Ruling Party To Block Opposition Bill

The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) indicated on Thursday that it will likely block the passage of major amendments to electoral legislation that will be tabled by the opposition minority in parliament.

“We will discuss [amendments] to the Electoral Code. But we will do that against the backdrop of constitutional reforms [planned by President Serzh Sarkisian,]” said Galust Sahakian, the parliament speaker and a deputy chairman of the HHK.

Another senior HHK lawmaker, Gagik Melikian, said that amending the code now would be “untimely.” He claimed at the same time that the Armenian government and its loyal parliamentary majority are ready to discuss this and other opposition demands.

Ruling Party Deplores Opposition Snub

The three main parties challenging President Serzh Sarkisian will face “extinction” after rejecting a government offer of dialogue, the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) claimed on Wednesday.

Eduard Sharmazanov, the chief HHK spokesman, said the Armenian National Congress (HAK), Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Zharangutyun parties only marginalized themselves when they dismissed Sarkisian’s latest overtures.

“Marginalized forces end up becoming extinct,” Sharmazanov told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “I mean not a physical extinction but a moral-psychological and political one.”

In a move initiated by Sarkisian, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian said on Tuesday that the government is ready to negotiate with the three parties on ways of fulfilling 12 political and economic demands that were made by them in June.The opposition trio was quick to turn down the proposal, saying that the Sarkisian administration is only keen to stave off more anti-government protests in Yerevan.

Mediators Urge Access To Armenian Helicopter Wreckage

International mediators on Wednesday urged Azerbaijan to give the Armenian side access to the wreckage of an Armenian military helicopter shot down near Nagorno-Karabakh for recovering the bodies of its three crew members.

The U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group said they “remain deeply concerned that there has been no humanitarian access to the crash site” of the Mi-24 helicopter that was downed by Azerbaijani forces on November 12.

“We call on the sides to cease firing in the vicinity of the crash site and facilitate the demining of the area surrounding the site,” they said in a joint statement. “In the spirit of the Astrakhan statement of October 2010 between the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia, the Co-Chairs urge Azerbaijan to permit the recovery of the bodies of the victims, and Armenia to cooperate fully with all efforts to resolve this humanitarian situation.”

Government Offer Of Dialogue Rejected By Opposition

Three leading Armenian opposition parties dismissed on Tuesday a government proposal to open negotiations on a list of demands which they issued before launching joint street protests in September.

Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian made the offer one week after President Serzh Sarkisian said that the government should “once again address that document” circulated in June by the Armenian National Congress (HAK), Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Zharangutyun parties as well as the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

Abrahamian’s cabinet claimed to have met some of those demands in its official response to the opposition publicized on October 1. The HAK, the BHK and Zharangutyun said, however, that the response amounted to a rejection of their 12-point ultimatum and vowed to keep up their campaign for “regime change.”

Latest Armenian News:

Karakert Residents Pay 35 Times More than the Going Rate for Water

November 21, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

11:23, November 21, 2014

When entering the village of Karakert,in Armenia’s Armavir Province,aluminum canisters are visible in front of every home.

Each morning a water truck from Talin delivers drinking water to the village. People fill up the canisters with the water they buy from the truck.

Although there’s a main water supply in the village, most residents don’t use it. The water supply of Karakert and 12 other communities (including Armavir, Metzamorand 10 villages) is operated by “Nor Akunq” CJSC.

Nevertheless, most people prefer to purchase their water, as residents claim that the water being piped into the village is not suitable for drinking because it is salty, tastes poorly and causes health problems.

Ambassador Charpentier: France Will Do All to Facilitate Return of Remains of Downed Helicopter Crew

November 21, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan No Comments
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16:04, November 21, 2014

France’s Ambassador to Armenia, Jean-François Charpentier, today stated that as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group France would like to see the remains of the three Armenian crew members of the helicopter shot down by Azerbaijan on November 12 returned to Armenia.

“France will do everything to facilitate such a return,” Ambassador Charpentier said.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Robin van Persie could leave Manchester United this summer

November 21, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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Manchester United are planning for life without Robin van Persie and look certain to part company with the Dutch striker in the summer with a year remaining on his current contract, The Independent reports.The 31-year-old former Arsenal star stands to land an additional £10 million in loyalty bonuses if he sees out his four-year contract at Old Trafford.
But indifferent form and concerns over his fitness have led United to embark on a search for his successor with Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani and Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller both on the radar, according to the Evening Standard.Van Persie is said to be preparing to face his former club Arsenal at the Emirates tomorrow night, the talismanic marksman, who has been the Premier League’s leading goal-scorer at both clubs, is openly facing a severe crisis of confidence.
Read more at Independent.co.uk. 

