Abrahamian Claims Good Governance In Armenia

Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian on Wednesday defended the Armenian government’s track record and dismissed opposition claims about a political crisis necessitating “regime change” in the country.

“Do you see any issue with which we cannot deal?” Abrahamian told reporters in the parliament. “We are governing very well and even trying to utilize our potential by 100 percent, and we are going to govern even better and more effectively soon.”

“I see no grounds for regime change,” he said. “You can’t just call [for regime change,] there have to be grounds for that. I see no, as you put it, government crisis. What I see is that the government is on the contrary actively working.” The government’s chief priority is to improve the socioeconomic situation in Armenia, he added.

Opposition Leaders Meet Ahead Of Key Rally

Opposition leaders Levon Ter-Petrosian, Gagik Tsarukian and Raffi Hovannisian met again late on Wednesday to discuss preparations for the next anti-government rally that will held by their political parties in Yerevan on Friday.

A spokeswoman for Tsarukian, Iveta Tonoyan, declined to give details of the meeting. She said only that the three leaders discussed “organizational issues” related to the rally.

Tsarukian, who leads the influential Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), held separate talks with Ter-Petrosian on Tuesday.

The talks appear to be part of efforts by the BHK, Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) and Hovannisian’s Zharangutyun (Heritage) party to work out a plan of further joint actions aimed at achieving “regime change.” They hope to do so in time for Friday’s demonstration in Yerevan’s Liberty Square.

France Looks Forward To Armenian-Azeri Summit

France’s President Francois Hollande will try to revive the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process when he hosts fresh talks between his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts in Paris early next week, the French ambassador in Yerevan said on Wednesday.

Henri Reynaud said the French government expects the upcoming summit to “give new impetus in the substantive sense” to the long-running search for a compromise solution to the Karabakh conflict. It also hopes that Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev will agree on confidence-building measures that will boost “stability on the frontline” around Karabakh and along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, he told a news conference.


Armenian Ruling Party Slams Opposition ‘Traitors’

The parliamentary leader of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) sparked a bitter verbal exchange with outspoken opposition lawmakers on Tuesday after accusing them of accepting money from the West and Azerbaijan to betray Armenia.

“We witnessed yesterday a classical example of high treason,” charged Vahram Baghdasarian. “The Armenian parliament’s rostrum was used for spreading Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s disinformation. False information was made public here ahead of a meeting between the president of our country and the president of an unfriendly country (Azerbaijan).”


Latest Armenian News:

Vayots Dzor Governor Resigns

October 23, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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Source: HetqOriginial Article

Prime Minister Puts the Brakes on Bill to Eliminate Military Conscription Postponement for Post-Grads

October 23, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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13:40, October 23, 2014

In response to a bill introduced today by MPs Rubik Hakobyan and Tevan Poghosyan to eliminate military conscription postponements for students seeking post-graduate education, Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan said such a controversial measure wasn’t merely the decision of two legislators.

Abrahamyan said that the matter required that public hearings be held with the participation of all political forces and civil society representatives so that a measured and equitable decision is reached.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Catholicos Aram I – Armenia and Diaspora Have Different Approaches, but Same Aim, Regarding Genocide Demands

October 23, 2014 Armenia, Culture, Diaspora No Comments
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16:32, October 23, 2014

On October 21, Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia rubbed shoulders with Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan at a celebration in Nor Jougha (Iran) marking the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Holy Savior Cathedral (Sourb Amenaprkich)

Abrahamyan was in Iran heading an Armenian delegation for talks with government officials

Also on hand from Armenia were Diaspora Minister Hranoush Hakobyan and Culture Minister Hasmik Poghosyan. (A press release from the Great House of Cilicia says that seven Armenian ministers were on hand)

Prime Minister Abrahamyan is said to have congratulated the Nor Jougha Armenian community for maintaining its identity for the past 400 years.

Armenian women protest controversial maternity pay bill

October 23, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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A crowd of women protested outside the Government on Thursday to raise their voice of anger against a controversial legal measure proposing higher maternity benefits for unemployed women at the expense of working mothers.
In a letter submitted to the executive, the women have covered all the points which they believe were proposed in violation of Armenia’s Constitution and other legal acts, including international agreements.
Anna Nikoghosyan, a programs manager from the local NGO Society without Violence, said the appeal urges the Government to refrain from the proposed amendments to the Law on Temporary Unemplayability Benefits.
“Under the bill, the benefit a woman receives for a 140-day pre- and post-natal leave is calculated based on the length of service in the last workplace. So in case that period is one year or less, she will get a benefit in the amount of 40% of the [monthly] salary,” she said, noting that the money will amount to 60%-80% of the salary in case the length of service is up to three years.
Speaking to Tert.am, a civic activist who identified herself as Tatev said the Republic of Armenia should not permit the passage of a law that may affect a woman’s decision to have a child.
“This law will affect employed women’s decision, as it is expected to cut their income. But that violates the equality between men and women in terms of the opportunity to work. A woman must not be deprived of her entire salary in order to bear a child,” she complained.
The activist added that today’s protest was only the first step of their civic campaign. “We are launching a petition to find out how many citizens will be against. Parliamentary hearings are due on Monday, so we will join it to carry our struggle through,” she added.

