Angus Deaton wins Economics Nobel Prize for work on consumption, poverty

British-born economist Angus Deaton has won the 2015 economics Nobel Prize for his work on consumption, poverty and welfare that has helped governments to improve policy through tools such as household surveys and tax changes, Reuters reports.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the microeconomist’s work had been a major influence on policy making, helping for example to determine how different social groups are affected by specific changes in taxation.

“To design economic policy that promotes welfare and reduces poverty, we must first understand individual consumption choices,” the award-giving body said in announcing the 8 million Swedish crown ($978,000) prize.

“More than anyone else, Angus Deaton has enhanced this understanding,” it said.

Deaton, 69, has spearheaded the use of household survey data in developing countries, especially data on consumption, to measure living standards and poverty, the academy said.

Nobel Peace Prize for Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet

The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its role in helping the country’s transition to democracy, the BBC reports.

Announcing the prize, the chairman of the Nobel committee said the group had made a “decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy” after the 2011 revolution.

They were among some 273 contenders for the prestigious prize.

German chancellor Angela Merkel and Pope Francis were among those tipped.

The Tunisian quartet was made up of four organisations: the Tunisian General Labour Union, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Human Rights League, and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers.

It was created in 2013 “when the democratisation process was in danger of collapsing as a result of political and assassinations and widespread social unrest,” said committee chairman Kaci Kullmann Five.

Walls of Diyarbakir (Tigranakert) Fortress damaged in clashes

The recent clashes between the Turks and Kurds in Sur administrative district of Diyarbakir (historic Tigranakert) have caused great harm to the historic monuments of the city.

The walls of ancient Diyarbakir Fortress, the Armenian St. Giragos and the Armenian Catholic Church have been damaged, reports, quoting Turkish website.

The Diyarbakir Fortress was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 4, 2015.

Azerbaijan violates the ceasefire 80 times overnight

The Azerbaijani side violated the ceasefire 80 times overnight, firing 1,300 shots in the direction of the Armenian positions from artillery weapons of different caliber, also as 60 and 82 mm mortars and HAN-17 grenades.

The front divisions of the NKR Defense Army confidently continue with their military duty and resort to retaliatory actions when necessary, the NKR Defense Army said in a statement.

Europa League: Dortmund draws PAOK, Krasnodar and Gabala

The Europa League group stage draw was held in Monaco today. Borussia Dortmun will feature in Group C along with PAOK (Greece), Krasnodar (Russia) and Gabala (Azerbaijan).

Draw in full:

Group A: Ajax, Celtic, Fenerbahce, Molde.

Group B: Rubin Kazan, Liverpool, Bordeaux, FC Sion.

Group C: Borussia Dortmund, PAOK, Krasnodar, Gabala.

Group D: Napoli, Club Brugge, Legia Warsaw, Fc Midtjylland.

Group E: Villareal, Viktoria Plzeƈ, Rapid Vienna, Dinamo Minsk.

Group F: Marseille, Braga, Slovan Liberec, FC Gronigen.

Group G: Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Lazio, Saint Etienne, Rosenborg.

Group H: Sporting Clube de Portugal, Besiktas, Lokomotiv Moscow, KF Skenderbeu

Group I: FC Basel, Fiorentina, Lech Poznan, Os Belenenses.

Group J: Tottenham, Anderlecht, Monaco, Qarabag.

Group K: Schalke, APOEL, Sparta Prague, Asteras Tripoli

Group L: Athletic Bilbao, AZ, Augsburg, Partizan.


Sarajevo Film Festival to honour Atom Egoyan

The Sarajevo Film Festival (Aug 14-22) is to pay tribute to Canadian Armenian director Atom Egoyan, who will receive Honorary Heart of Sarajevo for his contribution to film, reports.

The festival will screen three of his films: Exotica (1994), set in and around a fictional strip club; Cannes award-winner The Sweet Hereafter (1997); and Ararat (2002), a drama about the Armenian genocide.

Egoyan, who was born to Armenian parents in Egypt but moved to Canada aged two, has directed more than a dozen features, several TV projects, and shorts.

Following critical acclaim and accolades for Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter and Ararat, his films of the past decade have included crime drama Where The Truth Lies, starring Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon; true crime drama Devil’s Knot, again with Firth and Reese Witherspoon; and thriller The Captive, starring Ryan Reynolds.

Egoyan’s latest feature, Remember, starring Christopher Plummer, will screen at Venice and Toronto in September.

Mining industry one of pivotal components of Artsakh’s economy: NKR President

On 17 July Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan visited the Kashen mining complex of and got acquainted with activities being carried out there, Central Information Department of the Office of the Artsakh Republic President reported.

President Sahakyan noted that the state paid special attention to the development of mining industry, considering it among the pivotal components of Artsakh’s economy.

