His Holiness Catholicos All Armenians Karekin II Pays Historic Visit to Mexico

His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, paid a historic Pontifical First Visit to Mexico on Monday October 30, 2017.

His Holiness was accompanied by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, His Eminence, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America. His Grace Bishop Arshak Khachatryan, Chancellor of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the Very Rev. Fr. Sasoon Dz. V. Zumrookhdian, the Vicar of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Mexico, the Very Rev. Fr. Karekin Hambardzumiyan, the Dean of the Gevorkian Seminary, the Rev. Fr. Adam Makaryan, Diocesan Benefactor Mr. Sinan Dinanian and Diocesan council chair Joseph Kanimian, Esq. Mr. Asadour Sarafian and Dr. Vardan Mateodian, His Holiness’ translator.

Also accompanying His Holiness were member of the Television and Media Department of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin Mania Ghazaryan, Suren Ter-Grigoryan and the Western Diocese Aram Mousounian. “On behalf of the Armenian people, we have come to express our solidarity and condolences to the people of Mexico whose hearts were shattered as a result of the September earthquakes”, said His Holiness.

His Holiness also met with members of the Armenian-Mexican community, the descendants of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide (1915-1923) perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, which left one and a half million dead.

The Pontiff and his delegation also visited the Memory and Tolerance Museum of Mexico City, where His Holiness expressed confidence that the Mexican people will overcome “all the catastrophes”, in reference to the earthquakes of September 7th and 19, which left 471 dead. “This corner in the museum shows the sheer horror experienced by the Armenian people from 1915 to 1923. However, the Armenian Genocide corner of the Memory and Tolerance Museum demonstrates the resilience of the people. Please accept my genuine gratitude for creating this little corner,” said Karekin II, saying that education is the best way to prevent the recurrence of genocide.

As a token of his gratitude and commendation, the Catholicos of All Armenians presented the Museum with a silver cross.

Dr. Jose Sarukhan, former director of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), said the presence of the Armenian Catholicos is “an exceptional date” for Mexico and for the descendants of the Armenian diaspora.

Son of Armenian parents, Dr. Sarukhan, highlighted the invaluable role that His Holiness Karekin II played in his homeland during the 1988 earthquake that left 25,000 dead.

The Undersecretary of Population, Migration and Religious Affairs of the Secretary of the Interior of Mexico, Humberto Roque, told that the Pontiff’s visit “is of great importance” for the country. “We have a very prominent Armenian community in Mexico and we are grateful for His Holiness’ visit,” said Roque.

The Catholicos of All Armenians also presided over an ecumenical service in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico in memory of the victims of the earthquakes with the participation of Monsignor Franco Coppola, Apostolic Nuncio of Mexico, His Eminence Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of Mexico City, His Eminence Bishop George Saad Abi Younes, Eparch of the Maronite Diocese of Mexico, Rev. Father Edgar Valtierra, Pastor Daniel Conrad of the Lutheran Church, Fr. Antonio Sanchez — Melkie Greek Catholic Church, Bishop Ignacio Saaman of the Orthodox Church of Antioch, Pastor Samuel Murillo of the Methodist Church, Archbishop Antonio Alejo of the Orthodox Church of America, Monsignor Dr. Enrique Glennie Graue, Rector of the Basilica of Guadalupe and Bishop Carlos Briseno, President of the Ecumenical Commission of Mexico.

His Holiness and his delegation also visited the Basilica of Guadalupe, the largest Catholic Church in Mexico. The Pontiff of the Armenian Apostolic Church also met with the Mayor of Mexico City, Miguel Angel Mancera, and participated in a religious ceremony in the Cathedral.

In the evening, His Excellency Ara Aivazian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Mexico hosted a His Holiness at the Armenian Embassy. On behalf of the Armenian community, made up of 3,000 people, Ambassador Aivazian presented His Holiness an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

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Armenian PM and ADB Vice-President Discuss Future Cooperation

Armenia’s Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan on Monday November 6th, received a delegation of the Asia Development Bank (ADB), led by its Vice President Wencai Zhang.

Karapetyan said that ADB is one of the key partners of the Armenian government. He added also that together they have implemented a total of 25 joint projects in Armenia over the last years, including with the involvement of the private sector.

