News in Аrmenia today | Nagorno Кarabakh latest news | World News in English today https://en.168.am Sat, 22 Jul 2017 14:15:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tourist wearing “Armenia” T-shirt causes uproar in Azerbaijani shopping mall https://en.168.am/2017/07/22/20115.html https://en.168.am/2017/07/22/20115.html#respond Sat, 22 Jul 2017 14:15:50 +0000 https://en.168.am/?p=20115 An Iranian tourist wearing a shirt with “Armenia” written on it has caused a stir in Baku, Azerbaijan.

According to Minval media, the tourist was spotted in the Azerbaijani capital’s 28 mall.

The tourist entered the shopping mall, and upon seeing the writing on his shirt, visitors and employees of the venue began complaining to such extent that security personnel were forced to make the tourist change his clothing.

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Minsk Group Co-Chairs clearly know the aggressor party, says Sargsyan https://en.168.am/2017/07/17/20111.html https://en.168.am/2017/07/17/20111.html#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:17:27 +0000 https://en.168.am/?p=20111 The Minsk Group Co-Chairs have no doubt, they clearly know which side is the aggressor and escalator, and ceasefire violator, Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan said during an interview with Armenia TV, commenting on observations what the Minsk Group and/or the international community are putting the equal sign. The president doesn’t share this view.

“At least three times it was very clearly pointed out as to which side is violating the ceasefire regime and how else should the Minsk Group or the international community act? By pointing out Azerbaijan every time, and everyone is sure in this, you can be sure that the violating side is Azerbaijan, I will touch upon this a bit later, but how should they act by every time pointing out Azerbaijan: this will mean to encourage the Armenian side: to give a much harsher response or to take more serious measures. Honestly, I once had a lengthy conversation with a representative of a co-chairing country in a semi-official setting and I said: Why aren’t you clearly pointing out? He said – you know, in case of pointing out we might become a party and everyone might think that we are engaged in pro-Armenian policy, while our task is to resume the negotiations process, because there is no alternative to it, the alternative to the talks are military operations, which is undesired for us also, perhaps first of all for us, because the life of our officer, the life of our soldier is very valuable for us”, he said.

Speaking on the July 4 developments, the president said that he doesn’t find it to be some sort of a new phase in the conflict, because the tension in the line of contact has been there for a long time.

“Unfortunately, and occasionally incidents of local significance happen, which, due to the sides, let me put it this way, due to the press of the sides gains also wide public resonance. These are usually the cases which claim lives and the July 4 developments in my opinion were due to this”, he said.

Speaking the occasion escalations in the Karabakh-Azerbaijan line of contact, the president said: “As to why is there escalation for a lengthy time now, I believe it is clear and understandable for many. After Azerbaijan almost openly decided that it must refuse from the solution of the issue based on the Madrid principles, it didn’t remain with any other way or exit. If it refuses from the suggested option and there is calm at the borders, then in both the international community and in Azerbaijan an opinion will be created that Azerbaijan has put up with the situation, with the status quo, therefore an escalation is required, incidents are required, in order on one hand to have facts for its own society that they are supposedly continuing to struggle to capture NK, and on the other hand to constantly remind the international community that they are not putting up with such situation”, he said.

 

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President Sargsyan sees opportunities for significance investment increase https://en.168.am/2017/07/17/20108.html https://en.168.am/2017/07/17/20108.html#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:15:22 +0000 https://en.168.am/?p=20108 Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan sees opportunities of increasing investments and positive economic shifts in the country.

In an interview to Armenia TV, the president commented on the government’s plan to attract 3 billion dollar investments in the coming years.

“I believe the important part is the tendency and the process which we have today. The process is positive. We are dealing with people, processes, we can’t predict all processes. Today, we and many powerful countries aren’t able to have clear data on international economic situations, that’s why we are saying – predictions. Any calculation is based on supposed processes and figures. I agree that optimism must always accompany us, but I’m saying something else – I see positive shifts in our economy. I see opportunities of increasing investments – significant increases. I value the processes, and they are proceeding positively”, he said.

The president also commented on the figures which were promised by the previous governments, which performed partially. He commented about the opinions that during the parliamentary elections the ruling party didn’t perform its promises fully, and neither has the president during the presidential election – namely regarding the minimum wage, economic growth figures.

