$100,000 in Aid Released by Armenian Government for Syrian Armenians

Armenia will send more humanitarian aid to Syria, according to the government. Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said the government will release 46 million drams ($100,000) to this end from its reserve fund. The money will transferred to Hayastan all-Armenian fund, which will buy the goods for citizens of humanitarian aid.

A second plane with Armenian humanitarian aid left October 5th from Yerevan to Syria. The first plane carrying the aid landed at the Russian military’s Hmeimim base in northwestern Syria.

Armenia delivered the first batch of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Syria increasingly suffering from the country’s devastating civil war. The Armenian Foreign Ministry said a transport plane carrying the aid landed at the Russian military’s airbase in northwestern Syria early in the morning.

Prime Minister Had a Meeting on Syria

Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan held a consultation on support for Syrian Armenians, attended by the heads of the agencies concerned, the government press office reported. In particular, the meeting heard the report on the distribution of the humanitarian assistance sent to Syria on the instructions of the president of the country.

The meeting also reviewed those educational, healthcare and welfare programs implemented by the government of Armenia in support of Syrian Armenians over the past 5 years, as well as the possibilities for promoting business and integration oriented projects. The premier told the relevant authorities to continue in this direction in cooperation with ministries of foreign affairs and Diaspora.

The announcement came shortly after five ethnic Armenian residents of Aleppo were killed and 11 others wounded amid intensifying fighting in the war ravaged city between Syrian government forces and rebels. The Foreign Ministry in Yerevan condemned “the deplorable use of weaponry against the civilian population of Aleppo including of the Armenian districts.”

An estimated 80,000 ethnic Armenians live in Syria before the outbreak of the bloody conflict these five years ago. The mostly middle-class community was concentrated in Aleppo, the country’s formerly largest city.

Only several thousand Syrian Armenians are thought to remain in Aleppo now. Virtually all of them live on neighborhoods controlled by government troops. Many are apparently unable to flee the war zone or simply have nowhere to go.

Friday’s deaths, reportedly caused by opposition shelling, led to renewed calls for the Armenian government to help evacuate the remaining Aleppo Armenians. An Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday that the authorities are “not discussing” such a possibility yet.

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IMF Upgrades 2016 Economic Growth Outlook for Armenia to 3.2%

In its fresh issue of World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund has upgraded outlook for Armenia’s economic growth in 2016 to 3.2% and in 2017 to 3.4%. In its previous report issued in April 2016, the IMF expected Armenia’s GDP would grow 1.9% in 2016 and 2.5% in 2017. The IMF also forecasts 0.5% deflation in 2016 and 2.5% inflation in 2017.

Unemployment rate is expected to rise from 17.7% in 2015 to 17.9% in 2016 and 18% in 2017. The IMF analysts upgraded also economic outlooks for other CIS countries, including Georgia, Ukraine and Turkmenistan. They expect a 0.3% economic decline in the CIS countries instead of the 1.1% decline predicted in their previous report.

The IMF analysts expect a 1.3% economic growth in CIS countries against the 1.3 percent expected earlier. They replaced their previous 1.8% decline outlook for Russia’s economy in 2016 with 0.8% decline outlook, Azerbaijan’s 3% decline with 2.4% Belarus’ economy’s 2.7% decline outlook with 3% decline outlook and Kazahkstan’s 0.1% growth with 0.8% decline.

Developed countries had their 2016 and 2017 economic growth outlooks downgraded –to 1.6% from 1.8% (July report) due to the disappointment caused by scant business investments and slowdown in accumulation of commodity reserves in the first half of this year. In particular, the IMF downgraded the US economic growth outlook to 1.6% from 2.2%.

According to the IMF forecast, developing economies’ growth will speed up for the first time in the last six months to 4.2% instead of the 4.1% predicted in July. IMF analysts see grounds for presuming that the chronic stagnation in developed countries may fuel global trade opponents; sentiments, which may hobble economic growth. They, however, left the global economy growth outlooks for 2016 and 2017 unchanged — at 3.1% and 3.4% respectively.

Armenia’s Economic Growth Projected at 2.2%

In the Armenian government budget for 2016, economic growth is projected at 2.2%. In recent days, Vardan Adamyan, the country’s finance minister, said GDP growth was thought to be recorded at 2.4% in 2016 and 3.2% in 2017.

