Real Madrid set to sack Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez is facing the sack just six months after taking over at Real Madrid.

Directors of the Spanish club have been consulting throughout Monday after Madrid failed to beat Valencia on Sunday evening.

Club president Florentino Perez has called a board meeting for Monday afternoon which will be followed by a press conference at 4.30pm.

The expectation is that Benitez will be dismissed with Zinedine Zidane stepping up from the B-team to take control of first team affairs until the end of the season.

Perez remains a huge fan of Jose Mourinho and the former Chelsea manager remains an option but the president is understood to prefer Zidane taking over with immediate effect.

Mourinho would remain an option for the Spanish giants at the end of the season if the Zidane experiment fails.

Benitez has been unable to win any of Madrid’s big away games so far this season with Villarreal, Sevilla and Barcelona all beating them and Atletico Madrid, Valencia and PSG all taking a point.

Turkish film on Armenian Genocide could be nominated for Oscar

The “Lost birds” – the first Turkish film on the Armenian Genocide – may be nominated for Oscar in 11 nominations. The award ceremony will take place at the Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016. The final list of contending films will be published on January 14, reports, quoting Turkish Sabah daily.

The film was recently screened in Los Angeles and was warmly welcomed by the audience.

Co-director of the film Ela Alyamac said the film had an unprecedented success not only among common viewers, but also some scientific circles. “This inspired us to nominate the film for an Academy Award,” she said.

Two Russian vessels force Turkish ship to move off collision course

Photo:  Sputnik/ Vasily Batanov


A Russian Coast Guard vessel and Black Sea Fleet cutter on Monday forced an unidentified vessel sailing under the Turkish flag to change its course after it had violated international law and hampered the movement of drilling rig equipment, reports.

Two drilling rigs owned by Chernomorneftegaz were moved from the Odesa gas field to the territorial waters of Russia because of the complex international situation.

The gas company said that the drilling rigs were being towed when “an unidentified cargo vessel under the Turkish flag” appeared.

“Acting in violation of international law on the warning of ships crashing in the sea and the overall norms of marine transportation, the Turkish vessel did not give way to the caravan on a cross course and made an attempt to stop in the course [of the caravan], which obviously would create an emergency situation. The Turkish vessel’s captain did not contact the [Russian] ships by radio, nor did he respond to calls,” the gas company said in a statement.

UEFA President Michel Platini loses suspension appeal

UEFA President Michel Platini has failed in his bid to have his 90-day provisional ban from football activity lifted.

Platini had asked for the suspension to be lifted to allow him to work but his request was denied by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The 60-year-old was suspended along with FIFA President Sepp Blatter in October while corruption claims are investigated.

Both deny any wrongdoing.

Denmark’s Amb. presents credentials to Armenian President

Today, the newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Denmark Christian Dons Christensen (residence in Kiev) presented his credentials to the President of Armenia.

President Sargsyan congratulated the Ambassador on his nomination and wished him success during his tenure in our country. Serzh Sargsyan noted that Armenia is ready to deepen her relations with the Kingdom of Denmark in bilateral as well as multilateral formats. In the framework of development of the interstate relations, the President of Armenia stressed the importance of expanding the legal framework aimed at the development of cooperation in different areas, invigoration of high level reciprocal visits, enhancement of the interparliamentary ties, as well as close cooperation in the framework of international structures.

The President expressed gratitude for the assistance provided by the Kingdom of Denmark to the ongoing democratic reforms in Armenia. Serzh Sargsyan underscored that the Armenian people deeply appreciate assistance of Denmark in the organization on April 19 in the Copenhagen Cathedral of the Ecumenical prayer dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The President stressed the importance of the statement adopted by the Danish parliament in relation to the Armenian Genocide which, according to Serzh Sargsyan, is an important step towards the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

The Danish Ambassador expressed gratitude to the President of Armenia for warm welcome and congratulations and assured that during his tenure in office he would spare no effort to deepen the Danish-Armenian relations which hold great potential and to strengthen bilateral relations. Ambassador Christensen underscored that Denmark views Armenia as a good partner, cooperation with which should be deepened.

