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US: 27 Years Prison Sentence For ‘King Of Pot’

August 26, 2014 Armenia, North America No Comments
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22:10, August 26, 2014

A New York federal court has sentenced Jimmy Cournoyer, a 34-year-old Canadian citizen known as the “King of Pot”, to 27 years in prison. Prosecutors said that Cournoyer’s criminal network distributed at least $1 billion in illegal drugs over his 14-year career.

The CanadianNational Postreports that throughout that career, Cournoyer smuggled an estimated 109 tons of marijuana into the United States.

Cournoyer was sentenced on Aug. 20. He pled guilty to leading a criminal enterprise; conspiracies to manufacture, import and distribute marijuana; conspiracies to export and distribute cocaine; substantive cocaine distribution and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of narcotics trafficking, according to theUS Department of Justice.

His Montreal-based drug distribution organization had ties with the Rizutto and Bonanno crime

Dinosaurs’ extinction attributed to ‘bad luck’

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Dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid impact when they were at their most vulnerable, BBC News reports, citing a new study.Dr Steve Brusatte, of Edinburgh University, said sea level rises and volcanic activity had made many species more susceptible to extinction.
They might have survived if the asteroid had hit the Earth a few million years later or earlier, he said, calling it “colossal bad luck”.
The assessment has been published in the journal, Biological Reviews.
“It was a perfect storm of events that occurred when dinosaurs were at their most vulnerable,” Dr Brusatte told BBC News.
The study brought together 11 leading dinosaur experts from the UK, US and Canada to assess the latest research on the extinction of dinosaurs 66 million years ago.
There is evidence that some species of dinosaur were dying off shortly before an asteroid hit the Earth.
One of the key questions was whether this gradual decline would have led to the extinction of these animals even if the asteroid had not hit.
The experts concluded that although some species of plant eaters in North America were dying out in the period leading up to the asteroid impact there was no evidence of a long-term decline.
However, the experts believe that rises in sea level and increased volcanic activity made many species more susceptible to extinction just at the point that the asteroid struck.

Global private wealth hits $152tn

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The amount of private wealth held by households globally surged more than 14% to $152 trillion (90tn) last year, boosted mainly by rising stock markets, the BBC reports.
Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, led the surge with a 31% jump to $37tn.
The number of millionaire households also rose sharply, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group.
The report takes into account cash, deposits, shares and other assets held by households. But businesses, real estate and luxury goods are excluded.
“In nearly all countries, the growth of private wealth was driven by the strong rebound in equity markets that began in the second half of 2012,”the firm said in its report.
“This performance was spurred by relative economic stability in Europe and the US and signs of recovery in some European countries, such as Ireland, Spain and Portugal.”
The amount of wealth held in equities globally grew by 28% during the year, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) said.
Economies in Asia have been key drivers of global growth in the recent years. And households in the region have benefitted from this growth.
Within the region, China has been the biggest driver – with private wealth in the country surging more than 49% in 2013.
High saving rates in countries such as China and India has also been a key contributing factor to this surge.
The wealth held in the region is expected to rise further, to nearly $61tn by the end of 2018.
“At this pace, the region is expected to overtake Western Europe as the second-wealthiest region in 2014, and North America as the wealthiest in 2018,” BCG said.
The pace of wealth creation in China was also evident in the growth in the number of millionaire households – in US dollar terms – in the country, rising to 2.4 million in 2013, from 1.5 million a year ago.
Overall, the total number of millionaire households in the world rose to 16.3 million in 2013, from 13.7 million in 2012.
According to the report, private wealth in:
• North America rose by 15.6% to $50.3tn
• Western Europe, which includes UK, Germany and France, rose by 5.2% to $37.9tn
• Eastern Europe, which includes Russia, Poland and Czech Republic, jumped by 17.2% to $2.7tn
• Latin America rose by 11.1% to $3.9tn
• Middle East region increased by 11.6% to reach $5.2tn

Invention of ‘pizza cake’ signals new dawn for mankind

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A North American pizza chain has asked its customers to vote for their favorite from a catalogue of wacky pizza innovations, the Metro reported.The long list of entries includes a pizza-shaped shirt pocket, a pneumatic pizza cutter and of course the aforementioned seven-layered phenomenon of bread, tomato and melted cheese.But as much as we’d all love to see this fantastical pizza of wonder take shape, there do seem to be a few practical issues.See more here. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

US: Cartels In Mexico Partner With California Street Gangs

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11:21, March 26, 2014

Drug cartels in Mexico are working with California street gangs to sell drugs and settle scores, according to a new report that highlights an increasing trend of cooperation among violent criminal groups.

