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Obama To Again Avoid ‘G-Word’

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After a reportedly heated debate within his administration, U.S. President Barack Obama has decided to again refrain from calling the 1915 Armenian massacres in Ottoman Turkey a genocide in an annual statement expected later this week.

Obama will at the same time send a high-level U.S. delegation to Friday’s official ceremonies in Yerevan that will mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

The White House announced late on Tuesday that the delegation will be headed by U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and comprise four members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

South Korean PM offers to Resign in his own Fight Against Corruption

April 21, 2015 Armenia, Business, Video No Comments
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21:36, April 21, 2015

The prime minister of South Korea offered his resignation on Monday, having become the target of his own war on corruption.

Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo came under pressure to resign after a businessman claimed earlier this month to have given Lee 30 million won (about US$ 27,700) in illegal donations in 2013, according tothe New York Times.

The businessman, Sung Wan-jong, hung himself on April 9, the same day he was due in court to face prosecutors seeking his arrest, the Financial Times reported. He had been a key target in the“war on corruption”that Prime Minister Lee and President Park Geun-hye launched last month to investigate allegations of graft in the administration of Park’s predecessor, Lee Myung-bak.

Five Minutes with Serj Tankian

April 20, 2015 Armenia, Film, Music, Turkey, Video No Comments
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22:19, April 20, 2015

By Jason Sohigian, An exclusive for Hetq Online 

This virtual interview was conducted with artist/activist Serj Tankian just as he was about to hit the stage with System of a Down in Moscow. The band has been on the road as part of the Wake Up The Souls tour to raise global awareness of the Armenian Genocide. Tankian and his bandmates have been featured in numerous interviews about the tour including Reddit, Rolling Stone and NPR. 

System of a Down arrives in Yerevan on Thursday for their long-anticipated first-ever performance in Armenia. The free outdoor concert in Republic Square will be streamed on the worldwide web on April 23rd, making it their most widely viewed performance of all time. The band has a huge global following with 20 million fans on Facebook alone, so this is expected to be a huge multimedia event raising awareness of the Genocide. 

Serj Tankian presents "100 Years" Commemorative Video

April 16, 2015 Armenia, Music, Video No Comments
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11:52, April 16, 2015

Serj Tankian presents “100 Years” Commemorative Video.

“Some of you have already heard the composition “100 Years” that I co-composed with my good friend John Psathas. Here is a video we edited that features the musicians who actually helped us record this somber commemoration to honor the Armenian, Greek and Assyrians victims of the first genocide of the 20th century”,- Serj Tankian wrote in his Facebook page.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

EU Parliament Urges Turkey To Recognize Armenian Genocide

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The European Parliament on Wednesday urged Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire and unconditionally normalize relations with Armenia, in a resolution dedicated to the approaching 100th anniversary of the mass killings.

The resolution strongly condemned by Ankara “pays tribute the memory of the one-and-a-half million innocent Armenian victims who perished in the Ottoman Empire.” It says that the European Union’s legislative body “joins the commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide in a spirit of European solidarity and justice” and calls on the EU’s executive bodies to follow suit.

The European Parliament stressed that Turkish-Armenian reconciliation is impossible without “truth and remembrance.” Accordingly, it urged Turkey “to come to terms with its past, to recognize the Armenian Genocide and thus to pave the way for a genuine reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian peoples.”

Yerevan Explores Deals With Italian Defense Firms

April 13, 2015 Armenia, Top News, Video No Comments
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Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and top executives of several Italian defense firms have reached tentative agreements on a joint manufacturing of military equipment, Armenia’s Defense Ministry said on Monday.

According to a statement released by the ministry, Ohanian toured the offices of those firms during a visit to Italy late last week. “Given the mutual interest in developing cooperation in the area of defense industry, understandings were reached on the implementation of a number of joint projects,” it said.

According to the statement, it was also agreed that the two sides will exchange visits of “specialized groups” that will visit each other’s defense enterprises and then submit “proposals regarding production, modernization and maintenance of weapons and military hardware.”

Seven Hour Search of Founding Parliament Office Ends: Seized Items Trucked Away

April 7, 2015 Armenia, Karabakh, Video No Comments
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16:27, April 7, 2015

The seven hour search of the Yerevan central office of the Founding Parliament (FP) organization by Armenian law enforcement wrapped up minutes ago.

Items seized during the search have been loaded onto a waiting truck

The search began at 6:30 this morning according to an earlier communiqué by the FB. During the search, several night watchmen and an adolescent, were locked in the office and couldn’t leave.

Before the search was over, FP member Gagik Sarukhanyan arrived on the scene and opened the door with a key in his possession. An individual in civilian clothes standing inside showed Sarukhanyan his certificate.

-          Show me the court order allowing the search, Sarukhanyan demanded.

Ohanian Visits Karabakh After Deadly Fighting

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Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian met with the commanders of Nagorno-Karabakh’s armed force and inspected the scene of their latest deadly firefight with Azerbaijani forces during a weekend trip to the territory.

Ohanian travelled to Karabakh on Saturday two days after three Armenian soldiers were killed and four others wounded while reportedly fighting back an Azerbaijani attack on their positions in the northern Martakert district.

The Karabakh Defense Army claimed to have killed at least 10 Azerbaijani troops in what was the most serious instance of ceasefire violation in the Karabakh conflict zone since August. The Azerbaijani military denied launching commando raids or suffering any casualties in the area on Thursday, however.

Artsakh Defense Ministry Refutes Azerbaijani Video Showing Surrender of Armenian Soldier

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18:17, March 23, 2015

The Artsakh Ministry of Defense stated today that a video clip disseminated by Azerbaijani media outlets purportedly showing an Armenian soldier crossing over the line of contact in surrender is a fabrication.

The video surfaced on YouTube yesterday.  

The Artsakh defense ministry claims that the video is a fabrication and an Azerbaijani attempt to show that its forces were in control on the ground at the time.

“Another fact to be noted is that recording such an incident at the time would have been impossible at the frontline given that our units would have immediately prevented such an event from happening,” reads the ministry’s rebuttal.

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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.

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.