New Yerevan Circus building keeps being constructed

Panorama, Armenia
Feb 15 2020

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, has no circus for around nine years already.

The old Yerevan Circus was demolished in 2012 after experts arrived at the conclusion about inexpediency of its reconstruction. Deadlines for the opening of the new circus building have been repeatedly set, but none of them have been met so far.It remains unclear when the new building of Yerevan Circus will be put into service since construction work in the building continue to date.

Speaking to, Yerevan Circus Artistic Director, Professor Sos Petrosyan said the new building is already standing, adding interior finishing work is currently underway.

According to Petrosyan, they are doing everything possible to put the building into operation in October-November 2020. The artistic director says a lot of work still needs to be done inside the building.

“Construction of a circus building is not an easy task. Experts are invited from Moscow, different countries to consider every detail,” he said.

The new circus building has been designed by architect Vahagn Vermishyan. It is set to fully comply with the international standards, increasing the number of seats to 2,000 from the previous 1,560.

The new circus will be six meters higher and equipped with modern stage technique. 


Armenian chef earns Michelin star for fourth year in a row

PanArmenian, Armenia
Feb 15 2020

PanARMENIAN.Net – Chef Karen Torosyan has earned a Michelin star for his Brussels restaurant, Bozar, the cook himself revealed in an Instagram post.

This is the fourth year in a row that the restaurant is getting recognition as a fine dining establishment.

"When we love we don't count," Torosyan said in a Instagram post.

According to the hospitality content hub World's Best Places, Chef Torosyan is one of the most remarkable chefs in Belgium – if not Europe. He originally hails from Armenia and went to Belgium at the age of 18. He finished his hospitality studies at INFOBO and gained experience in various types of restaurants such as Michelin starred Bruneau and Chalet de la Forêt. It was at these restaurants that Karen discovered the real French cooking and the need of structure and hard work in the kitchen. At the famous La Paix restaurant of Chef David Martin, Karen also learnt the business aspects of running a restaurant. It was under the wings of Chef David Martin that Karen got the opportunity to go his own way with the start of Bozar Brasserie. After a few years he became fully independent and quickly gained name and fame in the culinary world.

Bozar Restaurant is housed on the ground floor of the famous center for Fine Arts in Brussels, and chef Torosyan took part in the whole building renovation and restoration project.

Newspaper: “NO” campaign headquarters to be formed for Armenia referendum, Armenia
Feb 15 2020

11:02, 15.02.2020

YEREVAN. – Hraparak daily of Armenia writes: The extra-parliamentary opposition has planned its actions in connection with the referendum [on constitutional amendments]. "We are negotiating with prominent political forces, we already have arrangements to jointly explain to the common people what is happening in Armenia today," ARF Supreme Body representative Ishkhan Saghatelyan said.

“The political forces did not want to be in the headquarters of the 'no,' but that does not mean that we will not actively fight against the 'yes' to prevent this illegal situation and relax the public nerves. There was no need for the political forces to become anti-heroes and for the power to turn them into a target; we preferred this tactic,” said Artur Ghazinyan, leader of the One Armenia party.

The 'no' platform will occupy the legal coexistence as a fighter of professional struggle. If they did not, then the opportunities provided by the referendum—free airtime, appointing commission members, overseeing the referendum—would be diminished.

"The authorities should not be left without such oversight. The scope of our initiative includes people who filed a petition with the president of the republic a week ago not to sign the referendum document," said representative of the "no" campaign office, former Ombudsman of Artsakh Ruben Melikyan. And aren’t you legitimizing the illegal referendum? "No. By this step, we are keeping the whole absurd process of referendum under the spotlight of ourselves and the public, so as not to make it even more illegal; we are creating a platform for opinions that exclude ‘yes.’"

Armenia legislature ex-official to sue PM Pashinyan, Armenia
Feb 15 2020

14:24, 15.02.2020

YEREVAN. – Former Deputy Chief of Staff of the National Assembly (NA) of Armenia, human rights activist Arsen Babayan, will file a lawsuit against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Babayan stated this at a press conference today.

"I am going to apply to the court demanding that the RA [Republic of Armenia] Prime Minister refute from the NA podium the information he has submitted about the criminal case against me, and to make an apology," Babayan said, noting that details of filing a lawsuit are still being discussed.

Arsen Babayan is charged with assisting former NA Speaker Ara Babloyan and other officials in assuming the powers of the Constitutional Court, as well as committing official fraud.

Activist Narek Samsonyan summoned to Special Investigative Service as accused

Panorama, Armenia
Feb 15 2020

Chairman of the Civil Consciousness NGO, activist Narek Samsonyan has been summoned to the Special Investigative Service (SIS) for questioning as an accused.

Speaking to reporters before entering the SIS building on Saturday, Samsonyan said he was not aware of what he was accused of.

“Most likely, my status will enable me to say in person why I have been summoned to the SIS, otherwise my lawyers will make statements. I am hence involved as a defendant,” Samsonyan said, stating the “political persecution” against him has been ordered by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan himself.

In the activist’s works, the process is aimed at obstructing the work of media outlet in an “obvious encroachment” on the freedom of speech.

