Preparations for the 20th Anniversary of ARPA International Film Festival Underway – November 3-5, 2017

ARPA International Film Festival in one of the oldest independent film festivals in Los Angeles. On November 3-5, 2017 the festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary at the historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, followed by a special awards banquet at the Glendale Hilton on November 5th.

This year, screenings for the 20th year will bring a diverse tapestry in global cinema, with a stimulating selection of films that cultivate cultural understanding and global empathy. Call for films have been announced and details can found by checking www.arpafilmfestival.com

“We are very proud that our festival has solidified into the leading outlet in Hollywood for International Cinema exploring issues like the Diaspora, war, dual identity, genocide, exile, and multiculturalism, while inspiring our local and global community to connect and advance progressive cinematic art,” said a committed spokesperson.

The prestigious Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award is extended to a special filmmaker for his/her creativity that fulfills AFMA’s mission. Our International jury from the professional film community acts as a supportive body to encourage filmmakers to re-examine, explore and concentrate on their won creative development.

The organization is very proud to search for, bring and screen films that are so important to the community. In previous years AFFMA screened hundreds of films that have touched us, and more recently films such as Women of 1915, Crows of the Desert, Hot Country-Cold Winter, Lost Birds, When My Sorrow Dies, The Legend of ArmenRa, Sumbat: The Life and Art, and our special screening at out 19th annual opening night “Behind the Scenes of the Promise” with a Q & A with Dr. Esrailian and producer Mike Medavoy, and many more have created a great insight to the unbelievable imagination and talent of filmmakers leaving many of us in awe of their creativity.

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Greek Foreign Minister Visits Armenian Genocide Memorial

Foreign Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Nikolaos Kotzias, visited the Tsitsenakaberd Memorial the week prior while visiting Armenia.

The Minister laid a wreath at the memorial to Armenian Genocide victims and paid tribute to their memory with a minute of silence.

Accompanied by Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum Institute (AGMI) Hayk Demoyan, Minister Kotzias toured the Museum and left a note in the Memory Book.

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Rex W. Tillerson: the US will Continue to Support Peaceful Settlement of NKR

The United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, during a telephone conversation with Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Friday March 3rd, reaffirmed that the United States will continue its active support to the peaceful settlement of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).

The Foreign Minister of Armenia congratulated his American counterpart on the assumption of the office and expressed confidence that through joint efforts the Armenian-American quarter century ling inter-state relations and the existing high level of friendly partnership will gain a new impetus. State Secretary Tillerson thanked for congratulations and emphasized that the United States values very good and strong relations between the two countries and is determined to continue joint efforts aimed at their further development.

Edward Nalbandian and Rex Tillerson exchanged views on the steps aimed at advancement of the Nagorno-Karabakh peaceful settlement process as the Foreign Minister of Armenia presented the recent developments in the conflict zone. Within this context the necessity of implementing agreements reached during the last year’s summits in Vienna and St. Petersburg was emphasized.

During the phone conversation they discussed a number of issues of an extensive bilateral agenda, expansion of trade and economic cooperation, urgent regional and international issues.

The U.S Secretary of State expressed gratitude for the significant contribution of Armenia to the international peacekeeping operations. Rex Tillerson highly appreciated that Armenia has sheltered dozens of thousand refugees from Syria.

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Rep. Jamie Raskin Pledges to Join the Armenian Caucus

WASHINGTON, D.C — The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) welcomes Representative Jamie Raskin’s (D-MD) commitment to join the Congressional Caucus on Armenian issues during his meeting with Grassroots and Development Associate Mariam Khaloyan, Internship Program Director Joseph Piatt, and former Terjenian-Thomas Assembly intern Joann Khaloyan last week.

“We welcome Congressman Raskin’s support of Armenian issues and look forward to working with him and his colleagues,” stated Mariam Khaloyan. “We continue to urge our State Chairs and grassroots networks across the country to reach out to their elected officials,” she added.

Rep. Raskin succeeds Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) who vacated his congressional seat in his successful Senate bid. Freshman Rep. Raskin, who represents Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District, is Vice-Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Committee on House Administration. He also serves as the Freshman Representative of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

The Armenian Caucus was created in 1995 as an informal, bipartisan group of legislators dedicated to maintaining and strengthening the U.S-Armenia relationship.

