democracy or an open and free society such as ours,” Arib was quoted Monday by De Volkskrant newspaper as saying, adding that “it is called freedom of speech”.

Armenians have long sought international recognition for the 1915-1917 killings in the Ottoman era as genocide, which they say left some 1.5 million of their people dead.

But Turkey — the Ottoman Empire’s successor state — argues that it was a collective tragedy in which equal numbers of Turks and Armenians died.

Another pro-government newspaper, Yeni Akit, labelled the five lawmakers “degenerates” on Sunday.

Since then, the lawmakers — two from the Socialist Party, two from the environmental GreenLeft party and one from the Liberal VVD party — have reported receiving threats and hate mail.

“The era of intimidation and demonisation is over,” Zihni Ozdil, one of the GreenLeft MPs, told the Algemeen Dagblad tabloid.

“I do not feel totally targeted by these kind of people. I am Dutch,” said Dilan Yesilgoz of the VVD, who arrived in the Netherlands as a refugee in 1984.

So far, parliaments in more than 20 countries, including Germany, have voted for laws or resolutions explicitly recognising the Armenian “genocide”.

Dutch parliament decision declaring 1915 events as 'genocide' null and void for Turkey, EU Minister Çelik says 

The Dutch parliament decision declaring the 1915 events as "genocide" are null and void for Turkey, the Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Ömer Çelik said Friday.

"We condemn this parliamentary decision. It has no validity as far as Turkey is concerned," Çelik tol reporters in Ankara.

"What we expected from the Netherlands -- which has a high degree of responsibility in an act of genocide like Srebrenica -- is be more careful about these issues," he said.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry also summoned the Dutch charge d'affaires over the parliament's "genocide" decision.

Dutch lawmakers Thursday overwhelmingly voted in favor of recognizing the deaths of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as "genocide", in a move likely to worsen already-strained ties with Turkey.

"The motion is accepted," parliamentary speaker Khadija Arib announced after the lower house voted 142 to 3 in favor of the proposal "that parliament in no uncertain terms speak about the Armenian genocide."

The decision has no legal binding character or validity, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Thursday evening.

"The baseless decisions taken by the parliament of a country that turned a blind eye to a genocide — whose pain still has not eased — in Srebrenica, in the middle of Europe, have no legal binding or validity."

The Parliamentary Speaker's Office has said that the Dutch Parliament's recognition of 1915 events as "genocide" violates international law, and that it considers it null and void.

Turkey accused the Netherlands instead of turning a blind eye to the genocide of Muslim Bosniaks by Bosnian Serb troops that took place in Srebrenica during the Bosnian War in 1995.

Dutch U.N. peacekeepers had surrendered the enclave to the Bosnian Serbs without firing a shot just before 8,000 Bosniaks, mostly men and boys, were slaughtered in the worst mass murder in Europe since World War II.

After the controversial motion was given, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy also issued a statement, saying it was unacceptable for Turkey for the Netherlands to recognize Armenian claims politicizing the 1915 events, which is a sensitive issue for the Turkish state and nation.Aksoy noted that legal precedents in European law have ruled that 1915 events are a legitimate issue of discussion.

"In this context, we invite Dutch politicians to review their biased attitude against Turkey and not to politicize history," the statement said, adding that the Netherlands could back Turkey's proposal of an independent joint history commission open for academics expert on Ottoman history if it wants to contribute to the solution of this historic issue.

Despite the vote in the lower house of the parliament, acting Foreign Affairs Minister Sigrid Kaag said that the Dutch government wouldn't follow the parliament's lead. Kaag says the Cabinet will "continue to exercise restraint" in the politically charged issue.

Kaag told lawmakers in the Second Chamber of parliament that the Dutch government only recognizes events as genocide if that description is supported by a binding U.N. Security Council resolution or a verdict from an international court.She said that because those conditions haven't been met for Armenia, "the Cabinet will not follow the chamber in this judgment."

However, Kaag did say that the government would comply with a motion calling on the administration to send a representative to a service in April in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, commemorating the massacre.

The Dutch government did not describe the 1915 events as "genocide" before as the government preferred to use the word "issue" to describe the incidents, a policy which was approved by the Dutch parliament in 2004.

Turkey denies the alleged Armenian "genocide", but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events taking place in World War I.According to Turkey's viewpoint, the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 occurred after some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.Turkey describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.

PanArmenian, Armenia
Feb 24 2018
The son of Armenian immigrants and Donald Trump’s idol: Fortune
February 24, 2018 

One of Donald Trump ’s idols in the business world may come as a surprise. He was little known, and liked it that way. He was a daring pilot during World War II. And on the playing fields of deal-making, he was the future president’s polar opposite—the very embodiment of self-discipline, humility and grace under pressure.

Fortune unveils an article about Kirk Kerkorian , a self-made billionaire and fellow hotel developer, who started out as a penniless eighth-grade dropout from California before becoming a Hollywood movie mogul, a Las Vegas casino magnate, and one of America’s richest men. His largely unheralded charitable giving also made him one of the country’s most generous tycoons.

