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coming event of the week:

participating in the fund-raising event are Hovig, Gore Melian, Marie-Louise Kouyoumdjian, Alex Moskofian, Hilda Paroian (vocals), Nara Sarderyan and Lilian Khatchatryan (piano), Alisya Voskanyan (kanon) and Haig Mahdessian (synthesizer)

EU PARLIAMENT - ARMENIA FRIENDSHIP GROUP LAUNCHED

Brussels, 9 January 2013 - The creation of the EU Parliament - Armenia Friendship Group was officially launched with the Presidency of Cyprus MEP Dr. Eleni Theocharous with the presence of 25 delegates from the Armenian National Assembly, led by Hovik Abrahamyan. Also present at the announcement of the Friendship Group was Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. The official opening was followed by a reception for the guests and the representatives of Armenian organisations in Belgium.

The idea of the European Parliament - Armenia Friendship Group was proposed by the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) in collaboration with the permanent representation of Armenia in the EU. This initiative was succeeded due to the acceptance of Dr. Eleni Theocharous to take the responsibility and presidency of the group.

Eleni Theocharous, mentioned in her speech that she took this position with great honor and this will bring closer the European Union and Armenia. She hopes that this group will widely open the doors of European Union for Armenia. She also mentioned that Armenians experienced Genocide by Turkey in the past, were oppressed by Soviet Union, and freed themselves from Azeri occupation by the independence of Artsakh. Theocharous finished her speech by saying that we will only become richer by Armenian culture, music, art, poetry and magical presence of the Ararat.

The Speaker of the Republic of Armenia National Assembly Mr. Hovik Abrahamyan praised the creation of this group and mentioned that it will stimulate the European Union – Armenia relationship, which is already on the highest level. The speaker of the Armenian National Assembly mentioned the constructive involvement of the Republic of Armenia in the different EU programs, such as Eastern Partnership and Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. Armenia is also involved in the ongoing process of almost finalizing the EU - Armenia Association Agreement, and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, as well as the visa free regime with the EU. Mr. Hovik Abrahamyan particularly mentioned the misinformation within the EU coming from Azerbaijan and hoped that Friendship Group members will do their best to reveal the truth to the European Parliament.
The President of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) Mr. Kaspar Karampetian welcomed the creation of the Friendship Group and expressed his gratification that more than 30 members of the EU Parliament agreed to join; most of them were present and ratified their involvement with the signatures and they would continue their work to involve other Members of Parliament as well. Kaspar Karampetian appraised the collaboration between Eleni Theocharous, the Embassy of Armenia and the EAFJD. He expressed his confidence that this group will have a successful working program and activity, bring closer Armenia and the European Union through their parliaments. “It is already planned a visit of Members of the European Parliament to Armenia and Artsakh” concluded Mr. Karampetian.
 

EIGHT CANDIDATES TO RUN FOR PRESIDENTIAL RACE IN ARMENIA

President Serzh Sargsyan and seven other candidates were formally registered on Monday to run in Armenia’s upcoming presidential election.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) swiftly approved their inclusion on the ballot almost a week after the legal deadline for the submission of documents needed to enter the presidential race.
Two of the registered candidates, former Prime Minister Hrant Bagratian and former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian, are widely expected to be Sargsyan’s main challengers. Few observers think, however, they can scuttle the incumbent’s reelection.
Sargsyan’s main potential rival, Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian, unexpectedly withdrew from the race on December 8 after months of apparent preparations for a presidential bid.
The February 18 election is also effectively boycotted by two other major opposition groups, Armenian National Congress (HAK) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun). They both have said that the vote will not be free and fair, dismissing government pledges to prevent serious fraud.
The pool of candidates also includes Paruyr Hayrikian, a Soviet-era dissident returning to active politics, Arman Melikian, Nagorno-Karabakh’s former Foreign Minister, and Aram Harutiunian, a university professor. Melikian and Harutiunian took part in previous presidential elections, polling less than 1 percent of the vote.
The two other registered candidates, Andreas Ghukasian and Vartan Sedrakian, are newcomers to the political arena. Ghukasian is a political analyst managing a private radio station based in Yerevan. He last week called on all candidates challenging Sargsyan to drop out of the race “predetermined” by the government and thus undermine the legitimacy of the country’s “criminal-oligarchic system.”
Much less is known about Sedrakian. The latter is making a name for himself with flamboyant statements and extravagant campaign promises. He has said in particular that he would be ready to spend as much as $2 million on his presidential bid that has been advertised on Facebook in recent months.
The CEC on Monday also refused to register seven other, mostly little-known contenders who failed to pay a cash deposit of 8 million drams ($20,000) required by the Electoral Code. They have condemned this requirement as unfair and unconstitutional. One of them, Robert Simonian, claims to have lodged an appeal to the Constitutional Court.