The World Bank expects a1.9% economic growth in Armenia in 2016. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development says economic growth in Armenia will be recorded at 2% and the Eurasian Development Bank says may reach 2.6% this year. Fitch’s outlook stands at 2% and Moody’s expects a GDP growth slowdown to 2.2%. The Central Bank of Armenia expects 2.7% to 3.6% economic growth.

According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia, 1.55 economic growth was recorded in the country in the second quarter of this year against the 4.5% recorded in the first quarter.

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Lowell Armenian-American Veterans Distribute $200,000 in Scholarships

LOWELL, MA — In a true statement to education and ethnicity, Sam Manoian Post 1, Lowell Armenian-American Veterans, achieved a couple of very significant milestones on September 24 at its annual scholarship dinner-dance.

The group reached $200,000 plateau in distributions, maintaining a tradition that started in 1990. Over these 26 years, a total of 170 students have been honored with disbursements. “It says a lot for out membership,” said Commander Richard Juknavorian. “Every year we come up with an appropriate list and single out these students who are attending excellent colleges and making a significant contribution to our Merrimack Valley Community.

A large crowd turned out at Sts. Vartanantz Church’s Kazanjian Memorial Hall in nearby Chelmsford to applaud seven recipients: Daniel Papazian, attending the University of South Carolina, Tamara Manoli, attending the University of New Hampshire, Benjamin Balian, attending the University of Massachusetts, Lowell; Ryan Ajemian, attending Coastal Carolina University, Aram Nalbandian, attending Suffolk University Law School, Azniv Nalbandian, attending Pennsylvania State University, and Adrineh Nalbandian, attending Colby Sawyer College.

Scholarship Chairman George Manuelian applauded the students for their diverse accomplishments in all phases of academic and athletic life, bringing extreme credit to their schools and families.

Among the high schools represented were Shrewsbury, Lexington, Westford Academy, and Central Catholic in Lawrence.

The event honors Menas G. Boghossian, a one time pillar of the organization in whose name a scholarship fund has originated. The group’s history dates back to 1947 when several Armenian Americans veterans of World War II gathered in Lowell–to count their blessings and pay continued homage to the United States Military and all its adjuncts. The patriotism and commitment have been exemplary over the decades.

Through color guards, patriotic ceremonies, parades, firing squads, hospital visits, children’s Christian parties and gravesite decorations, their presence has been felt throughout the public sector. “We take our proud and venerable place among other similar groups throughout Lowell in keeping the Armenian-American image in the forefront,” adds Aram Jeknavorian, former commander.

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Turkish Parliament MP Garo Paylan’s Impressive Visit to the Southland

Garo Paylan, founding member of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and one of three Armenian members of the Turkish Parliament, visited Southern California and elicited many aspects of the Turkish government.

Paylan represents the 3rd District of Istanbul and is active in the Armenian Community there. He has been a strong advocate of human rights, minority rights, and social rights.

He also expressed his views on the Armenian community in Turkey. He also visited several Armenian institutions, including churches.

The first event was a discussion on “Geopolitics and Minorities: The Case of Turkey” held Saturday, September 24 at Woodbury University in Burbank California. Panelists were Garo Paylan, Dr. Katchig Mouradian, Dr. Asli Bali, and Edwin Minassian as they discussed various social and political issues in the world, concentrating on Turkey. A full capacity crowd was astonished to hear Garo Paylan, as a straight forward person.

In the evening, a Community Dinner and Public Forum was held with Apro Gaylan at Avedissian Hall of Ferrahian High School, with close 600 people in the attendance.

Tavit Samuelian and John Kossakian, co-chairs of United Armenian Council, opened the program.

Dr. Khatchig Mouradian conducted an interview by asking an interview by asking pertinent questions about Turkey, Armenia, and Armenian affairs. Paylan answered bravely to some of the difficult questions. His main point was that Turkey should become Democratic and respect human rights of minorities in Turkey.

On Sunday, Paylan attended mass services at St. Leon Cathedral in Burbank and Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello. He placed a wreath at the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Montebello and later in the evening took part in a Community Town Hall meeting at Karamanoukian Hall in Glendae, organized by Asbarez Newspaper.

Garo Paylan said his grandparents were survivors from the Genocide and that he went to an Armenian School. He was very strong in advising the Armenian American community to be alert and request from the U.S government to be more just about the Middle East and Turkey.

