Armenian Deployment In Lebanon Set For October

Armenia plans to join a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon with a small contingent of troops in October, a senior Armenian diplomat said on Monday.

According to the Foreign Ministry in Yerevan, the Armenian ambassador to the UN, Zohrab Mnatsakanian, made the announcement during hearings on worldwide peacekeeping operations that were held at the UN Security Council in New York.

Plans for the deployment of some 60 Armenian soldiers near Lebanon’s borders with Israel and Syria were first announced by Yerevan in June last year. Armenia’s top army general visited Italy shortly afterwards to discuss practical modalities of their participation in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Sarkisian ‘Still Undecided’ On Parliamentary Republic

President Serzh Sarkisian wants to curtail sweeping constitutional powers enjoyed by him but has yet to decide whether Armenia must be transformed into a parliamentary republic, one of his political allies said on Tuesday.

Sarkisian’s plans to enact corresponding amendments to the Armenian constitution were high on the agenda of his meeting last week with Vazgen Manukian, the chairman of the Public Council, and other members of body advising him on domestic and foreign policies.

“As a system, the parliamentary republic is better,” Manukian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “I don’t doubt it. I’m just not sure this is the right time for such a transition.”

U.S. Commitment To Karabakh Peace ‘Renewed’

The United States will continue to press for a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with renewed vigor, the U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, John Heffern said on Tuesday.

“Secretary of State [John] Kerry has recommitted us, has renewed our commitment to finding a peaceful resolution to this conflict,” Heffern told reporters. He did not specify whether this heralds a stronger U.S. push for a Karabakh settlement or new peace proposals to the conflicting parties.

Heffern said Washington hopes that the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet again “in the not-too-distant future” and try to end the current impasse in the peace process.

Diaspora Tycoon Slams Armenian ‘Monopolies’

A prominent Armenian-American businessman sounded alarm bells on Monday over what he sees as a lack of competition in Armenia, saying that it could spell serious trouble for the country’s economy.

Vahak Hovnanian singled out the monopolization of lucrative imports of goods by “a handful of people” close to the government. He declined to name any of them, though.

“That could have deadly consequences for the economy,” Hovnanian warned in an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “I maybe going to extremes but I want people to take note.”

“The monopolies must be broken up,” he said. “Competition is what drives countries forward. There is no competition here. We can’t move forward in this way.”

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Nick Clegg says Russia should not host World Cup 2018

