World Renowned Photographer Ara Guler Passes Away at 90

Ara Guler, world renowned Armenian photographer, died on Wednesday October 17 in the city of Istanbul he so lovingly chronicled. He was 90. He had graduated from Getronagan Armenian High School and then attended colleges.

Mr. Guler’s pictures reflected the shadows and sparkle of Istanbul, a city he once described in an interview as a sort of “Madwoman of Chaillot” who had grown old but never neglectful of how she looked: Touch her, he said, “and a jewel will appear.”

His Istanbul, before it was erased by fast-paced modernization, was a place of boats gliding down the Bosphorus, minarets poking up in the distance behind a horse drawn cart, an elderly head-scarved woman smoking a cigarette, children flinging their arms out in joy.

Mr. Guler described his photographs, often taken with a Leica, as “a little bit romantic.”"I don’t take pictures in normal light,” he said, “only just before or after sunset, or early in the morning.”

Mr. Guler viewed himself as a citizen of the world. His assignments had him circling it as he documented the well-known faces of the 20th century, including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Alfred Hitchcock, Bob Hope, and Winston Churchill, as well as more obscure subjects like the head hunters of Borneo. Other settings for his work included China, New Guinea, Kazakhstan, and Kenya.

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Istanbul Street Named After Hrant Dink

The members of the Istanbul City Council decided during a recent session to consider the complaints and suggestions changing the names of several streets in Istanbul. Among the name changes is Hrant Dink Sokagi.

The Samanyolu Street in Istanbul’s Sisli District has been named after Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

Dink, the editor-in-chief of the Istanbul based Turkish Armenian weekly Agos, was shot dead at the age of 52 in broad daylight by an ultra nationalist, outside his office in central Istanbul on January 19, 2007.

CHP (Republican People’s Party) Members of the Bakirkoy Municipal Council, including Nurhan Cetinkaya, presented a motion which was accepted and forwarded to the mapping and development commissions.

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Justin Trudeau Sees Great Potential of Investments from Canadian Businesses

A great potential of investments exists in Armenia that are of interest for Canadian companies and Canadian-Armenians, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a joint press conference with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Saturday October 13th, in Yerevan.

“Developed economic and business relations exist between Armenia and Canada. We discussed several sectors where we can deepen these relations,” he said. Trudeau said that Pashinyan knows that a solid economy required the people’s trust. “He [Nikol Pashinyan] understands that having the people’s trust is a significant and central core for building solid economy. Nikol spoke about the fact that citizens must be given the chance for free expression of will,” he said.

The Armenian PM, in turn, said that it is important to note what changes have taken place in Armenia. “From the very first moment of our conversation Justin expressed readiness to support boosting Canadian investments. Yesterday Canadian businessmen were also participating at our state dinner, who intend to expand volumes of their investments. I asked for the ongoing processes in Armenia to be more accurately conveyed to the business environment of Canada,” Pashinyan said. “We want to create an environment where economic activities aren’t connected with the whim of this or that official. The main change that took place in Armenia is the following – that the prime minister is representing and will always represent the people. Generally all Armenians [globally] were actively represented in these political changes. We received active support from also the Armenians of Canada. There is no Armenian community which hasn’t supported the velvet revolution,” the PM said.

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Maryland Avenue in Glendale, California Renamed Artsakh Avenue

GLENDALE – the city of Glendale officially celebrated the naming of Maryland Avenue, Artsakh Avenue, on Tuesday October 2nd, 2018. All five Glendale City Council members were present, in addition to state Senator Anthony Portantino and Robert Avetisyan, the U.S Representative for Artsakh.

In June, the City Council voted 4-0 to rename a two block section of Maryland Avenue, between Wilson Avenue and Harvard Street, across the Glendale Central Library, to Artsakh Avenue.

During the decision making process, Councilman Ara Najarian said it was overdue to have a street referencing the city’s large Armenian-American community. Approval of the name change followed.

Glendale residents, Unified Young Armenians, a group of activists who proposed the name change in February, and many officials were present at the ceremony.

To adhere to business owners’ concerns that the name change will adversely affect them, the city set aside $1000 for each of the 131 businesses on the two block portion of the street to help cover costs of reprinting materials with new addresses.

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Yerevan Inaugurated the New Mayor Hayk Marutyan

Hayk Marutyan, whose political bloc My Step won an overwhelming majority of votes (81.06%) in the September 23 mayoral elections, promised to serve honestly during his tenure, respecting the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Armenia, and the decisions of the Council of Elders.

The popular actor, 42, also vowed to work conscientiously “to the benefit of the capital and its residents.”

The oath taking ceremony was attended by President Armen Sarkissian, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyanm high ranking government officials, as well as honorary citizens of Yerevan, artists, and public and political figures.

Pursuant to the councils

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Charles Aznavour’s Death Mourned by Millions Around the World

Millions and millions of people are mourning the passing of internationally known legendary musician, actor and composer, Charles Aznavour, who died on Monday October 1st, 2018 at age 94, as we had mentioned last week.