Karen Karapetyan highlighted a set of infrastructure projects, particularly, the construction of the North-South transport corridor, the reconstruction of an interstate highway running from Armenian Vanadzor to the border with Georgia, introduction of a new public transport system for the capital Yerevan, Armenia’s digital agenda and many others issues.

The Premier expressed the government’s interest in the constant development of cooperation with ADB and the expansion of its funding to the Armenian private sector. In turn, Wencai Zhang said that the ADB is ready to continue assisting the Armenian government in the implementation of its initiatives in infrastructure development, energy, health-care, education and other sectors. ADB Vice-President noted that the bank is developing currently a strategy of projects until 2030 adding that it is necessary to discuss with Armenia all the directions of cooperation.

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Indiana Becomes the 48th U.S State to Recognize the Armenian Genocide

Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb issued a powerful proclamation memorializing the Ottoman Turkish Empire’s centrally planned and executed annihilation of close to three million Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians and Syriacs, making the Hoosier State the 48th U.S State to properly recognize and condemn the Armenian Genocide.

Governor Holcomb also declared November 6-12, 2017 as “Armenia Awareness Week” and invited the citizens of Indiana to “duly note this occasion,” the source said.

Noting that the Ottoman Turkish government’s crime “still requires justice,” Gov. Holcomb’s proclamation cites Hoosier State’s active participation in the Near East Relief, an example of outpouring of generosity by the American people from the onset of the years in rescuing and providing assistance to hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children who were victims of the genocide. The document recounts the cycle of subsequent genocides of the 20th and 21st centuries, specifically mentioning the Islamic State’s Christians, Yezidis, and other minorities. It concludes with the assertion that by “recognizing. consistently remembering, and educating about the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust and all cases of past and ongoing genocide, we help protect historic memory, ensure that similar atrocities do not occur again and remain vigilant.

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Foreign Investments in Armenia in the First Half of 2017 Exceed $1 Billion

Foreign investments in the Armenian economy surged by 36.6% in the first half of 2017 as opposed to the same the span of 2016 to over $1 billion, economic development and investments.

Minister Suren Karayan, after announcing the figure on Oct. 18, specified that foreign direct investments (FDI) during the reporting period increased by 26.3% year-on-year to about $328 million.

“In fact, one third of the investments are foreign direct investments, which means that foreign investors invested in the authorized capitals of Armenian companies, which are actually portfolio investments that will ensure further development,” Karayan said. According to him, Armenia is also carrying out a number of legislative initiatives to attract investors, which will help create a favorable field for them.

In this connection, the minister singled out a government approved draft law on foreign investments, which introduces redomicilation (relocation) of foreign companies, the prospect of granting Armenian citizenship to foreigners who will carry out a certain amount of investments, as well as the Law of Free Trade Zones.

Also, according to Karayan, steps are being taken to conclude agreements on mutual encouragement of investments with a number of countries, including Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Montenegro, Korea, India, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Moldova, Japan, and others.

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AGBU to Donate Medical Equipment to Military Hospital in Armenia

On October 9, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Armenia and the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Armenia signed an agreement to which AGBU will donate two ventilators for artificial respiration and a defibrillator monitor to the Medical Department of Armenia’s Armed Forces to upgrade the intensive care unit of the Central Military in Yerevan.

The donation is part of the AGBU #HelpArtsakh campaign and is made possible by the generous support of the Cherchian Family Foundation and AGBU Marseille.

“Upgraded capacity and professionalism are the essential preconditions for the Armenian Armed Forces ability to deter aggression and promote peace. Together with the Ministry of Defense, we are proud to have the joint responsibility of strengthening Armenia’s preparedness level and cultivating leadership. AGBU welcomes all types of support from individual donors and institutions to accomplish this very important mission,” said Vasken Yacoubian, AGBU Armenia President and AGBU Central Board Member.

After the four-day war in April 2016, AGBU, as part of its longstanding humanitarian mission, launched #HelpArtsakh campaign, aiming to provide aid to the people of Armenia and Artsakh and the Armenian Armed Forces. To help the Ministry of Defense provide urgent and effective medical service, AGBU donated two mobile digital X-ray machines to military hospitals in Yerevan and Stepanakert, compressing equipment and intensive care devices customized for air transportation. AGBU also provided financial aid to families affected by the war.