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Arpine Hovhannisyan, Justice Minister, Announces New Laws

On September 26, an extraordinary meeting of Armenia’s parliament adopted in first reading a set of amendments to the law “On Administrative Offenses,” which according to justice minister Arpine Hovhannisyan, are designed to regulate the process of submission of income declarations by high ranking officials and their affiliates. She said under the amendments, if officials and their affiliates fail to submit their income statements after being warned 30 days before, they will penalized in the amount equivalent to $422.

The Minister also noted that if the income declaration is submitted with violations, the official may be fined in the amount of $45. She said if the declaration is submitted with an error or incomplete information, the official may be find in the amount of $422 to $900. If the breach is not eliminated, the law provides for criminal liabilities, she said.

Hovhannisyan also presented a new version of constitutional law on political parties to cabinet ministers, and said Armenia will simplify the procedure of registration of political parties and mechanism of controlling them. In her words, the changes have been prompted by constitutional reforms and the president’s instruction. She said that the Armenian law requires from any party to have at least 200 members at the moment of its registration and to increase the number to 2000 in the next six months, while the new version proposes to require at least 1000 members at the moment of registration without further control over the number of members.

Hovhannisyan also said that it is no longer necessary to have one third of branches in provinces. Now parties have to ensure their presence in one third of the number of the country’s provinces — no matter in Yerevan or other areas. Justifications of registration denial are specified in the new version as well. It is also stipulated in the new version that any political party is established on the initiative of citizens at an assembly with no less than 100 people present in it. The party’s program and regulations are adopted at the same assembly.

To enjoy state financing the party has to score no less than 3% of votes in parliamentary elections. Parties’ activities can be terminated for financial reporting irregularities or calls for violent overthrow or constitutional order.

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Vahe Torossian Named President of Microsoft France

Vahe Torossian was named corporate president of Microsoft France. Torossian’s 22 years at Microsoft demonstrate a record of driving successful business transformation and turnarounds in both high growth and crisis economic environments.

Since 2010, Torossian has led the multi-billion dollar SMS&P organization to double its revenue in the commercial and public sector space. Prior to his leadership role in CEE, Torossian served as general manager of Microsoft SMS&P organization in the Asia region for three years. During his tenure in Singapore, the region experienced unprecedented growth and development, and Torossian gained a wealth of experience working with emerging markets including India, China, and Southeast Asia, He also successfully lead the integration of different product lines and businesses within Microsoft.

Torossian joined Microsoft in 1992 to create the channel marketing organization for Microsoft France. Subsequently, he led numerous business divisions and initiatives in France. He has been acting President since July 1st of this year.

“France is the country of research and innovation, knowledge and best engineering training, with powerful entrepreneurial ecosystem. Together with our team we will strengthen loyalty to our clients and partners and accelerate their digital transformation towards cloud technologies,” Vahe Torossian added.

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Members of Congress Celebrate Armenia’s Independence

US House of Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and the bipartisan leadership of the Congressional Armenian Caucaus joined the Armenian American leaders in toasting Armenia’s 25th anniversary of independence, at a Capitol Hill celebration hosted by the Embassy of Armenia.

The program featured warm toasts by legislators, congratulating Armenia on a quarter century of independence and pledging continued partnership in further developing the US-Armenia relationship, supporting Artsakh’s freedom, and ending U.S complicity in Ankara’s denial of the Armenian Genocide.

On Armenia’s Independence Day, the Armenia’s Independence Day, the Armenian Assembly of America, joined the Armenian Embassy on Capital Hill to honor the Congressional Caucus on Armenian issues. Together, Armenian Caucus Members and the Armenian-American community celebrated the 25th anniversary of independence as Armenia’s Ambassador to the United States Grigor Hovhanissian expressed his sincere appreciation and gratitude towards the Armenian Caucus Members for their significant contribution in strengthening the friendship between the two nations.

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PM Karen Karapetyan is Optimistic about Armenia

Newly appointed Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, addressing a government cabinet session today, said that the country had a great reserve of resources that must be utilized.

Karapetyan said that a number of new economic steps would be taken that might not be understood or accepted. He did not specify what those steps would be.

The prime minister added that the government would stand by the socially vulnerable strata of society in Armenia and that it would try to jump start certain business sectors that could lead to a surplus value.

Karapetyan said that he expected newly appointed agricultural minister Ignaty Arakelyan to draft a comprehensive development plan incorporating all sectors with growth potential.

