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13 Fun and Cool Things to Do In Yerevan

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13:01, January 12, 2015

By Karine Aghajanyan

Watch Yerevan from atop the Cascade Complex

Yerevan is a beautiful city with nice buildings, but sometimes stress and annoying routine can make you ignorant of its vibrations. Thus, you need to look at its panorama so you can feel the spirit of the city. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Small cities can be maddening and stressful at times, but the peacefulness they harbor on a frosty winter night is pretty fantastic.

Explore Yerevan’s architecture: walk around places where you have never been

You can find amazing old and new buildings that you have never seen before. Yerevan is a small city, but there are lots of buildings that are removed from the immediate reach of the streets or bus stops. This is especially true now, when there are construction projects going on here and there and you can’t recognize the neighborhood you knew before.

Yerevan Condemns Shelling Of Armenian Church In Syria

January 11, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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An Armenian Catholic church in Syria’s largest city of Aleppo has been partly destroyed by shelling widely blamed on Islamist rebels, drawing strong condemnation from Armenia’s government.

The Saint Rita church was reportedly hit by mortar rounds on Friday. Syrian pro-government media as well as local ethnic Armenians said they were fired by one of the Islamist militias fighting Syrian army units loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad. Nobody was hurt in the shelling, according to them.

Photographs posted by AlMasdarnews.com showed gaping holes on the church’s roof and walls and rubble strewn around its altar. The Arab news service claimed that the rebels also shelled surrounding neighborhoods.

Artsakh Soldier and Cancer Patient Mayis: "Thank God, I welcomed the New Year with two legs"

January 9, 2015 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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16:38, January 9, 2015

Hetq readers will be pleased to know that 19 year-old Mayis Geghamyan’s medical condition has taken a turn for the positive over the New Year.

Geghamyan, who had been serving as a conscript soldier in Artsakh until he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma that has metastasized into his lungs, had his right leg amputated above the knee and was receiving chemotherapy at the Nayri Medical Center in Yerevan.

Geghamyan’s physician Levon Badalyan now reports that after five rounds of therapy a portion of the metastases in the young man’s lungs have disappeared and that the others have shrunk considerably.

Norway: Bribery Trial Linked To Gaddafi Regime Underway

January 9, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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18:53, January 9, 2015

Four former executives of a Norwegian chemical fertilizer company are on trial in Oslo, accused of making corrupt payments in Libya and India. 

The four, who held senior posts at Yara International, stand charged with corruption offenses based on allegations that they bribed foreign government officials including the son of Shukri Ghanem, oil minister under Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

Defendant Thorleif Enger, the former CEO of Yara, joined Tor Holba, Daniel Clauw, and Ken Wallace in pleading not guilty before Oslo District Court. The charges were brought by Økokrim, Norway’s legal authority on economic and environmental crimes, under section §276b of the Norwegian penal code. 

Russian Businessman Charged With Bribery By US

January 9, 2015 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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18:56, January 9, 2015

A Russian national who owns a US-based consultancy has been indicted for paying US$3.5 million in bribes to gain funding from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD) for his Russian and UK clients.

A grand jury in Philadelphia charged Dmitrij Harder, 42, the former owner and president of Chestnut Consulting Group Inc.,with conspiracy, money laundering and violation of the Foreign Corrupt Pratices Act. According to the indictment, Harder and his associates paid bribes to senior official Andrey Ryjenko at the London-based EBRD between 2007 and 2009.

One Nation, How Many Aspects of Culture? Armenian Diversity

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13:38, January 9, 2015

By Nareg Seferian

Not too long ago, I had an “e-mail fight” with someone I don’t know. To call it a “fight” would be an exaggeration. Rather, we had a heated discussion back and forth via e-mail, having found each other through a mutual acquaintance who wisely slipped out of the conversation.

The issue was Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian – specifically, whether or not there are two separate Armenian languages, or whether they are both versions of one language. There are other possibilities, and it could be the case that one may characterise Eastern and Western Armenian in more than one way at the same time. My correspondent was very confident toinsist that there is only one Armenian language. My own position is to refer to the two as “sister languages”.

Black Robes in the Armenian Bar Association – Five Profiles of Judges in the Federal Sector

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14:04, January 9, 2015

By Karnig Kerkonian

It seems we, in the Armenian Bar Association and beyond, are compelled to find unifying threads in the lives of the people we value. Similar stories of origin, upbringing, influences and aspirations must underpin, we believe, the lives of those holding similar, indeed coveted, stations in life. It perhaps comforts one to know that there is some teleology to the whole thing-that the path can be gleaned from the end itself. And to some extent, of course, there is.

Wife of Armenia’s Control Service Head Gets $200K in Loans Without Any Declared Income

January 9, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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11:41, January 8, 2015

How does one obtain over US$200,000 in loans without having any official income to show?

Well, in Armenia, is doesn’t hurt to be married to Sargis Grigoryan, who heads the Control Service of Armenia’s Prime Minister.

Despite the fact that Armineh Kocharyan, Grigoryan’s wife, never worked in 2013 and declared no financial revenues, she was able to receive three substantial bank loans – US$50,000, US$30,000 and 41 million AMD (US$86,320).

Naturally, the question arises as to how she convinced the banks to advance her credit given her lack of declared revenue. Or, perhaps, she’s just concealed her financial assets from public scrutiny and the banks know this to be the case.

Armenian Top Brass Discusses Karabakh Escalation

Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and Armenia’s top army generals met on Thursday to discuss, among other things, skirmishes with Azerbaijani forces that appear to have intensified since the start of the new year.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said the meeting touched upon ongoing efforts to boost the combat readiness of Armenian frontline troops. It said Ohanian, the chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff, Colonel-General Yuri Khachaturov, their deputies and the heads of ministry departments also mapped out further training activities for military personnel.

A ministry statement added that Khachaturov presented a report on Azerbaijani armed “provocations” of the past week and Armenian “steps taken in response to them.” It gave no details.

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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

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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

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.