May 29, 2017

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OSCE Secretary General to visit Armenia

On May 30 at the invitation of Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian, Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, will visit Armenia.

President of the Republic will receive the OSCE Secretary General.

The negotiations and the joint press conference of the RA Foreign Minister and the OSCE Secretary General will be held on May 30.


“In the issue of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict the CSTO member states should be faithful to the CSTO official position”

On May 29, the RA NA Deputy Speaker Eduard Sharmazanov received the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Armenia Igor Nazaruk.

During the meeting the development of the inter-parliamentary relations, cooperation in the international different platforms, political and economic ties of the two countries were discussed.

Mr Sharmazanov highlighted the combined work and supporting each other on the international platforms, including in the CSTO PA and the OSCE PA. The NA Deputy Speaker has underlined that our parliamentary delegation is for exclusively peaceful settlement of the conflicts in the CSTO zone of responsibility, particularly in the issue of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. In this context Eduard Sharmazanov expressed conviction that the parliamentarians of the CSTO member states should be faithful to the CSTO official position in this issue.

“If we want to solve the problem, we should understand the reason, and the reason is that Azerbaijan does not recognize the exercise of the right to Artsakh people’s self-determination. Artsakh people should completely exercise its right to self-determination,” Mr Sharmazanov said.

By the NA Deputy Speaker’s assessment, the deepening of the inter-parliamentary relations will give an opportunity to expand the development of the economic relations between Armenia and Belarus, noting that the EEU membership gives a new opportunity in this matter.

First, the Ambassador congratulated the newly elected parliament on the occasion of holding the NA elections and assured that the cooperation of the parliaments of the two friendly countries from now on will continue to develop upwards. Mr Nazaruk also highlighted the peaceful settlement of the NK problem within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.

An agreement was reached to hold the sitting of the Inter-Parliamentary Committee on Cooperation between the RA National Assembly and the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus in Minsk in summer.


FC Pyunik to have new owner

Yerevan FC Pyunik will soon have a new owner.

Recently news has been circulated that Russian businessman Arthur Soghomonyan wants to obtain the club. Press service of the FC Pyunik told “A1+” correspondent that on June 3 a press conference will be held in the club and that issue will be discussed.

To note, FC Pyunik belonged to Ruben Hayrapetyan, President of the Football Federation of Armenia, who has announced many times that the club is one of their family businesses.

By the way, this is the first time in Armenian football that the owner of the club is selling the club established by him.


New appointment

According to the decree of Serzh Sargsyan, Mikayel Soghomonyan has been appointed Deputy Head of the Public Services Regulatory Commission of the Republic of Armenia for 5 years’ term.


ECHR to consider suit into the case of Ararat Khandoyan

The European Court of Human Rights will consider the suit filed by Ara Gharagyozyan, advocate of “Against the Legal Arbitrariness” NGO, in connection with the illegal detention of Ararat Khandoyan, who is charged with participation in mass disorders.

The suit relates to the first decision on Ararat Khandoyan’s detention.

The ECHR informed the advocate that the Court will consider the case at the earliest opportunity.

To remind, the case is under investigation and the Prosecutor has already made a speech, mediating to sentence Ararat Khandoyan to 4 years’ imprisonment.


Pro-Russian Committee on European Integration in the RA National Assembly

The nine standing committees of the newly-elected RA National Assembly include the Standing Committee on European Integration. The scope of activity of this committee will include ties with the European Union and the Council of Europe, harmonization of RA laws with European legislation and laws governing those areas. On May 20, Naira Zohrabyan was reelected as chairperson of this committee. The committee is composed of 8 deputies, one of which is from Yelq bloc, three from Tsarukyan bloc and four from the Republican Party.

Taking into account Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union and the resulting impossibility of Armenia’s integration with Europe, as well as the economic recession Armenia experienced during the recent two years due to EAEU membership, it is worth addressing the positions of the committee members on the Armenian foreign policy course.

On December 4, 2014, the RA National Assembly (former staff) voted for EAEU membership, thus failing the signing of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union and immensely complicating the European integration. Some of the deputies that participated in that decisive voting in 2014 are in the newly-elected parliament. In particular, Arayik Grigoryan, Artak Sargsyan (famous with the nickname “SAS Artak”) from the Republican Party (RPA) voted for EAEU membership back in 2014.

The fourth RPA member Mihran Hakobyan was not in the former staff of the National Assembly but he is famous for his anti-European statements. And the “Ararat” TV channel belonging to him has stood out for its support to the Russian propaganda machine.

