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Opposition Parties Defend Support For Eurasian Union

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Two leading Armenian opposition parties defended on Friday their endorsement of Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union against criticism voiced by other, pro-Western forces and figures critical of President Serzh Sarkisian.

Dozens of deputies from the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and the Armenian National Congress (HAK) on Thursday joined the pro-government majority in the National Assembly in voting for the ratification of an accession treaty with the EEU signed by Sarkisian. The treaty was also backed by lawmakers representing the opposition Orinats Yerkir and Dashnaktsutyun parties.

Stepan Markarian, a senior BHK deputy, said the party led by business Gagik Tsarukian did so “for the sake of the country’s security,” clearly alluding to Armenia’s military alliance with Russia.

85.2 Million Euro Loan by KfW Bank to Unite Armenia-Georgia Electricity Grids

December 5, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Georgia No Comments
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15:47, December 4, 2014

The Armenian government today gave the green light for a 105.2 million Euro project that will unite the electricity grids of Armenia and Georgia.

Under the agreement, the first stage of the “Caucasian ElectroCommunications Network I” project will be financed by an 85.2 million Euro loan by the KfW Development Bank to Armenia. (75 million of its own capital and 10.5 million from the German government)

The European Investment Bank will offer 10 million Euros in lending instruments and the European Union’s Neighbourhood Investment Facility will fund an additional 10 million. 

Source: HetqOriginial Article

OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs: Downing of Armenian Helicopter an “Avoidable Tragedy”

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18:01, December 4, 2014

The following statement was released today by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs:

“We, the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries – Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State of the United States John Kerry,­­ State Secretary for European Affairs of France Harlem Desir – remain strongly committed to a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  There is no military solution, and we call on the sides to refrain from violence and work actively towards a lasting settlement.

Public Contracts Are Main Reason Behind Most Foreign Bribery Cases

December 5, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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18:06, December 4, 2014

A new analysis of international bribery cases shows that kickbacks are not limited to countries with a reputation for corruption.

While measures such as the Corruption Perception Index show that corruption is often associated with poor countries, the report, published by the OECD, found that one in five foreign bribery cases involved a recipient from a country ranked Very High on the UN Human Development Index. Over half of bribes were paid or authorized by CEOs or corporate management. Three out of four bribery schemes went through an intermediary, such as an agent or a shell company.

The report compiles data from 17 countries that have successfully punished people or companies for bribing a foreign official.

Uruguay VP Arrives in Armenia Tomorrow

December 5, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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18:08, December 4, 2014

Vice President of Uruguay Danilo Astori will arrive in Yerevan on December 5 for a one week official visit according to Agencia Prensa  Armenia.

Astori will arrive in Armenia at the invitation of Armenian parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamyan and Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Russia: Putin Proposes Amnesty On Offshore Assets

December 5, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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20:29, December 4, 2014

Russian president Vladimir Putin has proposed a one-off amnesty on capital returning to Russia amid concerns that the country will slide into recession next year.

Speaking about the measure at his state of the union address, Putin promised toensure legal protection for Russian citizens choosing to tranfer funds back to the country from foreign banks andregister their foreign property in accordance with Russian law.

The measure, first proposed by members of the Federation Council on Nov. 5, means Russians wishing to legalize assets stashed abroad will face no questions as long as they do it between Jan. 1 and Jun. 20, 2015.

U.S., Russia Urge Talks On ‘Comprehensive’ Karabakh Accord

December 5, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

The United States and Russia on Thursday urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to avoid a further escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and start negotiating on a “comprehensive” peace accord.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also called for “additional actions to reinforce the ceasefire” in the conflict zone that was undermined by recent upsurges in deadly violence. They cited in that regard the November 12 downing by Azerbaijani forces of an Armenian combat helicopter, which reignited tensions between the warring sides.

In a joint statement that was also signed by a senior French official, Kerry and Lavrov avoided explicitly blaming either party for the incident, calling it an “avoidable tragedy that underscored the importance of measures by the sides to reduce tensions.” “We appeal to all sides to demonstrate restraint to prevent further escalation,” read the statement issued after their talks in Switzerland.

Armenian Parliament Backs Eurasian Union Entry

December 4, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

The National Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to ratify Armenia’s controversial accession treaty with the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union which President Serzh Sarkisian hopes will come into force next month.

The treaty signed by Sarkisian in October was backed by 103 members of the 131-seat Armenian parliament representing not only the ruling Republican Party (HHK) but virtually all opposition factions. Only 7 deputies voted against it, while another lawmaker abstained.

The vote followed three days of heated debates during which parliamentary opponents of Armenia’s membership in the EEU decried what they see as a grave threat to national independence. They included all three members of the opposition Zharangutyun party’s parliamentary faction and non-partisan opposition deputies like Alexander Arzumanian and Nikol Pashinian.

Armenian Government Again Rules Out Recession

December 4, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

The Armenian government stood by its economic growth projections for next year on Thursday after a significant worsening of Russia’s economic outlook acknowledged by the authorities in Moscow.

Economy Minister Karen Chshmaritian said the government continues to anticipate that the Armenian economy will grow by 4.1 percent in 2015 despite a recession expected in Russia.

The Russian Ministry of Economy said on Tuesday that the domestic economy is likely to contract by 0.8 percent in 2015. The ministry had earlier forecast an economic growth rate of 1.2 percent.

Asked by journalists whether this means that Armenia too risks sliding into recession given its economic dependence on Russia, Chshmaritian said: “I don’t think so.” He argued that Russia accounts for less than a quarter of Armenian foreign trade.

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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

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.

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