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Prosperous Armenia MP Doesn’t Rule Out Hand of Azerbaijan in Hayrapetyan’s Arrest

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15:16, July 23, 2014

Regarding the July 15 arrest of Artsakh native businessman Levon Hayrapetyan in Moscow, Prosperous Armenia MP Grigori Margaryan told Hetq that while he saw no political undertones in the matter, he could not rule out the hand of Baku.

“I do not rule out the possibility of Azerbaijani complicity in the matter, even though I don’t see evidence of it,” Margaryan told Hetq.

Russian law enforcement arrested Hayrapetyan at a Moscow airport on suspicion that he is linked to a Russian organized crime syndicate.

Margaryan, a member of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on European Integration said he based this opinion on his experience as a member of the Armenian delegation to PACE where he witnessed the “underhanded and dirty” working practices of Azerbaijani delegates.

Mystery of Turkish siblings who move on all fours leaves scientists baffled

July 23, 2014 Asia, Diaspora, Film No Comments
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Walking on all fours might be fun for some, but for the members of one Turkish family, it’s the only way to move around, reports the Oddity Central.Five siblings of the 19-member Ulas family, from Hatay Province, suffer from a rare disability – they lack the balance and stability required to stand up straight, forcing them to move on all four limbs. The family was discovered in 2005 – 14 of them appeared to be completely normal, while five suffered a quadrupedal gait. Scientists have been baffled by the condition ever since.The Ulas siblings were featured in a BBC documentary film, The Family That Walks On All Fours, in 2006. The film revealed that of the five siblings, two sisters and a brother have only walked on all fours since birth. Another brother and sister sometimes manage to walk upright. “It’s amazing as an example of a strange, strange aberration of human development,” said Professor Nicholas Humphrey, who visited the family twice during the documentary. “But their interest is how they can live in the modern world.”According to the film, a popular explanation for their unusual walk – similar to the movement of primates – was ‘reverse evolution’. Many scientists believed that the siblings were living proof that it is possible for humans to devolve. “I do not think they were destined to be quadrupeds by their genes, but their unique genetic make-up allowed them to be.” said Professor Humphrey.“It has produced an extraordinary window on our past. It is physically possible, which no one would have guessed from the modern human skeleton. However they arrived at this point, we have adult human beings walking like ancestors several million years ago.” Recent studies, however, have disproved this theory. American scientists have now concluded that the walk is only an adaptation to a rare disorder.A report published in the scientific journal PLOS One suggested that the siblings move laterally, unlike primates who walk in a diagonal sequence by repeatedly placing a hand on one side and a foot on the other. The siblings’ walk, on the other hand, is lateral and involves putting weight on the wrists instead of the knuckles. This is a clear sign of adaptation to cope with a loss of balance.So scientists now believe that the gait could be a byproduct of a hereditary condition that causes cerebellar hypoplasia, which disturbs their sense of balance. The siblings may have developed quadrupedalism in order to adapt to the rare condition known as Uner Tan syndrome, named after the Turkish evolutionary biologist who first studied them.“I was determined to set the record straight, because these erroneous claims about the nature and cause of quadrupedalism have been published over and over again, without any actual analysis of the biomechanics of their gait, and by researchers who are not experts in primate locomotion,” said lead researcher Liza Shapiro, from the University of Texas. “We have shown that the quadrupedalism resembles that of healthy human adults asked to walk quadrupedally in an experimental setting.”Previously, biologist Uner Tan had suggested that people affected by this syndrome walk with a quadrupedal locomotion, and are also affected by primitive speech and severe mental retardation. During his first study, when he asked the siblings what year it was, each of them had five different responses: “80,” “90,” “animals,” “July,” and “house.” This, according to Tan, indicated reverse evolution. 

Whitney Houston mother speaks out against lifetime biopic

July 23, 2014 Armenia, Film No Comments
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Whitney Houston’s family has a very simple message to her fans: “please let her rest.”That’s the plea Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston, made Tuesday (July 22) while condemning Lifetime’s upcoming biopic about her daughter, “I Will Always Love You: The Whitney Houston Story”, Mtv.com reports.“Lifetime has chosen to go ahead with the movie about Whitney in spite of my family’s objections, Cissy said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight. “No one connected with this movie knew Whitney or anything about her relationship with Bobby [Brown].”While the late icon’s fans have been eagerly anticipating the Angela Bassett-directed film, her family has not been happy about it. Whitney and Bobby’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, has already voiced her disapproval via comments on Twitter that have since been deleted.Former America’s Next Top Model contestant Yaya DaCosta will play the role of Whitney, while Arien Escarpeta will play Bobby.Although Bassett co-starred with Houston in “Waiting to Exhale,” the family feels as though the film won’t be an authentic account of their beloved Whitney.“In the two years since Whitney’s death, many people have stepped forward to speak about their close relationship with her,” Cissy continued. “I find it difficult to believe people who knew and supposedly loved her would participate in a movie about her done by folks who didn’t know her. We are exhausted by the continuing misinformation and comments offered by people who did not know her. Please, please let her rest.” 

Armenia Keen On Further Partnership With EU, FM Says

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Armenia wants to develop its partnership with the European Union based on what was achieved during the recent negotiations and considering the ‘new realities’,  Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in Brussels.  

During Tuesday’s EU and Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers meeting, which was also attended by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule, Nalbandian said that Armenia wants this partnership with the EU to be based on the results and progress achieved in recent years.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia met the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs

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18:33, July 22, 2014

On July 22 Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian who paid a working visit to Brussels met the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs- Ambassadors Igor Popov, James Warlick, Pierre Andrieu and Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.

During the meeting discussions on the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh-Azerbaijani conflict continued.

