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Two Pillars Keep Haigazian Standing Strong Throughout the Years

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14:06, July 25, 2015
Haigazian University Benefactor Joyce Philibosian Stein with President Dr. John Markarian at his 90th birthday celebration.

Haigazian University would not be here today without the outstanding leadership it has had over thelast 60 years. Two such passionate visionaries were Dr. John Markarian and Wilma Cholakian.  

It was a memorable day in 1955 when John Markarian, a young tenured Religion Professor at La Fayette College in Pennsylvania, relinquished that position by accepting the invitation to serve as Founding President of Haigazian College.  History proved the decision providential. 

Armenia Condemns Deadly Blast In Turkey


Armenia strongly condemned Monday’s powerful explosion in the Turkish town of Suruc near the Syrian border that killed at least 28 people and wounded around 100 others.

News reports said the blast ripped through a local cultural center located around 10 kilometers away from the Kurdish-populated Syrian town of Kobani. The Turkish Interior Ministry called it a “terrorist attack.”

“We strongly condemn terrorism in all its manifestations,” President Serzh Sarkisian said in a letter to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Please accept my condolences in connection with the incident,” he wrote. “I wish relatives of the victims perseverance and courage of the spirit and hope for a quick convalescence of the wounded.”

Total number of Syrian refugees exceeds four million for first time

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00:14, July 13, 2015

The number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria to neighbouring countries has now passed four million, confirming that crisis as the world’s single largest refugee crisis for almost a quarter of a century under UNHCR’s mandate.

New arrivals in Turkey and updated data from the Turkish authorities on refugees already in that country have taken the total number of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries to more than 4,013,000 people.

Furthermore, at least an additional 7.6 million people are displaced inside Syria – many of them in difficult circumstances and in locations that are difficult to reach.

Armenia’s Football Squad Drops to 89th in FIFA Rankings

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19:10, July 9, 2015

In today’s FIFA rankings, Armenia’s football team has dropped five spots to 89th with 373 points.

In the run up to the new rankings, Armenia lost to Portugal 3-2 in Yerevan.

Argentina is now ranked number 1, rising from 3rd place.

The Latin American team is followed, in descending order, by Germany, Belgium, Colombia, Holland, Brazil, Portugal, Romania, England and Wales.

As for Armenia’s neighbors, Iran is ranked 38th, Turkey 48th, Azerbaijan 108th and Georgia 153rd. 

Armenia’s average ranking since FIFA created its scoring system in 1994 is 95.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Online Surveillance Firm ‘Hacking Team’ Gets Hacked

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22:03, July 8, 2015

Online hackers have released more than 400 GB of internal data, including staff emails and company documents, stolen from Hacking Team, a company in northern Italy that sells online spying software to governments and security services around the world.

It was named as a corporate “enemy of the internet” in 2013 by press-freedom advocacy group Reporters Without Borders, after developing software that it says can circumvent certain encryption schemes.

The software is designed to remotely record every keystroke made on a target device, vacuuming up passwords and, in certain instances, capturing messages before they are encrypted.

On its website, Hacking Team boasts that it offers “total control over your targets. Log everything you need. Always. Anywhere they are.”

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense Buys Hacking Team Surveillance Spyware

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23:15, July 8, 2015

It now appears that the Milan-based company Hacking Team has, contrary to denials, licensed its Remote Control System (RCS) computer spyware to Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense.

The revelation came after a massive leak of the Italian cyber-surveillance firm.

According to a report published on July 8 in Meydan TV, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense purchased a license for Hacking Team’s Remote Control System (RCS) surveillance spyware via a California-based intermediary called Horizon Global Group in 2013 for an initial payment of €320,000. 

Founded in 2003, Hacking Team describes itself as an “ethical hacking” firm specializing in “offensive IT security”. In a 2008 presentation released by Wikileaks, the company claimed its RCS software – the software it has covertly provided the Azerbaijani government since 2013 – is capable of secretly “logging any action performed by means of a personal computer … or smartphone”.

International Genocide Scholars Meet In Armenia


The International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) began a conference of its members in Yerevan on Wednesday, underscoring its strong support for greater international recognition ofthe 1915 Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey.

The five-day forum titled “Comparative Analysis of 20th Century Genocides” is attended by some 180 scholars from around the world specializing in research of crimes against humanity and seeking the prevention of more such atrocities.

“2015 is an important year for all Armenians worldwide in terms of commemoration of the centennial of the beginning of the Armenian genocide,” the IAGS said last year in a statement announcing the venue of its 12th meeting.

Spain: Mass Arrests In Strike Against Georgian Burglary Gang

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22:59, July 7, 2015

Spanish anti-organized crime prosecutors have arrested more than 30 people allegedly connected to a Georgian burglary gang in a major operation that involved hundreds of specialist police officers, including experts from German federal police.

At least 23 homes were searched and  € 100,000 (US$ 110,000) in cash was seized, alongside significant quantities of jewellery. A number of those arrested have also been accused of money laundering, tax fraud and drug trafficking.

Spanish police say some of those arrested on July 3 were also detained in 2010 as part of Operation Java, a similarly large, multi-national operation against a Georgian organized crime and burglary network, but had subsequently been released by a Spanish court. Austrian crime-fighting magazine “Die Kriminalisten” also claimed that Operation Java had been kept secret while it was running out of fear that the Georgian crime networks had contacts to “high-ranking” officials across Europe.

‘No depiction of catastrophe will ever make up for a 100 years of denial’

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23:21, July 7, 2015

Last week, renowned Canadian film director Atom Egoyan was in Turkey for the first time. Although he had received many invitations from film festivals before, he had preferred not to come. He had legitimate reasons, fears and concerns. ‘Ararat’, the film he shot 13 years ago, had faced intense reaction and repression in Turkey; and could not be screened.

There was a special reason for Egoyan’s visit: He had been asked to be best man at Sera Dink and Eric Nazarian’s wedding. His concerns accompanied his curiosity as he set out towards Turkey. He returned as a host to the country his ancestors had been exiled from. He was surprised, happy and full of emotion. History was being written: “History is not always made by large public statements, but by the conversation between individuals.” We spoke to Egoyan, and discussed the Diaspora and Turkey, and also ‘Ararat’.

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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.