Converse Bank got “Best Marketing Campaigns in Armenia” MasterCard award


Converse Bank was granted the “Best Marketing Campaigns in Armenia” award at the MasterCard’s MCDS conference.

“We appreciate this award granted by MasterCard, one of the significant partners of Converse Bank. The award is the evidence of the high efficiency of marketing campaigns designed and implemented for promotion of noncash transactions by the Bank Team,” the Bank representative stated.

Converse Bank was granted the “Best Marketing Campaigns in Armenia” award for long-term campaigns jointly implemented with MasterCard in 2017-2018, among which “Pay with MasterCard with Family and meet the New Year in Dubai” and “Meet the Champions” the central football event of the UEFA Champions League, and as well other marketing campaigns.

Expected pre-election period in Armenia cannot hinder to continue negotiation process – MFA spox


No agreement on the meeting of the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan has been reached during the Brussels meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers, Armenia’s foreign ministry spokesperson Tigran Balayan told reporters at a briefing on July 16, reminding that the visit was of cognitive nature.

“I can only say that there is an agreement to continue the contacts. And also an opinion was voiced at non-official level that it’s necessary to give a pause as maybe an election period launches in Armenia, and then to continue after that. But we think that the pre-election period cannot be an obstacle for the negotiation process which should be held based on the proposals of the Co-Chairs and for the progress aimed at creating an atmosphere contributing to peace”, Tigran Balayan said.

He reaffirmed that the most important for Armenia in the negotiation process is the issue of security and status of Artsakh.

Asked whether Armenia doesn’t see a need to boost the dynamics of the negotiations, the foreign ministry spokesperson said Armenia has always been active, moreover, it tries to contribute to the implementation of proposals aimed at establishing peace, which one cannot say about Azerbaijan. “The issue of ensuring atmosphere contributing to peace has been discussed in the most direct way. That is the implementation of agreements reached after the April aggression, in Vienna, St. Petersburg and Geneva. The talk is about increasing the capacities of the team of the Personal Representative of the OSCE i-in-Office and their deployment in the line of contact so that they can control the situation. The third one, which is also very important, is the installation of investigative mechanisms for incidents. There are proposals in this regard, but you know that it is more than two years Azerbaijan undermines the implementation of these agreements”, the MFA spokesman said.

Kotayk Beer Factory plant head charged over Burger King explosion


The large-scale investigative operations have revealed the cause of the explosion in Yerevan’s Burger King restaurant, the Investigative Committee reported.

Kotayk Beer Factory’s refrigerating-compressor plant head has been charged for providing services that do not meet safety standards.

At 20:44, April 2, emergency services were notified that an explosion took place in the Burger King fast food restaurant in Northern Avenue, Yerevan.

Multiple emergency personnel and first responders were dispatched to the scene.

The cause of the blast was a faulty CO2 20kg cylinder, which was located in the kitchen of the burger shop.

9 people were hospitalized with various degree injuries.

Amnesty is the political will of authorities and society, says justice minister


Armenia’s justice minister Artak Zeynalyan says amnesty is not a right, but a privilege.

During the meeting with reporters on July 16, commenting on the fact that a group of prisoners of announced that they will start a hunger strike in case of not receiving an amnesty, the justice minister said amnesty is the political will of the authorities and the society.

“Whether the Armenian people, the victims of the crime are ready to forgive those who violated their rights? This is the problem which cannot be solved via hunger strike”, he said.

We have set a task to ensure medical insurance of needy citizens, says PM Pashinyan (photos)


Consultation was held in the Armenian government led by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan during which issues on addressing and increasing the effectiveness of services provided in the healthcare field were discussed.

“Our today’s discussion is dedicated to the funding issues of the healthcare sector. One of our main tasks is the increase of efficiency of expenditures provided to the healthcare field, and the next one is a strategic issue, relating to solving issues on passing to the healthcare insurance system so that in practice the state will not have to intervene in individual cases. Of course, it’s understandable that this will cause additional expenditures for the state, our task is to ensure the funding of these expenditures. This is our political task and duty”, the PM said, adding that the government’s task is to understand the solution ways of the issue and find concrete solutions. “At least in the first stag we have set a task to ensure the medical insurance of citizens in need so that they will have an access to the complete or some logical packages of that medical care”, Nikol Pashinyan said.

Healthcare minister Arsen Torosyan touched upon the services provided by the state, the existing problems and their solution ways, medical care financing mechanisms.

Thereafter, the consultation participants exchanged views on the funding mechanisms of the healthcare field, clarification of sources, solving healthcare issues of socially needy citizens. The PM tasked the heads of interested agencies to more thoroughly discuss the presented proposals and introduce him on the results.