The Armenian Caucus is currently Co-Chaired by Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Rep. David Trott (R-MI), Rep. Jackie Spier (D-CA), and Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) with Vice Co-Chairs Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL).

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State Senator Anthony Portantino Endorses Ara Najarian for Glendale City Council

GLENDALE — Current Glendale Councilman, Ara Najarian received the endorsement of California State Senator Anthony Portantino earlier this month.

“My friend, Ara Najarian, has been a strong local and regional leader on transportation and community issues. His perspective on the MTA is of particular importance and I am pleased to support his reelection,” said Portantino.

Senator Portantino won the race for the 25th State Senate seat in November of 2016. The Senator and Councilman Najarian have previously worked together in staunchly opposing the proposed extension to the Long Beach (710) Freeway in 2013. The tunnel was expected to bring heavier traffic and air pollution to the city of Glendale. The two continued to work together in 2015 as part of the Connected Cities and Communities advocacy group and sought to find solutions to the 710 debate with the “Beyond the 710″ campaign.

“I am honored to receive Senator Portantino’s endorsement. He is a very well-respected community leader and model public servant. I am proud to have the support of such a huge champion of government accountability and transparency and hope to continue working with him on issue pertinent to Glendale residents,” commented Najarian.

Ara Najarian has been re-elected to the Glendale City Council and served as Mayor of three terms. In 2006, he was elected to represent the north cities of L.A County on the Los Angeles Metro (MTA) Board of Directors and served as the Chairman of Metro in 2009 and 2010. In addition, Ara has served on the Metrolink Board of Directors from 2006 to present. He was recently re-elected to represent the North County/San Fernando Valley sector on the Metro Transportation Authority Board and elected as the second vice-chair of Metrolink.

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Tension on Contact Line in Artsakh Escalated; Artsakh Halted Incursions

Tensions on Azerbaijan contact line escalated the week prior, perpetrated by Azeri forces.

Azerbaijani troops have breached the ceasefire regime on the contact line 200 times during the week, by more than 2500 shots at Karabakh positions from light arms, cannons and mortars.

Karabakh’s ministry’s press office says the Azerbaijani side fired 15 shells from a D-44 cannon and 21 shells from 60-82 and 120mm mortars on the eastern and south-eastern sections of the contact line.

The Karabakh army responded to the shelling by return fire. Units of the Artsakh Defense Army halted several Azerbaijani attempts earlier last Saturday morning (Feb 25), during which at least two Azerbaijani soldiers were killed, this according to the Artsakh Ministry of Defense.

The Ministry reports that Azerbaijani forces first demined the areas in the northern (Martouni) and eastern (Akna) regions before attempting to infiltrate the border.

The bodies of two Azerbaijani soldiers remain in the neutral zone. The Artsakh Defense Army, according to the ministry, suffered no casualties.

Overall, Azerbaijan is said to have violated the cease-fire 860 rounds of small arms, mortar and rocket launchers up and down the Artsakh line of Contact. Particularly heavy fire was reported in the east and north.

Azerbaijani troop and equipment movements have been reported along the eastern border separating Azerbaijan and Artsakh. During last week, Khondinyan, a contracted professional soldier at Karabakh army died in Artsakh of a gunshot wound.

In defiance to the calls of of the international community, the demands of the OSCE Minks Group Co-Chair countries to strictly adhere to the 1994-1995 ceasefire agreements and to refrain from the use of force, last night the incursion attempt by the Azerbaijani side on the Line of Contact between Azerbaijani and Artsakh, is Baku’s another blow to the efforts by Armenia and the OSCE Minks Group Co-Chair countries exerted towards the peaceful settlement.

While continuing the attempts to undermine the agreements reached in Vienna and St. Petersburg on creation conducive conditions for the advancement of the negotiation process, Baku Intentionally escalates situation, initiates new provocations.

We once again draw the attention of the international community, and first and foremost, the OSCE Minks Group Co-Chair countries to the strict necessity to sober up Baku and to bring it to the reality.

