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Artsakh Soldier Dies After Being Shot: Ministry Investigating Circumstances

February 28, 2015 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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10:08, February 28, 2015

The Artsakh Ministry of Defense reports that a soldier died yesterday at a defensive military outpost from a fatal gunshot wound.

The ministry does not specify how the soldier, identified as Albert Safaryan, was shot. An investigation is underway.

On February 14, the Artsakh Defense Army reported that Junior Sergeant Arman Osipyan died from gunshot wounds. Hours later, the military investigative branch of Armenia’s Investigative Committee reported that Osipyan died as a result of violating sentry duty protocol.

Osipyan’s negligent death followed that of soldier Tigran Simonyan on February 10. Two days later, a senior lieutenant serving at the same military base as Simonyan was arrested for violating sentry duty protocol.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Judge Accused of Recieving Bribes from Alleged Organized Crime Figures

February 27, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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23:31, February 27, 2015

Police in Bosnia and Herzegovina havearresteda senior appeals court judge who is suspected of taking bribes from two men whose sentences were overturned on appeal last year.

Judge Azra Miletic was arrested alongside two alleged organized crime figures, Ramo Brkic and Senad Sabic, in a police action called “Hammer” on Wednesday evening.

Brkic is a former police officer who recieved an 11-year prison sentence for organized crime, drug production and trafficking, and abuse of power in 2013. At the same trial, Sabic was sentenced to 10 years in prison for bribing and drug production and trafficking. The charges against Brkic came after the police action “Kastel” in 2010, in which 41 people were arrested on drug-related charges. The Bosnian Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) covered the case, and produced the award winning documentary, “Police and(or) criminals” in 2014.

Tonsillectomy Gone Horribly Wrong: Ministry of Health Absolves Physicians of Medical Malpractice

February 27, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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16:10, February 26, 2015

A special investigative committee looking into a possible medical malpractice case that left six year old Hasmik Martisrosyan with brain damage after a simple tonsillectomy has concluded that physicians weren’t at fault.

The committee was convened at the behest of Armenia’s Ministry of Health after press reports covered the case involving the young girl, a resident of the Shirak Province village of Bayandour.

Last November 28, Hasmik was taken to the Mother and Child Austrian Hospital in Gyumri to have her tonsils removed. Hasmik was then transferred to the Sourb Astvatzamayr Medical Center in Yerevan where she sunk into a coma for six days. The diagnosis on the medical chart accompanying Hasmik to Yerevan read that the patient had brain ischemia (is a restriction in blood supply to tissues, causing a shortage of oxygen and glucose needed for cellular metabolism)

Baghdad-Yerevan-Erbil: A Commercial or Political Route?

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19:52, February 26, 2015

Today marked the inaugural flight linking Yerevan with Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Armenia’s General Civil Aviation Department reports that the Iraqi Airways flight, linking Baghdad and Yerevan with a quick stopover in Erbil, will operate every Thursday and Sunday commencing March 5.

As announced, Flight IAW 481 will depart from Baghdad and will land at Yerevan’s Zvartnots International Airport at 1pm. At 2pm, Flight IAW 484 will leave Yerevan for Erbil. At 5pm, Flight IAW 483 will return to Yerevan and will leave for Baghdad at 6pm.

The new route, to be operated by Iraqi Airways, the country’s national carrier established in 1945, will be serviced by planes in the Canadian made Bombadier CRJ900 and American Boeing 737 class. Iraqi Airways now has five CRJ900 and twelve Boeing 737 planes in its fleet.

Sex Ed a Taboo in Armenia: If Taught at All, It’s by Phys Ed Teachers, Some 80 Years Old

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15:45, February 27, 2015

By Karine Aghajanyan 

Sex Ed is the process of educating people about sex, but in Armenia it is not as simple as that.

There is a lack of sex education structure. Both society and government do not think it is an essential part of civilized society. Thus, I wanted to understand where the shame and silence surrounding it comes from.

Traditionally, adolescents in many cultures were not given any information on sexual matters since discussions of these issues have been considered taboo. Given that Armenian culture and society are very conservative, this is a huge taboo surrounded by fear and misconceptions.

Russian Senator Slams Pro-EU NGOs in Armenia

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A senior member of the Russian legislature has reminded Armenia of the Ukrainian experience, stressing that having a large number of non-governmental organizations advocating integration with the European Union is “unacceptable”. 

At a press conference in Moscow on Thursday, Konstantin Kosachev, who heads the International Affairs Committee at the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, at the same time expressed a hope that Armenia will “manage to avoid Ukraine’s experience of facing a choice” between Eurasian and European integrations.

Two years ago Armenia was on track to sign an association agreement with the European Union as part of the Eastern Partnership Program that also involved Ukraine and four other former Soviet nations. But in September 2013 under apparent pressure from Moscow authorities in Yerevan made a U-turn opting instead for integration with the Russian-led customs union.

Armenian Opposition In Limbo After Government Crackdown

February 27, 2015 Armenia, Asia, Business, Top News No Comments
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Armenia’s major opposition parties remain vague on their immediate steps after Prosperous Armenia (BHK), admittedly the most influential of them, came under huge government pressure earlier this month.

The BHK led by tycoon Gagik Tsarukian dramatically toned down its criticism of President Serzh Sarkisian and his government after suffering the consequences of what appeared to be a crackdown unleashed by the head of state.

Sarkisian and senior members of his ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) lashed out at Tsarukian on February 12 after the BHK leader effectively presented them with an “ultimatum” – to give up controversial plans for a constitutional reform or face sustained street protests seeking to oust the current administration.

Romania: Anti-Corruption Agency Indictments ‘Doubled’ in 2014; Former Minister Arrested

February 27, 2015 Armenia, Business No Comments
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12:53, February 27, 2015

Romania’s national anti-corruption agency has announced that 2014 was its most productive year yet, according to an annual report released on Tuesday.

The chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), Laura Codruta Kovesi, made a speech on Tuesday to prosecutors, police and employees from foreign embassies, saying last year saw their largest-ever number of criminal cases, indictments, convictions, and investigations into high-ranking officials.

According to Kovesi, there were 317 indictments in 2014, double the figure from 2013. There were reportedly over 9,100 cases throughout the year, managed by 86 prosecutors.

Kovesi, the former prosecutor general of Romania, has developed a reputation for effectively targeting corruption since she took office in 2013, recently receiving attention fromThe Economistand theNew York Times.

Armenia: My Illusion

February 27, 2015 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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13:14, February 27, 2015

By Meltem Naz Kaşo

A week after a three-month stay in Armenia, I am once again at home in my green room in Istanbul, Turkey.

“Men must live and create. Live to the point of tears,” a quote from Albert Camus, is written on my wall. To me, Armenia seems like an illusion now. An illusion I lived and created to the point of tears.

For a Turk, going to Armenia seems a crazy idea. It’s not like going anywhere else with a Turkish passport.

I was selected by the Hrant Dink Foundation to be a research fellow in a Yerevan-based NGO, to contribute to cross-border understanding. Just as Turkey has racists, Armenia has its own.

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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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Commentary

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.