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Victoria Beckham dress sale to benefit African mothers with HIV

August 5, 2014 Africa, Diaspora, Music, Video No Comments
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British fashion designer and former pop star Victoria Beckham is giving away 600 pieces of clothing, including several evening dresses, to raise money and awareness for mothers living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, Reuters reports.
Beckham’s iconic, white Dolce and Gabbana dress worn for the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards is just one of the items to go under the hammer in aid of mothers2mothers (m2m), a charity that works to prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies in nine countries including South Africa, Swaziland and Kenya.
Other pieces are from Beckham’s days with the Spice Girls pop group, fashion shows, parties and red carpet appearances with husband and former England soccer captain David Beckham.
The money raised from the auction of Beckham’s evening gowns, hats, shoes, bags, jewellery and costume pieces will be “transformational” for the organization that trains and employs mothers living with HIV to mentor other HIV-positive mothers in their community, m2m founder, Mitch Besser, said.
The women work alongside doctors and nurses in understaffed health centers as members of the healthcare team.
“We’ve reached 1.2 million mothers since we started, but with more resources, we can reach more mothers. With more reach we prevent more infections and we keep more mothers alive to take care of their kids,” said Besser, an obstetrician and gynaecologist by training.
“The funding is absolutely transformational for an organization like ours,” he told Thomson Reuters Foundation.
With an annual budget of around $20 million, m2m receives up to two thirds of its funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) – a program to combat AIDS started by former U.S. President George W. Bush.
THE OUTNET.COM, the online fashion outlet which will host the private online sale from Aug. 20-25, said Beckham chose to donate proceeds to m2m after visiting South Africa in February and meeting some of the mothers affected by HIV.
“After spending just a few days with these remarkable women and learning more about the charity from Mitch, and his lovely wife Annie Lennox, I wanted to do as much as I could,” Beckham said in a statement.
“It really was a life-changing experience. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
Sub-Saharan Africa is still the region hardest hit by HIV, with 24.7 million HIV-positive people in 2013.
Women account for 58 percent of those living with HIV in the region, which is also home to 85 percent of pregnant women living with HIV, according to UNAIDS.
Nevertheless there have been great strides in reducing the number of children infected with HIV worldwide – from 580,000 in 2001 to 240,000 in 2013.
Yet stigma, under-funded and under-equipped healthcare systems and problems engaging men are some of the obstacles to ending the epidemic in Africa, Besser said. 

Italy’s Festival delle Nazioni to Honor Armenia’s Musical Heritage

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09:58, July 29, 2014

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Festival delle Nazioni will pay homage to Armenia with a musical program running from August 27 to September 6 in Citt di Castello, a town of some 40,000 inhabitants in the province of Perugia in Umbria, Italy.

The 47th edition of the Festival will feature Armenian symphonic and chamber music, folk and classic, sacred and profane, choral and curative, medieval hymns and premiere compositions.

“With the choice of Armenia, we go out of the European boundaries ,” says Festival President Giuliano Giubilei, the President, “but in a country which has had in its tormented history and strong relations with our continent.”

Komitas Museum/Institute To Be Built In Yerevan By Year’s End

July 24, 2014 Armenia, Music No Comments
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13:03, July 24, 2014

A museum/research institute dedicated to the life and work of Armenian clergyman, composer and musicologist Komitas (Soghomon Soghomonian), will open in Yerevan by year’s end.

The museum is to be located in Komitas Park with funding from Syrian-Armenian benefactor Kapriel Jamparjian, founder of ther Pyunik Human Resources Development Foundation.

The government has transferred the land to the All Armenian Fund at no cost.

2014 marks the 145thanniversary of Komitas’ birth.

