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OCCRP Reporter, Two Partners Win Georgia Prizes

June 10, 2015 Armenia, Europe, Georgia No Comments
Armenian News

18:22, June 10, 2015

OCCRP reporter Nino Bakradze was among six Republic of Georgia journalists who were honored in the fourth annual Josh Friedman Excellence in Investigative Journalism contest Tuesday.

Bakradze won for Excellence in Investigative Journalism for her multi-media story on the botched investigation of the murder of a forest ranger.

Two journalists from OCCRP partner Studio Monitori also won prizes. Nino Zuriashvili was honored for Excellence in Investigative Journalism (TV project) for her story on TB patients who were declared terminal in Georgia but were later cured in France.

Studio Monitori reporter Giorgi Mgeladze was honored for Best Investigative Interview for a TV story he did on the Georgia postal service.

U.S. Envoy Hopes For Armenian-Azeri Summit


The chief U.S. mediator in the protracted Nagorno-Karabakh peace process visited Yerevan Wednesday on the first leg of a regional tour which he hopes will pave the way for renewed face-to-face negotiations between Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s presidents.

James Warlick told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that he and the two other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group representing France and Russia are now trying to “frame the issues” that would be on the agenda of the next Armenian-Azerbaijani summit.

Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev most recently met in Paris in October. Both leaders gave positive assessments of that summit which was aimed at kick-starting the peace process.

30,000 € for LGBT Rights Protection in Armenia

June 10, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Europe No Comments
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15:56, June 10, 2015

German Embassy in Yerevan on 09 June 2015 concluded an agreement with “New Generation” Humanitarian NGO to financially support its project “Capacity building and empowerment of human rights defenders and emerging leaders for LGBT rights protection in Armenia” scheduled for 2015. The project is sponsored with an amount of 30,000 €. It aims at promoting LGBT human rights in Armenia, and at fighting against their discrimination and against homophobia in parts of the general population. The following measures to be taken in the context of the project are to dispel prejudice and to strengthen the LGBT rights to self-development and to self-determination.

Activities to be covered by the project to strengthen the position of LGBT in the Armenian society are:

Macedonia: Authorities Launch Investigation into Migrant Kidnap Gang

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10:43, June 10, 2015

Macedonian authorities are investigating media claims that a gang is kidnapping hundreds of Middle Eastern migrants and keeping them for ransom in secluded houses, after the release of a report by Britain’s Channel 4 News on Friday.

According to Channel 4, the migrants were promised safe passage through Macedonia to European Union (EU) countries in train carriages.

Members of an Afghan kidnap gang then allegedly pulled them off the train near the northern Macedonian town of Kumanovo and forced them to walk for two hours to the village of Vaksince.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Ivo Kotevski confirmed that an investigation has been launched after police received information from Channel 4, but said that more details would be revealed once the investigation was complete.

UNICEF Lends Itself to ‘Dictatorship Propaganda’ European Games

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10:45, June 10, 2015

By TT News Agency, Sweden

The goal of the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is to protect the rights of children. Yet UNICEF is lending its name to the European Games in Azerbaijan, a country accused of torturing young people struggling for their rights.

In the run-up to the games, the regime is also silencing all criticism, Amnesty International reports.

The human rights organization claims that the Azerbaijani authorities have embarked on a systematic effort to dismantle civil society to silence criticism, allowing President Ilham Aliyev to bask in the glory of 6,000 athletes when the games open Friday in the capital Baku.

Father Isakhanyan Appointed Vicar of the Pontifical Legate

June 9, 2015 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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[unable to retrieve full-text content]Father Serovbe Isakhanyan has been appointed to serve as the Vicar of the Pontifical Legate of
Western Europe (Armenian Apostolic Church) based in Holland.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Digital Journalism for Eastern Europe 2015

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21:14, June 6, 2015

Participants from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine will acquire smart skills and deep knowledge about mobile publishing, doing online research, and internet security. This blended learning course consists of two attendance phases in Germany and one intensive e-learning module. Scholarships are available.

Journalism means collecting, evaluating and publishing information, and this definition also applies in the digital world. Each technical advance opens up new possibilities for research and publishing. To take advantage of these opportunities, journalists must constantly build and update their skills. And they have to cope with a dangerous risk – the lack of digital security. Journalists will have to adapt to this – and repeatedly because of ever shorter innovation cycles.

“Affliction of the Patriarch”: Aret Gıcır Explores Existentialist Dilemmas of Armenians in Turkey

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10:35, June 5, 2015

Istanbul-Armenian artist Aret Gıcır has completed his twenty canvas Affliction of the Patriarch project that will be exhibited this fall at the Biennale in Istanbul.

The 36 year-old artist started the project six years ago when, after returning from Armenia, he found out that Constantinople Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan II was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

“The Patriarch’s physical frailty underscores the symbolic end of a century of deterioration, during which the patriarchate had its significance stripped as a social institution and was wrested from the historical heritage and people that it represented, says Aret. “In the series of paintings the patriarch, who is neither dead nor alive, has become the poignant symbol of the deepest existentialist dilemmas of the Armenians remaining in Turkey and, in general, of the reality of the post-Ottoman era.

Italy: Politicians Among 44 Arrested in Tender Rigging Bust

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17:31, June 5, 2015

Italian police have arrested 44 people suspected of involvement in an underworld scheme that rigged tenders and skimmed off huge sums of money from public works contracts, including tenders aimed at helping a recent influx of refugees to the country.

Among those arrested Thursday morning were well-known names from both the left and right of Italian politics, including Luca Gramazio, a politician for Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, who is accused of serving as a link between the public administration and a Mafia group allegedly associated with Massimo Carminati and Salvatore Buzzi, both now in detention pending trial.

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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.


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.