July 27, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

Nick Clegg has joined calls for Russia to face the axe as hosts of the 2018 World Cup as part of tougher sanctions over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, the Guardian reports.
The deputy prime minister said it was “unthinkable” at present that the tournament could go ahead in the country blamed by the west for supplying arms to the separatist rebels accused of causing the deaths of all 298 on board.
Football’s world governing body Fifa this week ruled out calls from some German politicians for Russia to be boycotted, insisting the tournament could be “a force for good”.
But Clegg told the Sunday Times that allowing it to go ahead without a change of course by president Vladimir Putin would make the world look “so weak and so insincere” in its condemnation of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support for the rebels.
The EU has added another 15 individuals and 18 entities to the list of those subject to asset freezes and ambassadors in Brussels are expected to extend the punitive actions to state-owned banks’ access to capital markets and to the arms and energy sectors.
Clegg said however that sporting events should also be part of the package of measures – including the cancellation of Russia’s first F1 Grand Prix, which is due to take place in Sochi in October.
“Vladimir Putin himself has to understand that he can’t have his cake and eat it,” he said.
“He can’t constantly, you know, push the patience of the international community beyond breaking point, destabilize a neighboring country, protect these armed separatists in the east of Ukraine and still have the privilege and honor of receiving all the accolades in 2018 for being the host nation of the World Cup.
“That’s why I’ve come to the view that if he doesn’t change course it’s just not on, the idea that Russia will host the World Cup in 2018.
“You can’t have this – the beautiful game marred by the ugly aggression of Russia on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
“Not only would Vladimir Putin exploit it, I think it would make the rest of the world look so weak and so insincere about our protestations about Vladimir Putin’s behavior if we’re not prepared to pull the plug.
He said that despite F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone’s insistence that there was no case for abandoning the Grand Prix, “the question marks I’m raising will only increase over the next coming weeks and months, over the summer and up to the Grand Prix, about Russia’s entitlement to host these major events.
“Vladimir Putin is a past master at attending these sporting events and, sort of, pretending almost as if everything’s utterly normal and nothing untoward is happening around him.
“And if anyone needed any reminding of how dangerous this conflict is in the heart of Europe, just ask any of the family and relatives of those loved ones they lost in that plane incident last week.”
Clegg said the threat of withdrawing the World Cup would be “a very potent political and symbolic sanction”.
“If there’s one thing that Vladimir Putin cares about, as far as I can see, it’s his sense of status.
“Maybe reminding him that you can’t retain the same status in the world if you ignore the rest of the world, maybe that will have some effect on his thinking.”
He did not rule out the UK as an alternative host given its recent history of putting on successful global sporting events.
“We’ve got the stadiums, we’ve got the infrastructure, and we’ve got the public backing and enthusiasm to host it,” he said.
“That’s a decision for other people. But I’m not saying this just as a, sort of, British land grab to snatch the World Cup from under Vladimir Putin’s nose.”
He backed joined David Cameron’s criticism of a French deal to supply warships to Russia, saying it would be “wholly inappropriate” for it to proceed in the present circumstances.
“Whilst I can entirely understand that the French may have entered into that contract with the Russians in entirely different circumstances, it is wholly inappropriate to go ahead with that now,” he said.
“And as you know, the Prime Minister has reviewed the outstanding licenses that we have got to make sure that we deliver what we unilaterally announced back in March, which was that there would be no exports from Britain of arms products which could in any way fuel or fan the flames of the conflict in Ukraine.”
He said he had been assured by business secretary Vince Cable that “great care” was taken to check the remaining licenses.
Clegg predicted that any adverse effects on EU member states of tougher economic sanctions against Russia would be “probably not very significant” and urged all countries to consider the wider benefit.
“We are now moving, I think, towards a situation – and both the prime minister and I would be united in this – in saying to other European Union leaders, look, even if this incurs short-term political damage to this economy or that economy, this sector or that sector, there is something bigger at stake here and it is the stability of the European continent.”
Clegg said the furore over the 160,000 paid in a Tory fundraising auction by the wife of a Russian oligarch who was a minister in Putin’s first government for a game of tennis with Cameron and Boris Johnson mostly demonstrated the need for reform of political party funding.
“They need to make their own judgments,” he said, when asked if his coalition partners should meet Labour demands to repay the money.
“But all parties … continue to be damaged because of the haphazard way which we have to go around fund raising,” he added – calling on both main parties to stop blocking reform.

Erdogan prefers Davutoglu as Turkey’s premier – expert

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Expert in Turkic studies Hakob Chakryan believes that Turkish PM Recep Erdogan will be elected Turkey’s president.
He does not rule out that Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu, rather than incumbent President Abdullah Gul, may be appointed Turkish premier.
“Gul has for many years been Turkish president. If he is appointed premier, he will be too strong for Erdogan to dictate his will to him,” Mr Chakryan told Tert.am.
Erdogan stresses that, in contrast to his predecessor, he, if elected Turkey’s president, will interfere in the government’s activities as he is the head of the Executive.
“None of the Turkish presidents has ever taken part in cabinet meetings. However, since Erdogan is willing to be an active president, Davutoglu is a better candidate for premiership for him.”

