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Yerevan Protests ‘Not Over Yet’

July 8, 2015 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

The young organizers of protests in Yerevan against a controversial rise in electricity prices vowed to continue their campaign on Tuesday one day after being forced to vacate a street leading to President Serzh Sarkisian’s headquarters.

They said they could resume unspecified “decisive actions” after rallying supporters in the city’s Liberty Square on Thursday.

“Rest assured that our ‘One Step Forward’ drive has not stopped. We will take one step forward,” said one of the youth activists, Davit Sanasarian.

He referred to the protesters’ intention to advance further towards the presidential palace on Monday evening. Riot police dispersed them and unblocked Marshal Bagramian Avenue several hours before that action.

Funding Secured For More Armenian Irrigation Upgrades

July 7, 2015 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

A Moscow-based development agency has agreed to lend Armenia $40 million for a further rehabilitation of the country’s rundown irrigation networks planned by its government.

The Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD) approved the release of the low-interest loan repayable in 20 years during Finance Minister Gagik Khachatrian’s weekend trip to the Russian capital.

In an ensuing statement, the Armenian Finance Ministry said the money will be used for refurbishing canals and modernizing equipment supporting them. The statement did not specify the rural communities that will benefit from the project.

The EFSD is a special anti-crisis fund that was set up by the governments of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in 2009.

Russian Troops In Armenia Inspected

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The Russian military began on Tuesday what it described as a “sudden inspection” of its troops stationed in Armenia through exercises that are aimed at evaluating their combat readiness.

Russia’s Southern Military District (SMD) said an ad hoc commission headed by its deputy commander, Lieutenant-General Igor Turchenyuk, will inspect ground troops in Gyumri and warplanes and combat helicopters in Yerevan making up the Russian military base in the country.

A statement released by the SMD said those units will be put on high alert and told to conduct unplanned exercises at two shooting ranges in central Armenia.

"No to Plunder" Movement Announces March Next Tuesday

July 7, 2015 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

15:38, July 7, 2015

The “No to Plunder” movement say it will organize a march on July 14 to the Prosecutor General’s Office to demand that police who used physical force against individuals, on June 23 and subsequently, who were protesting the electricity rate hike be held accountable.

The statement says marchers will gather at the Moscow Cinema at 6pm.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Armenia Eyes Russian ‘Long-Range’ Weapons

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Armenia will spend a $200 million loan provided by Russia on buying, among other things, “long-range” Russian-made weapons, the Defense Ministry in Yerevan said on Tuesday.

“With that sum we will acquire new military hardware, including both offensive and defensive weapons, as well as new equipment as part of our program of a large-scale modernization of the army,” the ministry spokesman, Artsrun Hovannisian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

Hovannisian declined to shed more light on those weapons, saying only that Armenia has not had some of them in its military arsenal until now.

The Russian “export credit” repayable in 13 years is designed to finance fresh Russian arms supplies to the Armenian Armed Forces. Officials in Yerevan say they will be purchased at discount prices.

Georgian Agriculture Minister Visits Fish Farm

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13:07, July 7, 2015

On a two day working trip to Armenia, Georgia’s Minister of Agriculture Otar Danelia has already visited the Ararat Food Combinat, known for its canning of natural juices and preserves, and Golden Grape Armas, a winemaking operation in Aragatzotn Province.

Daniela was accompanied by Armenia’s Minister of Agriculture Sergo Karapetyan.

Minister Karapetyan says that the Georgians are mainly interested in the production of canned preserves, fish farming, and studying the experience of Armenian livestock farmers.

Today, the two ministers visited the Spayka fish farm in Ararat Province.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Mushroom Poisoning Outbreak in Vanadzor

July 7, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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[unable to retrieve full-text content]The four afflicted had eaten wild mushrooms picked in the field. They were taken to hospital, treated, and
later released.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Ukraine: President Targets Illegal Amber Mining Industry

July 6, 2015 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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23:01, July 6, 2015

Ninety percent of the amber being mined in Ukraine today is being extracted illegally with the connivance of police and prosecutors, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenkocharged on July 2.

Poroshenko gave local officials a two-week ultimatum to eliminate the illegal amber mining rackets: Or, he said, he will personally drive to the three west Ukrainian regions where they occur to end the criminal mining.

This comes after activists from the protest groupAutoMaidan had travelled to Olevsk,a small town in north western Ukraine close to the Belarussian border, on June 19 to protest the illegal mining. They published photos highlighting the environmental devastation it causes.

‘Electric Yerevan’ Leaders Avoid Renewed Standoff With Government

July 6, 2015 Armenia, Top News No Comments
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Several hundred Armenians protesting against an electricity price hike again rallied in Yerevan but avoided reoccupying one of the city’s main thoroughfares late on Monday hours after being driven out of there by riot police.

The rally in the pedestrian Liberty Square began shortly after the police released all 46 protesters who were detained during the break-up of a two-week nonstop demonstration on Marshal Bagramian Avenue earlier in the afternoon.

The detainees included virtually all current leaders of the so-called “Electric Yerevan” movement that has forced the Armenian government to effectively suspend the more than 17 percent rise in energy tariffs.

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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.