In many ways, he was the un-Donald, yet Trump regarded Kerkorian as business royalty. When a New York Times columnist was calling Kerkorian—then in his late 80s—“the god of all deal makers,” Trump was likewise calling him “the King” and publicly declared: “I love that guy.”

The stories of the two fellow billionaires have obvious parallels, but perhaps more interesting than that, is how vastly they diverged in their approaches to achieving remarkably similar versions of the modern American dream.

By the time Kerkorian died at age 98 in 2015, he owned most of the major hotels and casinos on The Strip. But his name was on none of them. And though he transformed the American gambling mecca, Kerkorian’s name never appeared on a street sign, a park site or so much as a private parking spot.

The Las Vegas skyline does, however, have the giant gold letters T-R-U-M-P atop the 64-story Trump International Hotel.

The reticent Kerkorian avoided media engagement. He declined most interviews and lived by his own rule against divulging anything about his personal or business interests. The first Kirk commandment was: don’t talk too much. His second was: never talk about yourself.

Trump was notorious for self-promotion well before entering politics. Even before becoming the nation’s Tweeter-in-Chief, he sometimes posed as his own public relations guy to pass along all kinds of personal and business information to the press. In 1989 he even talked his way onto a Forbes list of billionaires, only to be summarily dumped for inflating his net worth—found to be “in hailing distance of zero” upon review by magazine editors.

Though fiercely competitive, Kerkorian carried no grudges. Even after intense negotiations, Kerkorian’s business competitors often ended up as social friends. His closest associates said he never had a bad thing to say about anyone. Trump’s response to his Forbes list demotion was also typically Trumpian—accusing deceased magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes of “finally getting back at me from the grave.”

Kerkorian studiously avoided both the trappings of celebrity and any involvement in political activism. But he also admired, perhaps even envied, Trump for his easy command of audiences. The naturally shy son of illiterate Armenian immigrants was almost paralytic about public speaking. “I wish I could talk like Trump,” he told friends.

And, had Kerkorian lived to see it, he almost certainly would have been impressed with the audacity of Trump’s 2016 presidential bid. For Kerkorian, a heroic wartime aviator and seemingly fearless gambler—who once risked a million dollars on a single roll of the dice, who wagered his fortune more than once on major Las Vegas developments, and who favored big bets, win or lose—seeking the White House would definitely have qualified as a praise-worthy whale of a big bet.

PanArmenian, Armenia
Feb 26 2018
How two British comedians spent £8,000 in Armenia’s top restaurant 

Back in 2014, British comedians David Baddiel and Richard Herring spend £8,000 at a restaurant in Armenia for Dave's TV series, "24 Hours to Go Broke".

Baddiel and Herring travelled to the Armenian capital of Yerevan for the opening episode of the Brewster's Millions-inspired show.

The duo were challenged to spend £8,000 in one day, and were not allowed to give any of the money away, or pay over the going rates for goods or services. At the end of each episode they must have spent all of the money but own nothing.

“One meal was an enormous blowout, at Yerevan’s top eatery,” Baddiel said in a conversation with The Guardian.

“It involved that coffee which comes via a cat’s digestive system. It had 15 courses and Prince Charles had eaten there. I think it came to about 70 quid. At the hotel later we tried to order champagne and caviar. But they didn’t have any, so they just brought us their most expensive room service item: a single portion of tiramisu.”

PanArmenian, Armenia
Feb 24 2018
Azeri blogger: Armenians haven’t destroyed Azerbaijani monuments 

Armenians have not destroyed Azerbaijani graves and monuments in Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh), Azeri political emigrant, blogger Orduhan Teymurhan said in a speech in Europe.

"Yes, pigs and goats walk on and around Azerbaijani graves, but Armenians haven’t committed vandalism against our monuments," he said, according to Haqqin.az.

Teymurhan’s statement stirred an extremely negative reaction among Azerbaijani social media users.

RFE/RL Report
Armenia Edges Up In Global Corruption Rankings
February 22, 2018
Nane Sahakian 

Armenia's has slightly improved its position in an annual survey of
corruption perceptions around the world conducted by Transparency

Still, it ranked, together with Macedonia, Ethiopia and Vietnam, only
107th out of 180 countries and territories evaluated in the
Berlin-based watchdog's 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)
released late on Wednesday.

By comparison, neighboring Georgia is 45th while Azerbaijan 122nd in
the rankings based on interviews with businesspeople and
experts. Armenia was also rated less corrupt than Russia (135th),
Ukraine (130th), Moldova (122nd) and all five ex-Soviet republics in
Central Asia.

Armenia occupied 113th place in the 2016 CPI that that covered 176
nations. Transparency International assigned it a CPI "score" of 33
out of 100 last year. It raised the country's score to 35 in the
latest survey.

