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Impressions of Armenia – The Moscow Times (photo set)

October 18, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Diaspora, Europe, Film, Music No Comments
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A photo set published by The Moscow Times has fixed episodes featuring recent developments in Armenia.
The pictures, taken in different parts of the country, are presented below:

A police officer walks along central Yerevan’s Victory Bridge — named after the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany — that crosses the Armenian capital Yerevan’s Hrazdan River.

A young man shows his support for Armenia’s national football team in central Yerevan before a European Championship qualifying match against Serbia.
A musician looks out the window of a bus carrying the members of a brass band to their next destination.

Young boys gratefully drink from the water fountains on Yerevan’s central Republic Square.A woman is seen preparing dolmas (stuffed cabbage rolls)
Khorovats (the Armenian word for barbecue ) prepared on large skewers for meat, vegetable and even fruit dishes

Armenia’s Entry into Eurasian Union: Price Rises in Sugar, Medicines, Cars and Even Toilet Paper !

October 14, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Film No Comments
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11:43, October 14, 2014

The following five minute film (in Armenian), prepared by the Union of Informed Citizens, argues that some 7,000 items will increase in price, sooner or later, due to Armenia’s entry into the Eurasian Economic Union.

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan signed the agreement in Belarus on October 10.

Sizeable price increased will occur in medicine imports, sugar, poultry and automobiles. Even toilet paper will see a price hike.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Robert Redford to receive New York career honor

October 12, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Film No Comments
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Hollywood actor and director Robert Redford is to receive a lifetime achievement award from New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Centre, the BBC reports.The 77-year-old’s career highlights will be celebrated at a gala in the city next April.The society, which organizes the annual New York Film Festival, said that Redford’s “impact is hard to measure in many ways”.Recent Chaplin Award recipients include Barbra Streisand and Nicole Kidman.The honor is given to the movie industry’s most notable talents, and has also lauded Martin Scorsese, Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin, after whom the award is named.He was the first recipient in 1972, while last year’s winner was director Rob Reiner.Lesli Klainberg, the film society’s executive director, said that Redford’s contribution as an actor has been significant, but also pinpointed his work as founder of the Sundance Film Festival.”Without the Sundance Institute and Sundance Film Festival, we’d likely have a different industry. And they continue to have a huge impact,” she said.”Obviously he’s a star that many of us have grown up watching from his films in the early ’60s to his current work.”I happen to think he’s also had some of the greatest co-stars ever, from Natalie Wood to Faye Dunaway, Barbra Streisand, and, of course, his great bromance with Paul Newman,” added Ms Klainberg.Redford starred in All is Lost in 2013, which was shown at the New York Film Festival. His performance was greeted with a standing ovation at its Cannes Film Festival premiere last year. 

Igniting Entrepreneurship in Unexpected Places: An Interview With Sara Anjargolian of Impact Hub Yerevan

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16:16, October 8, 2014

Originally printed in the Huffington Post on October 7, 2014

About a year ago, I found myself sitting in the least desirable seat on the plane – the middle of the middle on a massive airliner directly in front of the restroom. On my left was a man in a grey undershirt, understated in appearance. Meanwhile his posture was one of dignity and pride. As I took in the scene, other travelers on the airplane walked down the aisle, pausing to stare at the man next to me, continuing on their walk, and then turning around to stare again. After two or three passengers stopped to stare, I couldn’t help but ask, “Who are you?”

London film festival to feature Parajanov’s ‘Color of Pomegranates’

October 8, 2014 Armenia, Film No Comments
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A digitally restored version of Russian-Armenian film director Sergei Parajanov’s 1969 “cinematic Holy Grail” is set to dazzle the London film festival 2014 this week, according to The Guardian.
When Martin Scorsese introduced his Film Foundation’s newly restored version of “The Colour of Pomegranates” at the Toronto film festival in September he told the expectant audience they were going to witness images and visions “pretty much unlike anything in cinema history”.
The 1969 film, voted 84th best of all-time in the most recent Sight & Sound magazine greatest movies poll, only gained a belated official release in western cinemas in 1982, but even the cinephiles and critics who have lauded the film with such extravagant praise since should now prepare to see Sergei Parajanov’s masterpiece afresh.
The digital restoration, completed in conjunction with Cineteca di Bologna, comes as close as possible to the director’s original vision and it is this version, described by critic and Toronto festival programmer James Quandt as “a cinematic Holy Grail”, which will screen at the London film festival in October.
Read more on The Guardian website. 

