Aurochs or no Aurochs? The latest finding in Lake Sevan




Fossils recently recovered from the bottom of Lake Sevan may come to refute earlier beliefs that no aurochs or bisons lived in Armenia.

The at the intersection of Large and Small Sevans at the depth of 6-7 meters could be part of a backbone of a prehistoric animal.

Specialists say a DNA test is needed to establish the facts. They warn, however, that the test will completely destroy the fossil.

Rafael Mkrtchyan, Head of the Diving Department of “AYAS” Nautical Research Club says they have found a lot of items at the bottom of Lake Sevan over years, but never a bone.

Members of the club conduct the research on their own, but say government support is needed.

To preserve the remains it’s necessary to establish a museum and find funds for future research, they say.

Photos by Anna Martikyan, Public Radio of Armenia

Syria militants confess to receiving training in Turkey

A number of foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists, who have been arrested by the Syrian army, have confessed that they were trained in Turkey by the United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, reports. 

The Takfiri militants, who were caught recently in the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo, confessed in interviews broadcast by the Syrian state TV on Sunday that military personnel from the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar had trained them on Turkey’s soil.

One of the terrorists, identified as Ahmad Mustafa Mastari, said that he, along with other members of a terrorist group, had been sent to Aleppo after received military training in Turkey for 30 days.

He added that the foreign personnel had trained them for 45 days in the city of Salqin in the Syrian province of Idleb before the training in Turkey.

“I was among the force that attacked Jam’yat al-Zahraa in Aleppo, we were about 250 persons, but the operation failed and we were arrested by the army” Mastari said.

Another terrorist, called Mohammad Aqel Akk, said a group of terrorists, including himself, had been trained for 45 days in Salqin, adding that they were later sent to Turkey to complete their training.

He went on to say that besides receiving training, every trainee was given USD 200 in Turkey.

“We then returned to Aleppo and commenced a huge attack on army posts in Aleppo, but our operation was a failure and we got caught,” he added.

Qasem Abdullah, a terrorist who was caught by the Syrian army in Aleppo, said that he received five months of training in Turkey where he was receiving about USD 80 per month.

He added that he was among a group of 50 gunmen who took part in a failed attack in Aleppo.

“A number of us, including me, were injured in the attack and we decided to surrender to the army” he said.

German opposition parties back bid to recognize Namibia killings as genocide

German opposition parties have called on the government to recognize the massacre committed by imperial troops in Namibia as genocide. This comes ahead of the 100th anniversary of the end of German rule there, reports.

The opposition Greens and Left party have thrown their support behind a bid by human rights organizations to persuade Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to recognize the mass killings of people who belonged to Herero and Nama ethnic groups between in the early 1900s as genocide.

“Between 1904 and 1908 the German empire carried out the first genocide of the 20th century,”Gysi told the DPA news agency. “The people of Namibia are still suffering from the after-effects up to this very day,” he added.

“This chapter of Germany’s colonial history must not be left untreated. As the legal successor, the Federal Republic holds the responsibility,” Cem Özdemir co-chairperson of the Greens, told DPA.

Özdemir was speaking after the Greens on Wednesday brought a motion in the German parliament calling on the government to recognize the mass killings as an act of genocide.

On Monday, a delegation from the Namibian activists’ group “Volkermord verjährt nicht” (Genocide doesn’t have a statute of limitations), are to meet with German President Joachim Gauck in Berlin and present him with a petition calling on the grand-coalition government to Return of Namibian skulls highlights German colonial brutalityrecognize the massacre as genocide. Numerous members of the Bundestag are among the signatories.

The issue has been a bone of contention between Namibia and Germany for years, and in 2004, the then-German development minister, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, came the closest to apologizing for the killings, saying during a visit to Namibia that the “atrocities were what one today would describe as genocide.”

The pressure to get the mass killings recognized as genocide has gained momentum ahead of the July 9th centenary of the end of German colonial rule in what was then German South-West Africa, as well and following a Bundestag debate in April, in which parliamentary President Norbert Lammert referred to the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I as genocide.

