Armenian Army Medics Trained By U.S. Instructors

In what a senior U.S. diplomat called on Friday a manifestation of “strong American-Armenian partnership,” U.S. military instructors have trained the first group of teaching personnel for the Armenian army’s new paramedic school.

The 12 Armenian trainers of military medics completed a three-month training course conducted by six U.S. officers with a graduation ceremony near Yerevan attended by Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ohanian said the course has been a “great opportunity” for Armenian military personnel to learn new skills and techniques for providing first medical aid to soldiers wounded in action. “You will now pass on your experience and knowledge to our future paramedics,” he said.

‘Electric Yerevan’ Organizers To Resume Street Protests

An Armenian youth group that was behind the recent “Electric Yerevan” protests said on Friday that it will resume campaign of “civil disobedience” next week, accusing the government of reneging on a pledge to subsidize the energy prices.

Leaders of the group called No To Plunder said that while the tariffs remain unchanged for households for now, Armenian businesses are being forced to pay more for electricity used by them. They said this runs counter to President Serzh Sarkisian’s assurances the government will “shoulder the whole burden” of the more than 17 percent price hike pending the findings of an emergency audit of Armenia’s national power utility.

Ruling Party Claims Opposition Support For Parliamentary Republic

President Serzh Sarkisian has mustered broad-based political support for his efforts to turn Armenia into a parliamentary republic after the end of his final term in office in 2018, his Republican Party (HHK) claimed late on Thursday.

HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov said the leaders of virtually all parties that held consultations with Sarkisian on the constitutional reform this week now essentially support a switch to the parliamentary system of government.

“Some forces that were previously unfamiliar with the [president’s constitutional] package and the essence of the changes … are now actively participating in the second phase of discussions and even coming up with proposals,” Sharmazanov told reporters after a late-night meeting of the HHK’s governing board headed by Sarkisian.

Fired Metro Workers Continue Court Battle

Three former employees of Yerevan’s underground metro system who were fired last year after attending an anti-government protest have appealed against an ambiguous court ruling on their efforts to regain their jobs.

Andranik Gevorgian, Gagik Gasparian and Sevak Hovannisian were among several dozen metro workers who gathered outside the state-run company’s offices in February 2014 to protest against a controversial pension reform initiated by the Armenian government.

Gevorgian personally handed a petition signed by his colleagues to the metro’s top executives during the protest. Speaking to reporters, he and Gasparian criticized the reform envisaging sizable deductions from the wages of Armenians born after 1973.

Latest Armenian News:

Mortar Fire Reported Near Karabakh

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Armenian and Azerbaijani forces on Monday accused each other of firing mortar shells and claimed to have killed several enemy soldiers in the latest truce violations along “the line of contact” east of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Karabakh’s Armenian-backed military said it took “retaliatory actions” at the weekend after its frontline troops came under mortar fire from Azerbaijani army positions. Citing unspecified “reliable sources,” it claimed to have killed at least four Azerbaijani soldiers and wounded 15 others. A statement by the Defense Army did not specify the type of weapons used by its soldiers in “the exchange of fire.”

Armenian Troops Join CSTO Drills In Russia

August 24, 2015 Armenia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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An Armenian army contingent is taking part in military exercises in northwestern Russia simulating a joint response by Moscow and its ex-Soviet allies to an imaginary armed conflict in “the Eastern European region.”

The drills, which began on Sunday in the Pskov region close to the Baltic states, have brought together more than 2,000 troops making up a rapid reaction force of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian-led alliance of six ex-Soviet states. They are reportedly backed up by 200 tanks and other armored vehicles as well as 40 Russian warplanes and combat helicopters.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry did not specify the number of participating Armenian troops in a statement that announced their departure to Pskov on Saturday. A military source in Yerevan said the contingent comprises no more than 100 soldiers.

Teghout CJSC Wants to Expand Operations; Seeks Geological Study Permits

August 24, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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14:17, August 24, 2015

Valeri Mejlumyan, chairman of the Vallex Group of Companies that runs the Teghout mine in Armenia’s Lori Province, asked a bunch of local community leaders last April for permission to conduct geological studies in the Tzaghkashat-Akhetk mine site.

The company has already filed a permission request with Armenia’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.