At the meeting, the President of Armenia and Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark discussed also current regional and international problems, and the Nagorno Karabakh peace process.

S-400 will be deployed at Syrian airbase Hmeymim: Russian Defense Minister

Russia will deploy S-400 defense missile systems to Hmeymim airbase in Syria, Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoygu said Thursday, reports.

Russia is deploying S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) next generation surface-to-air missile systems to the Hmeymim airbase in Syria where the Russian Aerospace Forces group is stationed, according to Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin agrees with the Defense Ministry’s proposal to deploy S-400 missile defense systems to the Syrian airbase.

“By the decision of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief S-400s will be deployed to Hmeymim airbase in Syria to provide comprehensive air defense,” Shoigu said.

On Tuesday, Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian Su-24M Fencer bomber. One of the pilots has been confirmed dead by Russian authorities, shot by rebel ground units after ejecting. The other pilot has been rescued and transported to the Hmeymim airbase Wednesday morning.

Militants shell Syrian city of Latakia: At least 23 dead

At least 23 were killed and 65 injured after rockets had allegedly fired by militants struck the Syrian city of Latakia on Tuesday, a local police source told RIA Novosti Tuesday.

“At the moment, 23 people are dead and at least 65 are at hospitals with injuries,” the source said.

Syrian State TV said two shells hit an area near Tishrin University on Tuesday afternoon.

Latakia is a stronghold of President Bashar Assad and has been bombed several times over the past weeks.

The shelling of Latakia comes as residents in the capital Damascus said rebels shelled several neighborhoods in the city. There was no immediate word on casualties in Damascus.

Driver of the crashed Yerevan-bound bus fell asleep, Russian Minitstry of Interior says

Photo by the Russian Ministry of Interior Affairs


The Yerevan-bound bus crashed in Russia’s Tula region because the driver fell asleep at the wheel, Deputy Head of the Russian Ministry of Interior Affairs Alexander Savenkov has said, RIA Novosti reports.

According to him, the number of road accidents has increased because of the violation of the work and rest periods.

A passenger bus en route from Moscow to Yerevan crashed in Russia’s Tula region, leaving eight dead and 48 injured.

After the accident the Moscow Traffic Police banned the exploitation of two similar buses transporting pasersengers from Moscow to Yerevan.

U.S. Embassy in Armenia announces an important change to visa application procedures

Starting November 9, 2015, the U.S. Embassy in Armenia will be changing its visa procedures to make it easier for approved visa applicants to pick up their visas and for certain current visa holders to renew their visas. There is no additional cost for this improved service.

Starting on November 9, approved visa applicants will no longer have to return to the Embassy to pick up their passport containing their visa. Rather, all approved applicants will pick up their passports with their visas from UMAKS, the DHL representative in Armenia, located at 27 Amiryan St. in Yerevan. Applicants told during their visa interview that they were approved, will later receive an e-mail notification that their visa is ready for pick up at the Amiryan location. Applicants can also designate third parties to pick up their passports for them. More details will be available at .

“We know it can be difficult to get to the Embassy,” Consul Frank Tu said. “We hope our visa applicants will find this process easier. For no additional fee, they will be able to stroll over to the DHL office on Amiryan and pick up their approved visas. We aim to make the visa application procedure as simple and easy as possible.”

Some individuals, those who have previously had visas and meet certain requirements for interview-free visa renewal, will also be able to renew their visas by dropping their application packets off at the Amiryan DHL office after submitting the on-line application and paying the regular visa application fee. If approved, these applicants will receive a notification e-mail to return to DHL to pick up their new visas. For more information on who qualifies for interview-free visa renewal, visit the Embassy website: .

Even those applicants who come to the Embassy for an interview and are asked to provide additional documents, will be able to submit those documents via the DHL location, eliminating the need for additional trips to the Embassy.

This change affects all applicants scheduled for interviews after November 9. No additional fee is required to be paid at the DHL office, as the service is covered by the regular visa application fee, which is not changing.