Bottom Photo: Yerevan Municipality

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Tutankhamun: How ‘Tut-mania’ gripped the world

July 24, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Culture, Music No Comments
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It may not boast glittering treasures from ancient Egypt, but a new Tutankhamun exhibition shows how the discovery of the boy king’s tomb in 1922 had a huge impact on popular culture across the globe, the BBC reports.
It was one of the one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th Century.
Tutankhamun’s tomb had been untouched for some 3,000 years until the British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered it in 1922, after years of fruitless excavations funded by Lord Carnarvon.
“Can you see anything?” asked Carnarvon as Carter opened the tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.
“Yes,” replied Carter. “Wonderful things.”
Those unforgettable words are inscribed on the wall at the beginning of the Discovering Tutankhamun exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
With most of Tutankhamun’s treasures too fragile to travel from Cairo, the only items in the exhibition from the tomb are some watermelon seeds and almonds that were left to feed Tutankhamen for eternity.
“We’ve looked at the gold, but there’s a lot more hidden behind it,” explains the exhibition’s co-curator Dr Paul Collins.
“One of the biggest discoveries we made in putting this together was that only 30% of the objects from the tomb have actually been the subject of detailed scholarly study.”
The Ashmolean show focuses on the story of Carter’s discovery and how it sparked a wave of “Tut-mania” across the globe.
In one of the first examples of a newspaper paying for a scoop, The Times was given exclusive access to the excavation when Lord Carnarvon sold the rights for 5,000.
Rival newspapers weren’t happy and there was fierce competition among reporters to report the story and its many mysteries, such as the famous Pharaoh’s Curse.
The exhibition features giant blow-ups of of Harry Burton’s photographs for The Times, as well as Carter’s original records, drawings and photographs.
Also on show are many items that illustrate how the craze for all things Tutankhamun had an impact on arts and culture in the 1920s.Egyptian motifs appeared on clothes, jewellery, hairstyles, fabrics, furniture and in architecture.
“Tutankhamun, Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter became almost movie stars,” says Dr Collins. “There was an extraordinary outpouring of games and ceramics and costumes and posters. Everybody wanted a little bit of Tut.”
The tomb’s discovery, at the start of the Roaring Twenties, followed the global upheavals of World War One. Mass media was able to bring news of objects being carried out of the tomb to a wider audience, faster than ever before.
America, in particular, became obsessed by “King Tut” – as he became known. Even US President Herbert Hoover used the name for his pet dog.
American stage magician Charles Carter rebranded himself “Carter The Great” on his Egyptian-themed advertisements.
Meanwhile, songwriter Harry Von Tilzer had a 1923 hit with Old King Tut. The lyrics went: “They opened up his tomb the other day and jumped with glee / They learned a lot about ancient history / His tomb instead of tears / Was full of souvenirs.”
The sheet music and an old Bakelite recording of the song appear in the exhibition. The song was also played at the Ashmolean’s launch event this week, accompanied by a group of 1920s-style dancers.
“Old King Tut was one of the great hits of the time, just as the Charleston was becoming the most popular dance,” says Dr Collins. “It was a great combination.”
Even today Tutankhamun remains an icon. “In the recent revolution, in Tahrir Square in Cairo there was graffiti showing Tutankhamun’s mask as a symbol of Egyptian identity.”
Speaking at the Ashmolean Museum this week, Lord Carnarvon’s relative, George Herbert, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, said: “My great grandfather would be delighted that the fascination with his and Howard Carter’s discovery still continues after all these years.”
The outermost coffin of TutankhamunHoward Carter and an assistant inspect Tutankhamun’s inner coffin. (Photo: Harry Burton. 1922)A pharaoh head pendant and leather gloves, 1920sAdvertisement for the Johnston Fruit Company, California, for ‘King Tut’ Brand Lemons, 1920sPoster for the stage magician Carter The Great, 1923 (left) and and The Kiss of the Pharaoh: The Love Story of Tut-Ankh-Amen by Richard Grove, 1923
Cartier diamond brooch, about 1923

Armenian consulate opens in Lyon

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An Armenian consulate general opened in Lyon, France on Monday, bringing together different high-ranking officials, public, political and cultural figures.
According to a press release by the Foreign Ministry, the ceremony was conducted by Armenian FM Edward Nalbandian, Rhône-Alpes Prefect Jean-François Carenco, Lyon Mayor Gérard Collomb and the head of the region’s General Council.
Legendary French-Armenian singer and musician Charles Aznavour (who is also Armenia’s ambassador to Switzerland) also attended the event.
FM Nalbandian highly stressed the importance of the initiative in his speech, noting that both Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region have a unique significance in the development of Armenian-French relations.
“The first records on the Armenians’ presence in Lyon date back from the Middle Ages. Merchants and later silk-manufacturing Armenians settled and worked in the region,” he said.
“Having taken a narrow flight from the Genocide, thousands of Armenians, who found themselves in Marseilles, went up the river bed of Rhone to find a second homeland in Lyon, Valence, Grenoble, Vienne and elsewhere. They were integrated into the French society to contribute to the development of Rhône-Alpes and its cities and towns. And that contribution continues today.
“With its Armenian churches, monuments, schools, cultural and sports center, Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region demonstrate the high level of the Armenians’ integration and at the same time the connections with Armenia,” he said.
The minister thanked the local authorities, Armenian organizations and the Armenian community members for the continuous strengthening of the bilateral friendship.
The event was widely covered by the media. 

