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European Official Alarmed By Jail Term Sought For Teenager

October 9, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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The Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights on Thursday criticized Armenian law-enforcement authorities for seeking to imprison a 15-year-old activist prosecuted for his participation in a violent anti-government demonstration.

Nils Muiznieks expressed concern about Shahen Harutiunian’s fate at the end of a fact-finding visit to Armenia that involved meetings with President Serzh Sarkisian, senior Armenian security officials and civic activists.

Harutiunian went on trial earlier this year along with 12 other men, including his father Shant, who were arrested during a violent clash with riot police in Yerevan in November last year. Unlike them, he was not placed under arrest.

PACE decision on Karabakh in line Azerbaijani policies – Karabakh Foreign Ministry

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The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly’s (PACE) recent decision on Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) is fully in line with the Azerbaijani polices aimed at disrupting the OSCE Minsk Group efforts, the Nagorno-Karabakh Foreign Ministry finds.
Commenting on the decision to prepare a report, entitled “Rise in Violence in Nagorno-Karabakh and Other Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan”, a source from the ministry said that neither the document nor the resolution to be adopted on its basis are likely to have any political implications in the peace process.
As for the possible visit of Robert Walter, the PACE rapporteur on Karabakh, a corresponding decision will be made in case there is such a request by the European official. “If the rapporteur insists on his intention to prepare an unbiased report, it is logical that he should visit Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh]. The authorities will adopt a decision on his visit in case of the availability of a corresponding request,” the source told our correspondent.

Food fight! Hungry squirrels spotted squabbling over last piece of grain at lunch – and triumphant winner rubs it in

October 9, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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Even as they squabble over the last piece of grain, these hungry squirrels remain stomach-churningly cute.The small group of European ground squirrels were fighting for the last bits as they nibbled at their lunch at the Radouc nature reserve in the Czech Republic, the Daily Mail reports.The scene was captured by 33-year-old engineer Jiri Michal, one sunny afternoon at the reserve.Mr Michal, of Pilsen, Czech Republic, says: ‘I love taking photographs in the Czech Republic, I think the scenery and wildlife that the region has to offer is beautiful.’I laid quietly on the ground while I took the photographs and spent around five hours capturing the scene.’Waiting patiently just four meters away from the squirrels, Mr Michal offered them some grain and watched as they fought over the last pieces.’After seeing the photographs, people often comment on how cute the squirrels are, it was amazing to watch,’ he said.Mr Michal leads regular photography workshops for beginners in his home town of Pilsen and hopes to encourage more people to take on wildlife photography.European ground squirrels can be found in many areas of Eastern Europe, including southern Ukraine, Austria, Greece and Bulgaria.This tiny species can grow up to 20cm in length, and can often be seen filling up on seeds and roots during the summer in preparation for winter hibernation. 
 
 

Chief Prosecutor Orders Probe Of Attack On Journalist

October 8, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Top News, Video No Comments
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Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian on Wednesday ordered an Armenia law-enforcement agency to launch criminal proceedings in connection with a recent assault on a journalist carried out by a senior security official.

Marine Khachatrian, a correspondent for the A1+ TV station and online news service, was attacked by the chief of the Armenian parliament’s security service, Karen Hayrapetian, as she covered a small demonstration staged outside the National Assembly building in Yerevan on September 9.

Video of the incident showed Hayrapetian slapping Khachatrian in the hand after he and other security guards tore off a big poster which a group of civic activists put on the railings of the parliament compound. The female journalist dropped her video camera as a result.  

IOC Chief Discusses Armenian Participation In Baku Games

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Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), met with President Serzh Sarkisian on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of Armenia’s participation in the first-ever European Games that will be hosted by Azerbaijan next year.

Bach arrived in Yerevan with a delegation that included Patrick Hickey, the president of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) which has decided to hold Europe’s biggest-ever multi-sport event in Baku in June 2015. The main official purpose of their two-day trip is to discuss ways of boosting the IOC’s ties with the Armenian National Olympic Committee.

Armenia has yet to decide whether or not to send its athletes to the Baku games given its unresolved bitter conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azerbaijani government publicly pledged to guarantee their safety late last month.

Indonesia Workshop Creates mind-blowing life-size replicas of popular sports cars exclusively out of wood

October 7, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Sports No Comments
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This group of highly skilled Indonesian woodworkers caters exclusively to people who love collecting sports cars – both real and wooden, reports the Oddity Central.They carve impressive life-size replicas of popular sports car models, and their creations are routinely exported to buyers in the US, England, Germany, and other European countries.Their latest handiwork is a model of the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, made entirely out of teak – it doesn’t work of course, but it’s a stunning copy of the real thing. And let’s not forget – cheaper by several thousands of dollars.What’s really fascinating about these replicas is the incredible attention to detail. While the wooden Bugatti may not have the real car’s powerful 1,200 bhp engine or a top speed of 258mph, you can see that it’s perfect in every other way. Right from the sculpted front grille to the detailed ‘alloy’ wheels, and the perfect interior complete with a wooden steering wheel, everything has been carved with painstaking effort by these talented craftsmen.

Fighting Ebola: American argument against African travel ban

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In the wake of the revelation that the Dallas man infected with Ebola flew on United Airlines flights from Liberia to Liberia, more than a few people have seized on a blunt response: ban flights from West Africa.Texas Representative Ted Poe, a Republican, has written to the Centers for Disease Control asking it to recommend travel restrictions. Representative Alan Grayson, a Democrat from Florida, has called for a 90-day ban on travel from Ebola-touched countries to the U.S, Bloomberg Businessweekly reported.The White House is resisting those calls, and that’s the right thing to do. Restricting travel to and from the affected region will have little impact on the already minimal risk to Americans from the Ebola virus while further worsening the situation in West Africa. And the history of the global fight against infection has demonstrated that we shouldn’t raise the drawbridge or run away, but fight disease wherever we find it.Travel restrictions have a long history as a tool against spreading infections. Quarantine was first used against the plague bacillus in 14th-century Europe. The case for plague quarantine was a lot stronger 600 years ago: It was pretty much the only potentially effective public health strategy at the time (neither prayer nor pogroms had the desired impact). The Black Death still exists—there were four casesof human infection in the U.S. in 2012—but we now have a vaccine against the disease. It can be treated with antibiotics, and sanitary and housing conditions in the 21st century are considerably higher than in Europe in the 1300s. The plague bacillus led to the deaths of tens of millions in the 14th century; it kills a few hundred people worldwide each year today. 

De-escalating the Caucasus: Armenia’s Potential Role in Normalizing Russo-Georgian Relations

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20:16, October 5, 2014

By Pietro A. Shakarian 

After his election as Georgia’s prime minister in October 2012, Bidzina Ivanishvili vowed to repair relations with Russia.  

The Georgian billionaire sought to undo the damage caused by his predecessor, the staunchly pro-Western Mikheil Saakashvili, who recklessly led his country into a disastrous war in 2008. 

While speaking in favor of a balanced relationship between Russia and the West in a January 2013 interview, Ivanishvili stated that, in this respect, “I think Armenia is a good example for Georgians.  We can only be jealous about it. Armenia manages good relations with Russia and also manages to stay on good terms with the United States and other NATO countries.” 

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. 

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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.