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Russia: Lawmaker Seeks To Add Sex, Promotions To Anti-Bribery Law

September 4, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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16:43, September 4, 2014

A legislator has submitted amendments to the Criminal Code of Russia that would classify non-cash services, such as promotions and sexual favors, as a form of bribery.

The proposal by Oleg Mikheyev, a deputy in the State Duma, would make non-cash bribes punishable with fines from US$ 680 up to US$ 13.6 million,according to the state-ownedRossiyskaya Gazeta.

“The Russian economy is losing hundreds of billions of dollars due to corruption,” Mikheyev, a member of the Socialist party A Just Russia, toldRossiyskaya Gazeta. “This represents not only direct losses to the government, but also business barriers that are created by officials. I believe this situation must be radically changed.”

Armenia ranks 85th on World Economic Forum index

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Armenia ranks as the 85th country on the World Economic Forum’s latest Competitiveness Index.
The ranking methodology is based on 12 main pillars: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods and market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.
The list for 2014-2014 includes 114 countries. Leading states are Switzerland, Singapore, the US, Finland, Germany, Japan, Hong King, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden.
Armenia’s neighbors, Iran, Turkey Georgia and Azerbaijan, rank the 83rd, 38th, 69th and 45th, respectively.
Russia has climbed to the 53rd position (the index was elaborated before the latest sanctions against the country). Tajikistan, which is the 91st on the list, has the lowest ranking among the post-Soviet countries.
Yemen, Chad and Guinea are at the bottom of the index.
The full index can be accessed here>>>

iPhone sales to ‘move the needle’ on Chinese exports

September 2, 2014 Armenia, Business, Diaspora No Comments
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iPhone 6 is coming, and the economic impact is going to be huge.In a note to clients, Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists Ting Lu and Marcella Chow write that iPhone 6 should boost China’s export growth by 1% per month for the rest of 2014, Business Insider reports.
iPhone 6 sales are also expected to boost Taiwan’s export growth 2% per month from August through October, and 1% from November through January.
iPhone sales should also account for 0.4% of GDP Taiwan’s GDP growth in 2014, a larger impact than in the past, as each iPhone 6 is expected to contain about $25 worth of inputs from Taiwan manufacturers.

Source: TertOriginial Article

US airstrikes in Somalia target Shebab leader

September 2, 2014 Business, Diaspora No Comments
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US military forces launched air strikes against the leader of Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab, the government said Tuesday, claiming “casualties” but with no details if the main target was killed, the Business Insider reports.

“The Americans carried out a major air strike targeting a gathering by senior Al-Shebab officials, including their leader Abu-Zubayr,” said Abdukadir Mohamed Nur, governor for southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region.Abu-Zubayr is the often used name for Shebab supreme commander Ahmed Abdi Godane, listed by the US State Department as one of the world’s eight top terror fugitives.The Pentagon have confirmed an “operation” was carried out.”We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.
 
See more on the Business Insider website.

Artsakh Border Community School in Need: New Ping-Pong Tables Aren’t the Answer

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12:09, September 1, 2014

Today, across Armenia and Artsakh, pupils are returning to school after the summer vacation.

The same holds true for the community of Aknaberd in Artsakh’s northern Martakert District.

But unlike the schools in the capital Stepanakert, students in Aknaberd will be returning to a school in need of serious and immediate repair.

Before the Karabakh War, Aknaberd (formerly Oumoudlu) was an Azeri village. The school building now being used by the 111 Armenian pupils was built in 1974.

Many of Aknaberd’s current residents hail from communities in Shahoumyan now under Azerbaijani military control.

School principal Narineh Osipyan supervises a staff of 26 teachers and 10 technical workers.

Sarkisian Visits Karabakh

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President Serzh Sarkisian has travelled to Nagorno-Karabakh and inspected a number of local businesses one month after an upsurge in deadly fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops stationed around the territory.

Sarkisian arrived in Karabakh on Sunday morning and spent the next two days visiting two textile factories in Stepanakert and a vegetable oil refinery in a village in the southeastern Martuni district. He and Bako Sahakian, the Karabakh president, also inaugurated on Monday a newly rebuilt school in another village located in northwestern Karabakh.

