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UK: Police Intercept Stolen Cars At Ports

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17:17, October 21, 2014

In ports across the United Kingdom, shipping containers may conceal stolen vehicles destined for other countries. A recent operation by British authorities seized many of these vehicles before they could be smuggled overseas.

A crackdown codenamed “Operation Toyer” recovered 44 high-end vehicles and SUVs, including BMWs, Range Rovers, Audis, and a Porsche Cayenne. The haul also included Scania trucks and a Komatsu hydraulic excavator, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Police said the vehicles were destined for Africa, Cyprus, France, the USA, Malaysia and Burma. The stolen goods, which also included a container of parts from 29 stolen BMWs, were worth nearly US$ 2 million.

Obama to discuss Islamic State with European leaders

October 15, 2014 Africa, Armenia, Arts, Turkey, Video No Comments
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US President Barack Obama is to hold a video conference with the leaders of the UK, France, Germany and Italy to discuss combating Islamic State (IS), the BBC reports.Mr Obama told foreign military chiefs on Tuesday to expect a long campaign against the jihadist group, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq.He also expressed deep concern about the IS offensive on the town of Kobane, on Syria’s border with Turkey.The Ebola epidemic will also be discussed in the video conference.The World Health Organization (WHO) says 4,447 people have died after contracting the virus, most of them in West Africa.On Wednesday morning, the US authorities confirmed that a second health worker in the state of Texas had tested positive for Ebola.A third item on the video conference’s agenda will be efforts to encourage Russia to implement the Minsk ceasefire agreement with Ukraine.The US-led coalition against Islamic State has stepped up its air strikes on the group’s heavily-armed fighters surrounding the town of Kobane, where Kurdish militia have been holding out for almost a month.The jihadists are also said to be advancing on the Iraqi town of Amariya al-Falluja, one of the last still controlled by government forces in Anbar province and only 40km (25 miles) from the capital Baghdad.”Coalition air strikes will continue in both of these areas,” Mr Obama told a meeting of senior military commanders from more than 20 Western and Arab countries at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington on Tuesday.Mr Obama warned that they were facing a “long-term campaign”.”There are not quick fixes involved. We’re still at the early stages.”"As with any military effort, there will be days of progress and there are going to be periods of setback,” he added.

Hackers Using Malware To Steal Millions From ATM’s

October 11, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Business, Europe, Video No Comments
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21:59, October 11, 2014

ATM machines are being targeted by cyber-criminals using malware to steal millions of dollars around the globe.

Tyupkin, the name of the malware, enables hackers to steal cash from ATMs without using debit or credit cards, but rather with a series of codes, reportsThe International Business Times.

Kaspersky Lab, a Russian security company, detected the cyber attacks, which have thus far been found across Europe, Latin America, Asia, the US, and Israel. As of last March, when the investigation was conducted, more than 50 machines were found to be infected in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Azerbaijan Repatriates Body Of Armenian Captive

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The Azerbaijani authorities repatriated on Friday the body of a resident of an Armenian border village who died in suspicious circumstances one day after wandering into Azerbaijan in early August.

An Azerbaijani government commission dealing with prisoners of war and civilian captives and the International Committee of the Red Cross said Karen Petrosian’s body was handed over to Armenian officials at a western section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

The handover took place several dozen kilometers from Chinari, a village in Armenia’s Tavush province where Petrosian lived until crossing the border with Azerbaijan for still unknown reasons. He was first spotted by residents of Agbulaq, an Azerbaijani village close to Chinari, and handed over to the Azerbaijani military. The 33-year-old was then paraded on Azerbaijani television and accused of being part of an Armenian “sabotage group” that tried to infiltrate Azerbaijan.

Chief Prosecutor Orders Probe Of Attack On Journalist

October 8, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Top News, Video No Comments
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Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian on Wednesday ordered an Armenia law-enforcement agency to launch criminal proceedings in connection with a recent assault on a journalist carried out by a senior security official.

Marine Khachatrian, a correspondent for the A1+ TV station and online news service, was attacked by the chief of the Armenian parliament’s security service, Karen Hayrapetian, as she covered a small demonstration staged outside the National Assembly building in Yerevan on September 9.

Video of the incident showed Hayrapetian slapping Khachatrian in the hand after he and other security guards tore off a big poster which a group of civic activists put on the railings of the parliament compound. The female journalist dropped her video camera as a result.  

