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Alpine skiing-Flier Mayer wins downhill gold

February 9, 2014 Armenia, Sports No Comments
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Matthias Mayer won Olympic downhill gold on Sunday to give the Austrian men’s team the perfect start to the Alpine skiing competition with the first major success of his fledgling career, Reuters reports.
On an overcast day in Sochi when big favorites Bode Miller and Aksel Lund Svindal failed to shine, Italy’s Christof Innerhofer – so nearly living up to his ‘Winnerhofer’ tag – took the silver and Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud snapped up the bronze.
The 23-year-old Mayer, who started 11th, is the son of 1988 super-G silver medallist Helmut. His winning time of two minutes, 06.23 seconds was 0.06 faster than Innerhofer’s.
His gold medal continued an Austrian tradition of first time winners on the biggest stage of all and provided an immediate boost for a men’s team who failed to win a single medal in Vancouver four years ago.
“It’s crazy. It’s the greatest thing you can achieve as a sportsman – unbelievable,” said Mayer, who had set the quickest time in Friday training.
The last Austrian to win the downhill gold was Fritz Strobl in 2002. Compatriots Patrick Ortlieb (1992) and Leonhard Stock (1980) also took their first big career wins in the Olympic downhill.
American Miller, 36, was bidding to become the oldest man to win an Alpine gold at a Games but was left hanging his head after finishing eighth.
“It’s tough, obviously. I was looking to win,” he told reporters after a lingering kiss from his wife. “I obviously thought I had a chance in it. But it’s tough when things don’t go your way.”
The American showman had been 0.31 of a second quicker than Mayer at the second time check but then lost a heap of time in the bottom part of the course to finish in 2:06.75.
Svindal, the downhill world champion and 2010 silver medallist, was pipped to a medal by bearded compatriot Jansrud.
“I didn’t go fast enough, it was difficult at the top and I made lots of mistakes, I lost too much time and the others were too fast,” he said.
“I knew it wasn’t just between me and Bode. Matthias was the fastest and he deserved to win.”

Why Doesn’t Armenia Have Figure Skaters in the Sochi Winter Olympics?

February 8, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Asia, Europe, Sports No Comments
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12:39, February 7, 2014

Anna Babajanyan

Due to a lack of facilities and funding, professional Armenian figures are forced to train abroad and in conditions that are unequal to their counterparts in other countries — which might be part of the reason for their poor track record last month.

When Armenia’s representative finished last at the 2014 European Figure Skating Championships in January in Budapest, some fans were forced to reevaluate the potential of Armenian figure skaters. When it became known that Armenia won’t have a representative in the figure skating competition of the Sochi Winter Olympics, which begins today, social networking sites were buzzing with questions such as “Don’t we have any good figure skaters?” and “Is figure skating as a sport neglected in Armenia?”

Sochi 2014: Team Armenia represented by four athletes at Winter Games in Russia

February 7, 2014 Armenia, Culture, Sports No Comments

Four athletes represent Armenia at the 22nd Winter Olympics opening in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Friday evening. They will compete in two sports.

The Armenian tricolors at the Games taking place February 7-23 will be worn by Shirak region skiers 22-year-old Sergey Mikayelyan, 24 -year-old Artur Yeghoyan and 21-year-old Katya Galstyan. Arman Serebrakian, a 26-year-old Armenian American from California, will represent the nation in Alpine skiing.

Mikayelyan will also be the standard-bearer for Team Armenia during tonight’s opening ceremony in Sochi also to be attended by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.

Sochi 2014 first Olympics allowing women to sky jump

February 7, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Sports No Comments
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After decades of campaigning and a full 90 years since the first men’s competition, women will finally compete in Olympic ski jumping at the Sochi 2014 Games, The Huffington Post reported.Despite the fact that men’s Olympic ski jumping has been around since the 1924 games, women have spent the last few decades campaigning for inclusion. This year, the first ever US women’s ski jumping team will include Lindsay Van, 29, Jessica Jerome, 27, and reigning world champion Sarah Hendrickson, who is just 19 years old.Although the reasons women were prevented from participating in the Olympic sport were mainly logistical, barring women from specific sports is rooted in gender bias – particularly the old notion that rigorous physical activity is dangerous to women’s reproductive organs. 

