Armenian, Russian Presidents to meet in Moscow

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as part of a working visit to Moscow, President’s Press Office reports.

The leaders of the two countries will discuss a wide range of issues related to Armenian-Russian bilateral relations, cooperation in the political, economic and humanitarian spheres.

They will exchange views on issues of cooperation within the framework of integration processes after Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union and will refer to the future programs.

Azerbaijan launches criminal case against Russian businessman over Karabakh visit

A criminal case has been launched against Russian millionaire German Sterligov for his visit to Nagorno Karabakh, said a joint statement from the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry and Prosecutor General’s Office on July 22, Azeri media report.

German Sterligov is accused of making “public anti-state calls” and “illegally crossing the Azerbaijani border.”

Baku also blames the Russian businessman for supporting the independence of Nagorno Karabakh through his posts on social network VKontakte. “He was engaged in illegal business activities and involved his family members,” the statement said.

Turkish organization threatens to disturb the annual Mass at Armenian St. Cross Church

The Turkish ASIMDER anti-Armenian organization intends to prevent the conduct of the annual liturgy at the Armenian St. Cross Church on Akhtamar Island in Lake Van, member of the organization Irfan Ermis has said.

Speaking about the reasons of the decision, Ermis noted that the Armenian authorities have not allowed them to perform namaz at the Blue Mosque in Yerevan, reports, quoting the Turkish Milliyet daily.

Ermis said they will cooperate with local NGOs and the population of Van. He insisted that the St. Cross Church has been built by Christian Pecheneg Turks.

Indian Government okays signing of agriculture agreement with Armenia

India’s Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave its approval for signing and ratification of an Inter-Governmental agreement between India and Armenia, on cooperation in the field of Agriculture, the reports.

This Agreement will promote cooperation through short and medium term programs, within the framework of the joint activities mentioned in the agreement. The Biennial Work Plan will be drawn up by mutual agreement between the two parties to give effect to the objectives of the agreement.

The agreement will provide for a Joint Working Group for agricultural cooperation which shall be responsible for elaborating Biennial Work Plans. The Joint Working Group shall identify areas and forms of cooperation, and shall coordinate their implementation. The Joint Working Group shall meet periodically and alternatively in India and Armenia.

The agreement will promote understanding of best agricultural practices in the two countries and will be mutually beneficial.

Russian soldier found dead in Gyumri

Soldier of the Russian Military Base #102 in Armenia was found dead at the Mother Armenia monument in Gyumri in the neighborhood of the military base. The serviceman was identified as Ivan Novikov.

The Investigative Committee says a criminal case has been launched under Article 104 of the Armenian Criminal Code (murder). All urgent investigative and legal measures are being taken to reveal the details of the murder.

European Games: Armenian wrestler wins a silver medial in Baku

Armenian Greco-Roman wrestler Mihran Harutyunyan (66 kg) won a silver medal at the European Games in Baku.

In the final Harutyunyan lost 0:2 to Artem Surkov of Russia.

The Armenian wrestler defeated opponents from Spain, Bulgaria, Serbia and Azerbaijan to reach the final.

According to Reuters, Armenian Mihran Harutyunyan failed to win his nation’s first European Games gold medal, losing in the final of the men’s 66kg Greco-Roman wrestling, much to the delight of a vociferous Azeri crowd on Sunday.

Silver medalist Harutyunyan was subjected to a hostile reception from home spectators who chanted ‘Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan’ and cheered wildly for his Russian opponent and gold medalist Artem Surkov throughout an electric bout.

Harutyunyan’s compatriot Maksim Manukyan also fell short in the bronze medal bout for the men’s 85kg event, losing in another highly-charged affair against Turkey’s Metehan Basar.

Both Harutyunyan and Manukyan had enraged the crowd earlier by beating home favorites on their way to the latter stages before quickly disappearing into the safety of the changing rooms to escape the cacophony of noise.

“It is clear the judges were influenced by the public,” Harutyunyan told reporters. “No matter, it is what I expected before I came here. It was very difficult for me to focus with all the pressure that was on me.

“However, it is very important for my country that we are here, each victory (in the preceding rounds) was important and an enormous amount is expected of us back home.”

On Saturday, Games chief Simon Clegg told reporters the events organizers were aware that anti-Armenian feeling would run high but said they were well prepared for any eventuality.

Armenian athletes had been loudly booed and jeered during the opening ceremony of the inaugural European Games in Baku, which run from June 12 to June 28.

Turkey’s AKP faces challenge to form government

Turkey’s AK party faces a challenge to form a government after losing its majority at a general election for the first time in 13 years, the BBC reports.

It secured 41%, a sharp drop from 2011, when it won nearly half of the vote.

Under Turkey’s proportional representation system, this means the AKP will need to form a coalition or face entering a minority government.

The pro-Kurdish HDP crossed the 10% threshold, securing seats in parliament for the first time.

The result is a blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plans to boost his office’s powers.

Speaking from the balcony of the AKP headquarters in Ankara Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said: “The winner of the election is again the AKP, there’s no doubt.”

But he added: “Our people’s decision is final. It’s above everything and we will act in line with it.”

Tobacco firms ordered to pay $12.5 billion in Canada

A Canadian court has ordered British American TobaccoPLC, Philip Morris International Inc. and Japan Tobacco Inc. to pay 15.6 billion Canadian dollars ($12.5 billion) in damages to Quebec smokers after a 17-year legal battle, in the latest case to roil the global tobacco industry, reports.

More than one million Quebecers—comprising smoking addicts and people who had become sick from smoking—were represented in class-action suits claiming tobacco companies should be held responsible for selling a harmful product and obscuring the health impact of smoking.

Imperial Tobacco Canada, a unit of British American Tobacco, was ordered to pay 10.4 billion Canadian dollars. Rothman’s Benson & Hedges—a unit of Philip Morris—and JTI-Macdonald Ltd., a unit of Japan Tobacco, were also ordered to make payments. The case stretched back to 1998 and went to trial in 2012.

The judgment called on the companies to pay initial compensation of at least 1.13 billion Canadian dollars within 60 days, regardless of whether they appeal the ruling. Imperial Tobacco Canada’s share is $743 million Canadian dollars.

The firms argued that Canadian smokers have had a high awareness of smoking health risks for decades, not least through health warnings on cigarette packaging.