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eBay under pressure as hacks continue

September 23, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora No Comments
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Leading security researchers have called on eBay to take immediate action over dangerous listings, as the problem continues to put users at risk.
The BBC has now identified more than 100 listings that had been exploited to trick customers into handing over personal data.
Over the weekend, readers got in touch with the BBC, saying they had attempted to warn eBay about the problem.
The company said it would “continue to review all site features and content”.
The BBC has found that:
• Innocent user accounts were hijacked in order to place the fake listings. Many of the accounts had 100% positive feedback, and had sold hundreds of items.
• One victim who had his account hijacked told the BBC he was locked out of his account – and later billed “around 35″ by eBay to cover seller’s fees for items he had not auctioned.
• When customers clicked on a listing that had been compromised, they were brought to a sophisticated, official-looking site that asked victims to log in and share bank account details.
• The types of items used to target victims ranged from smartphones and televisions to hot tubs and clothing.
The vulnerability centers around users’ ability to place custom Javascript and Flash content into their listings pages.
Often sellers will use this method to make their pages look more exciting, with animations or other eye-catching techniques.
But use of Javascript and Flash, eBay acknowledged, significantly raised the likelihood that malicious code could be included within the site’s pages – due to a hacking technique known as cross-site scripting (XSS).
It meant users clicking on eBay listings that appeared legitimate were being automatically re-directed to harmful websites designed to steal user information, including credit card details.
The problem has affected the site since at least February, the BBC has confirmed – although some experts say it has been an issue for more than a year.

Alibaba ‘world’s biggest public stock offering’

September 23, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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Chinese internet giant Alibaba has raised $25bn (15bn) in its share flotation, according to US media, making it the largest initial public offering (IPO) in history, the BBC reports.
On Friday, investor demand led the stock to make its debut at $92.70, more than 38% above its $68 initial price.
Alibaba’s bankers then chose to buy additional shares, reports say.
That means the firm has surpassed the record $22.1bn China’s Agricultural Bank raised in 2010.
At the end of trading on Friday, Alibaba had smashed several records – with trading volume in the first minutes beating that of Twitter’s stock sale – but there was still some speculation about the overall size of the share sale.
Alibaba is now worth more $223bn – more than Facebook, Amazon and eBay.
As part of the terms of its stock offering, Alibaba’s bankers were entitled to buy an additional 48 million shares, in addition to what had been offered to outside investors.
Most analysts indicated that if Alibaba’s shares had fallen below the initial price, the bankers would probably choose not to purchase additional shares.
However, after Alibaba’s shares debuted at $92.70 on Friday – significantly above their initial offering price of $68 – that turned out not to be the case.

Yerevan Condemns ‘Armenian Church Bombing’ In Syria

September 22, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

Armenia on Monday strongly condemned the reported destruction by Islamic State militants of an Armenian church in eastern Syria that has also served as a memorial to the victims of the 1915 genocide in Ottoman Turkey.

The official Syrian news agency SANA said that the militants blew up and completely razed the Saint Martyrs’ Church in the city of Deir ez-Zor on Sunday. There has been no independent confirmation of the report so far. Nor have there been any statements yet by the Sunni jihadist movement controlling large swathes of land in Syria, including most of the Deir ez-Zor region, and neighboring Iraq.

Armenian Lifers Again On Hunger Strike

September 22, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Top News No Comments

Twenty-nine men serving life sentences in Armenia’s largest prison again went on hunger strike on Monday to demand that the authorities review their cases or legally increase their chances of regaining freedom.

Eleven of them ended the protest later in the day after receiving fresh assurances that the Armenian Justice Ministry, which runs the prisons across the country, is addressing their demands.

Tsovinar Khachatrian, a ministry spokeswoman, said officials at Yerevan’s Nubarashen prison informed them that “legislative changes are expected regarding those sentenced to life in prison and their prison conditions.” She gave no details of those changes.

The Nubarashen inmates heard similar promises before ending their previous, three-day hunger strike in July. Justice Minister Hovannes Manukian assured them that he will find legal “solutions” to their plight.

Yerevan Concert Marks 23 Years of Armenian Independence

September 22, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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Source: HetqOriginial Article

Grieving Soldier’s Father: “My son didn’t commit suicide, they killed him”

September 22, 2014 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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10:59, September 22, 2014

The Mouradyan family of Talin believes their son Arman was killed while serving in the Artsakh Defense Army and did not commit suicide as officially claimed. Here’s their version of events.

