May 26, 2017

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Live: Hearings in Congress- Violence outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence

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Live: Hearings in Congress- Violence outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence

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Football fan: “The whole nation scored a goal with Henrikh”

Victory of Henrikh Mkhitaryan at the UEFA Europa League final aroused different reactions in Armenia.

“Felling of pride towards Armenians”, “When you see Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s photo with the Armenian tricolor on his shoulders on Manchester United’s website, it already speaks for itself”, “I have a feeling that the whole nation scored a goal together with Henrikh Mkhitaryan”, Armenia’s citizens told in reply to the questions of “A1+”.

They explain that unprecedented achievement with several factors- football player’s father, Hamlet Mkhitaryan, was also an experienced footballer, as well as he is hardworking, determined.

But even after this victory some questions remain unanswered.

“It is surprising that a star like Henrikh Mkhitaryan last year wasn’t included in the list of 10 best sportsmen. So our officials should think about it,” noted one of the football fans.


Though V. Avetisyan is free, violation of a personality right remains: advocate

Today reserve colonel Volodya Avetisyan, who was sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment, has been released from Vardashen PI.

For 6 times he applied for an early release, but the independent committee refused Volodya Avetisyan for 6 times without any justification.

“A1+” hosted Araks Melkonyan, representative-advocate of Volodya Avetisyan, to talk on the topic.

Watch details in the video!


Flights in territory of Armenia

Yell Extreme Park project, which aims at developing adventure tourism in Armenia, creating new jobs, activating social life and encouraginghealthy lifestyle, has implemented a number of projects directed to the development of the sector since 2015, trying to become a large tourist center in the region.

Yell Extreme Park project started its activities in Yenokavan community of Tavush marz with zipline, and now offers the fans of active rest paragliding, roppark, paintball, horseback riding etc.

Widening the scope of its activities, starting from May of 2017 Yell Extreme Park together with Stepanakert airport has started implementing Stepanakert-Shushi-Stepanakert non-stop tourism flights by two-man airliners.

Daily air excursion with maximum 30 minutes duration costs AMD 35.000, and the flights are carried out by experienced and skillful pilots.

As for the fights from Yerevan, now the issue of construction of a small airport in Yenokavan community of the RA Tavush marz is under discussion, which will aim at implementing flights in Yerevan-Yenokavan-Yerevan direction.


“I cannot see Nzhdehism”: Raffi Hovannisian to create new power

Why there weren’t post-election developments after the parliamentary elections; Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian explains, “We had a candidate, who believes that blood of any Armenian shouldn’t be shed in Armenia.”

Let the rich not get overjoyed, and the poor get sad. At the same time leader of Heritage Party calls on the supporters not to get into despair; they will not stop the political struggle after not appearing in the parliament, “One day we are sad, the other day it is hot, despair, everything will pass, I can also feel the same, but life goes on. Human rights, political prisoners, freedom of speech remain on the agenda.”

Raffi Hovannisian together with Seyran Ohanyan and Vartan Oskanian think of establishing one party. The congress of Heritage Party will be held in a month, where the allies will be offered to unite in one power. He hints that he wants the new power to be called Heritage.

Raffi Hovannisian supports large political consolidation. He can see real oppositionists under the flag of one political force, “We are open for cooperation with extra-parliamentary and some parliamentary forces; giving their names will be of no benefit, and we hope that before the congress its scope will be clear.”

Most of all in Armenia’s Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan speaks of reforms and economic investments. But his [Premier’s] personality didn’t make the opposition figure change his attitude towards the ruling power.

“Time will show the work Karen Karapetyan will do, but while speaking of mistakes of Armenia and while offering solutions, he should speak broader and more complete. He should say that the elections were rigged. At the moment I cannot see party purity, party Nzhdehism.”

As a proof to his words, leader of Heritage reminds of recent rigged elections.


Ed. Sharmazanov: “Don not artificially separate Karen Karapetyan from the Republican Party”

Serzh Sargsyan isn’t intended to remain in power until 2040, when he told in the parliament that until that year the GDP would be increased by 5 times.

The NA Deputy Speaker Eduard Sharmazanov notes, “Irrespective of the fact which force is in power, we should set that strategic goal and move forward.”

What Serzh Sargsyan said is simply a long-term project, which, according to Eduard Sharmazanov, mustn’t be identified with the longevity of the Republican Party, “People are to decide; much will happen until 2040.”

The Speaker of the Republican Party also comments on the question, whether there are contradictions between Karen Karapetyan’s personnel and the Republican Party, “Do not artificially separate Karen Karapetyan from the Republican Party.”

