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OSCE to Monitor Karabakh Line of Contact Tomorrow

November 17, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan No Comments
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11:21, November 17, 2014

On November 18, the OSCE Mission will conduct a planned monitoring of the Line of Contact between the armed forces of Artsakh and Azerbaijan in the Askeran region.

From the positions of the NKR Defense Army, the monitoring will be conducted by Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk and his Field Assistants Yevgeny Sharov (Ukraine) and Khristo Khristov (Bulgaria), as well as by representative of the OSCE High-Level Planning Group (HLPG) Major Vitaly Belokon (Russia).

The Artsakh government has expressed its readiness to facilitate the monitoring and to ensure the security of the OSCE Mission members.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Inadequacies of Criminal Science in Armenia: Observations Culled from Hetq’s “Distorted Fates” Series

November 17, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Film No Comments
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14:30, November 17, 2014

In our series “Distorted Fates”, Hetq has looked at the cases of eleven of the 104 prisoners serving life sentences in Armenia today by searching the court archives.

We looked at the cases of those originally sentenced to death, to those accused of committing crimes while serving in the military, and to individuals who were convicted at a young age but proclaim their innocence.

We also produced a film on the topic entitled “Listen to Our Voices”.

In our research, we came across the following general observations””

Strictly Come Dancing: BBC apologizes for judge swearing

November 16, 2014 Diaspora, Music No Comments
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The BBC apologized after Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman swore during Saturday’s live show.The head judge appeared to mutter a curse word while praising the performance of Blue star Simon Webbe and his partner Kristina Rihanoff.Strictly presenter Zoe Ball said: “Len got a little bit carried away with the excitement of the dance and I’m very sorry for the bad language.”The BBC One show was broadcast live from Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom.Webbe scored 38 points out of a possible 40 for an Argentine Tango and received plaudits from all four judges.His score was later matched by pop star Pixie Lott who took on the Paso Doble with her dance partner Trent Whiddon.There are nine celebrities left on the show, including television presenter Caroline Flack, reality TV star Mark Wright and Judy Murray, mother of British tennis star Andy Murray.Murray’s performances have been popular with audiences but not the judges.On Saturday’s show, Murray and her partner Anton du Beke danced the Viennese Waltz to Let’s Go Fly a Kite from the musical Mary Poppins. They scored the lowest points of the night.Judge Craig Revel Horwood told her she had “appalling” posture and there was only “a good 15 seconds” in the whole routine.Another contestant will be eliminated following a dance-off on Sunday night’s show.
 

Turkey behind any plots to provoke new war in South Caucasus – Artashes Geghamyan

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In an interview with Tert.am, Head of the Armenian delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Artashes Geghamyan commented on the statements by Thomas de Waal, Senior Associate, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie Endowment, and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.According to Mr Thomas de Waal, the “incidents are an illustration of the increased militarization of the Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire line over the last 20 years – the most militarized zone in Europe.”On the other hand, Armenia’s president stated that no war was going to break out.Even if any plans to provoke war in the region are being devised, it is certainly being done by Turkey because it is seeking to destabilize the South Caucasus to divert the international community’s attention from the activities of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant along the border of Turkey, Syria and Iraq.“Mr Thomas de Waal must have certain grounds for his conclusions. He studied at Oxford and later wrote a most interesting paper, Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War, which showed a more or less impartial approach. He has more contacts with Western experts and, as Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment, must have arrived at this conclusion. It is suggested that such plans may be devised, but President Serzh Sargsyan’s statement ruling our war in the region is based on much more reliable data. We should not forget the detailed talks over the problem between the Russian and Azerbaijani Presidents, Vladimir Putin Ilham Aliyev, in Sochi, between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Ilham Aliyev in Newport, Wales, and between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Paris, mediated by French President François Hollande. In other words, the last two months and a half have seen talks between the Armenian and Azerbaijan presidents and the leaders of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing states. Moreover, following the Paris meeting our FM Edward Nalbandian noted positive aspects of the meetings. Therefore, the Armenian president stated (doing so during large-scale military exercises in Nagorno-Karabakh) there was no threat of war. I think that one of the reasons for Serzh Sargsyan’s statement is the fact that by unleashing war after the Minsk Group co-chairing states’ leaders reached certain agreements Azerbaijan would show its disrespect for the Russian president, the US Secretary of State and the French president. Another question is that our supreme commander-in-chief’s statement foiled the plots to destabilize the South Caucasus devised by Azerbaijani and Turkish strategists. Azerbaijan wanted Armenia to retaliate in such a way as to neutralize the extremely negative reaction to Azerbaijan’s act – downing a Nagorno-Karabakh MI-24 helicopter, which had not actually reached the Line of Contact. This is evidence that, even after Azerbaijan resorted to such a provocation, that their plot was foiled, and that country is in an unfavorable situation now. It is clear that Azerbaijan is well aware it cannot any more avoid honoring the agreements reached during the last two months and a half at the meetings with the Minsk Group co-chairing states’ leaders.As supreme commander-in-chief, President Serzh Sargsyan is well informed of the military potential and morale in the armed forces of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. A man who saw war, a victorious commander and hero of Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh] will never say anything absurd about such a serious matter. Moreover, by his statement he re-affirmed Armenia’s commitment to the agreements reached in Sochi, Newport and Paris. 