Chairperson of the committee Naira Zohrabyan, who represents Tsarukyan bloc, was absent from the session on the voting day, and the other two members from the bloc, namely, Luiza Sargsyan and Shake Isayan, were not members of the former RA National Assembly staff. Similarly, the deputy from “Yelq” Gevorg Gorgisyan was not member of the former RA National Assembly staff either.

And though the representatives from “Tsarukyan” and “Yelq” blocs did not participate in the EAEU membership voting, it is worth noting that almost the whole staff of the “Prosperous Armenia” party voted for EAEU membership, while two of the leaders of current “Yelq” bloc Edmon Marukyan and Nikol Pashinyan voted against it.

In other words, the RPA members of the Standing Committee on European Integration have a clear orientation towards the Eurasian Economic Union. The position of the chairperson of the committee and Tsarukyan bloc members is not pro-European either. And the only member from “Yelq” bloc Gevorg Gorgisyan is a minority in this committee even if he has a clear pro-European position.

In any event, we have appeared in a ridiculous situation when majority of the members of the Standing Committee on European Integration have in some way or other opposed European integration.

Anna Pambukhchyan,
Union of Informed Citizens


26 accidents in 3 days; 39 injured, 1 killed

According to the operations reports of Police of the Republic of Armenia, 15 out of 16 cases of infliction of bodily injuries registered in the territory of the republic from May 26 to May 29, as well as 16 cases of theft, 6 cases of swindling, 2 cases of bribery, 1 case of squandering and 1 case of intentional destruction of property have been solved, 2 cases of detection of narcotics have been registered.

From earlier committed crimes 1 case of intentional destruction of property and 1 case of theft have been detected.

Over the past 3 days, 26 road traffic accidents have been registered in the republic: 1 person died, 39 people got bodily injuries of varying levels of gravity.


Stork makes its nest of garbage

Both human factor and climate changes affect the environment.

Environmentalist Silva Adamyan alarms that today mining industry is the most concerning in Armenia, as a result of which cancer and endocrine diseases have activated.

“We are the second country in the whole world with cancer rates, and it proves that the environment isn’t examined appropriately. We do not have full research on soil, water issues etc,” Silva Adamyan told the journalists.

She says that if it continues the same way, both cancer and endocrine diseases will be transferred from generation to generation, “The change in the endocrine system is genetics of a nation, if the gene is changed, what will become of us?”

The environmentalist can see the solution to the issue in carrying out relevant examinations, as well as plating trees, which will make forests more, “We should plant such trees, which will change the landscape.”

Today the environmentalist also touched upon the issue of garbage. Silva Adamyan says that we are wholly in garbage. She also mentioned that in Surenavan village of Ararat marz the stork made its nest of garbage.


Aras Ozbiliz becomes champion of Turkey

Aras Ozbiliz, member of the Armenian National football team, became champion of Turkey.

His team, Istanbul’s FC Beşiktaş defeated FC Gaziantepspor with 4:0 score, gained 74 points and won the first place. Though Aras Ozbiliz didn’t participate in the match, he was with his teammates at the moment of the victory.

To note, FC Beşiktaş will take part in the group stage qualifying matches of the Champions League. If Aras Ozbiliz remains in the team, in that tournament he will face Henrikh Mkhitaryan, as Catain of our team together with his team FC Manchester United has entered the group stage of the Champions League.


Should we build a hospital or buy books?

At the meeting with journalists today Armen Martirosyan, Director of “Antares” publishing house, while touching upon the issue of preservation of the Armenian language, noted that there is nothing in our country except nuances of vote rigging, “Today only translations preserve the language, maintaining those nuances. Today three publishing houses issue one book, Borges. It displays difficulties in book publishing; there are no translators. There are 60 languages, from which we do not have translations in our country, for example- Norwegian. At the beginning there were translators from 7 languages, now there are translators from 18 languages. We have a collapsing, degrading, indecent phenomenon. People don’t read in Armenia, but the reason isn’t the internet, as there are lots of e-books. How to overcome this situation? Books should be sold, yet, annually 48 books are sold, and only one or two libraries have the particular book. No regional or school library has those books.”

Armen Martirosyan says that the publishers and writers are going to have a discussion with the National Assembly on the condition of libraries, “About 2000 books are published and hardly 10 of them reach the libraries. The Government leaves the issue on the communities. Even one of the officials said ‘Should we build a hospital or buy books?’ I think mental health is equally important. So that the society can read, those books should be available; annually those 2000 books will cost AMD 6 million. In Germany a person, who reads 16 books in a year, is considered to be a reading person. If in our country one percent read, annually 20 000 books would be sold. We have other values, we aren’t bibliophiles.”