CYPRUS: A successful EU
Presidency by a small country

The Cyprus Mail - 15 December 2013 - CYPRUS managed to have a successful EU presidency despite its size and economic problems, President Demetris Christofias said yesterday, following the last European Council under his term.
"Cyprus has shown that despite its small geographical size and despite its economic problems it held a quite successful presidency," Christofias said during a press conference that wrapped up the last European Council of the Cypriot presidency that ends this month. “It was indeed a very difficult task for us, a task however which I think we have carried out with dignity.”
Christofias said the European Council meeting was another step towards the completion of the economic and monetary union, adding that there was still a long way to go and the momentum had to be kept up.
“The decisions that have been made and the directions that have been given will to a large extent define the course of the European Union in the next years,” he said. “The reform that is taking place with the aim of more effective economic and financial governance also contributes to facing faster the financial crisis that torments the Union.”
The President stressed however that approaches must be balanced and targeted to safeguard social cohesion.
“The economic and financial policies that is, must be formed in such a way that unemployment and poverty are substantially addressed and social exclusion is prevented,” he said. “It is imperative that the measures for fiscal consolidation are combined with measures that promote social cohesion and the prosperity of European citizens.”
European Commission President Josι Manuel Barroso said there had been some real achievements in the past six months.
“I will not quote all of them, but I think the Single Supervisory Mechanism, Schengen governance, common asylum system are especially important,” Barroso said.
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy praised Cyprus’ contribution in successfully closing the matter of the European Patent after decades.
“It is the happy end to a 40 year-long Odyssey. And if you allow me to continue that image: even if we do not know for sure on which Mediterranean island the historic Odysseus lived, for Europe, in the patent case, our beloved "Ithaca" clearly is Cyprus.”

THE KURDISH STATE AND WESTERN ARMENIA

Lragir.am - The establishment of the Kurdish state is becoming real, whereas no official, even expert opinions are expressed by Armenia on the attitude of Yerevan to the Kurdish factor and activities to be taken ahead of the emergence of the fact.
Even opponents of change of borders do not deny the emergence of a new neighbor. The Kurds of Iraq and Syria do not hide their intention to unite, while Ankara does everything not to allow the Turkish Kurds to join, while Ankara does everything to prevent their unification with the Turkish Kurds.
The negotiations between Abdullah Ocalan and Erdogan focused on limiting the wishes of Turkish Kurds to sovereignty, not allowing them to speak about independence. The roadmap of the Turkish-Kurdish relations published in Turkish media indicates Turkey’s readiness to grant sovereignty to the Kurds or its likelihood to allow Ocalan and his supporters to go to the newly established Kurdish state. Erdogan is ready to topple Assad in Syria, invest millions of dollars in Iraqi Kurdistan not to allow independent Kurdistan to the Turkish territory, even lobby independent Kurdistan in Washington in February, however, not in Turkey but in the territory of Iraq and Syria.
Does the United States agree with Turkey’s approach? Perhaps, not. It proceeds from the policy of Turkey’s containment and total control of the United States on the region.
Most probably, Armenia is also involved in these plans. At least, there is danger that the territories of Western Armenia where Kurds or converted Armenians live will also be included in the Kurdish state. Nobody knows anything about global projects – is Turkey’s fragmentation, establishment of the Kurdish state and unification of two parts of Armenia under consideration? In any case, the plan is not a dogma and it can undergo change depending on the policy of interested states.
What steps does Armenia take to set up relations with Kurds to prevent accession of the territories of Western Armenia by the possible Kurdish state? These steps are taken idly or are not taken at all. However, even in the absence of public statements by Yerevan, Ankara understands the threat and in the past week three assaults on Armenians were reported in Turkey.
Turkey is warning Armenia. While Erdogan is moving towards reconciliation with Kurds, Armenians undergo a policy of threat and intimidation. Turkey instills fear among Armenians on new massacres to intimidate them.
It is clear that all these tendencies, Kurdish and Armenian, have not been initiated in the region and are part of the global policy which is obviously trying to stop the Ottoman plan. However, both Kurds and Armenians must find out the handiness of the political conjuncture, what threats ensue and what prospects open up. However, all this is not a discourse in Armenia yet.
It is not ruled out that the Kurdish issue will culminate 3 years later when the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide will be marked, and redesign of borders will take place in the context of the territorial compensation to Armenians. In this case, Turkey’s anger will be against the Armenians rather than Kurds and the West. Armenia needs clear safeguards that geopolitical changes will not affect it negatively. It is possible that under their light the possibility of requesting military assistance from the United States by Armenia is considered.