According to Eduard Sharmazanov, the Premier personally joined the Republican Party. In reply to the question, whether the Speaker rules out the possibility that when after 2018 the powers of Serzh Sargsyan end, the Premier, nevertheless, will quit his post, “Theoretically there may be thousand and one scenarios.”

Mr Sharmazanov doesn’t want to speak of developments in 2018. At this moment the Party is involved in formation of the government.


BHK lawmaker: “It is not Serzh Sargsyan to sack or appoint”

Vardevan Grigoryan, lawmaker from Tsarukyan alliance, cannot imagine himself as a radical oppositionist,

“If tomorrow the same authorities decide that they make the minimum salary AMD 100 000, but our program implied AMD 80 000, what shall we do, shall we vote against it?”

He is surprised at the question to which power he will be an opposition. Of course- the authorities. But there is a viewpoint that the alliance is a controllable opposition. Mr Grigoryan will not refrain from demanding Serzh Sargsyan’s resignation, “If it is grounded and not an end in itself…”

We also know that in the previous parliament many lawmakers left the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) faction, when Serzh Sargsyan removed Tsarukyan from the politics. BHK lawmaker Vardevan Grigoryan was among those, who left the party during those days, “It is not Serzh Sargsyan to sack or appoint. If the lawmaker doesn’t want it, no one can sack him.”

According to Mr Grigoryan, today the alliance doesn’t face such a situation; Gagik Tsarukyan is again the leader and is again involved in the politics.

The lawmaker cannot say that as a leader of the opposition, Gagik Tsarukyan has problems with the first face of the authorities. He cannot image which the problem can be, “As an opponent, of course, Republican Party has always seen the Prosperous Armenia Party.”

The lawmaker, by the way, doesn’t think that such a rivalry is a problem for the Republican Party.


New Study Reveals State Of Humanitarian Morass Worldwide

Waning Compassion, Lack of Competent Leadership and Skepticism in One’s Ability to Make a Difference Drive Decline in Humanitarian Support

Pessimism Buoyed by Confidence in Millennials to Take Future Humanitarian Action

25 May 2017 –YEREVAN, ARMENIA –A new international study released today, the 2017 Aurora Humanitarian Index,revealed support for humanitarian action is on a steep decline and there is an overwhelming lack of confidence in world leaders to address the refugees crisis.

Results from the Index,which surveyed nearly 6,500 people in 12 countries, were compounded by the fact that only nine percent of individuals believe their actions canmake a difference in solving the global refugee crisis. For the second year in a row, terrorism is cited as theundisputed top humanitarian issue at 63 percent, followed by the widening gap between the rich and poor, hunger, climate change and forced migration.

The annual public opinion survey gauges attitudes towards humanitarian issues worldwide, the effectiveness of humanitarian intervention, and individuals’ motivations to intervene on behalf of others. A bright spot in the 2017 Indexshowed youth outpacing their older counterparts, showing greater openness toward and support of refugees, and willingness to take humanitarian action.

“The sense of apathy towards humanitarianism today highlights an urgent need for engagement in every sector,” said Ruben Vardanyan, Co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative (AHI) and United World College at Dilijan. “However, this negativity is counter-balanced by the incredibly positive attitudes of youth towards humanitarianism and the individual impact on the refugee crisis. All of us need to educate and motivate the young people around the world so they not only understand their capacity for meaningful impact, but are inspired to act upon it.”

Keyfindings from the 2017 Aurora Humanitarian Index commissioned by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, a non-profit organization committed to building a global humanitarian movement to empower modern-day saviors, include:

