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Acting Justice Minister to Kocharian: ‘Stop playing political hide and seek’

April 24, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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15:47, April 23, 2014

Acting Justice Minister Hrayr Tovmasyan today said that he does not share the opinion recently expressed by former Armenian President Robert Kocharian that constitutional reforms are not needed in the country.

“I can say with certainty that such a need exists given the situation that has been created in the country,” Tovmasyan said.

The acting minister also said he found the periodic comments made by Kocharian somewhat surprising.

“As a citizen, making periodic statements from a hiding place is incomprehensible. If there is a political bid to be made, to participate in the political processes, it must be done out in the open,” Tovmasyan said.

The Yerevan of Tomorrow

April 24, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Business, Film, Music No Comments
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17:21, April 23, 2014

Christian Garbis

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a discussion called Yerevan Spring sponsored by Yerevan Productions at the Armenian University of Armenia (AUA). Although the event was poorly attended, the invited speakers gave considerable insight as to what Yerevan currently offered to the global community, and the general consensus to summarize was “not much.”  But the one thing that troubled me was that in reference to Yerevan through words and images they seemed to be talking solely about Kentron, specifically its hub, ignoring its other thriving districts altogether.

Italy: Citing Mafia Financial Troubles, Jailed Boss Says “Get A Real Job”

April 24, 2014 Armenia, Business, Video No Comments
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18:46, April 23, 2014

Italy’s economic crisis is hitting the Sicilian Mafia as well, say law enforcement officials in Palmero, Sicily.

According to the Independent, jailed Cosa Nostra boss Giovanni Di Giacomo was caught on video complaining that his men were only able to extort around US$ 7,000 to US$ 9,000 a month from business and hotels. 

In the secretly taped conversion, he allegedly says that many businesses are changing management or shutting down, and those who cannot or are unwilling to pay for “protection” are calling the police rather than giving in to threats from organized crime.

The senior figure of the Porta Nuova clan was recorded saying that it “might not be worth the bother” and suggesting that getting “a real job” may be better for young Mafiosos.

Ankara’s Financial Obligation: Today’s Turkey Created on Wealth Expropriated from Armenians

April 24, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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19:47, April 23, 2014

By Anahit Astoyan

 It is a well known fact that preceding the First World War, the Armenians held crucial positions in the domestic and foreign trade, industrial production and banking areas of the Ottoman Empire. 

Due to their talents and entrepreneurship, Western Armenian bourgeoisie, bankers and industrialists, even under the conditions of the Ottoman despotism and arbitrariness, managed to come into possession of certain wealth and accumulate significant financial capital. 

Seeing a serious threat in such economic strengthening of the Armenians, the Young Turks, during their closed meetings, discussed the questions of liberation from their economic rivalry and establishing Turkish economic power in the country through the elimination of the Armenians, while at the same time developing measures for expropriation of private and common property of the Armenian nation. 

Hat Heir: Chinese tradition sees women wear helmets made of hair from their dead ancestors

April 24, 2014 Armenia, Culture, Diaspora No Comments
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A Chinese tradition which sees women wear headdresses made from the hair of their dead ancestors appears to be going strong in this part of China, the Daily Mail reports. Instead of throwing away their hair when they comb it, women who are part of China’s Long-horn Miao minority instead save the strands and add them to their collection of hair that allows them to create spectacular headdresses.The special hairpieces are brought out for special occasions and carefully woven around a horn-shaped headdress fitted the head of the young woman.Although there are now less than 5,000 people in the Miao minority, the strong tradition carries on, as revealed by these pictures taken in the village of Suojia, in Liupanshui city in southwest China’s Guizhou province.Every wig is passed down from mother to daughter and includes not just yarn and twine but also the hair from a line of female ancestors which the owners of the headdresses claim go back hundreds of years.It is dyed and carefully maintained to keep it shiny and healthy.Shu Tu, 27, a Chinese expert in minority cultures said: ‘The wigs are worn on all sorts of big occasions from weddings through to feast days, and traditionally they also used to be worn by the men but it seems as if it was at the end of the day too much effort for the menfolk – and they gradually dropped the tradition.’But it continued among the women and the hairdos that they have now include hair not only from the mother and grandmother but probably even the great-grandmother and even older – all woven together.’It’s regarded as a living way for them to honour their ancestors. Every time a woman combs her hair, she collects it, and she hands it to her daughter when her daughter marries.’It probably originated with the wearing of the horns as the cow was a sacred animal in the past for people in this rural area, but this no doubt developed from a desire to decorate the horns and to honor not only the animal itself but also ancestors.’She added: ‘For some people, their history is in books. However, for the Miao, their history is on their heads.’