Resolution to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict depends on Azerbaijani, Armenian presidents’ political will – James Warlick

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A resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict depends on the political will of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and not on treaties or alliances, US co-chair of OSCE Minsk Group, James Warlick told Trend on Thursday.He was commenting on the possible impact of Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.The co-chair said the government of Armenia has made its decision, which he respects.“We hope with the recent contacts between the presidents they will commit themselves to a settlement,” Warlick said.“Conditions along the line of contact and Armenian-Azerbaijani border have stabilized after the outbreak of violence this summer. But the situation remains tense,” he added.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Armenian MP considers military service for women possible

October 23, 2014 Armenia, Karabakh No Comments
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In an interview with Tert.am, Parliament member Tevan Poghosyan commented on the bill envisaging the abolition of the right to deferment of military service to continue education.Mr Poghosyan and Parliament member Rubik Hakobyan are co-authors of the bill.“Study at educational institutions is a means of dodging the army. This is our common problem. After studying the experience of Nagorno-Karabakh and other countries, aware of all of our security problems, we concluded that any young person turning 18 must serve in the army. After that they can continue their education,” Mr Poghosyan said.On the other hand, he does not rule out exceptions in special cases, for example, highly talented students.As regards his reference to Israel, where women serve in the army, as well as the statement by the head of the Asparez club that women must serve in the army, the MP said:“I have not heard Levon Barseghyan’s call, but several months ago I wrote on my Facebook page what measures I consider important on the threshold of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. I noted that women must do adapted military service for 3-6 months. Israel’s experience shows that a girl who served in the army and had children later encourages her children to serve in the army.” 

Spanish street artist Pejac brings his magic to Istanbul

October 23, 2014 Asia, Diaspora No Comments
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It is not an illusion – Pejac, one of the most creative contemporary street artists around, has recently paid a visit to Istanbul, leaving three wall paintings as proof.Known for his minimalist motifs frequently using optical illusions, Pejac displayed his talents by painting three different pieces on the walls of the Asian neighborhood of Üsküdar, which he gave the name “Lock, Poster and Shutters.”Pejac said in a press statement that the three windows intended to create a “perception and illusion of freedom,” art blog This is Colossal reported.“I have painted these Trompe l’oeil in the same zone of Üsküdar [on the Asian side of Istanbul], very close from one to another in order to establish a physical bond between them. ‘Trompe l’oeil’ literally translates from French to ‘eye trap.’ In the case of these three windows, the trap works in both directions: From outside to inside and from inside to outside,” he said in the statement.Often compared to Banksy for the originality of his work, he uses brushes, pencils, acrylic paint and sand paper to create pieces that blend into their surroundings. 

Microsoft ditching the Nokia name on smartphones

October 23, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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Microsoft is ditching the Nokia brand name from new devices, less than a year after acquiring the Finnish mobile firm, the BBC reports.New Nokia Lumia smartphones will instead be known as Microsoft Lumia, the company said.
Nokia’s non-mobile division, which is not owned by Microsoft, will continue to use the name.
The mobile operation was bought by Microsoft in April in a deal worth $7.2bn (4.6bn).
Since then, Microsoft has quietly shifted away from the Nokia brand.
A post on Nokia France’s Facebook page confirmed the branding shift. The renaming will roll out globally in due course, Microsoft has said.
The announcement comes despite Microsoft agreeing to a 10-year deal to use the Nokia name on mobile products.
Microsoft is currently having a big shake-up. In July, chief executive Satya Nadella announced the cutting of 18,000 jobs.
The bulk of the cuts, around 12,500, will be from staff taken on after the Nokia acquisition.

EU remains important partner for Armenia

October 23, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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Secretary of the Heritage parliamentary group Tevan Poghosyan, during the question hour in Armenia’s Parliament, asked Armenia’s FM Edward Nalbandian about Armenia-EU relations.
“The European Union remains an important partner for Armenia. Our relations involve numerous areas, Armenian and EU institutional structures hold regular meetings, Armenia is actively involved in the work on many platforms,” the Armenian FM said.
Armenia will continue work with the new EU leadership.
As to whether it is enough for Armenia’s signing the political component of the association agreement, Mr Nalbandian said that Armenia will continue maintaining relations with the EU as long as it does not run counter to the country’s commitments to other organizations.

Source: TertOriginial Article

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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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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.