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Edward Nalbandian to Remain as Foreign Minister

April 15, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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15:38, April 15, 2014

President Serzh Sargsyan has reappointed Edward Nalbandian as Armenia’s foreign minister under the new government being formed following the resignation of Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan.

According to Armenia’s Constitution, the government must be formed within twenty days after the appointment of a new prime minister.

The president must approve all ministerial candidates submitted by the new prime minister.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Rule of Law party leader to never become opposition – ex-member

April 15, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora No Comments
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Gagik Baghdasaryan, an ex-member of the Rule of Law party, who is now collaborating with the Heritage party, commented on media reports that Rule of Law party leader Artur Baghdasaryan has no intention to join the ruling coalition and allegedly called on his supporters to take to the streets.
“Artur Baghdasaryan will never become an opposition,” he said.
“It is out of the question. I remember well his statement that the Rule of Law party would never become an opposition,” Baghdasaryan added.

Source: TertOriginial Article

‘Don’t disrespect the Supreme Leader!’ North Korean officials demand London barber takes down Kim Jong-un ‘bad hair day’ poster

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A London salon that used a photo of Kim Jong-un to advertise a ‘bad hair’ discount has been visited by North Korean agents who wanted it removed because it was ‘disrespectful’ to their Supreme Leader, the Daily Mail reports.
Mo Nabbach, who runs M&M Hair Academy in South Ealing, hoped his poster would drum up business, but instead it attracted attention from officials from the rogue state’s nearby embassy.
The advert used a close-up picture of Kim Jong-un’s distinctive haircut, with his close-shaved sides and a longer, floppy, middle-parted crop of dark hair.
Below the picture it said: ‘Bad hair day? 15% off all gent cuts through the month of April’.
Mr Nabbach said soon afterwards North Korean officials, whose embassy is two miles away in a converted semi in Gunnersbury, arrived to protest.
Two men in suits took photographs of the west London shop and its poster of their ‘Dear Leader’, as well as taking notes.
They returned later to tell him the poster was ‘disrespectful’ to their country’s ‘Supreme Leader’ and must be removed, Mr Nabbach said.
‘I told them this is England and not North Korea and told them to get their lawyers,’ he told the Evening Standard.
‘We did take it down but then some of our clients told me to put it back up because we have a democracy here.
‘The two guys were wearing suits and they were very serious. It was very threatening’.
After the incident he went to his police station in the leafy west London suburb ‘in case something happened to the salon’, and Scotland Yard revealed today the North Koreans did the same.
Barber Karim Nabbach, 26, said: ‘We put up posters for an offer for men’s hair cuts through the month of April. Obviously in the current news there has been this story that North Korean men are only allowed one haircut.
‘We didn’t realize but the North Korean embassy is a 10 minute walk from the salon. The next day we had North Korean officials pop into the salon asking to speak to the manager.
‘He (Mo) went to Ealing police station afterwards to file a report just in case anything happened to the salon overnight. Apparently they went to the police as well.
‘We haven’t had any trouble since then, if anything the poster has become a tourist attraction. It was just something that had been in the news, and the North Korean officials didn’t even have the haircut.
‘We always put up little offers in the window, it’s harmless. We were just making light of a bad situation in North Korea.’
A North Korean embassy spokesman said they could not comment.
A Met Police spokesman said: ‘We have spoken to all parties involved and no offence has been disclosed’.
While M&M Hair Academy consider Kim Jong-un’s hair ‘bad’, the North Korean leader is currently forcing all male students in North Korea to get the same haircut.
Last month his government announced that the only haircut allowed would be the ‘Dear Leader’ style favored by Kim Jong-Un.

Power v Power Play? Appointment of Abrahamyan reveals flaws in current “authoritarian” government

April 15, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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According to Armenia’s Constitution, the republic’s speaker of the house holds the second position of authority after the president, followed by the prime minister. The prime minister rules the executive body; the speaker, the legislative. The speaker succeeds the president.

Why would a speaker – in this example, Hovik Abrahamyan – take a reduced role of power to become prime minister?