A statement by Sarkisian’s office said the Armenian leader will head to the Karabakh town of Shushi (Shusha) later in the day to attend the official opening of a geology museum. He will also be present at a late-night open-air opera performance in Shushi dedicated to the 23rd anniversary of the Karabakh Armenians’ declaration of independence from Azerbaijan, which will be marked on Tuesday.

Kocharian Calls For Rule Of Law

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Former President Robert Kocharian has called for a radical improvement of Armenia’s business environment, saying that the authorities must break up economic monopolies, create a level playing field for all firms and tackle corruption.

In an interview with the Russian-Armenian newspaper “Noev Kovcheg” published on Friday, Kocharian also offered a grim outlook for the Armenian economy.

“Unfortunately, I see no internal and external causes for positive evaluations of the state and prospects of our economy. Furthermore, there have emerged new threats of global character, and the extent of their impact needs to be evaluated,” he said, pointing to Western economic sanctions against Russia which may well have knock-on effects on Armenia.

Armenia’s border communities need not only soldiers but also population – opinions

August 29, 2014 Armenia, Business, Diaspora No Comments
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The proposal to grant privileges to the population of Armenia’s border villages is being treated differently by different regional governors.
Rafik Grigoryan, the governor of the eastern region of Gegharkunik, says he strongly supports the legal measure initiated by the Government and the parliamentary political forces.
“The border villages do, of course, need any kind of assistance, but I think it would be right to treat the tax exemption and free economic zone concepts separately. It has to serve its purpose to prevent people from trying to evade taxes and encourage them instead to create jobs to strengthen the border not only with the help of soldiers but also residents,” he told Tert.am.
Asked whether he thinks that a villager today is capable of launching a private business, the regional governor admitted that the population in villages is not often skilled enough to be confident about the business’ future. “But a villager does not have to … Why don’t people come to make investments targeted at the border villages? Then the villagers will work with that business,” he noted.
The Gegharkunik governor pointed out particularly to the increasing birth rate in the region, noting that the trend shows positive signs for the future too.
Commenting on the issue, the governor Vayots Dzor, Edgar Ghazaryan, said he doesn’t think legislative solutions are necessary.
“We had internal debates in government, so our opinion was asked. I don’t think that we need a new law to be adopted, for example” he said.
Ghazaryan particularly highlighted the situation in Khachik, a border community where he said apartment-building problems always receive a due attention by the government.
As for business investments, the regional governor said any job creation project not related to agricultural manufacturing has been a private initiative not linked to the government policies.
The region has 13 border communities all of which have a permanent population.
Introducing the key concepts of the legal initiative, Vahram Baghdasaryan of the ruling Republican faction in parliament said the preliminary amount of assistance is within the range of 1-2 million US Dollars.
“It is still under discussion. The proposals we have sent contain two options: tax exemption or exemption from bills in general, free supply of textbooks and increased lump sum payments,” he explained.
As for the possibility of creating free economic zones, Baghdasaryan said he thinks that the budgetary resources need to be considered properly before deciding on such a plan.
The bill, signed by the four parliamentary factions, has been already submitted to the Government.
Baghdasaryan said he hopes that the measure will take effect until the debates for next year’s budgetary allocations.  

Op-Ed: No Criminal Investigation into Brawl Involving State Officials

August 28, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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14:32, August 28, 2014

Several people were taken to the Arabkir Police Division after an altercation at Charlotte Cabaret on Yerevan’s Marshal Baghramyan Avenue at 4:15 am on August 26.

Police confirmed the news of the incident. Arabkir’s experienced police chief, Grisha Amirkhanyan, decided not to launch a criminal investigation as there is no complainant.

Amirkhanyan didn’t launch a criminal case because he knows that participants of one side of the altercation are officials. Naturally, he reported this to his superior, Chief of Republic of Armenia Police Vladimir Gasparyan, who either agreed or instructed him not to launch criminal proceedings.

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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

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.

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.