Targeted News Service Wednesday 5:48 AM EST U.S. Embassy Donates $80,000 of Equipment to Tsiatsan and Amberd Schools YEREVAN, Armenia The U.S. Embassy in Armenia issued the following news: Today, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard M. Mills, Jr., along with representatives from the U.S. Embassy's Office of Defense Cooperation, visited Tsiatsan and Amberd schools to donate $80,000 worth of new school equipment, training aids, furniture, sports equipment, and kitchen appliances. These schools were chosen to receive the donation, provided by the U.S. Department of Defense's Excess Property program, after Ambassador Mills' 2015 visit to the region, where he saw first-hand the efforts of the United Nations World Food Program to provide hot meals for primary school students. "It is very special for me to be back here nearly three years after my first visit to these schools, and I am delighted to deliver on the promises I made to you back then," Ambassador Mills said to an audience of local leaders, school staff and students. "By working with the UN Food Program, you will now have the equipment you need to provide hot meals and educational support to nearly 300 children in your communities." The goal of the U.S. Department of Defense's Excess Property program at the Tsiatsan and Amberd Schools is to support the schools by providing new furniture and equipment and to supplement programs implemented by other donors, including the UN World Food Program. The Tsiatsan School, with World Food Program support, began providing hot meals to students in September 2015. Half of the 300 students at the Tsiatsan School receive hot meals through this program. The feeding program at the Amberd School began even earlier, in 2014. Around 120 out of a total of 244 primary grade students benefit from this program. The school feeding program was implemented as a social safety net to provide nutrition and sustenance for children to enable them to focus on their studies.
PanARMENIAN.Net – Greco-Roman wrestler Malkhas Amoyan took gold in the under 67kg event of the 2018 Junior World Championships, currently underway in Trnava, Slovakia.
In his final bout, Amoyan defeated Uzbekistan's Mahmud Kakhshaliyev with a score of 10:0.
As reported earlier, Tigran Minasyan (55 kg weight class) and David Ovasapyan (130 kg) had snatched two silver medals, while Hrachya Poghosyan (63 kg) was unable to defeat his opponent in his bronze-medal fight to take a medal.
The championship will run through September 23.
PanARMENIAN.Net – Armenia's position in the latest FIFA ranking has remained unchanged for a fourth month after the country's national football team dropped two notches in June to take the 100th spot.
France and Belgium share the first and second spots, while Brazil comes in the third.
Meanwhile, Turks and Caicos Islands, Bahamas and Tonga come in the bottom end.
The Investigative Committee of Armenia has issued a statement about the police search in the Yerevan Today news website’s head office.
The Investigative Committee has presented certain clarifications, and responded to Yerevan Today editor-in-chief Sevak Hakobyan’s statements.
“A task force has been set up, and together with tactical-intelligence bodies necessary actions are being carried out to reveal all circumstances surrounding the wiretapping and leaking the phone conversation of heads of two law enforcement bodies and to reveal the circle of suspects,” the Investigative Committee said, adding that the investigation into the wiretapping of National Security Service director Arthur Vanetsyan and Special Investigative Service Sasun Khachatryan is continuing.
The statement mentions that based on information, investigators had filed motions and subsequently were granted search warrants from courts for six different addresses, including the head office of Yerevan Today.
“Considering the public interest, we once again note that the lawful search which was carried out in the editorial office has nothing to do with their journalistic activities, and is exclusively aimed that ensuring a comprehensive, objective and complete investigation of the case,” the statement said.
The Investigative Committee also mentioned Article 42 of the Constitution – which guarantees the right to freedom of _expression_, which includes press freedom.
“The Investigative Committee respects the freedom of mass media, attaches importance to maintaining required mechanisms for safeguarding its exercise, and hasn’t anyhow obstructed and doesn’t obstruct news media with its actions in spreading any information, and in such circumstances viewing a judicial and investigative action, which was carried out within the law, as “an attempt to silence” the media outlet is to say the least strange, and has nothing to do with reality,” the statement reads.