THREE KURDISH ACTIVISTS SHOT
DEAD IN THE HEART OF PARIS

Any clues on the conspirators?

ANNOUNCEMENT

The Melkonian Alumni Association Cyprus announces that in the legal case by Nazareth Davidian vs. Chairman of Melkonian Alumni Shavasb Bohdjalian and Vice Chairman Masis Der Parthogh, case number 6672/2006, claiming damages with respect to a circular
allegedly circulated by the Melkonian Alumni, which appeared in October 2004 in the local Armenian Artsagang newspaper and the online edition of Gibrahayer (Armenian language section), the presiding judge in the Nicosia District Court ruled in favour of the
plaintiff. The defendants have filed an appeal.
The total amount of the damages including accrued interest as well as the legal expenses of the plaintiffs and the defence amounted to EUR 13,851.50, which was more than the
EUR 10,438.38 balance held for all legal cases involving the Melkonian at Bank of Cyprus by the Melkonian Alumni Association Cyprus.
The resulting deficit amounting to EUR 3,430.00 between the available funds for all legal cases involving the Melkonian and the total damages and legal expenses has been covered by the Melkonian Alumni Association Cyprus Executive from their own
resources.
The Executive Members have also covered the legal expenses of the appeal filed with the Supreme Court against the decision of the Nicosia District Court.
December 2012 - Nicosia

 
We are greatly saddened to hear that Nareg school Armenian language and history teacher Lena Poshoghlian has passed away in Nicosia after a long and brave battle against her illness.
She will be fondly remembered and missed by all who knew her.
Our condolences to the family and the greater family of Nareg schools as well as the Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church Choir.
Her funeral will take place on Saturday 19 January at 2:00 pm at the Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church in Nicosia.
More details about her funeral will be updated on this page and on Gibrahayer Facebook.

 

 

368 BABIES BORN SINCE
THE NEW YEAR IN YEREVAN

January 08, 2013 - YEREVAN. – A total of 368 babies were born at the maternity hospitals of Armenia’s capital city Yerevan ever since the New Year until Monday, the Health Ministry News Service informed Armenian News-NEWS.am.
And 272 of these babies are the newborns of Yerevan residents. Also, some women had come from the country’s regions to deliver their babies at several maternity hospitals of the capital city.
In this respect, the highest indicator was recorded in the case of Armavir Region, as 24 of the births from this region took place in Yerevan; this number was eighteen and seventeen in the case of Ararat and Kotayk Regions respectively.
The lowest figures, with respect to delivering babies in Armenia’s capital city, were recorded in Shirak and Vayots Dzor Regions, with three births apiece. Five babies each were born in Yerevan from women who had come from Syunik and Tavush Regions, and four newborns were delivered in the capital city from women residing in Lori Region.

TURKISH PROFESSOR CALLS FOR THE RETURN OF SANTA'S BONES TO TURKEY

According to a BBC report coming just a few days after Christmas, the jolly fat man in the red suit may soon return home - to Turkey. St. Nicholas, the 3rd century Saint on whom the Christian sleigh-driving dispenser of gifts is based, was buried in the ancient Greek city of Myra, now the Turkish town of Demre. In the 11th century, Italian sailors arrived in the then Turk-controlled town, exhumed the saint's remains, and brought him back to Italy, where he was re-interred at the port of Bari. Now, Turkey wants him back. For one thing, they say, this is where Santa wanted to be buried. Professor Nevzat Cevik, head of archaeological research in Demre, told the BBC that Saint Nicholas had made it clear during his life that he wanted to be buried in his home town.

Before he was descending chimneys and eating cookies and milk as a Christian folk legend, Santa was known as Nicholas the Wonderworker for the miracles he performed as the bishop of Myra. Despite being Muslim, the residents of Demre still celebrate St. Nicholas' miracle-working: it is said that the many statues of St. Nicholas in the town secrete liquid manna smelling of rose water which holds miraculous powers. (Cynics claim that the liquid is not manna, but condensation, given that the statues are situated in moist locations).
It is not known when the Turkish government will issue a formal request to Italy.

