Ajax officially contact Krasnodar for Spertsyan

Ajax have officially approached FC Krasnodar for Armenian attacking midfielder Eduard Spertsyan's transfer, De Telegraaf reports.

According to the report, Sven Mislintat, the club's director of football affairs, has contacted the midfielder’s agents. 

The estimated transfer fee for the 23-year-old footballer is nine million euros.

He still has a contract in Russia until mid-2026 and has scored fourteen goals and fourteen assists in forty games this season.

17:00 Armenia
Temperatures to drop this weekend

Showers and thunderstorms will persist in Armenia throughout the week.

Hail is possible in some parts of the country, the weather service says.

Strong winds of 15-20 m/s are forecast during thunderstorms.

Temperatures are set to increase by 3-5C on Thursday and Friday to drop as much during the weekend.

Showers and thunderstorms are also likely in the capital Yerevan this weekend.

11:15 World
Mike Pence launches 2024 presidential bid

Former vice president Mike Pence on Wednesday announced that he is entering the running for the 2024 presidential election, setting up a heated competition for the Republican nomination with former president Donald Trump, The Independent reports.

In a launch video for his campaign, Mr Pence said a "different leadership" could turn the country around to prevent the American dream from being "crushed".

“Today our party and our country need a leader that will appeal, as Lincoln said, to the better angels of our nature,” Mr Pence continued.

While the video highlights Mr Pence’s work as vice president, it avoids making a single mention of the man he served during that period – Mr Trump.

“My family and I have been blessed beyond measure with opportunities to serve this nation, and it would be easy to stay on the sidelines,” he said.

"But that’s not how I was raised. That’s why today, before god and my family, I am announcing I am running for president of the US.”

The former Indiana governor continued: “We can bring this country back. We can defend our nation and secure our border.

“We could revive our economy, and put our nation back on a path to a balanced budget, defend our liberties and give America a new beginning for life.”

Mr Pence, 63, served as a member of the House of Representatives between 2001 and 2013 and as Indiana’s governor between 2013 and 2017, but rose to international attention as Mr Trump’s running-mate in 2016.

He remained at Mr Trump’s side throughout his tumultuous one-term presidency, a source of constant support until even his loyalty was tested beyond breaking point by the events of 6 January 2021.

17:00 Armenia
Temperatures to rise in Armenia from Thursday

Showers and thunderstorms will persist in Armenia throughout the week.

Hail is possible in some parts of the country, the weather service says.

Strong winds of 15-20 m/s are forecast during thunderstorms.

Daytime temperatures are set to drop by 2-3C on Wednesday to increase by 3-5C on Thursday and Friday.

Showers and thunderstorms are also likely in the capital Yerevan this week.

15:09 World
MP Hugh McDermott calls out international and Australian silence on Artsakh blockade

The New South Wales State Member for Prospect, Dr Hugh McDermott MP, has risen in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly to warn the international community, including Australia, that failure to take immediate action against Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh will leave humanity with “blood on its hands,” reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).

The statement, delivered on the 1st of June 2023, was the latest of many expressing concern over the grim humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Republic of Artsakh and what Dr McDermott called an “existential crisis for survival.”

McDermott, a member of the Australian Friend of Artsakh network and the only current NSW Parliamentarian to have visited the Republic of Artsakh, accurately documented the unbearable living conditions the 120,000 indigenous Armenians are currently facing.

He said, “The blockade has completely stopped the flow of aid in the form of food, fuel, medical supplies and humanitarian relief to Artsakh. Water reservoirs are quickly drying up, and there are reports of remote villages with access to electricity for only two hours a day. Ninety per cent of the food in Artsakh was imported from Armenia. As a result of this blockade, since January civilians have been given food coupons to purchase limited supplies of pasta, buckwheat, rice, sugar, oil, fruit, vegetables and eggs.”

“Artsakh is home to 118 educational institutions, all of which at one point or another have been forced to shut due to the lack of electricity or heating for children as young as five, restricting their right to an education.”

McDermott concluded the statement with praise for the people of Artsakh who remain committed to their right to self-determination and said, “I want to stand with my community by speaking directly to the people of Artsakh from this parliament. I acknowledge your strength, power and resilience. No matter what the barbaric regime of Azerbaijani has thrown at you over the last three decades, you remain committed to a life in the mountains.”

“To Gayane Asrababayan, a mother in Aartsakh who just gave birth to three newborn triplets, Heny, Taro and Tiran, your family remains in our prayers. This Parliament and the people of New South Wales will continue to stand with you, so you can one day raise your children in a safe, free, democratic and independent Artsakh.” concluded McDermott.

16:45 Armenia
Patriarch Sahak Mashalian arrives at Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

His Eminence Archbishop Sahak Mashalian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, arrived at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin on Tuesday.

