Armenians in Iran preserve cultural identity

Christian Armenians have lived in Iran since thousands of years ago and their existence in the nation dates to the pre-Christ times, the  reports.

According to historic evidences and relics, their existence in the nation dates back to the B.C fith and sixth centuries. Since then, they have preserved their own social fabric and language in Iran, as well as in other countries of their diaspora.

In an interview with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), the chief Armenian bishop in Tehran, Sebuh Sarkisian, said the Armenians have been since the old times a very active community in Iran in humanitarian, cultural, literary, commercial and military sectors.

In the 17th century, the Safavid Shah Abbas transferred more than 300,000 Armenians from Armenia to Esfahan, with aim of renovating the city and creating a new social mix-up, he said. Esfahan was the first city to host the Armenians. They built their own town in Esfahan, named Newo Julfa before spreading to other countries such as India and Iraq.

According to official figures, there are some 100,000 Christians, including 80,000 Armenians, in Iran. They practice their religious rites freely. The Iranian Christians have three patriarchates. According to historic sources, the patriarchate in Tibriz is the oldest one in the country, followed by the one in Esfahan. The newest is located in Tehran.

The Tehran patriarchate groups the largest number of Armenian worshippers. It is significantly influential, managing 20 schools, 20 associations in addition to a number of clubs for the community.
The Armenians are represented with two men in the parliament. They publish a number of newspapers and the patriarchate in Tehran oversees up to 11 churches.

Bishop Sarkisian noted that the largest number of Armenians live in Tehran, followed by Esfahan and Aroumiah. He affirmed that the Armenians enjoy freedoms in Iran, unlike other countries, with exception of Lebanon. They practice their rituals without any restrictions, Sarkisian said, adding that the authorities encourage them to hold their religious ceremonies.

The Armenians view Armenia as their mother land. The Armenian schools teach the official curricula, except for the religious curricula, the Armenian language and history.

Islamic State finance chief ‘killed in air strikes’

Photo: US Air Force

The finance chief of so-called Islamic State has been killed in air strikes by the US-led coalition, a US military spokesman has said, the BBC reports.

Muwaffaq Mustafa Mohammed al-Karmoush, aka Abu Salah, and two other senior leaders were killed in the strikes which took place in “recent weeks”.

No details were immediately given.

The coalition has been carrying out air strikes against IS militants in Iraq and Syria for over a year. One recently also killed an IS leader in Libya.

US military spokesman Col Steve Warren confirmed the deaths in a video call from the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Abu Salah is the code name for Muwaffaq Mustafa Mohammed al-Karmoush.

Col Warren called Abu Salah “one of the most senior and experienced members” of the militant group’s financial network.

On Twitter, Brett McGurk, special US presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter IS, said the three were killed “as part of the coalition campaign to destroy Isil’s (Islamic State’s) financial infrastructure”.

On Monday, the Pentagon confirmed a US air strike had killed a senior leader of the Islamic State group in Libya.

Abu Nabil died after an F-15 jet targeted a compound in the eastern city of Derna on 13 November, it said.

Turkey ignores own history as it accuses Russia of ethnic cleansing in Syria

As Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu accuses Russia of “ethnic cleansing” in northern Syria, an article by Kurt Nimmo published by reminds Turkey about its own history.

“Russia is trying to make ethnic cleansing in northern Latakia to force (out) all Turkmen and Sunni population who do not have good relations with the regime,” Davutoglu said during a news conference in Istanbul.

“They want to expel them, they want to ethnically cleanse this area so that the regime [of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] and Russian bases in Latakia and Tartus are protected,” he added.

Davutoglu also said targeting the supplies lines of Turkish supported jihadi groups will benefit the Islamic State.

“Davutoglu’s accusation ignores the fact the Ottoman Empire and later Turkey more or less pioneered modern genocide and ethnic cleansing in 1915 when it slaughtered between 800,000 and 1.5 million Armenians. The state rounded up and massacred able-bodied males, deported women and children, forced the elderly and infirm to participate in death marches into the Syrian desert, and starved, robbed and raped Turkish Armenians. Christian ethnic groups such as the Assyrians and the Ottoman Greeks were also targeted for extermination,” the author writes.

“The Turkish government has denied it is responsible for the Armenian Genocide. It insists the extermination was the result of deportations during World War One despite the fact the genocide continued until 1923, years after the end of the war,” the article reads.

The author notes that Turkey is also accused of ethnically cleansing Kurds in the 1980s and 1990s. It forcibly emigrated over two million people and destroyed approximately 6,000 Kurdish villages.

“Considering the track record of Turkey in regard to the genocide of Armenians and later the Kurds, Davutoglu’s remarks are at best disingenuous,” the author concludes.

Pope Francis opens the door to Catholic Jubilee

Tens of thousands of Catholic pilgrims assembled in Rome Tuesday to watch Pope Francis open a “Holy Door” in the walls of St Peter’s basilica at the start of an extraordinary Jubilee year, AFP reports.

After a mass on St Peter’s square, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics was to pronounce the words “Aperite mihi Porta Iustitiae” — Latin for “open to me the gates of justice” — and the door, which is normally bricked up, opened.

The first pilgrims had been in the square since before dawn in search of a prime spot to watch the latest enactment of a 700-year-old tradition laden with religious symbolism.

An estimated 50,000 people, including hundreds of cardinals, bishops and members of religious orders, attended an event subject to unprecedented security measures in the wake of recent terrorist attacks around the world.

As Francis initiated the mass, many of the pilgrims had tears running down their cheeks, others listened in silent contemplation or private prayer.

