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The Sunset of the Union

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15:50, August 24, 2015

By Vrej Haroutounian

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“The youth palace … served as the open window to the outside world because diasporan students lived there and the building symbolized everything new and fresh. You had family there, and the building was kind of like being in a space pod, but instead of the building protecting you from the outside world, it was the outside world; and you would hear stories there of how life was abroad”

Yerevan Interviewee

The Demirchyan Arena, Sports and Music Complex, or simply Hamalir, was built in 1983 and is recognized as one of the greatest works of architecture produced in the Soviet Union. 

Four Azerbaijani Soldiers Killed Over the Weekend, Reports Artsakh Defense Army

August 24, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan No Comments
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10:44, August 24, 2015

Four Azerbaijani soldiers were killed and more than 15 wounded in gun and artillery battles over the weekend along the Artsakh Line of Contact according to the Artskah Defense Army (ADA).

The ADA reports that it was forced to respond to heightened Azerbaijani ceasefire violations.

The ADA, in its statement, did not mention any Armenian casualities.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Government To Renationalize Armenian Film Studio

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The Armenian government plans to renationalize the country’s largest and oldest film studio due to the failure of its Armenian-American owners to revive film production there with large-scale investments promised by them.

The government moved to regain control over the moribund Armenfilm studio earlier this month, exactly ten years after it was sold to CS Media, a company co-owned at the time by U.S.-Armenian philanthropist Gerard Cafesjian and his business partner in Armenia, Bagrat Sargsian. CS Media paid about $800,000 for the Soviet-era studio and pledged to invest roughly $70 million in it over the next decade.

The money was supposed to be mainly spent on refurbishing Armenfilm’s rundown facilities and providing it with state-of-the-art filmmaking equipment.

A Yezidi Wedding in Armenia: The Groom Hits the Bride with an Apple to Make Her Obey

August 20, 2015 Armenia, Culture No Comments
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By Maneh Grigoryan

It’s the first day of a Yezidi wedding in the village of Alagyaz in Armenia. Seven lambs have been sacrificed.

A tree is adorned with legumes and fruit. Later on, according to tradition, it will be brought to the home of the groom by the bachelor brother through the streets. Neighbors meeting him along the way offer money to assist him in paying the wedding expenses. For example, he must purchase a pillow at the bride’s house symbolizing unity. On the day of the wedding, he must shake the tree on the bride’s head.

Despite the commotion, the groom’s aunt finds the time to explain their traditions to us.

Open Call Wrap-Up: 190 fFarmer Groups Submitted Applications as Part ENPARD Armenia Project

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19:14, August 19, 2015

A total of 190 applications were submitted as part of the the European Union’s ENPARD project “Producer Group and Value Chain Development”.

An open call was announced to select farmer groups engaged in the production and processing of high value agricultural products, such as buckwheat and lentil, milk and high value cheese, fruits and berries, non-traditional vegetables, honey, and other products.

The deadline for applications was 15 July 2015. Applications were received from 6 target regions of the Republic of Armenia: Shirak, Lori, Gegharkunik, Aragatsotn, Kotayk and Vayots Dzor.

Vicken Cheterian: ‘Kurds replaced the Armenians’

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14:26, August 18, 2015

Journalist and historian Vicken Cheterian wrote a book which assesses the effects of Armenian genocide on global politics, academic research, Kurdish question, Turkish and Armenian societies during the process that has been going on for 100 years. Focusing mainly on the post genocide period, Open Wounds: Armenians, Turks, and a Century of Genocide considers Hrant Dink’s assassination as a milestone.

There are lots of books that tell and teach many things to you, but a book that can change the way you perceive and speed up the healing process of the society is a rare thing. Switzerland based journalist Vicken Cheterian’s newly published book Open Wounds: Armenians, Turks, and a Century of Genocide is a work that could trigger some radical changes. Chetarian considers the genocide as an event that still plays a role in today’s social and political environment, rather than a tragedy that happened in the past. And he emphasizes that this crime inflicts deep wounds not only locally, but also globally.

Not Enough Water in Azad River to Build World Bank Financed Irrigation Project

August 17, 2015 Armenia, Culture No Comments
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11:00, August 17, 2015

Water readings taken in July and August have shown that there isn’t enough water flowing in the Azad River to build the World Bank financed gravity fed Kaghtsrashen irrigation project.

The project must allow for an 850 liter per second flow of water to maintain a sustainable river ecosystem.

Recent readings show that in the dry summer months only 0.98 liters per second would remain after the environmental allowance; not enough to irrigate the twelve villages in Ararat Province included as beneficiaries in the project.

The government is left with two options – either it nixes the project entirely or disregards environmental safeguards and draws more water from the river.

Musical Luminary Vatsche Barsoumian Reflects on His Haigazian University Experience

August 15, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Diaspora, Music No Comments
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19:12, August 15, 2015

Maestro Vatsche Barsoumian, founder and director of the highly acclaimed Lark Musical Society in Glendale, CA, welcomes over 200 students each year to the world of music.

As stated in its mission statement,  “ LARK  serves as the musical and cultural brain trust for the Armenian community in Los Angeles – at LARK, music is studied, researched, created, published, felt, and performed by young and old.  Through the beauty of music we will win the hearts and minds of our children and our community and this will strengthen our roots and preserve the Armenian identity in Los Angeles.”

The Story of One House: “From a small dream to great happiness”

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21:39, August 14, 2015

Marine Martirosyan
Vahe Sarukhanyan 

We walk down the dusty road in the village of Yeraskh towards the new house of Sergey Stepanyan.

His former edgy demeanor has been replaced by an air of calm. We wonder if we’ve confused him with someone else. All the while, Sergey walks confidently ahead; sometimes smiling.

We ask if he’s grown accustomed to his new house. He says he has. Sergey is a man of few words.

We reach the two story house where four families now live. Sergey lives on the ground floor. We are greeted by his 77 year-old mother Roza Khachatryan. She welcomes us with hugs and kisses. Mrs. Khachatryan says, “You don’t know what you have done for us.” We respond that we were only doing our job as reporters.

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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.

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.