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Shopkeeper Hasmik and Santa the Cat

December 30, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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16:14, December 30, 2014

Santa the cat was rolled up in a ball behind the stove in Hasmik Grigoryan’s shop in Kapan.

As I was focusing on photographing Santa, Hasmik laughed from a window.

Hasmik named the cat with that unique moniker and they have been friends for the past five years. Santa greets Hasmik at the entrance to her house every morning and escorts her back from the shop in the evening.The shopkeeper feeds the friendly cat but never takes it home.

The large red umbrella atop the blue store creates a kind of romantic image which immediately fades when one sees the various pickles, fresh and dried greens, and the battered scale inside.

IMF Insists On ‘More Decisive’ Reforms In Armenia

December 30, 2014 Armenia, Business, Top News No Comments
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The International Monetary Fund renewed on Tuesday its calls for the Armenian authorities to speed up key reforms as it provided them with a fresh $17 million loan tranche designed to boost macroeconomic stability in the country.

The IMF warned that growth in Armenia will be sluggish unless President Serzh Sarkisian’s administration takes “decisive” measures to improve competition and the broader business environment.

“Armenia faces a period of slower growth unless decisive actions are taken,” it said in a statement. “Sound macroeconomic policies since the [2009] crisis have helped sustain domestic and external stability in a highly uncertain context. However, going forward, projected growth rates will not be sufficient to generate sufficient jobs and stem emigration.”

Armenian IT Industry Keeps Up Rapid Growth

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Information technology (IT) companies remain the fastest-growing sector of Armenia’s economy that has expanded by 25 percent in 2014, according to official statistics.

Preliminary data from the Armenian Ministry of Economy shows the combined output of the nearly 400 IT firms operating in the country reaching almost $475 million. The figure is equivalent to about 5 percent of Gross Domestic Product and almost one-third of Armenian exports in 2013.

The Armenian IT industry, which is dominated by local subsidiaries of U.S. software giants, generated only 1.7 percent of GDP in 2010. The total number of skilled personnel working there has since more than doubled to around 11,600, the ministry figures show.

Two Armenian IT Entrepreneurs Want to Set Their Own Parameters

December 27, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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14:42, December 27, 2014

Davit Khachatryan moved back to Armenia from Israel, where he was working as a business analyst, in 2012.

While he enjoyed the lifestyle there, Davit Khachatryan (top photo) confesses that he feels at home in Armenia.

The young man says there are a number of IT ideas in his head that he’d like to launch here.

“The time has come when I’ve set my own parameters, rather than working within those set by others. It’s not just about making money but about helping others. I gained experience but later wantedfreedom, to create something of my own. I’ve been experimenting since,” says Davit.

Judge Arrested On Bribery Charges

December 27, 2014 Armenia, Business, Top News No Comments
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The National Security Service (NSS) confirmed on Friday the arrest of an Armenian judge accused of bribery.

The NSS said that Khachatur Khachatrian of a court of first instance in the northern Lori province was caught red-handed on Thursday while taking $20,000 from a local businessman involved in a civil case. A spokesman for the feared security agency claimed that Khachatrian demanded the kickback in return for ruling in favor of the unnamed businessman.

Khachatrian defense lawyer, Karen Tumanian, commented ambiguously on the allegation. “I don’t deny or confirm it,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “But he did not actually receive the officially specified amount of money.”

Arrested Businessman Levon Hayrapetyan’s Health Worsens, Says Doctor

December 24, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Business No Comments
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10:18, December 24, 2014

The doctor of Levon Hayrapetyan, the 65 year-old native Artsakh businessman arrested in Moscow on July 15, 2014 on embezzlement and money laundering charges, says the man is seriously ill and in need of ling-term care.

Artsakh Today reports that according to Dr. Henry Bakounts, Hayrapetyan has been diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, and suffers from cardio issues.  

Source: HetqOriginial Article

China Allocates More Aid To Armenia

December 23, 2014 Armenia, Business, Top News No Comments
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China will provide$9.6 million in fresh economic assistance to Armenia next year, the Foreign Ministry in Yerevan said on Tuesday.

A ministry statement said that the Chinese ambassador to Armenia, Tian Erlong, formalized the “technical aid” allocation with an agreement signed with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Manasarian. It gave no details of the aid, saying only that it will be provided in Chinese yuans.

“The two sides are holding negotiations towards agreeing on a number of other programs,” the statement added without elaborating.

According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, the Chinese government has supported Armenia financially on an annual basis ever since 1999. The Chinese aid totaled $37 million between 2012 and 2014. That included an $11 million grant provided by Beijing in early 2013 for the construction of a Chinese school in Yerevan and the purchase of equipment for the Armenian customs service.

New Armenian Mining Giant Inaugurated

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Overcoming fierce resistance from environmentalists, a private mining company has officially launched production operations at Armenia’s second largest copper deposit that will significantly increase output in the main export-oriented sector of the Armenian economy. 

Vallex Group inaugurated at the weekend an ore-processing plant which it has built at the Teghut forest in the northern Lori province as part of a $380 million project to mine copper and molybdenum there.

President Serzh Sarkisian underlined the Armenian government’s strong support for the controversial project with his presence at the opening ceremony. It took place just three weeks after the government gave the final green light to a British company planning to develop untapped gold reserves of Armenia.

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Offshore Labyrinth: Former Armenian PM and Church Primate Have Yet to be Questioned

December 22, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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12:25, December 22, 2014

Here’s a photo taken awhile back of Ararat Diocesan Primate Navasard (Samvel) Kjoyan proudly standing next to his famous Bentley.

Archbishop Kjoyan always claimed that the car was a gift, but never revealed from whom. The primate says he’s now sold the car.

We know that the Bentley was a gift from businessman Ashot Sukiasyan who, in turn, purchased it with loans received from Ameria Bank for which another businessman, Paylak Hayrapetyan put up his assets as collateral.

The case looking into the offshore labyrinth involving the primate and the former prime minister of Armenian exposed by Hetq isn’t getting anywhere.

Ashot Sukiasyan, the third player in the multi-million dollar drama, remains under arrest.

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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

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.