Varuzhan Hoktanian, the director of programs at Transparency
International's Armenian affiliate, the Anti-Corruption Center (ACC),
downplayed the slight improvement, saying that it was within the
survey's margin of error. "We could have said that there has been a
[real] improvement if [the score] had reached 37 or 38," Hoktanian
told a news conference on Thursday.

Bribery and other corrupt practices have long been widespread in
Armenia despite successive governments' pledges to tackle the
problem. The current Armenian government described it as "the biggest
obstacle to the development of the state" shortly after it was
reshuffled in September-October 2016. And President Serzh Sarkisian
declared in November that combatting corruption has become "a matter
of national security."

The ACC and other civic groups remain skeptical about these
pledges. Hoktanian insisted that the authorities still lack the
"political will" to fight against graft. "They do enact
[anti-corruption] laws," he said. "The problem is their

A Transparency International statement similarly noted that in
lower-ranked countries such laws are "often skirted or ignored." It
also said: "Higher-ranked countries tend to have higher degrees of
press freedom, access to information about public expenditure,
stronger standards of integrity for public officials, and independent
judicial systems."

Monday, 26 February 2018

Diocese of the Armenian Church of the United Kingdom and Ireland Armenian Church News E-newsletter Latest E-Newsletter Volume 4, Issue 6 24 February 2018

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["Armenian Diocese of the UK"]

Click to view the full PDF of the newsletter
During the lent period every Friday evening liturgy of the hours of peace and rest (Խաղաղական եւ Հանգստեան ժամերգութիւններ) are held at St Sarkis Church, followed by enjoying Lenten food at the Gulbenkian hall.
On Sunday 18 of February the Primate visited Birmingham mission parish and celebrated vespers at St Peters. At the end of the service Primate preached the congregation and they had Lenten dinner organised by ladies of the mission.
It took lots of persuading to get Jeanine Gulvanessian of The Ladies' Committee to write something as she doesn't like to talk about herself and prefers to work. Read a snapshot about this tireless lady in her own words in the full version of the newsletter.

  • Supreme Spiritual Council Meeting in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin
  •  Lebanese President Visits Etchmiadzin
Read more
The Sunday of the Prodigal Son is the second Sunday of pre-Lent, the weeks of preparation preceding Great Lent.
On this Sunday in the preparation for Great Lent, Orthodox Christians are read Christ's parable about God's loving forgiveness (Luke 15:11-24). They are to see themselves as being in a foreign country far from the Father's house and to make the movement of return to God, where we truly belong. The parable gives assurance that the Father will receive them with joy and gladness in their journey through Great Lent, their journey home.


It is with great spiritual joy we announce that, by the invitation of His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian will be preaching at St. Yeghiche Church, London, on the third Sunday of the Great Lent, 25th of February.

His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church in North America is one of the senior Archbishop's of the Armenian Church, member of the Supreme Spiritual Council of the Armenian Church and the head of worldwide Armenian Church Youth Organisation.
In the early years of His ministry, His Eminence studied at Oxford University and served in the Armenian Churches in London.

During His visit, His Eminence will also be meeting representatives of ACYO UK.
The Divine Liturgy at St Yeghiche begins at 11:00 am
Read about these topics in detail, learn about upcoming events and more in our newsletter
Registered office address:
Kemp House 152-160 City Road, London EC1V 2NX

Correspondence address:
The Armenian Vicarage
Iverna Gardens, Kensington, London W8 6TP
0208 127 8364
This email was sent to tr8seta@gmail.com
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© 2016 Armenian Diocese of the UK and Ireland

Armenian News... A Topalian... "Promoting Inclusion for Students with Disabilities in Armenia"

Inclusion for those with disability!
6 March 2018, 7pm 

Holiday Inn London, Kensington High Street, Wrights Lane 
Kensington, London W8 5SP 
Speakers: Dr. Randall Rhodes (American University of Armenia, Provost); Yelena Sardaryan (AUA Counselor); and Dr. Benjamin Barnard (UK mental health charity, SANE) 

Organised by AGBU London 

For more information please contact armineafrikian@hotmail.com 

BBC News
The country breeding a generation of chess whizz kids
25 February 2018 


ARKA, Armenia
Feb 22 2018
Armenian serviceman killed in Nagorno-Karabakh 

The Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) defense ministry said a serviceman, Grigor Egoyan, born in 1998, received a deadly gunshot wound today morning at about 9:40. 

The ministry said the serviceman was killed by Azerbaijani fire at a defensive position of one of the military units stationed in the northeast direction. The ministry has launched an investigation to find out the circumstances of the incident. 

"The Artsakh Defense Ministry shares the bitter grief of the loss and expresses its support to the members of the family of the killed serviceman, his relatives and colleagues," the ministry said. 

The press service of the Nagorno-Karabakh president said Grigor Egoyan was posthumously awarded the medal "For Military Merit" for his courage shown in the protection of the state border of the Artsakh Republic. -0- 

MediaMax, Armenia
Feb 22 2018
We seriously rely on Armenians, Lebanese President says 

President of Lebanon Michel Aoun said that his visit to Armenia will be mainly focused on strengthening the relations between Armenia and Lebanon. 