  • Confidence in individual impact on humanitarian action is low:
    • Only nine percent of respondents feel they can make a difference in solving humanitarian issues.
    • Although 56 percent of respondents are upset upon hearing the hardship that Syrian refugees are experiencing, 51 percent feel they are unable to make a meaningful impact.
  • Support for humanitarian action is declining:
    • Though a majority of respondents agree refugees deserve help, only 37 percent would welcome refugees into their own countries.
    • 42 percent of respondents feel their countries have already taken in too many refugees.
    • Respondents across the 12 countries identified Germany, France and the U.S. as the countries accepting the highest number of refugees. In actuality, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey have permitted the most refugees into their countries worldwide.
  • Isolationism and nationalism extend beyond politics:
    • 34 percent of respondents agree that immigrants make their country a better place to live, yet one-third view migrants as a threat to their religious beliefs.
    • 44 percent of respondents feel their country is threatened by ethnic minorities. This figure rises significantly in the UK (56 percent); Kenya (56 percent); Turkey (55 percent); and France (54 percent).
  • There is a crisis in competent leadership:
    • 32 percent of respondents could not identify a leader capable of addressing the refugee crisis.
    • United States President Donald Trump (33 percent) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (31 percent) are perceived as the leaders best positioned to provide solutions to the refugee crisis today, a sharp decrease from the 46 percent of respondents from the 2016 Aurora Humanitarian Index thatperceived then U.S. President Barack Obama as most capable.
    • Despite their distinctly different views, Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are all equally believed by only 15 percent of respondents as being best positioned to provide solutions to the refugee crisis.
    • Every sector surveyed are perceived as doing less in 2017 to address the Syrian refugee crisis than one year ago, as reported in the 2016 Aurora Humanitarian Index. The media, international communities, respondents’ governments and developed countries suffered the most significant decline in perceived action since 2016.
    • The European Union and the United Nations are perceived as the most capable bodies to address the ongoing crisis, but confidence in global organizations across the board has declined since 2016.
  • Hope lies with the next generation of humanitarians:
    • Overall, younger people are more positive and confident in their capacity for impact, with 68 percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 years agreeing that refugees deserve help, and 47 percent wanting to help Syrian refugees.
    • Younger respondents value diversity, with 29 percent of respondents agreeing it is better for a country if everyone shared customs and traditions.
    • Of those surveyed, respondents aged 18 to 34 years are the most likely to take action to address the refugee crisis in the next 12 months.

The global survey,led by research partner Kantar Public and interpreted by academic partner UniversitéLibre de Bruxelles, was fielded between February 21 and March 19, 2017. Interviews were conducted with 6,466 individuals in 12 markets, up from six markets surveyed in the inaugural 2016 Index.

“The results from this year’s Aurora Humanitarian Index compel the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative to continue its mission to celebrate and empower those who offer life and hope to this in need, inspire those individuals who have been saved to become saviors themselves, and rekindle hope in humanity,” said Noubar Afeyan, co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. “Each of the five 2017 Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity finalists are brilliant examples of the deep and meaningful impact a single person can have on the world.”

The 2017 Aurora Humanitarian Index will be presented on Sunday, May 28 in Yerevan, Armenia during the Aurora Dialogues, a platform for the world’s leading humanitarians, academics, philanthropists, business leaders and civil society to bring awareness to today’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. The weekend of events will culminate with the presentation of the 2017 Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, a global humanitarian award that recognizes modern day heroes and their exceptional impact on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes in the face of adversity.A panel discussion featuring Aurora Prize Selection Committee Members Gareth Evans, HinaJilani and Mary Robinson, Kantar Public Methods Director HaykGyuzalyan, American University in Cairo Professor of Global Affairs and Center for Migration and Refugee Studies Ibrahim Awad, and RefugePoint Founder and Executive Director Sasha Chanoff will be live-streamed at www.auroraprize.com.

For more information about the survey results and the Aurora Humanitarian Index, visit here.

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, NoubarAfeyan 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


“We cannot ensure quality for those 7 pupils”

Levon Mkrtchyan, acting Minister of Education and Science, today once again reminded that the optimization program relates to the city schools, and village schools won’t be closed down as a result of that.

“It doesn’t relate to village schools. First, everything must be qualitative. See, if the school has 7 pupils and there is another school 1 km or 2 km far, which has 60 pupils, as a result that school with 7 pupils is really hard to keep, as we cannot ensure quality for those 7 pupils,” noted Levon Mkrtchyan.

Watch the video!


Status quo in Artsakh weakens our positions: Arman Melikyan

It is clearly defined in the negotiations over Artsakh issue that Armenian troops will be withdrawn from the territory of Artsakh. According to the words of former foreign minister of Artsakh, agreeing with such a development for possible peace is absurd.

He says that Armenia’s state policy was a blunder still in 1993, “At that time Armenia became a party to the conflict and the conflict became an international issue. It was decisive and a blunder.”

Watch the video!


Congress Introduces Resolution Condemning Turkish Violence In Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) was joined by Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in introducing House Resolution 354, a resolution condemning the violence against peaceful protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence on May 16, 2017, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) reported. The House Resolution calls for “the perpetrators to be brought to justice.”

H.Res. 354 states: “after hours of peaceful protest, violence erupted when pro-Erdogan supporters and individuals from the Turkish Embassy grounds pushed past District of Columbia police officers to brutally attack the demonstrators.” The Resolution expressed deep concern that “Turkish officials blatantly suppressed the First Amendment rights of United States citizens, and multiple armed Turkish security officials beat, kicked, and choked unarmed demonstrators.”