PRESIDENT CHRISTOFIAS MEETS ARAM I IN ANTELIAS AT CATHOLICOSATE OF CILICIA

www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.488092327900413.111909.185812434795072&type=1

News in Brief

The Hayastan All-Armenian Fund plans to allocate $250-300 thousand of the $21,422,477 raised during the Telethon 2012 for resolving Syrian Armenians problems, Ara Vardanyan, Executive Director of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund had announced.
The only remaining ethnic Armenian village in Turkey, Vakifli Koyu, which is located on the slopes of Musa Dagh in the Samandag district of Hatay Province, is going to be downgraded to be considered as a quarter rather than village. The local residents object to the decision. They say that numerous tourists regularly visit the only Armenian village in Turkey. The decision will cause a decrease in the number of visits to the village, its restaurants and places of entertainment.
The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TGNA) witnessed an argument between Parliamentarians over who killed the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, Turkish newspapers reported on January 3. `Your history is a history of massacres. You know very well how the grandparents of those who are struggling today were killed,' said Parliamentarian Sirri Sakik (Mush), from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). Other members of parliament pointed to massacres committed against Kurds, while Parliamentarians from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) argued that it is the Kurdish guerilla group PKK that has committed atrocities in Turkey, and that Turkish history is genocide-free.
French Parliament Member Valerie Boyer, who spearheaded last year's effort to pass a bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide, submitted a new draft of the bill last week. The bill stipulates the introduction of amendments to the 1881 law on freedom of press, setting legal foundation for countering racism and denial of Genocide. The bill envisions a 45,000 euro fine and a year in prison for denial of crimes against humanity, including the Armenian Genocide.
Despite the best efforts of Ankara's allies in Washington during the final hours of the Congressional session, the U.S. Senate refused to act last Wednesday on a free give-away of advanced American naval vessels to Turkey. Earlier last week, the House had approved the controversial measure, following a contentious debate.

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PETITION TO OPEN ARMENIAN-TURKISH BORDER LAUNCHED ON US WHITE HOUSE WEBSITE

Armenpress - A petition to open Armenian-Turkish border has been launched on the U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration official web page.
The participants of the petition want Turkey to open the border with Armenia, at least for the Syrian-Armenian refugees. As "Armenpress" reports, the application addressed to president Obama's administration states: “Тhe road from Syria to Armenia goes through Turkey, which closed its border with Armenia in 1993."
It is stated in the petition: "Thus, we are kindly asking to call Turkey to open the land border with Armenia (at least, for refugees) without any preconditions. There shouldn't be closed borders in the 21-st century."
In order to take part in the petition one needs to click on the following link https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/register?destination=petition/call-government-turkey-open-its-border-armenia-refugees-syria/nbmX159C and go through a very short registration. After confirming registration from email, click on the "sign this petition" button.

Marash, Adana & Aintab: NATO announces deployment sites for Patriots in Turkey

Blessed is the snow covering Pentadakytlos mountain... covering also the flag of shame!

Photo: Ο χιονισμένος μας Πενταδάκτυλος..! :)
            Φωτογραφία: Zoe Wintershausen

KIM KARDASHIAN TWEETS
ARONIAN FOR A GAME OF CHESS

Levon Aronian commented on Kim Kardashian’s offer to play chess with him.
Aronian, who is currently participating in Tata Steel Chess Tournament, was asked to comment on Kim Kardashian’s proposal.
“Oh, that’s funny. I am not under spotlights frequently. I guess it’s fun,” he said smiling.
Earlier American-Armenian reality star said she wanted to learn how to play chess.
“I want to learn how to play chess. Wondering if Levon Aronian can teach me!” Kardashian wrote in her Twitter.

Gibrahayer Calendar:

► Wednesday 16 January at 8:00 pm - Literary evening at Homenetmen - AYMA, organised by Hamazkayin "Oshagan" Chapter of the works of Jean Ipdjian. Images will be uploaded after 18/1/13.
► Friday 18 January at 7:00 pm - Lecture by Violet Tashdjian organised by The Armenian Relief Society's Cyprus "Sosse" Chapter. Details below.
► Saturday 19 January at 6:00 pm - Presidential candidate Nicos Anastasiades, accompanied by DIKO President Marios Garoyian address the Armenian community at a gathering in AYMA.

