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iPhones allow extraction of deep personal data, researcher finds

July 26, 2014 Diaspora, Video No Comments
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Personal data including text messages, contact lists and photos can be extracted from iPhones through previously unpublicized techniques by Apple Inc employees, the company acknowledged this week, according to Reuters.The same techniques to circumvent backup encryption could be used by law enforcement or others with access to the “trusted” computers to which the devices have been connected, according to the security expert who prompted Apple’s admission.In a conference presentation this week, researcher Jonathan Zdziarski showed how the services take a surprising amount of data for what Apple now says are diagnostic services meant to help engineers.Users are not notified that the services are running and cannot disable them, Zdziarski said. There is no way for iPhone users to know what computers have previously been granted trusted status via the backup process or block future connections.“There’s no way to `unpair’ except to wipe your phone,” he said in a video demonstration he posted Friday showing what he could extract from an unlocked phone through a trusted computer.As word spread about Zdziarski’s initial presentation at the Hackers on Planet Earth conference, some cited it as evidence of Apple collaboration with the National Security Agency.Apple denied creating any “back doors” for intelligence agencies. 

US Intelligence: Russia ‘created conditions’ that led to Malaysia jet drowning

July 23, 2014 Armenia, Video No Comments
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Senior intelligence officials said Tuesday Russia created the “conditions” that led to the downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine but stopped short of directly linking Moscow to the fatal missile strike, Fox News reported.The officials said-that anti Ukraine government forces, which are backed by Russia, likely fired the missile that took down Flight MH-17 last Thursday, killing all 298 aboard.However, they made no direct link to Russia.The assessment follows a series of State Department comments and releases over the weekend that made a strong connection among the strike, Russia and the pro-Russian separatists, who are believed to have fired a SA-11 surface-to-air missile.Officials said the assessment that an SA-11 was used is based in part on footage of the crash-site evidence.They briefed reporters Tuesday under ground rules that their names not be used in discussing the intelligence.The officials said the plane was likely shot down by the separatists who are in eastern Ukraine, based on intercepted communications,satellite photos and social media postings, some of which have been authenticated by U.S. experts.But the officials said they did not know who fired the missile or whether any Russian operatives were present at the launch.Russia took control of the eastern Ukraine city of Crimea shortly after citizens this winter ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.Since then, the separatists have battled with central government forces in eastern Ukraine.A senior intelligence official confirmed Tuesday that the separatists are being training in air defense systems at a Russian training facility in Rostov, near the Ukraine border.However, the official made clear investigators do not know whether those who fired the missile came from Rostov.In terms of who fired the missile, “we don’t know a name, we don’t know a rank and we’re not even 100 percent sure of a nationality,” one official said, adding at another point, “There is not going to be a Perry Mason moment here.”The officials also said Russia has continued to help the rebels after the downing, providing additional tanks and rocket launchers.Western leaders have asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to cooperate with a full investigation.Officials also described a stepped-up campaign by Russia in recent weeks to arm and train the rebels, which they say has continued even after the shooting down of the commercial jetliner.The officials said the most plausible explanation for why the plane was shot down is that the rebels made a mistake. Separatists previously had shot down 12 Ukrainian military airplanes, the officials said.The officials made clear they were relying only in part on social media postings and videos made public in recent days by the Ukrainian government.They said they also had technical and overhead data to support their assessment, which they said could change over time based on new information.One senior intelligence official also said that investigators are confident that the Ukrainian air defense system was not within range of the jetliner, adding that Russian explanations for the downing of the aircraft are not plausible.On Sunday, the U.S. Embassy in Kiev released a document detailing purported eyewitness and other evidence also indicating the airliner was likely brought down by a SA-11 surface-to-air missile fired by the separatists.Embassy officials said they based their analysis on several factors including the increasing flow in recent months of heavy weapons from across the Russian border to the separatist fighters.They also said they had information indicating the separatists are being trained at the facility in southwest Russia.Embassy officials also said a missile launch was detected from the separatist-controlled region at the same time contact was made with the flight.

World’s first-ever chimp dictionary created by scientists

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Our closest living relatives are pretty darn smart. Chimpanzees have complex social lives, and research has shown that they use tools and can even beat us at video games.
And though they can’t speak, scientists now know that chimps use a variety of gestures to communicate with one another, reports the Huffington Post.
Researchers at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland have decoded these gestures to create a “dictionary” of meanings behind the arm and leg movements.
“There is abundant evidence that chimpanzees and other apes gesture with purpose,” study co-author Dr. Richard Byrne, a primatologist and psychology professor at the university, said in a written statement. “It has been known for over 30 years that chimpanzees communicate in this way, but oddly enough nobody has attempted to answer the obvious question, what are these apes actually trying to ‘say’?”

“We are happy from Karabakh” – 35,000 Youtube Hits

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09:50, June 30, 2014

The video of “We are happy from Karabakh”, based on the famous “Happy” song of Pharrell Williams, was circulated yesterday on Youtube.