“They want to show that whoever will disclose the lavish spendings of Pashinyan's family, that person will face a similar persecution,” he said.

Samsonyan believes the move is also aimed at isolating him during the campaign for the constitutional referendum set for April 5.

He assures that "none of the scenarios drawn up by the authorities will work."

Newspaper: US Senator comments on Armenia parliament speaker’s visit last year, Armenia
Feb 15 2020

11:05, 15.02.2020

YEREVAN. – Hraparak daily of the Republic of Armenia (RA) writes: One of the representatives of the Armenian community of the United States, who is in quite close contact with the American authorities, recently met with Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell, with whom RA NA [National Assembly] Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan had met during a July 2019 visit to the United States, and then this meeting was widely covered.

Our compatriot, out of simple curiosity, asked McConnell what he thought about our parliamentary speaker, what their meeting was like. He replied: "I got the impression that the speaker of your parliament had come to take photos with me; there was no other purpose and meaning in our meeting."

Armenian FM, OSCE chief discuss Karabakh peace

Panorama, Armenia
Feb 15 2020

On the margins of the Munich Security Conference, Foreign Minister of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan met on Friday with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, the Foreign Ministry's press service reported.

The FM noted that Armenia attaches great importance to strengthening and expanding effective partnership established with the OSCE executive structures through new targeted programs and initiatives. In this regard, the sides discussed collaboration in the framework of the OSCE's Armenian Co-operation Program and ways to enhance its efficiency.

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Thomas Greminger touched upon the process of the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) conflict and the recent meetings held within its framework

The Armenian foreign policy chief stressed the importance of direct engagement of Artsakh authorities in the peace process, especially on the issues related to the security and status of Artsakh.

The two officials highlighted the consistent steps aimed at strengthening the environment conducive to peace and preparing the peoples for peace, as well as the importance of OSCE’s role in that process. 

Detained Armenian-Turkish activist says she was strip-searched in custody

Feb 14 2020

(Changes to lead, paragraphs 2,7)

Natali Avazyan, an Armenian-origin Turkish human rights activist, on Friday said that she was strip-searched in police custody in Istanbul.

Avazyan was detained over a social media post following a police raid in the southern province of Adana on Tuesday.

“I was detained unlawfully. I was subjected to a strip-search,” Avazyan said in a tweet.

Tens of thousands of women have been subjected to undignified naked searches in the last three years, Avazyan said, calling for “an end to the arbitrary practice.”

“My body belongs to me,” Avazyan said in a video she posted on Twitter. “The person I give permission to can touch me, the person I give permission to can see me naked.”

The activist, famous on Turkish social media for sharing photographs of daily life and significant events in Turkey over the decades, was detained briefly in October last year for allegedly insulting Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in a tweet.

Turkish authorities have intensified a crackdown on alleged support of terrorist organisations or insulting officials on social media following the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016.

Armenian Church pays tribute to Pontiff St. Sahak Partev

Panorama, Armenia
Feb 14 2020
Society 10:09 15/02/2020 Armenia

The Armenian Apostolic Church commemorates on Saturday, February 15, Pontiff St. Sahak Partev, reports.

St. Sahak Partev was the elder son of Catholicos St. Nersess the Great, and the last Catholicos of the Armenian Church who descended from the lineage of St. Gregory the Illuminator. He became Catholicos of All Armenians in 387 A.D., and reigned for an astounding 52 years. Being talented in music and educated in the rhetorical arts, philosophy and linguistics, St. Sahak greatly contributed to the development of Armenian national culture. He was the strongest advocate for the creation of an Armenian Alphabet, and became its chief patron.

Following the creation of the Armenian alphabet, St. Sahak and St. Mesrop opened a school for translators in the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin). There they begin the translation of the Holy Bible into Armenian and did it so perfectly, that centuries hence the Armenian translation is called the “Queen Translation of the Breath of God”. The first sentence translated from the Holy Bible is the opening verse of the Book of Proverbs: "To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding."

Activist Narek Samsonyan charged over false crime reporting, Adekvad member says

Panorama, Armenia
Feb 15 2020
Politics 17:10 15/02/2020 Armenia

Adekvad party member Lilit Tumanyan denounced the summoning of Chairman of the Civil Consciousness NGO, activist Narek Samsonyan to the Special Investigative Service as “political repression”.

The opposition activist was summoned for questioning on Saturday following an article published on

Speaking to reporters, Lilit Tumanyan said the activist has been charged as part of an investigation into an alleged false crime reporting case.

Tumanyan stated such charges have been levelled against no one in Armenia so far. She described the law-enforcement authorities’ move as ‘historical’ in negative sense.

“Now we need to understand whose interests we defend – the state, society, or government. Today we have ended up in a situation when these are different phenomena,” she said.

In Tumanyan’s words, not only Narek Samsonyan, but also other opposition figures who dare to criticize Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his government are facing political persecution in Armenia.

"Any authoritarian regime that seeks to concentrate power in its hands and exercise total control will never tolerate free and independent media,” she said. “After the overthrow of the legislative, executive and judicial powers, the next in line is mass media.”