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Croatia: Record Heroin Seizure at Serbia Border

April 8, 2015 Armenia, Asia, Europe No Comments
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22:43, April 8, 2015

Croatian authorities seized more than 140 kilos of heroin at a Croatia-Serbia border crossing on Monday.

It was reported that, during regular border checks, Croatian border police noticed a van that appeared to be under a suspiciously heavy load given that it only contained two occupants – a 46-year-old Turkish national and a 26-year-old German, both of whose names have not been officially released.

The van, which had German license plates, was searched. Police found hidden compartments underneath the seats containing 261 packages of heroin. The drugs are believed to have been destined for western European countries.

Police estimate the value of the seized drugs to about US$ 6 million, which they say is the biggest seizure at this border crossing in the 10 years since it was opened for use.

Kim Kardashian Starts Landmark Trip To Armenia


Kim Kardashian, the world-famous U.S. reality TV star of Armenian descent, began on Wednesday a first-ever visit to Armenia that will put her ancestral homeland under an international spotlight.


Armenia – Kim Kardashian and her sister Khloe arrive at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport, 8Apr2015.

Kardashian arrived at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport together with her husband, American rapper Kanye West, daughter North and sister Khloe. They were accompanied by camera crews from a U.S. broadcaster that will film several episodes of the reality series “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”

No official meetings or press conferences are planned during the high-profile trip timed to coincide with the 100th century of the Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey. Kardashian and her family members are expected to visit the genocide memorial in Yerevan.

Another Karabakh War ‘Unthinkable’ For Russia

April 8, 2015 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

Russia is strongly opposed to any attempts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by military means, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday after talks with his visiting Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian.

Lavrov also described Armenia as his country’s “reliable partner and ally.” “We value our centuries-old relations which have been cemented by the historical, cultural and spiritual proximity between the peoples of the two states,” he told a joint news conference in Moscow. “These relations have been developing steadily and have taken on a new quality in the context of Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union.”

The meeting with Nalbandian “reaffirmed the strategic and allied character of Russian-Armenian relations, added Lavrov.

Opposition Protests ‘Not Cancelled’ Despite Arrests


The Founding Parliament said on Wednesday that its nonstop anti-government protests in Yerevan will start as planned on April 24 despite the arrests of six leading members of the radical opposition movement.

Founding Parliament activists made this clear as they rallied outside a detention center in the Armenian capital to demand the release of the group’s top leader, Zhirayr Sefilian, and his five close associates.

“We have already managed to overcome a state of shock. This situation was predictable to us,” one of them, Vartan Hakobian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azautyun.am).

Law-enforcement authorities detained the six men and searched their homes and offices on Tuesday, accusing them of planning to provoke “mass disturbances” during the April 24 high-profile commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey. The authorities have to formally charge or free them by Friday.

Armenian Soldier Killed in Artsakh

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13:33, April 8, 2015

The Artsakh Ministry of Defense reports that an Armenian soldier was killed yesterday by Azerbaijani fire yesterday evening while on duty at a guard post at a military base alog the country’s eastern flank.

The soldier has been identified as Levon Mirzoyan.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Heritage Condemns Yesterday’s Arrests: Calls for Immediate Regime Change

April 8, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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14:27, April 8, 2015

Armenia’s Heritage Party has condemned yesterday’s searches and arrests of Founding Parliament members as illegal, describing them as acts of desperation by a regime that sees its only salvation in terrorizing society.

The party called on the government to uphold the fundamental constitutional rights of its citizens and not to prevent peaceful political assembly.

In a statement released today, Heritage said the only adequate response to such illegal and consistent acts on the part of the regime is a united display of the indignation of the popular and political forces, immediate regime change, and the establishment of democratic governance.  

Source: HetqOriginial Article

World Bank to Loan Armenia $52 Million for Electric Substation Rehab

April 8, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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14:45, April 8, 2015

Armenia and the World Bank today signed a US$52 million loan agreement to finance the rehabilitation of the Ashnak and Yerevan Thermal Power Center substations as part of the Electricity Transmission Network Improvement Project (ETNIP) for Armenia.

The new project will improve the reliability of the power transmission network and system management, and support the Government’s efforts in ensuring adequate electricity supply across the country.

The World Bank will provide the US$52 million IBRD loan of variable spread with a 14.5-year grace period and the total repayment term of 25 years.

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved the loan on March 30.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Armenia’s Parliament Calls for End to Persecution of Yezidis by the Islamic State

April 8, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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16:10, April 8, 2015

Armenia’s National Assembly today issued a statement condemning the persecution of religious and national minorities in Iraq and Syria at the hands of the Islamic State (IS).

All six parliamentary factions backed the statement that singled out the Yezidi community in Iraq as a target for the IS extremists which has led to a humanitarian crisis for many in the beleaguered Yezidi community.

“Armenia’s diplomatic representatives and legislators have on numerous occasions raised the issue regarding the impermissibility of what is occurring and the need to ensure humanitarian assistance at the United Nations and other organizations,” the statement reads.

Kocharian Downplays Ties To Tsarukian

April 8, 2015 Armenia, Top News 1 Comment

Former President Robert Kocharian has distanced himself from Gagik Tsarukian’s political activities just weeks after the influential tycoon reputed to be close to him retired from politics under strong government pressure.

In an interview published on Wednesday, Kocharian insisted that Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), the second largest in parliament, has never been his support base and denied any responsibility for its “dismantling” by President Serzh Sarkisian.

“I have closely followed political processes of the last several years but have never participated in them,” he told 2rd.am, his unofficial website. “I had good relations and contacts with Gagik Tsarukian but did not cut shadowy political deals on future formats of cooperation with the [BHK] party and its leader.”

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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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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.