Classic video game Tetris to turn into movie

October 3, 2014 Diaspora, Film, Video No Comments
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The classic video game Tetris, in which players slot a cascade of tumbling blocks together, is being turned into a science-fiction movie, Al Arabiya reports, citing developers.
Tetris has been a mainstay of computer gaming since it was created 30 years ago, but the shape-slotting puzzle may not seem like an obvious subject for a big-screen adaptation.
Threshold Entertainment said in a statement that it was partnering with The Tetris Company to develop the film.
“Everyone knows that Tetris is one of the best known, most beloved brands in the world,” Threshold chairman Larry Kasanoff said.
“What everyone doesn’t know yet is this epic scifi story that we’re going to tell. That’s what’s really exciting.”
Threshold has already scored some game-to-movie successes, notably two “Mortal Kombat” films.
Read more on the Al Arabiya website.

57-stone man wins over Facebook with inspirational workout videos

October 2, 2014 Armenia, Video No Comments
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Most of us would do anything to avoid our sweatiest workout pictures finding their way onto Facebook, but a man from St Louis is doing exactly the opposite, reports The Telegraph.
Nearly every day, and sometimes several times a day, Larry Evans posts a video or photo on Facebook updating his followers on his latest gruelling gym workout – from swimming and spinning, to lifting weights and sessions with his personal trainer.
His latest video has attracted nearly 55,000 comments – most of them spurring the St Louis resident on to further success.
One follower wrote: “Well done Larry…you’re an inspiration to many! Keep up the hard work man!” Another said: “I have nothing but respect and admiration for your determination Larry! It’s a long hard road but you can get there.”
The gym where he works out has also got on board – appealing for fellow gym-goers to donate healthy foods and follow Larry’s ‘fitness journey’ using the hashtag #teamlarry.
Read more on The Telegraph website.

Yerevan Traders Punished For Anti-Government Protests

September 27, 2014 Armenia, Business, Top News, Video No Comments
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Armenian law-enforcement authorities indicated on Friday that they will not prosecute the owner of a large jewelry market in Yerevan who has punished its traders taking part in ongoing protests against new taxation rules introduced by the government.

The businessman, Vagharsh Abrahamian, and his aides were on Thursday caught on camera smashing and removing their stalls from the market located in the city center. “Throw them out of the window,” he is shown shouting in video of the incident posted on the website of the “Zhoghovurd” daily.

Blackberry Passport introduces dual-control keyboard

September 25, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Video No Comments
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Blackberry has launched a distinctive handset featuring a square screen and a keyboard that offers both physical keys and touch-enabled gesture controls, the BBC reports.
It said work-focused users in particular should benefit from the Blackberry Passport’s innovations.
Sales of the company’s handsets – which are powered by its own operating system – have been in decline.
Analysts said the new device should appeal to existing Blackberry owners but might struggle to win over others.
The Canadian company’s chief operating officer said the handset’s release was part of a broader turnaround strategy led by John Chen, who became chief executive in November.
“You’re going to see us be very focused,” Marty Beard told the BBC.
“Potentially, in the past we got a little too broad a little too aggressively.
“Our target segment is more enterprise-focused. It’s the power professional. It’s someone who wants to be productive.
“Those users tend to be in regulated industries like banking or healthcare or government. We know those segments really well – in a way it’s getting back to the Blackberry roots.”
The Passport got its name because its dimensions resemble a thick version of the travel document.
It has a 4.5in (11.4cm) touchscreen with a resolution of 453 pixels per inch – higher than Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, but lower than Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4.
Blackberry suggests documents are easier to edit because of the extra width provided by having a square screen, even if it is less suited for watching video.
The keyboard buttons are also touch-sensitive. This allows gesture-based shortcuts that were previously restricted to Blackberry’s all-screen devices.
For example, swiping a finger quickly leftwards along the keys deletes the previous word, while sliding a thumb along them more slowly moves the cursor in the same direction.
In addition, users can select from three anticipated words – shown near the bottom of the screen – by flicking upwards beneath the desired one. This saves having to type the text in full.
“In some cases it takes a while to learn it, because even if you’re familiar with a Blackberry it’s a little bit different because it’s that combination of physical plus virtual,” acknowledged Mr Beard.
“So there may be that learning curve in the beginning, but it’s well worth it, and once people learn it they are flying.”
One expert who has tested the handset supported the claim.
“It certainly made me respond more eloquently to emails rather than just triaging them with a ‘Yes, no, I’ll call you back or see you later’,” said Shaun Collins, founder of the telecoms consultancy CCS Insight.
“However, it’s going to divide opinion – it gives you the Blackberry experience on steroids. But for a broader audience it will be a curiosity.”

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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

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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

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.

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.