The news of his passing spread like wildfire in Armenia, where hundreds gathered at the Charles Aznavour square in Moscow Cinema Plaza in Yerevan and laid flowers in memory of the iconic singer. Aznavour became a champion of the Armenian cause and Armenia, shining an international light on all things Armenian, wherever he went.

A very impressive funeral was held and attended by many dignitaries, including the President of France, the President of Armenia, the Prime Minister of Armenia, His Holiness Karekin II, and others. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan declared that a “National Hero of Armenia has died.”

Pashinyan and Macron’s Praise

“It is difficult to believe that the man who shaped an entire era and history, created love and served his people (because Aznavour used to say that he is 100 percent French and 100 percent Armenian) has died. For 80 years his artistic activities were a source of admiration and inspiration for dozens, hundreds of millions of people on all continents,” said Pashinyan in his message. “This is truly a painful day for the history of our people and our country. Armenia’s National Hero has died. Charles Aznavour’s contributions to the accomplishment and strengthening of independent Armenia is unforgettable,” added Pashinyan.

On Aznavour’s passing French President Emmanuel Macron, praised Aznavour for his contribution to French, Armenian, and international culture. “Profoundly French, but connected with his Armenian roots, recognized all over the world, Aznavour spread with his works the joy and sadness of three generations. His masterpieces, his image and light will survive him for a long time,” Macron said on Twitter.

Aznavour Helped Armenia After the 1988 Earthquake

Immediately following the devastating earthquake in Armenia in 1988. Aznavour gathered his colleagues in the music industry to record “For You Armenia,” to benefit relief efforts for the earthquake. Horizon Armenian Television had exclusive rights to air the music video.

Born Chahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian on May 22, 1924, in Paris, Aznavour was the younger of two children born to Armenian immigrants who fled the Armenian Genocide to France. He took his first theatrical bow in the play “Emil and the Detectives” at age nine and within a few years was working as a movie extra. He eventually quit school and toured France and Belgium as a boy singer and dancer with a traveling troupe while living the bohemian lifestyle.

A popular performer at the Paris’ Club de la Chanson, it was there that he was introduced in 1941 to the songwriter Pierre Roche. In the post World War II years, Charles began appearing in films, one of them as a singing croupier in Goodbye Darling (1946). Eventually, Aznavour earned great reputation composing street-styled songs for other established musicians and singers, notably Edith Piaf, for whom he wrote the French version of the American hit “Jezebel”. Heavily encouraged by her, he toured with her as both an opening act and lighting man. He lived with Piaf out of need for a time not as one of her many paramours.

Dubbed as “Frank Sinatra of France”

Dubbed the “Frank Sinatra of France” and singing in many languages, including French, English, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian, Armenian, and Portuguese.

One of his most popular songs in America, “Yesterday When I was Young” has had renditions covered by everyone from Shirley Bassey to Julio Iglesias.

Aznavour sang for president, popes, and royalty, as well as at humanitarian events. In response to the 1988 earthquake, he founded the charitable organization Aznavour for Armenia along with his longtime friend impresario Levon Sayan and the organization assisted Gyumri residents with all kinds of help.

In 1989, a song Charles Aznavour composed a song “Pour toi Armenie,” which was recorded by a group of French singers popular at the time. The charity single was intended to raise funds to help the Armenians who experienced the 1988 Spitak earthquake. It sold more than one million copies.

In 2009, Aznavour was appointed Armenia’s Ambassador to Switzerland. “First I hesitated, as it s not an easy task, then I thought that what is important for Armenia is important for us. I have accepted the proposal with love, happiness, and feeling of deep dignity,” Aznavour said.

On August 24, 2017, Aznavour was awarded the 2618th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the Pantages theater on Hollywood and Vine Boulevards.

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Poland is Interested in Economic Ties

During an October 4th meeting with Armenian entrepreneurs to discuss the possibilities and potential of cooperation between Armenia and Poland. Poland’s Ambassador to Armenia Pavel Czeplak said the trade between the two countries is low, standing on average at $55 million a year. He cited statistical service of Poland, which say that Armenian exports to Poland currently amount to $4 million, and Polish exports to Armenia stand at $22 million.

Marek Reszuta, head of an embassy unit in charge of economic relations, said Armenian exports to Poland in the first half of this year comprised metals, textile and food products, while polish exports to Armenia were more diverse.

According to Reszuta, one of the reasons why bilateral trade is still low is the inertness of Armenian entrepreneurs, who ignore various business conferences and forums held in Poland.

Polish investments in the Armenian economy are concentrated only in the textile industry, worth about $90 thousand. “So far there has been no other investments in the Armenian economy. There were several joint projects, but for various reasons they were not implemented,” he explained.

The diplomat stressed that Poland is interested in the tourist opportunities of other countries, in particular ecological, mountain, extreme or agro and gastronomic tourism. “You have beautiful mountains and nature. However, tourism should be developed without harming the environment and traditions. Tourists will not come to your country to look at fashionable hotels, but to spend time in an Armenian village,” he said.

Saying that Poland needs 30 thousand IT specialists, Reszuta said that a Polish company is already interested in making investments in the Armenia IT sector. “However, our entrepreneurs are not interested in the migration of IT people to Poland, who can carry out our Polish companies’ orders without having to leave their own country,” he explained.

