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Bodybuilder forced to give up his career because of devastating bowel disease is now a fitness model

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A bodybuilder struck down with a crippling bowel disease has become a male model – who proudly sports a colostomy bag, the Daily Mail reports. Blake Beckford was preparing to compete in a bodybuilding competition when he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.The painful condition causes inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the rectum and colon, triggering symptoms such as diarrhoea and stomach cramps.Over the next decade, the devastated 33-year-old was treated with a variety of different drugs.But his condition meant he was constantly tired – and needing to go to the loo up to 20 times a day.He was also forced to give up his strict training regime – which had included two-hour gym sessions, six days a week – and lost two stone in weight as his muscle wasted away.By last October, his health had deteriorated so much that he required surgery.Mr Beckford was admitted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for a sub-total colectomy.This involved removing his entire colon before doctors performed an ileostomy – where the small intestine is diverted through an opening in the abdomen.He was fitted with a stoma bag on the outside of his body to collect waste.Doctors also warned the father-of-one he would never be able to train at the level required to be a fitness model.He said: ‘They said to start lifting weights and training to be a physique model would be very unattainable and unlikely.’I was warned there was a risk of hernias and other problems.’But determined to prove them wrong, he began a training regime in January, starting at a weight of 11st 12lbs.Over the last six months he has bulked up to 13st 2lbs and has just appeared in ‘Men’s Fitness’ magazine.And now a personal trainer, he hopes his progress will inspire others with stoma bags to have more confidence.’Mr Beckford, who lives with his partner in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, said: ‘I am determined to show people and society that having a stoma doesn’t change who you are.’It doesn’t mean you’re not normal. You can achieve anything you want to do, you can be attractive, and you can lead a normal life.’He admits that it took some time to get used to his new appearance.’When I came out of hospital, I had to get used to having a stoma,’ he said.’I knew it was there, but found it hard to accept the fact I had this bag on my stomach and what it did.’It was strange because I didn’t even want to show my family at first.’It took a while to build my confidence again, to talk to people openly about having a stoma, to show anyone what I had.’But over time I realised “this is me”.’The operation had also made me feel like a new person. My energy levels were much better and I could enjoy life more.’He now plans to enter his first competition in the physique class of the Miami Pro UK Championships in October this year.He added: ‘After the surgery I remember thinking if I would be happy even if I could just potter around the garden or spend time with my friends and family.’I never thought I would be able to get in this shape and be competing for the first time.’ 
 
 
 

Lack of School and Kindergarten Town’s Main Problems, Says Mayor While Buying Loudspeakers for Town Festivities

July 28, 2014 Armenia, Culture, Sports No Comments
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13:45, July 28, 2014

The two main problems of the town of Burastan in Ararat Province, according to the mayor, are the lack of a school and a kindergarten. However, these issues not yet resolved, the mayor, AshotTarverdyan, has decided to promote the development of culture and sports. Tarverdyan already spoke with a few athletes to hold classes on Olympic sports in their town.

Though the town’s four-year development program includes constructing a new school, the mayor isn’t too hopeful. Besides, he says, children go to the school in neighboring Masis, which is fine for them.

Armenian consulate opens in Lyon

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An Armenian consulate general opened in Lyon, France on Monday, bringing together different high-ranking officials, public, political and cultural figures.
According to a press release by the Foreign Ministry, the ceremony was conducted by Armenian FM Edward Nalbandian, Rhône-Alpes Prefect Jean-François Carenco, Lyon Mayor Gérard Collomb and the head of the region’s General Council.
Legendary French-Armenian singer and musician Charles Aznavour (who is also Armenia’s ambassador to Switzerland) also attended the event.
FM Nalbandian highly stressed the importance of the initiative in his speech, noting that both Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region have a unique significance in the development of Armenian-French relations.
“The first records on the Armenians’ presence in Lyon date back from the Middle Ages. Merchants and later silk-manufacturing Armenians settled and worked in the region,” he said.
“Having taken a narrow flight from the Genocide, thousands of Armenians, who found themselves in Marseilles, went up the river bed of Rhone to find a second homeland in Lyon, Valence, Grenoble, Vienne and elsewhere. They were integrated into the French society to contribute to the development of Rhône-Alpes and its cities and towns. And that contribution continues today.
“With its Armenian churches, monuments, schools, cultural and sports center, Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region demonstrate the high level of the Armenians’ integration and at the same time the connections with Armenia,” he said.
The minister thanked the local authorities, Armenian organizations and the Armenian community members for the continuous strengthening of the bilateral friendship.
The event was widely covered by the media. 

Sarkisian’s Pick For Ambassador Raises Eyebrows

Two retired senior Armenian diplomats criticized President Serzh Sarkisian on Friday for appointing a politically inexperienced former weightlifter as Armenia’s ambassador to neighboring Georgia.