“First of all, when I was elected to my second term I didn’t mention any figure in my program. Those figures, which you have heard from others, you haven’t studied yourselves, they are available in the government’s 2013 program, which was approved by the Parliament. Numerous indicators were included there, which have been performed. Indeed, the work regarding minimum wage hasn’t been completed. But it has been completed in terms of economic growth. At that time the government promised, and it was approved by me, that the minimum wage should be doubled. At that time, the minimum wage was 32,5 thousand drams, while already last year it was 55 thousand. Meaning, it didn’t double, but grew 1,7 times. We failed 0,3 times. Moreover, we had said that the government is targeting”, he said.

“I find that one must strive for more all the time”, he said.

 

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Arms trade with Azerbaijan most painful side of Russian-Armenian relations – President Sargsyan https://en.168.am/2017/07/17/20105.html https://en.168.am/2017/07/17/20105.html#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:14:19 +0000 https://en.168.am/?p=20105 Russia’s selling weaponry to Azerbaijan is the most painful side of the Armenian-Russian relations, President Serzh Sargsyan said during an interview to Armenia TV.

“This issue is the most painful side of the Armenian-Russian friendship, the Armenian-Russian military cooperation and generally our relations. I think this issue overshadows many things. But on the other hand, there are circumstances, and perhaps these circumstances aren’t acceptable for us, but acceptable for them. Nothing serious has happened yet. If sometime serious consequences happen, then we can accuse. While is no serious consequences happen we must find it to be Russia’s long-term political activity for stabilizing the situation in the region”, the president said.

Regarding observations on “suspending or decreasing cooperation with Russia”, the president mentioned that these are extremely dangerous words which can create an extremely difficult situation.

“When you say revise, than with whom do you want, in order to revise and improve? With Turkey? Or is everyone waiting with their arms open in NATO? Or should be simply become enemies with everybody, or tell everyone – you are helping Azerbaijan: and it’s just us against the world”, he said.

He reminded that Armenia is proceeding with a balanced foreign policy by having close allies and also cooperating with partners.

President Sargsyan also touched upon the CSTO statements, mentioning that the organization has never made any statement which could’ve contradicted Armenia’s interests.

“The CSTO and its [former]Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha personally have always responded to the developments in the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and have done so very strictly. It is obvious that the CSTO must have more passive role while commenting on developments in the line of contact, because, nevertheless, they have a stance, that it is the Nagorno Karabakh military there, it is the official army not the Armenian Army”, the president said.

According to the president, in order to have complete understanding about the CSTO’s actions, one must study the organization’s documents and statements.

“Last year we have the CSTO summit in Yerevan, please have a look at the resolution which the summit passed. The emotional side is very important. I understand it very well, but the essence is what’s important. The CSTO hasn’t done any statement in its essence which can contradict the interests of Armenia”, he said.

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Ahead of demographic crisis? https://en.168.am/2017/07/14/20102.html https://en.168.am/2017/07/14/20102.html#respond Fri, 14 Jul 2017 10:51:59 +0000 https://en.168.am/?p=20102 Natural growth of population is among the crucial components providing regular development of the society and the opportunity for strategic forecast based on it. No any country can plan its further socio-economic, political and cultural development without sound demographic policy, importance of which in the contemporary world grows day by day.

Miscellaneous programs boosting birthrate are implemented in many countries of the world. A similar mid-term 2016-2018 program is launched in Armenia as well, one of the components of which is allocating AMD 1 million for the birth of a third child. Allotment of maternity certificates is also in force. A program providing affordable apartments to newly formed families has been developed as well, which, however, isn’t operated due to tiny resources.

As population censuses launched throughout Soviet period show Armenia’s population has recorded natural growth, comprising around 1.5 percent yearly.

Thus, in the 80s of the preceding century natural growth rates of Soviet Armenia were rather high, the peak of which was 1986, when the highest rate of Armenia’s demographic observations was recorded—81.192 children. Based on statistical data 544.654 children were born in the period of 1985-1991.

This high birthrate sharply fluctuates since Armenia’s independence. The reasons were drastic worsening of socio-economic conditions, the disastrous earthquake in Spitak, blockade and the liberation war waged for Karabakh.

If 70.581 children were born in 1992 in Armenia, 43.929—in 1997, then in 2001 that number dropped to 32.065. Overall 464.457 children were born in the first decade of Armenia’s independence, death rate comprised 247.064 people, and natural growth—217.443.

 

It should be noted that compared with the previous decade of 1992-2001 natural growth has reduced 5.3 times. The dynamics of natural growth of the population has constantly dropped since 1992, which, along with migration, more affected changes in the number of the population.