In addition to medical assistance, AGBU has been helping to enhance educational capacities of the Armed Forces since 2012. It provides scholarships to cadets and officers taking leadership and English Language courses at the extension program of the American University of Armenia (AUA). Earlier this year, AGBU donated 1000 Kindles, each with over 160 books, including non-fiction and professional literature, to graduating officers and cadets.

To contribute to the AGBU #HelpArtsakh campaign visit http://www.agbu.am/en/helpartsah

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AGBU Hye Geen’s 6th Pregnant Women’s Center Opened in Charentsavan, Armenia

AGBU Hye Geen Committee announced the 6th Pregnant Women’s Center opening in Charentsavan, Armenia.

The center is already operating thanks to the tireless efforts of Silva Kardjian, Nairie Balian, Lena Hartounian, Nina Krakirian, and Vera Manoukian. These women are exemplary supporters of AGBU Hye Geen and embody the core values of the committee.

Hye Geen Chair, Sona Yacoubian, shares: “Thank you ladies, I hope others will be encouraged and come forward to enlist in our efforts to encourage our sisters in the Homeland to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.”

The centers are the brainchild of the AGBU Hye Geen committee under the leadership of Mrs. Yacoubian and her very active and dedicated group of Armenian “Geens” (women).

The first center opened its doors in June of 2002. The 15 year anniversary was celebrated with great fanfare. The centers are run by professional managers, specialized physicians such as gynecologists and psychologists, and nurses who teach self hygiene, prenatal care, as well as, post natal care.

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Sargsyan and Aliyev Agree to Intesify Negotiation Process and Reduce Tensions on Line of Contact

The President of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan and the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, held a summit on Monday, October 16 in Geneva, Switzerland, and discussed among other issues, to take measures to intensify the negotiation process and to take additional steps to reduce tensions on the Line of Contact.

Foreign Ministers, Edward Nalbandian and Elmar Mammadyarov, also attended the meeting, which was organized under the auspices of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States). The Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk, also participated in the summit. The meeting took place in a constructive atmosphere, according to the statement.

the co-chairs expressed their satisfaction with these direct talks, which took place after a long interval, saying they remain ready to work with the sides on mediating a peacefully negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As a next step, the co-chairs will organize working sessions with the ministers in the near future.

Following the talks, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, met with representatives of the Armenian community of Switzerland and spoke about the results of the talks.

“The meeting with the president of Azerbaijan ended a few minutes ago. There are no concrete agreements on options for resolving the issue. However, we agreed to take steps to reduce tensions so that there are no human casualties on the front line. I must say that the president of Azerbaijan is as deeply interested in this, as I am,” Sargsyan said at the meeting hosted by the Armenian Embassy in Switzerland.

“God grant that Aliyev always think so. He too understands the complexity of the issue very much like I do, but the questions is that there will never be an easy solution. But I want to be sure of one question – there is no decision for us that can in any way violate the security of Nagorno-Karabakh. And the only solution for us is that Karabakh is outside Azerbaijan. No Armenian leader can accept and implement a contrary decision, and for that we will do our best – while developing Armenia and economically strengthening our country,” Sargsyan said.

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Armenia Endorses Under2 Coalition

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today, the State of California and Representatives from the Republic of Armenia endorse a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to combat the rising threat of climate change. Armenia has already signed the Paris agreement but took one step further, endorsing the Under2 Coalition and encouraging sub-regions within Armenia to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions toward net-zero by 2050.

“California Governor Jerry Brown’s visionary leadership in climate change has single-handedly kept the United States an important global voice in reducing greenhouse gases,” stated Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian.

This also comes on the heels of a very successful California Legislative Delegation trip to Armenia, led by Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, which discussed fighting climate change, among other issues.

“I am thrilled that Armenia has joined the campaign to combat climate change,” stated Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian. “Our future economic success depends on the development of clean renewable energy. With Armenia’s addition to the growing world chorus of support for the Under2 Coalition, we will force action in Washington.”

During the recent California Delegation trip to Armenia, Assemblymembers Adrin Nazarian, Marc Levine, and Laura Friedman met with the following leaders in Armenia: Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia, Vache Gabrielyan, Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia, Ara Babloyan, Vice-Chairman of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, Arpine Hovhannisyan, Defense Minister of Armenia, Vigen Sargsyan, and other dignitaries from the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh.

Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia, Vache Gabrielyan participated in the Memorandum of Understanding today on behalf of the Republic of Armenia.

Central to the MOU is the public commitment by all signatories to reduce their GHG emissions by 80-95% on 1990 levels, or to 2 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per capita by 2050.

The Under2 Coalition is a group of ambitious governments of all levels that are combating climate change and demonstrating bold leadership. The Under2 Coalition is made up of 177 governments spanning 37 countries and six continents. Collectively, it represents more than 1.2 billion people and $28.8 trillion in GDP — equivalent to 16 percent of the global population and 39 percent of the global economy.

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New Documentary on Paramaz Premiered in Istanbul, Oct. 2

“Red,” a documentary, premiered in Istanbul on October 12, 2017, directed by Mr. Kadir Akin, about the life, views and struggles of a leader of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party, Matteos “Paramaz” Sarkissian – who was executed in 1915 along with his 19 Hunchakian comrades at Beyazit Square.

The documentary, based on the book written by Mr. Akin “Armenian Revolutionary Paramaz – Armenian Socialists and Genocide from Abdulhamid to Ittihar Terakki” examined Paramaz’s statements, ideas, and actions, along with the Armenian Question on the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent Armenian Genocide.

Among those attending the premier were” Mr. Garo Paylan, member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Mr. Alex Keushkerian, member of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party Central Committee, representatives of Turkey’s Peoples’ Party (HDP), Republican’s People’s Party (CHP), Socialist Party of Refoundation (SYKP) and Party of Labour (EMEP), representatives of various institution, intellectuals and writers, as well as large number of Turkish citizens of Armenian descent.

After thanking the audience, Mr. Akin stated the documentary will be entered into international film festivals and be shown at special screenings throughout Turkey and world.

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Kirk Kerkorian Estate Gets Judge’s OK to Donate $500 Million to Charities

A judge granted a petition by the executor overseeing the estate of the late billionaire Kirk Kerkorian to distribute $500 million of its remaining $1.6 billion in assets to charities to be picked bu a three-member committee.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maria Stratton, previously gave approval to another petition by the executor, Anthony Mandekic that allowed him and the other members of the panel–former Kerkorian lawyer, Patricia Glaser and UCLA Physician Eric Esrailian–to distribute another $200 million to charities of their choosing.

Kerkorian’s will specified that his estate be fully distributed within three years of his death. He was 98 when he did on June 15, 2015, in Beverly Hills.

“The delay and distraction from his testamentary desire and intent is due, primarily, to the efforts of certain individuals to try to extort as much money from the estate as possible…” Mandekic’s lawyers state in their court papers.

The lawyers were referring to claims by Kerkorian’s widow, Una Davis, to one third of the estate —about $600 million, based on its $1.8 billion value at the businessman’s death—and $20 million by a second woman, Vanessa Sandin.

Kerkorian and Davis were for 57 days before he asked her to leave his home, according to Mandekic’s lawyers’ court papers. Sandin maintains in a civil suit that Kerkorian befriended her before his death and promised her $20 million.

In the “unlikely event” that the Davis and Sandin claims are found to be valid, there would still be about $1 billion left in the estate, more than enough for the $500 million charity distribution, according to court papers filed by Mandekic’s attorneys.

But lawyer James Harvey, on behalf of Davis, said after the hearing that he is looking forward to seeing the results of an accounting of estate that Mandekic’s lawyers told the judge they will produce by December 20. Mandekic served as secretary treasurer of Kerkorian’s Beverly Hills based Tracinda Corp., which is the largest asset in the estate, according to Davis’ attorneys court papers.

Mandekic may have possession of about $900 million in cash after selling 34 shares of MGM though Tracinda, according to Davis’ attorneys’ court papers.

Mandekic’s lawyers counter in their own papers that the California Attorney General’s Office requested an accounting of the estate and that it will be produced under the guidelines of the state Probate Code. the attorneys also argue that Davis lacks “standing” to ask for an accounting and that her petition of “over reaching” in its scope.

Kerkorian developed key properties on the Las Vegas Strip, including MGM and MGM Grand. He also invested in and operated businesses in a number of industries, including airlines, automakers, Chrysler Corp., General Motors, and film studios. He purchased MGM Studios three times, bought United Artists and tried to acquire Columbia Pictures.

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