The report issued by California’s Attorney General, entitled Gangs Beyond Borders (pdf), lists several examples of cooperation, including a 2011 case in which La Familia Michoacana, a brutal cartel that has since splintered, contracted a US-based prison gang called the Mexican Mafia to distribute and sell methamphetamines in Southern California under an agreement dubbed “The Project.”

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

According to the report, alliances between cartels and street gangs are mutually beneficial: the cartels coordinate the movement and sale of drugs in the United States without ever stepping foot on US soil, and the street gangs bypass mid-level wholesale dealers and gain a higher percentage of the profits.

Mexico: They Got Shorty

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01:13, February 23, 2014

Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, the head of the Sinaloa drug cartel and the world’s most-wanted drug lord, was captured alive Friday night in the Mexican resort city of Mazatlan, the Associated Press reports.

It was an anticlimactic moment in a legendarily violent career that spanned decades and cost untold lives. It will be the end if police can keep him in custody.

Guzman, 56, had been on the run since 2001, when he escaped from a high-security Mexican prison by hiding in a laundry truck. According to CNN, he avoided capture for more than a decade thanks to bribes paid to corrupt officials in Mexico.

Ex-serviceman killed in Armenia’s Vanadzor

Armenian News

21:54 • 08/01
Initiative against funded pensions to struggle on

20:31 • 08/01
Non-coalition members of Armenian NA Counting Board to apply to Constitutional Court over gas agreements

20:29 • 08/01
Writer Levon Khechoyan dies

20:01 • 08/01
Yerevan mayor expresses condolences on Armen Mazmanyan’s death

19:17 • 08/01
Ex-serviceman killed in Armenia’s Vanadzor

19:16 • 08/01
Armenia’s government to consider draft decision on legal aid to mental patients

18:08 • 08/01
A page of Beethoven may fetch more than $200,000

17:53 • 08/01
UN to stop updating death toll in Syria conflict

17:45 • 08/01
S Sudan peace talks falter as Uganda sends in troops

Etihad Airways to Operate Abu Dhabi-Yerevan Flights Next Year

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11:52, December 17, 2013

Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the U.A.E., will provide scheduled flights to Armenia from Abu Dhabi come July 2014.

With its fleet of 66 aircraft, Etihad operates over 1,000 flights weekly to the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and North America.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

