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The Armenians of Present Day Sebastia: Finding At Least One Armenian in Each Village

August 27, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Film, Turkey No Comments
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11:02, August 27, 2014

When I was in the first grade, my teacher would point to a map of historic Armenia and tell us that the Turks wanted to leave just one Armenian on those lands as a museum artifact.

This was the first notion that entered my brain when I first stepped foot in Sebastia and conversed with residents of Armenian lineage.

One can find at least one Armenian in each borough and village of this region of Turkey that once boasted a large Armenian presence; every Armenian is

I later found out that the author of those words was none other than Prince Grigory Golitsin who served as Governor of Transcaucasia from 1897-1904. According to the Armenian historian and writer Leo, he was the one who penned the “Armenia without Armenians” motto.

Photo Story: Russia is Largest Market for Artsakh Fruit and Vegetables

August 27, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Karabakh No Comments
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12:55, August 27, 2014

Russia is the largest market for the goods produced by the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Artsakh Fruit CJSC. Apart from the local, Artsakh market, since its founding in 2008, the company’s goods have been exported to France, Hungary, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Dubai.

Upon entering Artsakh Fruit’s Stepanakert factory, one doesn’t manage to recover from the outdoor August heat, as striking your face is the wave of hot air from ovens more scorching than the sun, leaving behind the sweet aroma of cooked, barbecued, and fried vegetables and fruit that whets your appetite.

The women in pink uniforms first sort then skillfully clean, cut, and process the vegetables and fruit, which results in the company manufacturing 28–30 types of products per year.

Bako Sahakian congratulates Abkhazian leader on election win

August 26, 2014 Arts, Diaspora, Karabakh No Comments
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Nagorno-Karabakh’s president has congratulated Abkhazia’s newly elected leader on his victory in the country’s recent presidential polls.

In his address to Raul Khadjimba, Bako Sahakyan praises him as an experienced statesman, expressing belief that he will manage to strengthen and develop the country during his tenure.

“On behalf of the authorities and people of the Artsakh Republic, and personally myself, I cordially congratulate you on the victory in the presidential elections.

“You are known as an experienced statesman who has had an essential contribution to the formation of the independent Abkhazian statehood. I am confident that under your leadership, the Republic of Abkhazia will develop and become stronger on a steady basis.

Armenian MP Cites Hetq Article in Call for Change to Officer Housing Assistance Law

August 26, 2014 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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17:00, August 26, 2014

On the basis of a Hetq opinion piece highlighting the restrictions regarding government housing assistance to serving army officers, Armenian MP Edmond Maroukyan has called on Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan to reform the law.

In his article, Hetq chief editor Edik Baghdasaryan wrote about the plight of Captain Hayk Stepanyan no serving in Artsakh’s Martakert region.

As the law now stipulates, the government will only provide financial assistance for officers if the housing they rent is at least thirty kilometers distant from their place of service. Since Stepanyan now serves less than thirty kilometers from his place of registered residency, he gets no assistance from the government for his rental housing.

Armenia imports over 1 ton of guanabana this year

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Armenia has imported over one ton of guanabana since January.
Speaking to Tert.am, a press secretary for the Agriculture Ministry’s State Food Security Service, Armine Sukiasyan, said a considerable part of the exotic fruit – one ton – came from Columbia; another six kilograms were imported from China.
Ashot Agaghabyan, a businessman MP affiliated with the ruling Republican faction in parliament, had earlier told the local daily Zhoghovurd that he had signed an exceptional agreement in Ecuador to facilitate the import of a guanabana additive that helps treat and prevent cancer and AIDS. The paper said that the fruit was first imported to Armenia by Artak Sargsyan, the owner of the supermarket chain SAS.
The market price of guanabana is within the range of 80-100 Drams/kg ($0.19-$0.24)
Guanabana is grown in Africa, South America and in tropical countries. 

