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Israeli Speaker Calls For Armenian Genocide Recognition

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The speaker of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, on Tuesday described the 1915 Armenian massacres in Ottoman Turkey as genocide and urged the Jewish state to officially recognize it.

“It is no secret that Israel has taken too ambivalent a stance on the Armenian genocide,” “The Jerusalem Post” quoted Yuli Edelstein as saying during a special Knesset debate on the issue.

“There are many reasons, diplomatic and otherwise, for the Israeli stance being too hesitant and restrained, which downplayed the magnitude of the historical event. We Jews, who are still suffering from the impact of the Holocaust, cannot minimize the tragedy,” Edelstein said.

Israel “cannot afford to remain silent” and should thoroughly examine its official position,” he added, according to “The Times of Israel.”

Azeri, Turkish Troops Hold More Drills

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The Turkish and Azerbaijani armies began on Tuesday fresh joint military exercises in Azerbaijan highlighting their growing cooperation.

A statement by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry cited by local news agencies said the five-day exercises are taking place in Baku and the Nakhichevan exclave surrounded by Armenia, Iran and Turkey. It said they will be watched later this week by Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov and General Umit Dundar, the commander of the Turkish Third Army deployed near Turkey’s borders with Armenia and Georgia.

The statement added that the drills are aimed at boosting “friendship, cooperation and coordination” between the armed forces of the two allied countries. It said nothing about the number of troops and military hardware involved in them.

Opinion: Foundation and Collapse of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU)

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12:13, May 12, 2015

Ashot Yeghiazaryan,Doctor in Economics

From the viewpoint of political realism, the Eurasian Economic Union is a project by which Russia tries to raise its power and influence in the post-Soviet area. But it’s already a dead project, yet not born, which proves that all Moscow’s efforts towards reintegration of the post-Soviet area are doomed to fail.

Factual Failure of the EEU at Astana Summit

There is no doubt, that foundation of more or less serious integration unite in the post-Soviet space is only effective if the Ukraine, along with Russia, takes part in it. But the Ukraine has chosen the way of integration with the EU: Moldova and Georgia also signed an Association Agreement with the EU. As a result, even the free trade regime has been put under doubt in the CIS area.

Wife of UNESCO Press Freedom Prize Winner: ‘The international community knows how to stop the crisis in Syria’

May 12, 2015 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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15:14, May 12, 2015

UNESCO awarded this year’s Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize to Mazen Darwish, a Syrian journalist and activist imprisoned since 2012, for his more than ten years of work as president of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression.

His wife, Yara Bader, accepted the prize on his behalf at a ceremony that UNESCO organized in Riga on 3 May to mark World Press Freedom Day.

From May2-4, UNESCO, jointly with the Latvian government, held a series of events in Riga to commemorate World Press Freedom Day and held an international conference entitled “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age”.

Europe Seeks UN Approval to Use Military Might Against Human Traffickers

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21:09, May 11, 2015

By Michael Mattson

World leaders continue the search for solutions this week to a human trafficking crisis in the Mediterranean.

Last month,more than 800 migrants were killedin a tragedy that has been called the Mediterranean’s worst in living memory. In response, the European Union (EU) Commission proposed a ten-point action plan to tackle human trafficking networks, which recommended the use of military action to identify, seize and destroy boats before they are used by traffickers.

The UN Security Council met last Monday to draft a resolution that would authorize the EU to carry out its action plan, which particularly targets traffickers in Libya. Today (Monday) EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is appearing before the Council to lobby for permission to use force.

Egypt’s Sisi Seeks Closer Ties With Armenia

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President Serzh Sarkisian and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reportedly called for the deepening of relations between Armenia and Egypt when they held talks in Moscow at the weekend.

The two men met in the Russian capital on the sidelines of high-profile Russian celebrations of Soviet victory in World War Two less than two months after Sisi received Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian in Cairo.

“Both sides attached importance to further development of Armenian-Egyptian relations based on centuries-old friendship and stressed the need to give new impetus to those relations,” Sarkisian’s office said in a statement.

“The president of Egypt expressed confidence that bilateral relations and cooperation will become much more advanced than they were in the past,” added the statement. It said Sisi argued that the political situation in Egypt is stabilizing after years of turmoil.

Turkish Envoy In Luxembourg Recalled After Genocide Resolution

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Turkey has condemned the parliament of Luxembourg for recognizing the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire and recalled its ambassador to the European Union country in protest.

“We condemn and strongly reject the unfair resolution the Luxembourg Parliament has adopted by distorting the historical facts and the law,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Thursday evening.

“The resolution demonstrates that the Luxembourg Parliament is far from understanding the UN Convention of 1948 [on the crime of genocide] to which it refers and commits the same error with some of its role model parliaments,” it said. “If Parliaments put themselves in the place of international courts and try to render judgments on such a serious crime such as genocide, they would abuse history and law.”

Biden Attends Armenian Genocide Remembrance Service In U.S.

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden joined President Serzh Sarkisian and over two thousand Armenian Americans at Washington’s National Cathedral late on Thursday in a remembrance ceremony that marked the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey.

The ecumenical prayer service led by the supreme heads of the Armenian Apostolic Church was also attended by top clerics of the Roman Catholic, Russian and Syriac Orthodox and American Evangelical churches as well as the secretary general of the World Council of Churches, Olav Fykse Tveit. The two-hour service featured sermons delivered by them and a speech by Sarkisian.

Wildlife Legislation Lacking: Armenia Falters Regarding its CITES Obligations

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21:00, May 7, 2015

When it comes to legislation preventing the illegal trade in wildlife, Armenia is dragging its feet.

This sobering evaluation, that legislation on the books in Armenia does meet the requirements for the effective implementation of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), was part of a report released this week by the CITES National Legislation Project (NLP).

According to the latest NLP figures 88 countries and 13 dependent territories need to strengthen their legal frameworks for the effective implementation of CITES, including to combat illegal trade in wildlife.

The NLP looked at the 180 signatories to the CITES and ranked their wildlife legislation according to three categories:

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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.

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.