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Azerbaijan: Jailed Journalist Khadija Ismayilova’s Home Searched

December 8, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Europe No Comments
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22:52, December 7, 2014

New details have emerged about the bizarre case under which investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova has been imprisoned in Baku, Azerbaijan.

A former friend of Ismayilova’s broke his silence on Saturday, Dec. 6 about his claims that she drove him to attempt suicide after causing him to lose his job and threatening to spread embarrassing information about him. 

Ismayilova’s lawyer has dismissed the allegations as “absurd,” noting that prosecutors possess neither facts nor evidence to support the claims.

Ismayilova, who was taken into a two-month pretrial detention on Friday, stands accused under Section 125 of Azerbaijan’s penal code, incitement to commit suicide. It is the latest in a series of legal moves to rachet up pressure on the award-winning journalist, whose work has exposed corruption among Azerbaijan’s political elite including the family of President Ilham Aliyev.

Bread Chessboard & Pieces: A Journey of Exile and Return

December 6, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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14:49, December 6, 2014

By Anna Babajanyan

A chess board and pieces made of bread is one of the unique pieces a visitor to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) HistoryMuseum in Yerevan can see on display.

The artifact was constructed by members of Armenia’s First Republic (1918-1920) who were jailed after the fledgling republic was seized by the Bolsheviks in December 1920.

Sitting in the cells in the Yerevan Prison, the politicians and former government members decided to use the little bread given them by their jailers to fashion the chess board in order to while away the long hours and days of confinement.

It seems that beyond the physical torment, they were more worried about the degradation of their psychological state of mind behind bars.

Arrest of journalist latest case of crackdown of free media in Azerbaijan, says OSCE Representative

December 6, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan No Comments
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13:26, December 6, 2014

BASEL, Switzerland, 5 December 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today condemned the arrest of Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismailova.

“The arrest of Ismailova is nothing but orchestrated intimidation, which is a part of the ongoing campaign aimed at silencing her free and critical voice,” Mijatović said.

On 5 December Khadija Ismailova, a journalist with Radio Azadliq, was sentenced to pre-trial detention for two months on charges of inciting a person to commit suicide. If convicted, Ismailova may face up to seven years in prison.

“I repeat my call on the authorities in Azerbaijan to stop this practice, which is detrimental to media freedom,” Mijatović said.

Raffi Hovannisian to Hold Civic Assembly in Gyumri Tomorrow

December 5, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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11:24, December 5, 2014

Heritage party leader Raffi Hovannisian will hold a public assembly in Gyumri on December 6 in Theatre Square. The event is scheduled for 5:00 pm.

Earlier in the day Hovannisian will hold a similar meeting in Vanadzor at 1:00 pm.

At a meeting with journalists sponsored by the Asparez Press Club today Hovannisian stated that people are still interested in the “struggle.”  

Hovannisian still claims that he is the rightful winner of the 2013 presidential elections and says that people have great expectations from him. He recalled that last year during a prolonged period of protests he refused to create a situation in which Armenian citizens could have found themselves in a bloody conflict.

Armenia Enjoys “Net Freedom”, Says New Freedom House Study

December 5, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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16:39, December 5, 2014

While Armenia may not have a free press, the country’s internet appears to be so.

This is the finding of Freedom on the Net 2014 – the fifth annual comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe, covering developments in 65 countries that occurred between May 2013 and May 2014 recently released by Freedom House.

Armenia scored 28 in terms of total internet freedom (0=Best, 100=Worst)

This year’s ranking is up from the 29 score Armenia received in the 2013 study.

The 2014 study highlights the following key developments regarding the state of the internet in Armenia from May 2013 – May 2014:

Artsakh Farmer: ‘Here you can either serve in the army or work in agriculture’

December 5, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Culture, Karabakh No Comments
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17:55, December 5, 2014

After Sourik Zargaryan, a resident of Berdashen village in Artsakh’s Martouni region was discharged from the army, he decided to try his hand at raising livestock.

He started with five cows and has increased the herd to seventy.  It’s become his livelihood.

“If you live in Karabakh you have two options; either serve in the army or get into agricultural. Otherwise, you’ll go hungry,” says Zargaryan, adding that while he may not be rich he can provide for his family.

Zargaryan is like many others who got into agriculture after the collapse of the Soviet Union when all the collective farms shut down.

Sarkisian Wants More Government Action On Economy

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The Armenian authorities should do more to minimize the fallout from Russia’s deepening economic troubles as well as sluggish growth in the European Union, President Serzh Sarkisian said on Friday.

Sarkisian also insisted that Armenia will reap major economic benefits from its membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) even now that the Russian economy is plunging into recession.

“It is evident that Armenia cannot buck the current trend and that what is happening in the global economy should also reflect on our country and our economic indicators. Nevertheless, Armenia’s government and Central Bank should step up their efforts to mitigate negative influences on our economy coming from the outside world and to smoothly carry out necessary adjustments,” he said in a speech at an annual conference of the country’s largest business association.

Central Bank Urged To Curb ‘Currency Speculation’

December 5, 2014 Armenia, Business, Top News No Comments
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Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian appealed to the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) on Friday to crack down on “speculative” currency trading in the local market on Friday as the Armenian dram depreciated further against the U.S. dollar.

The Armenian currency was down by around 1 percent, trading at 448 drams per dollar in the evening, according to the CBA. Armenian commercial banks set different exchange rates, however, averaging 453 drams per dollar.

Abrahamian exposed the Armenian government’s serious concern over the latest rate fluctuations with an extraordinary statement sent to News.am later in the day. “Given the existing tensions in the financial market, it is extremely important that all market players follow the set norms and rules,” he said. “I do not exclude that in this situation there will be attempts to fish in troubled waters.”

Azerbaijani Journalist Detained For Two Months

December 5, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

20:50, December 5, 2014

Journalist Khadija Ismayilova, a Radio Free Europe/OCCRP reporter, was taken into custody today in Baku, Azerbaijan, in the latest of a series of legal moves to put pressure on her.

Ismayilova, known for her investigations into the business interests of the family of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, is accused in the latest case of inciting a man to commit suicide. She arrived at a court hearing this morning smiling and making a V-shaped peace gesture. After court deliberations, she was taken into what is presumed to be a pre-trial detention period of two months.

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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

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.

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