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Hollywood film director James Cameron turns 60

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James Cameron, an Oscar-winning film director, marks his 60th birthday Saturday.The Canada-born filmmaker, screenwriter and producer, Cameron has been living in the United States since 1971. He is best known for his films Titanic and the latest movie Avatar, the movies with the largest box-office of all time, as well as The Terminator, which brought him his first success as filmmaker, and its sequels.Cameron holds an Oscar as best director for Titanic. His films have won him a total of more than 60 various prestigious awards in the United States and abroad.Since Avatar came out five years ago and shook the global filming industry, one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood has been spending time deep-sea diving, and set a record for going down the deepest trench on Earth. On board a submarine, he descended 35,000 feet under water down the Marianna Trench to film “Deepsea Challenge 3D” documentary, which is set for release in Australia on August 21.Cameron has worked with NASA on the project of sending humans deeper into space, helping to install cameras for a manned Mars mission.He also takes passion in the wine business and agriculture.Cameron has been married five times. He married his current wife, actress and producer Suzy Amis, in 2000. The couple has three children. Cameron also has a daughter with his previous wife, actress Linda Hamilton. 

Australian politician: Azerbaijan deserves condemnation, not Formula 1

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Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, Amanda Fazio has called out Azerbaijan’s aggression toward the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia, stating that it doesn’t deserve the hosting rights to a Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2016.
Fazio, who visited Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh in July 2013, delivered a statement on the floor of the NSW Legislative Council highlighting the ongoing aggression by Azerbaijan and the war-mongering by President Ilham Aliyev, the serious human rights abuses within that country and the need for the international community to take a far stronger position on condemning Azerbaijan’s aggression.
“The recent decision to allow Azerbaijan to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2016 should be rescinded,” Fazio exclaimed. “The awarding of this race to a country which acts as an aggressor in the region and has an appalling record on human rights defies logic.”
She added: “The list of human rights violations regularly perpetrated by the Azerbaijani authorities is long and includes clamping down on the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association including persecution of activists, arresting them on trumped up charges and denying them the right to a fair trial.”
“It is time the international community took a stand against the unnecessary aggression and repression of human rights being exerted by the government of Azerbaijan,” Fazio concluded.
Over the past two weeks Azerbaijan has intensified its aggression towards Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, which has resulted in a large number of casualties. President Aliyev has gone as far as declaring war via a series messages sent via the social media website, Twitter.
Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia), Vache Kahramanian, welcomed Fazio’s statement. He remarked: “Once again Ms Fazio has taken the moral high ground in defending the people of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.”
The Parliament of Australia’s largest state of New South Wales recognized the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and its right to self-determination in a unanimous motion in October 2012.
The full text of Amanda Fazio’s speech can be read here

Yerevan Looks To Cash In On Russian Ban On Western Food Imports

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Armenia will capitalize on Russia’s controversial ban on food imports from the European Union and the United States to sharply increase exports of agricultural products and prepared foodstuffs to the Russian market, Agriculture Minister Sergo Karapetian said on Wednesday.

The Russian government banned fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway last week. It thus retaliated against the countries that imposed sanctions on Moscow for its support of rebels in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. The ban took effect on August 7 and will last for one year.

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Latvia to lose $73 Mln on Russian import ban

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The ban imposed by Russia on food imports from the European Union will cost Latvia 55 million euros ($73.5 million) in losses, Latvian Prime Minster Laimdota Straujuma said Tuesday.
“The expected losses are estimated approximately at 55 million euros. Over a half of this sum will go on dairy industry, it will suffer the most,” Straujuma said, noting that the figures are not final.
Earlier last week, Andrei Pildegovich, secretary of state of the Latvian Foreign Ministry, said that Latvia would develop a compensation mechanism for companies who are hit by the import embargo imposed by Russia in response to Western sanctions.
Last Thursday, Russia unveiled a list of banned food and agriculture products from countries that imposed US-backed sanctions against Russia. The one-year ban will target beef, pork, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, nuts, as well as cheese and other dairy from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway.

Australian government considers banning uranium to Russia

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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has put Moscow on notice, warning that Australia will consider banning uranium sales in the event of a Russian incursion into Ukraine, Sky News reported.
Mr Abbott said on Saturday Australia would not accept that any Russian troop movement across the border could have a humanitarian purpose.
“Everything’s on the table,” he said when asked about the prospect of extending sanctions to include uranium.
“Our message to President [Vladimir] Putin is, hold your forces back,” Mr Abbott said.“Any move by Russian forces across the border would be an invasion, pure and simple.“The business of Ukraine should be left to Ukrainians to sort out.”The comments come three days after Russia slapped an embargo on agricultural imports from Australia, the European Union, the United States, Canada and others.Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the government was working with affected Australian agricultural producers to try to get access to other markets.But he said the $400 million of trade hit by Russia’s sanctions represented only about 0.4 per cent of exports. 

