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Broken Dreams: Family Flees War in Iraq Kurdistan for the Diaspora, Not Armenia

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12:58, February 10, 2015

“When it was snowing, my son went out to play. But it was cold and I’m called him to come home. Armenia is our father. So why doesn’t he call us inside?”

The above rhetorical question is posed by Movses Sarkisian, who left Iraqi Kurdistan for Istanbul.

Movses says that his cousin returned to Erbil after staying in Armenia for four years. He told Movses that in Armenia they called him a foreigner and a gharib (stranger) who had grown up among Turks.

People in Armenia are tired. Young people are looking for work in Europe. Everyone is leaving Armenia. Only the women and girls are left,” Movses says with a sigh. “We also felt like outsiders in Iraq. I am angry at Armenia. Why didn’t they take us in? Why didn’t they leave us outside for so long?”

Aleppo Beckons: Istanbul Just a Temporary Refuge for Syrian-Armenian Family Longing to Return Home

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11:28, February 6, 2015

The war raging in Syria has made refugees of Dzovig Vahramian’s family.

She and her two sons – Harout and Hagop – moved to Istanbul two years ago. Her husband Hrach joined them two months ago. He jokes that Dzovig really likes the letter “H” and that’s why she has three of them – Hrach, Harout and Hagop.

Hrach remained in Aleppo, hoping that things would change for the better. They didn’t.

The parents chose Istanbul because Dzovig has an aunt living there and because they both speak Turkish.

“But I won’t live here,” says Mrs. Vahramian. “There’s no future here and the education is lacking. My Harout was quite successful playing piano and chess back in Aleppo. Here, he’s left it all behind because there’s nowhere to go here.”

European Court Opens Hearings On Armenian Genocide Case

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Amal Clooney, a world-famous lawyer, urged the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) not to give the green light to public denial of the 1915 Armenian genocide on Wednesday as she represented Armenia in a high-profile case involving a controversial Turkish politician.

Clooney pointed to “overwhelming evidence” of the World War One-era slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks at the start of hearings in Strasbourg on an appeal lodged by Switzerland and backed by Armenia.

The case stems from a 2007 Swiss court ruling against Dogu Perincek, the leader of a small Turkish nationalist party who branded the Armenian genocide an “international life” during a lecture tour in Switzerland. Perincek was fined by the court in line with a Swiss anti-racism law that bans any act of denying, belittling or justifying genocide. The ruling was upheld by the Swiss Federal Court.

Journalist Tatul Hakobyan to Head Newly Formed ANI Foundation for Armenian Studies

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18:04, January 2, 2015

Tatul Hakobyan, who is a journalist and a specialist on the conflicts in the Caucasus, will co-ordinate the activities of the newly-established ANI Foundation for Armenian Studies.

“ANI is being set up at a time when a gap is being felt in objective and comprehensive publications on the domestic political life, demographics, the economy, border communities, the region, and Homeland-Diaspora affairs in Armenia and Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). We aim to fill that gap with our work,” Hakobyan said.

ANI will prepare reports on current issues pertaining to Armenia’s domestic and foreign policy, economy, agriculture, as well as the Diaspora – including communities in the former Soviet Union – Armenia-Turkey relations, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The centre will organize conferences, round tables, releases of relevant books, and various other projects related to Armenian Studies.

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?

 

Australia: ‘Sir Lunchalot,’ Political Crony Finally To Face Court

November 22, 2014 Armenia, Australia No Comments
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19:09, November 22, 2014

Australia’s disgraced former minister, Eddie Obeid, is to be prosecuted along with fellow former Labor politician Ian Macdonald over charges of misconduct in office.

Obeid was found by an anti-corruption inquiry to have lobbied colleagues for restaurant contracts at the Circular Quay development in Sydney, without disclosing that his family owned them.

Obeid and Macdonald, both New South Wales politicians, were said in the 2012 inquiry to have practiced corruption “on a scale probably (unsurpassed) since the days of the Rum Corps,” a group that monopolized the liquor trade in the colonial era.

Obeid, dubbed “The Godfather” by Australian media, has previously dared officials to charge him; yesterday, the Independent Commission Against Corruption announced its decision to prosecute both.

China rate cut spurs markets on to new highs

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The cut in Chinese interest rates and comments from Europe’s central bank chief have lifted global markets, the BBC reports. The People’s Bank of China cut its one year deposit rate to 2.75% from 3.0% to try to revive its economy.Meanwhile Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB) said he would “step up the pressure” to stimulate Europe’s struggling economy.Within half an hour of opening, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose almost 1% to a new record high of 17,866.00.In the UK, mining stocks rose between 3% and 5% on the hope that better growth would help sales of raw materials to China.The six biggest risers on the index were either oil or mining companies.The Australian and New Zealand currencies also strengthened reflecting their dependence on trade with China.The cut in Chinese rates, which took the markets by surprise, was the first since 2012, and comes into effect on Saturday.The one-year lending rate will also be reduced from 6% to 5.6%.On Thursday figures showed China’s factory output contracting for the first time in six months.Economic growth slowed to a five-year low of 7.3% last quarter.To offset the effect of lower rates on savers the bank said it would give banks the flexibility to offer higher deposit rates, up to 1.2 times the benchmark level, rather than 1.1 times. 

Armenian FM in contacts over helicopter crew’s fate

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China: 288 Arrested In 56 Nations In Corruption Crackdown

November 19, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Australia, Business No Comments
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11:47, November 19, 2014

As China continues its crackdown on corruption, its operation dubbed “Fox Hunt” has arrested 288 fugitives suspected of committing economic crimes.

The operation targets suspects who have fled abroad, including the US, Canada, and Australia, three nations that do not have extradition treaties with China. These nations are three of the most popular destinations for fugitives, reports Reuters.

The government has given all other suspects until Dec. 1 to come forward and admit to crimes. China’s Ministry of Foreign Security said those who surrender sooner may receive less severe punishments.

Operation Fox Hunt requires extensive cooperation between the Chinese government and law enforcement in other nations, reports The International Business Times. Australia announced in mid-October it would assist China in the extradition of allegedly corrupt officials as well as helping seize their assets. 

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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.