News and Views (July 30, 2012)
News & Views is a weekly summary of some of the week’s most important stories, links and material of interest to Ararat readers.
— The Olympics have dominated the news this week with the London 2012 Games kicking off on July 27. In the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, Armenia won six bronze medals with a delegation of twenty five athletes. Armenia Now has reported that this year, the Armenian delegation also consists of twenty five athletes participating in ten different sports. Special efforts have also been undertaken to add an Armenian flavor to the accommodation according to Hrachya Rostomyan, the Armenian Sports and Youth Affairs minister:
“Of course the Olympic town provides equal conditions to all athletes, but we have shown a little bit of an Armenian approach and have conveyed an Armenian breath to our athletes’ housing. For example, the windows and corners have Armenian flags, hallways have posters and pictures to remind of Armenia. We have created an Armenian environment and atmosphere, so that every moment our athletes fell like they are in Armenia,” he said.”
— Any Armenian athletes to win a medal will be well rewarded by the Armenian government with significant cash prizes being promised. This is in addition to $700,000 being pledged from Armenian businessman, Gagik Tsarukyan, which will be awarded to any Armenian athlete who wins gold according to reports:
“By RA government decree Olympic gold winners will be awarded with 20 million drams ($50,000), and silver and bronze medalists will get 15 million ($37,500) and 10 million ($25,000) drams respectively. In the history of independent Armenia only Greco-Roman wrestler Armen Nazaryan has won a gold medal (in 1996 in Atlanta). Additionally, National Olympic Committee [member] Gagik Tsarukyan has said he will pay $700,000 to any athlete who scores gold for Armenia.”
— However an Armenian athlete has already won a gold medal. Arsen Galstyan, representing Russia in the 60 kilogram Judo event, has won Russia’s first gold medal for these games according to The Armenian Weekly. Tert.am has reported that Arsen will be handsomely rewarded for his victory:
“Russian gold winner in the 2012 London Olympics Arsen Galstyan, of Armenian descent, will be gifted a Mercedes car and a fully furnished apartment by one of construction companies of Russian Krasnodar.”
— Azatutyun is reporting that a senior diplomat from the Syrian embassy in Armenia has defected. Reports indicate that Mohammed Hosam has left Armenia for Dubai:
“According to the Syrian Embassy, Hosam did not report for work and embassy officials could not contact him on Monday. The Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Tigran Balayan, said later in the day that official Yerevan has so far received no requests from the Syrian side to terminate the diplomat’s accreditation.”
According to the same report, Armenia has received thousands of citizenship requests since the beginning of the uprising:
“According to the Foreign Ministry, the Armenian missions in Damascus and Aleppo have issued some 3,000 visas to mainly ethnic Armenian Syrian nationals this year. The missions will be allowed soon to give passports to those Syrian Armenians who have applied for and been granted Armenian citizenship. The authorities in Yerevan have received more than 6,000 citizenship applications since the start of the Syrian crisis early last year.”
— Bloomberg has reported that the Turkish government has eased restrictions on foreign nationals purchasing property in Turkey. Unfortunately, it appears that Armenian nationals are still being restricted according to the report.
“Citizens from Syria, Armenia, North Korea, Nigeria, Cuba and Yemen won’t be allowed to buy property in Turkey even after the government eased restrictions on foreigners’ property ownership, Sabah said.”
— This past summer, News and Views has included links to a fascinating travel series on Armenia Now by Chicago based Italian-American journalist Sigrid Lupieri. This week, we link the final post in the series titled Postcard from Armenia: Just let me tell my story.
“When I leave Armenia in a couple of days, what I will miss most will not only be the spontaneous open-hearted hospitality of the strangers and friends I have met along the way, but also the visceral enjoyment that comes from sharing words and laughter over a cup of dark, gritty Armenian coffee.”
* * *
News & Views is published every week. It is a summary of the week’s most interesting, provocatiove and thought-provoking links to articles, videos, photos and commentary of interest to the readers of Ararat.