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Azerbaijan Has Highest Journo Jailings Per Capita

December 23, 2014 Africa, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey No Comments
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17:04, December 23, 2014

With nine journalists currently behind bars, Azerbaijan is ranked 9th on the list of 10 world’s worst journalist jailers the Committee to Protect Journalists published for 2014. But when you consider the per capita rate, it is second only behind the hyper repressive Eritrean regime in Africa,according to an analysis by journalist Till Buckner.

Graph from Till Bruckner’s 2014 study

Using numbers from the Center to Protect Journalists, China tops the list with 44 imprisoned journalists but considering the size of the country’s population of 1.3 billion, this means one jailed journalist to 30.8 million residents. Including the size of the country in population reshuffles CPJ’s list and propels the Alijev regime to the top ahead of such other bastions of anti-democracy as Iran, Syria, Burma and Vietnam.  Of the countries, Azerbaijan leads all of them in hypocrisy – it’s the only one that presents itself as a democracy.  It’s time to drop that charade now.

Montenegro: US Indicts 3 For Selling Guns To Colombian Rebels

December 20, 2014 Africa, Armenia, Business No Comments
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18:32, December 20, 2014

Two Romanians and a former Italian member of Parliament living in Greece have been arrested on charges that they conspired to sell machine guns and anti-aircraft weapons to Colombian rebels for use against American law enforcement agents battling the drug trade.

Massimo Romagnoli, 43, a Sicilian politician who served in the lower house of Parliament for the political party Forza Italia, was arrested in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica on Dec. 16. The previous day, Romanians Cristian Vintila, 44, and Virgil Flaviu Georgescu, 42, were arrested in Podgorica in the same case, according to Preet Bhahara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Corruption In Armenia ‘Unchanged In 2014’

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The extent of government corruption in Armenia has practically not changed and remained quite high over the past year, according to an annual global survey released by Transparency International on Wednesday. 

Armenia ranked, along with four African states, 94th of 174 countries and territories evaluated in the Berlin-based watchdog’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). It occupied the same position in last year’s CPI which covered 177 nations.

The nations surveyed were again rated on a 100 point scale measuring the degree of good governance as perceived by businesspeople and experts. Armenia received a CPI score of 37, slightly up from 36 in 2013 and 34 in 2012.

EU court blocks gay asylum tests

December 2, 2014 Africa, Diaspora, Europe, Film No Comments
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The EU’s top court has ruled that refugees who claim asylum on the grounds that they are homosexual should not have to undergo tests to prove it.Three men, including a Ugandan and one from a Muslim country, failed in their bids for asylum when a Dutch court said they had not proved their sexuality.EU states including the UK have been criticized for their handling of gay asylum requests.The European Court of Justice (ECJ) says they must respect human dignity.Its rulings apply to all EU member states.|The case is significant across the EU because of a surge in the numbers of sub-Saharan Africans seeking asylum in Europe this year. Most African countries treat homosexuality as a crime.The Czech authorities were criticized by the UN, EU and human rights activists in 2011 for using an erection or “phallometric” test – a practice dating back to communist times – to determine whether certain asylum seekers were gay.In its latest ruling, the Luxembourg-based court said that determining a refugee’s sexuality had to be consistent with EU law and respect their private and family life.In particular, it said that evidence of homosexual acts submitted from tests or on film infringed human dignity, even if it was proposed by the asylum applicant. Allowing such evidence could result in it becoming a requirement, the court said.While authorities could interview an asylum seeker to find out about their sexual orientation, questions could not be asked about their sexual practices.An asylum seeker’s failure to answer questions about their personal circumstances was not sufficient reason to reject their credibility. Nor was an applicant’s failure to declare his homosexuality from the start, the judges said.Treatment of gay, lesbian or bisexual refugees has become a key issue in the UK in recent months, after revelations that one asylum seeker was asked what one lawyer described as “shockingly degrading” questions.A report by the UK independent chief inspector of borders and immigration in October found that more than one in 10 interviews involved questions of an “unsatisfactory nature”.The ECJ ruled last year that gay asylum seekers who had a genuine fear of imprisonment in African countries could claim refugee status, in response to another Dutch case. 

