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Armenian Family Repatriated From Azerbaijan

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An Armenian couple and their three young children unexpectedly returned to Armenia on Friday almost five years after fleeing to Azerbaijan in dramatic circumstances.

Yeghishe Gevorgian, his wife Ruzanna, two sons and daughter were escorted by officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as they crossed the Azerbaijani-Armenian border in the morning. The repatriation was agreed with relevant authorities in the two warring nations.

Gevorgian drove his family to Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave in January 2010 through a heavily militarized border checkpoint located about 50 kilometers southeast of Yerevan. The Armenian military said at the time that its soldiers manning the Yeraskh crossing, closed to traffic ever since the start of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, did not fire on Gevorgian’s old van because it carried the children then aged 3, 6 and 7.

Armenia Ranked World’s Third Most Militarized Nation

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Armenia has become the third most militarized country in the world after Israel and Singapore due to the unresolved the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, according to an annual survey conducted by a German think-tank promoting peace.

In its 2014 Global Militarization Index ( GMI) released this week, the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) rated “the weight and importance of the military apparatus” in 152 states. Its resulting rankings are based on comparisons between their defense spending and Gross Domestic Products and health expenditure as well as the ratio of their military force to the size of the population.

Armenia 3rd Most Militarized Country in World, Claims New Study

December 11, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Azerbaijan, Europe No Comments
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13:55, December 11, 2014

To what extent is Armenia amilitarized society?

According to the 2014 Global Militarisation Index (GMI) conducted by the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), Armenia ranks 3rd overall out of the 152 states examined in terms of militarization levels.

In the 2014 GMI, Israel, Singapore, Armenia, Syria, Russia, Cyprus, South Korea, Jordan, Greece and Azerbaijan (ranked 1 to 10) are amongst the ten countries with the highest levels of militarization.

The BICC says that the GMI depicts the relative weight and importance of the military apparatus of one state in relation to its society as a whole.

The high levels of militarization in the above countries are mostly the result of comprehensive arms purchases, the GMI says.

Azerbaijan: Meydan TV Shuts Down As Independent Press Shrinks

December 10, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan No Comments
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22:19, December 10, 2014

Meydan TV, one of the few remaining independent media outlets with an office in Azerbaijan, terminated its operations in Baku today following the imprisonment of an award-winning Azerbaijani journalist.

Director Emin Milli said in a statement that the move was to ensure employee safety in an increasing crackdown on free speech in Azerbaijan.

The service, which began online weekly shows in May last year but was only able to broadcast by satellite to Azerbaijan on one occasion, was accused by Azerbaijan’s Head of Presidential Administration last week of being funded by the EU and US to work against the government.

The allegations were made in a 60-page tirade that also mentioned Khadija Ismayilova, the investigative journalist who was imprisoned on Friday Dec. 5. 

Artsakh Brandy Headed for Havana After Winning CUBAEXPO 2014 Competition

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12:55, December 10, 2014

Brandy produced in Artsakh and made from local grapes will soon be sold on Cuban store shelves afterwinning a slew of international medals.

Ten and fifteen year-old ‘Madatov’ brandies, produced by the Stepanakert Cognac Factory CJSC, won gold medals at the 18th Wine and Alcohol Beverage Competition recently held in Moscow.

The company’s ‘Berdashen Khdoghni’ one year aged wine won a silver medal.

The ‘Madatov’ brandy also won a “best brand” medal at the CUBAEXPO 2014 held last month in Havana.

To find out more, Hetq spoke with Stepanakert Cognac Factory Director Rouslan Israyelyan.

What beverages do you produce and with whom do you collaborate?

 

Opposition Activists Blame Government For Attacks

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Three political activists involved in recent Armenian opposition protests have reportedly been assaulted in Yerevan in what they described on Wednesday as a government attempt to intimidate them.

All three men — Suren Sargsian, Manvel Yeghiazarian and Razmik Petrosian — are well-known veterans of the 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan highly critical of Armenia’s political leadership. Sargsian is also a leader of the Alliance of Freedom Fighters, a small group that has participated in rallies held by three leading opposition parties.

Sargsian needed urgent medical aid in hospital on Wednesday after being beaten up by unknown men. The activist, who suffered a concussion and serious facial injuries, said they wore masks and said nothing about the reasons for attacking him.

Russian Parliament OKs Armenian Entry Into Eurasian Union

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The lower house of Russia’s government-controlled parliament on Wednesday unanimously ratified a recently signed treaty on Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

The State Duma voted on the treaty one week after it was overwhelmingly approved by the Armenian parliament. “I want to bring your attention to the fact that in the last several years no legislation has been adopted by Armenia’s parliament with such an overwhelming majority,” Oleg Lebedev, a parliamentary leader of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party, told fellow deputies during a brief debate on the issue.

Representatives of the three other parties represented in the Russian parliament also voiced support for the treaty which Putin and his Armenian, Belarusian and Kazakh counterparts signed in Minsk in October.

Surge In Response Over Jailing Of Azerbaijani Journalist

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20:57, December 9, 2014

International protests are set this week over the arrest of award-winning investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova amid widespread fears that her two-month detention marks the crossing of a “red line” in human rights abuses in Azerbaijan.

Protests against the detention of Ismayilova, who wrote anti-corruption investigations for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, have been planned in Georgia and Romania; one was held in Moldova on Saturday and one in the US on Monday.

Ismayilova began a two-month pretrial detention on Friday Dec. 5 over bizarre allegations that she drove a former colleague to attempt suicide. She spoke by phone this morning to RFE/RL in Baku to say, “The charges against me are fabricated […] Despite all of this, I remain strong.”

Armenian, Azeri FMs Chided For Not Meeting Again

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The United States has chided the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan for not holding face-to-face talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the sidelines of an international security forum held late last week.

Edward Nalbandian and Elmar Mammadyarov were expected to meet in Basel, Switzerland during an annual gathering of top diplomats from countries aligned in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. They avoided such an encounter, meeting only separately with the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.

In a weekend tweet, the U.S. co-chair, James Warlick, said Washington “regrets” that the two men “were unable to meet” in the Swiss city. “Dialogue is a necessary part of the peace process,” he said.

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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

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.

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