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Prosecutor General Orders Investigation of Assault on Reporter by Parliament Security Chief

September 12, 2014 Armenia, Video No Comments
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17:26, September 12, 2014

Armenia’s Prosecutor General reports that it has launched an investigation of an incident that occurred on September 9 in which the security chief of the National Assembly accosted a reporter who was covering a street art group placing a banner on the perimeter fence of the parliament.

Prosecutor General Karen Hayrapetyan has instructed that videos of the incident be forwarded to the Special Investigative Service for review.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

SanDisk SD memory card ‘largest ever’

September 12, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Film, Technology, Video No Comments
Armenian News

Memory specialist SanDisk has created an SD card with 512 gigabytes (512GB) of storage space – the highest capacity ever released, the BBC reports.
The card, which is the size of a postage stamp, will go on sale for $800 (490).
The launch comes a decade after the firm released a 512-megabyte (MB) SD card with one-thousandth of the space.
Experts believe SD cards could eventually hold up to 2 terabytes (TB) of data, about 2,000GB.
The new card is aimed at film-makers shooting in the high-quality 4K format.
The 4K format – which is four times the resolution of HD – requires large file storage. Depending on compression, a single minute of 4K shooting will typically take around 5GB of storage space.
“4K Ultra HD is an example of a technology that is pushing us to develop new storage solutions capable of handling massive file sizes,” said Dinesh Bahal, vice-president of product marketing at SanDisk.
The SD card format is one of the most widely used standards of flash storage, popular with digital cameras, camcorders and other mobile devices.
While camera types, resolutions and settings vary – a 512GB card could potentially hold around 30 hours of HD video.
John Delaney, a senior mobile analyst from IDC, said innovation in physical storage was critical to the future of our devices – even if a lot of people are turning to cloud storage instead.
“The thing that is driving cloud storage is multiple devices usage – which solves the, ‘Where’s my stuff?’ problem: if you use cloud storage for everything, whatever device you have with you can be used to access your content.”
But he added: “So far there’s still a strong preference for local storage.
“People just feel more in control and more able to rely on being able to access the content when they literally know where it is.
“Storing in the cloud means you literally don’t know where it is.”
Mr Delaney added that recent high-profile security issues around cloud storage – such as the celebrity picture leak last week – would play on the minds of consumers.

Mistaken Identity? Parliament Security Chief Assaults Reporter

September 10, 2014 Armenia, Video No Comments
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19:26, September 9, 2014

After the street art group Counter Strike hung a banner reading “Hello Rob” (referring to former Armenian president Robert Kocharyan) on the National Assembly’s main gate, an irate individual came out and tore down the banner.

He then struck A1+ reporter Marineh Khachatryan, who was covering the incident, on the arm, causing her to drop her Ipad.

The man then identified himself as the parliament’s chief of security, but refused to give his name.

He is in fact Karen Hayrapetyan, the chief of security for the National Assembly.

In the video, Hayrapetyan says that Khachatryan wasn’t wearing her press badge and that he assumed she was a member of the Counter Strike group.

Re-unification with Armenia is Karabakh’s ultimate goal, says parliament member

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On the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence, Tert.am has interviewed Hakob Baghryan, a journalist and a member of the country’s National Assembly, who remembered the chronology of the independence process.
He said Karabakh’s only choice was to proclaim itself independent under the circumstances then, instead of meeting the popular demand (also backed by the political elite) for re-uniting with Armenia. “When the Karabakh movement began in 1988, the historic session was held on February 20 to adopt a corresponding decision on re-unification with Mother Armenia. But the turn of the events led to the “parade” of the Soviet Union’s disintegration, so Azerbaijan quit the USSR on August 30. A new process began, which saw Azerbaijan declare itself a republic and gain independence. But it sought to do that hand in hand with Karabakh, so to say. And we did not delay our response to proclaim Artsakh a republic. In my deepest conviction, it was a right step at the time, as the re-unification with Mother Armenia was not somewhat perceived by the international community.
“On September 2, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region and the region of Shahumyan held a joint session; so September 2 marks the birthday of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. An independence referendum was held on December 10 1991, and on January 6 1992, the Declaration of Independence was adopted, leading to a war,” the journalist remembered.
Baghryan said that he maintains the video records of all the historic moments which later served basis for the documentary entitled Self-Assertion, as well as his latest book, Field of Vision.
Considering the 1991 decision a temporary move, the journalist said he believes that Karabakh’s re-unification with Armenia should be the end-goal of all efforts.
“Artsakh independence has never been internationally recognized for 23 years on, but in my deepest conviction, this is a path and a tool to make Artsakh part of Armenia, as my people desired and as was historically predetermined. I think it was an intermediary step to reach the end-goal. That state exists today, and it is vying for independence. And you know that we have specific results; the State of California has acknowledged Artsakh’s independence, so once the country is internationally recognized, we will have, at least in my opinion, a united Armenia,” he added.
Asked to comment on the country’s achievements over the past period and its future efforts towards proving the irreversibility of independence, Baghryan said he sees that the country’s proven record of democracy clearly shows that a democratic state like Artsakh cannot be part of a totalitarian regime (i.e – Azerbaijan).“The only right path is to build a democratic state, so my belief is that it will eventually take place, and the world will recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. There’s no other alternative,” he noted. 