Climbing On: A group of Armenian mountaineers to conquer the highest peak in Iran

February 6, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Business, Sports No Comments

For most people, the majestic mountains in winter appear even more inaccessible. But for a small group of people the snow-capped peak is an enticing challenge and an opportunity to test their strength and fortitude, overcome fear and enjoy the victory.

“When I go to the mountain, I say ‘Dear Lord, give me the strength to go ahead and reach…’ I like the feeling, when first it seems that my strength is failing, and then suddenly you find such a strong reserve … Overcoming difficulties makes you strong, ” says Yelena Shuvayeva Petrosyan, one of the members of the Armenian alpinists’ team, which today, February 6, are headed to Iran to climb Demavend, the highest peak in Iran (5,671 m height mountain( about18,406 ft) and the holy mountain in Persian mythology.

Schumacher ‘may take months to emerge from coma’, say doctors

February 2, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Sports No Comments
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Michael Schumacher may take weeks or months to come out fully from the artificial coma he has been in for five weeks following his skiing accident, The Daily Mail reports, quoting experts.There are still no guarantees the seven-times Formula 1 champion will recover his health completely.As the anaesthetic keeping him under is slowly reduced, doctors treating him will expand the tests on his reflexes.‘These are to ascertain if the nerves leading to the brain and back to the muscles are functioning,’ said Professor Heinzpeter Moecke, head of the Institute for Emergency Medicine in Hamburg.Schumacher, who spent his 45th birthday in the medically induced coma at Grenoble Hospital, is having his joints and limbs massaged daily to prevent muscles atrophying.Earlier this week he was said to be ‘responding to instructions’ as doctors gradually bring him out of his coma.The seven-time Formula 1 world champion is also reported to have blinked during brain tests.He has undergone a number of neurological exams since Monday and has responded ‘positively’, according to L’Equipe newspaper which cited ‘very reliable sources’.After gradually reducing the sedation of the patient, the team of head doctor Emmanuel Gay have been testing his neurological reflexes since Monday.’During the early stages the patient blinked,’ the leading sports newspaper reported. 

Companies Linked to Armenia’s Top Tax Collector are Paying Less in Taxes

February 1, 2014 Armenia, Sports No Comments
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17:32, January 31, 2014

There are several companies linked to Gagik Khachatryan, president of Armenia’s State Revenue Committee (SRC).

Their owners are either Khachatryan family members or close relatives.

Since the SRC has just published the list of the largest taxpayers in Armenia for 2013, let’s see how much companies linked to the country’s top tax collector are actually paying.

One of the larger taxpayers on the list is the telecommunications company Ucom. 41% is owned by Aram Khachatryan, nephew of Gagik Khachatryan. In 2013, Ucom paid 1.35 billion AMD in taxes and came in 89th on the list of largest taxpayers.

In 2012, Ucom paid much less in taxes – around 200 million AMD. While VAT taxes decreased, profit and income taxes rose.

Armenians in Syria Have Enough Sugar and Rice; Need Diplomatic Support from Yerevan

January 22, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Sports No Comments
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22:18, January 21, 2014

Former Official Proposes Relocation of Armenians to Kessab

Seated in a noisy Yerevan cafe, I was intently listening to an Armenian from Aleppo and a former official tell me about the plight of Armenians still residing in Syria.

I wanted to get a few facts straight and this guy knew what was going on regionally and within the Armenian community. He only had one condition – that he remain anonymous.

“Do you understand?  The life of every Armenian is precious for me. The situation is very delicate,” he said, claiming that both the government and opposition are following the movements of Armenians and the Armenian press. Every word is translated, he said, and thus his wish to remain anonymous.

Municipality: Works on improving Yerevan’s yards will continue

January 21, 2014 Armenia, Sports No Comments

Over the past few years the work on the beautification of Yerevan’s yards has reached an unprecedented level, says the Yerevan Municipality’s press service.

The work was carried out in all administrative centers of Yerevan, and included cleaning, asphalting, renovation and lighting.

In 2013 more than 400 yards were improved; built or installed were 380 children’s swings, 700 units of sports exercises equipments, 1,700 benches, 200 arbors, and 19 football courts. The work on the decoration of a total of 11,190 square meters was done in 240 yards; in some yards installed were fountains with drinking water.

Another 400 yards are expected to be renovated and beautified in 2014. The work will start in spring, and will be conducted with the same approaches and standards, says the mayor’s office.

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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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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


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.