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Russia creating its own Wikipedia analogue

November 15, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora No Comments
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Vladimir Putin’s Presidential Library is creating a Russian version of Wikipedia with officially sanctioned information to rival the “unreliable” American site.
Authorities optimistically expect it to become “one of the most popular Russian internet resources” but it will have a way to go to catch up with Wikipedia, the sixth most popular website in the world, reports The Independent.
The new encyclopedia is being created by the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, established by Putin in 2007, and the National Library of Russia.
Announcing the move on Friday, a spokesperson for the Presidential Library said: “The initiative will be an alternative of Wikipedia: the analysis of this resource has shown that it does not have enough detailed and reliable information about Russian regions and the life of the country.”
He added: “Integration of unique materials on the regions in a single electronic encyclopedia will allow it to objectively and accurately present the country and its population, the diversity of the state, the national system of Russia.” 

The Engraved Worry Beads of Varteres Atanasian: Family Memento as Genocide Testament

November 15, 2014 Armenia, Asia No Comments
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13:08, November 15, 2014

By Anna Babajanyan

Constantinople – 1915

When the police came to knock on the door of the home of Varteres Atanasian, a jeweler and district council head, his wife didn’t know what to expect.

The police left. The wife, now in tears, told her neighbor that she had just learnt that her husband had been arrested in April with other Armenian intellectuals of the city.

After some time had passed a coachman visited the house and told Varteres’ wife that he had seen her husband and that he had given him something, requesting that he pass it along to the family. The coachman handed over the item to the wife and left. That was the last the family heard about Varteres.

MI-24 crash is military crime, says Karabakh war veteran

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The downing of Nagorno-Karabakh’s MI-24 helicopter is a military crime which requires a proper investigation, says legendary commander of the Nagorno-Karabakh war.
At a news conference on Saturday, Major General Arkady Ter-Tadevosyan said he is more than confident the command to shoot down the aircraft was given by Azerbaijani top military leaders.
“Azerbaijan wishes to keep Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh in tension, and that is why, it issued such an order. A soldier could not have possibly come into possession of the weapon from which the helicopter was shot; the instruction was from above. Azerbaijan fails to respect any military norm. This is a military crime, so it is necessary to launch an investigation,” he noted.
The military leader emphasized the need of a proportionate and tough reaction by the Armenian side. “We resort to military operations only after they attack, but we will not be the first to hit them. I am sure servicemen will properly consider what to do in this situation to punish the Azerbaijanis, but it will not be a despicable act,” he added. 

Azerbaijan keeps Armenian chop crash site under fire

November 15, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Karabakh No Comments
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Azerbaijan’s armed forces continue shooting fire against the crash site of the downed MI-24 helicopter.
The air vehicle, belonging to the Nagorno-Karabakh air forces, was hit near the Line of Contact on Wednesday afternoon in an apparent violation of ceasefire by the Azerbaijani side.
All crewmembers are believed to have been killed in the accident. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

Hermès’ Armenian alphabet scarf goes on sale

November 15, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Culture, Diaspora No Comments
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The legendary luxury brand Hermès unveiled in early September a new scarf featuring an Armenian alphabet motif to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Solidarité Protestante France-Arménie (SPFA), a humanitarian organization created in France in 1990 to aid victims of the Spitak earthquake in Armenia.On Wednesday, Pierre-Alexis Dumas, artistic director of Hermès, and Janik Manissian, president of SPFA, announced that the silk carré will be on sale, by subscription only, until Nov. 30.The proceeds from the exclusive, limited edition scarf are to be donated to the SPFA for its continued efforts in Armenia.Ten years after “Jardins d’Arménie,” the new design by Hermès, called “Lettres d’Erevan,” celebrates 25 years of the SPFA. The silk scarf is presented in two colors. The scarf, featuring the Armenian alphabet, is a “testimony to the surprising vitality of the Armenian people and their culture,” as Pierre-Alexis Dumas explained during the presentation at the Petrossian Restaurant & Boutique in Beverly Hills.On the scarf, dropped capitals and friezes are drawn in delicate calligraphy and illuminated in the style of ancient manuscripts. In the middle of the writing, under a richly embellished arch, a sage sits meditating beneath a starry sky; in his hands, he holds the tools of knowledge: a quill and an open book.Speaking to Asbarez, the SPFA’s general secretary Clément Hellich-Praquin expressed her organization’s gratitude for the initiative from Hermès. “As a small organization that struggles to meet its operational needs through limited resources, this is truly a great honor for us,” Hellich-Praquin said. “We can continue to do great work for young children in Armenia and Artsakh thanks to this gesture from Hermès.” 

