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Nowhere to Go: Landlord Issues 20 Day Eviction Notice to Armavir Family with Eleven Children

January 23, 2015 Armenia, Film No Comments
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16:46, January 23, 2015

Gayaneh Avetisyan and Dyuma Poghosyan are the proud parents of six boys and five girls.

The large family lives in a rented house in the Armenian town of Armavir.

The landlord has given the family twenty days to vacate the premises.

Before filming, Mrs. Avetisyan had just the one request – “Don’t portray us as down and out, a family to be pitied.” She added that the family needed no assistance from otters and that having a place to call home was their only challenge.

Mr. Poghosyan says the landlord has received complaints from neighbors saying that the large family is the reason for the wall they share constantly getting wet.

Documentary Film: St. Gregory of Gagkashen Church in Ani

January 22, 2015 Armenia, Film No Comments
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11:56, January 22, 2015

A recent film prepared by the Research on Armenian Architecture NGO regarding the Armenian church of Saint Gregory of Gagkashen in Ani talks about its history and gradual destruction.

The film also shows its 3D reconstruction.

Construction started in 1000 AD and lasted for some two decades. With some modifications, it was modelled after the 7th century church of Zvartnots.

Gagik I, the Bagratid King of Kings, ordered the construction of the church and entrusted the task to the prominent architect Trdat.

The film, with English subtitles, was scripted by Samvel Karapetyan.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Another Oppositionist Attacked In Yerevan

December 12, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Film, Karabakh, Top News No Comments

An Armenian opposition lawmaker was beaten up late on Thursday, the latest in a series of violent attacks on prominent participants of recent anti-government demonstrations staged by three major opposition parties.

Aram Manukian, a veteran politician affiliated with the Armenian National Congress (HAK), was assaulted outside his apartment block in Yerevan. Manukian, who had a black eye and other visible facial injuries, described the attacker as a middle-aged who said nothing while throwing punches.

Manukian required medical examination and aid. He was also questioned by police later in the evening. Nobody was arrested in the following hours.

Other senior members of the HAK were quick to arrive at the scene of the incident. They accused the Armenian authorities of ordering the violence.

Major Organized Crime Bust Explodes No-Mob-In-Rome Myth

December 9, 2014 Armenia, Business, Film No Comments
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21:54, December 8, 2014

By Cecilia Ferrara

Investigative Reporting Project Italy

Early in the morning of Dec. 2, the Carabinieri (Italian national military police) arrested 37 people and launched investigations against 100 others, a number that is expected to grow. The group includes members of a well-known criminal group along with politicians from the two main parties.

Among those arrested are the head of the National Civil Protection Department and a local police chief; the president of the anti-corruption council; the former mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno; the former president of a major real estate development company, Eur SPA; and the former CEO of the Azienda Municipale Ambiente (AMA), the waste management company of the Municipality of Rome.

Croatia: Zadar’s “King Fish” Questioned Over Graft

December 3, 2014 Armenia, Business, Film No Comments
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20:30, December 3, 2014

One of Zadar’s most powerful businessmen, dubbed the “king fish of the Adriatic”, was detained Tuesday morning on suspicion of corruption.

Reno Sinovcic, president of local football club NK Zadar and owner of Croatian TV agency Vox, was arrested along with others – five of whom were reported in the media to be tax officials. He was detained overnight and questioned.

A statement released by USKOK, Croatia’s anti-corruption agency, confirmed a probe into eight Croatian citizens and one company on suspicion of abuse of office, business fraud, and causing bankruptcy. The release refers to the non-payment of overdue taxes, a scheme involving the use of non-existent loans, and evidence of “unlawful material gain” linked to NK Zadar.

EU court blocks gay asylum tests

December 2, 2014 Africa, Diaspora, Europe, Film No Comments
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The EU’s top court has ruled that refugees who claim asylum on the grounds that they are homosexual should not have to undergo tests to prove it.Three men, including a Ugandan and one from a Muslim country, failed in their bids for asylum when a Dutch court said they had not proved their sexuality.EU states including the UK have been criticized for their handling of gay asylum requests.The European Court of Justice (ECJ) says they must respect human dignity.Its rulings apply to all EU member states.|The case is significant across the EU because of a surge in the numbers of sub-Saharan Africans seeking asylum in Europe this year. Most African countries treat homosexuality as a crime.The Czech authorities were criticized by the UN, EU and human rights activists in 2011 for using an erection or “phallometric” test – a practice dating back to communist times – to determine whether certain asylum seekers were gay.In its latest ruling, the Luxembourg-based court said that determining a refugee’s sexuality had to be consistent with EU law and respect their private and family life.In particular, it said that evidence of homosexual acts submitted from tests or on film infringed human dignity, even if it was proposed by the asylum applicant. Allowing such evidence could result in it becoming a requirement, the court said.While authorities could interview an asylum seeker to find out about their sexual orientation, questions could not be asked about their sexual practices.An asylum seeker’s failure to answer questions about their personal circumstances was not sufficient reason to reject their credibility. Nor was an applicant’s failure to declare his homosexuality from the start, the judges said.Treatment of gay, lesbian or bisexual refugees has become a key issue in the UK in recent months, after revelations that one asylum seeker was asked what one lawyer described as “shockingly degrading” questions.A report by the UK independent chief inspector of borders and immigration in October found that more than one in 10 interviews involved questions of an “unsatisfactory nature”.The ECJ ruled last year that gay asylum seekers who had a genuine fear of imprisonment in African countries could claim refugee status, in response to another Dutch case. 

Audrey Hepburn show announced by London’s National Portrait Gallery

December 2, 2014 Armenia, Film No Comments
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A photography exhibition celebrating the life and career of British actress Audrey Hepburn will open at London’s National Portrait Gallery in July, the BBC reports. The show will chart her rise from West End chorus girl to one of Hollywood’s most photographed stars and also document her later humanitarian work.Classic images of the Breakfast at Tiffany’s actress will be displayed alongside rarely seen family photos.It includes work by photographers such as Sir Cecil Beaton and Richard Avedon.Some of the most famous images in Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon are taken from the Oscar-winning actress’s film posters, vintage magazine spreads and publicity shots.Many were taken behind the scenes on her films, including those by photographer Mark Shaw who was given exclusive access to the set of 1953′s Sabrina for Life magazine.Other highlights include Hepburn in her Broadway dressing room when she starred in Gigi, and family shots of Hepburn performing ballet as a young girl.The exhibition also marks the 65th anniversary of Hepburn’s career-changing performance at a leading West End night-club called Ciro’s, in the same building that now houses the National Portrait Gallery’s public archive.The Oscar-winning actress’ performances in revues at the club in her early twenties helped launch her career and led to her being scouted for British films, including 1951′s Laughter in Paradise. 

Hetq’s ‘Listen to Our Voices’ to be Screened Nov. 26

November 25, 2014 Armenia, Film No Comments
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13:29, November 25, 2014

On November 26 the documentary film “Listen to Our Voices” produced by Hetq will be screened at the Naregatsi Art Institute in Yerevan at 1:00 pm.

The screening coincides with the compilation of the series of articles published by Hetq titled “Distorted Fates,”  which documents the stories of 11 inmates who were convicted of crimes allegedly committed with unsubstantiated—or in some cases without—hard evidence and given sentences of life in prison. The “Distorted Fates” series attempted to call attention to the flaws in the Armenian judicial system, specifically regarding deficient criminal science and inadequate investigative procedures. 

The Mayilian Song Ensemble, led by vocalist Anna Mayilian, will perform at the event.

Brangelina make first red carpet appearance since marriage

November 18, 2014 Armenia, Australia, Diaspora, Film No Comments
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She’s no stranger to red carpets, but Monday night was a particularly special event for Angelina Jolie.
The 39-year-old beauty was joined by husband Brad Pitt in Australia as she attended the world premiere for Unbroken, a new WWII film which she directed, reports the Daily Mail.
It’s the first time the pair have walked the red carpet as a married couple after tying the knot in August.
Looking radiant in a strapless, fishtailed Gucci dress, she greeted thousands of fans who lined the streets by Sydney’s StateTheatre before strutting her stuff on the red carpet.
Angelina and Brad, 50, pulled up in a black Range Rover to greet their fans and stop for photos before walking the red carpet for the movie – which was largely filmed in New South Wales.
The statuesque brunette was dressed in a floor length, strapless silver gown with dark detailing and a fish tail finish.
She accessorised with diamond earrings and her trademark smile.

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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.