Thereafter Bako Sahakyan visited several agricultural fields in the Askeran region and got acquainted with the modern irrigation technologies being implemented there. The Head of the State underlined that the authorities would continue to keep in the spotlight the application of leading experience in the agricultural sphere.

Prime-minister Ara Haroutyunyan and other officials accompanied the President.


Row over Istanbul Armenian orphanage site rumbles on

Armenian campaigners in Istanbul are calling for the “unconditional” return of a historic building at the centre of a demolition row, reports.

Now the Council of Europe could become embroiled in the dispute which has revived issues regarding Turkey’s minority groups and their property rights.

This is despite claims from the landowner that he intends to return the building to the religious foundation from which it was expropriated in the 1980s.

Kamp Armen, a historic building in the Tuzla district of Istanbul, has been the site of vigils by activists for the last 30 days. The protests are aimed at stopping a possible demolition of the historic structure.

“We demand Kamp Armen to be returned to its real owners 
 unconditionally and urgently,” Sayat Tekir, a spokesman for the Nor Zartonk campaign group, told reporters in Istanbul on Thursday.

His remarks came after attempts to partially demolish the building on May 6. The work was suspended after protests held by activists and leading figures from the Armenian community.

“Our resistance for the camp will continue till our demands are entirely met,” Tekir added.

Kamp Armen was constructed in 1962 by Istanbul-based Gedik Pasa Armenian Protestant Church and School Foundation. At one time it was home to around 1,500 orphans.

Important one-time residents included Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink — who was assassinated in 2007 — his wife Rakel and pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party deputy Erol Dora. In 1987, the camp was expropriated under old legislation which deemed ‘inactive’ religious trusts to be forfeit of their assets.

The Nor Zartonk members have also rejected reports circulating in some media organizations recently claiming that the camp had been returned to Armenians.

“Neither the camp has been returned nor any victory gained,” Tekir told reporters.

Ankara-based Human Rights Association is preparing to apply to the Council of Europe on the grounds that the case violates minority rights and property rights, Istanbul branch member Meral Cildir said at today’s press conference.

After the press conference, landowner Fatih Ulusoy, speaking to Anadolu Agency, said that he had submitted a petition to the Armenian foundation to transfer the building to them.

“The process has lengthened out because of the official transaction process and workload,” he said, adding: “It will start in the coming weeks.”

Last month, Rakel Dink wrote an article for Armenian-language newspaper Agos, running a photo of herself and her husband, together with other children.

“The biggest wish of my husband was for Kamp Armenia to survive,” she wrote.

Five dead, hundreds missing as China ship sinks

Five people have died and hundreds are missing after a cruise ship carrying 458 people capsized on the Yangtze River in China’s Hubei province, the BBC reports.

The ship is floating upside down in a wide stretch of river – state media said rescuers tapping the hull had heard calls for help from inside.

The boat, the Eastern Star, reportedly sent no emergency signal.

Media reports say the alarm was raised by several people who had swum to shore and alerted the police.

Most of those on board were tourists aged around 50 to 80 travelling from the eastern city of Nanjing to Chongqing in the south-west – a journey of at least 1,500km.

Mkhitaryan offers something Dortmund wouldn’t have without him

Borussia Dortmund picked up another vital three points in their quest for European football next season with a 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

However, with Marco Reus out injured, the responsibility to guide Jurgen Klopp’s side through another tricky tie fell upon the shoulders of Armenian international Henrikh Mkhitaryan. And he didn’t disappoint, the writes.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang misfiring of sorts at the moment, with just two goals in his last six Bundesliga games, as well as an out of form Shinji Kagawa and Kevin Kampl, it was Mkhitaryan who stood up and stood out in this rather temped front line.

Playing on the right side of the front three, the attacking midfielder was the go-to player for all things attacking for Klopp’s team on the day. Sure, Kagawa can make a pass and Kampl has heart, but it was Mkhitaryan who was constantly skipping past players and always in the right place at the right time.

This was best illustrated in the manner of Mkhitaryan’s passing which was seen across the pitch as he drifted from right to left and through the middle of the pitch. A number of his passes were directed straight at goal, with a number of short, completed passes on the edge of the Hertha box.

According to the author, “with Mkhitaryan in the team we see a little bit of creativity that certainly goes a long way.”

Another aspect of that vital creativity is in the way Mkhitaryan dribbles past players with such ease when he is at the top of his game. Unlike Kampl, Kevin Grosskreutz and Jakub Blaszczykowski, Mkhitaryan has lately shown exactly what he’s capable of in shaking things up in attack and offering something that Dortmund simply wouldn’t have without him.

A welcome sign for a player who Dortmund spent so much money on and entrusted so much hope in bringing them success. This season may well be something of a write-off for the whole squad, but with form like this Mkhitaryan may well be looking towards a very big campaign later this year.