The problem with translations is that today we read books translated by Soviet translators, “For example in the book The Catcher in the Rye the word ‘God’ was translated ‘the Devil’. And we know that the Devil is in little things.”

 


Putin and Macron to meet in Paris

Today meeting of the presidents of France and Russia will take place in Paris. At the beginning of his tenure newly-elected President of France Emmanuel Macron announced that he respects Putin and at his invitation the meeting will take place in Paris.

During these days an exhibition dedicated to Russian Tsar Peter the Great will be opened in Paris, and Putin will take part in the opening ceremony. Exclusive exhibits have been taken from Hermitage to Paris, which will be exhibited until September.

“I am ready for a dialogue with my Russian counterpart,” said Macron.

At the meeting with Putin he is intended to discuss urgent international issues.


Vahe Stepanyan to temporarily replace Davit Harutyunyan

Vahe Stepanyan will temporarily carry out responsibilities of the Minister-Chief of the RA Government Staff. Such a decision has been made by the RA Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan.

Vahe Stepanyan will replace Davit Harutyunyan.

To remind, the latter has been appointed Minister of Justice.


Due to high gas price villagers cut off trees: concerns of farmers

How to make accurate predictions in the market, who should give advice to villagers?

Another issue of Kiraki (Sunday) program touched upon these topics. The program hosted Varuzhan Khodedanyan, farmer, Director of Farm Service Center, and Robert Makaryan, Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

Last week residents of a number of communities of Armavir marz closed Etchmiadzin-Margara highway; they protested that they couldn’t sell their cucumber harvest even at the lower price they had spent. Our colleagues from Armavir ALT TV company visited the wholesale market of the marz.

In Gegharkunik marz villagers sell not only crops, but also fish.

Qyavar TV company prepared a material from Sevan about fishers.


$1 Million Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity Awarded to Dr. Tom Catena

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative honors esteemed Catholic Missionary physician in war-torn Sudan

for rekindling faith in humanity

MAY 28, 2017 – YEREVAN, ARMENIA – The $1 Million Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity was awarded tonight to Dr. Tom Catena, a Catholic missionary from Amsterdam, New York who has saved thousands of lives as the sole doctor permanently based in Sudan’s war-ravaged Nuba Mountains where humanitarian aid is restricted. The Aurora Prize, granted by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, was announced at a ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia. He was selected as the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate from more than 550 nominations submitted from 66 countries.

 

George Clooney, Academy Award-winning actor, Co-Founder of both The Sentry and Not On Our Watch, and Co-Chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, commended Dr. Catena by stating, “As violence and war continue to threaten people’s spirits and perseverance, it is important to recognize, empower and celebrate people like Dr. Catena who are selflessly helping others to not only survive, but thrive. Dr. Catena is a role model to us all, and yet another example of people on the ground truly making a difference.”  

 

Dr. Catena will receive a $100,000 grant and the opportunity to continue the cycle of giving by donating the accompanying $1,000,000 award to organizations of his choice. Dr. Catena will donate the award to three organizations:

  • African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), USA
  • Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB), USA
  • Aktion Canchanabury, Germany

 

For the last nine years, Dr. Catena – known by locals as “Dr. Tom” – has been on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the Mother of Mercy Catholic Hospital to care for the more than 750,000 citizens of Nuba amidst ongoing civil war between the Government of Sudan and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement. Patients have been known to walk for up to seven days to receive treatment for injuries from bombing attacks and ailments varying from bone fractures to malnourishment and malaria. It is estimated that Dr. Catena treats 500 patients per day and performs more than one thousand operations each year.

 

On being named the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate, Dr. Catena said, “We all have an obligation to look after our brothers and sisters. It is possible that every single person can make a contribution, and to recognize that shared humanity can lead to a brighter future. With my faith as my guide, I am honored to continue to serve the world and make it a better place.”

 

“Dr. Catena is an inspiration for to anyone who has ever doubted humanity. Despite tremendous injustice and sacrifice, he has dedicated his life to ensuring that the next generation has a brighter future,” said Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative (AHI), and Aurora Prize Selection Committee member. “His service to others is an inspiration, and it is our hope that the individuals he has saved will continue the cycle of gratitude by becoming saviors themselves.”