In a mere 18 hours it has received more than 35,000 views.

It has been produced by Areg Balayan and Arsen Beglaryan with the support of “Hayastan” All Armenian Fund.  

The video comprises 70 episodes with participation of over 120 people. The long-time friend of Artsakh Baroness Caroline Cox of the UK House of Lords also took part in the project, dancing together with disabled people and employees of the Stepanakert rehabilitation center.
Its authors aim to demonstrate that Artsakh is not a conflict, but a developing state with happy people, who enjoy their everyday lives.

UN Security Council demands investigation of journalists’ death in Ukraine

June 18, 2014 Diaspora, Video No Comments
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The United Nations Security Council adopted a statement Tuesday calling for an investigation into the death of journalists in Ukraine, the Voice of Russia reports.The text of the statement was read out by Russia’s envoy to UN Vitaly Churkin. “The members of the Security Council encourage a thorough investigation of all incidents of violence involving journalists. The members of the Security Council expressed concern about reported cases of detention and harassment of journalists covering the crisis in Ukraine,” Churkin said.According to the statement, the members of the Security Council expressed deep concerns over multiple detentions and attacks on journalist on assignment in Ukraine.The council also expressed condolences to the families of all the media workers murdered while covering events in the crisis-hit country, including two Russian journalists who died June 17 and an Italian journalist killed May 25 together with his Russian interpreter.Reporter for the state-run VGTRK Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company television Igor Kornelyuk died Tuesday from wounds he sustained during a mortar attack near the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk.The death of his colleague, video engineer Anton Voloshin, was confirmed later in the day.Following the incident Russia’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal investigation into the deadly attack.Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko also ordered a thorough investigation into the death of the Russian reporters. 

Public Hearing Closed to the Public? Case of Armenian Activist Shant Harutyunyan and Supporters

June 12, 2014 Armenia, Karabakh, Video No Comments
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15:17, June 12, 2014

Many of the Defendants’ Relatives Couldn’t Enter the Courtroom

The first hearing in the case of Shant Harutyunyan and the 13 other men arrested with him was held today in the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts of Yerevan. 

The 14 men, who have been in pre-trial detention for 7 months, are accused of “hooliganism” in an incident with police that occurred on Mashtots Avenue in central Yerevan on November 5, 2013. On this day, Harutyunyan, calling for an anti-government revolution, prepared to march to the presidential palace with dozens of his supporters, many of whom were armed with sticks and homemade stun grenades. The group, however, was stopped by police, and in the altercation that followed, Harutyunyan and the 13 men were arrested and accused of assaulting police officers. Some eyewitnesses claimed that   plainclothes officers and provocateurs were on the scene. 

Alien Robots to the Rescue: Activists Enlist Polish Filmmakers to Save Old Zvartnots Terminal

June 6, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Film, Video No Comments
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11:54, June 6, 2014

A group of activists in Armenia opposed to the dismantling of the old Soviet era terminal at Zvartnots International Airport have turned to Polish filmmakers as allies in their struggle.

The unexpected move is based on the fact that in the late 1980s Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Gradowski used the airport terminal to shoot a scene for his science fiction fantasy film Mr. Blob in the Universe (“Pan Kleks w kosmosie”).

The accompanying video shows a scene from the movie where the alien robots march under the Zvartnots terminal.

Armenian president purchases house for large family

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Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has presented a two-storey house to a large family – Sarine Khachatryan and her six children, with one of them named Serge Sargsyan.“Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan purchased a two-storey house in the village of Zuigaghbyur and presented it to the large family, who are the heroes of our video report. The house has a curtilage and a cattle shed,” reports the Shirak center.Interestingly, the family are waiting for their seventh child. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

Montenegro: Biggest Drug Bust In History

June 5, 2014 Armenia, Video No Comments
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18:28, June 5, 2014

Custom officials in the port city of Bar have seized 250 kilograms of cocaine shipped from Ecuador. This is the largest drug bust in Montenegrin history, reports web portal Vijesti.

Vijesti reports that a source close to authorities said that the drugs were hidden in a shipment of bananas. 

Officials said that they became suspicious during a routine inspection, in which they found that the floor of the shipping container had been altered.

Vijesti published a video clip of the drug bust showing officials prying open the floor to reveal small packages underneath.

The director of customs, Vladan Joković, said that 223 packages were found and the estimated value is more than US $17 million, reports Vijesti.

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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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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.

Armenian Foreign Policies 2013: Customs Union, U-turn on EU accord, Karabakh, Turkey, regional developments


2013 became a milestone year for Armenia not only in its foreign, but also domestic politics. After nearly four years of negotiations with the European Union over the signing of an association agreement on September 3 Armenia unexpectedly announced its intention to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This decision has had its influence not only on Armenia proper, but also on the processes elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Inspired by Armenia’s decision, Russia stepped up its pressure on Ukraine, which suspended the process of signing of the Association Agreement with the EU one week before the Vilnius summit of Eastern Partnership. As a result, on November 29 such agreements were initialed only by Moldova and Georgia.