Smartphone-controlled greenhouse invented to help grow fruits and veg in room

August 26, 2014 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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For many people living in towns and cities, growing flowers, fruits or vegetables is out of the question. But a team of inventors from San Francisco has unveiled a device that makes it possible, via an indoor greenhouse that can be controlled by a smartphone, reports the Daily Mail.By connecting their phone to the greenhouse, people will be able to grow fruit and vegetables in their homes without needing access to a garden.
The indoor gadget uses a built-in miniature computer that detects when plants need water and the ideal temperature for their growth.
The glass-sided device uses special sensors to pick up these readings, which then automatically activate different parts of the machine.
And the device warms up, cools down, turns on a light or waters the plants autonomously without input from the user.
The contraption, called Niwa, can be used to grow flowers, fruits, vegetables or herbs.
It will come in three sizes and is delivered in an easy-to-assemble kit.
Once a user has planted their desired seeds they simply choose which crop it is from a list on the Niwa smartphone app.
Read more on the Daily Mail website. 

Top 8 highlights from 2014 MTV Video Music Awards

August 25, 2014 Armenia, Music, Video No Comments
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BBC News has singled out eighttop highlights from this year’s MTV Video Music Awards:1. Everyone is talking about Beyonce. And not just because of her metallic leotard. She performed an epic 20-minute set that brought the house down.

2. The singer accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award. She was joined on stage by husband Jay Z and daughter Blue Ivy. Beyonce cried saying: “I am filled with so much gratitude”. The crowd chanted her name.

3. No twerking this year for Miley Cyrus. She won Video of the Year for Wrecking Ball and got a homeless man, Jesse, to collect her award. He’s from My Friend’s Place, a charity the singer supports which helps people on the streets “improve their psychological, intellectual and physical capacity”.

Armenia exports little honey despite high demand in EU

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Despite its high demand on the EU market, the export of the Armenian honey turns out to be considerably low.
Speaking to Tert.am, a spokesperson for the Agriculture Ministry’s State Food Security Service said that they have not received any export requests from manufacturers so far. “There have been a couple of cases when just a few kilograms of [honey] was exported for personal use, but no company has so far applied for export,” Armine Sukiasyan explained.
Armenia, which has been included in the list of the countries eligible to deliver products abroad, can now freely export its honey to the EU member states. On August 21, the EU Commission approved the corresponding documents submitted by the Service back in 2013.
Artyom Mikaelyan, a deputy head of the bee-keeping company Honey Town, says he expects the export to expand Armenia’s honey market. “If we are able to fully secure the export to Europe, bee-keeping will develop at rapid paces, threefold increasing the bee-keepers’ number and contributing to the eradication of poverty, especially in villages and border regions,” he said.
Mikaelyan added that a certificate which Armenia has received from the EU allows also for the export of bee wax, bee glue and bee milk.
“We have got a contract with Germany, so we are going to export the first batch of bee glue,” he noted.
Asked about the competitiveness of the product, Mikaelyan said he knows that the Armenian honey is competitive in the EU.
He added that the company is planning to organize a festival-exhibition as part of the first ever pan-Armenian conference of bee-keepers next month. The event, set to take place from September 12 to 14, will bring together bee-keepers from different countries to consider the existing problems in the sector and possibilities of using the necessary technologies to promote the bee products’ export to Europe.

Boko Haram declares new Islamic state in north Nigeria

August 25, 2014 Arts, Diaspora, Video No Comments
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Militant group Boko Haram has said it has set up an Islamic state in the towns and villages it has seized in north-eastern Nigeria.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau was speaking in a video released to congratulate his fighters for seizing the town of Gwoza earlier this month, according to BBC News.
It is not clear if Mr Shekau has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, which controls parts of Iraq and Syria.
Nigeria’s army has rejected the claim as “empty”.
Thousands of people have been killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, since 2009 when Boko Haram began its insurgency.
Gwoza, which had 265,000 residents in the last census, is the biggest town under Boko Haram control.
Read more on the BBC website.

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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.