 

Leading international humanitarian figures and Aurora Prize Selection Committee members, including Gareth Evans, Hina Jilani, Leymah Gbowee, Shirin Ebadi, Ernesto Zedillo and Vartan Gregorian, were in attendance to celebrate the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate.

 

Dr. Catena was congratulated by Marguerite Barankitse, who was awarded the inaugural Aurora Prize in 2016 for her tireless commitment to restoring children’s dignity and hope as the founder of Maison Shalom and the REMA Hospital in Burundi. She said, “The Aurora Prize is so important to keeping hope alive for people around the world, and I am proud to be joined by such a humble and true role model as Dr. Catena. I applaud his selfless efforts in delivering love to all and congratulate him on this esteemed award.”

 

Guests of the Aurora Prize Ceremony also honored the exceptional contributions of the other four 2017 Aurora Prize finalists: Ms. Fartuun Adan and Ms. Ilwad Elman, the Founders of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre in Somalia; Ms. Jamila Afghani, the Chairperson of the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organization in Afghanistan; Mr. Muhammad Darwish, a medical doctor at the Madaya Field Hospital in Syria; and Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecological surgeon and Founder of the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

“Dr. Catena embodies the spirit of the Aurora Prize, and we extend our deepest gratitude to him and the people and organizations around the world that support and inspire him to continue his noble work despite immensely challenging conditions,” said Ruben Vardanyan, co-founder of AHI and United World College at Dilijan. “We are honored to share his story with the world to shed light on the goodwill that exists in the world so that helping others becomes part of our global culture.”

 

The naming of the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate follows the release of the Aurora Humanitarian Index, the second annual global public opinion survey that gauges attitudes towards humanitarian responsibility, the effectiveness of humanitarian intervention and individuals’ motivations to intervene on behalf of others. The Index found that support for humanitarian action is on a steep decline, and that a rise in populism around the world is affecting the public’s perception of efforts made to aid refugees around the world.

 

“We hope the findings from this year’s Aurora Humanitarian Index serve as motivation for individuals around the world to not only understand their capacity for meaningful impact, but be inspired to act upon it,” said Noubar Afeyan, co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. “Through the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, we encourage those touched by Dr. Catena’s selfless work to make their own mark on the world by expanding the circle of saviors, and most importantly survivors. It is possible for us all to play a role in renewing hope in humanity.”

 


 

NOTES TO EDITORS

 

About the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity

On behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, an Aurora Prize Laureate will be honored each year between 2015 and 2023 (in remembrance of the eight years of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1923) with a US$100,000 grant as well as the unique opportunity to continue the cycle of giving by nominating organizations that inspired their work for a US$1,000,000 award. Recipients will be recognized for the exceptional impact of their actions on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes.

 

The Aurora Prize Selection Committee includes Nobel Laureates Oscar Arias, Shirin Ebadi and Leymah Gbowee; former president of Ireland Mary Robinson; human rights activist Hina Jilani; former foreign minister of Australia and President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group Gareth Evans; former president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo; President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York Vartan Gregorian; and Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian George Clooney.

 

About the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative

Founded on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative seeks to empower modern-day saviors to offer life and hope to those in urgent need of basic humanitarian aid and thus continue the cycle of giving internationally. The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is Gratitude in Action. It is an eight-year commitment (2015 to 2023, in remembrance of the eight years of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1923) to support people and promote projects that tackle the needs of the most helpless and destitute, and do so at great risk. This is achieved through the Initiative’s various programs: The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, the Aurora Dialogues, the Aurora Humanitarian Index, the Gratitude Projects and the 100 LIVES Initiative. The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is the vision of philanthropists Vartan Gregorian, Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan who have, already in the second year, been joined by several dozen new donors and partners. The Initiative welcomes all who embrace a commitment to our shared humanity.

 

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is represented by three organizations – Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Foundation, Inc. (New York, USA), the 100 Lives Foundation (Geneva, Switzerland) and the IDeA Foundation (Yerevan, Armenia). 

 

Further information is available at www.auroraprize.com


Spanish alpinist climbs all 14 eight-thousanders

Ferran Latorre became the 19th climber in the world to climb peaks higher than 8,000m.
He first scaled a 8000m summit in 1999 but it was in 2012 that he decided to climb all the 14 peaks above 8,000m.

The last ascent of the Spanish mountaineer was Mount Everest (8848 m).
The first person to climb all 14 eight-thousanders was the Italian Reinhold Messner.


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