10 historical ‘facts’ that are completely false

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According to Business Insider, we can blame Hollywood, the media, and even history teachers for perpetuating certain totally ridiculous or unfounded “facts” about history.
1. Jewish slaves didn’t build the pyramids.
This popular myth reportedly stems from comments made by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin when visiting Egypt in 1977, according to Amihai Mazar, professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
“No Jews built the pyramids because Jews didn’t exist at the period when the pyramids were built,” Mazar told the AP.
Recent archaeological finds actually show that Egyptians built the pyramids themselves.
“The myth of the slaves building pyramids is only the stuff of tabloids and Hollywood,” Dieter Wildung, a former director of Berlin’s Egyptian Museum, told the AP. “The world simply could not believe the pyramids were build without oppression and forced labor, but out of loyalty to the pharaohs.”
2. Cleopatra wasn’t Egyptian.
Cleopatra belonged to the Ptolemaic dynasty, a family of Greek origin that ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great. Her family actually refused to speak Egyptian, and she was the first to learn the language.
The misconception about her nationality may have arisen from the way she represented herself in public — as the reincarnation of Isis, an Egyptian goddess.
3. Vikings didn’t wear horned-helmets.
Archaeological evidence doesn’t show any evidence of horned-helmets. Death sites instead tell us most Viking warriors went bare-headed or wore leather headgear, according to The History Channel.
This popular, albeit false, image of burly men striding into battle with horns apparently dates back to the 1800s, when Swedish artist Gustav Malmstrmstems included the imagery in his work. Some of Wagner’s operas also included costumes with horned-helmets.
4. Christopher Columbus didn’t discover America.Columbus struck land in the Caribbean and also explored Central and South America, but he never set foot on North America. Nonetheless, the U.S. celebrates Columbus Day every year.
Also, thinkers as far back as Pythagoras, a Greek mathematician in the sixth century B.C., knew the world was round. Columbus even supposedly planned his trip using a copy of Ptolemy’s “Geography,” which included theories about the world’s spherical shape.
5. The Pilgrims didn’t host the first Thanksgiving.
First of all, the Pilgrims ate numerous meals for giving thanks before the one typically cited as the origin of our modern holiday. Also, Spaniards in Florida celebrated a similar event in 1565, well before the Pilgrims in 1621 (indeed, historians don’t know if the legendary 1621 dinner even happened.
It’s also not clear what the Pilgrims ate at this famous dinner. Some accounts put venison on the table — though it’s not surprising that roasting turkeys caught on more than the much larger and more complicated deer.
While we’re on the subject, Abraham Lincoln didn’t make Thanksgiving a national holiday until 1863 — on the last Thursday of every November. But wait, we used to celebrate Turkey Day on the third Thursday, right? President Roosevelt moved the holiday in 1939 to make the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas just a little longer, giving people more time to shop, thus boosting the economy. Congress later changed it back.
6. Napoleon Bonaparte wasn’t short.
Well, at least he wasn’t as short as we think. Yes, Napoleon stood at 5 feet 2 inches — in pre-French Revolution units — but that’s about 5 feet 6 inches in U.S. measurement. That’s taller than the average male height in France at the time of 5 feet 5 inches.Napoleon may have earned the name “Le Petit Caporel” (The Little Corporal) affectionately. Still, we use the term “Napoleon Complex” to refer to small men with inferiority problems.
7. Marie Antoinette didn’t say, “Let them eat cake.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote in his novel, “Confessions,” that “a great princess” spoke these inconsiderate words. While many assume he was referring to the famous Marie Antoinette, however, there is no evidence to support this claim.
Noted biographer Lady Antonia Fraser attributed the quote to another French princess: “[Let them eat cake] was said 100 years before her by Marie-Thrse, the wife of Louis XIV. It was a callous and ignorant statement and she, Marie Antoinette, was neither.”
The quote — or something like it — had been previously attributed to many royals, dating back to Emperor Hui of Jin in Zizhi Tongjian.
8. Paul Revere never yelled, “The British are coming!”
First of all, Paul Revere needed to keep his knowledge of the Brits’ arrival on the down-low. British troops had already camped out across the Massachusetts countryside, according to The History Channel. Also, the colonists still considered themselves British. If anything, Paul Revere probably told people on a need-to-know basis about the “regulars” — the colonists’ term for British soldiers.
9. George Washington didn’t have wooden teeth.
Washington did have horrifically bad teeth. He even wore multiple sets of dentures throughout his life made of ivory, gold, and lead — but not wood, according to the organization that runs Washington’s famed estate, Mount Vernon.
Washington did love his port though. The burgundy-colored drink may have stained his teeth, making them appear brown and grainy, like wood.
10. Albert Einstein didn’t fail math.
Einstein actually excelled at math from a young age. The rumors that he couldn’t adequately solve an equation started on “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.”
In his book, “Einstein: His Life And Universe,” Walter Isaacson wrote about Einstein’s response to the Ripley’s claim: “I never failed in mathematics. Before I was 15 I had mastered differential and integral calculus.”
Einstein’s matriculation certificate, received at the age of 17, even shows the highest marks, a “6,” in Algebra and Geometry.

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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

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.

2013 in Civil Society: Protests and more protests

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The struggle of civil movements this year has been comprehensive and diverse with limited success in certain fields due to unified efforts and active involvement of the civil society.

Despite the rather passive start of the year in terms of civil movements, the second half of 2013 turned out to be tense with active developments.

Some analysts believe that especially after the February 18 presidential ballot, when current president Serzh Sargsyan won a decisive victory over his opponents and was re-elected for a second term, despite the widespread poverty and atmosphere of injustice in the country, people became even more aware of the fact that is it impossible to achieve changes via elections and started practicing their constitutional rights to civil protest and disobedience more frequently.