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Indiegogo Fundraising Campaign Launched to Assist Fencing School in Armenia

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19:12, May 8, 2014

Emil is one of our top fencers here in Armenia. He comes to practice every day (except Sundays) along with the other handful of students at the Albert Grigoryan Fencing School – one of the seven fencing schools in Armenia. Conditions at the Armenian schools are, however, far below what would be considered a minimum standard for fencing practice.

As I am also a fencer in America, I have seen first-hand how schools there usually have 8 to 16 fencing strips (whereas, in Armenia, we have only one). Air conditioning is also missing here (only half of the windows at our school open fully). The fencing schools in the USA all have fully-lit rooms, while just a few of the electrical circuits in our ceiling work here. American fencing schools also have fully working equipment which is always available to all students – both old and new. Here, at our Armenian school, we need to take turns using the same equipment every few minutes.

My Family’s Saga: Execution by Shooting

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19:00, May 4, 2014

Vahan Ishkhanyan

Three orders – execution by shooting; that took the life of my two grandfathers and one grandmother.

Three documents that orphaned by mother and father.

I finally have the three orders in my possession; copies of course.

They executed Vahan Cheraz, my mother’s father, on January 9, 1928.

They executed Vardanoush Cheraz, my mother’s mother, on December 26, 1937.

They executed Ratikhan-Avetis Kirakosyan, my father’s father, on December 10, 1937.

The only grandparent that they didn’t execute, or didn’t get around to execute, was Haykanoush, my father’s mother. She died in 1930. Had she lived, they probably would have executed her, or exiled her, as they did to her second husband Gurgen Kalshyan, a Bolshevik.

Choking Embrace: ‘Mother’ Russia says won’t tolerate ‘outside interference’ in friendly countries

April 18, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Asia, Georgia, Sports No Comments
Armenian News

Russia will prevent any aggressive intervention in the internal affairs of friendly countries made “under the pretext of planting ideas alien to our minds and hearts”. This was stated by Russian Ambassador to Armenia Ivan Volynkin during the Seventh Forum of Russian compatriots in Armenia on April 12.

Armenia has still not officially protested against this statement by the Russian diplomat. But in the media there have been some articles describing it as “diplomatic nonsense” and a bid for total control of “hearts and minds” in Armenia.

The relations between Armenia and Russia increasingly appear to be contradictory: on the official level the two sides state about their fraternal friendship, loyalty for all times to come, about Armenia’s intentions to integrate into the pro-Russian Eurasian space. And on the “second level” the entire spectrum of conflict of interests and intentions of Armenia and Russia is manifested.

The 100 Years, 100 Facts Project Launches April 24

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11:08, April 17, 2014

On the threshold of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, The 100 Years, 100 Facts Project will commemorate the genocide by publishing facts about Armenians twice a week, starting April 24, 2014 and culminating on April 24, 2015. These facts will be published on 100years100facts.com – linked through its social media accounts on Facebook,Twitter,Instagram, andGoogle+.

“The idea of using social media and the internet as a means to commemorate the Armenian Genocide and connect a population scattered around the world was inspirational to me,” said Lena Adishian, project lead, based in Los Angeles. “While curating one hundred facts about Armenia and Armenians is no easy task, we hope that audiences find the content educational and engaging.”

In the Tavoush Village of Achadjour Owning Land Has Lost its “Shine”

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16:16, April 16, 2014

Residents of Achadjour describe their village as prosperous, pointing to the high prices that houses go for and the low numbers of those leaving for greener shores.

The village lies in Armenia’s northeastern province of Tavoush, and is situated a few kilometers from the Azerbaijani border.

Nevertheless, their main source of revenue remains money transfers from friends and relatives abroad.

Every year, some 1,200 souls leave for seasonal work outside Armenia and return at the start of winter. They say the local water and earth is what draws them back from Russia.

Kamo Ghaltakhchyan, the present mayor of Achadjour, has returned after residing in Russia for many years. He’s been at the job since December and the garbage issue was his main priority.

Migration Concerns: New privileges for Armenians in Russia involve demographic risks

April 10, 2014 Armenia, Sports No Comments
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A document was signed between the migration services of Armenia and Russia during the recent visit of Secretary of the Armenian National Security Council Artur Baghdasaryan to Moscow. Details of that document are not yet known, it is only reported that it will help coordinate the residence and work of Armenian migrants in Russia.

