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PM’s First Week: Too early to see Abrahamyan’s impact, say analyst

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Although Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan hinted of economic policy changes during his first week of appointment, political experts have not rushed to evaluate them, some saying they are mere public relations moves.

The president introduced the newly-appointed PM to the government members last Tuesday, and the next day Abrahamyan started working.

He first hosted information technology sphere companies, then had a consultation with governors, he also announced at the government sitting that “the state must support businessmen with everything”, and a day later “we’ll be supportive of whoever wants to run a business.”

The PM even met the complaining residents of Byuzand Street and Firdus district, and what was most important, supported activists against pension fund reforms, suggesting to drop sanctions on businesses.

Kocharian Attacks Sarkisian, Constitutional Reform

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Armenia – President Serzh Sarkisian (R) and his predecessor Robert Kocharian at an official ceremony near Yerevan, 03Dec2008.

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Armenia’s Ambassador to Ukraine Buys BMW for 118,000 EUR

April 21, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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11:54, April 21, 2014
Andranik Manukyan has been Armenia’s Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Ukraine since April 26, 2010. Previously, he was the minister of transport and communication, then the advisor to the president of the Republic of Armenia. 

It’s no secret that Manukyan was sent to Ukraine, where he has a number of ventures, to grow his business. 

He has several businesses in Armenia as well. He owns Metropol Hotel in central Yerevan and has acquired mining exploration licenses and a car import business. 

In 2013, the interest on loans provided by Manukyan and other types of compensation amounted to 120 million 600 thousand AMD (about $291,227 USD), while his income was close to $35,000 USD. 

New Armenian PM Vows Government Support For Business

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Armenia – Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian arrives at a cabinet meeting in Yerevan, 17Apr2014.

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This military robot can jump from sidewalk onto roof (video)

April 21, 2014 Business, Diaspora No Comments
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Google-owned robotics company Boston Dynamics makes a number of stunning robots, perhaps most notably its Atlas humanoid and the “Big Dog” cargo-carrying robot, the Business Insider reports.But the “Sand Flea,” weighing in at a mere 11 pounds (compared to Atlas’ 330 pounds) can do something that none of these others can. It can jump, and it can jump high.It moves along the ground like a remote control car, but when the operator wants to get airborne, the Sand Flea props itself up at an angle and fires a piston into the ground that sends the robot hurtling forward through the air at heights of up to 30 feet. That’s high enough to jump onto the roof of an average house from the ground.It’s not all about height, however. Boston Dynamics boasts that this thing is also handy for “precision hops through windows or doors, on to tables,” even up staircases. Developed with funding from the U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, it’s plain to see that this robot could be a handy surveillance bot that can get itself into otherwise inaccessible locations.
 

Russian outrage at Ukraine killing

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Russia’s foreign ministry has expressed outrage at a fatal shooting incident in eastern Ukraine which it blamed on Ukrainian nationalists, the BBC reports.
Russian state media reported that five people were killed in a gun attack on a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian activists near the town of Sloviansk.
Ukrainian officials said one died in a clash between “two groups of citizens”.
The incident comes as pro-Russian groups continue to occupy government buildings defying a deal to leave.
Ertogrul Apakan, who heads the special mission of the Organization for Co-operation and Security in Europe in Kiev, said his deputy would be in Donetsk to try to get them to comply with an agreement reached on Thursday to ease the crisis.
Russia, Ukraine, the EU and US agreed during talks in Geneva on Thursday that illegal military groups in Ukraine must be dissolved, and that those occupying government premises must be disarmed and leave.
But the separatists’ spokesman in the city of Donetsk said that the Kiev government was “illegal”, and vowed they would not go until it stepped down.
TV pictures showed what was described as the aftermath of an attack on a pro-Russian checkpoint at about 01:00 local time (22:00 on Saturday GMT), including the body of a man under a cover.
The BBC is unable to verify the footage. However, a Reuters journalist at the scene reported seeing two bodies in a truck.
Daylight Reuters TV footage of the scene shows several burnt-out vehicles.
The Russian foreign ministry said the Ukrainian far-right group Right Sector was behind the attack. A business card with the name of its leader Dmytro Yarosh appeared in the unverified Russian TV pictures.
“Russia is indignant about this provocation by gunmen, which testifies to the lack of will on the part of the Kiev authorities to rein in and disarm nationalists and extremists,” it said in a statement.
Right Sector said in a statement on its Facebook page that it had nothing to do with the events in Sloviansk, which bore the hallmarks of a provocation by Russia’s Federal Security Service.
Ukraine’s interior ministry said that details were still being established, but that one person was killed and three others were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds.
This is the first fatal incident in the region since Thursday’s agreement, prompting Sloviansk rebel leader and self-proclaimed mayor Vyacheslav Ponomarev to call on Russian President Vladimir Putin to send peacekeepers.
But the BBC’s James Reynolds in Donetsk says that the Geneva deal is already in trouble and events in Sloviansk will do little to change that.
Meanwhile in an interview to be aired in full later on Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to “restore the Soviet Union”.
If Mr Putin succeeded, Mr Yatsenyuk says, it would be “the biggest disaster of this century”.
Ukraine has been in crisis since President Viktor Yanukovych was toppled in February.
Russia then annexed the Crimean peninsula – part of Ukraine but with a Russian-speaking majority – in a move that provoked international outrage.
The annexation followed a referendum in Crimea that backed a move to join the Russian Federation.
Pro-Russian activists then occupied buildings in several eastern Ukrainian cities, many calling on Moscow to support them.
Ukraine has said that operations against the pro-Russian militants have been suspended over Easter.
Ukraine’s interim authorities have appealed for national unity and promised to meet some of the demands of pro-Russian protesters.
These include the decentralization of power and guarantees for the status of the Russian language.
But the US has warned the next few days will be pivotal and has threatened more sanctions against Russia if it fails to abide by the agreement.
US Vice-President Joe Biden is set to visit Kiev on Tuesday.

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.

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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

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.

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.