Ronaldo could play with Portugal U21 stars at 2016 Olympics

Cristiano Ronaldo is being considered as one of the three over-23 players for Portugal at the 2016 Olympic Games, reports.

The Real Madrid forward, 30, has enjoyed a glittering career at club level but silverware on the international scene has eluded him, with a runners-up medal at Euro 2004 the closest he’s come to winning a trophy with the Seleccao.

Portugal booked their spot in next summer’s Olympics due to the Under-21 side reaching the last four of June’s European Championship finals and, on Tuesday, they could win the tournament with a victory over Sweden’s Under-21s.

Portugal Football Association (FPF) president Fernando Gomes says that planning for Rio 2016 is still in the early stages but admitted Ronaldo could feature at the Games.

“It’s a possibility,” Gomes told Globo Esporte when asked about Ronaldo being involved in the Olympics.

“We can take three players aged over 23. Ronaldo is one of our current options but we have not thought too much about it yet.”

Sixteen teams will compete for the gold medal in the men’s football event in Rio, with the three other European entrants confirmed as Germany, Sweden and Denmark.

Should Ronaldo still be at the Santiago Bernabeu heading into the 2016-17 campaign, Madrid are likely to heavily object to Ronaldo’s participation in the Olympics due to the close proximity to La Liga’s start date in August.

Barring injury, Ronaldo is also likely to be involved in the Euro 2016 finals, assuming Portugal remain in the top two teams of their qualification group.

Portugal currently sit top of Group I with half of their matches played, ahead of Denmark, Albania, Serbia and Armenia.

Mayors of 12 German cities visit Armenian Genocide Memorial

Mayors of 12 German cities visited the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial today, accompanied by Deputy Mayor of Yerevan David Ohanyan, to pay tribute to the memory of the 1.5 victims of the Armenian Genocide.

The guests laid flowers at the Eternal Fire and visited the Armenian Genocide Museum Institute, where they watched the exhibitions and left notes in the guest book.

The football team of Mayors of 12 cities from Hessen has arrived in Armenia to hold a friendly match with the team of the Yerevan City Hall.

Nine killed in shooting at Charleston Church

A white gunman opened fire Wednesday night at a historic black church in downtown Charleston, S.C., killling nine people before fleeing and setting off an overnight manhunt, the police said, the New York Times reports.

At a news conference with Charleston’s mayor early Thursday, the police chief, Greg Mullen, called the shooting a hate crime.

“It is unfathomable that somebody in today’s society would walk into a church while they are having a prayer meeting and take their lives,” he said.

The police said the gunman walked into the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church around 9 p.m. and began shooting.

Eight people died at the scene, Chief Mullen said. Two people were taken to the Medical University of South Carolina, and one of them died on the way.

Hayastan All-Armenian Fund unveils two more community centers in Artsakh

The Hayastan All-Armenian Fund delegation, led by Executive Director Ara Vardanyan and comprising trustees, representatives of affiliates worldwide, benefactors, and associates, visited Artsakh’s Askeran Region on May 22 to unveil two newly built community centers, in the villages of Khachmach and Shosh.

The construction of the Khachmach community center has been made possible by the financial support of the fund’s Lebanese, Brazilian, Dutch, Greek, and Cypriot affiliates as well as the government of Artsakh. The two-story facility, which houses the mayor’s office, a health clinic, a 150-seat events hall, and a computer room, will serve the 233 residents of the village.

The Shosh community center was built through the co-sponsorship of the fund’s French affiliate and the government of Artsakh. Encompassing the mayor’s office, a health clinic, a library, a computer room, and an events hall, the structure is poised to help improve life in the community, which has a population of 610.

The festive opening ceremonies were headed by the Artsakh Prime Minister Ara Harutyunyan.

Another project in Shosh, the community school, which was built with the sponsorship of the fund’s Toronto affiliate, enjoys the continued support of Toronto Armenians. A few months ago, the campus underwent extensive renovations and has a brand new look a decade after its construction.