The California Courier Online, July 19, 2018

The California Courier Online, July 19, 2018

1-         Commentary

            American Teacher Expelled from Turkey

            Wins Lawsuit in European Court

            By Harut Sassounian

            Publisher, The California Courier


2-         Sarkissian Appoints Bedros Terzian Interim All-Armenia Fund Director

            Fund Facing Criticism, Under Scrutiny After Arrest,
Resignation of Embattled    Vardanyan

3 -        Commentary:

            Croatia, Uruguay and One Day Armenia

            By Rostom Sarkissian

4 -        A hotel, a war and a family tethered to Phoenix’s history

5 -        Kerkorian Widow Seeks Late Billionaire’s Medical Records in
Will Contest


1 -        American Teacher Expelled from Turkey

            Wins Lawsuit in European Court

            By Harut Sassounian

            Publisher, The California Courier


I recently became aware of the Turkish government’s expulsion of an
American teacher, violating her freedom of _expression_.

In an article published by the Gatestone Institute on April 8, 2018,
Turkish journalist Uzay Bulut mentioned that Norma Jeanne Cox, a
lecturer at Istanbul University, and subsequently at the Middle East
Technical University in Gaziantep, Turkey, had spoken to “her students
and colleagues about the 1915 Armenian genocide, the forced
assimilation of Kurds, and protested against the film The Last
Temptation of Christ. For these ‘crimes,’ she was arrested, fired from
her job and ultimately deported. The [Turkish] Ministry of the
Interior claimed that Cox had been expelled and banned from
re-entering Turkey due to ‘her separatist activities, which were
incompatible with national security.’ In a suit she filed with the
European Court of Human Rights—which in 2010 convicted Turkey of
violating her freedom of _expression_—Cox argued that her rights had
been violated by Turkey because of her Christian faith and dissenting

Since Ms. Cox’s case was not widely publicized, I looked up her
lawsuit filed at the European Court of Human Rights on August 28, 2002
against the Turkish government and the judgment it rendered in her
favor on May 20, 2010.

Here are the details of her lengthy case: On September 23, 1985, the
deputy governor of Gaziantep sent a letter to the Ministry of the
Interior recommending that Ms. Cox, a Philadelphia native, be expelled
from Turkey because of her “harmful activities.” She was accused of
telling her students and colleagues at the university that “the Turks
had expelled the Armenians and had massacred them. Moreover, the Turks
had assimilated the Kurds and exploited their culture,” as stated by
the European Court. In 1986, Ms. Cox was expelled from Turkey and her
return was banned. Subsequently, she returned to Turkey and was
arrested for distributing leaflets against the film The Last
Temptation of Christ. She was expelled from Turkey again in 1989. In
1996, Ms. Cox returned once again to Turkey and during her departure,
officials stamped her passport that she was banned from entering

On October 14, 1996, Ms. Cox filed a lawsuit against the Turkish
Ministry of the Interior at an Ankara Court, arguing that her
expulsion was “in breach of domestic legislation, the [Turkish]
Constitution and international conventions, including Article 9 of the
European Convention on Human Rights.” The Interior Ministry told the
judge that Ms. Cox “had discussions with her students and colleagues
about Turks assimilating Kurds and Armenians, and Turks forcing
Armenians out of the country and committing genocide.” On October 17,
1997, the Ankara court rejected Ms. Cox’s lawsuit. Her appeal to the
Supreme Court of Turkey was dismissed on January 20, 2000.

Ms. Cox then filed a complaint against Turkey in the European Court of
Human Rights on August 28, 2002. The Court concluded that “there has
been an interference with the applicant’s rights guaranteed by Article
10 of the [European] Convention” which states that “everyone has the
right to freedom of _expression_. This right shall include freedom to
hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without
interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.”
Furthermore, the European Court judged that “the ban on the
applicant’s re-entry into Turkey was designed to repress the exercise
of her freedom of _expression_ and stifle the spreading of ideas.”

Ms. Cox had asked the European Court to award her 100,000 euros in
damages “as a result of her deportation” since “she had to leave
Turkey and had lost her job and income.” She had also asked for
100,000 euros for “non-pecuniary damage.”

The European Court decided that since it only dealt with Ms. Cox’s
complaint about the violation of her freedom of _expression_, it had
excluded the issues regarding her deportation and her loss of
employment and income in Turkey. As a result, the Court ordered the
Government of Turkey to pay Ms. Cox 12,000 euros within three months
of the judgment for “non-pecuniary damage,” as well as any U.S. income
tax she may owe on the awarded amount. In case the payment by Turkey
was made after the deadline of three months, it had to pay an interest
payment at the rate of three percentage points added to the simple
interest rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European
Central Bank.

 Ms. Cox had also claimed 20,000 euros for costs and expenses, but had
not submitted any bills or any other information quantifying this
claim. In the absence of such information and substantiation, the
Court made no award in this respect.

 Ms. Norma Jeanne Cox told me last month that she would like to return
to Turkey as a “Christian Missionary to preach the gospel.” After
several expulsions, a few years ago she had made one more attempt to
go to Turkey. When she arrived at the Istanbul airport, she was not
allowed to enter the country and was sent back to the United States on
the next available flight.


