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Armenian Industrial Output Flat In 2014

August 12, 2014 Armenia, Business, Top News No Comments
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In a further sign of slower-than-expected economic growth, industrial production in Armenia did not increase in the first half of this year, according to government statistics.

Detailed figures released by the National Statistical Service (NSS) show that industrial output was flat at almost 580 billion drams ($1.4 billion) in that period. Downturns in mining and power generation appear to have been instrumental in the zero growth.

In particular, the NSS registered a 9 percent drop in the first-half production of metal ores and ore concentrates worth a total of 92.5 billion drams. This was apparently due to a more than 10 percent fall in international prices for copper, a key Armenian export, in January-June 2014. The copper prices rallied in July and this month but are still well below the January level.

Australian government considers banning uranium to Russia

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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has put Moscow on notice, warning that Australia will consider banning uranium sales in the event of a Russian incursion into Ukraine, Sky News reported.
Mr Abbott said on Saturday Australia would not accept that any Russian troop movement across the border could have a humanitarian purpose.
“Everything’s on the table,” he said when asked about the prospect of extending sanctions to include uranium.
“Our message to President [Vladimir] Putin is, hold your forces back,” Mr Abbott said.“Any move by Russian forces across the border would be an invasion, pure and simple.“The business of Ukraine should be left to Ukrainians to sort out.”The comments come three days after Russia slapped an embargo on agricultural imports from Australia, the European Union, the United States, Canada and others.Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the government was working with affected Australian agricultural producers to try to get access to other markets.But he said the $400 million of trade hit by Russia’s sanctions represented only about 0.4 per cent of exports. 

Israel: Former PM Faces Retrial On Corruption Charges

August 8, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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18:06, August 8, 2014

A Supreme Court panel has ordered a retrial of the Talansky affair, in which former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was originally acquitted on corruption charges.

As theJewish News Serviceexplains, in 2008 prosecutors found that undeclared funds from US businessman Morris Talansky were accepted by Olmert during his time as mayor of Jerusalem in the 1990s and as a cabinet minister in the early 2000s. Facing indictment then, Olmert resigned.

The 2012 the Jerusalem District Court ruled in favor of Olmert, acquitting him of charges of fraud, breach of trust, tax evasion and falsifying corporate records, according toThe Times of Israel. However, a former assistant Shula Zaken, who had been convicted for fraudulently obtaining benefits, fraud and breach of trust, came forth with new evidence. In her plea bargain she provided recordings of conversations between her and Olmert.

Yerevan March in Support of Levon Hayrapetyan

August 7, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Business No Comments
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16:21, August 7, 2014

Marchers took to the street in Yerevan today in support of Levon Hayrapetyan, an Armenian businessman arrested in Moscow on July 15 and later charged with taking a US$50 million fee in the 2009 Bashneft oil company sale. The Artsakh native has since been held in pre-trial detention. Marchers demanded that Armenian President Sargsyan petition Russian authorities to free him from detention while awaiting trial.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Political Analyst: “The fundamental issue isn’t Karabakh, but that of regime change in the two countries”

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22:38, August 6, 2014

An interview with political analyst Stepan Danielian

Today, people in Armenia are trying to understand the political underpinnings of the situation on the Artsakh frontline. Some believe that it is linked to the issue of Azerbaijan’s admission in the Eurasian Union. What do you believe?

It’s difficult to say what the specific reasons are. I find one other variant more understandable that isn’t talked about in the Armenian, Azerbaijani or Russian press.

Let’s take a more detailed look at the situation. In my view, twenty years of relative peace has resulted from a certain balance among the players possessing regional influence, and the lack of active competition amongst them. This was also the reason for a certain domestic political stability.

Cement Plant Workers Again Go On Strike

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Dozens of employees of a troubled cement plant in the central Armenian town of Hrazdan again went on strike on Tuesday to demand the payment of their back wages for the past several months.

U.S. Warns Armenia Over Sanctions Against Russia

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The United States has urged Armenia to avoid doing business with Russian companies and individual entrepreneurs that have been subjected to U.S. sanctions in retaliation for Moscow’s alleged role in the Ukraine crisis.

“We encourage all countries and their nationals to consider the reputational risk of doing business with sanctioned individuals and entities and cease business dealings inconsistent with the sanctions that we and others have imposed,” the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan said on Thursday.

“The U.S. Embassy in Armenia, like other U.S. embassies around the globe, distributed information about these latest sanctions to Government of Armenia representatives as well as to local business organizations,” it added a statement to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

Russia Slams U.S. ‘Threats’ To Armenia

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Russia condemned the United States on Thursday for warning Armenia against business dealings with Russian firms that have been sanctioned by Washington as well as the European Union.

The Russian Embassy in Armenia reacted to the “thinly veiled threats” to the Armenian government and business community just hours after a statement on the matter released by U.S. Embassy in the country.

“We express concern over American attempts to complicate the work of Russian business in the Republic of Armenia,” the Russian mission said in a statement. “All Russian companies present in Armenia, including the VTB Armenia and Areksimbank banks, are under its jurisdiction, operate within the framework of the country’s legislation, make profits and pay taxes in Armenia, and employ a considerable part of the population.”

Azerbaijan Set For New Arms Deal With Russia

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Azerbaijan is reportedly poised to buy advanced military aircraft from Russia in addition to billions of dollars worth of other Russian-made weapons acquired in the past several years.

The Azerbaijani news agency APA reported on Tuesday that Moscow has agreed to supply an unspecified number of Yak-130 trainer and light attack jets to Baku. “We think Azerbaijan will, in the near future, be among the countries that are using Yak-130 aircraft,” it quoted a spokesman for their state-run manufacturer, Irkut, as saying.

According to APA, Azerbaijani military pilots started learning to fly Yak-130s and familiarizing themselves with their characteristics last year.

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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

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

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.