“The Armenian community has greatly contributed to the development of Lebanon, as well as its prospering. Armenians work seriously in all sectors of activity and responsible circles, and we all rely on them in many issues. We are a large community, and the Armenian part of our population was able to preserve its culture and identity in Lebanon. Of course, we are very proud of this diversity in views and cultures, which helps Lebanon benefit and develop further,” Michel Aoun said during his visit to Yerevan. 

President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan remarked that this visit will open a new chapter in bilateral relations. 

“Our interstate relations started to develop only 25 years ago, but our peoples have communicated for centuries now. We are very grateful to Lebanese people and authorities for care and warmth that Armenians have always received in Lebanon. Over the time our compatriots have become citizens of Lebanon, preserving their identity and culture at the same time,” the Armenian President said. 

Public Radio of Armenia
Feb 23 2018
Supreme Spiritual Council calls for elections of Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople 

The Supreme Spiritual Council of the Armenian Apostolic Church has issued a statement, voicing concern over the developments in the life of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Armenian community of Istanbul ever since Patriarch Mesrop Mutafyan fell ill. 

The Council issues a calls for sobriety to Archbishop Karekin Bekchian, Archbishop Aram Ateshian, Bishop Sahak Mashalian and other clergymen, to put the interest of the Patriarchate above their own aspirations and interpersonal relationships and commit themselves to correct the wrong processes and restore peace, unity and solidarity in the wretched life of the Istanbul Armenian community. 

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin urges members of the Religious Council and community members to respect the legitimate demands of the Armenian Church to organize patriarchal elections for the benefit of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople and the “consolation of our devout people.” 

The Spiritual Counsel said it expects the Turkish authorities to support the just demand of the Armenian community to organize elections of the Patriarch. 

The election of Kaarekin Bekchian as Locum Tenens last year inspired hopes that the election of the Armenian Patriarch would move forward. However, shortly afterwards the situation created by the irresponsible actions of the church officials and individuals allowed for external influences and interference by the Turkish authorities. 

In a letter signed by Istanbul’s Deputy Governor Ismail Peltek, sent to the Armenian patriarchate, the local authorities said there were conditions in place for holding new patriarchal elections, considering that Patriarch Mutafyan is alive. 

The letter also said Aram Ateshyan should keep his position as General Vicar, and that all actions that led to the election of Karekin Bekciyan as Locum Tenens were invalid. 

Transitions Online, Czech Rep.
Feb 22 2018
An Armenian Teenager’s Small Olympic Triumph 

When his skis broke, hopes for the country’s only Alpine skier to compete in Pyeongchang looked dim. 

Armenia’s Ashot Karapetyan finished 42 nd in today’s men’s slalom event at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics held in South Korea. 

For 18-year-old, merely competing was something of a miracle. Unlike American skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin, who brought 35 pairs of skis, he arrived with just some borrowed skis, and they broke during a training run. 

“I often have problems with equipment,” Karapetyan told News.am, Eurasianet.org reports . “In previous [events] in Turkey and Iran, as well as here in Pyeongchang, I have been using my friend’s skis.” 

Karapetyan, the only Alpine skier in Armenia’s three-person Olympic squad, said new equipment promised by the Armenian Olympic Federation failed to arrive in time for him to begin training. He was not even given a team uniform. 

By the time two new pairs of skis and one pair of boots arrived last week , thanks to the national Olympic committee and the Armenian Ski Federation, it was too late to train for the men’s giant slalom event. 

He managed to get in enough training to start today’s slalom, and although he finished only one place above last, Karapetyan managed to complete both runs, unlike some 60 other racers. 

    • One Yerevan political analyst told Eurasianet Karapetyan’s equipment issues were likely linked to bad feelings over his being chosen to compete ahead of the nephew of the Armenian national head ski coach, Syran Harutyunyan. A flood of social media complaints about Karapetyan’s plight probably goaded the authorities into seeing that he got new skis, analyst Styopa Safaryan said. 
    • Cross-country skiers Mikayel Mikayelyan and Katya Galstyan are also competing for Armenia at the games, which wrap up this weekend. 

Public Radio of Armenia
Feb 23 2018
Aurora goes global 

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative takes the Aurora concept and program to the world. 

“The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, in its third year, is transforming the Armenian experience into a global movement committed to inspiring each of us to protect the humanity and life of our fellow man. It is gratifying to welcome Aurora’s heroes to various venues around the world and witness their impact on others in the humanitarian community, as well as on students, teachers, members of the media,” said Noubar Afeyan, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, on the eve of the second Aurora Dialogues event outside Armenia. 
On March 1, the Aurora Dialogues will be held in New York in collaboration with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. This comes just three months after a successful Aurora Dialogues program was held in Berlin , in collaboration with the Robert Bosch Foundation. These collaborations are yet another way that the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, founded on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, embodies its vision of Gratitude in Action. 