2-         Sarkissian Appoints Bedros Terzian Interim All-Armenia Fund Director

            Fund Facing Criticism, Under Scrutiny After Arrest,
Resignation of Embattled    Vardanyan

YEREVAN—On July 16, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with Bedros
Terzian, acting executive director of the Hayastan All-Armenia Fund,
who took office after the arrest and subsequent resignation of Ara

“I am happy to see you, although I think that the development which
led to this meeting isn’t that joyous and concerns the events in the
Hayastan All Armenian Fund. Certainly this reality is very regretful
for us, that an inadmissible act was committed by the fund’s director,
but I would also like to emphasize that upon receiving the information
about this we couldn’t have had another reaction, because our
principle is that lawfulness should be indisputable in Armenia and no
second opinion can exist here. Generally, an unclear and a some kind
of an atmosphere of a certain distrust was created around the fund in
the past years, this was perhaps related to the domestic political
situation generally in Armenia and so on. But I hope that as a result
of these processes we will be able to specify our views about the
future actions of the Hayastan All Armenian Fund, and generally record
new approaches about the relations of the Diaspora and Armenia,
partnership formats, levels and of course the fund,” the PM said.

Pashinyan noted he would like to hear Terzian’s view as one of the
most reliable representatives of the Fund, relating to the situation.
The PM thanked Terzian for taking the helm of the fund at a difficult

“The news was a great shock for us, because there hasn’t been anything
like this during the history of the fund. We acted with persistence
that it is a clean body. We implemented monumental projects during the
past 26 years; great efforts were made to ensure the fund’s clean
operations in this environment, which is hard [to do]. I think we
succeeded, until this case emerged,” Terzian said, assuring he would
do his best for the donations to reach their targets.

“The Hayastan All Armenian Fund is important not only with the past,
but with the future, since we have great plans,” he said.

President Armen Sarkissian on Wednesday, July 11 recommended the
appointment of Terzian as interim executive director of the Hayastan
All-Armenia Fund who will step in following the resignation on July 9
of the fund’s embattled director Ara Vardanyan who was arrested on
charges of misappropriations of funds.

Sarkissian also recommended that the Hayastan Fund Board accept
Vardanyan’s resignation. Vardanyan tendered his resignation on July 9,
one week after being accused of embezzling its funds.

Terzian has served as chairman of the Hayastan Fund’s France affiliate
and also serves on the fund’s national board.

Terzian also has been tasked to appoint and chair a commission to
select a new executive director. This group will include
representatives from the offices of t he Armenian Prime Minister and
President of Artsakh, as well as Albert Poghosyan, a member of the
Hayastan Fund board.

Terzian was born in 1948 in Beirut where he earned degrees in
economics from Saint-Joseph University, philosophy from L’Ecole des
Lettres and computer sciences from L’Ecole Supérieure des Ingénieurs.
He received a doctorate in economics from Paris’ famed Sorbonne
University. He was a co-founder of the Petro-Money Report at the
Financial Times in Beirut and London, deputy director of the Arab
Center for Oil Studies in Paris, and was a professor at University of
Grenoble. Terzian has held leadership roles in the French affiliate of
the Hayastan All-Armenia Fund since its inception.

“All of us are deeply saddened by the arrest of Ara Vardanyan, the
Executive Director of the Yerevan-based Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, on
allegations of abuse of authority by misusing the organization’s
credit card for personal purposes, including online gaming. However,
as it appears now, no donor funds have been affected and the misused
funds have been fully recovered,” the Fund said in a July 5 statement.
“While it is unfortunate that Mr. Vardanyan abused his authority, his
misdeed should, in no way, reflect on the hard-working and law-abiding
employees of the organization, its worldwide partners, including
Armenia Fund in the United States, the generous donors worldwide, the
contractors employed in Armenia and Artsakh and the countless
volunteers. We will await the findings of the investigation.”

Armenia Fund is an independent U.S. based non-profit organization that
uses Hayastan All-Armenian Fund as an implementing agent for its
specific humanitarian and infrastructure development projects in
Armenia and in Artsakh. The funds collected in the United States go
towards specific projects, the implementation of which is monitored by
Armenia Fund.

Hayastan All-Armenian Fun has been in operation for 27 years,
implementing large-scale socio-economic development projects that
benefit people in Armenia and Artsakh. Since 1995 and until today,
Hayastan All-Armenian Fund is the largest implementor of large scale
humanitarian relief and infrastructure development projects in Artsakh
providing recovery war and seven decades of Azeri occupation.
Recently, the Fund initiated innovative infrastructure projects
including development of solar energy and irrigation networks using
latest technologies. And, of course, the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s
signature projects remain the strategically vital Goris-Stepanakert
and Vardenis-Matakert highways connecting Artsakh to the outside world
and making Artsakh’s very existence possible.

