Ruling Party Member Dismisses Ex-President’s Statements

A senior representative of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) has ridiculed the statements made by opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian, implying that his recent interviews are damaging to his reputation as the country’s first president.

Speaking to the media after the meeting of the HHK’s executive body late on Thursday, Eduard Sharmazanov, a deputy parliament speaker and spokesperson for the party, in particular, dismissed Ter-Petrosian’s claims that the current government uses pressure against its political opponents to secure an unimpeded implementation of a controversial constitutional reform.

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Armenian President Against Arming Civilians In Border Villages

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has rejected the idea of providing residents of villages situated near the restive border with Azerbaijan with weapons for defense purposes.

The measure was earlier proposed by the Public Council, a body comprising well-known public figures and advising the authorities on policy issues. The idea came in response to rising concerns in society over the security of borderlands especially in the wake of recent reports about alleged infiltrations of Azerbaijani armed groups into Armenian-controlled territories.

Last week authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said a group of Azerbaijanis had been arrested in the region on suspicion of espionage and subversive activities. The Nagorno-Karabakh police force said the group members had killed one military serviceman and severely wounded a civilian. Another local teenager, it said, had been kidnapped and then brutally murdered by the alleged Azerbaijani ‘saboteurs’.

Armenia Develops Solutions To Prevent Cross-Border ‘Saboteur Raids’

Armenia has been putting in place ‘engineering facilities’ along with other measures to prevent attempts by Azerbaijani sabotage groups to infiltrate into its territory, according to Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) on Thursday Ohanian acknowledged, however, that advanced systems are not available at all sections of the border with Azerbaijan, especially in the areas where they would be exposed to enemy fire.

Installing such expensive security equipment at sections exposed to constant ceasefire violations is simply not expedient, the minister explained.

But there is an opportunity to install security systems “where there is no immediate aggressiveness of the enemy and where the positions of the sides are far apart” so as to also ensure the expensive equipment does not get damaged or destroyed, he added.

Karabakh Negotiations Reach Deadlock, Says Armenian Opposition

The internationally mediated talks aimed at finding a solution to the protracted Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have reached an impasse, an opposition party representative in Armenia argued on Thursday, reacting to the latest meetings of diplomats and statements made by the peace brokers.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am), Vladimir Karapetian, a chief foreign-policy spokesman for the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), also suggested that French President Francois Hollande’s proposal on holding an Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Paris in the near future may no longer be on the agenda as well after the parties reported no progress following their foreign ministers’ meetings with the mediators in Brussels earlier this week.

Latest Armenian News:

Hayrapetyan Charged with Embezzlement, Money Laundering

July 25, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Business No Comments
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22:12, July 24, 2014

Levon Hayrapetyan, the native Artsakh businessman arrested in Moscow on July 15, has been officially charged with embezzlement and illegal money laundering by a Russian investigative body according to ITAR TASS.

Hayrapetyan, 65, has pleaded not guilty.

A Russian court has issued a three month pre-trial detention order for Hayrapetyan and has placed a freeze on his shares in Bashneft, a Russian oil company, that are worth some US$8.5 million.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Armenian PM Appoints New Deputy Justice Minister

July 25, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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12:06, July 25, 2014

Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan today appointed Artyom Geghamyan to the post of deputy justice minister.

From 2008 to 2011, Geghamyan headed the ministry’s liaison division to the European Court of Human Rights. 

Geghamyan holds a JD and Master of Laws from Yerevan State University School of Law, and a PhD in European Union Law and Integration from Public Administration Academy. He holds an LLM in International and Comparative Law from Indiana University School of Law.

For the past year he was a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

"Russia Draws Armenia in Latest Russian-Turkish Dalliance," Says JirairSefilian

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14:37, July 25, 2014

Pre-Parliament member, Karabakh War veteran JirairSefilian spoke with Hetq about the ongoing delays in Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union, as well as the arrest of prominent Moscow-based Armenian businessman LevonHayrapetyan. 

Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union was postponed again. Prime Minister HovikAbrahamyan recently announced that Armenia will become a full member of the EEU on January 1. In your opinion, why is Armenia’s membership regularly delayed — do Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan not want Armenia to join the EEU? 

Russia’s surprise interest rate rise ‘to curb inflation’

July 25, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora No Comments
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Russia’s central bank has unexpectedly raised its key bank interest rate over concerns about inflation and “geopolitical tension,” the BBC reports.The bank’s board decided to raise the interest rate by 50 basis points, or half a percent, to 8% per year.Analysts said that they had not expected the move.The rate hike will come after Western sanctions over the crisis in the Ukraine were boosted.Domestic stocks and the rouble tumbled earlier this year after sanctions were implemented.The Central Bank of Russia said on Friday that it will raise the interest rate on Monday to ease inflationary pressure.”Inflation risks have increased due to a combination of factors, including, inter alia, the aggravation of geopolitical tension and its potential impact on the rouble exchange rate dynamics, as well as potential changes in tax and tariff policy,” the bank said. 