Alaverdi Residents Celebrate Their “Day”

July 21, 2014 Armenia, Music No Comments
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12:09, July 21, 2014

It seemed like all the residents of Alaverdi, a town of 15,000 in Armenia’s northeast Lori Province, turned out yesterday to celebrate “Alaverdi Day”. 

At 7 in the evening, a parade of community and municipal groups kicked off in the town’s Metalurg Stadium. 

As Mayor Artavazd Varosyan was telling me about the six new artificial grass playgrounds that will be completed by summer’s end, children from a local kindergarten made their way into the stadium carrying balloons and accompanied by a musical group playing traditional Armenian instruments. 

Alaverdi is a mining town, so it wasn’t a surprise for Vallex Group Executive Director Velery Mejlumyan to show up and hand out awards to a number of top miners working at the local copper molybdenum plant. 

Turkish state found responsible for Sivas massacre

July 16, 2014 Armenia, Music No Comments
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A top official audit board report into the 1993 Sivas Massacre has declared that the Turkish state is responsible for the arson attack on the Madımak Hotel, in which 35 people were burnt alive and two assailants died, Hurriyet Daily News reports.
The State Audit Board (DDK) of the presidency, which started inspecting the attack upon an order by President Abdullah Gl in 2012, stated in its report issued July 15 that the Governor’s Office in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas showed “serious negligence and failures” in preventing the massacre.
The report accused the state of remaining a “spectator” of the attack, which eventually resulted in the killing of renowned Alevi intellectuals such as the poets Metin Altıok and Behet Aysan, writer Asım Bezirci, and popular musician Muhlis Akarsu.
Noting that the torching of the Madımak Hotel on July 2, 1993 was the result of a gradual escalation of tension following the organization of a conference by an Alevi association that started a day earlier, the report said officials could have taken more safety measures to prevent the massacre.

Harry Potter’s Leavesden Warner Bros studios expanding its site

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The Hertfordshire film studios where the Harry Potter films were made is expanding its site, the BBC reports.Warner Bros has started building three new sound stages at the site at Leavesden, near Watford.The studios are currently home to the new Tarzan film, starring Margot Robbie and Samuel L Jackson, which started production work this week.They were used for filming Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise and are also home to the Harry Potter Studio Tour.Kevin Tsujihara, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros, said: “Warner Bros has produced some of our most popular and successful films in the UK, working with British talent.”The expansion of Warner Bros Studios Leavesden will allow us to further tap into the world-class creativity and innovation available here to continue this tradition of filmmaking excellence.”Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “For years the UK has been at the cutting edge of the creative industries – and we want that to be the case for decades to come. This comes back to two things – and the two things that I see being as the most important in my job.”One: Promoting our culture. Music, film and television help inspire young kids and bring our country together – so I will always back those industries. And two: Our long-term economic plan.”Warner Bros president Josh Berger said the announcement confirmed its “commitment to the UK creative industries”. 

Stars pay tribute to ‘soul legend’ Bobby Womack

June 29, 2014 Diaspora, Music No Comments
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Some of the biggest names in music have paid tribute to singer and songwriter Bobby Womack, who died on Friday, the BBC reports.Peter Gabriel said the musician was a “soul legend” while Ronnie Wood said his friend would be “greatly missed”.Womack, whose hits included Across 110th Street, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.The cause of death was not announced, but he had suffered from cancer and Alzheimer’s disease and battled with drug addiction.He had been due to perform at the Womad music festival in Wiltshire, UK, in July.In a statement on Saturday, Womad’s founder Peter Gabriel said Womack’s “songs and his voice have been so much a part of the fabric of so many musical lives”. 

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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.

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Commentary

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

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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.