In a statement issued on July 8, the Social Democratic Hunchakian
Party, one of the numerous organizations composing the members of the
Fund, announced that it was withdrawing from the Western USA Armenia
Fund Board.

“The Executive Committee of The Social Democratic Hunchakian Party of
Western United States is announcing that it has terminated its
participation on the Corporate Board of Armenia Fund Inc., expressing
its dissatisfaction with the activities of the Armenia Fund Los
Angeles office,” said the statement. “Over the past decade, Corporate
Board members, representing various religious, political and
benevolent organizations, have been completely ignored and all
decisions and financial activities were concentrated within the staff
of the Los Angeles office, appointed and governed by the All Armenia
Fund Executive Director Ara Vardanyan. All decision-making and
oversight functions were taken away from the Board, thus becoming a
powerless body.”

The SDHP went on to explain that an emergency Board meeting was
scheduled for July 6, to issue a statement condemning Vardanyan’s
abuses. But that some hours before the meeting, the Los Angeles office
issued its statement mitigating Vardanyan’s actions, “trying to
convince the public that no donor funds were misused, thus preempting
the ongoing investigation’s conclusions. Immediately after his release
from prison on bail, Ara Vardanyan returned to his office, which is
not only an act of immorality, but also disrespectful to Armenians
everywhere. In light of this situation, the Hunchakian Party suspends
its membership with the Armenia Fund board and bears no responsibility
for its further functioning.”


3 -        Commentary:

            Croatia, Uruguay, and One Day Armenia

            By Rostom Sarkissian

Croatia. Tiny Croatia, with a population of 4.2 million faced
superpower France on the soccer pitch and played valiantly until the
end. It wasn’t a friendly, a European qualifying game or even a round
robin World Cup game. It was for the World Cup. I am constantly in awe
of Croatia’s continued success and dominance against team from larger
countries for the past 20 years since their independence from
Yugoslavia. How is it that this tiny little country of 4 million
inhabitants can earn a 3rd place finish at the 1998 World Cup and 2nd
in this year’s world cup?

Along the same lines, how is that tiny Uruguay with a population of 3
million is able to generate great players and field championship level
teams on a yearly basis? Uruguay has participated in 12 world cups and
been to the finals twice, albeit a long time ago. Regardless, Uruguay
has consistently been a successful team in world football events
having won 2 Olympic games and 15 Copa Americana championships. So how
do these two countries do it?

According to CNN’s piece on the Croatian team, part of their success
comes from the grit and determination that Croatians developed during
their war for liberation from Yugoslavia in 1991. Part of their recent
success comes from their superstar Luka Modric and his ability to
inspire his teammates while serving as the heart and soul of his team.
A large part of their development process comes from shipping their
players out to other European club teams thus freeing up space in
their local leagues to develop new talent. Croatia’s teams are built
out of grit and heart.

Uruguay on the other hand has been equally, if not more, successful
than Croatia and they have done it in a structured way. Uruguay’s head
soccer coach not only focuses on the main club, but he runs clinics
for players in the Under 15, Under 17 and Under 20 teams on a regular
basis where these young players get a boot camp on the life of being a
professional player. They not only learn about the game, the
techniques, and ball control but also about the responsibility to each
other, respect for their coaches and the determination required to be
winning football players.

The Uruguayan Football federation also puts it money where its mouth
is by maintaining facilities and providing resources for its young
talent. They have gone as far as building a covered, synthetic field
so the players can continue to develop over the Winter.

These are two countries that Armenia can learn from and try to
emulate. More than Football though, Croatia’s development as an
integrated part of Europe has allowed its economy to grow and its
people to thrive. Uruguay resides in a continent that has been beset
by conflict, turmoil, corruption and economic mismanagement, but
according to the World Bank, Uruguay is an egalitarian country that
has low levels of inequality and poverty and has the highest
indicators in the Region when looking at the Human Development, Human
Opportunity and Economic Freedom indexes.

So, while it’s fun to one day dream of Armenia following in Croatia
and Uruguay’s footsteps in achieving success in international football
and one day hoisting a World Cup, I’d be just as happy if we can
emulate their success in developing their economic, political and
social systems to ensure the well-being of all Armenians.

4 -        A hotel, a war and a family tethered to Phoenix’s history

By Megan Janetsky

(—The first time Greg Melikian laid eyes on the Hotel
San Carlos, he knew it was going to be his. The New York City
businessman was strolling the streets of 1970s downtown Phoenix,
headed to a meeting at a nearby hotel when he saw the Italian
Renaissance Revival-style building nestled in the heart of the city.

He noticed the terra-cotta embellishments speckling the seven stories,
the red and gold-rimmed awnings shading the lobby entrance and the
blocky neon lettering that protrudes from the building’s front corner.