Mejlumyan, who says that the area has 40 years of ore reserves, sent his request to mayors of Teghout, Shnogh, Haghpat, Tzaghkashat and Alaverdi.

The day after the Teghout Copper-Molybdenum mine opened, rumors circulated that the mine didn’t have the reserves as stated.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: 8 Suspected IS Fighters Plead Not Guilty

August 24, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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15:47, August 24, 2015

Eight men, accused of fighting for the Islamic State (IS), have pleaded not guilty at the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

The indictment against twelve people, approved by the court on June 10, alleges that the suspects visited multiple locations in BiH and raised money; produced and trafficked firearms; illegally travelled to Syria; and joined IS in battles during 2013 and 2014.

Last Thursday, eight of them pleaded not guilty – Fatih Hasanovic, Enes Mesic, Jasmin Jasarevic, Emin Hodzic, Salko Imamovic, Fikret Hadzic, Ibro Delic and Samir Hadzalic.

The other four charged in the case — Mirza Kapic, Adem Karamuja, Enver Lilic and Mehmed Tutmic — did not attend the hearing due to health reasons, according to the court.

The Sunset of the Union

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15:50, August 24, 2015

By Vrej Haroutounian

Previous Article

“The youth palace … served as the open window to the outside world because diasporan students lived there and the building symbolized everything new and fresh. You had family there, and the building was kind of like being in a space pod, but instead of the building protecting you from the outside world, it was the outside world; and you would hear stories there of how life was abroad”

Yerevan Interviewee

The Demirchyan Arena, Sports and Music Complex, or simply Hamalir, was built in 1983 and is recognized as one of the greatest works of architecture produced in the Soviet Union. 

Uzbekistan: More Karimova Associates Arrested in Corruption Probe

August 24, 2015 Armenia, Business, Europe No Comments
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15:50, August 24, 2015

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has reported that Uzbek authorities have arrested nine more suspects in their investigation into corruption surrounding Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov’s daughter, Gulnara Karimova.

The broadcaster’s Uzbek service said that two senior figures at an Uzbek Coca-Cola bottling plant were among those arrested, and reported that Karimova had once controlled the local Coke bottling business. The radio said Swiss authorities had already investigated two businessmen in the industry on suspicion of money laundering in 2012, although they were later released and allowed to return to Uzbekistan.

Armenian Policeman Suspended For Violence

August 24, 2015 Armenia, Top News No Comments
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An Armenian police officer was suspended over the weekend after slapping a participant of a fresh demonstration in Yerevan against a controversial increase in electricity prices in the country.

Lieutenant Artur Vardgesian attacked a 67-year-old man, Hakob Nazarian, on Friday as his riot police unit scuffled with about 100 protesters trying to block traffic through the city’s central Republic Square. Vardgesian struck so hard that he apparently broke a hearing aid in Nazarian’s left ear.

The elderly man and other protesters were shocked and outraged by the violence, charging towards the security forces. Several of them, including Nazarian, were detained and set free a few hours later. Vardgesian, meanwhile, was hastily led away from the scene by his visibly confused colleagues.

Constitutional Reform ‘Victory For Dashnaktsutyun’

August 24, 2015 Armenia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) reaffirmed on Monday its support for President Serzh Sarkisian’s controversial constitutional changes that envisage Armenia’s transition to a parliamentary system of government.

Aghvan Vartanian, a leader of the opposition party, argued that Dashnaktsutyun has long favored the country’s transformation into a parliamentary republic which it believes would bode for democracy and the rule of law.

“This draft constitution corresponds to our vision by 90-95 percent,” said Vartanian. “We can conclude that … our approaches and views have prevailed, even though we are not in government and have only five deputies in the [131-seat] parliament. With this constitution the country will move in a direction envisioned by us.”

Four Azerbaijani Soldiers Killed Over the Weekend, Reports Artsakh Defense Army

August 24, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan No Comments
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10:44, August 24, 2015

Four Azerbaijani soldiers were killed and more than 15 wounded in gun and artillery battles over the weekend along the Artsakh Line of Contact according to the Artskah Defense Army (ADA).

The ADA reports that it was forced to respond to heightened Azerbaijani ceasefire violations.

The ADA, in its statement, did not mention any Armenian casualities.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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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

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.