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Khadija Ismayilova To Be Honored Tonight In Sweden

April 27, 2015 Armenia, Azerbaijan No Comments
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20:32, April 27, 2015

The Swedish National Press Club will honor Azerbaijani investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova in absentia tonight with its 2015 Freedom of Speech Award at a ceremony in Stockholm.

 Ismayilova has been detained in Baku since December of 2014 on what are widely believed to be politically motivated charges.

The award, given in honor of slain Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, lauds Ismayilova for her “tenacious investigative reporting and extraordinary bravery”.

Ismayilova has been accused of inciting a former colleague to attempt suicide. The colleague has since recanted, but she remains in detention and faces new charges of tax evasion, abuse of power and embezzlement. She was convicted of libel in a separate case and fined 2,500 manat (US$ 2,400) in February 2015, in the Binagadi district court in the capital city of Baku.

Azeri Prisoner Operated On In Karabakh

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An Azerbaijani man imprisoned in Nagorno-Karabakh on charges relating to the murder of an Armenian teenager has undergone urgent surgery at a hospital in Stepanakert, it emerged on Monday.

Shahbaz Quliyev’s Karabakh Armenian lawyer, Arkady Israelian, and local human rights activists said he has already been discharged from the hospital and sent back to prison.

“The operation was successful and he is fine now,” Karen Ohanjanian, head of the Stepanakert-based group Helsinki Initiative-92, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

Ohanjanian said that Quliyev complained of abdominal pains when he recently visited the 46-year-old Azerbaijani prisoner. The latter was then examined by Karabakh doctors and diagnosed with chronic gallbladder disease that required surgery, he said.

Erdogan Blasts West, Russia Over ‘Armenian Lies’

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decried the latest recognitions by France, Germany, Austria and Russia of the 1915 Armenian genocide and criticized the United States for nearly doing the same.

In another angry speech delivered on Saturday, Erdogan also reiterated his view that the rulers of the crumbling Ottoman Empire were right to force its Armenian subjects out of their homes.

“While we were struggling to give a peace message to the world, countries, such as Russia, France, Germany, Austria, took the side of enmity, hatred and grudge by supporting an allegation based on the lies told by Armenians,” Erdogan told members of a Turkish business association,

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Young Armenian Soldier Repels Azerbaijani Incursion Singlehandedly

April 27, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan No Comments
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00:27, April 27, 2015

Kamo Hovsepyan is a lucky man.

A few days ago the 23 year-old Armenian soldier from the Lori village of Dsegh repelled an Azerbaijani incursion attempt and sustained a hand grenade wound to the arm.

“I can’t describe what I felt at the time. I thought I was about to die. Grenades were constantly raining down,” says Karo who, along with fellow soldiers, repelled the dawn incursion.

Karo and Mira were hunkered down in a frontline position in Artsakh when the attack occurred. A hand grenade knocked Mira unconscious and Karo was left to fend for himself.

Almost out of ammunition, he kept firing at the advancing Azerbaijani unit until reinforcements arrived.

US State Department Condemns Azerbaijan for Sentencing Human Rights Lawyer

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16:44, April 26, 2015

The US State Department has put out a statement condemning the imprisonment of human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev and calling for his release and all others jailed for “exercising their fundamental freedoms”.

Earlier this week a Baku court sentenced Intigam Aliyev,  no relation to President Ilham Aliyev, to 7 1/2 years in prison on charges of illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion and abuse of power. In his final testimony, Aliyev called the charges “politically motivated” due to the nature of his work.

Aliyev is a well-known human rights lawyer and government critic who has brought hundreds of cases before the European Court of Human Rights.  Upon his arrest last August, Aliyev commented: “Those who defend human rights and political prisoners and report on election fraud are considered criminals in this country. [So] I am one of those criminals.”

Russia: Artist Sells Bribery Envelopes as Moscow Holds Anti-Corruption Forum

April 26, 2015 Armenia, Asia, Culture No Comments
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16:49, April 26, 2015

A Siberian artist sold out of his supply of “bribery envelopes” imprinted with the text of the Russian criminal code, as a government sponsored anti-corruption forum unfolds in Moscow this week.

Vasily Slonov created and sold the first 100 of his potential graft carriers for 100 rubles (about US$1.95). Each one is emblazoned with the phrase:  ”Friends, let’s make life beautiful. Let’s improve the culture of giving bribes,” according to the Moscow Times.

Slonov claims the envelopes were purchased by everyday citizens and bureaucrats alike. He is printing more and says that they will eventually be sold by the Winzavod Contemporary Art Center in Moscow.

Turkey Condemns Russia For Armenian Genocide Recognition

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Turkey on Friday strongly condemned President Vladimir Putin and the State Duma for reaffirming Russia’s recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire but stopped short of recalling its ambassador in Moscow.

“We reject and condemn the labelling of the 1915 events as ‘genocide’ by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, despite all our warnings and calls. Such political statements, which are flagrant violation of law, are null and void for Turkey,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry charged that Russia itself is guilty of mass killings committed in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia over the past century and has no moral right to accuse other states of genocide.

Putin, Hollande Join Armenian Genocide Remembrance In Yerevan

April 24, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Asia, Top News No Comments
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Presidents Francois Holland of France and Vladimir Putin of Russia and officials representing more than 50 other states joined Armenia’s leaders on Friday in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

The two men as well as the presidents of Cyprus and Serbia delivered speeches during a remembrance ceremony held at the Tsitsernakabert genocide memorial in Yerevan. The foreign dignitaries attending it included a U.S. government delegation led by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.

The heads of the visiting delegations walked to the memorial one by one, escorted by Armenian schoolgirls holding the national flags of their respective countries. Each foreign leader then a put a yellow rose into a wreath shaped as a forget-me-not flower, the official emblem of the commemorations of the genocide centennial.

Serzh Sargsyan – ‘Our struggle does not end in 2015 – it will just enter a more mature phase’

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11:19, April 24, 2015

On the morning of April 24, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet has published an extensive interview with RA President Serzh Sargsyan.

- As a politician who has invested great efforts into the process of reconciliation between your country and Turkey, what scenario you would dream of having on April 24 Remembrance Day this year?

I believe one such option would be giving tribute to the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide jointly with the Turkish President on the hill of Tsitsernakaberd, and proclaiming from the Memorial to the whole world that we join our efforts in condemning the crimes of genocide of the past thus preventing the possible recurrence of genocide and other crimes against humanity.

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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

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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.

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.