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Minister Still Upbeat On Food Exports To Russia

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Agriculture Minister Sergo Karapetian on Friday stood by his claims that exports of Armenian agricultural products to Russia should double this year because of the Russian ban on food imports from the West.

“I insist that we will double our export volumes this year,” Karapetian told a news conference. “We have a real opportunity to achieve that. Many are skeptical on this score, but I want to assure you that this will happen.”

“We have had a very good harvest this year, except for apricots [destroyed by a spring frost.] All other crops are abundant,” he said.

Armenian exports to Russia totaled $334.5 million last year, according to government data. Fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, prepared foodstuffs as well as alcoholic and soft drinks accounted for most of this figure.

New Armenian Plant To Supply Energy To Georgia

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A new and large thermal power plant to be built in Armenia by a little-known company will supply electricity to neighboring Georgia, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Yervand Zakharian said on Friday.

Zakharian made the announcement after finalizing a corresponding agreement with representatives of the company, Anaklia IEP Holding, on the second and final day of Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili’s visit to Yerevan.

The “basic provisions” of the deal were signed one week after being formally approved by the Armenian government. The latter said that IEP Anaklia will invest about $600 million in building the natural gas-fired plant at an unspecified location in Armenia. The facility will be equipped with turbines manufactured by the U.S. giant General Electric and have a design capacity of 540 megawatts, the government said.

State to Pay Pension Contributions of Those Earning Minimum Monthly Income in 597 Communities in Armenia

August 22, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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11:41, August 22, 2014
The state will pay the social contributions (i.e. pension contributions) of those born after 1974 who earn the minimum monthly income and work in community budgetary institutions or non-profit organizations not financed by the community’s budget, according to a statement [AM] issued by the Ministry of Territorial Administration of the Republic of Armenia (RA).

For this purpose, as per an Armenian government decision,197,860,800 AMD (about $485,205 USD) has been allocated to the RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Armenia’s regional administration centers. The money will be provided to 597 rural and urban communities around the country. 

Islamic State militants pose ‘biggest threat’ to US

August 22, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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Islamic State militants are the most dangerous threat America has faced in years, the BBC reports quoting top US officials as saying.Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said US strikes had weakened IS in Iraq, but the group could be expected to regroup.America’s top general Martin Dempsey said IS fighters could not be defeated without attacking its base in Syria.The conflict has fuelled sectarian tensions in Iraq. In the latest attack, dozens of people have been killed in an attack on a Sunni mosque.Officials say that during Friday prayers a suicide bomber detonated explosives inside the mosque in the eastern province of Diyala, and gunmen fired on fleeing worshippers.It is not clear which group carried out the attack. The area has seen recent fighting between Iraqi troops backed by Shia militias and IS, a Sunni jihadist group.Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Mr Hagel described IS as an imminent threat.”They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess, they are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything that we have seen.”Meanwhile, Gen Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said IS was “an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated”.”To your question, can they be defeated without addressing that part of their organization which resides in Syria? The answer is no. That will have to be addressed on both sides of what is essentially at this point a non-existent border.”Neither Mr Hagel nor Gen Dempsey announced a change in the limited military campaign adopted by Barack Obama, and the US president is unlikely to deepen his involvement in Iraq or Syria, the BBC’s Barbara Plett Usher in Washington reports.But US officials did not rule out additional action against IS in Iraq or Syria, our correspondent adds.Britain said it would not work with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the battle against IS, despite suggestions from a retired top general that it should do so. 

France Also Deplores Armenian Captive’s Death In Azerbaijan

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France has joined the United States in deploring the suspicious death of an Armenian man in Azerbaijani custody and urging Baku to investigate its cause.

“France was shocked to learn about the death on August 8 of the Armenian national Karen Petrosian, who was detained in Azerbaijan,” a French Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement cited by Armenews.com late on Thursday. “It offers its condolences to the family of Mr. Petrosian.”

“We call on the Azerbaijani authorities to expedite the repatriation of his body and shed light on the circumstances of the death,” added the short statement.

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Georgian-Armenian Ties ‘At Historic High’

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Relations between Georgia and Armenia are now better than at any other point in their long history, President Serzh Sarkisian said as met with the visiting Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Friday.

“Serzh Sarkisian emphasized that Armenian-Georgian relations are at their highest historical level and that that enables the two countries to discuss, in a calm and relaxed manner, any issue related to not only bilateral relations but also regional developments,” the Armenian presidential press service said in a statement on their meeting.

The statement said the two men discussed the “rich agenda” of bilateral ties and regional security. It quoted Gharibashvili as saying that “Armenia is not only Georgia’s neighbor but also friend.”

Azerbaijan Violated Ceasefire 240 Times in Five Days

August 22, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan No Comments
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10:36, August 22, 2014

The NKR Ministry of Defense reports that Azerbaijan violated the line of contact ceasefire 240 times between August 17 and 22, firing a total of 1,900 rounds.

The ministry says that its forces only responded when seriously warranted.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

The Russian Laundromat – How $20 Billion Gets Laundered

August 22, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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13:40, August 22, 2014

Call it the ‘laundromat’.

It’s a complex system for laundering more than $20 billion in Russian money stolen from the government by corrupt politicians or earned through organized crime activity.

It was designed to not only move money from Russian shell companies into EU banks through Latvia, it had the added feature of getting corrupt or uncaring judges in Moldova to legitimize the funds. The state-of-the-art system provided exceptionally clean money backed by a court ruling at a fraction of the cost of regular laundering schemes.

It made up for the low costs by laundering huge volumes. The system used just one bank in Latvia and one bank in Moldova but 20 banks in Russia, some of them owned by rich and powerful figures including the cousin of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Zhoghovurd: Armenian captain not honored for fighting back Azerbaijani raid?

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The Armenian captain who managed to hold back an Azerbaijani saboteur in Karvachar last month has not so far received any government award, the paper has learned.
The man, Arsen Petrosyan, is known to be the brother of Aparan’s former mayor, Razmik Petrosyan, who formerly served as a regimental commander on contractual basis. The paper claims that neither the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army nor Armenia’s Ministry of Defense have honored the serviceman for his feat.
Petrosyan is the man who managed to detain the Azerbaijani saboteur in a very skillful way after talking to him just a couple of muinutes following the border infiltration attempt, according to the paper.
“Armenia’s Ministry of Defense intends, of course, to honor the captain who ‘caught’ the saboteur, but given that Razmik Petrosyan is an active opposition figure, they have prepared a lower award for him,” says the paper, adding that the former commander himself has expressed sorrow that heroes are not appreciated today.“Arsen has already said that he is very thankful and doesn’t want anything. He has explained that he did not do that for an award; he felt obliged to defend his fatherland as a volunteer,” the paper quotes Petrosyan as saying. 

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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

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.

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.