The Foreign Minister of Armenia drew the Co-Chairs’ attention to the incitement of warmongering on the top level in Azerbaijan, statements distorting the essence and contents of the negotiations, gross violations of ceasefire regime and cases of organized sabotage on the border with Armenia and the line of contact with Artsakh. He emphasized that with its provocative actions Azerbaijan is further escalating the situation evidently opposing the numerous calls of the international community to prepare populations for peace.

Artsakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Receives ICRC Mission Head

July 22, 2014 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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21:21, July 22, 2014

On July 22, Artsakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Karen Mirzoyan received Thomas Hallier, Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Mission in Artsakh.

During the meeting, the parties discussed a number of issues related to the activities of the ICRC Office in Artsakh.

The parties also touched upon the issue of the neutralized Azeri subversive group in the territory of Artsakh, and the cooperation established in this regard between the ICRC Office in Artsakh and local appropriate structures, in particular, the Artsakh State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons.

Photo: Karen Mirzoyan, Thomas Hallier

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Failure to amend Constitution may lead to crisis in Armenia – opinion

July 22, 2014 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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In an interview with Tert.am, an opposition MP from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaksutyun highlighted the need of constitutional reforms, noting that a failure to act correspondingly might lead to a crisis in the state administration system.
“It is necessary to conduct political consultations and debates to adopt new approaches,” Artsvik Minasyan said, stressing the importance of outlining the existing demands to rule out the possibility of the authorities’ reproduction.
“If in 2017, we head to [parliamentary] elections in the frameworks of the constitutional regulations, no one will prevent the authorities from applying the same methods and tools enabling their reproduction. Moreover, should the parliamentary majority represent a different [political] force – other than the ruling authorities [the Republican Party of Armenia] – with the Constitution remaining unchanged, we will face a conflict, a state administration crisis, which is fraught with clashes threatening Armenia. It is important to have a body with a priority mandate – the legislative. That’s the only way to have a clear unanimous position and to rule out crisis in the administration system,” he noted.

Armenia has much more serious problems than ones raised by ex-president: opinion

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First Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s comments on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border incidents and on Armenia’s domestic political problems have evoked varied responses by Armenia’s political forces.
Political scientist Aghasi Yenokyan believes that this is nothing but a step to criticize Armenia’s authorities. Vice-Chairman of the Heritage party Armen Martirosyan considers Ter-Petrosyan’s concern “to the point.”
Mr Yenokyan does not share Ter-Petrosyan’s opinion that Armenia does not adequately respond to Azerbaijan’s provocations on the Line of Contact.
“I have no information that Armenia does not give an adequate response. Ter-Petrosyan has more information. But I think Armenia is adequately responding,” he told Tert.am.
According to him, the reason for Ter-Petrosyan’s statement is the need for criticizing Armenia’s authorities.
“It is Ter-Petrosyan that is supposed to give a political explanation for this all.”
As regards Ter-Petrosyan’s response to constitutional reforms, Yenokyan said:
“Numerous problems are on the agenda, and the major problem is current Armenian-Russian relations. Gazprom is facing sanctions tomorrow. How are we going to resolve our gas-supply problems? Two large banks in Armenia are already facing sanctions, and Ter-Petrosyan does not discuss the problems arising from the current Armenian-Russian relations because he is for Armenian-Russian relations. However, it is the Armenian-Russian relations that are the major obstacle for our country. And I do not think speaking of constitutional reforms would be quite adequate now.”
According to him, Armenia’s pro-government and opposition forces are afraid of speaking of much more serious problems facing Armenia, because they share the responsibility for the present situation.
With respect to the border incidents, Heritage party Vice-Chairman Armen Martirosyan noted that military retaliation is not normally a public action.
As regards constitutional reforms, the Heritage party has always been for reforms and for a parliamentary republic. However, it is not Armenia’s incumbent authorities that are supposed to implement constitutional reforms.
“The authorities are trying to accomplish the task of their own further reproduction. And their attempts to implement reforms are relevant. But it is they that need the reforms, and it is not what we are thinking of,” Martirosyan said.
As regards Ter-Petrosyan;’s remarks concerning a possible Armenian-Azerbaijani presidential meeting in France, Martirosyan said that meetings could ease tensions.
“And Ter-Petrosyan’s remark implies that no essential expectations about such a meeting should be held. It requires Artsakh’s [Nagorno-Karabakh’s] participation, which is not the case now.”
The Armenian authorities’ policy has caused certain problems to Armenia.
“Indeed, we are in a rather difficult situation with respect to Artsakh. But in any case we can find ways out of the situation, which requires radical reforms in the country.”

No Buyers, Only Sellers at Land Auction in Armenian Village of Nor Gyugh

July 22, 2014 Armenia, Culture No Comments
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12:40, July 22, 2014

Yet another land sale auction this year in the village of Nor Gyugh in Kotayk Province was cancelled due to lack of bids.

Villagers say no one wants to buy land here — all are selling. Many of the residents of this village less than 20 km from Yerevan take out bank loans to do agricultural work; however, not making their expected income, they sell their property. Only level 1 arable lands are cultivated in Nor Gyugh, while lower quality lands are mainly sold to pay off debts. 

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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

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.

Armenian Foreign Policies 2013: Customs Union, U-turn on EU accord, Karabakh, Turkey, regional developments

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2013 became a milestone year for Armenia not only in its foreign, but also domestic politics. After nearly four years of negotiations with the European Union over the signing of an association agreement on September 3 Armenia unexpectedly announced its intention to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This decision has had its influence not only on Armenia proper, but also on the processes elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Inspired by Armenia’s decision, Russia stepped up its pressure on Ukraine, which suspended the process of signing of the Association Agreement with the EU one week before the Vilnius summit of Eastern Partnership. As a result, on November 29 such agreements were initialed only by Moldova and Georgia.