Ruben Vardanyan, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, explained. “Today, Armenians of our generation and those who come after us, have the opportunity to express our gratitude by taking action and making a difference in people’s lives. Not to use that opportunity to give back would be a sign of immense ingratitude.” 

In December 2017 the inaugural Aurora Prize Laureate, Marguerite Barankitse, together with three Aurora Prize finalists participated in the Aurora Dialogues in Berlin. In March 2018 Aurora Prize Laureate Dr. Tom Catena, together with three Aurora finalists and Marguerite Barankitse will be featured during the New York program. After New York, the Aurora Dialogues will continue to travel around the world, including to Moscow, London, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Beirut and other global centers. 

“In the first two years, we focused on bringing the world to Aurora,” said Vardanyan. “We invited leaders and personalities from around the world to become members of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, to participate in a prize ceremony that combined the best of human values and the Armenian heritage, to participate in discussions about current issues critical to the future of humanity. Now, in our third year, Aurora’s programs reach five continents and this year’s prize ceremony which will be held in a very different special, highly symbolic venue, will reflect that global presence.” 

Aurora’s greatest impact may be considered the work that is done by the Aurora Prize recipients. Each Laureate is gifted $100,000 and is offered the opportunity to continue the cycle of giving by distributing an additional $1 million award to organizations which support the Laureate’s vision. Over the last two years, 6 organizations in 14 countries have served thousands of women, children and others in need of help to survive. Aurora’s impact from Brazil to Burundi means, in the words of the 2016 Laureate Marguerite Barankitse, “Children in Africa and Latin America know that Armenians are helping to make their lives more hopeful.” 

Aurora’s international reach is also evident through the Aurora Humanitarian Index, which demonstrates that there is a consistently growing awareness of the Aurora name and mission in a dozen cities around the world. The fact that over these three years, the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity has received nearly 1500 nominations from over 125 countries is evidence of Aurora’s global range. 

Beyond the Aurora Prize, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative offers scholarship support to 24 students from 9 countries at United World Colleges and 10 students from 4 countries at American University of Armenia; they will carry the Aurora vision with them throughout their lives. 

The commitment to proactively integrate Armenia into the global conversation is seeing results. The dissemination of the Aurora message around the world is the greatest source of satisfaction and measure of success. 

(would you believe how low the Azeri's morality can get 
- other articles too on the same theme)

AzerNews, Azerbaijan
Feb 22 2018
Armenian provocation to blame Azerbaijanis in Sumgayit events - senior investigator

Armenians tried to burn down their homes in Azerbaijani city of Sumgayi
t, and blame Azerbaijanis in that, senior investigator of the Investigative Directorate for Serious Crimes under the Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor General’s Office Nadir Mirzayev said addressing the meeting dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Sumgayit events of 1988.

The investigation ascertained that although former members of security agencies had been discharged from the investigations concerning the Sumgayit events, their analysis showed that a diversion group consisting of 20—25 people and pretending to be “Azerbaijanis expelled from Gaphan” had been acting in the city, Mirzoyev said touching upon the diversion groups’ involvement in the Sumgayit events.

“Some suffered Armenians told them [investigators] about that. Even though the information had been submitted to operative-investigative group of USSR Prosecutor General’s Office, for some reason it wasn’t inspected and was gone fruitless. It was also determined that a group of persons was speaking on the meetings calling to expel Armenians from the city. The persons weren’t residents of Sumgayit and were speaking in Armenian among themselves,” Nadir Mirzayev said.

It was revealed that on the eve of the Sumgayit events a number of cars with Armenian registration numbers had been detected in the city. Moreover, many Armenian individuals had been staying in Baku and Sumgayit hotels and left out right after the events.

It was also determined that Armenians living in Sumgayit tried to provocatively burn down their homes and property and blame Azerbaijanis in that. The investigation ascertained that Armenians knew about the mass disorder in advance. 

The day before the mass disorder special video filming equipment, tripods for video cameras etc., were installed on the rooftops of numerous buildings in different parts of Sumgayit. During the events, robbery of Armenians’ homes, as well as the actions of a naked woman in the street, was recorded with soviet servicemen’s consent by an individual, who presented himself as Armenian. 
These facts prove that the mass disorder in Sumgayit was orchestrated by Armenian nationalists and sympathetic provokers from the Soviet government, the senior investigator said.

Mirzoyev noted that an investigative group conducted a search in the office of USSR’s former Interior Minister Boris Pugo in the framework of the August 1991 coup d’état attempt case. Among the documents found were folders with data on exile of Meskhetian Turks from Uzbekistan, the events in Nagorno-Karabakh etc.

The data in the documents revealed that the Soviet Interior Ministry was being comprehensively informed about the “Krunk” organization, operating in Nagorno-Karabakh, its members and activity. The data included information both from the interior ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan and from the respective agencies of the Soviet Interior Ministry. The Soviet government had known about the events since the very first day but purposely stayed idle.

