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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.

Opposition Parties Differ On Dialogue With Government

November 15, 2014 Armenia, Business, Top News No Comments
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Leaders of Armenia’s three main opposition parties jointly challenging President Serzh Sarkisian cited on Friday different conditions for embarking on a dialogue with his administration.

Sarkisian implied earlier this week that such a dialogue could center on a list of 12 political and socioeconomic demands that were made by the Armenian National Congress (HAK), Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Zharangutyun (Heritage) parties earlier this year. He said he has told the Armenian government to “once again address that document.”

The most important of those opposition demands is the conduct of parliamentary elections only on a party-list basis and the introduction of more safeguards against vote rigging. Ruben Hakobian, Zharangutyun’s deputy chairman, said on Wednesday that the opposition trio will be ready for the dialogue if the authorities enact corresponding amendments to Armenia’s Electoral Code.

Constitutional Court OKs Armenian Entry To Eurasian Union

November 15, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

The Constitutional Court upheld on Friday a recently signed treaty on Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, paving the way for its ratification by the Armenian parliament.

In a widely anticipated decision, the panel of nine judges ruled that the treaty does not run counter to the Armenian constitution.

The more than 40-page ruling read out by the court chairman, Gagik Harutiunian, also argued that economic integration among various states is becoming the norm in the modern world. “Even developed countries are engaged in these processes and have no alternatives in the new millennium,” it said.

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Karabakh War Still Unlikely, Says Sarkisian

November 14, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

Azerbaijan will not dare to pursue a military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict any time soon, President Serzh Sarkisian said on Friday at the end of what he described as biggest ever Armenian military exercises.

Sarkisian heaped praise on tens thousands of soldiers that have reportedly practiced military operations in and around Karabakh for the past nine days.“You have demonstrated strong combat skills, a strong will and devotion to the homeland,” he told some of the participating troops lined up at a shooting range east of the disputed territory.

Landmine Free Artsakh Aims to Raise $100,000 to Clear Govshatly Village; Schedules Series of Events in California

November 14, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan No Comments
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14:41, November 14, 2014

Over 20 years have passed since the day that fighting stopped between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. However, until this day, Armenians, a quarter of them children, die, are mutilated and suffer from landmines, cluster bombs and unexploded ordnance.

Landmine Free Artsakh is a group of concerned Armenians that raises fundsfor the HALO Trust which is the world’s oldest and largest humanitarian landmine clearance organization and the only mine clearance operator in Artsakh.

These villages to be cleared of mines are in the Lachin,Hadrout and Martouni regions, where no international government grants and funds have been secured. Without private funding these minefields might never be cleared.

French Ambassador to Armenia Calls for Calm after Downing of Armenian Helicopter

November 14, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Karabakh No Comments
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17:27, November 14, 2014

France’s Ambassador to Armenia, Jean-François Charpentier, issued a statement today in which he expressed his condolences to the families of the three Armenian crew members killed on November 12 when their helicopter was shot down by Azerbaijan.

Ambassador Charpentier writes that this incident shows just how long and complicated the road is to a negotiated settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

“As France’s ambassador to Armenia I can only wish that the parties, in the days and weeks to come, will refrain from verbal escalations and all type of provocations, and that they will return to the dynamic of dialogue launched at Sochi, Newport and Paris and facilitated by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs,” the statement reads.

Nigol Bezjian’s Ceaseless Search for Truth and Discovery — An Interview

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17:52, November 14, 2014

By Christian Garbis

Filmmaker Nigol Bezjian is a master storyteller who conveys pathos and lust for life, introspection and emotional extremes of joy and sorrow in one sweep.

Born in Aleppo, Syria in 1955, Bezjian immigrated with his family to Boston in 1974. He earned a BFA in Cinema Studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and then further pursued his passion for filmmaking at the UCLA School of Film, Theatre and Television where he graduated with a MFA in Film Producing, Writing and Directing. 

Armenia’s Eurasian integration reduces authorities’ powers – politician

November 14, 2014 Armenia, Asia No Comments
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Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union implies only one step by the National Assembly, ratification of documents, an opposition politician said today, sharing his concerns over possible hazards.
Speaking to Tert.am, the Heritage party’s political secretary, Styopa Safaryan, pointed out to those clauses of the document, which he said aim to restrict the authorities’ constitutional powers. “They will simply be reduced, as the decision-making right will be largely vested in the supranational union,” he noted.
Safaryan said he is afraid that the restrictions will apply to the National Assembly and Government which enjoy the constitutional privilege to make decisions on exclusively important matters. “It’s clear in this respect that it comes to conflict with Armenia’s Constitution,” he said, considering the deal tantamount to an attempt to usurp power in Armenia.
Safaryan said he doesn’t think that the document allows for a consensus-based decision-making. “When establishing different customs tariffs, for example, they may adopt decisions to which Armenia doesn’t agree, but its disagreement will not matter at all when it comes to sensitive issues. This means that the National Assembly, which actually establishes those tariffs based the laws, will just ratify them. It will not consider its expediency through debates or discussions but will just have to ratify the supranational body’s decisions,” he added. 

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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.