Armenian FM in contacts over helicopter crew’s fate

Armenian News

21:38 • 19/11
Any state supplying arms to Azerbaijan is well aware they are aimed at Armenians – expert

20:58 • 19/11
Armenian FM in contacts over helicopter crew’s fate

20:47 • 19/11
Deadline for implementation of 12 point not over – Artsvik Minasyan

19:37 • 19/11
‘Back to the Future’ hoverboard fantasy becomes reality

19:23 • 19/11
WB to grant US$ 75 million loan to Armenia

19:05 • 19/11
ICRC negotiates with all sides over MI-24 helicopter crew

18:43 • 19/11
PACE condemns Azerbaijan’s use of prisoner transfer treaty in ‘Safarov case’

18:30 • 19/11
Armenian Constitutional Court’s ruling on EEU agreement political – Khachatur Kokobelyan

18:04 • 19/11
Honduras beauty queen Maria Jose Alvarado found dead

Indigenous Peoples and Thanksgiving: Getting at the Truth

November 17, 2014 Africa, Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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14:21, November 17, 2014

By AnoushTerTaulian

Armenians know how conquerors, who commit genocide against indigenous peoples,can fabricate lies that lead to miseducation and false celebrations.

On Thanksgiving Day, for three years,I have traveled to Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts to support the United American Indians of New England (UAINE) who have declared Thanksgiving a National Day of Mourning to expose the lie thata turkey dinner was shared by the pilgrims and natives.

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. 

Armenia Taking Preventive Measures Against Ebola

October 21, 2014 Africa, Armenia, Georgia, Top News No Comments
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Health authorities in Armenia have installed fever detectors at the national border crossings, trained medical personnel and provided them with protective equipment in an effort to contain a possible spread of Ebola into the country.

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Armenia – An official at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport shows a device used for screening arriving passengers for possible symptoms of Ebola, 21Oct2014.

No cases of the deadly virus have been registered in Armenia so far, and officials in Yerevan say that the likelihood of that happening soon is very low. They point to the absence of direct communication with west Africa, the epicenter of the latest Ebola outbreak, and tropical animals transmitting the disease. The Armenian government banned imports of animals from Africa in August.

UK: Police Intercept Stolen Cars At Ports

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17:17, October 21, 2014

In ports across the United Kingdom, shipping containers may conceal stolen vehicles destined for other countries. A recent operation by British authorities seized many of these vehicles before they could be smuggled overseas.

A crackdown codenamed “Operation Toyer” recovered 44 high-end vehicles and SUVs, including BMWs, Range Rovers, Audis, and a Porsche Cayenne. The haul also included Scania trucks and a Komatsu hydraulic excavator, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Police said the vehicles were destined for Africa, Cyprus, France, the USA, Malaysia and Burma. The stolen goods, which also included a container of parts from 29 stolen BMWs, were worth nearly US$ 2 million.

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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

Capitalism Run Amok Is Just Plain Capitalism

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16:37, January 17, 2015

By Markar Melkonian

The source of Armenia’s misery and humiliation, we often hear, is not capitalism per se, but rather “gangster capitalism,” “a broken system,” “capitalism run amok.”

The goal for the future, then, is to “fix the system,” to reform capitalism, to make it more like regular, pure, genuine Free Enterprise, the kind of capitalism that works. But what if Armenia’s actually existing capitalism already is genuine capitalism?

An economist once observed that the only existential meaning of “enterprise” in the term free enterprise is “whatever capitalists happen to be doing at the time”–and “free” is the accompanying demand that they be allowed to do it.

Ukraine: Cops Go After Casinos, Suggest Yanukovych Connection

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21:45, December 15, 2014

Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs has launched a campaign against illegal casinos amid fears that a large network of underground gambling dens could be providing an income source for the son of the country’s disgraced former president Viktor Yanukovych.

The new crackdown on unlawful casinos – an ongoing scourge for law enforcement agencies in Ukraine since regulation was made stiffer with a 2009 law – was launched on Dec. 8 after an announcement on Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov’s official Facebook page.

Avakov, who keeps a lively and occasionally angry Facebook commentary on current affairs, pledged to put a complete stop to the establishments within ten days; first in the capital of Kyiv, then the rest of the nation.

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.