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Armenia, Debtor Nation – Who Is Owed and How Much?

July 22, 2015 Armenia, Culture, Europe No Comments
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14:58, July 22, 2015

In a July 2015 report published by the Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC), Armenia is listed as one of 22 countries already in a government external debt crisis.

The report, undertaken with the assistance of the European Union, looks at countries’ total net debt (public and private sectors) future projected government debt payments, and the ongoing income deficit (or surplus) countries have with the rest of the world, and categorizes them as either in, or at risk of, new debt crises.

(The JDC report was abridged in an article entitled “Beyond Greece, the World is Filled with Debt Crises” published in The Guardian)

Hungary: Scandal-Tarred Tax Chief Resigns

July 22, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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15:31, July 22, 2015

The head of Hungary’s tax authority who was banned from entering the United States (US) last year on suspicion of corruption has resigned, the Ministry for National Economy says. 

Ildikó Vida, president of the Hungarian Tax and Customs Administration (NAV), submitted her resignation to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán May 20. She stepped down Monday after a two-month notice period, in accordance with Hungarian law.

The ministry says it appreciates Vida’s work, but is moving towards a more “task-focused” and “client-friendly” tax authority.

In October 2014 the US Embassy in Budapest said that some Hungarian individuals had been banned from entering the US on suspicion that they are engaging in or benefitting from corruption. The embassy would not reveal the individuals’ names because of American privacy laws, but Hungarian media reported last year that Vida admitted she was one of those blacklisted.

Orange Group Entered into Exclusive Discussions with Ucom

July 22, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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16:19, July 22, 2015

As announced today, Orange has entered into exclusive discussions with Ucom company for the sale of Orange Armenia shares. Exclusive discussions mean that discussions on an agreement to be signed are ongoing and validation by Armenia public authorities has to happen in order to close the deal. Following the finalization of the transaction Orange Armenia will remain a full player on the Armenian telecommunication market with 650.000 customers, its network infrastructure, shops and personnel but with a new shareholder.

Security Officer Named Armenian Presidential Spokesman

July 21, 2015 Armenia, Top News No Comments
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A newly retired officer of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS), who allegedly tried to recruit an opposition activist last year, has been appointed as President Serzh Sarkisian’s new press secretary.

Sarkisian’s office reported Vladimir Hakobian’s appointment at the weekend hours after the previous presidential spokesman, Arman Saghatelian, announced his resignation on social media. Saghatelian said that he has received an unspecified job offer from the private sector and decided to accept it.

A journalist by education, Hakobian, 32, has worked for the NSS, the successor agency to the Armenian branch of the Soviet KGB, for the past eight and a half years. The presidential administration has given no reasons for his appointment.

Western Media Watchdog ‘Outraged’ By Armenian Criminal Case

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Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a Paris-based international media watchdog, condemned Armenian law-enforcement authorities on Tuesday for prosecuting the editor of a media outlet critical of them.

“Reporters Without Borders is outraged that

Armenian Opposition Concerns Conveyed To EU’s Tusk

July 21, 2015 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

Leaders of several opposition parties represented in Armenia’s parliament objected on Monday to controversial constitutional changes planned by President Serzh Sarkisian at a meeting with the European Union’s top official, it emerged on Tuesday.

Donald Tusk, the European Council president, met them during a visit to Yerevan that also involved talks with Sarkisian and Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian. According to Armen Martirosian, a leader of the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, the planned constitutional reform was the main theme of the oppositionists’ discussion with Tusk.

From Silicon Valley to Aragyugh: Margosyans to Produce Natural Line of Cosmetics Using Botanicals of Armenia

July 21, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Video No Comments
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Marine Martirosyan

The taxi driver points to the fields around us as we make our way to Aragyugh, a village in Armenia’s Kotayk Marz. The cabbie says that during the Artsakh War years the fields were the main supplier of wheat for the area. Now, they are barren.

Silicon Valley programmers as entrepreneurs

Arriving at the iron gates outside a building that used to be a school in the 1930s, we are met by mathematician and computer programmer Ara Margosyan. Inside and out, there’s a flurry of activity. The Margosyans, husband and wife, plan to produce a line of natural cosmetics and the production unit must be ready by August.

Uniting Church in Australia Recognizes Armenian Genocide

July 21, 2015 Armenia, Asia, Australia No Comments
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12:14, July 21, 2015

Stuart McMillan, President of Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) and Rev. Dr. KrikorYoumshajekian,the Chairperson of Sydney North Presbytery of UCA

The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) has formally acknowledged that the 1915 Armenian massacres and forced deportations constitute Genocide. The UCA is the third denomination at a national level to acknowledge the Genocide that took place 100 years ago.

The UCA that came into being on June 22, 1977, after three denominations – Congregational Union in Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia, and the Presbyterian Church of Australia joined together – is the third largest Christian denomination in Australia and the first church to be created in and of Australia. At present a total of 2,500 congregations worship at a Uniting Church, including many congregations that worship in languages other than English.

Armenia Has Exported 18,787 Tons of Apricots So Far This Year

July 20, 2015 Armenia, Culture No Comments
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14:30, July 20, 2015

Armenia has exported 45,620 tons of fresh fruit and vegetables so far this year, a marked rise over the 27,287 tons exported in the same period last year.

Armenia’s Ministry of Agriculture reports exports of 18,787 tons of apricots and 1,830 tons of cherries to date; a bumper crop when compared to last year’s exports of 1,791 apricots and 370 tons of cherries.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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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.