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Protesting Armenian activist calls for OSCE sanctions against Azerbaijan

November 20, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Diaspora No Comments
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The Heritage party activist, who has been on a hunger-strike outside the OSCE Office since Monday, is calling for the organization’s strong efforts towards enforcing sanctions against Azerbaijan.
David Sanasaryan urges the member states of the Minsk Group to take active steps to facilitate the Armenian side’s access to the crash site of the downed MI-24 helicopter.
“A journalist called me today and said the Minsk Group co-chairs had issued a statement calling upon Azerbaijan to allow the recovery of the guys’ [crewmembers’] bodies. Their statement is praiseworthy; that’s what I expected, but if they have no trust in Azerbaijan, I address my call to the co-chairs of the Minsk Group and their countries’ presidents for taking active steps to put an end to Azerbaijan’s cowardly and beastly behavior,” he said.
The OSCE ambassador on Wednesday approached the protesting activist to say that Vienna is now very seriously considering the issue.
Heritage party’s leader Raffi Hovhannisyan and other opposition members visit Sanasaryan every day to express their solidarity.  

PACE condemns Azerbaijan’s use of prisoner transfer treaty in ‘Safarov case’

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The Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has condemned the use by Azerbaijan of a Council of Europe prisoner transfer treaty to justify the immediate release of an Azerbaijani soldier, convicted of murdering an Armenian soldier in Hungary in 2004, once he had returned to his home country.In a resolution adopted during its meeting in Brussels, based on a report by Christopher Chope (United Kingdom, EC), the Standing Committee – which brings together around 60 leading members of PACE and acts in its name – said the use of Article 12 of the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons in the case of Ramil Safarov was “a violation of the principles of good faith in international relations and of the rule of law”.Mr Safarov was convicted in 2007 of murdering an Armenian fellow participant on a NATO training course in Hungary and was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of release for 30 years. After serving eight years of his sentence in Hungary, he was transferred to Azerbaijan under the Convention, which allows the transfer of foreign prisoners to their home countries for primarily humanitarian reasons.Upon his arrival Mr Safarov was welcomed as a national hero and granted an immediate pardon – long before the expiry of the minimum sentence set by the Hungarian court – and a retroactive promotion as well as other rewards, according to the resolution.The Convention is “not designed to be used for the immediate release of prisoners upon return to their home country”, the parliamentarians pointed out.“While recognizing that States Parties, by virtue of Article 12 of the convention, have a sovereign right to grant pardons and amnesties to persons sentenced to a term of imprisonment, the Assembly recalls that the principles of good faith in international relations, recognized, inter alia, by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and of the rule of law require that treaties be interpreted in line with their objects and purposes.” 

Azerbaijani Government Blocks Journalist From US Commission Hearing

November 19, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Europe No Comments
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Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist and OCCRP partner facing criminal libel charges in Azerbaijan, could not attend a hearing scheduled at the US Capitol to testify on fighting corruption due to a travel ban she claims is illegal.

Ismayilova was one of four witnesses 

scheduled to testify in Washington, DC today, Nov. 19, before the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the US Helsinki Commission. However, the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Azerbaijan has forbidden her from leaving Azerbaijan, saying her participation is needed as a witness in a case “on revealing the state secret.”

The US Helsinki Commission is an independent US Government agency created in 1976 and comprised largely of members of Congress but including representatives from the departments of State, Defense and Commerce as well.

Statement by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs

November 19, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan No Comments
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23:23, November 19, 2014

MOSCOW / PARIS / WASHINGTON, 19 November 2014 – The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France) remain deeply concerned that there has been no humanitarian access to the crash site of the military helicopter downed by Azerbaijani forces on November 12.  The wreckage of the helicopter lies in a heavily mined area of neutral territory on the Line of Contact. 

Armenian FM in contacts over helicopter crew’s fate

Armenian News

21:38 • 19/11
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20:58 • 19/11
Armenian FM in contacts over helicopter crew’s fate

20:47 • 19/11
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19:37 • 19/11
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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

Mediators Urge Access To Armenian Helicopter Wreckage


International mediators on Wednesday urged Azerbaijan to give the Armenian side access to the wreckage of an Armenian military helicopter shot down near Nagorno-Karabakh for recovering the bodies of its three crew members.

The U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group said they “remain deeply concerned that there has been no humanitarian access to the crash site” of the Mi-24 helicopter that was downed by Azerbaijani forces on November 12.

“We call on the sides to cease firing in the vicinity of the crash site and facilitate the demining of the area surrounding the site,” they said in a joint statement. “In the spirit of the Astrakhan statement of October 2010 between the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia, the Co-Chairs urge Azerbaijan to permit the recovery of the bodies of the victims, and Armenia to cooperate fully with all efforts to resolve this humanitarian situation.”

Vintage Car Collector Roubik Grigoryan: “I was the first to drive the ZIM-12 in Leninakan”

November 19, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Asia No Comments
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11:05, November 19, 2014

The yard of Robert Grigoryan, a 75 year-old resident of Gyumri, resembles an open air museum devoted to retro cars and motorcycles.

Entering the yard, a silver Lincoln catches my eye, followed by a red Chevrolet and a Yava motorbike.

Robert, who’s affectionately called Roubik, says some of his collection is up for sale.

“I have four old cars,” Roubik says as he fondly caresses a Pontiac. “But I want to sell this one and the Lincoln lest my children and grandkids start squabbling as to who gets what after I’m gone. Everyone has been eyeing the Lincoln.”

Mr. Grigoryan took the Ford Lincoln and the Pontiac to the vintage car show held in town on October 25 on the occasion of Gyumri Day.

Armenia’s Defense Minister Raises Plight of Downed Helicopter Crew with OSCE Official

November 19, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Karabakh No Comments
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12:31, November 19, 2014

Armenia’s Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan met today with the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk in Yerevan today.

The two are said to have discussed the November 12 downing of an Armenian helicopter by Azerbaijan along the Karabakh Line of Contact and the steps being taken by the OSCE to clarify the fate of the three man crew.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Artsakh Government Asks Red Cross to Help Locate Helicopter Crew Remains

November 19, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan 1 Comment
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13:07, November 19, 2014

The Artsakh government has officially contacted the International Red Cross mission in Stepanakert with the request that it facilitate locating and returning the remains of the three crew members of an Armenian helicopter shot down by Azerbaijan on November 12.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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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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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.