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Azerbaijan Violates Ceasefire 300 Times Overnight, Says Artsakh Defense Army

January 27, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan No Comments
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10:53, January 27, 2015

The Artsakh Defense Army (ADA) reports that the Azerbaijani military violated the ceasefire 300 times overnight firing more than 4,500 rounds, including mortar and grenade launchers.

The ADA says it is responding in kind when warranted and that its forces are  in control of the situation.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Challenges for Art in Armenia: View from Three Contemporary Artists and an Art Curator

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11:16, January 27, 2015

By Karine Aghajanyan 

“Art can have both aesthetical meaning as well as the potential for social impact”, according to Misha Badasyan, Manan Torosyan and Petra Hultman; the three artists I talked to regarding the contemporary art scene in Armenia.

I recently sat down with them to discuss their thoughts on the challenges they face regarding art in the Armenian context as well as the impact they believe art can have on Armenian society.

They all noted the lack of gallery space, divisions among different artists, as well as a shortage of finances and attention from the government as complex challenges for art in Armenia. This lack of space and resources to grow and become more visible as an artist contributes to a situation where artists often feel stuck, both creatively as well as physically.

New Polish Ambassador to Armenia Presents Credentials

January 27, 2015 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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15:16, January 27, 2015

Poland’s newly appointed ambassador to Armenia Jerzy Nowakowski today presented his diplomatic credentials to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.

President Sargsyan expressed his hope that the new ambassador would breathe new life into Armenia-Poland relations and would spur greater economic ties between the two nations.

Sargsyan and Nowakowski discussed Armenia’s relations to the European Union and prospects for developing those relations.

Ambassador Nowakowski stated this government was ready to assist Armenia along those lines.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Gyumri Bishop Warns Of Fresh Anti-Russian Protests

January 26, 2015 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

Angry street protests in Gyumri could reignite if Russian authorities fail to hand over a Russian soldier charged with killing seven members of a local family to Armenian law-enforcement bodies, a senior Armenian clergyman warned on Monday.

Gyumri-based Archbishop Mikael Ajapahian said renewed anti-government and anti-Russian demonstrations in Armenia’s second-largest city would have “unpredictable consequences.”

“The people may again take to the streets if there is again a careless statement or wrong approach and the people’s minimum demand is not fulfilled,” Ajapahian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “And what the people are demanding is not a big deal. The people’s demands are feasible. They simply want the criminal to be handed over to Armenian law-enforcers.”

Traders Resume Protests Against New Tax Law

January 26, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Business, Top News No Comments

Hundreds of small-scale traders resumed their demonstrations in Yerevan on Monday, demanding that the government again delay the enforcement of new taxation rules which they believe spell trouble for their businesses.

At issue are recent changes in an Armenian law on turnover tax, which is levied from businesses with annual sales of up to 58 million drams ($125,000). The latter pay no other taxes.

The amended law, which took effect on October 1, lowered from 3.5 percent to 1 percent the turnover tax rate. However, it obligated the small business owners to provide tax authorities with documentary evidence of their wholesale purchases made from larger firms or face heavy fines.

Baku Reports Azeri Combat Deaths


After weeks of strong denial of Azerbaijani combat casualties in the latest escalation of fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Azerbaijani military said on Monday that three of its soldiers have been killed by Armenian forces.

Azerbaijani news agencies cited the Defense Ministry in Baku as saying that they died while repelling an Armenian commando attack. The ministry did not specify when and where the incident took place. Nor did it identify any of the three servicemen, saying only that they were posthumously awarded medals by Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov.

Armenia Threatens Stronger Military Action Against Azerbaijan


President Serzh Sarkisian on Monday accused Azerbaijan of again heightening tensions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and said the Armenian military could step up retaliatory strikes against Azerbaijani forces to prevent fresh truce violations.