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A $58 Million First Solar Plant to be Built in Armenia

By Carl Johannes Muth

Armenia will soon announce a tender for the construction of a 40-50 MW solar plant near the village of Masrik in Gegharkunik Province. According to Tamara Babavan, director of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Foundation, all 40 companies that attended the Energy Week 2017 in Yerevan in January have expressed their willingness to participate in the bidding process.

The project is the main component of a $58 million worth program started in 2015 to boost alternative energy sources in the country. The six-year program is directed by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Foundation, a non-government organization whose mission is to facilitate investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy in Armenia, and supported by the Climate Investment Funds, the Armenia Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank.

Construction is expected to begin in 2017 and for the plant to be ready for operation by 2020, which will make it the country’s first-ever solar power plant.

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AMAA’s $400,000 Humanitarian Medical Aid to the Armenian Army

Recently, the Armenian Missionary Association (AMAA), through the gracious effort of AMAA member Dr. Chris Tashjian, donated medical equipment, instruments and beds to RA Ministry of Defense. The official presentation was held on February 20 at the Medical Central Base of the Defense Ministry, Harout Nercessian, AMAA’s Armenia Representative, Lusine Ohanyan, coordinator of AMAA-Armenia’s External Affairs and Major Never Arakelian, Chief Commander of Medical Central Base, were present.

“These items are all extremely necessary for our hospitals and other medical institutions,” said Commander Arakelian in his opening remarks, “and they will contribute to the improvement of our medical care and services. I must emphasize that this is not the first aid we are receiving from AMAA. In 2015, the Association donated numerous electronically controlled hospital beds and equipment. I want to thank the AMAA for helping our Army.”

Nercessian explained that this assistance is implemented by the AMAA on behalf of the MATTER organization and the transportation was financed by Dr. Tashjian. He also stressed that the equipment and tools were thoroughly examined before they were shipped to Armenia. He assured us that this kind of aid to the Ministry of Defense for medical institutions will continue in the future.

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Over $1.5 Billion to be Invested in Armenia’s Energy Sector Between 2017 and 2019

YEREVAN — More than $1.5 Billion will be invested in Armenia’s energy sector over a period between 2017 and 2019.

Artur Baghdasaryan, CEO of High Voltage Electric Networks CJSC, speaking Tuesday at a session of the Armenian energy infrastructure and natural resources ministry’s investment committee, said that the construction of the third electric power line between Armenia and Iran is running just as scheduled.

In his words, 672 land plots have been acquired and permissions for construction of back posts in 60 communities have been obtained as oart of 76 million Euros investment program.

Necessary metallic back-up structures have been imported and 100 kilometers of roads have been built as well.

A 12-hectare area has been bought for constructing Noravan substation worth 33 million Euros.

Baghdasaryan also said that applications for a tender announced to choose contractor for Armenia-Georgia electric power line and a power transforming substation are being considered now.

Reconstruction of Akhatanak, Charentsavan-3, Vanadzor-1, Agarak-2, Shinuayr and Ashnak substations is under way now. Its total cost is $50.5 million.

Investments in a Nutshell

Reconstruction of Substations to cost $50 million.
Thermal Power Plant renovation to cost $18 million.
Nuclear Power Plant extension to cost $300 million.
Energy saving projects to cost $316 million.
Armenian Electric Network to Invest $40 million.

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U.S to Provide Extra $61.1 Million to Armenia as Assistance for Diversifying Private Sector

The total amount of the assistance the United States is providing to Armenia in accordance with the agreement signed to make the private sector more competitive and diversified will reach $61.1 million. Suren Karayan, Armenian economic development and Investments minister said at a regular meeting.

At the session, the Cabinet ministers upheld another amendment to the agreement signed on August 6,2010.

Karayan said that this amendment reflects the United States’ readiness to provide an additional $4.8 million, which will increase the total cost of the program to $61.1 million.

In his words, the extra financial resources will be spent on enhancing competitiveness of the private sector in various segments of the economy.

The minister said that the program consists of six components — partnership for developing rural areas, an expanded initiative for agriculture development, culture tourism in Armenia and promotion of the agriculture business center.

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