Yuri Vartanian’s appointment, announced on Tuesday, continued a pattern of unusual diplomatic postings made by Sarkisian during his six-year rule. In particular, Sarkisian has given ambassadorial and consular posts to several wealthy Diaspora Armenians who have never lived in Armenia.

Vartanian was named to run the Armenian Embassy in Tbilisi on Tuesday less than two months after being dismissed as minister of sports and youth affairs. He had served as an adviser to Sarkisian before taking up the ministerial post in May 2013.

Russia to tighten entry for ex-USSR citizens

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Starting from next year, the citizens of ex-Soviet republics will be required to carry international passports for travelling to Russia.
According to Rosbalt.ru, the new procedure will not apply to the member states of the Eurasian Customs Union and the common economic area.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry justified the measure by the necessity of establishing common border crossing procedures and keeping migration processes under spotlight.
Russia recently denied the entry of several Tajikistani citizens who carried civilian passports. Under the decision, elaborated signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, entry to and departure from Russia is allowed only in case of the presence of relevant travel document (foreign, diplomatic or naval officer’s passport or certificate permitting the citizen’s return to the Republic of Tajikistan). 

Three Charged for Smuggling Armenian Nationals Into U.S.

June 17, 2014 Armenia, Sports No Comments
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11:18, June 17, 2014

A Los Angeles man was arraigned in a San Diego federal court on Monday for allegedly masterminding a scheme through which Armenian nationals were smuggled to the United States via Russia and Mexico.

Grigor Chatalyan, 44, along with two Armenians from Glendale, are said to have charged up to $18,000 per person according to the indictment unsealed this morning, reports Fox 5 News (San Diego).

Chatalyan’s group allegedly arranged for the Armenian nationals to fly to Moscow, where they were given fraudulent Russian passports to travel to Cancun, Mexico. Once there, they would be taken to Tijuana, court documents state.

Celine Dion’s husband Rene Angelil quits as her manager

June 12, 2014 Diaspora, Sports No Comments
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Celine Dion will go on without husband René Angélil as her manager, the Huffington Post reports.The man who oversaw the Quebec-born artist’s rise to international stardom is stepping back from the job with mutual agreement from the singer, said a Wednesday news release.Quebecor executive Aldo Giampaolo will take over as CEO of Feeling Productions Inc., which manages Dion’s career.”Considering our long-standing friendship, our mutual respect, and our past collaborations, this was a logical step for all of us,” Angélil, 72, said in a statement.He and Giampaolo have a history together. In 1993, Angélil entrusted him to oversee development of the “new Montreal Forum.” It later became the Molson Centre, then the Bell Centre, as it’s known today.Since then, Giampaolo has co-produced “Star Académie,” Quebec’s version of “American Idol,” and worked in various high-level positions at Cirque du Soleil.Most recently, he served as president and CEO of Quebecor Media Inc., Sports and Entertainment Group.Angélil won’t step away from Dion’s career completely: he will serve as chairman of Feeling Productions Inc. while Giampaolo takes over managerial duties.The news comes months after Angélil had a tumour removed from his throat before Christmas, CBC News reported.He had previously been diagnosed with throat cancer in 1999.It also follows a report from last November that Dion and Angélil’s marriage could be on the rocks.Dion was spotted without her wedding ring in a picture that appeared in The National Enquirer last year. She had admitted the pair endured “tough times” together.But Gossip Cop pointed out that she always removes her ring when she performs, and that she was on her way to a soundcheck when the photo was taken.The pair met when Dion was 12 and he was 38. He had heard her demo tape of a song she wrote with her brother and mortgaged his house to finance her first album,Canoe.ca reported.They were married in 1994 at Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica.Dion and Angélil now live in Las Vegas, where she is performing at Caesars Palace. 

Zhoghovurd: Why did Armenian amb. to Iraq skip meeting with president?

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The paper says it has learned from sources that the recent meeting between senior diplomats and President Serzh Sargsyan was not attended by the Armenian ambassador to Iraq.
A source from the Embassy told the paper that Muard Muradyan could not have been present at the event held at the Yerevan Sports and Complex Center on Monday, as he was in Moscow that day. Instead, the Armenian consul is said to have attended the meeting. But the paper claims that Muradyan feels kind of angry with the president, seeing his failure to do anything to prevent the sale of the Complex belonging to his family. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

Armenia’s First Open Air Cinema Opens

June 2, 2014 Armenia, Film, Sports No Comments
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00:21, June 2, 2014

CornPop Cinema, billed as the first open air venue for film lovers in Armenia, has opened on a hill overlooking the Karen Demirjian Sports Concert Complex in Yerevan.

The selection of films to be shown on the large screen after the sun has set for the first seven days of operation was based on a vote via CornPop’sFacebookpage.

On the first evening, admission was free and free popcorn was handed out to movie goers who arrived with pillows and blankets.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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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.