Beginning on January 1, 2014 Russia tightened conditions of stay for foreign workers, reducing the duration of their stay in the country down to three months – without the right of return for the next three months. The Armenian leadership has stated that it intends to achieve privileges for Armenian migrants, as Armenia and Russia are strategic allies.

Reality Check: Teams of 2013 presidential rivals assess situation on anniversary of ‘dueling inaugurations’

April 9, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Sports No Comments
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One year after the ‘inauguration’ ceremonies of “Secure Armenia” and “New Armenia” held by official winner of the 2013 presidential election Serzh Sargsyan and his top challenger Raffi Hovannisian, representatives of the two men’s parties differ in their evaluations of the past 12 months that have seen some very significant political events. Representatives of the ruling party say the past year has been a period of achievements, the opposition sees only losses and missed opportunities.

Sargsyan, who officially gained more than half of the vote in the February 18, 2013 election was sworn in for his second and last five-year term as president in the Sports and Concert Hall in Yerevan on April 9 that year. He took an oath on the Bible and the Constitution. In the meantime, the official runner-up, Hovannisian, gathered supporters in Yerevan’s Liberty Square for a ceremony of “inaugurating a New Armenia”.

Good teeth may help sporting success

April 7, 2014 Diaspora, Sports No Comments
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Dentists say elite athletes could stand a better chance of winning gold medals if they look after their teeth, the BBC reports. The Oral Health and Performance in Sport conference in London heard that athletes’ oral health was often bad and could impair training and performance.At the pinnacle of elite sport, the difference between winning and losing is tiny, so even marginal improvements can make a crucial difference.Doctors for Team GB’s boxing squad are already trying to improve oral health.A study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, showed a fifth of athletes said their oral health damaged their training and performance for the Games.At the conference, dentists said tooth pain could disrupt sleep and training and that inflammation of the gums could affect the rest of the body, impairing performance.It is not unusual for poor oral health to have wider effects. The NHS says it is linked to type 2 diabetes and heart problems.A regular floss, a bottle of mouthwash and good brushing technique are not going to transform a weekend jogger into an Olympian.However, Prof Ian Needleman, director of the International Centre for Evidence-Based Oral Health at University College London, says there could be an impact in elite sport.He told the BBC: “It’s the accumulation of marginal gains, where the difference between elite athletes at the very top is small. Then oral health, amongst other aspects, could make a difference.”The research we did at London 2012 found a large proportion of young athletes, fantastically well tuned physically, had really poor oral health.”Quite a high proportion reported an impact on their training and performance so it’s clearly an issue for them.”Doctors with GB Boxing are already trying to improve dental hygiene after noticing poor oral health had affected training.Dr Mike Loosemore, who has worked with the GB boxing team for 17 years and is a consultant at the English Institute of Sport, told the BBC: “I’ve become aware over the years that dental problems have been interfering with training. It stops them getting that little bit fitter and may have a consequence when they get into the ring and box.”He says things are now improving after regular dental checks were introduced, even if they are not always popular with the boxers.”They don’t like going to the dentist. They’d much rather be training. However, it has made a difference to their teeth and they are spending less time away from their training, and that will make them a better boxer.”They may not appreciate it now, but hopefully they’ll appreciate when they’ve got a gold medal round their neck in Rio [at the 2016 Olympics].”
 

Not Much Bang for the Buck: Armenia Also Exports Firearms

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15:33, March 26, 2014

In 2013, Armenia exported US$128,000 in firearms and imported $1.38 million.

These figures are taken from the State Revenue Committee. They do not specify what types of weapons were bought and sold. The 2013 numbers dropped substantially from the previous year.

The RA Police say there are sixteen businesses in the country permitted to trade in firearms. The largest are Zenki Ashkharh,  Vorsord, Bourastan, Nagan and Aspar.

According to Armenian law, foreign citizens can purchase a weapon in Armenia with a permit issued by the RA Police (with a corresponding motion made by a foreign diplomatic or consular office) on condition that the purchased item be brought out of the country within five days of purchase.

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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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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.