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Isabelle Khurshudyan Wins the 2018 Red Fisher Award

The Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) announced that Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post has won the 2018 Red Fisher Award, which recognizes to the top overall beat reported from 2017-18 season, as voted by her peers.

Khurshudyan was recognized out of a group of nominees which included Mark Lazerus of The Athletic Chicago, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic Columbus, Arthur Staple of The Athletic New York and Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun.

“First of all, I was really honored to even be nominated with those guys who have way more experiences than I do and are really, really great writers and reporters,” said Khurshudyan. “But the coolest thing for me is that it’s something my colleagues, other hockey beat writers, voted on. It’s a most special thing that you’re getting recognition from people that you work alongside a lot of times and really respect. That means a lot again.”

Having grown up in South Carolina, Khurshudyan wasn’t exposed to hockey a great deal prior to being assigned to the Washington Capitals beat in 2015-16. “They partially put me on this beat because I knew Russian,” said Khurshudyan, whose family hails from Eastern Ukraine. “They thought it would be an asset when dealing with a really Russian team and a Russian captain (Alex Ovechkin) but haven’t really watched many games really my entire life. That was kind of a process my first year, I learned hockey is filled with really nice people from players to coaches to other writers who were willing to help me out and be patient and answer a lot of questions.”

The ability to converse in Russian has helped Khurshudyan build a professional relationship with two of the most prominent Russian hockey players on the planet in Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. “It’s really helpful in part because I think I’m able to understand a little bit of where those guys come from,” she said.

Khurshudyan took great pride in winning the award in only its second year of existence.

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French-Armenian Singer Charles Aznavour Dies at Age 94

Legendary French-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour has died at age 94 in his home in Alpilles in southern France. Aznavour who had just returned from a concert tour of Japan last month, had to cancel several shows last year after breaking his arm in a fall.

Aznavour, once named “Entertainer of the Century”, by CNN because of his immense global popularity, was dubbed France’s Frank Sinatra. But unlike the American crooner, he wrote his own songs.

Born Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian in Paris on May 22, 1924, to parents who had fled the genocide of ethnic Armenians, as the Ottoman Empire fell. Aznavour sold more than 180 million records in a career spanning eight decades and as many languages. Aznavour got his big break after World War II when he opened for the then rising French star Edith Piaf. She took him to America as her manager and songwriter while he worked on his voice, and urged him to get a nose job — advice he resisted.

The whole world extended sympathies on the sad occasion, including Pashinyan, Sarkisian, Serj Tankian, Bob Dylan, Emmanuel Macron, and many others. New York Times wrote a long biography and flowers were placed at his star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Pashinyan Visits New York, Spoke at UN at Met with Armenian Community Leaders

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan attended the opening session of the United Nations, delivered his historic speech and on Sunday, September 23, met with members of the Armenian Community from the East and West Coast.

During the reception, he spoke at length about Armenia’s political issues and how his governments is trying to solve them. He added that on his return to Yerevan he will meet with representatives of major political forces to discuss time frames for the snap elections.

In New York, he met with the representatives of the Armenian political Parties – The ARF, the Hunchakian Party and the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, the Rangavars represented by the West coast Chairman Dr, Raffi Balian. They discussed Diaspora and Armenian issues, and Dr. Raffi Balian stated that the ADL, believes in the new government and is ready to support it. Pashinyan thanked Balian, who was accompanied by Norayr Megerdichian, chairman of the ADL East Coast.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan arrived in New York on September 23, he was accompanied by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. While in New York Parshinyam met with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the UN Headquarters on September 24.

Nikol Pashinyan also visited the “Armenia!” exhibition the Met together with Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II. The PM viewed the exhibitions encompassing the very best of Armenian arts and culture spanning from the 4th to 17th centuries. In his remarks, the PM noted 2018 is a symbolic year, a year when the Armenian-American cultural ties have significantly strengthened.

“This year, Armenian culture is presented in the United States of America in an unprecedented way, bringing Armenia’s cultural and civilization legacy closer to our American friends. This year marks the 400th anniversary of Armenian presence on American soil. In 1618, the first Armenian [in North America], named Martin, reached the shores of Virginia and settled in Jamestown. Since that day, the presence of our countrymen on this soil has not been disrupted, as well as their contribution in the culture of their new homeland. This year more earlier Armenian culture, customs, and traditions were displayed in Washington, D.C, in the heart of the U.S capital, in the National Mall, within the framework of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. It enabled us the unprecedented chance to present the Armenian culture with its unique diversity to the American society, as well as thousands of tourists who arrived from different parts of the world. Few weeks ago our two peoples together celebrated the 110th anniversary [of birth] of Pulitzer-winning novelist William Saroyan’s legacy, which is valuable for our two peoples, the Saroyan museum was opened in the city of Fresno in Saroyan’s native California. As the culmination of this unprecedented eventful cultural year for Armenia in the United States, now I have the honor and personal privilege to witness the opening of this unique exhibition, in many ways an exclusive exhibition,” the PM said, adding that the exhibition presents the Armenian integrated culture, also as a representative of western culture and Christian civilization.

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