Armenian FM receives Lithuanian defense minister

April 24, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora No Comments
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Armenian FM Edward Nalbandian received on Wednesday Minister of National Defense of Lithuania Juozas Olekas.Minister Nalbandian welcomed the guest and pointed out dynamic development of bilateral relations. He pointed out an important role of cooperation between the Armenian and Lithuanian defense offices in bilateral relations.Minister Juozas Olekas thanked Minister Nalbandian and pointed out high level of Armenian-Lithuanian relations.The sides exchanged views on Armenia-EU cooperation and regional problems.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Q1 Macroeconomics: Agriculture, trade contribute to growth, industry declines

April 24, 2014 Armenia, Culture No Comments
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The macroeconomic statistics posted for Armenia so far this year does not provide grounds for consistent economic development, since no changes are expected in the current political and economic model, according to an analyst.

Armenia’s economy expanded by 3.3 percent during the first quarter of the year mainly due to agriculture and trade, while regression of the industrial sector has been a constraining factor, according to the latest data released by the National Statistical Service.

During the first three months of 2014, in comparison to the same period last year, Armenia’s industry showed a 2.8-percent decline. Meanwhile, last year it was one of the main components ensuring economic growth – 6.8 percent.

Kocharyan: Reforms shouldn’t serve interests of ruling elite

April 24, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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Armenia’s second president Robert Kocharyan in his interview on his informal website 2nd.am says that the country doesn’t need constitutional reforms, and that major changes of the state governing model need certain guarantees, that “reforms aren’t directed to serve the interests of the ruling elite and won’t become its reproduction tool” to raise a new wave of discussions among the political elite.

Newly appointed Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan reflected on Kocharyan’s interview first mentioning in his interview with news.am that Kocharyan’s viewpoint about the absence of need for constitutional reforms is surprising for him, because Armenian political powers have been speaking about that need for many years.

Turkish PM stresses “shared pain” in first-ever statement on “Armenian issue”

April 24, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
Armenian News

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued a landmark statement on the eve of April 24 when Armenians around the world will commemorate the 99th anniversary of the Ottoman-era Genocide.

Since 1915 when Ottoman Turkey committed the genocide, massacring around 1.5 million Armenians, the successive Turkish governments, including that of Erdogan, have refused to admit to the crime, at best describing it as a wartime tragedy that affected both Armenians and Turks, as well as other ethnicities living in the territory of modern-day Turkey.

In his statement disseminated by Turkish media Erdogan highlighted the “shared pain” endured during the “1915 events”, expressing condolences on behalf of the Turkish state to the grandchildren of Armenians who lost their lives “in the context of the early 20th century.”

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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.

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10:24, March 14, 2014

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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.

Heritage reshuffle: Postanjyan becomes new leader of parliamentary faction

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Zaruhi Postanjyan has been elected new head of the opposition Heritage faction in parliament. The change comes after Ruben Hakobyan announced his decision to resign as faction leader earlier today.

Talking to media in parliament Hakobyan said Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian had been notified about his move well in advance. He left questions about reasons for his step without commentary, only saying that he had decided to step down as faction leader before the recent scandal around Postanjyan in the wake of her controversial question to President Serzh Sargsyan about his gambling habit at the PACE plenary session in Strasbourg on October 2.