Armenia’s business atmosphere ‘neither fine nor poor’ for SMEs – GIZ country rep

November 15, 2014 Armenia, Business, Diaspora No Comments
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It is still too early to evaluate the new government’s activities in the business sector, says Cornelia Skokov, Armenia Team Leader for the GIZ Private Sector Development’s South Caucasus program.
“We will continue the cooperation – as we did with the previous government – to improve the situation,” Skokov told Tert.am, pointing out to the permanent need to improve the business atmosphere for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“The conditions for small and medium businesses are neither fine nor poor; they are normal,” he added.Skokov said he doesn’t think that big businesses are always an obstacle for SMEs. “There are many factors, ranging from consumers to managers, so all have to do with that,” he noted. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

FIFA: Corruption Investigator Says Findings Were Misrepresented

November 15, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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19:31, November 14, 2014

FIFA released asummaryof research on the bidding process by Michael Garcia and Cornel Borbly, its Ethics Committee’s top investigators, on Nov. 13. However, Garcia claims that the 42-page summary by Hans-Joachim Eckert, chairman of the committee’s adjudicatory chamber, misrepresents the findings of the original 430-page report,according toThe Guardian.

A statement by Garcia released hours after Eckert’s summary says that it “contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions,”reports BBC. Garcia says he will contact FIFA’s appeals committee.

Eckert has saidthat it would be legally impossible to publish the report in full, but Garcia has argued that his report should be released in full with redactions where necessary for anonymity, reportsThe Guardian. The FBI is requesting access to the report,according to CNN.

Downing Street presses ISPs over anti-terror measures

November 15, 2014 Armenia, Australia, Technology No Comments
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The UK’s major internet service providers (ISPs) are to introduce new measures to tackle online extremism, the BBC reports quoting Downing Street as saying.
The ISPs had “committed” to strengthening their filters and adding a “public reporting button” to flag terrorism-related material.
But the ISPs told the BBC that no specific agreement had been made.
Campaigners called for transparency over what would be blocked.
Prime Minster David Cameron said technology companies had a “social responsibility” to deal with jihadists.
Mr Cameron told the Australian Parliament in Canberra that he was putting technology companies under pressure to deal with jihadist material.
“In the UK we are pushing them to do more, including strengthening filters, improving reporting mechanisms and being more proactive in taking down this harmful material,” he said.
“We are making progress but there is further to go. This is their social responsibility – and we expect them to live up to it.”
The proposed measures are believed to have stemmed from a meeting held last month to discuss ways in which technology firms could help tackle online extremism.
In a briefing note, No 10 said the ISPs had subsequently committed to filtering out extremist and terrorist material, and hosting a button that members of the public could use to report content.
It would work in a similar fashion to the reporting button that allows the public to flag instances of child sexual exploitation on the internet.

Armenian Military Vows Retaliation For Helicopter Downing

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The armed forces of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh on Friday vowed to retaliate strongly against Azerbaijan for shooting down an Armenian helicopter gunship on “the line of contact” east of Karabakh.

“What happened was unfortunate for us and impudent of them. We will undoubtedly deliver a proportionate — and even a bit disproportionate — answer to their actions,” Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian told reporters in Stepanakert.

Ohanian’s first deputy, Davit Tonoyan, similarly spoke of “collateral damage” which he said the Azerbaijani military will suffer as a consequence of the “new form of ceasefire violation.” “By collateral damage I mean Armenian forces’ possible actions in response to the downing of the helicopter and, of course, the risk of disrupting the negotiation process and nullifying efforts to strengthen the ceasefire,” he said in written remarks released in Yerevan.

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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

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.

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.