NKR president visits Kotalak village

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President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) Bako Sahakyan visisted on Sunday the Kolatak village of the Martakert region and took part in a ceremony of founding a new dwelling district to be built for the Defense Army servicemen.
The Head of the State expressed gratitude to philanthropist Hayk Maghakelyan for sponsoring such an important program qualifying one of the best manifestations of the Motherland-Diaspora ties, which would have a positive contribution to strengthening the defense capacity of Artsakh and improving living conditions of its citizens.
Defense minister of the Republic of Armenia Seyran Ohanyan, NKR defense minister Movses Hakobyan and other officials were present at the event.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Nine new characters added to Game of Thrones cast

July 27, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

Nine new characters have been unveiled for the fifth season of Game of Thrones, the BBC reports.
The announcement was made via a video during a press conference at the Comic Con event in San Diego.
Among those joining the HBO show will be Jonathan Pryce, who played a James Bond villain in Tomorrow Never Dies.
Alexander Siddig, who’s starred in 24, and Oscar nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes will also feature.
More than 6,000 people attended the Game of Thrones press conference.
Existing cast on the panel included Kit Harrington (Jon Snow), Gwedoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark).No plot details were revealed but a blooper reel was played, as well as a video announcing the nine new characters and who will play them.
Pryce will play the High Sparrow while Castle-Hughes will appear as Obara Sand.
Siddig is Doran Martell, the lord of Dorne and older brother to the late Oberyn Martell.
Toby Sebastian has been cast as Prince Doran’s son, Trystane Martell, the heir to Dorne.
Nell Tiger Free is Myrcella Baratheon, DeObia Oparei is Areo Hotah, Enzo Cilenti will be Yezzen, Jessica Henwick is Nymeria Sand and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers is Tyene Sand.

Sandra Bullock: America’s sweetheart at 50

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If there were ever a contest for “America’s sweetheart,” Sandra Bullock would be tough to beat, according to the CNN.
The daughter of an Army employee and a German vocal coach, Bullock has continually struck a chord with fans over her nearly 30-year career. At turns charming and relatable, she comes across as extremely genuine in a field that makes its magic through pretending.
As the actress celebrates her 50th birthday on July 26, her stock as the long-standing favorite is as solid as ever.
Examine the evidence: She is firmly in the top 10 list of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses, and her films tend to make money. Her 2013 sci-fi thriller “Gravity,” which starred Bullock as an astronaut lost in space, earned $716 million worldwide.
And in her personal life, Bullock has managed to remain pretty scandal-proof. At the height of a devastating marital breakup from Jesse James in 2010, when lurid tabloid headlines appeared about his alleged affairs, Bullock shocked the world with news that she had secretly adopted an African-American son from New Orleans.
Not only was it surprising that the Oscar-winning actress had such a tight circle that she was able to conceal a monumental personal moment, but unlike some other celebs who had been criticized in the black community for transracial adoptions, Bullock and her decision were mostly embraced.
Even other celebrities adore her. “Avengers” star Chris Evans has been quoted as saying Bullock was his first celebrity crush.”I saw ‘Speed’ when I was in seventh grade, and I was like, that’s my lady,” Evans said. “I literally had a big poster (of her).”
It’s easy to see why a preteen Evans fell for Bullock. In interviews Bullock can be funny, self-deprecating and just downright cool.
During an appearance on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” to promote her 2013 buddy cop comedy, “The Heat,” she and the host good-naturedly took verbal swipes at each other. When Ferguson mentioned the film “Dumb and Dumber” (in an apparent reference to the way their interview was going), Bullock volleyed back about that movie.
“Poop humor is fun,” she said jokingly. “If you do the toilet scenes well and commit to them they can be really, really powerful.”
Not many Academy Award winners would tackle such a subject, but it’s not surprising from Bullock, who proudly told Us Weekly that her now-3-year-old son, Louis, is fully potty-trained. While the actress has almost always been tagged as more girl next door than vixen, motherhood has clearly helped settle her even more.
She’s been very outspoken about the fact that she would give it all up, the career and the fame, if it wasn’t good for her son in any way.”I don’t want him to have pressures brought on by what I do. I will quit. I will leave,” she told Vogue last year. “If I see whatever I’m doing affecting him negatively, I will pack up and move to Alaska.”
That probably helps explain why the self-professed homebody would much rather be spending time with her kid than working the press. Eschewing the Hollywood scene, the “Blind Side” star has made paparazzi literally chase her outside the usual city limits, choosing to build her life in cities like Austin, Texas, and New Orleans.
Being on the red carpet, she told CNN at a 2013 premiere of “Gravity,” is extreme enough for her.
“Being in front of a camera, in a nice dress, getting all dressed up is extreme,” Bullock said. “There’s a lot of other extreme situations, you know, just getting out of bed sometimes is extreme — but I do it. Just got to do it, just got to get up. Put your sweatpants on, brush off the dog hair and just get out of the house!”
Part of what Bullock does when she gets “out of the house” is give back to the city of New Orleans. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Bullock “adopted” Warren Easton Charter High School, and has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the institution.
In May 2014, she surprised the graduating class with a commencement speech.
“They’re infections, they inspire me,” Bullock said of the students. “They make me get off my butt and try to do better. … I’ve been taking and taking from (the city of New Orleans), and when everything happened with Katrina, that’s when you realize you have to put back.”

