DNA repair wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded for discoveries in DNA repair, the BBC reports.

Tomas Lindahl and Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar were named as the winners on Wednesday morning at a news conference in Stockholm, Sweden.

Their work uncovered the mechanisms used by cells to repair damaged DNA – a fundamental process in living cells.

The prize money of eight million Swedish kronor ($970,000) will be shared among the winners.

Four Armenian soldiers killed in Azeri shelling

Four Armenian soldiers were killed as the Azerbaijan side opened fire from Turkey-made TR-107 reactive rocket launchers in the north-eastern direction of the Defense Army at about 17:30, NKR Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

The victims were identified as Norayr Khachatryan, born in 1995, Robert Mkrtchyan, born in 1995, Harut Hakobyan, born in 1997, Karen Shahinyan, born in 1997. The Ministry said several soliers were also wounded.

Probe into the details of the case is under way.

The NKR Defense Ministry shares the sorrow of the heavy loss and expresses its sympathy to the families and friends of the killed soldiers.


International Hrant Dink Award to be presented today

The International Hrant Dink Award will be presented for the seventh time on Hrant Dink’s birthday, September 15.

The award ceremony will take place on September 15th, 2015, Tuesday at at Istanbul Congress Center.

Every year, the award is presented to two people, groups or institutions from inside and outside Turkey, who work for a world free of discrimination, racism, and violence, take personal risks for their ideals, use the language of peace, and by doing so, inspire and encourage others. With this award, the Foundation aims to remind to all those who struggle for these ideals that their voices are heard, their work is visible and that they are not alone, and also to encourage everyone to fight for their ideals.

The Jury of the International Hrant Dink Award 2015 consists of  Professor, Political Scientists, author Baskın Oran, Alex Manougian Chair in Modern Armenian History in Michigan University, Ann Arbor Gerard Libaridian, executive director of Human Rights Watch, attorney Kenneth Roth, International Executive Director of Greenpeace Kumi Naidoo, Professor of Global Governance at the London School of Economics and the Director of the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit Mary Kaldor, Sociologist, author Oya Baydar, President of the Hrant Dink Foundation Rakel Dink, 2014 International Hrant Dink Awardee, Forensic Medicine Specialist, Şebnem Korur Fincancı and 2014 International Hrant Dink Awardee, Peace Activist, Angie Zelter.

Journalist, author Alper Görmüş (2009), journalist, author Amira Hass (2009), the Conscientious Objection Movement of Turkey (2010), jurist Baltasar Garzón (2010), journalist, author Ahmet Altan (2011), journalist, Human Rights activist Lydia Cacho (2011), author İsmail Beşikçi (2012), Human Rights Organization International MEMORIAL Society – Russia (2012), Human Rights activist Nataša Kandić (2013), Saturday Mothers / People (2013), Şebnem Korur Fincancı (2014) and Angie Zelter (2014) are the former laureates of the International Hrant Dink Award.

Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline blown up in Turkey

Militants suspected of belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) detonated a bomb at the section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipeline passing through the Sarikamis district of Turkey’s northeastern province of Kars Monday night, BGN News reports. 

The attack occurred at 10:00 pm local time (7:00 pm GMT) on Monday at the Sarikamis Hill location, roughly 2 kilometers from the Sarikamis district.

100 meter (330 foot) flames erupted from the site of the blast. Easily visible from nearby towns, the flames finally went out at 11:00 pm local time (8.00 pm GMT), a short while after the valves had been closed off.

Sarikamis district governor Yusuf İzzet Karaman likened the explosion to a similar one at the same site 2 years ago.

Kars Governor Günay Özdemir announced that the attack was the work of the PKK. He added that the location of the explosion was fortunately far away from any residential areas.

Security measures have been taken in the area.

Armenia attaches great importance to the cooperation within CSTO: FM

Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward ‪‎Nalbandian‬ received the Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (‪‎CSTO‬) Nikolay ‪‎Bordyuzha‬.

Welcoming the guest, Minister Nalbandian stressed that Armenia attaches great importance to the cooperation within the CSTO as an important component of its security, and will continue its consistent efforts towards the strengthening of allied collaboration within the Organization.

Edward Nalbandian and Nikolay Bordyuzha touched upon the agenda of the sessions of CSTO statutory bodies, scheduled for autumn in Dushanbe, questions related to the upcoming Presidency of Armenia within the CSTO.

During the meeting the process of implementation of the decisions reached during the session of Collective Security Council at the end of the previous year, as well as issues related to the foreign policy coordination of the member-states of the Organization were discussed.

Garo Paylan calls for free transport tolls on every religious holiday, not only Islamic ones

Waiving the tolls on bridges and highways during Islamic holidays should be extended to other religious holidays, as Turkey doesn’t only have Muslim citizens, but also citizens of many other faith groups whose holidays should be likewise celebrated, a member of parliament has said an filed a motion, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

Each year, during the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, citizens use bridges and highways free of charge as “a holiday gesture,” Armenian Garo Paylan of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) recalled on July 15, while also underlining he favors the practice because he believes the use of public goods and infrastructure should be free for citizens.