Reasons for reduction of birthrate year by year should not only be sought in absence of a considerable part of people at the reproductive age, but also against the background of unfolded hard socio-economic condition in the Republic.

It was anticipated that the lowest birthrate recorded in 2001 would increase afterwards in Armenia, as the generation born in late 70s and in the 80s entered into active marriage age, whose number considerably exceeded those born in the period of 60-70s.

Based on predictions at least 50-60 thousand children were to be born per year. However, those anticipations weren’t fully justified. If 32.380 children were born in 2002, then in 2010 that index reached 44.800, and already from 2011 it started to decrease. Despite the increase in the number of births recorded in 2002-2011, compared with 1992-2001 it has reduced by 1.2 and natural growth index—by 1.8 time. The reason was that most part of children was born abroad as a result of migration, and it comprises a rather solid number. And if in the first decade of the 20th century on average 50-60 thousand births were recorded in Armenia, it could provide certain stability for demographic processes, which from 2011 records regress only.

However, lacking of that reality in near decades will negatively influence on demographic processes. An Armenian family, which in the 80s of the 20th century comprised of 4.7 people, today comprises 3.3 persons only. Few are families in recent decades, where number of children surpasses three.

Regularity of having children has been diverted. If prior to independence it comprises 2-3 years, currently it’s 4-7 years. And currently quite few parents go to the third and more children. If 24.7 percent of the total number of births was 3 and more children in 1997, then based on 2015 data that index dropped to 19 percent.

The situation of natural reproduction isn’t successful either. Women at the age of reproduction have 1.6 children on average, while having 2.1 children is required for simple reproduction.

It should be mentioned that presently Armenia has entered a new phase of demographic processes. Unfavorable migration and demographic processes of recent decades will have their after-effect.

Census launched in Armenia in 2011 showed that sex and age rates of the country’s population have considerably worsened. Although compared with 2001 among the group of children aged 0-4 around 4 percent growth indicated increase of birth, nevertheless that index conceded to 1989 by 80 percent, which points at deep demographic decline. Among the group of children, aged 5-9 the picture was more concerning. In the period of 2001-2011 their number decreased by 80542. Among children, aged 10-14 that index was higher—116.400 children. And number of adults aged 15-19 decreased by 41314.

Unfolded demographic situation is worrying indeed, and in the forthcoming years will bring forward challenges to both army recruitment and the system of general and higher education. Thus, compared with 2012 number of young men recruiting to the army will decrease by 30 percent in 2019, and this in case when migration is not taken into account. In the field of higher education, number of 2017 applicants decreased by 1500 compared with 2016 and in the forthcoming years that rate will yet record a drop.

The next bothering demographic issue is that number of people aged 60 and more has sharply grown in Armenia. If in 1979 they comprised 7.9 percent of the population, in 1989—9.2 percent, then currently their number already exceeds 15 percent. If migration flow from Armenia doesn’t stop, growth of birth rate won’t be recorded, then in the forthcoming decade number of people aged 60 and more will exceed 20 percent, which will lead to Armenia’s “aging” society, full of irreversible economic and social implications.

Happening of that might also be conditioned by the circumstance that in the present demographic period generation born in the 90s enters into active marriage age, whose number is less by 40 percent than those born in the 1980s. Its proof is also the fact that in 2016 compared with 2012 number of births in Armenia reduced by 4.6 percent, number of deaths increased by 2 percent, and natural growth dropped by 6 percent. Further decrease in birth rate and increase in number of deaths may lead to the point that already in 2025 deaths in Armenia will exceed births and natural growth will have negative rates. This circumstance may more engrave negative demographic condition and accelerate decrease in the number of the population.

Artak Markosyan
PhD, Demographer
AIISA associate fellow

Full text of the research (in Armenian) is available at AIISAwebsite.

Democracy, Security and Foreign Policy (NED)

The Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs (AIISA)

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“NEXT” has already started series of summer sales. Up to 50% seasonal sale is now valid in all Yerevan stores and applies on selected collection https://en.168.am/2017/07/11/20099.html https://en.168.am/2017/07/11/20099.html#respond Tue, 11 Jul 2017 14:30:01 +0000 https://en.168.am/?p=20099 “Our customers perceive “NEXT” as a family store, since we have varied and diverse range of products both for adults and children. Thanks to this exclusive SALE, parents will be able to get their favorite clothing with up to 50% off, ensuring that their children have “soft” and “cool” summer days”,- says “NEXT” shop manager.