Because, says at least one analyst, in Armenia the order of power is tilted by the president, regardless of order of succession.

Political analyst Yervand Bozoyan says that Armenia is considered a model of a semi-presidential country, like France or Poland, where the actual head of the country is the President, the second – the NA Speaker, and the third – the PM. All this is de jure present in Armenia as well.

One killed, 60 wounded as Armenian school in Syrian capital comes under shelling

April 15, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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An Armenian catholic school in Syrian capital Damascus has come under shelling, reports Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its Facebook account. One person was reportedly killed and about 60 wounded in the attack.

The Armenian Ministry says this is preliminary information and details on the incident will be released later on.

Source: Armenia NowOriginial Article

Good Move for Prez: Appointment of Abrahamyan seen as strengthening Sargsyan’s power

April 15, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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Hovik Abrahamyan’s appointment as prime minister was greeted negatively by the public, but is seen by analysts as a logical move for President Serzh Sargsyan to further secure his political powerbase.

Abrahamyan’s appointment will allow Sargsyan to expedite the president’s economic policy more aggressively, says analyst Sergey Minasyan.

According to Minasyan the national political intrigue in Armenia will continue during the coming two weeks as well, around formation of the new government. (Two posts have already been maintained, as, today, Sargsyan re-appointed Eduard Nalbandian as Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Seyran Ohanyan and Minister of Defense.)

Report: Ethnic Armenian killed in eastern Ukraine standoff

April 15, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

An ethnic Armenian has been killed in the continuing standoff between the pro-Russian eastern parts of Ukraine and the central government, reports News.am , quoting a local Armenian cleric.

Father Husik Nurijanyan, the Armenian church leader in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine, told the Armenian news website that a young man named Ruben Avanesyan died of a gunshot wound that he received on Sunday in the town of Slavyansk, which became one of the recent flashpoints of confrontation between local protesters seeking federalization and Ukrainian security forces.

According to preliminary information, the 29-year-old citizen of Ukraine who lived in Donetsk was shot dead by gunmen when he was driving a car and refused to stop when flagged down by unknown people. Fr. Nurijanyan said this was only one of the versions, while investigation is underway.

Sambo: 11 medals for Team Armenia at European youth championships

April 15, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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Team Armenia has won a total of 11 medals at the European Sambo championships among youths and juniors that was recently held in Caceres, Spain.

The Sambo Federation of Armenia reports that Armenian fighters got two gold, four silver and five bronze medals. In team standings Armenia finished third in the competition of youths and juniors, winning two cups.

Sambo (a Russian acronym for unarmed self-defense) is a hand-to-hand fighting system developed in the Soviet armed forces. It later grew into a sport that is currently mostly popular in former Soviet and Eastern bloc countries.

Source: Armenia NowOriginial Article

Fresh pro-Russian attacks in Ukraine

April 14, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora No Comments
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Pro-Russian activists have attacked another official building in east Ukraine, ignoring a deadline to leave or face eviction by Ukrainian forces, BBC News reported.
A crowd stormed a police station in the town of Horlivka, near Donetsk, taking control of the building.
Ukraine’s interim president hit out at “aggression” from Russia, but signalled support for a national referendum.
Olexander Turchynov said Kiev was “not against” a vote on the future of the country, a key demand from protesters.
Mr Turchynov also said Ukraine was preparing an “anti-terrorist operation” against gunmen occupying government buildings in Sloviansk and a number of other towns and cities.
Correspondents says people in eastern Ukraine are anxiously waiting to see if Mr Turchynov carries through on his threat to use the army against the pro-Russian groups. In a televised address to parliament, interim PM Turchynov suggested Kiev would be open to moving from a republic into a federation and giving broader rights to Ukraine’s Russian speakers.The pro-Russian groups who have seized government buildings in eastern regions are demanding local referendums on either increased local rights or an option to join the Russian Federation.See more here. 

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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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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…

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Write to me with your ideas and story suggestions.

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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.

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.