In the details he also saw something else: An opportunity to freeze a
fragment of Phoenix history that would otherwise fade away.

So in 1973, Melikian bought and began restoring the San Carlos. Since
then, its marble-lined halls have become a cornerstone of his family’s
mission to preserve Arizona’s history one building at a time.

“I always believed in preservation in New York City before I came and
moved here,” he said. “I was buying buildings left and right; only
historic buildings because there’s heritage. There’s a story.”

Today, at age 94, the World War II veteran still walks his hotel’s
worn marble floors sporting leather shoes, a matching leather
briefcase swinging in his grip.

He talks about the building with adoration, as if it were his child,
pointing out the Austrian crystal chandeliers and greeting guests
walking out of the dented copper elevators with a “good afternoon.”

“You’re in the best corner of town,” he says, his voice laced with a
thick New York accent.

But Melikian’s little piece of the past is being overshadowed as
skyscrapers, corporate-owned hotels and high-rises gradually replace
the buildings the family wants to save.

“(Phoenix has) lost its identity,” said Greg’s son, Robert Melikian,
who is active in the historic preservation community. “I feel like
we’ve lost so much of it we can’t recreate it. There are too many
huge, unwalkable blocks downtown to recreate a living, walking

The San Carlos is a historic landmark and a fixture in downtown
Phoenix, making its name the day it opened in 1928 as the city’s first
air-conditioned, high-rise hotel.

That luxury—the unheard-of ability to not swelter in the summer
heat—drew celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, Clark Gable and
Carole Lombard. For years, anyone from senators to singers would
mingle in the card room and sunbathe on the pool deck.

More recently, ghost stories of a woman who once jumped from the roof
haunting guests at the foot of their beds have drawn spirit chasers
sporting gear comparable to a “Ghostbusters” movie.

The names and signatures of celebrities who have stayed at Hotel San
Carlos are etched onto golden stars that line the sidewalks of the

Robert admits an independently-run hotel in the inner city is a
“tricky thing for guests.”

Because it’s not a well-known corporate hotel brand, travelers are
often skeptical in booking rooms. Occupancy rates run about half of
other Phoenix hotels throughout the year and Robert said they cut
prices by 10 percent to keep up with competitors.

Nevertheless, the building draws a special clientele.

More common than celebrities these days are the everyday guests
inquiring about their own histories and families.

“The San Carlos has turned into a magnet of historic stories because
it’s a real draw for people who were connected to its past,” Robert

“Their parents stayed there during World War II, they were born there,
they went there to visit Clark Gable on the fourth floor because he
was always there. Former guests, former employees come back.
Unfortunately, Phoenix has torn down so much, there aren’t many
buildings left connecting people.”

After military service, Greg earned his law degree and later became a
civil night court judge in New York City.

In the 1950s, he began buying and restoring historic New York
properties and, later, Arizona properties.

In 1969, he and his four children moved to Phoenix. Since then, Greg
has built a name for himself as a philanthropist and preserver of

“We’re known as the historic preservation family,” Greg said.

Over the years, he’s collected a list of military and civic honors,
including being named a “chevalier,” or a knight, in the French Legion
of Honor and given the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, an award bestowed
upon those who have “inspired service to our nation.”

The son of Armenian immigrants fleeing genocide, he is also active in
the state’s Armenian community.

In 1984, he created the Melikian Center at ASU, which supports
training students to speak less commonly taught East European and
Eurasian languages.

Melikian still runs the San Carlos with his children and Angela Hentz,
the general manager for the past eight years. Wearing a light yellow
button-down polo shirt and brown khakis ironed to a crease, Greg
struts the lobby like a king in his own palace.

“General Greg Melikian — he’s 94 and still drives,” Hentz said. “He’s
here probably two or three times a week.”

Although Greg has focused on the San Carlos as if it were another of
his children, his son Robert has focused outward to other historic
properties in metropolitan Phoenix.

When the family began piecing together what the San Carlos looked like
in the 1920s through old photographs and stories, Robert and his three
siblings were attending Arizona State University.

As a student, Robert found himself drawn to a 1920s home in a
neighborhood near the Tempe campus. The home, built by music
professors at the school, was lined with hardwood floors and dominated
by a stage. The room, he said, was built for music and connection.

The Melikian family and workers of the Hotel San Carlos keep old
postcards and trinkets from over the years in a glass case in the

“I love the old buildings,” Robert said. “To me, it’s a calming
feeling of fireplaces and nice ceilings, and I think most people do
like that. They’d rather go to a restaurant with some character to
them, some charm, some local identity, not just a cookie-cutter
building they can go to in any city.”

He bought the house, his first building purchase of many. Today, the
family owns 10 historic buildings around the state in addition to the
numerous properties they have bought, restored and sold to owners they
believe will continue preserving the building.

Robert has become a voice for historic preservation in downtown
Phoenix, working to educate residents on the properties that have been
bulldozed and faded from the landscape.