Images of the ceremony were beamed live around the world.

In Catholic tradition, the opening of “Holy Doors” in Rome symbolises an invitation from the Church to believers to enter into a renewed relationship with God.

Francis’s predecessor Benedict XVI, who has lived in seclusion within the Vatican since retiring in 2013 because of failing health, has accepted an invitation to attend Tuesday’s ceremony.

It will be a rare public outing for the German ex-pontiff, now aged 88 and said to be extremely frail. His last one was for the canonisation of former popes John Paul II and John XXIII in April 2014.

Tuesday evening will see images by some of the world’s greatest environmental photographers projected onto the facade of Saint Peter’s in an initiative linked to the ongoing global climate conference in Paris.

IMF approves Chinese yuan to become reserve currency

Photo: Sputnik/ Alexandr Demyanchuk

 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given the Chinese yuan, also known as the renminbi, a status of reserve currency, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a statement on Monday, Sputnik News reports.

“The Executive Board’s decision to include the RMB in the SDR [special drawing rights] basket is an important milestone in the integration of the Chinese economy into the global financial system,” Lagarde said.

To meet the IMF’s criteria, Beijing has recently instituted multiple reforms, including better access for foreigners to Chinese currency markets, more frequent debt issuance and expanded yuan trading hours, Reuters reported.

Lagarde said she expects the measures to continue.

“The continuation and deepening of these efforts will bring about a more robust international monetary and financial system, which in turn will support the growth and stability of China and the global economy,” she said in a statement.

The yuan’s inclusion is a largely symbolic move, with few immediate implications for financial markets.

The yuan is not set to officially become a reserve currency until September 2016. The Chinese currency is expected to contribute to the value of the special drawing right – a weighted average of the currencies – which the IMF uses to price its emergency loans.

Three terrorist suspects killed in French raid in Saint-Denis

Three terrorist suspects have been killed in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis during a major security operation linked to the deadly attacks that rocked the French capital five days ago, a police source said. The targets of the raid are believed to have included the purported mastermind of the attacks, CNN reports.

Three people have also been arrested, according to BBC.

The focus of the operation is reported to be Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged mastermind of the Islamic State-claimed attacks that killed 129 people.

Roads have been blocked off around Rue de la Republique in Saint Denis, in the same district as the Stade de France, where suicide attackers detonated bombs on Friday.

Truckloads of soldiers joined armed police at the scene.

 

George Clooney visits cafe in Edinburgh to support homeless people

Photos by Social Bite

 

Hollywood star George Clooney visited a sandwich shop which helps homeless people during a visit to Edinburgh, the BBC reports.

The actor visited the Social Bite cafe, which donates all its profits to homeless people, leaving $1000  at the cafe for the cause.

He stayed at the cafe for around 15 minutes, and greeted the 200-strong crowd who were waiting outside.

Mr Clooney shook hands, posed for selfies and chatted with fans.

He was later due to share lunch at a secret location with Heather McGowan, 32, from Glasgow, who won a competition to meet the star.

SARF’s ‘Save Life’ Telethon to aid Syrian Armenians

The Syrian Armenian Relief Fund (SARF) announced its upcoming “SAVE A LIFE” Telethon, which will take place on February 21, 2016 in Los Angeles, California, Asbarez reports.

“The Syrian conflict is reaching its five-year landmark. Unfortunately, as the war in Syria goes on, cities, towns and villages are being destroyed, homes are being leveled to the ground, families are being shattered, and most sadly, the bloodshed continues and innocent lives are being lost to brutality,” SARF said in a statement.

Tens of thousands of families have been dislocated, unsheltered. Hundreds of thousands of civilians lack the very basic necessities of human dignity, water, food, roof and warmth to say the least.

The atrocities have left our compatriots extremely vulnerable. The vast destruction of civic and human infrastructures have turned cities like Aleppo, one of the oldest cities in the world, once the largest city and economic hub of Syria, and the oldest Armenian community of Diaspora, into devastated and dysfunctional ghost towns.

“Witnessing inhumanity, however, is strengthening our humanness and our commitment to serving our people who are in dire need. Our compatriots in Syria are the brink of perishing every moment. Yet, they are surviving at very high cost, the statement reads.

To extend a helping hand and provide our compatriots in Syria with the light of hope, the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund announced its upcoming “SAVE A LIFE” Telethon, which will take place on February 21, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

Armenia Media Inc (Australia) wins at NSW Multicultural and Indigenous Media Awards

has won for “BEST ONLINE NEWS COVERAGE 2015” at the NSW Multicultural and Indigenous Media Awards (MIMA), held at the NSW Parliament House on Wednesday, November 11th.

The MIMA Awards, being held for the fourth year under the Chairmanship of NSW Member of Parliament, Shaoquett Moselmane, celebrates the achievements of remarkable people in multicultural and Indigenous media.

Armenia Media, Inc. was nominated for its Armenian-Australian news website, Armenia Online (www.armenia.com.au) and took out the award for Best Online News Coverage. This was Armenia Media, Inc.’s first nomination, and the award was accepted by Board member Karina Arakel and Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia), Vache Kahramanian.

When accepting the award, Kahramanian said: “On behalf of Armenia Media, Inc. and all its publisher organisations, its Board, Editorial Staff and Volunteers we thank the NSW Multicultural and Indigenous Media Awards and its Chairman, Shaoquett Moselmane MP.”

He added: “We dedicate this award to the memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who suffered during the Armenian Genocide, in this Centenary year of commemoration.”