“Next kids” located in Dalma Shopping Mall has a huge range of childrenswear. The kid’s collection has a high market demand due to price-quality good ratio. By the way, there is a great range of swimwear in the “Next” stores.

The discounted collection is also available on the brand’s Facebook page.

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Perpetrators of such condemnable provocations by Baku regime should bear responsibility – Armen Ashotyan’s open letter to European structures https://en.168.am/2017/07/06/20094.html https://en.168.am/2017/07/06/20094.html#respond Thu, 06 Jul 2017 10:47:32 +0000 https://en.168.am/?p=20094 TO THE CO-CHAIRS OF THE EURONEST PA

TO THE BUREAU MEMBERS OF THE EURONEST PA

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE EU-ARMENIA PARLIAMENTARY COOPERATION COMMITTEE

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of the Armenian delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly and the Armenian component of EU-Armenia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, I would like to bring to your attention that during last weeks Azerbaijan was continuously violating the trilateral cease-fire agreements of 1994-1995. On July 4th Azerbaijani Armed Forces used TR-107 multiple rocket launcher system against Nagorno-Karabakh. In response, the Defense Army of Nagorno-Karabakh was obliged to take measures to counter aggressive actions of the Azerbaijani side. It turned out, that the Nagorno-Karabakh positions were attacked from the location, where the civilian population of Azerbaijan is situated. It is not the first time that Azerbaijani leadership uses the trans-border population as a human shield for shelling the territory of Artsakh. This fact was brought to the attention of the international community on numerous occasions.

And now Baku is trying to manipulate the fact of civilian losses to shift the attention of the international community and the humanitarian organisations from the gross violations of international humanitarian law, committed by Azerbaijan during last year’s aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh, that was accompanied by despicable atrocities against civilian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, killing of children, barbaric mutilation of elderly people, the ISIS-style beheadings.

The masterminds and perpetrators of such condemnable provocations by the Baku regime should bear responsibility.

The continued provocations of the Azerbaijani military forces on the Line of Contact with Nagorno-Karabakh and the international border with Armenia, emphasizes the vital importance of implementation of agreements reached at the Summits of May 16, 2016 in Vienna and of June 20, 2016 in St. Petersburg and most particularly, the creation of the mechanism of investigation of violations of trilateral ceasefire agreements of 1994-1995, which could serve as a tool for prevention of incidents, as well as the confirmation of the commitment to the non-use of force or threat of force, and full adherence to the exclusively peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, and supported by the European Union and the European Parliament.

ARMEN ASHOTYAN

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It’s impossible to reach any agreement or make decision without participation of Artsakh side, says Armenian FM https://en.168.am/2017/06/30/20091.html https://en.168.am/2017/06/30/20091.html#respond Fri, 30 Jun 2017 10:38:20 +0000 https://en.168.am/?p=20091 It is impossible to reach any agreement or make a decision over the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement without the participation of the Artsakh side, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in response to Tsarukyan faction MP Ararat Zurabyan’s question during the parliamentary standing committees’ discussion of the 2016 state budget performance report.

The FM said this is enshrined in all negotiation documents that are maintained in the OSCE Office in Vienna.

“One day all these documents will be released and you will see that it is mentioned in all of them that the representatives of Nagorno Karabakh must take part in the development of peace agreement and negotiations. This has been agreed by the three Co-Chairing countries. It is impossible to reach any agreement or make a decision without the Artsakh side”, Nalbandian said.

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Machine learning is creating a demand for new skills: Hovhannes Avoyan’s article in Forbes https://en.168.am/2017/06/30/20087.html https://en.168.am/2017/06/30/20087.html#respond Fri, 30 Jun 2017 09:58:52 +0000 https://en.168.am/?p=20087 Co-founder and CEO of PicsArt Hovhannes Avoyan wrote an article in Forbes.com.

Last year saw a record number of investments in AI with $5 billion in funding, and the number continues to grow. Investors’ activity indicates the significance of this kind of technology for society – self-driving cars of the future, DNA genome analysis, climate change, cancer predictions and many other fields. Besides the important role AI plays in these fields, AI as a technology is simply more efficient than traditional technology. In our company, we needed two weeks of training and almost no human involvement to introduce new AI filters for images. Before, it would have required the work of two to three engineers and at least two months of development. If we look at another example, relatively young AI-driven cybersecurity companies like Cylance or Lookout compete heavily with veterans like McAfee because AI is an integral part of their products. Even tech giants, in some cases, concede to startups in the field of AI. As a recent example, Russian startup NTechLab beat Google in the“MegaFace” facial recognition competition.