Azerbaijani veteran of Karabakh war attempts self-immolation

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An Azerbaijani veteran of the Nagorno-Karabakh war has tried to set himself afire outside the presidential administration in Baku.According to Haqqin.az, the man, Fagan Nasibov, wanted to thus express his protest against Lutfal Abdulaev, the chief of Zardob region’s executive government, who he claimed had swindled him out of 65,000 US Dollars.But the attempt turned out vain.
Nasibov’s family is said to have been next to him during the protest action.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Wikipedia blocks ‘disruptive’ page edits from US Congress

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Wikipedia administrators have imposed a ban on page edits from computers at the US House of Representatives, following “persistent disruptive editing,” the BBC reports.The 10-day block comes after anonymous changes were made to entries on politicians and businesses, as well as events like the Kennedy assassination.The biography of former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld was edited to say that he was an “alien lizard”.One staffer said they were being banned for the “actions of two or three”.Edits from computers using the IP address belonging to the House of Representatives have been banned before, following similar acts of vandalism.The latest block comes after rogue edits were brought to light by a Twitter feed, @congressedits, which posts every change made from the government-owned address.One of the acts highlighted was an alteration to the page on the assassination of John F Kennedy, which was changed to say that Lee Harvey Oswald was acting “on behalf of the regime of Fidel Castro”.An entry on the moon landing conspiracy theories was changed to say they were “promoted by the Cuban government”.Another entry, on the Ukrainian politician Nataliya Vitrenko, was edited to claim that she was a “Russian puppet”.The biography of former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld was revised, describing him as an “alien lizard who eats Mexican babies”However the edit that finally brought administrators to ban anonymous edits from the House IP address was made on the entry for media news site Mediaite, describing the blog as “sexist transphobic” and saying that it “automatically assumes that someone is male without any evidence”.Mediaite had previously run a story on the rogue edits from congressional computers.Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, told the BBC that the incident did not surprise him, and vandalism has “always gone on and it always will”.But he said that the @congressedits Twitter feed may have been counter-productive.”There is a belief from some of the [Wikipedia] community that it only provoked someone – some prankster there in the office – to have an audience now for the pranks, and actually encouraged them rather than discouraged them.”He added: “Maybe someone at the House of Representatives better think about their IT staff – they might be hunting them down this very moment.”Earlier this year, the BBC discovered that the phrase “all Muslims are terrorists” was added to a page about veils by users of UK government computers.That followed a report by the Liverpool Echo which found that insults had been added to the entry for the Hillsborough disaster.Wikipedia allows any user to make changes to a page, even anonymously.However, the changes are policed by volunteers, known as Wikipedians, who can reverse false edits, and even impose bans on users who continually flaunt the site’s editing rules.Wikipedians have been warning editors from the House of Representatives since March 2012, and moved to block the address for one day earlier this month.On Thursday, the IP address was blocked for 10 days, but one staffer protested that they were being punished for the actions of a few.”Out of over 9,000 staffers in the House, should we really be banning this whole IP range based on the actions of two or three?”Some of us here are just making grammatical edits, adding information about birds in Omsk, or showing how one can patch KDE2 under FreeBSD.”Another user from the Hill was quick to dismiss suggestions that the rogue edits were made by elected officials.”I think the probability is near zero that these disruptive edits are being done by a member of Congress.”
 

Ruling Party Member Dismisses Ex-President’s Statements

July 25, 2014 Armenia, Top News No Comments
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A senior representative of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) has ridiculed the statements made by opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian, implying that his recent interviews are damaging to his reputation as the country’s first president.

Speaking to the media after the meeting of the HHK’s executive body late on Thursday, Eduard Sharmazanov, a deputy parliament speaker and spokesperson for the party, in particular, dismissed Ter-Petrosian’s claims that the current government uses pressure against its political opponents to secure an unimpeded implementation of a controversial constitutional reform.

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Zhoghovurd: Armenian PM’s Sochi trip dear burden for budget

July 25, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan’s recent two-day trip to Sochi, Russia, is said to have been too dear a burden for Armenia’s State Budget.
Citing its sources. the paper says that the flight, served by AirArmenia company’s Airbus320 jet, cost 19,200,000 Armenian Drams or 47,000 US Dollars.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Armenian President Against Arming Civilians In Border Villages

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Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has rejected the idea of providing residents of villages situated near the restive border with Azerbaijan with weapons for defense purposes.

The measure was earlier proposed by the Public Council, a body comprising well-known public figures and advising the authorities on policy issues. The idea came in response to rising concerns in society over the security of borderlands especially in the wake of recent reports about alleged infiltrations of Azerbaijani armed groups into Armenian-controlled territories.

Last week authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said a group of Azerbaijanis had been arrested in the region on suspicion of espionage and subversive activities. The Nagorno-Karabakh police force said the group members had killed one military serviceman and severely wounded a civilian. Another local teenager, it said, had been kidnapped and then brutally murdered by the alleged Azerbaijani ‘saboteurs’.

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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?

Image 33145.jpg

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.