Islamic state ‘executes’ dozens of Syrian soldiers

August 28, 2014 Diaspora, Video No Comments
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Jihadist militants from Islamic State (IS) appear to have executed “dozens” of Syrian army soldiers, activists say, according to BBC News.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the soldiers were captured while attempting to flee to Hama province after IS stormed the Tabqa airbase.Twitter accounts belonging to jihadists had boasted about 200 deaths, it added.On Wednesday, photos and a video were posted online appearing to show more than 100 men in their underwear being marched through the desert at gunpoint.In the video, militants shout “Islamic State” and “There is no going back”.In images published earlier this week, IS fighters wearing balaclavas could be seen shooting dead at least seven kneeling men at the airbase.Tabqa airbase – near the northern city of Raqqa, an IS stronghold – fell to IS on Sunday after weeks of fierce fighting.The Observatory said 346 IS fighters and more than 170 members of the security forces were killed in the final battle, which lasted five days.
Read more on the BBC website.

Isis reportedly demands $6.6m for freeing American woman

August 27, 2014 Armenia, Video No Comments
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Islamic State militants are reportedly demanding $6.6 million and the release of a US prisoner before they will free a third American hostage held by the group, an unidentified aid worker, Fox News reported.
A source confirmed to Fox News that the aid worker is a 26-year-old woman from the West Coast. They did not provide further details, but ABC News reported that the woman, whose relatives have requested she not be identified, is the third of at least four Americans known to be held by the extremist Muslim organization. American journalist James Foley was executed by the group in a video that circulated online last week. Steven Sotloff, formerly of Miami, Florida, was also seen alive in the same footage and purportedly remains in Islamic State custody.
The terror organization also has demanded that U.S. authorities release Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted in 2010 of trying to kill U.S. officials two years earlier. Siddiqui, 42, who reportedly married a nephew of Al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 2003, was later sentenced to 86 years in prison. The Karachi native, who was educated in the United States and earned degrees from M.I.T. and Brandeis University, remains in federal custody in Texas.

Top 8 highlights from 2014 MTV Video Music Awards

August 25, 2014 Armenia, Music, Video No Comments
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BBC News has singled out eighttop highlights from this year’s MTV Video Music Awards:1. Everyone is talking about Beyonce. And not just because of her metallic leotard. She performed an epic 20-minute set that brought the house down.

2. The singer accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award. She was joined on stage by husband Jay Z and daughter Blue Ivy. Beyonce cried saying: “I am filled with so much gratitude”. The crowd chanted her name.

3. No twerking this year for Miley Cyrus. She won Video of the Year for Wrecking Ball and got a homeless man, Jesse, to collect her award. He’s from My Friend’s Place, a charity the singer supports which helps people on the streets “improve their psychological, intellectual and physical capacity”.

Boko Haram declares new Islamic state in north Nigeria

August 25, 2014 Arts, Diaspora, Video No Comments
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Militant group Boko Haram has said it has set up an Islamic state in the towns and villages it has seized in north-eastern Nigeria.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau was speaking in a video released to congratulate his fighters for seizing the town of Gwoza earlier this month, according to BBC News.
It is not clear if Mr Shekau has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, which controls parts of Iraq and Syria.
Nigeria’s army has rejected the claim as “empty”.
Thousands of people have been killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, since 2009 when Boko Haram began its insurgency.
Gwoza, which had 265,000 residents in the last census, is the biggest town under Boko Haram control.
Read more on the BBC website.

Violent Student Leader Promoted By Government


A pro-government youth activist who led fellow students attacking and verbally abusing journalists last December has been appointed as deputy head of one of Armenia’s leading state-run universities.

Sevak Khachatrian has until now headed the student council of the Armenian State Economics University (ASEU). He earned notoriety during violence that marred the granting of a controversial ASEU doctoral degree to Yerevan Mayor Taron Markarian.

Markarian supposedly defended his dissertation on municipal business administration at a ceremony that was held behind the closed doors despite a legal requirement that such procedures must be open to the public and the media in particular. Journalists, among them an RFE/RL correspondent, were confronted by several dozen aggressive youths led by Khachatrian as they tried unsuccessfully to cover the event. The young men mocked, threatened and swore at the press corps during the scuffle.

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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.