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Sex Ed a Taboo in Armenia: If Taught at All, It’s by Phys Ed Teachers, Some 80 Years Old

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15:45, February 27, 2015

By Karine Aghajanyan 

Sex Ed is the process of educating people about sex, but in Armenia it is not as simple as that.

There is a lack of sex education structure. Both society and government do not think it is an essential part of civilized society. Thus, I wanted to understand where the shame and silence surrounding it comes from.

Traditionally, adolescents in many cultures were not given any information on sexual matters since discussions of these issues have been considered taboo. Given that Armenian culture and society are very conservative, this is a huge taboo surrounded by fear and misconceptions.

Russian Senator Slams Pro-EU NGOs in Armenia

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A senior member of the Russian legislature has reminded Armenia of the Ukrainian experience, stressing that having a large number of non-governmental organizations advocating integration with the European Union is “unacceptable”. 

At a press conference in Moscow on Thursday, Konstantin Kosachev, who heads the International Affairs Committee at the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, at the same time expressed a hope that Armenia will “manage to avoid Ukraine’s experience of facing a choice” between Eurasian and European integrations.

Two years ago Armenia was on track to sign an association agreement with the European Union as part of the Eastern Partnership Program that also involved Ukraine and four other former Soviet nations. But in September 2013 under apparent pressure from Moscow authorities in Yerevan made a U-turn opting instead for integration with the Russian-led customs union.

U.S. ‘Cares Deeply’ About Its Partnership With Armenia

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America cares deeply about its partnership with Armenia, Victoria Nuland, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said in Yerevan on Wednesday on the third leg of her South Caucasus tour that also included stops in Azerbaijan and Georgia.

“We have for more than 20 years supported democracy, independence, economic growth, prosperity and peace here. And we want to continue to do that and to deepen and broaden that relationship,” the senior U.S. diplomat added.

“We care deeply about Armenia’s ability to grow stronger, more prosperous, more independent, and to represent a strong democratic image in this part of the world and to protect the rights of all Armenians to live freely. So, it’s important to us.”

Nuland In Azerbaijan At Start Of Caucasus Tour

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The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland has arrived in Azerbaijan on the first leg of her South Caucasus tour.

Nuland told journalists in Baku on February 17 that her talks with President Ilham Aliyev focused on bilateral ties and the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nuland added that she would talk about the release of two Azerbaijanis held in Nagorno-Karabakh during her meetings with Armenian officials in Yerevan on February 18.

Foreign Minister of Armenia met Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia

February 16, 2015 Armenia, Georgia, Karabakh No Comments
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18:18, February 16, 2015

On February 16, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian met the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia Davit Usupashvili, who pays an official visit to Yerevan. 

Welcoming the guest, Minister Nalbandian commended the positive dynamic of the friendly Armenian-Georgian relations, stressing that active inter-parliamentary contacts play an important role in the strengthening of strong inter-state ties. Edward Nalbandian expressed confidence that Davit Usupashvili’s visit will give a new impetus to bilateral cooperation.

Foreign Minister of Armenia stated that it is symbolic that Armenian parliamentarians are included in the delegation, headed by the Speaker of Parliament of Georgia.

Expressing gratitude for the reception, the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia highlighted, that Georgia attaches great importance to the further expansion of cooperation with Armenia, based on centuries-old friendship between two peoples.

Armenia’s Football Team Rises 5 Spots to 74th Worldwide

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10:02, February 13, 2015

Armenia’s football team has risen five spots, to 74th place, in the latest FIFA rankings of 209 national squads.

The improvement has been the result of the failures of other teams since the previous world rankings were released last month. Since then the Asia and African Football Cups have been played, leading to changes in the rankings.

The list of the top ten teams remains unchanged: Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Holland, Brazil, Portugal, France, Uruguay and Spain.

In the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers for Group I, Denmark leads with 7 points, followed by Portugal (6), Albania (4), and Serbia and Armenia (1 apiece).

Denmark is now 28th in the world; Serbia 39th; and Albania 63rd.

25 Years Later: The Refugees of Hakhtanak Village In Armenia’s Tavoush Province

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17:58, February 10, 2015

Out of the 160 families residing in the Hakhtanak village of Tavoush Province, 45 moved here in the late 1980s and early 1990s as refugees from Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Like native residents, members of these families either work the land or go abroad in search of seasonal work.

A few families still live in the village pension building, which belongs to the community, where they all were housed when they first arrived. They’ve been allocated the rooms free of charge.

Those who’ve remained in the pension never received housing under an earlier program for refugees and haven’t been able to move elsewhere.

Asian Development Bank to Provide $500 Million to Armenia Over Next 5 Years

February 10, 2015 Armenia, Asia, Georgia No Comments
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14:54, February 9, 2015

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a new country partnership strategy with Armenia which includes targeted support for infrastructure, urban development, and energy to underpin more resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth.

“ADB plans to provide financial assistance of around $500 million over the next five years to support improved transport links, to upgrade secondary towns where poverty is highest, and to strengthen energy security,” said David Dole, ADB’s Country Director for Armenia.

While ADB will continue financing infrastructure, it will aim to gradually shift its focus to catalyzing support from the private sector, and providing knowledge products and services. Given ADB’s limited resources and assistance from other development partners, ADB won’t be significantly involved in the finance, health, and education sectors.

All In the Family: Armenian Prime Minister’s Booming Business Empire-3

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15:30, February 2, 2015

Begining

We continue to present the companies, doing business in a variety of sectors, owned by Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan and his relatives.

Leasing of Real Estate

Strategic Property Management (SPM) CJSC is fully owned by Argam Abrahamyan. The company’s office is located at 4/2 Amiryan Street in Yerevan. SPM was founded in 2012 and Angin Sargsyan serves as director. The company’s paid-in capital is 300.9 million AMD

According to official Armenian tax data, SPM engages mostly in the wholesale foodstuff, beverage and tobacco sector. Currently, the company has temporarily ceased operations.

“Yes, I am the director. Right now, the company has halted its operations. In general, SPM doesn’t engage in any operation,” Angin Sargsyan said.

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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.