Addressing Armenia’s top army generals and other military officials, Sarkisian said the latest upsurge in deadly fighting is part of the Azerbaijani leadership’s continuing to efforts to clinch more Armenian concessions in peace talks mediated by the United States, Russia and France. This “policy of blackmail” will not influence Yerevan and can only have “terrible consequences” for Baku, he warned.

“Until recently our retaliatory operations were symmetric in form and asymmetric in terms of causing greater casualties,” Sarkisian told a meeting held at the Armenian Defense Ministry. “From now on, there can also be retaliatory actions that are asymmetric in form.

Iranian Foreign Minister Arrives Today in Yerevan for Talks

January 26, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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12:36, January 26, 2015

 Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, arrives in Armenia today for a two day visit at the invitation of Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan.

The two ministers will meet for talks tomorrow and will hold a joint press conference afterwards.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Georgian Driver Sentenced to 17 Years for Involvement in Armenia’s Largest Drug Bust Goes on Hunger Strike

January 26, 2015 Armenia, Georgia No Comments
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13:00, January 26, 2015

Avtandil Martiashvili, a Georgian citizen sentenced to 17 years on smuggling charges in Armenia’s largest drug bust, has been on hunger strike since according to his lawyer.

Martiashvili was found guilty on January 20, 2015 for driving a truck that was found to contain 850 kilos of heroin when inspected seized at the Meghri customs house on January 17, 2014.

The Georgian has always maintained his innocence.

His defense attorney, Teymouraz Maytiashvili, also told Hetq that when he visited his client in prison, he was told that there are 18 inmates in his cell and only 12 cots. The inmates sleep in turns, the attorney was told by Martiashvili.

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Featured Books

Book Reviews

John Balian’s “Novel Approach” Brings the Armenian Saga to the Masses – An interview with John Balian by Lucine Kasbarian

Gray Wolves and White Doves cover art

Armenians often wish for a tale about the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath that would make a blockbuster film and draw attention to their cause. John Balian’s new book, Gray Wolves and White Doves (CreateSpace/Amazon.com), may be that tale.

 Largely autobiographical, this atmospheric novel is presented through the eyes of an innocent young boy trying to make sense of the world as he grows up amid repressive conditions in Western Armenia/Eastern Turkey during the 1960s and 70s.

 This fast-paced, multi-layered narrative takes readers from Hanna Ibelin’s (a.k.a. Jonah Ibelinian’s) close-knit family life in the perilous Asia Minor region of Palu to terror and tragedy while en route to Syria’s Kamishli, to a bleak existence on the mean streets of Istanbul.

New Children’s Picture Book From Armenian Folklore

Teaneck, N.J. and Belmont, Mass. –  An Armenian folktale retold by Armenian-American writer Lucine Kasbarian and illustrated by Moscow-based artist Maria Zaikina debuts with Marshall Cavendish Children’s Publishers in April 2011.

The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale is from the ancient Armenian oral tradition and culture, which was nearly obliterated during the Turkish genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks in 1915. The author learned the tale from her father, editor and columnist C.K. Garabed, who would recite it to her at bedtime. He had learned it from his own grandmother, a celebrated storyteller from the Old Country.  The tale was first put to paper by Armenian poet Hovhannes Toumanian at the turn of the 20th century.

“We Need To Lift The Armenian Taboo”

Turkish writer and publicist Ahmet Insel labels the initiative of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party to pray namaz on the ruins of Ani as provocation.

In an interview with “A1+,” the publicist said the initiative was supported only by a small percentage of Turks.

“They offered namaz in Ani in protest against Christian rites carried out in Trabzon and Akhtamar. The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, Devlet Bahceli said if Christians are allowed to pray inside museums, similarly he can pray namaz in Armenian churches,” said Ahmet Insel.

The Turkish writer arrived in Armenia to participate in a book festival. Presentation of Armenian version of Dialogue sur le tabou arménien (Dialogue about the Armenian Tabou) co-authored by Ahmet Insel and Michel Marian was held during the festival.

