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Failure to amend Constitution may lead to crisis in Armenia – opinion

July 22, 2014 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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In an interview with Tert.am, an opposition MP from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaksutyun highlighted the need of constitutional reforms, noting that a failure to act correspondingly might lead to a crisis in the state administration system.
“It is necessary to conduct political consultations and debates to adopt new approaches,” Artsvik Minasyan said, stressing the importance of outlining the existing demands to rule out the possibility of the authorities’ reproduction.
“If in 2017, we head to [parliamentary] elections in the frameworks of the constitutional regulations, no one will prevent the authorities from applying the same methods and tools enabling their reproduction. Moreover, should the parliamentary majority represent a different [political] force – other than the ruling authorities [the Republican Party of Armenia] – with the Constitution remaining unchanged, we will face a conflict, a state administration crisis, which is fraught with clashes threatening Armenia. It is important to have a body with a priority mandate – the legislative. That’s the only way to have a clear unanimous position and to rule out crisis in the administration system,” he noted.

UK experts to examine black boxes

July 22, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora No Comments
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British air accident investigators will examine the black boxes from downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.
Experts based in Farnborough in Hampshire will retrieve data from the flight recorders for “international analysis” after a request from the Dutch Government, Mr Cameron said in a tweet.
Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte had earlier said that the first aircraft containing bodies of the 298 people killed over eastern Ukraine, which included 10 Britons, would arrive in Eindhoven tomorrow.
Mr Cameron tweeted: “We’ve agreed Dutch request for air accident investigators at Farnborough to retrieve data from #MH17 black boxes for international analysis.”
His announcement came after Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond joined other EU foreign ministers in Brussels for talks about the shooting down of the Boeing 777-200 airliner last Thursday.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) confirmed it would be working on the black boxes, which have been handed over by the Russia-backed separatists, who have been blamed for the atrocity.
An AAIB spokesman said: “We can confirm that the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch based in Farnborough has been asked to carry out the data analysis of the MH17 black boxes.
“The AAIB team in the Ukraine will continue their work there assisting the international investigation.”

Armenia has much more serious problems than ones raised by ex-president: opinion

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First Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s comments on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border incidents and on Armenia’s domestic political problems have evoked varied responses by Armenia’s political forces.
Political scientist Aghasi Yenokyan believes that this is nothing but a step to criticize Armenia’s authorities. Vice-Chairman of the Heritage party Armen Martirosyan considers Ter-Petrosyan’s concern “to the point.”
Mr Yenokyan does not share Ter-Petrosyan’s opinion that Armenia does not adequately respond to Azerbaijan’s provocations on the Line of Contact.
“I have no information that Armenia does not give an adequate response. Ter-Petrosyan has more information. But I think Armenia is adequately responding,” he told Tert.am.
According to him, the reason for Ter-Petrosyan’s statement is the need for criticizing Armenia’s authorities.
“It is Ter-Petrosyan that is supposed to give a political explanation for this all.”
As regards Ter-Petrosyan’s response to constitutional reforms, Yenokyan said:
“Numerous problems are on the agenda, and the major problem is current Armenian-Russian relations. Gazprom is facing sanctions tomorrow. How are we going to resolve our gas-supply problems? Two large banks in Armenia are already facing sanctions, and Ter-Petrosyan does not discuss the problems arising from the current Armenian-Russian relations because he is for Armenian-Russian relations. However, it is the Armenian-Russian relations that are the major obstacle for our country. And I do not think speaking of constitutional reforms would be quite adequate now.”
According to him, Armenia’s pro-government and opposition forces are afraid of speaking of much more serious problems facing Armenia, because they share the responsibility for the present situation.
With respect to the border incidents, Heritage party Vice-Chairman Armen Martirosyan noted that military retaliation is not normally a public action.
As regards constitutional reforms, the Heritage party has always been for reforms and for a parliamentary republic. However, it is not Armenia’s incumbent authorities that are supposed to implement constitutional reforms.
“The authorities are trying to accomplish the task of their own further reproduction. And their attempts to implement reforms are relevant. But it is they that need the reforms, and it is not what we are thinking of,” Martirosyan said.
As regards Ter-Petrosyan;’s remarks concerning a possible Armenian-Azerbaijani presidential meeting in France, Martirosyan said that meetings could ease tensions.
“And Ter-Petrosyan’s remark implies that no essential expectations about such a meeting should be held. It requires Artsakh’s [Nagorno-Karabakh’s] participation, which is not the case now.”
The Armenian authorities’ policy has caused certain problems to Armenia.
“Indeed, we are in a rather difficult situation with respect to Artsakh. But in any case we can find ways out of the situation, which requires radical reforms in the country.”