ECHR Orders Armenia to Pay 160,000 Euros in Three Eminent Domain Cases

November 21, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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17:39, November 20, 2014

In three separate cases, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has decided that Armenia must pay a total of 160,000 Euros in compensation.

All three cases are eminent domain in nature and involve property located on Byuzand Street in downtown Yerevan. Said property was expropriated by the state for town planning purposes. In all three, the plaintiffs did not accept the state’s offer of compensation for the property.

In BAGHDASARYAN AND ZARIKYANTS v. ARMENIA, (the ECHR found that Armenia must pay the plaintiffs EUR 44,000.

In the case of GHARIBYAN AND OTHERS v. ARMENIA, the ECHR ordered Armenia to pay EUR 52,000.

In the case of GHASABYAN AND OTHERS v. ARMENIA, the ECHR ordered Armenia to pay EUR 64,000.

Italy: ‘Ndrangheta Initiation Ritual Exposed

November 21, 2014 Armenia, Business, Europe, Video No Comments
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20:25, November 20, 2014

Police in Italy have arrested 40 suspected gangsters after capturing unprecedented hidden-camera footage of the ‘Ndrangheta’s infamous organized crime initiation ceremony.

Milan prosecutor Ilda Boccassini claimed that the footage, part of a two-year investigation, was the only police video of the secretive ritual,according toThe Guardian.

“For the first time we heard it from the voice of [organized criminals],” she said of the footage, believed to show ‘Ndrangheta members being sworn into an elite group known as La Santa. One recruit was only 17.

“Today, from now on, you will be your own judges!” proclaims the ritual’s master of ceremonies. He calls on the huddled group of figures to promise to kill themselves should they make a mistake, either by taking cyanide or using a gun. “There must always be a bullet reserved; one for you,” he cautions.

Sex, Drugs And Baltimore: US Prison Corruption Trial Begins

November 21, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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20:28, November 20, 2014

The trial began yesterday of the two inmates, five guards, and kitchen worker accused of running a years-long criminal enterprise from within Baltimore City Detention Center.

The defendants are the remaining eight of a group of 44 charged with conspiracy, drug distribution, and money laundering offences allegedly linked to jail gang the Black Guerilla Family (BGF); almost all of the others have accepted plea bargains, reportsThe Baltimore Sun.

Members of the BGF, including the gang’s leader Tayvon “Bulldog” White, allegedly directed crimes out of Baltimore Jail using cell phones smuggled in by corrupt officers, dealing drugs, and even impregnating four guards, reportsThe Associated Press.

ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK and VTB (Armenia) improve client servicing

November 21, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora No Comments
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ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK and VTB (Armenia), which have the largest cash dispenser networks, have signed a contract allowing car holders to get served by means of the partner bank’s cash dispensers on equal terms.
The merged network consists of 345 cash dispensers throughout Armenia and enables holders of Visa and MasterCard cards to use the services.
“Merger of the ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK and VTB (Armenia) cash dispenser networks is an important step toward developing long-distance service. It enables us to improve the quality of banking services and facilitates the use of bank cards by clients throughout the country. The merged network is 1/3 of Armenia’s cash dispenser network. We are sure this partnership will prove to be a serious competitive advantage for both banks,” Yu. Gusev, Director General, VTB (Armenia), said.

Ruling Party To Block Opposition Bill

November 21, 2014 Armenia, Top News No Comments
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The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) indicated on Thursday that it will likely block the passage of major amendments to electoral legislation that will be tabled by the opposition minority in parliament.

“We will discuss [amendments] to the Electoral Code. But we will do that against the backdrop of constitutional reforms [planned by President Serzh Sarkisian,]” said Galust Sahakian, the parliament speaker and a deputy chairman of the HHK.

Another senior HHK lawmaker, Gagik Melikian, said that amending the code now would be “untimely.” He claimed at the same time that the Armenian government and its loyal parliamentary majority are ready to discuss this and other opposition demands.

Azeri Detainees Accuse Each Other In Karabakh Trial

November 20, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

Two Azerbaijani men standing trial in Stepanakert have blamed one another for the murder of an Armenian teenager near Nagorno-Karabakh that led to their high-profile arrests in July.

Shahbaz Quliyev and Dilgam Askerov were separately captured by Karabakh Armenian security forces after crossing into the Kelbajar district west of Karabakh together with another Azerbaijani, Hasan Hasanov. Hasanov was gunned down several days later, moments after reportedly opening fire at a military vehicle that carried an Armenian army officer and a civilian. The officer, Sargis Abrahamian, was killed while the 37-year-old woman, Karine Davtian, gravely wounded.

The shootings were reported four days before Smbat Tsakanian, a 17-year-old Armenian man, was found dead. Karabakh prosecutors believe that Tsakanian was taken hostage and killed by the 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

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.