Hermès’ Armenian alphabet scarf goes on sale

November 15, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Culture, Diaspora No Comments
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The legendary luxury brand Hermès unveiled in early September a new scarf featuring an Armenian alphabet motif to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Solidarité Protestante France-Arménie (SPFA), a humanitarian organization created in France in 1990 to aid victims of the Spitak earthquake in Armenia.On Wednesday, Pierre-Alexis Dumas, artistic director of Hermès, and Janik Manissian, president of SPFA, announced that the silk carré will be on sale, by subscription only, until Nov. 30.The proceeds from the exclusive, limited edition scarf are to be donated to the SPFA for its continued efforts in Armenia.Ten years after “Jardins d’Arménie,” the new design by Hermès, called “Lettres d’Erevan,” celebrates 25 years of the SPFA. The silk scarf is presented in two colors. The scarf, featuring the Armenian alphabet, is a “testimony to the surprising vitality of the Armenian people and their culture,” as Pierre-Alexis Dumas explained during the presentation at the Petrossian Restaurant & Boutique in Beverly Hills.On the scarf, dropped capitals and friezes are drawn in delicate calligraphy and illuminated in the style of ancient manuscripts. In the middle of the writing, under a richly embellished arch, a sage sits meditating beneath a starry sky; in his hands, he holds the tools of knowledge: a quill and an open book.Speaking to Asbarez, the SPFA’s general secretary Clément Hellich-Praquin expressed her organization’s gratitude for the initiative from Hermès. “As a small organization that struggles to meet its operational needs through limited resources, this is truly a great honor for us,” Hellich-Praquin said. “We can continue to do great work for young children in Armenia and Artsakh thanks to this gesture from Hermès.” 

Landmine Free Artsakh Aims to Raise $100,000 to Clear Govshatly Village; Schedules Series of Events in California

November 14, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan No Comments
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14:41, November 14, 2014

Over 20 years have passed since the day that fighting stopped between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. However, until this day, Armenians, a quarter of them children, die, are mutilated and suffer from landmines, cluster bombs and unexploded ordnance.

Landmine Free Artsakh is a group of concerned Armenians that raises fundsfor the HALO Trust which is the world’s oldest and largest humanitarian landmine clearance organization and the only mine clearance operator in Artsakh.

These villages to be cleared of mines are in the Lachin,Hadrout and Martouni regions, where no international government grants and funds have been secured. Without private funding these minefields might never be cleared.

Nigol Bezjian’s Ceaseless Search for Truth and Discovery — An Interview

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17:52, November 14, 2014

By Christian Garbis

Filmmaker Nigol Bezjian is a master storyteller who conveys pathos and lust for life, introspection and emotional extremes of joy and sorrow in one sweep.

Born in Aleppo, Syria in 1955, Bezjian immigrated with his family to Boston in 1974. He earned a BFA in Cinema Studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and then further pursued his passion for filmmaking at the UCLA School of Film, Theatre and Television where he graduated with a MFA in Film Producing, Writing and Directing. 

Military Analyst: Azerbaijani Forces Probably Panicked and Fired on Armenian Helicopter

November 13, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan, Video No Comments
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17:18, November 13, 2014

Military analyst Davit Sofiyan believes that a panic stricken Azerbaijani military position fired upon an Armenian Mi-24 helicopter yesterday out of confusion.

“They just didn’t know what to do and fired,” Sofiyan told Hetq.

Sofiyan is of the opinion that yesterday’s operation against the Armenian helicopter hadn’t been agreed to by the Azerbaijani military command, even though the Azerbaijani press has reported it as such.

According to Azerbaijani news outlets, the country’s defense minister Zakir Hasanov awarded Ilkin Muradov Mamed Oglu, with a medal “for excellence in military service of the third rank” for bringing down the Armenian helicopter.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity criticized for widespread glitches

November 13, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Diaspora, Video No Comments
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Wide-ranging glitches in the blockbuster video game Assassin’s Creed: Unity have seen its publisher Ubisoft attacked by players, the press and its own investors, the BBC reports.Shares in the firm dipped by as much as 12.8% after Tuesday’s launch.It has been suggested the game was not ready for release. Ubisoft has also been criticised for delaying reviews until after the title had gone on sale.The French company said that it was working on fixes.”We are currently working on our next update that will help address some of the specific issues some players are having including: [the protagonist] Arno falling through the ground; game crashing when joining a co-op session; Arno getting caught inside of hay carts; delay in reaching the main menu screen at game start,” it said.In a further statement, Ubisoft added that the complexity of creating a multiplayer title, in which players join forces via the internet, was the reason that the game had only became available for review relatively late in the day.However, it did not explicitly address the point that it had made reviewers agree to an embargo time set 17 hours after the game went on sale in the UK.Consumers have posted screenshots and videos online, indicating that problems affect all the platforms the game has been released on: the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.”The glitches are so bad that it’s become a source of mockery,” said Rob Crossley, UK news editor of Gamespot.”There are characters that float past the screen, the main protagonist walks in the air, people are falling through the floor, people’s faces are disappearing mid-kiss.”If a publisher has proven it can’t publish a game properly and displeases its core user base, then I think there are legitimate questions to be made about how well the company will fare in the future.” 

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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.