“However, this practice should not make us forget the reality that there are Christian, Jewish and Yazidi citizens and citizens from other religions in Turkey. These ancient peoples living in these territories are not solely celebrating Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, but are also celebrating religious holidays like Christmas, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Çarşemba Sor. However, these ancient holidays being celebrated in Anatolia for thousands of years are today ignored by the state,” Paylan said in a written statement.

“According to the constitution and universal democratic norms, the state should approach every religion and each of its citizens equally,” Paylan said, adding the practice concerning the free use of bridges and highways should be extended to citizens from other religions too.

The HDP Istanbul deputy filed a related motion to parliament, noting that he would shortly introduce a bill too.

The Singaporean teen who’s learning Armenian – Video

Sixteen-year old Singaporean Karmun Khoo has dedicated the last several months to learning Armenian, reports.

Why has she decided to learn Armenian? “I think the real question is: Why would I decide not to learn Armenian?,” Karmun says. “There are so many attractive features inherent to the language, like its illustrious history (Armenia was a monolingual country by 2nd century B.C. and founded the world’s oldest national church). Current events in Armenia also make the language exciting, especially in a world where Armenia is trying to better itself and recover from past wounds. The language is like chess: infinitely complex and yet deceptively simple. The availability of online classes was also a big selling point for me and, well, I just wanted a challenge.”

The hardest thing about Armenian is the words with “r” (Armenian “Ռ”). “I can’t roll my Rs, so any word with Ռ ռ in it is challenging to me. Thanks to my experience with other phonetically confusing languages, like French and Russian, I haven’t found Armenian pronunciation too difficult. Learning to read and write nearly killed me though, because lots of letters look the same! I don’t think I can come up with a “hardest word,” because they’re all pretty hard, but I always stumble over “հեռուստացույց,” which means “TV set.” Hey-roo-stahts-tweets?”

“Քանի լեզու իմանաս, այնքան մարդ ես:” (“The more languages you know, the more of a person you are),” Karmun Khoo says, adding that she would not mind learning Grabar (Old Armenian).  “I would definitely consider learning Grabar, except I’d probably be hard-pressed to find someone who’s willing to teach it to me. Apparently, many ancient Persian and Syriac manuscripts have survived only in their Grabar translation, so if I learned how to read it, I might discover something new about the world. That is always a tempting prospect. Still, my main goal right now is to learn Armenian well, and to appreciate its heritage and history.”

The girls says she would like to go to Armenia.Of course I would go to Armenia! I keep planning trips, but my plans always fall apart. I really like the sound of Vagharshapat, so I would like to go there. Also, the Etchmiadzin Cathedral sits there – and what would a visit to Armenia be without visiting the Apostolic Church’s own “Vatican City”? I would also stop at Lake Sevan, because if its pollution worsens, it might not remain picturesque much longer. The obvious attractions such as the Zvartnots Cathedral, as well as the capital city of Yerevan, would also be must-sees. And my last wish would be to visit a traditional Armenian village, where the scenery is beautiful and the food, authentic.”

Նապաստակ (hare)– is Karmun’s favorite word in Armenian. “I also like that Armenians have a single word for “coat of arms”: զինանշան or zinanshan. Making me choose a favorite word is like choosing a favorite hair on my head! There are some that I like more than others, but Armenian wouldn’t be so special without all its words combined.”

Russia loans $200 to modernize Armenian Army




The Armenian National Assembly voted 98 to 1 today to approve a $200 million loan agreement with Russia.

Under the agreement Russia will provide Armenia with a $200 million loan to purchase sophisticated Russian weapons at a discount.

The loan will be given for the term of 13 years with a three-year grace period at a three percent interest rate, Armenian Deputy Defense Minister Ara Nazaryan  told a parliament session today.

“We are acquiring a kind of weapons, which have not been at the disposal of the Armenian armed forces previously,” Ara Nazaryan aid.

“Armenian armed forces will get new modern arms, which will have a substantial impact on balancing forces in the region,” he added.

The money will be spent to purchase modern Russian weapons at a discount in 2015-2017, he said.

Titanic music composer James Horner dies in plane crash

James Horner, the Hollywood composer who wrote the score for the Oscar-winning film hit Titanic, has died in a California plane crash aged 61, the BBC reports.

A trained pilot, he is reported to have been alone aboard a small private plane which crashed north of Santa Barbara on Monday morning.

The two-time Oscar winner worked on three James Cameron films, as well as A Beautiful Mind, Troy and Apollo 13.

He won one Oscar for the Titanic film score and one for its theme song.

The plane crash left an impact crater and sparked a brush fire that had to be put out by firefighters, local fire authorities said.

An Armenian injured in Aleppo shelling

Armenian Fernant Nikoghosyan was injured as a result of shelling in Aleppo on Monday, Kantsasar newspaper informs on its Facebook page.

More than 30 people have been killed in the most lethal rebel bombardment of the city of Aleppo since Syria’s conflict started four years ago, a group monitoring the war said, Reuters reported.

34 people were killed, including 12 children, and about 190 were wounded in the bombardment by rebels who are seeking control of the city.