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Tumanyan’s Ice Box: A Must Have Item for the Hospitable Writer

August 1, 2015 Armenia, Culture No Comments
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16:59, August 1, 2015

Anna Babajanyan

One of the more interesting items on display at the Hovhannes Tumanyan museum is the icebox that once stored all types of food items that the famous writer served the numerous visitors that paid a call to his Tiflis abode.

Tumanyan, who resettled in Tiflis, cherished the meals he ate as a child in his native Dsegh.

Known for his hospitality, Tumanyan would have the ice box stocked with cold drinks, fruits and vegetables to serve his guests.

After visiting Tumanyan, the writer Vahan Teryan once wrote a small ditty about his impressions: “Anyone who hasn’t sat down for a party at Tumanyan’s palace has yet to see laughter, has yet to see the world.”

Yerevan’s Access Ramps: Many are Non-Functional and Just Plain Dangerous

August 1, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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17:30, August 1, 2015

I walk with 18 year-old Artak Davtyan along Saryan Street, a busy thoroughfare in downtown Yerevan.

The young man knows that Hetq wants to investigate the functionality of disabled ramps that the municipality proudly publicizes as proof that it is doing its share to make the city more accessible for those with mobility problems.

Artak has brought a walker with him, rather than a conventional wheelchair, because he says it’s much more difficult overcoming the obstacles of the street in the latter.

It soon becomes apparent that many of the ramps installed by the city are often too steep for anyone trying to get around in a wheelchair. There’s a danger that a person could tip over if they somehow pushed themselves up one of these man-made hills.

Artsakh Defense Army Suppresses Azerbaijani Cross Border Firing

August 1, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan No Comments
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13:38, August 1, 2015

The Artsakh Defense Army reports that Azerbaijan violated the Line of Contact ceasefire 1,100 times from July 26 to August 1, firing 17,000 rounds including grenade launchers and mortars.

The Defense Army says it took counter measures that suppressed the Azerbaijani fire.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Italy: Police Seize Assets of Accused Mobster in Old Yugoslav Arms Case

August 1, 2015 Armenia, Business No Comments
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14:55, August 1, 2015

Italian police have finally frozen € 11 million (US$ 12.2 million) in assets belonging to a businessman accused of working for organized crime and importing arms from Yugoslavia during the civil war of the 1990s.

On Tuesday, Italy’s Anti-Mafia Investigative Department issued a warrant for the seizure of companies, buildings, plots of land and cars belonging to Francesco Grassia and his family.

It was the latest development on the long and slow path of Italian justice. Grassia was arrested in 2000 and sentenced in 2001 for belonging to the Casalesi clan of organized crime.

Young Yazidi Refugee from Iraq: ‘We felt it best to come to a Christian country like Armenia’

August 1, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Europe No Comments
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16:26, July 31, 2015

The bracelet worn by Fadil Bshar, a 17 year-old Yazidi from Iraq, catches my eye. Woven in white thread, it reads ‘Shangal’.

Shangal, also known as Sinjar/Shingal is a town in northern Iraq, mainly inhabited by Yazidis, which the Islamic State (IS) captured in August 2014. Hundreds of Yazidis were massacred and thousands fled to the mountains north of the town.

Fadil’s family of nine and that of his brother (5 members), took the flight from Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan and arrived in Armenia last night.

The families had been living in Shingal before IS captured the predominately Yazidi northern Iraqi province, also home to Arab and Assyrian minorities.

Donald Trump, US Presidential Candidate, Linked to Controversial Azerbaijani Oligarch

July 31, 2015 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

21:07, July 31, 2015

Donald Trump – United States presidential candidate, real-estate tycoon, and reality TV star – has earned money from a deal with one of Azerbaijan’s most controversial businessmen, it was reported this week.

Trump partnered with Azerbaijani oligarch Anar Mammadov to build a Trump International Hotel and Tower in the capital Baku,reports an investigation by the US-based magazine Mother Jones.The 33-floor luxury hotel, announced in 2014 by Trump and partners, will not be owned by Trump but a company called Garant Group, which is chaired by Mammadov.However Trump, who is a Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential race,received at least US$ 2.5 million last year for his work on the Baku Hotel. He lent his name and management expertise to the project in exchange for the payment, according to Mother Jones.

CE Body Criticizes Proposed Parliamentary Election ‘Runoff’ In Armenia

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An advisory body of the Council of Europe (CE) has issued its preliminary opinion on the proposed Armenian constitutional amendments, criticizing the provision of a so-called “second round” in parliamentary elections aimed at forming a “stable majority”.

In their conclusion experts of the Venice Commission welcome the work conducted by the Armenian Constitutional Reform Commission, but also made certain proposals on how to improve the draft constitutional changes.

Shopping in the U.S. Becomes Easy for Armenia’s Residents with New Shop-In-America Service

July 31, 2015 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

17:44, July 31, 2015

HayPost has announced the launch of a new HayPost ew service – “Shop-In-America” -which allow the residents of Armenia tax free import of goods from the U.S. as of August 1.

Due to new amendments to the law and collaboration with RA Ministry of Finance, HayPost has taken a step forward to facilitate the purchasing process of goods from the U.S.. Now residents of Armenia can also make customs clearance on goods they are importing and pay their custom duties at HayPost offices all over Armenia. HayPost staff has undergone intensive customs clearance training to effectively manage these processes.

Yezidi Families Flee From ISIS To Armenia

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Three ethnic Yezidi families have taken refuge in Armenia after leaving their homes in Iraqi Kurdistan close to the area controlled by Islamic State (ISIS) militants.

Members of Armenia’s Yezidi community welcomed the families in Armenia on Thursday.

Boris Murazi, the head of the association of Sinjar Yezidis, organized a campaign in one of the parks of Yerevan on Friday to try to raise funds as well as collect food and clothes for the families consisting of a total of 19 people, including seven children, so as to help them cope with the difficulties of life in a foreign country during their first days of stay.

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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.

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.