On this occasion, the Brotherhood of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin led the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople to St. John the Baptist and St. Vardan Chapel-baptistery, where, “Hrashapar” Service was held, the Armenian Church reported.

On behalf of the Brotherhood of the Mother See, His Grace Bishop Moushegh greeted and welcomed His Beatitude Archbishop Sahak Mashalian.

"Then, the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople conveyed his Blessings and best wishes to the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin, expressing his gratitude to God, that with the Blessings of the Lord, he is again in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin," the Mother See said in a statement.

"In the coming days, His Beatitude will also participate in the Meeting of the Supreme Spiritual Council to be convened at the Mother See," it added.

17:05 Armenia
Temperatures to drop in Armenia

Showers and thunderstorms are expected in Armenia this week.

Hail is possible in some parts of the country, the weather service says.

Strong winds of 15-20 m/s are forecast during thunderstorms.

Daytime temperatures are set to drop by 2-4C on Tuesday and Wednesday, falling by 5-7C in Lori, Tavush, Syunik Provinces and Artsakh.

Showers and thunderstorms are also likely in the capital Yerevan this week.

11:00 World
Historic Massachusetts church ravaged by intense fire

A historic Massachusetts church that dates back to the 18th century became engulfed in flames on Friday, the New York Post reports.

Fire crews rushed to the First Congregational Church in Spencer, Mass. — about 50 miles outside of Boston — after reports flooded in at around 3 p.m. that the church’s steeple caught on fire following a storm, according to 7 News Boston.

Flames burst out the sides of the ancient church’s steeple and quickly spread to its ground floor before the raging fire ultimately overcame it.

Authorities revealed that no one was injured during the blaze and that the church was empty when the fire broke out.

Fire officials told the outlet they believe lightning struck the religious establishment.

Rev. Bruce MacLeod, the church’s Interim Pastor, said the building was constructed using wood and other materials going back as far as the 1800s, which could be why it caught fire and burned to the ground as quickly as it didn’t, told Boston 25.

The Pastor of the Protestant church, whose congregation is around 30 people, revealed that it’s too early to know if the church can be rebuilt.

Firefighters put up a collapse zone around the church during the blaze and are expected to pull down what was left of the building’s front walls, according to Normandin.

Investigators have not yet determined if the remainder of the burnt and hollowed church must be completely torn down.

15:30 World
Pope Francis to visit Mongolia

Pope Francis will make an Aug. 31-Sept. 4 trip to Mongolia, one of the most far-flung places he has ever visited and which has only about 1,300 Catholics but is strategically significant for the Roman Catholic Church because of its proximity to China, Reuters reports.

The Vatican announced the trip in a brief statement on Saturday, saying it was being made at the invitation of the country's president and Catholic leaders. Details would be announced in the next few weeks, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

Last August, Francis named Archbishop Giorgio Marengo, an Italian, the first cardinal to be based in Mongolia, where he is the Catholic Church's administrator.

Marengo was in Rome last month and met with the pope to discuss the trip.

Francis first spoke of the possibility of going to Mongolia in a conversation with reporters aboard the papal plane returning from a trip to Africa in February.

According to Fides, the news agency of the Vatican's missionary activities, there are about 1,300 baptized Catholics in Mongolia among a population of about 3.3 million people.

According to the U.S. State Department, about 60% of the population identifies as religious while the remainder has no religious identity.

Among those who express a religious identity, 87.1% identify as Buddhist, 5.4% as Muslim, 4.2% as Shamanist, 2.2% as Christian, and 1.1% as followers of other religions.

Although the number of Catholics in Mongolia is smaller that most individual parish churches in many countries, the country is significant for the Vatican.

It has a long border and close ties with China, where the Vatican is trying to improve the situation of Catholics in the communist country.

12:00 World
Sergio Ramos to leave PSG at end of season

Defender Sergio Ramos will leave French champions Paris St-Germain at the end of their Ligue 1 season on Saturday, BBC Sport reports.

Ramos becomes the second high-profile exit announced this week, with Lionel Messi's departure also confirmed.

"Tomorrow is a special day, tomorrow I say goodbye to another stage of my life, goodbye to PSG," said Spanish great Ramos on Twitter on Friday.

The 37-year-old made 57 appearances for PSG and won two French titles after joining them from Real Madrid in 2021.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said: "Sergio's leadership, team spirit and professionalism, combined with his experience at the highest level, make him a true football legend, and it was an honour to have him in Paris."

Ramos, who has won the World Cup and two European Championships, remains Spain's most-capped player.

A trophy-laden career at Real also included five La Liga titles and four Champions League winners medals.

And his know-how, alongside serial winner Messi, who joined PSG in the same summer, was seen as essential to helping PSG finally land the Champions League.

However, his first season in the French capital was plagued by injury and although he has contributed more significantly this term, he was unable to prevent the Parisians from being knocked out of European football's elite club competition in the last 16 for the second consecutive season.

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