He’s written two books, “Hotel San Carlos” and “Vanishing Phoenix.”
Most recently, he co-wrote a photo book, “Phoenix Past and Present,”
telling the story of the city’s architecture through 84 side-by-side

Through his work, he hopes to capture the history that has been lost
and highlight details often missed by those not looking: the sturdy
red brick buildings that line Phoenix’s art districts, the
embellishments and pillars high over the heads of passers-by, and the
Victorian-style homes tucked away in Valley neighborhoods.

“Once it’s bulldozed, that’s it,” Robert said. “You can’t replace that
connection between people, all those memories, what the building stood

The city of Phoenix offers limited protections to historic buildings.

To be considered “historic” under city code, a property generally must
be 50 years old or older, historically significant and not altered in
a way that compromises the building’s integrity.

If it meets the criteria, the property can be added to the Phoenix
Historical Property Register. The register so far lists 35 residential
districts, eight nonresidential districts and 215 individual
properties. Hotel San Carlos, Hotel Westward Ho, the Orpheum Theatre
and the Heard Museum are among the list’s more iconic buildings.

Smaller buildings, registered or not, are often more vulnerable to
demolition because they hold less of a spotlight.

If a property owner wants to demolish a building listed on the
register or in a historic neighborhood, there is a one-year demolition
delay, said Michelle Dodds, historic preservation officer for the city
of Phoenix.

 “The Phoenix register doesn’t prevent a demolition; it delays it,”
Dodds said. “The whole intent behind that is to try and convince them
not to, to convince them to look for other alternatives, or maybe find
a new buyer.”

After the year elapses, the building can be demolished.

It’s those demolitions Robert aims to stop. In 2015, for instance, a
Roosevelt Row building with a historic Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia mural
painted on the brick wall faced demolition when a property owner
announced plans to build a high-rise apartment building.

Robert said he offered $350,000 to move the building to his own lot
and restore it. Alongside him were a number of Phoenix residents and
the Degrazia Foundation, a Tucson organization and gallery preserving
the artist’s work, which spent months speaking to property owners
trying to save the mural.

That building and the mural were later demolished.

“There’s a public benefit to these historic buildings, not just for
the temporary owner,” Robert said. “And they are temporary owners of
the buildings. If one link in the chain is broken, we lose it forever.
All of us. It’s a shame. We trade historic buildings for people’s big
bank accounts.”

That scarcity of the old in a growing city was something Robert pushed
his daughter, Alexandra, to appreciate as she grew up around the San

Alexandra, now 21 and living in Los Angeles, recalled taking trips
around the city with her father as a child to visit his projects.

“It gave me a different perspective, more of an appreciation for older
buildings and just history in general,” she said. “It’s something
people my age or many of my friends don’t really have, especially in
Phoenix where it’s incredibly common for old buildings being torn down
to just be turned into strip malls.”

In high school, she landed on her own preservation project when she
began taking photos of historic buildings around the Valley and
turning them into playing cards. She said it was a sort of sentiment
to her childhood. It was a combination, she said, of the hours she
spent playing cards with her parents when they had little else to do
and years wandering the building tethered to the Melikian identity.

Alexandra said she sees herself returning to preservation in the
coming years. But by then, the San Carlos may have entered a new era.
In the next five years, Robert said, he hopes to hand off the building
to an owner who will safeguard one of the few segments of 1920s
Phoenix left standing.

“It is a magnet for history, it unites people,” he said. “If we sell
it, we’re going to sell it to people who keep it standing.”


5-    Kerkorian Widow Seeks Late Billionaire’s Medical Records in Will Contest

(CNS)—Citing privacy concerns, lawyers for Kirk Kerkorian’s estate
want a Los Angeles judge to block his widow from having access to his
medical records for use in her bid for her claim to a third of the
billionaire’s assets, amounting to about $600 million based on the
estate’s $1.8 billion value at the time of his death.

The estate’s lawyers say in their Los Angeles Superior Court papers
that the documents sought by Una Davis are not relevant to her claims
and that she signed a waiver of marital rights in connection with her
brief marriage to Kerkorian, who was 98 when he died on June 15, 2015,
in Beverly Hills.

“Indeed, this is nothing more than a fishing expedition that
ultimately risks embarrassing Mr. Kerkorian and placing in the public
view information and records that are undoubtedly private and
privileged,” the estate’s attorneys say. A hearing on the estate’s
petition is scheduled Aug. 28. Before his death, Kerkorian provided
for Davis outside of his will by giving her $15 million, the estate’s
attorneys say in their court papers.

Davis’ subpoenas includes demands for all medical documents related to
Kerkorian from January 2010 until his death, including written reports
and MRIs, CAT scans and EKGs.

One of the Davis subpoenas is directed at Dr. Eric Esrailian, a
gastroenterologist and full-time faculty member at the David Geffen
School of Medicine at UCLA.