At the same time, it mentions Article 33 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to the freedom and confidentiality of correspondence, phone conversations and other types of communication.
According to the Investigative Committee, the audio recording of the wiretapped conversation was first uploaded on YouTube on September 5, but was widely distributed on social networks and mass media only on September 11. However, according to the Investigative Committee, Yerevan Today has uploaded the video on September 9, according to Google’s search system, which became subject of investigation.
Yerevan Today Editor-In-Chief Sevak Hakobyan has said that they haven’t uploaded it on September 9, and that the misunderstanding is caused by an error in the Google search system. The Investigative Committee said they are probing this claim also.
The Investigative Committee said that it has to investigative and reveal whether or not in fact Yerevan Today uploaded the recording on that day, because any information on the matter is significant for the proceedings.
It mentioned that investigators have confiscated only the computer which was used for the upload, and that three hard drives have been taken for an expertise.
“We believe that the editor of the website too should be interested in the lawful clarification of the abovementioned fact, whereas he has hurried to give unlawful and unethical assessments to the investigators’ implementation of constitutional functions, and has distorted factual circumstances,” the statement said.
It reminded that the police search of Yerevan Today’s office took place in pursuance of a court warrant, within the law.
The editor-in-chief himself was present during the search, along with his two lawyers.
“The editor’s statement claiming that the actions of the [investigators] were aimed at obstructing journalistic activities is baseless and fictitious,” the statement said, reminding that they’ve confiscated only one computer out of many. It said that the confiscation was a necessity.
Moreover, the editors were allowed to take the copy of any information they need for work from the hard drives, before they were taken.
Contractual servicemen Haykaz Matevosyan, 1980, received a gunshot wound at the neck in the military positions of a regiment located in the north-eastern direction of the Armenian border at about 13:30, September 19.
Matevosyan died on the way to the hospital.
The Defense Ministry of Armenia extends deep condolences to the family, relatives and peers of the killed soldier.
Wednesday, Armenian Parliament Panel Starts Probe On Leaked Phone Calls • Ruzanna Stepanian Armenia -- Former Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian speaks to RFE/RL in Yerevan, 1 July 2018. An ad hoc commission of the Armenian parliament officially began on Wednesday an inquiry into leaked phone calls between two high-ranking law-enforcement officials which have caused a political scandal in the country. The heads of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) and Special Investigative Service (SIS) apparently spoke in July shortly before former President Robert Kocharian was arrested as part of an SIS-led investigation into the 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan. The conversations were wiretapped and posted on the Internet earlier this month. In particular, the NSS’s Artur Vanetsian told the SIS’s Sasun Khachatrian that he ordered a judge to sanction Kocharian’s controversial arrest. Vanetsian also urged the SIS not to arrest Yuri Khachaturov, the Armenian secretary general of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), warning of a negative reaction from Russia. He noted that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian wants investigators to “lock up” Khachaturov. Pashinian condemned the “illegal” wiretapping and denied putting pressure on investigators. The scandal led Armenian prosecutors to order an investigation. Kocharian, who was released from pre-trial custody in August, has portrayed the audio as further proof that the criminal case against him is politically motivated and directed by Pashinian. Top representatives of the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), the country’s largest parliamentary force, have echoed these claims. At the HHK’s initiative, the parliament decided to set up the special multi-partisan commission on September 12. Lawmakers representing the pro-Pashinian Yelk alliance objected to the decision. Still, Yelk agreed to name two of the eleven members of the commission. The panel held its first meeting on Wednesday. It was chaired by Gevorg Kostanian, an HHK parliamentarian who served as Armenia’s prosecutor-general from 2013-2016. Kostanian said after the meeting that members of the commission will submit next week proposals on which documents it must