Such productivity in the practical implementation of AI will continue to fuel the high demand for data scientists, machine learning engineers, ML researchers and all other professions related to the field, which will effectively replace computer science altogether. Moreover, companies that are operating in different verticals – such as image recognition, voice recognition, medicine or cybersecurity – are already faced with the challenge of acquiring a workforce with the right set of skills and knowledge.

A traditional computer science engineer is not able to solve those tasks, so the demand for a new skill set is growing, especially in regard to data scientists, for whom the demand is projected to exceed supply by more than 50% by 2018. This is probably a good indication as to why Harvard Business Review declared data scientist to be the “sexiest” job of the 21st century back in 2012. A data scientist’s biggest skill is the ability to formulate a question from data and understand the context the data is gathered from. Computer science work is a logical process, but most data science work is an exploratory process, which is why, because of the boost in AI technology, this scope of work is in demand. But universities and other educational organizations are simply not able to keep up with such rapid changes.

To stay competitive, companies need these specialists now and cannot wait five years for universities to produce graduates from new courses. The fastest route is to retrain graduates in math and physics, the specialties that are strong in statistics. My company is already running such a training program and building a new sort of data science/ML school in Armenia — a country that is already strong in the sciences. The program was launched at the end of 2015 and has so far graduated 400 students, and we were able to hire 50 of them.

Such programs have opened the door to a global market that urgently needs professionals especially since, one in three data scientists in the U.S. are foreigners. This approach has proved to be helpful since students are taught real problems using real data. They are prepared for a wide scope of tasks and challenges.

Read full article here.

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I believe that I have a place at the top of the industry: Dati https://en.168.am/2017/06/27/20068.html https://en.168.am/2017/06/27/20068.html#respond Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:59:23 +0000 https://en.168.am/?p=20068 Our interviewee is pop and R&B singer Dati.

At what age did you realize you should start singing and when did you begin your career as a singer?

I always knew I was supposed to do music, I just had that feeling in me. I had the passion and the drive for as long as I can possibly remember. I started doing music professionally when I was 19 years old. I was living in Jamaica at the time and finally decided to actively move towards the future and the dreams I had set for myself.

You are also a dancing teacher. What do you think, is it important for a singer to have dancing qualities? Does it help to attract more people?

Yes, I used to be a dancing teacher. I don’t think it’s a must, or that it is essential. Depending on what type of music you do. But for my genre and for me—yes possibly.

I like to see a full show with performances. It’s great to have dancers but I want to see the artist put on a full show and therefore I have chosen to take the path of dancing and singing.

Would you like to be  famous all around the world, and what is the main obstacle for you to that end?

Fame is usually not the goal for a true artist. You can be famous for many things today. But as an artist you would like for your art and craft to be recognized all over the world, yes! And have people use what you do to their own best ability and appreciate it as much as you do. The main obstacle I would say is timing. Everything has it’s time and place and I believe that I have a place at the top of the industry.

In your opinion, what does an artist need to attract large audience and, at the same time, to be a memorable artist?

I think the first thing is to study what you do or want to do and do it well. The second is knowing your market and finding out what the audience wants. Third to love what you do; then you will execute all your work from recordings, writing, performing to interviews with a sense of passion and your audience will feel your emotions and carry them with you.

Do you think music education is important for a singer, and do you have music education?

Absolutely. In anything that you want to do in life you have to mix two ingredients according to me. First—passion/desire, second—education. One without the other is a lot of times not very sustainable. Yes, I have gone to vocal coaches to learn and I will continue learning about vocals, instruments, production, the industry and so one. Education is essential.

What do you think about music festivals? Do they help new singers to become a celebrity and carry a big audience, or they give short pleasure of being famous, and then the artist is forgotten?

I absolutely think they can help once audience to grow. I don’t think it’s enough to do one festival and be recognized. The dots usually have to connect in order to form a line.

Besides the festival you have to make sure your music gets out there and that you are being booked for interviews, other performances and so on. But I think festivals are great platforms for an artist. It’s a privilege for any artist to participate in festivals.

What are your plans for the future?

The nearest plans for the future is that we are going to be in Africa a lot releasing a lot of new music and videos this year, do media tours and expand our brand. We just Launched Tida Records www.tidarecords.com so all our music is going to be released under Tida. It is a very exciting time for my brand at the moment and we are looking forward to growing our audience base such as in Armenia like we are doing now.

By Razmik Martirosyan

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