In May, Judge Maria Stratton lifted a stay she previously put on
litigation related to Davis’ petition while Davis appealed the judge’s
March 2017 ruling allowing Kerkorian estate executor Anthony Mandekic
to take an active role in the legal proceedings and oppose her
petition rather than be required to be neutral. Davis maintains she is
an “omitted spouse” who is entitled to the same amount of money she
would have received had Kerkorian died without a will. Davis appealed
Stratton’s 2017 ruling, but a three-justice panel of the 2nd District
Court of Appeal ruled in January that the judge ruled properly. The
state Supreme Court then denied Davis’ petition for review.

Kerkorian and Davis were married for 57 days before he asked her to
leave his home, according to the estate’s lawyers.

Davis says she was pressured by those close to Kerkorian into signing
a waiver to any interest she had before the two wed.

Kerkorian, who had been married three times previously, developed key
properties on the Las Vegas Strip, including the MGM and MGM Grand. He
also invested in and operated businesses in a number of industries,
including airlines, automakers, Chrysler Corp., General Motors and
film studios. He purchased MGM Studios three times, bought United
Artists and tried to acquire Columbia Pictures.


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Talks on Karabakh can’t be hobbled by preparations for parliamentary elections in Armenia

ARKA, Armenia

YEREVAN, July 16. /ARKA/. Preparations for parliamentary elections in Armenia can’t hobble talks on Karabakh, which will be based on OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, Tigran Balayan, the Armenian foreign ministry spokesman, said Monday at a briefing. 

On June 1, the new Armenian government presented its program, in accordance with which early parliamentary elections will be conducted within one year. The electoral code will be amended before the election.  

Balayan also said that no meeting arrangements were made between Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers at their recent meeting in Brussels. 

He said the meeting between Zograb Mnatsakanyan and Elmar Mammadyarov in Brussels was introductory in nature. 

“I can only say that there is an arrangement to continue contacts,” Balayan said. 
Karabakh conflict broke out in 1988 when Karabakh, mainly populated by Armenians, declared its independence from Azerbaijan.

On December 10, 1991, a few days after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a referendum took place in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the majority of the population (99.89%) voted for secession from Azerbaijan. 

Afterwards, large-scale military operations began. As a result, Azerbaijan lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven regions adjacent to it.

Some 30,000 people were killed in this war and about one million people fled their homes.  

On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations.

The talks brokered by OSCE Minsk Group are being held over peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group is co-chaired by USA, Russia and France. -0—–

200,000 Children Born to Georgian Emigrant Families Since 1990

Georgia Today

The Georgian organization Demographic Revival Foundation has released a report that estimates that since 1990, approximately 200,000 children have been born into Georgian emigrant families, as reported by

The figure is based on demographers’ calculations: official figures are not particularly reliable, as they do not account for the significant numbers of undocumented Georgian emigrants living in Europe and North America.

Tamar Chubinidze, head of the Demographic Revival Foundation, explains that most children born abroad to Georgian citizens will not return to their family’s historic homeland, instead building a life in the country of their birth.

"This is a serious loss for Georgia,” says Chubinidze, “The children of Georgians who were born abroad, show interest in their historical homeland, but as guests only. We can only hope that as the borders are opened, the attractiveness of Georgia will grow, and at least some of them will come to live here.”

Similar patterns are seen in many countries, including in other former Soviet states. The case of the Armenian diaspora is particularly notable. The global Armenian community numbers approximately 10 million, while the domestic population is under 3 million. The website of the President of Armenia writes that “there are Armenian communities in more than 100 countries all over the world” and that “Armenians of the Diaspora are mainly involved with issues concerning preservation of the national identity; they establish schools, churches, cultural homes and pan-Armenian organizations.” The Armenian Diaspora Ministry was established in 2008.

An Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora Issues was also established in 2008, but it was dissolved and its duties absorbed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in late 2016, although the website is still active, if outdated.

Chubinidze warns that Georgia’s visa-free regime with the European Union, established in March 2017, has a significant downside. She claims that the number of emigrants from Georgia to Europe is four times higher than before the regime came into effect.

In the final quarter of 2017, more Georgians citizens applied for asylum in Europe than from any other former Soviet state. The European Asylum Support Office reported that the number of Georgian asylum seekers increased 39% year-on-year to reach 10,465. Eurostat reported that 4,970 Georgians requested asylum in the European Union in the first quarter of 2018.

In the midst of Europe’s migration crisis, the increase was seen quite unfavorably. In February, German Foreign Minister Thomas de Maizière warned the Georgian government that if the flow of asylum seekers continued at that pace, they would be forced to consider reinstating visa requirements. At that time, Dorota Dlouchy-Suliga of the EU Delegation in Tbilisi was not worried, telling EurasiaNet, “In the past, we have had a similar experience with the Balkan countries. There was a bump at first…we hope that the number of applications from Georgia will go down.”

