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Italy: Two Tennis Players Suspected In Match-Fixing Probe

October 17, 2014 Armenia, Australia No Comments
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21:10, October 16, 2014

A pair of Italian tennis players face corruption accusations after intercepted Internet and phone conversations indicate they fixed tennis matches, reports Associated Press.

The recorded conversations, first reported in Italian media Oct. 15, add to the evidence that judicial investigators in the northern Italian town of Cremona have been collecting as part of a match-fixing probe into soccer.

In a 2007 Skype conversation between Daniele Bracciali and an accountant, Bracciali allegedly discussed losing a match in Newport, R.I. against American player Scoville Jenkins for € 50,000 (US$ 63,000) per set, reports Tennis Now.

Investigators also have a 2011 phone conversation, in which an unidentified betting parlor owner said he made an agreement with Potito Starace to throw the 2011 Casablanca final against Pablo Andujar. Starace lost the match against Andujar.

Malaysia Airlines MH17 passenger had oxygen mask on, says Dutch Foreign Minister

October 9, 2014 Australia, Diaspora No Comments
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AT least one passenger on board shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 had an oxygen mask over his mouth when his body was recovered, News.com.au reports.
The revelation by Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans indicated that some of the 283 passengers and 15 crew on board may have remained conscious after the aircraft was shot down by a Buk surface-to-air missile fired by pro-Russian separatists 50km from the Ukraine-Russia border on July 17, according to BNO News .
The scheduled international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed near Torez in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. All passengers, including 38 Australians, and crew died.
Timmermans, who was being interviewed on the Dutch national broadcaster’s showPauw, answered a comment from host Jeroen Pauw that the final moments aboard Flight MH17 were not as suggested during Timmerman’s speech at the UN Security Council in the week after the atrocity.
“No, they did not see the missile coming, but did you know that someone was found with an oxygen mask over his mouth? So someone had the time to do that,” Timmermans said, dismissing the question.

Igniting Entrepreneurship in Unexpected Places: An Interview With Sara Anjargolian of Impact Hub Yerevan

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16:16, October 8, 2014

Originally printed in the Huffington Post on October 7, 2014

About a year ago, I found myself sitting in the least desirable seat on the plane – the middle of the middle on a massive airliner directly in front of the restroom. On my left was a man in a grey undershirt, understated in appearance. Meanwhile his posture was one of dignity and pride. As I took in the scene, other travelers on the airplane walked down the aisle, pausing to stare at the man next to me, continuing on their walk, and then turning around to stare again. After two or three passengers stopped to stare, I couldn’t help but ask, “Who are you?”

Greece: Rugby-Loving British Fugitive Sentenced After Being Caught Watching Game

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18:01, October 6, 2014

An English drug smuggler has been sentenced to prison after being caught watching a rugby match at a pub in Athens, Greece.

Kevin Hanley, 52, was sentenced on Sept. 30 at the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales to more than 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to drug trafficking, according to the UK National Crime Agency (NCA).

Hanley and his girlfriend Chrysi Minadaki, 45, were arrested at an Irish pub in Athens on July 6 2013,according to Greek Reporter. They had been on the run since November 2012, when police raided the apartment of their accomplice John Fowler, 58, and confiscated 20 kg of cocaine, 15 kg of cannabis, 15 kg of amphetamine, and US$ 3.4 million in cash.

Austerity vs growth version 3.0 at G20/IMF

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World policymakers gather in Washington later this week to ponder how to sustain economic recovery at a time when the United States is about to turn off its money taps.Given the same G20 finance ministers and central bankers met in Australia only two weeks ago it is not hard to guess how the debate will go: most of the western world will urge the euro zone to do more to foster growth and Germany will warn against letting up on austerity.That debate has circled within the G20 for three years and is fizzing now in Europe with France, Italy and others pressing for a loosening of fiscal strait-jackets to allow time for economic reforms in defiance of Berlin’s wishes.”Existing flexibility within the rules should allow governments to address the budgetary costs of major structural reforms, to support demand and to achieve a more growth-friendly composition of fiscal policies,” European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Thursday after a monthly policy meeting.The Federal Reserve will end its program of bond-buying with new money later this month, a prospect that has already driven the dollar higher and created jitters about a reversal of money flows out of emerging markets back into the United States.The euro zone in the guise of the ECB has been doing its best to come up with new stimulus, though it has shied away from full quantitative easing so far.Its most effective card may be euro weakness, the flipside of dollar strength.The euro is down almost 10 percent from a peak against the dollar in May. With U.S. money printing about to end and speculation about the timing of a first interest rate rise, there are good reasons to think this trend could continue.The strong U.S. jobs report on Friday did little to change the picture.”I don’t think it changes the Fed dynamics. I still think the first rate hike is maybe mid-year,” said Kim Rupert, managing director at Action Economics in San Francisco. “We are trying to gauge whether it’s March or June.”If the euro keeps falling, it would push the prices of imports up while making it easier for euro zone countries to sell abroad which should have an upward impact on both growth and inflation. The impact won’t be immediate though, as last week’s inflation reading of just 0.3 percent demonstrated.As with Japan last year, G20 policymakers gathered in Washington for the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are in a poor position to complain about competitive devaluation having demanded stronger European growth for so long.The IMF will release its latest World Economic Outlook before the meeting starts.”The global economy is at an inflection point: it can muddle along with sub-par growth, a ‘new mediocre’; or it can aim for a better path where bold policies would accelerate growth, increase employment, and achieve a ‘new momentum’,” IMF chief Christine Lagarde said as she looked ahead to the annual meet.Last month’s G20 meeting again failed to secure agreement on concrete measures, largely due to resistance from Germany, Europe’s largest economy. 