Azerbaijan’s leadership continues its destructive, dangerous policy – Armenian FM

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Armenian FM Edward Nalbandian, who arrived in Brussels for a working visit, had a meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Igor Popov of Russia, James Warlick of the United States and Pierre Andrieu of France, as well as with Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk.
The sides continued discussing progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
The Armenian FM drew the mediators’ attention to Azerbaijan’s militant rhetoric at the highest level, statements distorting the essence of negotiations, gross violations of the ceasefire on the Line of Contact and intensified acts of sabotage by Azerbaijan.
By its provocations Azerbaijan is exacerbating the situation thereby opposing the mediators’ numerous calls for preparing the peoples for peace.
Despite the international community’s appeals, which are more and more often addressed to Azerbaijan, that country’s leadership continues its destructive and dangerous policy, arresting Azerbaijanis who call for peace, which does not facilitate formation of a favorable atmosphere at negotiations, Mr Nalbandian said.
Azerbaijan’s leadership is also trying to employ the domestic corrupt practices at the interstate level, he added.
Minister Nalbandian re-affirmed Armenia’s willingness to continue joint efforts at a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

No Buyers, Only Sellers at Land Auction in Armenian Village of Nor Gyugh

July 22, 2014 Armenia, Culture No Comments
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12:40, July 22, 2014

Yet another land sale auction this year in the village of Nor Gyugh in Kotayk Province was cancelled due to lack of bids.

Villagers say no one wants to buy land here — all are selling. Many of the residents of this village less than 20 km from Yerevan take out bank loans to do agricultural work; however, not making their expected income, they sell their property. Only level 1 arable lands are cultivated in Nor Gyugh, while lower quality lands are mainly sold to pay off debts. 

Monte Melkonian and the Way of the Samurai – Changing Reality through Struggle

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15:36, July 22, 2014

By Vrej Haroutounian

The name entered my life when I was inmy early twenties, long after Karabakh (Artsakh) was independent and the people had begun rebuilding their lives.

One day, I walked into the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF)central office in Glendale and found four copies of a red bookentitled The Right to Struggle by Monte Melkonian. I was curious as to who had left these books and asked everyone in our office. No one knew. Regardless, I was thankful.

As I started reading the book and dissecting the writing, I learned about Monte- beyond the folklore and stories from people who had seen him do this or that in Lebanon.

Armavir Mayor Injured, Driver Killed, in Artsakh Car Explosion

July 22, 2014 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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16:04, July 22, 2014

Armavir mayor Rouben Khlghatyan was rushed by helicopter to a Yerevan hospital after the car he was in detonated a mine near the village of Vaghazin in the Kashatagh district of Artsakh earlier today.

The driver of the car was killed on the spot. Three other passengers were airlifted with the mayor to Yerevan and then to Erebouni Hospital with a variety of injuries.

Sargis Movsisyan , chief of staff at the Armavir Municipality, told Hetq that he doesn’t know the medical condition of the mayor.

“The mayor was on vacation. I don’t know what happened. I’m on my way to the hospital now,” Movsisyan said.

(Archival photo from unemployedgraduate.com)

Armenian Primate of Georgia: ‘Assault On Church Was Definitely Organized’

July 22, 2014 Armenia, Georgia No Comments
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17:06, July 22, 2014

Archbishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan, Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia, told Hetq that he has no doubt that yesterday’s assault by a mob of fifty on the clergy and staff at the Tbilisi Holy Etchmiadzin Church was organized and premeditated.

“We are quite incensed over what happened and demand that the organizers are identified and those who participated are prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Archbishop Mirzakhanyan told Hetq by phone.

The primate couldn’t say who organized the assault that left several Armenian clerics and church staffers bruised and battered.

Mirzakhanyan didn’t rule out the possibility that yesterday’s incident was the beginning of concerted assault against the diocese.

Armenian PM Hears Criticism, Encouragement On 100th Day In Office


Opposition members in Armenia have criticized Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian for failing to make any significant changes during the first 100 days in office, but representatives of the ruling party consider the period to be too short for making definitive conclusions.

Abrahamian assumed the post of independent Armenia’s 13th prime minister last April succeeding Tigran Sarkisian, who had headed the government for six years and often became a target for harsh criticism from opposition groups accusing him of mishandling the country’s economy and failing to solve its numerous social issues.

A hundred days after the change of the prime minister critics still see no significant change in the situation. They claim this lack of progress proves that only systemic, political changes can lead to real changes.

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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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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.

2013 in Civil Society: Protests and more protests


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


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.