request from relevant state bodies and who should be asked to testify at its further meetings. He also made clear that it will focus on a possible “obstruction of justice” by the NSS and the SIS chiefs. “We have a special clause in the Criminal Code regarding obstruction of justice,” Kostanian told reporters. “No criminal case has been opened under that clause. Therefore, the commission is entitled to conducting a full investigation within that framework.” He said the panel will also look at whether the Office of the Prosecutor-General has carried out“proper oversight” over the ongoing criminal investigations into the 2008 violence and the legality of Kocharian’s arrest in particular. Kocharian Sees ‘Serious Support’ From Putin Russia - Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Armenian President Robert Kocharian walk at the Bocharov Ruchei summer retreat, 24Jan2007. Robert Kocharian, Armenia’s former president facing criminal charges criticized by Russia, has described a recent phone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin as a show of “serious support” for him. In an extensive newspaper interview published on Wednesday, Kocharian praised Putin and claimed to have developed a warm rapport with the latter during his 1998-2008 rule. “Our contacts have continued ever since the end of my presidency,” he told the Russian daily “Kommersant.” “I did not publicize or try to somehow capitalize on them.” “I have huge respect for him and feel that his attitude towards me is similar,” he said. “We respect each other and all the work which we had jointly done in Russian-Armenian relations.” Putin telephoned Kocharian to congratulate him on his 64th birthday anniversary on August 31. The phone call came just over a month after Kocharian was arrested on charges of illegally using the armed forces against opposition protesters in Yerevan in February-March 2008. An Armenian appeals court freed him from custody on August 13. The ex-president denies the charges as politically motivated. In late July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced the prosecutions of Kocharian, as well as two retired Armenian generals facing the same charges. Lavrov said they run counter to the new Armenian leadership’s earlier pledges not to “persecute its predecessors for political motives.” “That phone call [from Putin] is serious support, but I have never showcased these relations,” said Kocharian. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian downplayed the significance of the call before visiting Moscow and meeting Putin on September 8. Pashinian declared after those talks that Russian-Armenian relations are “brilliant.” He went on to brand Kocharian as well as another former president, Serzh Sarkisian, as “political corpses.” Kocharian scoffed at that characterization, saying that in fact Pashinian is scared of his political comeback which he announced immediately after his release from jail. “I suppose that he is very worried about the results achieved during my presidential tenure,” he said. “And a considerable part of the society realizes that I am capable of doing that once again.” Comparing Pashinian to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Kocharian again gave a grim assessment of the current Armenian government’s track record. “It is chaotic, knows nothing about the economy and lacks a clear plan of actions,” he said. The ex-president specifically accused Pashinian’s cabinet of scaring away local and foreign investors. “Nobody knows what is on the minds of the new government members,” he claimed. “This means uncertainty and money runs away from uncertainty. Just the opposite was the case during my time [in office.]” Pashinian, his loyalists and other critics say that Kocharian systematically stifled dissent, tolerated government corruption, sponsored economic monopolies, and rigged elections when he ran the country from 1998-2008. Announcing his comeback on August 16, Kocharian denied that corruption was widespread at the time. He argued that the Armenian economy grew fivefold and living standards improved considerably in the ten-year period. He also dismissed long-standing claims that he made a huge personal fortune while in office, challenging the current authorities to prove his alleged enrichment. U.S. Seeks Extradition Of Turkish American Lobbyist Arrested In Armenia Armenia - Turkish American activist Kemal Oksuz is questioned by Armenian police, 29 August 2018. The United States has formally asked Armenia to extradite the former head of a Turkish American lobbying group who was arrested in Yerevan on August 29. The Armenian police detained Kemal (Kevin) Oksuz a week after U.S. law-enforcement authorities issued an international arrest warrant for him. A Yerevan court was quick to allow the police to keep the Turkish-born man in custody