The criminal case on murder of D.Khudatov, D.Orujov, Y.Gasymov, S.Aliyev and V.Babayev during the mass disorder caused by actions of servicemen and other persons, was closed on Dec. 30, 1988 by Military Prosecutor’s Office of Baku Garrison. It was later merged with the current case No. 60206 [on the Sumgayit events] to continue the investigation.

The investigation determined that Valery Markaryan, an Armenian resident of Baku with extremist ideas, brought soldiers to Sumgayit and used the highly-dangerous situation to drive a bus into civilians, ultimately killing five Azerbaijanis. Markaryan’s connection with Armenian extremist organizations of Sumgayit was also established, Mirzoyev said.

Many Armenians were saved by Azerbaijani neighbors and friends, who had hid them in their homes from robbery, raids and other violence. 

“In spite of the propaganda from dashnak-communist groups creating an image of “wild and bloodthirsty Azerbaijanis”, Armenians exposed to violence from Armenians was saved by their Azerbaijani neighbors. These facts along with the materials of the criminal case were also included in the decisions of the Russian Federation’s special courts,” the senior investigator said.

OC Media
Feb 23 2018
‘Begging is also work’: street children in Armenia
Armine Avetisyan 

In the streets of Yerevan, children begging for money is not an uncommon sight. While parents can face time in prison for child neglect, many join their children in the streets, finding an income any way they can.

‘I will grow up and find a normal job’

Early every morning, 13-year-old native of Gyumri, Karen (not his real name), walks out of his house towards the city dump. Even though he goes with his mother, his face is too serious and too mature for his age. He does not attend school.

‘It’s been two years since I started working with my mother’, he says. ‘We go to the dump. Each of us has our own work area there. We join our group and start digging through the rubbish. We separate glass con­tain­ers, find useful clothes, and some furniture. Sometimes we find tinned food’, Karen says.

Karen has engaged in physical labour and begged for money from an early age. He says he was only six years old when he started helping his parents, by tearing labels off collected bottles. When he was a bit older, he went out to the street to offer his services wiping the windows of parked cars.

‘I asked ֏50 ($0.10) for cleaning windows. There were drivers who used my services. There were men who paid ֏50, which was as much as I wanted. And there were others who paid more. There were also many bad people who made me work and didn’t give me my money. They even cursed at me if I demanded to be paid for my work’, Karen remembers.

Talking about his time begging for money is difficult for Karen. Initially, he says he was ashamed, but then came up with a way to get around that feeling.

‘I have a large shirt with a hat attached to it. I wear it when I go out col­lect­ing money so that I can cover my face. This a temporary job, nobody should see what I’m doing now. I will grow up and find a normal job. Right now we don’t have enough money, so on weekdays I go to the dump and on the weekends I beg’, he says.

Karen mostly begs around churches. There is usually a wedding at at least on church per week, which he says earns him the most money.

‘I’m not the only one. There are some other boys with me, and also adults. You have to be resource­ful in this case, because the first one to approach a person giving money keeps it. Sometimes, not everybody gets money, so someone might try to take it from the rest of us, by either per­sua­sion or using force’, the boy says.

An underestimated problem?

Official sta­tis­tics appear to under­es­ti­mate the number of children working as beggars. According to the National Sta­tis­ti­cal Service, there were just 13 beggar and vagrant children reg­is­tered in 2016. Seven of them were in Yerevan and the rest from the regions.

The police are the main state agency working with vagrant and beggar children.

‘It’s very important that there an envi­ron­ment that is attentive to the needs of children. We must realise that we share respon­si­bil­i­ty for every child. For example, no children working as beggars were found in Vayots Dzor Province [in southeast Armenia]. There are rarely beggars to be found in the provinces of Lori and Shirak [in northern Armenia]’, Colonel Nelli Duryan, told OC Media .

Duryan is the head of the Depart­ment for the Pre­ven­tion of Juvenile Delin­quen­cy and Domestic Vio­la­tions at the General Depart­ment of Criminal Intel­li­gence. She says her depart­ment consults with parents of children who beg, and provide psy­cho­log­i­cal support. If the problem is not resolved, the parents can be found crim­i­nal­ly liable.

In 2015, a woman in Vanadzor was found guilty of having her 8-year-old son beg. She was sentenced to a year in prison, and her son was taken into care. ‘Many success stories’

The Orran Day Care Centre helps children living on the streets and those without proper parental care, working with both the state and other NGOs. The charity was founded in 2000, helping 16 children in its first year. Since then, the organ­i­sa­tion has helped hundreds of children. They now have centres in Yerevan and Vanadzor, with 105 children housed in the former and 118 in the latter.

‘We give them hot food, we deal with their health issues and psy­cho­log­i­cal problems, we do homework together, teach hand­i­crafts’, Susanna Manukyan, the Public Relations Manager of Orran tells OC Media .

The children are also provided with money for transport and par­tic­i­pate in clubs, she says. They host courses on carving and pottery, which teach the children a craft and help them to earn their living.