Spain: Madrid police use batons against anti-monarchy protesters

October 5, 2014 Armenia, Film No Comments
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A small anti-monarchy demonstration involving around 200 people in Madrid might otherwise have gone unnoticed, euronews reports.
But scuffles between protesters and police might raise some questions about the somewhat heavy-handed tactics of the forces of law and order.
Riot squad officers were filmed using batons to beat protesters who were armed with no more than banners.
Tensions rose when demonstrators tried to march through a street blocked by riot police.
A number of people were reported to have been injured, with a handful arrested.
Spain has several anti-monarchy movements. Demonstrations were held in many cities calling for the institution to be abolished following the abdication of King Juan Carlos. Felipe VI was sworn in as his successor in June.
An opinion poll for El Pais newspaper carried out in the same month found 62 percent of Spaniards support a referendum on the country’s form of government.

Classic video game Tetris to turn into movie

October 3, 2014 Diaspora, Film, Video No Comments
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The classic video game Tetris, in which players slot a cascade of tumbling blocks together, is being turned into a science-fiction movie, Al Arabiya reports, citing developers.
Tetris has been a mainstay of computer gaming since it was created 30 years ago, but the shape-slotting puzzle may not seem like an obvious subject for a big-screen adaptation.
Threshold Entertainment said in a statement that it was partnering with The Tetris Company to develop the film.
“Everyone knows that Tetris is one of the best known, most beloved brands in the world,” Threshold chairman Larry Kasanoff said.
“What everyone doesn’t know yet is this epic scifi story that we’re going to tell. That’s what’s really exciting.”
Threshold has already scored some game-to-movie successes, notably two “Mortal Kombat” films.
Read more on the Al Arabiya website.

Azerbaijan: OCCRP Partner Journalist Threatened With Arrest

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00:26, October 2, 2014

Khadija Ismayilova, an Azerbaijani investigative journalist and partner of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), has told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that she may face arrest upon her return to Baku Friday.

Ismayilova is returning from Strasbourg, where she met with members of the Parliamentary Assembly of Europe (PACE).

In addition to hosting a daily program for RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani service, she has written extensively on the business interests of the family of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev. She said a criminal libel case has been opened against her and she has been ordered to appear in court on October 3.

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper share sizzling kiss in new depression-era movie Serena

October 2, 2014 Diaspora, Film No Comments
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Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper share a passionate kiss in the new trailer for their long-awaited movie Serena, the Daily Mail reports.
The duo – who first displayed their on-screen chemistry in 2012′s Silver Linings Playbook before working together on 2013′s American Hustle – play love-struck newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton in the depression-era flick.
In a new clip, exclusively obtained by MailOnline, George (Cooper) reveals his dreams of building a timber company to his wife (Lawrence) before they share a sizzling smooch.
Jennifer’s Serena opens up to George saying: ‘I never thought I’d find you, I never thought I’d find anyone. Really you have no idea,’ before falling in to his arms.
However, while it appears from the clip as if the madly in love couple have it all, the trailer for the film tells a different story.
The stars’ characters are seen meeting, falling in love and pursuing their dreams together, before a series of dramatic events alter the tone of their romance.
Their empire crumbles, the couple’s relationship appears to become strained and illegitimate children enter the narrative.
The story begins with Serena proving herself to be equal to any man by overseeing loggers, hunting rattle-snakes and even saving someone’s life in the wilderness.
Serena and George have power and influence in the palm of their hands, but things start to unravel when she discovers his hidden past and struggles with her own inability to conceive.
The film is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Ron Rash, which was first published in 2008.
Serena boasts a strong supporting cast including Sam Reid, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones and Sean Harris.
Shot in the Czech Republic in the Spring of 2012, the film has been subject to several delays.
Jennifer and Bradley shot the movie between production on Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle.
However, perfectionist Danish Oscar-winning director Susanne Bier reportedly took more than 18 months to get the film exactly how she wanted it.
Serena will arrive in cinemas on October 24 in the UK, but a US distribution date has yet to be announced.

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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.