In addition, the Resolution noted that the Washington Metropolitan Police Department and other reports confirm that “the demonstrators did not instigate the violence,” and that this is the third instance of violence perpetrated in the U.S. by members of Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail.

H.Res. 354 calls for “any Turkish security officials who directed, oversaw, or participated in efforts by Turkish security forces to illegally suppress peaceful protests on May 16, 2017, should be charged and prosecuted under United States law.”

Taking a strong stand against the growing trend of repressive authoritarianism in Turkey, H.Res. 354 states that “the United States should take steps to strengthen freedoms for the press and civil society in countries such as Turkey, and combat efforts by foreign leaders to suppress free and peaceful protest in their own countries.”

“The Assembly applauds Representatives Royce, Engel, McCarthy, and Hoyer and their introduction of bipartisan legislation condemning Turkey’s outrageous attack against peaceful protesters and assault on our cherished democratic values,” Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny said.

In last week’s statement, the Assembly called upon Members of Congress and the Administration to condemn this latest affront by Turkey on basic freedoms. The Assembly also launched a grassroots campaign to urge Members of the House and Senate to condemn the Turkish attack and hold those who perpetrated these acts of violence accountable.

In addition to the House Resolution, 28 Members signed a bipartisan letter urging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “to speak out publicly against these actions and, just as importantly, ensure that these men are held fully accountable for their actions.” The previous day, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) sent a letter to Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kilic, which says in part: “We encourage local law enforcement personnel to prosecute perpetrators of this attack to the fullest extent of the law and support the expulsion from the United States of any diplomatic personnel involved.” Other Members have spoken out against these attacks as well.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.


Azerbaijani side did not lead the OSCE mission to its front-line positions

On May 25, 2017, in accordance with the arrangement reached with the authorities of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh Republic), the OSCE Mission conducted a planned monitoring of the Line of Contact between the armed forces of Artsakh and Azerbaijan, to the west of Seysulan settlement of the Martakert region.

From the positions of the Defense Army of the Republic of Artsakh, the monitoring was conducted by Field Assistant to the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) Mihail Olaru (Moldova) and Personal Assistant to the OSCE CiO Personal Representative Simon Tiller (Great Britain).

From the opposite side of the Line of Contact, the monitoring was conducted by Field Assistant to the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Ghenadie Petrica (Moldova) and staff member of the Office of the OSCE CiO Personal Representative Martin Schuster (Germany).

The monitoring passed in accordance with the agreed schedule. No violation of the cease-fire regime was registered.  However, the Azerbaijani side did not lead the OSCE mission to its front-line positions and in violation of arrangements reached on the procedure of conducting a monitoring used a surveillance aerostat.

From the Artsakh side, the monitoring mission was accompanied by representatives of the Republic of Artsakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense.


World champion congratulates Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Former midfielder of France’s football team Youri Djorkaeff congratulated Henrikh Mkhitaryan on his Twitter page on the occasion of winning the final of UEFA Europa League.

“*that day you told me you would one day win the Cup too…you deserve it my friend!!!!Congratulation @HenrikhMkh💪bravo @ManUtd🏆@armenia 🇦🇲,” commented Youri Djorkaeff the photo posted by him, in which 1998 world champion is with Henrikh Mkhitaryan in Yerevan “Hrazdan” stadium.

To remind, famous French footballer also has Armenian roots (his mother is French Armenian).


Prosecutor mediates to sentence Ararat Khandoyan to 4 years’ imprisonment

Short time ago at the Court of General Jurisdiction of Yerevan Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts Prosecutor Hayk Petrosyan mediated to sentence Ararat Khandoyan, brother of “Sasna Dzrer” group member Arayik Khandoyan, to 4 years’ imprisonment. Prosecutor Hayk Petrosyan announced that Ararat Khandoyan doesn’t pledge himself guilty of the charge levied against him. To remind, that article implies 3-8 years’ imprisonment.

Ararat Khandoyan is charged with pulling the shield of a policeman and hitting him.


Another extraordinary session

At the decision of the Government, on June 8 at 11:00 an extraordinary session of the NA will be convened. Davit Harutyunyan, acting minister-chief of the RA Government staff, said that 4 issues will be included in the agenda.

In particular, anti-corruption package, draft law on making changes and amendments in the RA law on Public Services Regulatory body, issues of state property privatization and enlargement of the communities will be on the agenda.

To remind, the NA will convene one more extraordinary session on May 30 at 11:00.


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