for at least one month. Oksuz used to run the Texas-based Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians as well as the Assembly of the Friends of Azerbaijan. The two groups came under scrutiny after organizing in 2013 an all-expenses-paid visit to Azerbaijan by 10 members and 32 staffers of the U.S. Congress. The Washington Post reported in 2015 that the trip was secretly funded by Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil company SOCAR in violation of U.S. congressional rules. The paper said that SOCAR spent $750,000 for that purpose. The Ethics Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives launched an inquiry into the secret funding around that time. Oksuz reportedly refused to testify in the probe. An Armenian police statement issued on August 30 revealed that Oksuz subsequently moved to Armenia and set up a company there last year. He is now wanted in the U.S. for lying to the Ethics Committee about foreign funding received by his organizations, according to the statement. A spokeswoman for Armenia’s Office of the Prosecutor-General, Arevik Khachatrian, told the Armenpress news agency on Wednesday that it has received a formal extradition request from U.S. law-enforcement authorities. She did not say when the Armenian side will respond to it. Under Armenian law, final decisions on extraditing foreign nationals living in the country have to be made by the Justice Ministry. They can be challenged in court. Armenpress also reported that the police suspect Oksuz’s Armenian-registered company called the Sena Group oftax evasion. If charged, he will risk heavy fines or up to five years’ imprisonment. It remains unclear why Oksuz decided to relocate to Armenia, a country that has strained relations with both Turkey and Azerbaijan. Just like other Turkish American activists, he had lobbied the U.S. Congress against recognizing the 1915 Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey. Reporting on Oksuz’s arrest, the pro-government Turkish newspaper “Sabah” referred to him as a “high-ranking” loyalist of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Turkish cleric facing coup charges in Turkey. The paper also called his Turquoise Council of Americans a “Gulenist umbrella organization.” Thousands of Gulen supporters have been jailed in Turkey since a failed 2016 coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Western Watchdog Condemns Police Raid On Armenian Media Outlet FRANCE -- Press releases are pictured during a press conference of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) to present the its World Press Freedom Index for 2018, in Paris, April 25, 2018 The Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has condemned the Armenian police for searching the offices of a news website as part of a criminal investigation into leaked phone calls between two top law-enforcement officials. “The search of Yerevan.Today’s premises and the seizure of its equipment constitute grave violations of the principle of the protection of journalists’ sources, which is guaranteed by Armenian legislation and the European Court of Human Rights,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “We regret that the police did not seek a less intrusive and more proportionate way to achieve their legitimate goal,” he added in a statement released late on Tuesday. Officers of a special police unit and the Investigative Committee confiscated several computer hard disks when they raided the headquarters of the Yerevan.Today online publication on Monday. The seven-four search stems from a wiretapping scandal that rocked the Armenian political scene last week. Unknown individuals posted on the Internet the audio of two recent phone calls between the heads of two other Armenian law-enforcement bodies. The latter discussed an ongoing inquiry into the 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan. The Investigative Committee said law-enforcement officers searched this and five other locations in a bid to ascertain “the method of the secret recording and dissemination” of the sensitive conversations. It claimed that Yerevan.Today posted the scandalous audio on its website earlier than other Armenian media outlets. The website editor, Sevak Hakobian, strongly denied that, calling the police actions “irresponsible.” He said that the search all but “paralyzed” Yerevan.Today’s activities. Press Review “Zhoghovurd” says that recriminations traded by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and his de facto coalition partners in the ongoing mayoral race in Yerevan are calling into question his plans to force snap parliamentary elections by next June. The paper goes as far as to claim that Pashinian’s power-sharing deal with them is “on the brink of collapse.” “Haykakan Zhamanak” likewise notes that at least two parties allied