► Sunday, 27 January 2013 at 18.00 - Concert dedicated to Syrian Armenians at Nicosia Nareg School’s Hall organised by the Armenian Prelature and the Office of the Armenian Representative.
► Saturday, February 9, 2012 at 5 pm: Armenian Evangelical Church service in Greek Evangelical Church, 20 Gladstonos Street, Nicosia. Speaker: Hrayr Jebejian. The service will be dedicated for VARTANANTZ.
► Saturday 16 February - Valentine's Party at Homenetmen - AYMA organised by Hamazkayin's Oshagan Cyprus Chapter.
► Sunday 10 March 2013 at 1:00 pm - Michink Dinner organised by ARS (HOM) Cyprus "Sosse" Chapter at Homenetmen/AYMA. Details to follow.
► Sunday 31 March - Dinner Dance organised by Homenetmen - AYMA.
► Saturday 11 May at 7:00 pm - SIPAN & NANOR Dance Group's performance at Strovolos Municipal Theatre. Organised by Hamazkayin's Cultural and Educational Association's Cyprus "Oshagan" Chapter, followed by dinner at Homenetmen - AYMA.
► Sunday 19 May - Pilgrimage St. Magar Monastery organised by the office of Armenian Representative.
► Sunday 26 May - KRAVADZ OR - "Sosse" Cyprus Chapter of The Armenian Relief Society (HOM)
► Saturday 9th November 2013 – KRAVADZ OR – Office Armenian Representative.

 

Call us on 99437073 for a placement in one of our classes or membership at our Tennis Club.
Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to you all.
Simon Aynedjian and Stelios Christofides.
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Armenian Sports by Sevag Devletian
► FOOTBALL: Armenian national football team and capital city Yerevan’s FC Banants midfielder Hovhannes Hambardzumyan headed to Ukraine on Tuesday, for a tryout at FC Metalurh Donetsk.
► CHESS: Armenian grandmaster Hrant Melkumyan scored 7 points out of 9 to share 3-5 places with Maxim Turov (Russia) and Edouard Romain (France) at the rapid open in Basel, Switzerland. Melkumyan came 5th with additional points.
► BOXING: WBO world champion Arthur Abraham is planning to stage a rematch with Stieglitz either on March 30 or April 6, 2013, to be possibly followed by a bout against Kelly Pavlik. The boxer has also expressed a wish to hold a rematch with Carl Froch and Andre Dirrell.
► FOOTBALL: Fans of Donetsk Shakhtar named Henrikh Mkhitaryan the best player of the club in 2012. A total of 1,611 fans participated in the opinion poll.
► TAEKWONDO: Armenian national taekwondo team finished third at the Class A tournament in Tehran, which was held December 22-23. Armenia was represented by eight fighters.
► FOOTBALL: As a result of a voting conducted by the official website of Russia’s FC Kuban of Krasnodar, Armenian national football team and Krasnodar midfielder Aras Ozbilis was recognized as the Russian club’s top player for fall in the current season of the Russian Premier League.
► CHESS: GM Artur Chibukhchian and IM Andranik Matikozyan have scored 3 points each after 5 rounds at the North American open in Las Vegas. FM Samuel Sevian has scored 2.5 points. GM Li Chao (China) leads the tournament with 4.5 points.
► FOOTBALL: Lokomotiv Tashkent's Zhora Hovhannisyan has been announced the best foreign player of Uzbekistan in 2012.
► FOOTBALL: Armenia will hold a friendly match against Luxemburg on February 5 in Valence, France. The match will start at 7:45 p.m. local time.
► CHESS: Armenian GM Igor Efimov (Italy), scoring 5 points out of 6, shared 1-7th places among 128 participants at the open chess tournament in Montecatini, Italy. Efimov finished fourth on tiebreak. IM Fabio Bruno (Italy) became the winner of the tournament.
► FOOTBALL: Lionel Messi tops the list of the world’s top 100 footballers released by Guardian. The newspaper revealed the list of best players formed by an 11-strong international panel of experts. Top 10 also includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Falcao, Robin van Persie, Andrea Pirlo, Yaya Toure and Edinson Cavani. Armenia and Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan is ranked 90th leaving behind Samir Nasri, Wesley Sneijder, Pepe, Diego Forlan, Javi Martinez and others.

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