The predication was realized, as 2018 has seen decreasing numbers of asylum seekers each month. Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees reports that in January 2018, there were 745 asylum applications filed by Georgians in Germany, while in February there were only 595, March 490, April 350 and in May just 221.

Nine countries in the European Union have granted Georgia the status of ‘safe country’ from which no asylum applications are accepted. These countries are Ireland, Luxemburg, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Bulgaria, Lichtenstein, Austria and Iceland.

By Samantha Guthrie

Wireless device detects heart dysfunction in child cancer survivors

Health Data Management

Wireless device detects heart dysfunction in child cancer survivors

By Greg Slabodkin

  • , 7:40am EDT

A prototype wireless device designed for detection of heart dysfunction in childhood cancer survivors treated with chemotherapy is comparable to cardiac magnetic resonance imaging.

That’s the conclusion of researchers who compared the accuracy of the Vivio handheld mHealth platform with both echocardiography and CMR imaging for assessment of cardiac function—specifically, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF)—in childhood cancer survivors.

Researchers found no difference in average LVEF measurement between Vivio and CMR—56.8 percent vs. 56.5 percent, respectively—in a study involving 191 patients who had been exposed to anthracycline chemotherapy. Results were published in the July issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity can cause irreversible heart failure. Consequently, after the completion of their chemotherapy, childhood cancer survivors are recommended to undergo screening for the detection of heart dysfunction.

While CMR imaging is considered the gold standard, it is expensive and is not widely accessible. However, the wireless device from Avicena collects pulse waves and phonocardiogram data from the carotid artery, which is transmitted to a smartphone or tablet, and leverages an algorithm that measures LVEF, which is commonly used to assess heart function.

According the co-authors of the study—some of whom hold equity, employment agreements and consulting agreements with Avicena—Vivio eliminates the need for result interpretation and enables real-time monitoring of heart health.

“This accessible technology has the potential to change the day-to-day practice of clinicians caring for the large number of patients diagnosed with cardiac dysfunction and heart failure each year, allowing real-time monitoring and management of their disease without the lag-time between imaging and interpretation of results,” researchers conclude.

Also See: Hybrid heart imaging can foresee major cardiac events

Saro Armenian, DO, lead author and director of the Childhood Cancer Survivorship Clinic at the City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., notes that Vivio was developed by students and engineers at Caltech, who then founded Avicena.

“Vivio obviates the need for childhood cancer survivors to be physically seen at a medical center to undergo cardiac assessments, which can be done remotely,” says Armenian, who emphasizes that the device is not meant to replace echocardiography or CMR imaging, which both generate images of the heart and provide a more comprehensive assessment of cardiac health. “It’s meant to be a preliminary screening so that we can potentially identify individuals who need closer surveillance and monitoring.”

According to Armenian, although 90 percent of long-term cancer survivors—individuals surviving more than five years after their initial diagnosis—are actively engaged in regular medical care, fewer than 30 percent undergo routine recommended risk-based screening.

“We need a method to facilitate the population-based screening that is being underperformed in these cancer survivors,” he observes. “This study is the first step in thinking about new paradigms of long-term monitoring and care delivery for cancer survivors who are at risk for severe and life-threatening health conditions. It's important to think about more proactive and convenient approaches for early detection, early surveillance and early prevention to help potentially reverse heart disease before it becomes clinically apparent in this population.”

Armenia in contact with Red Cross to ensure safe return of villager from Azeri captivity

Panorama, Armenia

The Armenian Defense Ministry has established a direct contact with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to secure a safe return of the Armenian villager held captive in Azerbaijan, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tigran Balayan told a briefing on Monday.

The official confirmed that Armenian citizen Karen Ghazaryan, who ended up in the Azerbaijani territory in still unknown circumstances, is suffering from mental problems, due to which he has not served in the Armenian army.

He stressed all the necessary measure are being taken through the Red Cross.

“Works are also being carried out in other directions to ensure the return of our citizen to Armenia as quickly and safely as possible. I cannot report any progress in the issue at the moment,” Balayan said.
Earlier on Monday, the Armenian Police refuted the Azerbaijani disinformation suggesting their troops thwarted an alleged sabotage infiltration attempt by the Armenian side at the Gazakh region and held captive an Armenian “saboteur” identified as Karen Ghazaryan. 

Ashot Aharonyanm, the head of the Information and Public Relations Department of the Armenian Police, revealed that Ghazaryan (b. 1984) is a resident of bordering Berdavan village of Armenia’s Tavush Province, who has not served in the Armenian army due to health problems and has been registered in a medical facility since 2013.

The police said the circumstances of how the villager ended up in the Azerbaijani territory are being investigated.

The Armenian Defense Ministry officially announced that Ghazaryan is not serving in and has never been drafted to the Armenian army, according to a Facebook post by Spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan.