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Japan’s SoftBank in talks to buy DreamWorks: source

September 28, 2014 Business, Diaspora, Film, Technology No Comments
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Japan’s SoftBank Corp (9984.T) is in talks to acquire DreamWorks Animation SKG (DWA.O), the Hollywood studio behind the “Shrek” and “Madagascar” movie hits, Reuters reports quoting a well-informed source as saying.An acquisition of DreamWorks by SoftBank would make it part of a cash-rich Japanese communications and media company that, under founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son, has shown a willingness to take big bets on combining disparate businesses.The talks were first reported by the Hollywood Reporter, which quoted an unidentified source as saying a buyout would value DreamWorks at $3.4 billion.The entertainment trade publication said SoftBank had offered $32 per share for DreamWorks, a substantial premium to the stock’s Friday closing price of $22.36.Buying DreamWorks, which is headed by veteran Hollywood producer and film executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, would make SoftBank the second Japanese technology company to buy a Hollywood studio, following Sony Corp (6758.T), which bought Columbia Pictures in 1989.SoftBank has recently cashed in on a share of its investment in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and dropped its pursuit of mobile carrier T-Mobile US (TMUS.N) in the face of opposition from anti-trust regulators in the United States.Last week, SoftBank booked a $4.6 billion gain on the share listing of Alibaba Group in New York (BABA.N). SoftBank retains a 32 percent stake, making it Alibaba’s biggest shareholder.SoftBank has significant stakes in other large listed entities, including U.S. mobile carrier Sprint (S.N), through which it had pursued a deal for T-Mobile, internet portal Yahoo Japan (4689.T) and online games maker GungHo Online Entertainment (3765.T).A SoftBank spokesman said the company had no comment on the reported talks with DreamWorks. A representative of DreamWorks could not be immediately reached for comment. 

Rise of the Terminator: Scientists create shape-shifting liquid metal – and it could be used to heal human body

September 23, 2014 Armenia, Film No Comments
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Scientists have come a step closer to creating terrifying Terminator-style robots that can instantly repair themselves, the Daily Mail reports.In what sounds like the precursor to a science fiction film, a Carolina research team has managed to create self-healing liquid metal.The team claims the breakthrough could lead to better electronic circuits, self-repairing structures and perhaps, someday, T-1000-style robots.Scientists used an alloy of gallium and indium to create the liquid metal. Gallium is liquid at 29°C (84°F), while Indium has a higher melting point of 156°C (312°F).However, when combined, the alloy remains liquid at room temperature with a high surface tension of around 500 millinewtons per meter (mN/m).This means that when this alloy is placed on a flat table, it will form into an almost perfect ball, and holds its shape.The surface tension can be reduced by applying a voltage of less than one volt, causing the metal to spread out flat on the surface.The effect is also reversible; if the charge is flipped from negative to positive, the liquid metal returns to a spherical shape.Changing the voltage also changes the amount of surface tension and the viscosity of the metal blob, allowing it to shape-shift into different structures.’The resulting changes in surface tension are among the largest ever reported, which is remarkable considering it can be manipulated by less than one volt,’ said Dr Michael Dickey, an associate professor at North Carolina State University.’We can use this technique to control the movement of liquid metals, allowing us to change the shape of antennas and complete or break circuits.’Many materials form surface oxides, so the work could extend beyond the liquid metals studied here.’The research may also be used to help repair severed nerves in humans to prevent long-term disabilities.Earlier this year, Tsinghua University in Beijing said the futuristic technique could improve current methods of nerve repair in animals.When a nerve is severed, the muscles at one end of that nerve are cut off from signals from the brain, and essentially immobilized.This can potentially lead to atrophy, a process in which the nerves waste away. To prevent this, neural signals still need to be sent from the brain over the gap in the severed nerve as it heals.The most common way of doing this is to use a solution of salts called Ringer’s solution that copies the function of body fluids.But metal could be a better way of conducting those signals, according to the research.

Angelina Jolie to direct ivory poaching tale ‘Africa’

September 22, 2014 Africa, Culture, Diaspora, Film No Comments
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Angelina Jolie has signed up to direct Africa, a film about celebrated conservationist Richard Leakey’s battles with ivory poachers, the BBC reports.The screenplay has been written by Eric Roth – who won an Oscar for Forrest Gump.Leakey is former head of the Kenya Wildlife Service and was key to stemming the trade in illegal ivory.”I’ve felt a deep connection to Africa and its culture for much of my life,” said Jolie.Leakey’s extreme measures to tackle poachers, including sending helicopter gunships into the national park, have helped Kenya’s elephant and rhino populations recover from the brink of disaster.He made international headlines in 1989, when a stockpile of 12 tonnes of ivory was burned in Nairobi National Park.Jolie said Africa is about “a man drawn into the violent conflict with elephant poachers, who emerged with a deeper understanding of man’s footprint and a profound sense of responsibility for the world around him”.Producer David Ellison – whose company Skydance co-produced films including True Grit and Jack Reacher – called Leakey “inspirational,” adding, “Africa is a story that deserves to be told”.Jolie’s next movie, Unbroken, starring British actor Jack O’Connell is due in cinemas later this year.She is currently directing and starring opposite her husband Brad Pitt in the film By The Sea, based on her own screenplay. 

Searching for the Subjects of Three Photos Taken in Three Wars

September 19, 2014 Armenia, Film, Karabakh No Comments
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13:28, September 19, 2014

Photo-journalist Oleg Klimov has covered numerous wars during his career.

Twenty years on, Klimov decided to locate the subjects in three photos he shot in three conflicts – Karabakh, Abkhazia and Chechnya.

Klimov confesses that the identity of people he’s photographed during war were unknown to him and merely served as characters caught up in a wider conflict.

In a film entitled “Letters to Myself”, the documentarian Masha Novikovachronicles the search of Klimov to track down these individuals, starting with Karabakh.

The photo is entitled – Madonna with Klashnikov in Hand”. Klimov can only remember that it was taken in Stepanakert, the capital of Karabakh.

SanDisk SD memory card ‘largest ever’

September 12, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Film, Technology, Video No Comments
Armenian News

Memory specialist SanDisk has created an SD card with 512 gigabytes (512GB) of storage space – the highest capacity ever released, the BBC reports.
The card, which is the size of a postage stamp, will go on sale for $800 (490).
The launch comes a decade after the firm released a 512-megabyte (MB) SD card with one-thousandth of the space.
Experts believe SD cards could eventually hold up to 2 terabytes (TB) of data, about 2,000GB.
The new card is aimed at film-makers shooting in the high-quality 4K format.
The 4K format – which is four times the resolution of HD – requires large file storage. Depending on compression, a single minute of 4K shooting will typically take around 5GB of storage space.
“4K Ultra HD is an example of a technology that is pushing us to develop new storage solutions capable of handling massive file sizes,” said Dinesh Bahal, vice-president of product marketing at SanDisk.
The SD card format is one of the most widely used standards of flash storage, popular with digital cameras, camcorders and other mobile devices.
While camera types, resolutions and settings vary – a 512GB card could potentially hold around 30 hours of HD video.
John Delaney, a senior mobile analyst from IDC, said innovation in physical storage was critical to the future of our devices – even if a lot of people are turning to cloud storage instead.
“The thing that is driving cloud storage is multiple devices usage – which solves the, ‘Where’s my stuff?’ problem: if you use cloud storage for everything, whatever device you have with you can be used to access your content.”
But he added: “So far there’s still a strong preference for local storage.
“People just feel more in control and more able to rely on being able to access the content when they literally know where it is.
“Storing in the cloud means you literally don’t know where it is.”
Mr Delaney added that recent high-profile security issues around cloud storage – such as the celebrity picture leak last week – would play on the minds of consumers.

Pamela Anderson featured in Sarik Andreasyan movie (photos, video)

September 10, 2014 Armenia, Film No Comments
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The second part of What do Men Do?, a comedy co-authored by Armenian director Sarik Andreasyan, features Pamela Anderson, the Russian Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.
The popular Canadian-American actress was found the most convenient candidate to “realize” the bodily dreams of the film’s main hero, Daniel (Tayir Mamedov).
The Russian publication notes that finding a star in the United States, translating the script for him or her and waiting for further consent is just a technical matter to arrange a film’s shooting.
“I couldn’t even dream that I would play with Pamela Anderson in the same movie. I prepared long and watched all the films and soap operas featuring her over and over again, not forgetting her clips on the internet. You never know what you will need in the shooting area. Everybody was a little excited on the shooting day; what if Pamela is no longer the way she used to be? But as she appeared, all the doubts vanished. She was the same lively and sexy girl we remember from childhood. We easily found common ground with her, and our episode turned our very merry and at the same time emotional,” said the starring hero. 

Armenian Genocide through art: Impact of performance on recognition

September 7, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Film, Music No Comments
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Any piece of art or performance by a Diaspora-Armenian artist can raise awareness of the Armenian Genocide and the Armenian Cause, but given the targets and audiences, they are not absolutely likely to replace state functions, says Violet Grigoryan, an Armenian writer and publicist. “A piece by an independent artist – be it a painting, performance or whatever – is of more help to the audience and people who might be politically less aware of the Armenian Genocide, interstate relations and the Armenian history. It works better, raising more people’s awareness. But its effect is for the given moment only, with no guarantees or responsibilities for future,” she told Tert.am, commenting on US-Armenian rock musician Serj Tankian’s initiative to co-author the symphonic composition 100 Years ahead of the Armenian Genocide centennial.
The musician had earlier unveiled a plan for presenting the project on September 20 in Pasadena. Lark Musical Society has been chosen to premier the new composition.
Actress Lala Mnatsaknyan is of the opinion that it is very important to focus more coordinated efforts on the art or performance aspect while seeking an international recognition and condemnation of Genocide. Speaking to Tert.am, the actress said she expects more concrete results from Diaspora-Armenian artists but expressed regret that the events were not arranged much earlier.
“It is impossible to organize a concert in May and invite a couple of people here to sing, recite poetry and then leave. This should have been already done, but I do not see anything as yet. Perhaps they are planning to arrange it later. But why do it late? Didn’t we know about 2015 five years ago? This should have been done long ago so that we would be in that process now,” she said.
The actress proposed producing films and staging performances, noting in the meantime that they do not absolutely have to feature crying scenes or other sad episodes.
“It is important to organize globally interesting events, and not only on artists’ level. The more we have people speaking about Genocide, the better the international community will be aware of it. We, the individuals, do what were are supposed to, but we need a higher level of state assistance and a higher level of reaction. It is necessary to speak about this, because we are losing the moment,” Mnatsakanyan added.

It is worth dying for art – Turkish director’s Genocide movie premiered at Venice festival

September 1, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Film No Comments
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A Turkish-German director’s movie telling viewers about the Armenian Genocide has been screened at the 71st Venice International Film Festival.
The Cut, which was premiered at this year’s cultural movie event, vies for the Golden Lion prize, according to Hurriyet.
The director, Fatih Akin, had earlier faced threats by Turkish nationalists. “It is worth dying for the sake of art,” he said in that connection.
Armenian members of the creative group, including scriptwriter Martik Marin, actor Simon Abgaryan (better known to the Armenian audience as Rober Keshishyan), also attended the premier in Venice. 

Episodes from the movie

Akin with Tahar Rahim, the leading actor 

Martik Martin

Source: TertOriginial Article

Adult film industry shuts down in LA after porn star tests positive for HIV

August 30, 2014 Armenia, Film No Comments
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The adult film industry in Los Angeles was shut down on Thursday after another porn performer’s HIV test came back positive, the Daily Mail reports.
The moratorium will last until “all performers who the positive performer worked with or had sexual contact with test negative” according to guidelines set by the adult film industry trade group.
This is reported to be the third such moratorium imposed in the last year.
“We take the health of our performers very seriously and felt that it was better to err on the side of caution while we determine whether anyone else may have been exposed,” Diane Duke of the Freedom of Speech Coalition wrote in a release.
The last moratorium ended last September, at which point performers became required to test for HIV and other STIs every 14 days instead of every 28.
Prior to that, a performer who goes by the name Cameron Bay made national headlines when she tested positive for HIV followed by her adult film actor boyfriend.
The moratorium ended after one week. 

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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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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.

2013 in Civil Society: Protests and more protests


The struggle of civil movements this year has been comprehensive and diverse with limited success in certain fields due to unified efforts and active involvement of the civil society.

Despite the rather passive start of the year in terms of civil movements, the second half of 2013 turned out to be tense with active developments.

Some analysts believe that especially after the February 18 presidential ballot, when current president Serzh Sargsyan won a decisive victory over his opponents and was re-elected for a second term, despite the widespread poverty and atmosphere of injustice in the country, people became even more aware of the fact that is it impossible to achieve changes via elections and started practicing their constitutional rights to civil protest and disobedience more frequently.