Luis Suarez ruling likely in August

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Barcelona recruit Luis Suarez’s appeal against his biting ban could be heard before the Spanish league season starts next month, the West Australian reports.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Friday that Suarez, the Uruguay football federation and Barcelona have filed a request for a fast-track appeal against FIFA’s ban for nine competitive international matches and four months from all football.
“It is likely that a final award will be rendered well before the end of August,” the court said in a statement.
The Spanish league season begins the weekend of August 23-24, when Barcelona host Elche.
FIFA must also agree to a fast-track procedure.
No hearing dates have yet been agreed to, the court said.
Arbitrators have also yet to be appointed to judge the case.
In typical appeals to CAS, both sides and the court each choose one lawyer on the three-member panel.
FIFA’s sanctions imposed on Suarez also included a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs ($A121,179) for biting the shoulder of Italydefender Giorgio Chiellini in a group match at the World Cup.
Uruguay beat Italy 1-0 with a goal scored one minute after Suarez’s bite was missed by the match officials.
The South Americans advanced to the second round, but without its star striker were easily beaten by Colombia.FIFA’s disciplinary panel imposed the ban on June 26.

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. 

550 ceasefire violations reported this week

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Azerbaijan’s armed forces violated the ceasefire across the Contact Line with Nagorno-Karabakh 550 times in the past week.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army reports that the adversary released over 5,000 gunshots against Armenian defense positions from weapons of different calibers.
Prompt operations by the Army’s frontline military units helped suppress the Azerbaijani side’s activeness. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

‘Dirty secrets’ of UK’s poultry industry revealed

July 26, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

Three of the UK’s leading supermarkets have launched emergency investigations into their chicken supplies after a Guardian investigation uncovered a catalogue of alleged hygiene failings in the poultry industry.Undercover footage, photographic evidence and information from whistleblowers has revealed how strict industry hygiene standards to prevent the contamination of chicken with the potentially deadly campylobacter bug can be flouted on the factory floor and on farms.
Specific incidents identified in the last month include a factory floor flooded with chickens guts in which the bacteria can flourish, carcasses coming into contact with workers’ boots then returned to the production line and other poor practices involving points in the production chain that increase the risk of its spread.
The evidence prompted Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer to launch emergency investigations into their chicken sources over the last week.
The concern centres on the bacteria campylobacter, which at the last count was present in two-thirds of British fresh chicken sold in the UK. Although the bug is killed by thorough cooking, around 280,000 people in the UK are currently made ill each year by it and 100 people are thought to die. Contamination rates are known to have increased in the past decade.
Read more on the Guardian website.

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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

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

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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

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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.