She adds that they are trying to give these children proper attention and care, even without offering financial assis­tance. According to Susanna Manukyan, they have helped many children: and about 500 have learned a trade and obtained stable jobs.

‘Of course, we can’t publicise personal infor­ma­tion, but we help to ensure that many children live a pros­per­ous life; one has his workshop already, another works in a factory, there are many success stories’, says Manukyan. ‘Begging is also work’

11-year-old Narek (not his real name) can often be found in the centre of Yerevan. He walks the streets as if he was selling things, but in reality he begs for money. Missing even a day of begging will result in the whole family going hungry.

‘I have pocket napkins with me and my hand-made drawings. I offer them to the passers-by. Both my mother and brother beg for money. We don’t walk together; we always walk apart, but not far from each other. My mother always keeps her eye on me’, Narek says. During his interview with OC Media, she always kept an eye on him.

They have worked out signals in case someone is trying to hurt or kidnap him. If police or other officials come to detain him, his mother approach­es them and tells them they are together.

Narek manages to collect about ֏2,000 ($4) per day, which they use to buy bread and some other food. The money his mother and brother earn is used to pay rent and for utilities.

‘There have been times when people came and offered to take me to a special care centre. They said the place was warm and had tasty food. But I didn’t go. Why should I? To sit idly and wait for a piece of bread? I earn money for my bread thank you’, says Narek. Не says that begging is also a job.

The Guardian
Reproductive rights (developing countries)
Women's rights and gender equality
‘We lose 1,400 girls a year. Who will our boys marry?’: Armenia's quandary
Suzanne Moore in Yerevan 

Sex selection may have been outlawed, but a shortage of women threatens the very survival of a country where boys are traditionally seen as an investment and girls as a loss

Sometimes it seems there are so many ways to destroy women that the methods become invisible to us. There are some women you will never see because they will never be born.

Amartya Sen talked of “missing women” in his famous 1990 essay because of technologies that enable prenatal sex selection.

Most people are aware this happens in China and India , but I am in Armenia, talking to a nervy woman in her early 30s. We are in the eastern region of Gavar, which is second only to China in the number of female foetuses that are aborted. Here, 120 boys are born for every 100 girls.

The woman, who has two young daughters, tells me her girls say: “Let’s go to church to light a candle to get a little brother.” They want a boy, she wants a boy, her husband wants a boy. This is why she has had nine or 10 abortions – she is not sure exactly, and is vague about a “vascular condition”, given as a reason to terminate the pregnancies.

She droops slightly when asked for more detail. “If I get pregnant again and it’s a girl …” She trails off. She is not sure what she will do. She has heard of doctors in the capital, Yerevan, who could help her. Sex selection, for that is what we are talking about, became illegal in Armenia in 2016.

The woman says that if she gets rid of the next baby, she will not be sad. “My husband will be sad. He accuses me of eliminating all these children.” He is away for more than half the year working in Russia, as many Armenians are. “But,” she says defiantly, “in some years my girls will leave. I will be all by myself.” 

This is one part of what propels prenatal sex selection – a need to ensure the family lineage, and the belief that boys will provide in old age. Girls grow up, marry and leave. They move in with the husband’s family. Boys are an investment. Girls are a loss. This I hear repeated over and over again. It is hard to reconcile with the modern women – doctors, journalists and politicians – who are everywhere in Yerevan. Some of the biggest pressures on women to have sons come from other women: mothers–in–law.

Dr Hrachya Khalafyan, who runs the Sevan medical centre in Yerevan, was shocked when he first heard about Armenia’s sex imbalance. “We all were,” says Sevan, who instructs his staff that there can be no terminations on these grounds.

If the trends are not reversed, Armenia will have lost almost 93,000 women by 2060

Where once they used to have seven or eight children, women in Armenia today give birth just once , on average. In the past, if the last child was a girl, she might be called the Armenian word for “Enough”, as if no one could be bothered to name her. Doctors now encourage women to celebrate carrying a girl, yet I hear the stories of what happens in “other places” where women are not allowed to be told the sex of their child at the 12-week scan. There are ways to find out, apparently, such as the pocket in which the doctor puts their pen – left for a girl, right for a boy.

Armenia really needs its missing women. “We lose 1,400 girls a year. In the long term who will our boys marry? How will we consolidate the Armenian nation? We are only 3 million people. We have no right to such losses. There will be no mothers to give birth to girls,” says Khalafyan.

The sex imbalance

“Son preference” is a euphemism, maybe, but a necessary one. Sex selective abortion has been steadily growing across the Caucuses and Asia (Armenia has the third highest rate in the world, behind China and Azerbaijan) and it will continue to happen as fertility levels drop. When green campaigners talk of population growth being the world’s biggest problem, they need also to factor in gender. When people have fewer children, they want boys.

Data collected in Armenia in 2010 started to bring home the sex imbalance: there were 115-120 boys being born for every 100 girls. Anecdotally, people talked of school dances in which boys were forced to dance with one another as there were so few girls.