Hayastan All-Armenian Fund begins annual project-site visits in Armenia and Artsakh

Within the framework of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund Board of Trustees’ annual meeting in Yerevan, a delegation led by Executive Director Ara Vardanyan and comprising trustees, representatives of affiliates worldwide, benefactors, and associates began a string of project-site visits and opening ceremonies of newly completed projects in Artsakh and Armenia. The events, which were kicked off in Artsakh on May 20, will continue through May 25.

The delegation traveled to Artsakh via the Vardenis-Martakert Highway. A large-scale construction project, the highway will be fully paved this year, as planned for the second phase of implementation.

On May 21, the delegation held opening ceremonies for the newly built community centers of Patara and Khantsk, villages in the Askeran Region. The construction of Patara’s community center was made possible by the financial support of the fund’s French affiliate, with additional support from the government of Artsakh. The two-story community center houses the mayor’s office, a medical clinic, a library, and a computer room, with an adjacent events hall. Currently the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund is building additional community centers and schools in Artsakh with the sponsorship of the French-Armenian community.

The construction of the Khantsk community center was co-sponsored by the fund’s Montreal affiliate and the government of Artsakh. Also a two-story, multifunctional structure, the Khantsk community center houses the mayor’s office, a health clinic, a library, a computer room, and a game room, as well as an adjacent events hall with a seating capacity of 150.

The community centers of Patara and Khantsk, like scores of other similar structures built by the fund across Armenia and Artsakh, are breathing new life into towns and villages, by addressing many core community needs.

Following the Khantsk event, the delegation visited the village of Ivanyan, in the Askeran Region, where the fund is building a kindergarten with the co-sponsorship of the Toronto affiliate and the government of Artsakh. The approximately 420-square-meter kindergarten is designed to accommodate up to 70 children. With sponsorship of Toronto-Armenians also a community center is being constructed next to the kindergarten.

On the evening of May 21, the delegation will attend a concert at Stepanaker’s Sayat Nova music college. The concert is organized by the college in honor of the guests.

The Sayat Nova music college, which recently underwent a complete renovation with the support of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, hosts different educational and cultural events. Last year it hosted a visit by world-renowned soprano Montserrat Caballe who also gave a concert in Stepanakert.

U.S. Ambassador marks International Day Against Homophobia

In recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on May 17, U.S. Ambassador Richard M. Mills, Jr. met with Armenian civil society representatives who advocate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights in Armenia.  During their meeting, the Ambassador heard from the civil society representatives about their work to ensure that the legal and human rights of LGBT Armenian citizens are fully protected.

The United States remains unwavering in its commitment to advance LGBT equality at home and around the world.  Both former Secretary Clinton and Secretary Kerry have made strong statements condemning discrimination and violence against LGBT persons, recognizing that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The U.S. Embassy has supported NGOs who advocate for equal rights for all Armenians through its Democracy Commission Small Grants program.


Canadian Senate reaffirms recognition of Armenian Genocide

The Canadian Senate reaffirmed on May 13 its recognition of the Armenian Genocide by reiterating support for Motion 44, first approved in June 2002, Horizon Weekly reports. 

“By formally recognizing the Armenian genocide, Canada lives up to the principles that we have promoted throughout the world. Any country that desires to suppress its past, any country that does not confront its past head on, seriously risks a failure to liberate itself from its own history” stated Sen. Thanh Hai Ngo in his declaration.

On the heels of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide he added that “this heinous crime remains unanswered, since Turkey refuses to recognise it. The Senate of Canada has not been indifferent to the atrocities committed during the Armenian genocide. We have to promote justice, human rights, tolerance, and peaceful co-existence between nations because it is the right thing to do. It is my honor to speak before this Chamber on the Centennial Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and to reaffirm our strong commitment towards Motion 44, as passed in June 2002.”

Speaker of the Senate, Honourable Leo Housakos marked the solemn occasion of the Armenian Genocide and greeted the Ambassador of Armenia Mr. Armen Yeganian and members of the Armenian Community sitting in the Gallery, at the opening of the session. Other Senators joined their colleagues reaffirming the Upper Chamber’s commitment towards human rights, international justice and peace.

The reaffirmation of this historic motion was realized through the collective effort of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Canada.