to Pashinian are now threatening to walk away from political deals reached with him in May. The Pashinian-linked paper says that the premier and his political team themselves can now scrap those deals and push for the dissolution of the Armenian parliament already this year. “Pashinian’s team might not even wait for amendments to the Electoral Code and go for fresh elections under the existing code,” it says, adding that they would be certain to win the elections in any case. “Our society is so isolated from the outside world that we … are surprised with the most elementary realities,” editorializes “Hraparak.” For instance, the paper says, many in Armenia do not know that sensitive phone conversations between senior officials can also be wiretapped and publicized in many other countries. “The famous WikiLeaks scandal is enough to understand that even [documents kept in] the Pentagon and State Department archives can be leaked and can change geopolitical realities as a result,” it says. “Zhamanak” comments on the latest increase in ceasefire violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. “Azerbaijan will never dare to start a large-scale war without being certain that there are favorable conditions for doing that as a result of Armenian foreign policy failures or Armenia’s international isolation,” writes the paper. “In this regard we find it extremely important to overcome the existing crisis in Russian-Armenian relations which primarily benefits Azerbaijan … On the other hand, Armenia’s foreign policy should get out of the trap of solely Russian trajectory and become truly diversified and proactive.” (Tigran Avetisian) Reprinted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL Copyright (c) 2018 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Inc. 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
GROONG's Calendar of events (All times local to events) ========================================= What: Help Armenia Face the Challenges of Alzheimer's Conference When: Oct 26 2018 9am Where: Yerevan State Medical University Koryun St 2, Yerevan Armenian Misc: Registration: 9am - 10am | Conference: 10am - 4pm As Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia become an increased concern, we are taking steps to help Armenia face them. Mark your calendars for this very important conference and help raise the level of care through awareness and education. Speakers include: Professor Mikhayil Aghajanov, MD, Chairman of Biochemistry, Yerevan State Medical University Topic: Understanding Alzheimer's Disease Professor Hovhannes M. Manvelyan, MD, Ph.D. Chair of Neurology Department, YSMU Topic: The Problem of Dementia in Armenia Dr. Jane L. Mahakian, Ph.D. President, Alzheimer's Care Armenia Topic: Memory Loss: What's Normal and What's Not Victor Mazmanian Senior Director of Faith Outreach, Silverado Mind Heart Soul Ministry Topic: Caregiving and Hope Online Contact: [email protected] Tel: Dr. Jane Mahakian (949) 212-4105 Web: https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.silverado.com_Armenia&d=DwIB-g&c=clK7kQUTWtAVEOVIgvi0NU5BOUHhpN0H8p7CSfnc_gI&r=LVw5zH6C4LHpVQcGEdVcrQ&m=343FYL7VVu5sd53WvDfnG3WL-Ms0f4mNFxTV4ZxFLwk&s=xJPjopXWgqAv2EEzBCFjxHggjrTdUpttKRiY_oNXpOw&e= ========================================= What: "Toward Sis with an Eyewitness View" a lecture is given by Bishop Torkom Donoyan *************************************************************************** Armenian News's calendar of events is collected and updated mostly from announcements posted on this list, and submissions to [email protected] To submit, send to Armenian [email protected], and please note the following important points: a) Armenian News's administrators have final say on what may be included in Armenian News's calendar of events. b) Posting time will is on Thursdays, 06:00 US Pacific time, to squeeze in a final reminder before weekend activities kick in. c) Calendar items are short, functional, and edited to fit a template. d) There is no guarantee or promise that an item will be published on time. e) Calendar information is believed to be from reliable sources. However, no responsibility by the List's Administation or by USC is assumed for inaccuracies and there is no guarantee that the information is up-to-date. f) No commercial events will be accepted. (Dinners, dances, forget it. This is not an ad-space.) g) Armenian News is a non-commercial, non-partisan, pan-Armenian outlet. ******************************************************************* The Critical Corner The Literary Armenian News Review & Outlook World News The Entertainment Wire Probing the Photographic Record Armenia House Museums ...and much more © Copyright 2018, Armenian News Network / Armenian News, all rights reserved. Regards, -- Armenian News Network / Armenian News Los Angeles, CA / USA