In 2011, the UN population fund began its advocacy work around sex selection, and in 2017 it launched a global programme to prevent gender-biased sex selection. After initial resistance, the Armenian government backs the UNFPA campaign. The country is already seeing results. In 2014, the ratio was 114 boys for 100 girls; last year, the figure stood at 110 boys for every 100 girls.
Sunday Mass at the Etchmiadzin cathedral
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Sunday mass at the Etchmiadzin cathedral, the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic church and a holy pilgrimage site for Armenians

Efforts by the UNFPA and humanitarian agencies such as Save the Children are proving successful because they look at the specific conditions that lead to pre-natal sex selection: contraception, emigration, men as the key breadwinners, inheritance, family lineage and conflict.

Conflict was an issue raised by the headteacher of a school in Gavar, where the classes have more boys than girls. Araxia Verdanyan says the impact of the war hangs over its people. Armenia is at war with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. “Our soldiers are killed on a daily basis. We need girls to reproduce. We need boys to defend the border,” she says. Here a boy child is always another soldier.

Ministers explain the political strategy to raise the profile of girls. Contraception and health are promoted as priorities. All key professionals are trained in giving a positive message about girls. And a woman has three days to change her mind after she has requested an abortion at 12 weeks.
Varduhi Vardumyan from Tavush region, with her three day-old daughter at Republican Maternity Hospital in Yerevan
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Varduhi Vardumyan from Tavush region, with her three day-old baby at Republican maternity hospital in Yerevan. The child, as yet unnamed, is her second daughter

I go to a puppet show, Ne’s Journey, performed by the Armenian Center of International Union of Puppeteers, in a high school where national folk tales are given a twist. It is the girl’s wisdom that saves the day. Girls defeat the demons and save themselves, too. The charismatic puppet master, Armen Safaryan, tells his young audience: “God decides whether we are girls or boys. Respect and love are contagious. I speak from travel and experience, and I treat men and women as the same. We are just beginning and we need our girls. We must end this murder.”

‘The word is your weapon’

Some of the most impressive work I see being done is in a seminary, by an amazing psychologist called Inga Harutyunyan. In a classroom in the Gevorkian seminary in Vagharshapat, in the complex of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, eager young priests are trained. These are highly educated young men.

Harutyunyan has established a relationship with the church. Privately, she tells me about ancient Armenian matriarchies and goddesses. But the key is in the way she talks to the priests. “You are clergymen,” she tells them. “The word is your weapon,” and then she gives them texts from the Bible that emphasise respect for women.

Inga Harutyunyan leads a psychology class in the town of Vagharshapat
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Inga Harutyunyan leads a psychology class in the town of Vagharshapat, where she teaches priests how to communicate with families about the value of girls

Getting the church on side, along with the government and civil society is quite something. This is the strategy in Armenia: to work with everyone; not to alienate any group, but to promote the value of girls and women right across the culture. And it’s working.

Vahan Asatryan of the International Center for Human Development thinktank
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Vahan Asatryan, of the International Centre for Human Development, says fertility rates are the key issue

“We are not ‘girl averse’, as they are in India,” says Vahan Asatryan, a researcher at the International Centre for Human Development. He suggests the answer to ending sex selection lies in looking at the issue in specific contexts. How it works in Nepal, for instance, is different from what’s happening in Vietnam.

He talks about fertility rates as the big issue. Everyone stresses this is about not being for or against abortion. Abortion, he repeats, is simply the mechanism by which sex selection happens. The right to abortion is an achievement of civilisation. Armenia allows termination up to 12 weeks without restrictions.

The introduction of ultrasound in the mid-90s has exacerbated sex selection across all the former Soviet republics, however.

The key to change is situating this debate at the very heart of Armenian society, to ensure the survival of the nation.

If the trends are not reversed, Armenia will have lost almost 93,000 women by 2060. That’s an awful lot of potential mothers. Everyone talks of extending choice and opportunity for women. Interestingly, “no one is blamed for what is happening … Everyone is part of the solution,” says Asatryan.

“We can’t change gender stereotypes in two years, but we can look at the data. We can talk about human rights.”
Hasmik Margaryan with her daughter Vika, born four days earlier, at the maternity ward in Sevan
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Hasmik Margaryan with her daughter Vika, born four days earlier, at the maternity ward in Sevan

At a conference to advance gender equality and combat prenatal sex selection in Tsaghkadzor, a ski resort, community workers, activists and doctors from across the country share their experiences. Many men blame women for the sex of their own children, not realising that the Y chromosome responsible for the male sex is transferred from the man’s genome.

I have coffee with Margaret, a young women who works with children with disabilities. She believes everyone has a right to life.

She loves all children, she explains. She tells the women she works with: “You know when you want your husband to buy you an expensive handbag and you persuade him to? Well surely you can do that with a baby? Talk to him, tell him you want to have a girl. Persuade him. Tell him you want her to live.”