Russia bans agricultural products from West

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Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree on the full ban for imports of beef, pork, poultry meat, fish, cheese, milk, vegetables and fruit from Australia, Canada, the EU, the US and Norway.
The ban will last a year, starting August 7, reports Russia Today.
Medvedev also said that the country was considering a ban of transit flights for European and US Airlines to the Asia-Pacific region.
Medvedev said sanctions were a “dead-end track”, but Russia has been forced to respond to the measures taken by the western countries.
Alcohol imports from both the EU and the US will not be restricted.
“We are actually speaking of an embargo on imports of whole categories of products from countries which have introduced sanctions against Russian organizations and individuals,” Medvedev said.
Medvedev believes the year-long embargo Russia is imposing will boost domestic agriculture.
“We are only lagging behind in production of certain varieties of meat and milk. We have to catch up and our farmers are ready to do so, especially if we help them.”
Medvedev also said he sincerely hoped “our partners’ economic pragmatism will prevail over bad political decisions, and they will think before trying to frighten Russia and impose restrictions on it. And mutual trade and economic partnership will be restored in the volumes which existed before. We would have liked that to happen.”
Dmitry Medvedev instructed the Federal Customs Service (FCS) to see that the banned imports could not cross the Russian border.

After 3 Rounds, Armenia in 39th Place at Chess Olympiad

August 5, 2014 Armenia, Australia No Comments
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14:49, August 5, 2014

After three rounds of play at the 2014 Chess Olympiad in the Norwegian town of Tromsø, three time champion Armenia (men’s team) from Armenia find themselves in 39th place.

The team consists of Levon Aronian, Gabriel Sargsyan, Sergei Movsesyan, Vladimir Hakobyan and Tigran Kotanjyan.

In Round One, Armenia beat Japan 4-0. In Round Two, Armenia defeated Australia 3-1. Armenia faltered in Round Three, losing to France, the current leader, by a score of 2.5 – 1.5.

Armenia takes on Costa Rica, currently in 57th place, today.

Armenia won the Chess Olympiad of 2006, 2008 and 2012.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Rebels ambush convoy in MH 17 crash site

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Separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine have ambushed a government troop column, killing at least 10 soldiers, close to where flight MH17 crashed, BBC News reports.A military spokesman confirmed 10 deaths but Ukrainian media say as many as 20 died in the overnight attack.
The rebels say they destroyed more than 30 vehicles while unverified video shows bodies around a burning vehicle.
A team of 70 Dutch and Australian forensic experts has arrived at the crash site.
Travelling in a convoy with Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitors, they are equipped to recover furtherhuman remains, the Dutch justice ministry said on its website (in Dutch).
Fighting in the region had previously hindered them reaching the area where the Malaysia Airlines jet came down on 17 July with the loss of all 298 passengers and crew.
But after Ukraine’s military declared a unilateral one-day suspension of operations against the rebels in Donetsk region on Thursday, an exploratory visit was made, followed up by the full deployment on Friday.
Australia believes that around 80 bodies remain at the site.

Australia: Gag Order On International Corruption Investigation Leaked

July 31, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Australia No Comments
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21:29, July 31, 2014

A secret injunction issued in Australia that forbids reporting bribery allegations involving international leaders has beenreleased by WikiLeaks.

The court order, issued June 19, protects 14 powerful political figures and a host of current and former Malaysian ministers from being accused or linked to a bribery scandal. The group includes any current or former prime minister of Malaysia, Vietnamese President Trương Tấn Sang, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and former Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

The injunction also contains a clause forbidding disclosure of its own terms and its approval by Gillian Bird, Australia’s ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) who was recently appointed to be the country’s permanent representative to the UN.

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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

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.

2013 in Civil Society: Protests and more protests

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The struggle of civil movements this year has been comprehensive and diverse with limited success in certain fields due to unified efforts and active involvement of the civil society.

Despite the rather passive start of the year in terms of civil movements, the second half of 2013 turned out to be tense with active developments.

Some analysts believe that especially after the February 18 presidential ballot, when current president Serzh Sargsyan won a decisive victory over his opponents and was re-elected for a second term, despite the widespread poverty and atmosphere of injustice in the country, people became even more aware of the fact that is it impossible to achieve changes via elections and started practicing their constitutional rights to civil protest and disobedience more frequently.