Today is William Saroyan’s 107th birth anniversary

July 31 is the birthday of great American Armenian writer William Saroyan.

William Saroyan was born on August 31, 1908 in Fresno, California to Armenak and Takoohi Saroyan, Armenian immigrants from Bitlis, Ottoman Empire. His father came to New York in 1905 and started preaching in Armenian Apostolic Churches.

At the age of three, after his father’s death, Saroyan, along with his brother and sister, was placed in an orphanage in Oakland, California. Five years later, the family reunited in Fresno.

Saroyan decided to become a writer after his mother showed him some of his father’s writings. A few of his early short articles were published in Overland Monthly. His first stories appeared in the 1930s.

Among these was “The Broken Wheel”, written under the name Sirak Goryan and published in the Armenian journal Hairenik in 1933. Many of Saroyan’s stories were based on his childhood experiences among the Armenian-American fruit growers of the San Joaquin Valley or dealt with the rootlessness of the immigrant. The short story collection My Name is Aram (1940), an international bestseller, was about a young boy and the colorful characters of his immigrant family. It has been translated into many languages.

As a writer, Saroyan made his breakthrough in Story magazine with The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze (1934), the title taken from the nineteenth century song of the same title. The protagonist is a young, starving writer who tries to survive in a Depression-ridden societ

Saroyan published essays and memoirs, in which he depicted the people he had met on travels in the Soviet Union and Europe, such as the playwright George Bernard Shaw, the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, and Charlie Chaplin. In 1952, Saroyan published The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills, the first of several volumes of memoirs.

Saroyan died in Fresno, of cancer at age 71. Half of his ashes were buried in California and the remainder in Armenia at Komitas Pantheon near film director Sergei Parajanov.

Spain and Morocco make ‘Islamic State’ arrests

Spain and Morocco have arrested 14 people in a joint operation targeting suspected recruiters for the so-called Islamic State (IS) group, the reports.

The arrests were made in suburbs of Madrid and in various Moroccan cities.

Those arrested are suspected of involvement in a network to send fighters to areas of Syria and Iraq under IS control.

On Friday a Moroccan who had lived in Spain was arrested following a foiled attack on a high-speed French train.

Ayoub El-Khazzani, 25, originally from Tetouan in northern Morocco, arrived in Spain in 2007 and lived there for seven years, in Madrid and Algeciras, before moving to France.

He is suspected of having had contact with radical Islamists and had been put on a list marked as “potentially dangerous” by Spanish authorities. They flagged this up to French counterparts in February 2014.

Spanish counter-terrorism sources quoted on Monday by the Spanish Cadena Ser radio network said that some 800 people with a radical Islamist profile were in Europe and ready to strike, having returned from Syria and Iraq.

The latest arrests took place in the San Martin de la Vega district of Madrid, and in the Moroccan cities of Fez, Casablanca, Nador, al-Hoceima and Driouech.

The Spanish interior ministry said the operation was ongoing, without giving specific details.

Both Spain and Morocco have arrested dozens of suspected radical Islamists in recent years.

Islamic State fighters have overrun large parts of Syria and Iraq si

Iraq warplane accidentally bombs Baghdad, killing 7

A bomb fell from an Iraqi Sukhoi warplane and exploded in eastern Baghdad Monday because of a “technical problem,” killing at least seven people, security and medical officials said, Agence Prance-Presse reports.

“One of the bombs became stuck because of a technical problem, and during its (the aircraft’s) return to base it fell on three houses in Baghdad Jadida,” security spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan said in a statement.

The jet was coming back from a bombing run when the accident occurred, Maan said.

Officials said that the blast, which occurred near the Rasheed air base, also wounded at least 11 people.


Gyumri murder case to be handed over to Armenian law-enforcement bodies

The criminal case on the murder of a family in Gyumri launched by Russian law-enforcement bodies will be handed over to the Armenian side, Press Service of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Armenia informs.

The decision is a result of long negotiations between the Prosecutor’s Offices of Armenia and Russia.

Within the framework of the talks Armenian Prosecutor General Gevorg Kostanyan held meetings with his Russian counterpart Yuri Chayka and President of the Russian Constitutional Court Valery Zorkin.