Karapetyan also instructed the new finance minister Varden Aramvan to propose new ways to organize government expenditures, given that the current system is complex and top heavy.

Karapetyan introduced the newly appointed minister of agriculture Ignaty Arakelyan to the ministry’sstaff. He also thanked the ex-minister Sergo Karapetyan, expressing confidence that he will use this experience and skills in the development of this sector.

The prime minister described the new minister as a person with rich professional experience and excellent knowledge of the topic.

“We need to find out the obstacles hindering the development of agricultural business. We should be open and accessible both to farmers and entrepreneurs,” said Karapetian. He also noted that farmers and businesmen should regard the ministry as the defender of their interests and the “ombudsman” of agriculture.

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ARPA International Film Festival at Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, Nov 3 to 6th.

HOLLYWOOD — ARPA Foundation for Film, Music, and Art (AFFMA), presents its 19th ARPA International Film Festival (AIFF) on November 3rd to the 6th 2016, at the historic venue in the heart of Hollywood, the Egyptian Theatre, located at 6712 Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles.

This year, AIFF will be screening one of the best selections of international films at the festival. Ten feature and feature length documentary film premiers by world class contemporary international artist such as Dominique Pinnon, John Savage, Karren Karagulian, Maria Furtwangler, Albert Kodagolian, Onur Turkel, Matilda, Anna Ingrid Lutz, Yana Drouz, Ashot Adamyan, Marija Karan,and Jesse Williams.

Special screening of award winning and nominated short films from critically acclaimed festivals such as: Tribecca, Berlin, Venice, Moscow, Tallin, Golden Apricot, etc.

The Festival’s prestigious Armin T. Wagner Humanitarian award will be presented to Emmy Award winning director Bared Maronian, for the documentary “Women of 1915″.

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The First Armenian Observer Genocide Monument in Los Angeles Unveiled in Downtown LA Grand Park

LOS ANGELES — The City of Los Angeles and the Armenians made news, Saturday, September 17, when the Armenian Genocide Memorial was unveiled in the presence of hundreds of people in downtown Los Angeles in Grand Park.

Thanks to the efforts of Los Angeles County Supervisor, Michael Antonovich, the first Genocide Monument was installed in the City of Los Angeles.

The first monument in the Southland is in Montebello’s Bicknell Park unveiled on April 21, 1968.

The idea of having an Armenian Genocide monument in Los Angeles grew out of last year’s iWitness installation in Grand Park, marking the centennial of the Armenian Genocide with huge portraits of survivors beautifully presented. The speaker was Supervisor Antonovich.

The iWitness project is a collective made up of artists Ara Oshagan, Levon Parian, architect Vahagn Thomasian and other activities and artist.

The permanent monument is made of black volcanic tuff rock imported directly from the Ararat Valley of Armenia. Tuff is indigenous to the Armenian highlands and deep-rooted in that millennial history. It has been the material of choice for centuries and used to build hundreds of churches, historical buildings, and artworks. The monument is a silent witness to the Genocide itself. The sculpted angular shape of the iWitness monument is an echo and extension of the iWitness installation.

“This remarkable memorial honors the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide and offers a space for contemplation and reflection,” said Supervisor Mike Antonovich. I’m thrilled to have monument installed at Grand Park where people from diverse beackgrounds gather to celebrate and reflect in this urban oasis. It’s a natural fit.”

Sculpted by Vahagn Thomasian, the monument is both organic and conceptual. It is sourced from the earth itself and blends in with the natural flora and fauna of Grand Park. The monument is split in two symbolizing the spiritual and physical rupture of the Armenian Genocide: a disruption of history and community not only for the Armenian Nation but also for all of humanity.

“The idea that a rock can be a witness is perhaps unusual but very significant”, says artist Ara Oshagan. “It was there and that history is embedded in it. A witness needs not speak to be a witness. Just like the trees around Auschwitz are witness to the Holocaust.”

The juxtaposition of smooth and rough surfaces on either half of the iWitness monument further symbolizes the past and the present and re-emphasizes the disruption between the two realities.

In his talk, architect and designer of the sculpture, Vahagn Thomasian said: “The monument is sculpted at 4,24,19,15 degrees symbolizing the date of April 24, 1915. The monument has meaning at every level of its conceptualization and construction.”

At the bottom on the floor, the statue is surrounded by the words of the Pulitzer Prize winning Armenian-American author and playwright, William Saroyan advising people to live the day of your life.

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