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Date Set For Armenia’s Accession Treaty With Russian-Led Union

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With less than two weeks to go before the signing of an accession treaty with the Customs Union, Armenia has not yet secured vital trade preferences for its membership in the Russian-led bloc, Economy Minister Vahram Avanesian admitted on Thursday.

Fish Farms Concerned Over Tighter Regulation

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Armenia – Grapes harvested at a vineyard in the Ararat Valley, 9Sep2013.

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In the Tavoush Village of Achadjour Owning Land Has Lost its “Shine”

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16:16, April 16, 2014

Residents of Achadjour describe their village as prosperous, pointing to the high prices that houses go for and the low numbers of those leaving for greener shores.

The village lies in Armenia’s northeastern province of Tavoush, and is situated a few kilometers from the Azerbaijani border.

Nevertheless, their main source of revenue remains money transfers from friends and relatives abroad.

Every year, some 1,200 souls leave for seasonal work outside Armenia and return at the start of winter. They say the local water and earth is what draws them back from Russia.

Kamo Ghaltakhchyan, the present mayor of Achadjour, has returned after residing in Russia for many years. He’s been at the job since December and the garbage issue was his main priority.

Syunik Mine Owner: ‘Heavy Metals Might be Beneficial to Humans’

April 16, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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00:34, April 16, 2014

Maksim Hakobyan Labels Reports of Two-Headed Babies as Scurrilous Disinformation

Following up on recent rumors in Kapan that a company had started mining exploratory work at the source of the town’s water supply, we headed off towards a community called Nor Astghaberd up in the hills.

Within Nor Astghaberd lies the village of Adjabadj and the Hankasar Mine. Rights to operate the mine were purchased in 2012 by an outfit called Ler-Eks LLC. Maksim Hakobyan, General Manager of the Zangezur Copper Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC), bought the rights from former Syunik Regional Governor Suren Khachatryan.

Food Items Sold by Weight in Armenia Violate Labelling Requirements

April 16, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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11:42, April 16, 2014

Labels on foodstuffs purchased by weight in Armenia do not meet all the requirements prescribed by law. 

Article 8 of the RA Law on Food Safety includes a list of particulars that must be on all food labels, regardless of whether the item is purchased by weight or not (with the exception of fruits and vegetables). The following are some of the particulars required on all labels:
The name, net weight or volume
The list of the main ingredients
The list of food additives added to foodstuff (if any)
The day, month and year of production, storage terms, special instructions for storage (if any) and the expiration date
Information about contraindications of use (if any)
Particulars of the manufacturer (address and business name)
Country of origin 
For alcoholic beverages: the percentage of alcoholic content 
Information on genetically modified organisms, if comprise more than 0.9% of the food ingredients

‘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.

Civil Society in Armenia Issue Call for Collective Political Agenda

April 14, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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17:44, April 14, 2014

*This statement is open for any initiative and entity to join it 

Much of the discourse surrounding the resignation of Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and the appointment of the new Prime Minister has been based on narrow-minded and primitive speculations about the name of the individual who will take the post. In the meantime, the authorities continue to make declarations that are against the will of the people, and that are instead focused on protecting their own personal interest, while the media and a large segment of society finds itself in a state of passive objection. All the while, the most important issue at hand has been conspicuously absent from the dominant discourse: What will the new government’s political reforms agenda be based on, and in what way will it benefit Armenian society? Indeed, what demands will the public place before the new government, regardless of who the individual taking the post of prime minister will be? Considering the fact that the discourse surrounding the new prime minister is meant to divert attention away from this more important issue, we demand that all political forces involved with forming the new government publicly present their policy concepts, and base them on the following demands that have been formulated by civil society: 

Swimming in Reality: Photojournalist finds escape in innovating, collecting

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The little fish swimming carelessly in what used to be Soviet brand “Minsk” radio adapter, “Horizon” and “Elektron” TV sets are unaware of the Soviet biography of their new homes. Even the pages of Soviet-time “Vokrug Sveta” (Around the World) covering the radio set cannot orient them to the unusual origin of their surroundings.

“’Minsk’ was made in 1930, Stalin epoch. People I know give those to me instead of just disposing of them, because they know I collect them. I take the radio set apart, clean it, sand it, assemble it back and change it little bit,” tells photo-journalist Hayk Biyajyan, famous mostly for his “Ciao USSR” and “Vanishing Memories” projects.

The New PM: Predicted rise to power for Hovik Abrahamyan

April 14, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
Armenian News

The 13th prime minister of the second republic of Armenia Hovik Abrahamyan will shift from a legislative position to an executive, as an “old veteran” who had already served in the executive field various times before as a Minister of Territorial Administration, vice-PM, Governor of Ararat Province and Mayor of Artashat.

Abrahamyan, 56, is originally from Mkhtchyan village in Ararat Province. He started his career at leading positions as department head of Burastan Brandy Factory, and later as the president of Artashat wine-brandy factory. He made his first steps in the legislative body in 1995 as an MP of the first Parliament.

During 2008 and 2012 presidential elections Abrahamyan led candidate Serzh Sargsyan’s election campaign and later on was appointed the secretary general of the presidential staff.

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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.

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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…

Anything interesting happening in your local community you’d like to share?

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.