Taking into consideration that the case was unprecedented, the issue was discussed not only from the perspective of criminal legislature, but also from the viewpoint of constitutional and international law. As a result, it was decided to transfer the investigation of the case to the Armenian law-enforcement bodies.

The case will be investigated by Armenian law-enforcers and tried by the Armenian Court, the verdict will be announced on behalf of the Republic of Armenia.

OSCE conducts monitoring of the line of contact: No ceasefire violations reported

On June 17, in accordance with the arrangement reached with the authorities of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, the OSCE Mission conducted a planned monitoring of the Line of Contact between the armed forces of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan at the Omar pass.

From the positions of the NKR Defense Army, the monitoring was conducted by Field Assistant of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Jiri Aberle (Czech Republic) and Personal Assistant to the Personal Representative of the CiO Simon Tiller (Great Britain), as well as by representative of the OSCE High-Level Planning Group (HLPG) Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Nepokritikh (Russia).

From the opposite side of the Line of Contact, the monitoring was conducted by Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk and his Field Assistant Khristo Khristov (Bulgaria) as well as by representative of the OSCE High-Level Planning Group (HLPG) Colonel Tuncay Sevim (Turkey).

The monitoring passed in accordance with the agreed schedule. No violation of the cease-fire regime was registered.

From the Karabakh side, the monitoring mission was accompanied by representatives of the NKR Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense.

U.S. Embassy in Armenia makes additional visa appointments available on Saturday, June 27

“Technical problems with the overseas passport and visa systems have resulted in the unfortunate cancellation of some U.S. visa interview appointments and the delay of many potential visa appointments, the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan said in a statement.

The Embassy said they remain committed to facilitating legitimate travel and have therefore decided to open on Saturday, June 27, 2015 on an exceptional basis to conduct visa interviews.

The Embassy urgse business, tourist, student, and other nonimmigrant visa applicants to visit to take advantage of these appointments outside of the normal working hours, to schedule or re-schedule a visa appointment.

Armenia, Azerbaijan won’t be drawn together in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying

Azerbaijan and Armenia cannot be drawn together in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying, the UEFA has announced.

The European 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying draw will be held on 25 July at Konstantinovsky Palace in St Petersburg, with FIFA world rankings deciding the seedings.

The 52 entrants (all UEFA national associations except automatically qualified hosts Russia and non-FIFA members Gibraltar) will be drawn into seven groups of six teams and two of five.

The nine group winners will advance directly to the final tournament.

The eight runners-up with the best record against the teams first, third, fourth and fifth in their groups proceed to play-offs to decide the remaining four European berths.

Six seeding pots will be formed as per theFIFA world rankings for July 2015 published early in the month.

All groups will contain one team from each of the top five seeding pots. Each of the seven sides in the sixth pot will be allocated to a six-team group.

Due to the centralisation of media rights for European Qualifiers, England, France,Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands will all be drawn into six-team groups. They may be placed in the same group if they are in different seeding pots.

Due to the political situation between the countries, and based on the relevant decisions taken by the UEFA Executive Committee, Azerbaijan and Armenia cannot be drawn together.

Dmitry Alenichev appointed head coach of Spartak Moscow

Dmitry Alenichev, 42, has been appointed as head coach of Spartak Moscow. He has signed a two-year contract with the club with a possibility of extension, TASS reports quoting sources close to the club.

Alenichev will be officially introduced as new coach on Wednesday.

His assistants will be Dmitry Ananko, who has long worked with Alenichev at Arsenal Tula, and Yegor Titov, a long time captain of Spartak.

Poland’s President Komorowski concedes to rival Duda

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski has conceded the election to conservative challenger Andrzej Duda following the release of exit polls, BBC News reports.

They suggested Mr Duda had taken the run-off vote by 53% to 47%.

Mr Duda had edged Mr Komorowski, who had been the favourite, in the first round but did not gain the 50% needed to win outright.

The president has limited powers, but is head of the armed forces and can veto new laws.

The exit polls had been delayed after a woman died at a polling station on Sunday.

Official results are expected later on Monday.