Europe: More Than 1,000 Organized Crime Suspects Arrested In Multinational Operation

September 30, 2014 Armenia, Australia, Europe No Comments
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21:46, September 30, 2014

Law enforcement agencies have arrested 1,146 suspects in what they claim is Europe’s largest-ever international coordinated operation against organized crime, codenamed “Operation Archimedes.”

Officers from the 28 European Union (EU) member states as well as Norway, Switzerland, Serbia, Colombia, Australia and the US participated in the operation, which took place over nine days from Sept. 15 to 23. It was coordinated by Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, with the help of Eurojust, the EU’s judicial cooperation agency; Frontex, the EU’s external border agency; and Interpol.

Nicole Kidman’s father ‘collapsed and died in Singapore hotel restaurant’ in front of shocked guests minutes after his exercise

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Nicole Kidman’s father died of a heart attack inside a Singapore hotel restaurant shortly after completing his morning exercise, the Daily Mail reports.The Sydney psychologist is believed to have collapsed when he was inside the Wheelhouse restaurant at the Tanglin Club – a private hotel he had been staying at while visiting his daughter Antonia and six grandchildren.A doctor and guests at the hotel who were present tried to resuscitate him before paramedics arrived and he was taken to hospital, The Straits Times reported.Police confirmed that a man in his 80s died at Tan Tock Seng Hospital about 10am and were now investigating the exact cause of death.A friend of the family earlier confirmed that he had suffered a fall, but did not know any other details.Nicole’s publicist and long-time friend of the Kidmans, Wendy Day, told Daily Mail Australia that the ‘family is in shock and is grieving’ and is yet to make any statement regarding the well-respected Sydney psychologist’s death.Dr Kidman was visiting his daughter, Antonia, and his grandchildren who live in Singapore and suffered the fall after eating breakfast.’The family is in shock and is grieving…I think that some time and privacy is needed to deal with this shock and tragedy,’ she said.She confirmed that Dr Kidman suffered a fall in a hotel room in Singapore, but that was all the information she had at hand.A hospital source was reeling from the shock of the news. ‘We don’t know how to deal with this at the moment or how to digest the fact he’s gone,’ the source told News Corp Australia.Dr Kidman was a clinical psychologist at Royal North Shore Hospital and a director of health psychology at the University of Technology Sydney.UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs said in a statement that Dr Kidman contributed a lot as a colleague and a researcher during his 43 years of service.’It is with great sadness that we learn of Dr Tony Kidman’s sudden passing. During his 43 years at the University of Technology, Sydney, Tony has contributed greatly – as a colleague, as a researcher, and as a health practitioner,’ he said in a statement.’Tony will be missed by all at UTS. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.’The Royal North Shore Hospital was not immediately commenting on Dr Kidman’s death, while a woman at the Kidmans’ home declined to comment when approached by Daily Mail Australia.She said she didn’t feel ‘comfortable’ saying anything to the media yet.A Sydney business owner known to the family, said: ‘The Kidman family are regular customers for our shop.”With respects to the family, we are not really comfortable with commenting on what has happened to Antony.’A police spokesperson told Reuters they were investigating the death as ‘unnatural.’He declined to give details, but the term ‘unnatural death’ in Singapore often refers to falls or other accidents.Network Ten reported earlier that Dr Kidman was visiting Nicole’s younger sister Antonia who lives in Singapore with her husband Craig Marran and her six children.As well as his work as a clinical psychologist, he has done research into the psycho-social impact of diseases, including breast cancer.He also ran community service seminars on aspects of mental health, was a regular speaker on radio and television and wrote for academic journals and the general public.He was awarded an Order of Australia in 2005 for his contributions to clinical psychology.The family was last seen together in Sydney back in January for Dr Kidman and his wife, Janelle’s 50th wedding anniversary.In June this year, a beaming Nicole Kidman, 46 walked the red carpet with her father and husband Keith Urban at the Swisse Celebrate Life Ball in Melbourne.In one of his last public statements, Dr Kidman wrote of the pointless pursuit of happiness.In the article titled ‘Forget happiness, search for meaning’, Dr Kidman wrote about the importance of striving for achievable goals in life, with a focus on being contented with what you have rather than on a life of material wealth. 

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

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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

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.