US Media Discusses The Armenian Genocide

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA –  KFI 640, a popular news/talk radio station hosted by Bill Handel on September 23 aired a live interview with Michael Bobelian, the writer of a new book titled  Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-long Struggle for Justice

The book chronicles the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and recounts a people’s struggle for justice in the face of a century of silence and denial.

During the interview, which was aired during the prime morning time slot, Bill Handel addressed both the efforts within the United States to ensure that the US government appropriately acknowledges the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s ongoing denial.

Handel, a well known and nationally syndicated radio talk show host, has discussed the Armenian Genocide during past shows.

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Capitalism Run Amok Is Just Plain Capitalism

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16:37, January 17, 2015

By Markar Melkonian

The source of Armenia’s misery and humiliation, we often hear, is not capitalism per se, but rather “gangster capitalism,” “a broken system,” “capitalism run amok.”

The goal for the future, then, is to “fix the system,” to reform capitalism, to make it more like regular, pure, genuine Free Enterprise, the kind of capitalism that works. But what if Armenia’s actually existing capitalism already is genuine capitalism?

An economist once observed that the only existential meaning of “enterprise” in the term free enterprise is “whatever capitalists happen to be doing at the time”–and “free” is the accompanying demand that they be allowed to do it.

Ukraine: Cops Go After Casinos, Suggest Yanukovych Connection

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21:45, December 15, 2014

Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs has launched a campaign against illegal casinos amid fears that a large network of underground gambling dens could be providing an income source for the son of the country’s disgraced former president Viktor Yanukovych.

The new crackdown on unlawful casinos – an ongoing scourge for law enforcement agencies in Ukraine since regulation was made stiffer with a 2009 law – was launched on Dec. 8 after an announcement on Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov’s official Facebook page.

Avakov, who keeps a lively and occasionally angry Facebook commentary on current affairs, pledged to put a complete stop to the establishments within ten days; first in the capital of Kyiv, then the rest of the nation.

Yerevan Calling: A Weekly Roundup of Random Musings from Armenia

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13:05, October 3, 2014

Here it is dear readers, the debut of a weekly column I hope to maintain on a regular basis.

It’s sort of a catch-all of news snippets, irreverent commentary, and personal observations on what’s happened during the week here in Yerevan, and throughout Armenia.. Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting, if not slightly diverting.

Your comments and suggestions are welcomed.

Regards – Hrant

Oct. 2 – Protests Throughout Armenia: A Game of Numbers & Solidarity

Three separate protest rallies took place in Armenia today.

As Hetq reported earlier, business owners in the town of Sevan kept their stores and factories shut to protest changes to the so-called volume (sales) tax. Local residents flocked to the bread factory to wait on line for a loaf or two.

China: President Takes Action Against High Ranking Corrupt Officials

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21:31, July 30, 2014

Zhou Yongkang, one of China’s most powerful former leaders, is under investigation in the highest-level corruption inquiry since the Communist Party came into power in 1949.

Under current president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is investigating Zhou for “serious disciplinary violations,” as the officialXinhua news agency reports. Media has not yet, however, specified the allegations against him.

The probe is an attempt to show the length to which Xi and the party will go in order to combat abuse of power reportsThe Wall Street Journal. 

A commentary published in the officialPeoples Daily makes the point that regardless of  an official’s rank or supporters, punishment will result for violating laws or the party’s discipline. 

Armenian Gangs: Caught between an Archetype and a Cliché

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19:15, July 12, 2014

By Marineh Khachadour

“The whole thing started with a scene straight out of a mobster movie. It was around 6 p.m. when more than a dozen men from two organized crime groups opened fire on each other in a North Hollywood parking lot. Witnesses say nearly everyone was armed, and the shootout quickly went mobile. The men took off in cars, exchanging fire as they weaved through the Whitsett Avenue traffic.”

Stories such as this are not unique to Armenians in the American press, but this investigative report recently published in the LA Weekly is about Armenian Power, the Los Angeles based Armenian gang that operates in the heavily Armenian populated communities of Glendale, Burbank, and North Hollywood.