Arman Mouradyan had only three months military service left when his body was discovered on June 30, 2013. He had died from gunshot wounds at a military outpost of the Artsakh Defense Army.

His parents were told that their son had committed suicide. They’ve never accepted that version of events and have always held that Arman was murdered.

After graduating high school, Arman Mouradyan enrolled in the State Academy of Emergency Affairs Management. He was a superior student who later was conscripted into the army in 2011. He was transferred to Martakert a year later.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Congratulates Armenian People on Independence Day

September 22, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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12:50, September 22, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued the following congratulatory letter to the people of Armenia.

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Armenia as you celebrate your independence day this September 21.

The deep bonds between the United States and Armenia are strong. We will continue to strengthen our partnership with Armenia in various dimensions including security cooperation, economic and democratic development, and expanding people-to-people exchanges. This is also a special occasion to honor the achievements of Armenians and Armenian-Americans who have contributed to the development of both countries.

Eurasian Union ‘No Threat To Armenia’s Independence’

September 22, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Top News No Comments

Armenia will not risk losing its independence after joining the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), President Serzh Sarkisian insisted on Sunday as he marked the 23rd anniversary of the country’s secession from the Soviet Union.

“Today, on Armenia’s Independence Day, I declare with utmost responsibility that our membership in the Eurasian Economic Union does not pose a threat to Armenia’s political independence in any way. Such claims [to the contrary] are groundless,” he said in a speech at an official reception held in Yerevan on the occasion.

“There is no integration process in the world which does not presuppose coordination of steps. This is more than a natural phenomenon,” Sarkisian added, responding to critics of his unexpected decision last year to seek membership of the bloc comprising Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Obama Praises ‘Strong’ Ties With Armenia

September 22, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Top News, Turkey No Comments

U.S. President Barack Obama has described U.S.-Armenian relations as “strong” and pledged to deepen them despite Armenia’s upcoming accession to a new Russia-led alliance of ex-Soviet states.

“Armenia and the United States have a strong history rooted in partnership and friendship. The people-to-people, cultural and economic ties that bind our countries are impressive and inspiring,” Obama said in a weekend letter to President Serzh Sarkisian that congratulated him on Armenia’s Independence Day.

“The U.S.-Armenia relationship remains strong, and we look forward to continuing and deepening our cooperation for many years to come,” read the letter publicized by Sarkisian’s office.

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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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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.

Want to Write for Hetq?

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10:24, March 14, 2014

I’m looking for freelancers who can broaden the scope of Hetq’s English edition

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Politics, Civil Society, Interviews…

Anything interesting happening in your local community you’d like to share?

Write to me with your ideas and story suggestions.

Hrant at hg.hetq@gmail.com

Source: HetqOriginial Article

For Better or For Worse: Nature Protection Ministry Proposes Amendments to Water Use Laws

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16:44, February 14, 2014

With the goal of providing a systematic solution to issues of effective use of water resources in Ararat valley, the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia (RA) is proposing amendments and additions to the RA Water Code, and the RA laws on the Republic of Armenia’s National Water Program, on Licensing, and on State Tax.

The proposed legislative package has been sent to the relevant state agencies for their input.

Head of the Ministry of Nature Protection’s Water Resources Management Agency Volodya Narimanyan told Hetq, said that with this amendment package his ministry is attempting to clarify the ideas and the ambiguous commentary, as well as introduce new requirements. For example, one of the main points of the proposed amendments is if water use permit conditions are not met, the water use permit might be annulled.

2013 in Civil Society: Protests and more protests


The struggle of civil movements this year has been comprehensive and diverse with limited success in certain fields due to unified efforts and active involvement of the civil society.

Despite the rather passive start of the year in terms of civil movements, the second half of 2013 turned out to be tense with active developments.

Some analysts believe that especially after the February 18 presidential ballot, when current president Serzh Sargsyan won a decisive victory over his opponents and was re-elected for a second term, despite the widespread poverty and atmosphere of injustice in the country, people became even more aware of the fact that is it impossible to achieve changes via elections and started practicing their constitutional rights to civil protest and disobedience more frequently.