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Plans to raise transport fares to get adequate public response – David Sanasaryan

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Trying to implement a transport fare rise program in Yerevan is unacceptable, David Sanasaryan, Barev Yerevan group member, Yerevan Municipal Council, told Tert.am as he commented on Yerevan Vice-Mayor Vahe Nikoyan’s statement in an interview with azatutyun.am.“If they are doing such a thing, all the sections of the population must jointly struggle against any possible increase in transport fares,” he said.Armenia’s government has decided to support 100,000 “socially vulnerable families” after the gas and electricity prices were increased in Armenia.However, Sanasaryan considers the government’s steps wrong because of vague definitions of “socially vulnerable” and “well-to-do” families.“How are they going to decide on whether this or that person or family is socially vulnerable or well-to-do? This is not a solution. It will raise one more wave of discontent. The authorities are bogged down and are now trying to get out of the situation.”He is critical of the government’s policy of making small and medium businesses taxable.“They are step by step forming a front for all the people to stand up against their ‘adequate activities’,” Sanasaryan said.The issue of transport fares has repeatedly been discussed with experts and NGOs representing consumers’ interests. The Yerevan Municipality has the right to raise the fares only after it ensures efficient transport management and high quality.“The quality they claim will be ensured after the fares have been raised,” Sanasaryan said. 

Google seen best placed for growth as it transitions to mobile

July 19, 2014 Business, Diaspora No Comments
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Google Inc is the best placed of any company to benefit from the shift to mobile, increased local advertising and wearables, Reuters reports, citing analysts.
At least eight brokerages raised their price targets on the stock on Friday by as much as $75, to a high of $745.
Google shares were up 2 percent at $593.37 in early trading on the Nasdaq.
The company, which is also set to benefit from the so-called “internet of things”, said on Thursday that second-quarter revenue rose 22 percent to $15.96 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of $15.61 billion.
Growth was driven by the company’s core search business, YouTube and product-listing ads, which combined to drive three times as much mobile traffic for merchants compared with last year, Jefferies analysts wrote in a note.
Brokerage Jefferies maintained its “buy” rating and $700 price target on the stock.
Of the 46 analysts covering Google, 36 have a “buy” or a higher rating on the stock and 10 have a “hold”. There are no “sell” ratings, according to StarMine data.
Google earns most of its revenue from advertising.

Opposition Leader Sees ‘Political Implication’ Behind Armenian Businessman’s Arrest In Russia

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Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian believes there is a ‘political implication’ behind the recent arrest by Russian authorities of a Moscow-based Armenian businessman with close connections to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Speaking to media on Friday, Hovannisian, who heads the parliamentary Heritage party, called it particularly suspicious that the prosecution of Levon Hayrapetian over alleged criminal connections comes at a time when Armenia has ‘strained relations’ with its neighbors and is “facing a big choice of liberating itself and clarifying its relations with its strategic ally Russia”.

Hovannisian’s statements apparently refer to the recent escalation of tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border as well as the delay in Armenia’s membership in the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union amid speculation that Russia would also like to see Azerbaijan as a member of the emerging bloc.

Businessman’s Arrest In Moscow Sparks Reaction In Armenia, Karabakh

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The arrest of a wealthy Russia-based Armenian businessman in Moscow over alleged criminal connections has elicited a strong reaction from his family and friends in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, with some alleging an ‘Azerbaijani scheme’ behind the development.

Levon Hayrapetian, 65, was remanded into custody for two months by a Moscow court on the application of Russian investigators looking into the businessman’s alleged ties with a notorious Russian gang and possible involvement in ‘illegal financial machinations’.

Hayrapetian was detained by Russia’s Federal Security Service, the successor of the Soviet KGB, at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport on July 15 as he was reportedly returning from Monaco.

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Armenian Businessman Reportedly Detained In Russia Over Alleged Criminal Ties

An affluent Armenian businessman based in Russia has been held for questioning over alleged connections with a criminal gang, Russian media reported on Wednesday.

According to the Rosbalt news agency, Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officers detained Levon Hayrapetian at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport on July 15 as the entrepreneur was returning from Monaco.

Hayrapetian, a 65-year-old native of Nagorno-Karabakh known for his investments and charity projects in this unrecognized Armenian republic, including a grand wedding for 700 couples there in 2008, is believed to be one of the wealthiest Armenian businessmen in the world.

United Kingdom: Rapid Rise In Entrepreneur Visa Applicants Worrisome

July 16, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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22:13, July 15, 2014

The number of entrepreneur visa applicants in the United Kingdom has jumped in recent years, and that may be due to a scam by organized crime gangs.

At first, the British thought a jump from 118 visa applications to enter the UK in 2009 to 10,000 last year pointed to burst of global innovation. Instead, it may be proof of innovation by organized crime gangs.

To help applicants qualify for visas, the gangs have reportedly been charging for temporary loans of US$85,700 in order for them to falsify business capital. The loans make it appear they have the means to invest in the UK, reports theUpstart Business Journal.

Government Campaign Against Tax Evasion Draws Skepticism

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Opposition members and economic experts critical of the Armenian government have discarded as another ‘show’ the recent report suggesting that scores of companies have ‘come clean’ following a warning by Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian to stop evading taxes.

At a meeting with business leaders in May, a month after assuming his duties as prime minister, Abrahamian pledged to create a level-playing field for all businesses, at the same time warning leading companies that they must stop evading taxes and abusing their market positions by July 1 or face a tougher crackdown by tax authorities. He also promised to publish the results of the campaign against tax evasion every 10 days after the deadline.

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Armenian Economy ‘Affected’ By Uncertainty Over Eurasian Union Membership

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Uncertainty over Armenia’s membership in the emerging Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has a negative effect on the country’s economy, the head of a leading Armenian business association said on Monday.

Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have agreed to establish the EEU on January 1, 2015 based on the customs union that the three countries have had since 2011. President Serzh Sarkisian had hoped that Armenia could join the Russian-led trade bloc by the time its transformation into the EEU was announced at a May 29 summit in Astana, but the presidents of the three member states only committed themselves to having the accession treaty with Yerevan drafted by July 1.

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Cuba: Canadian Businessman Charged On Multiple Accounts By Cuban Government

July 10, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Business No Comments
Armenian News

17:08, July 9, 2014

TheCuban Government has allegedly falsely charged Canadian businessman after he spoke out against the corruption that plagues Cuba.

Cy Tokmakjian, president and founder of the Tokmakjian Group, one of Canada’s largest transportation companies, has been in business with Cuba for 22 years selling busses, other vehicles, and parts to public and private companies. However, after recently criticizing corruption in Cuba, Tokmakjian is likely to be sent to prison, reportsReuters.

In 2011 Tokmakjian, 74, was arrested and held without charge for two and half years. Earlier in 2014, he was subsequently charged with bribery, fraud, currency trafficking, forgery, tax evasion, and crimes against the Cuban economy. However, those closest to Tokmakjian continue to maintain that the charges against him are entirely baseless. Lee Hacker, vice president of finance for the Tokmakjian Group, calls this a situation in which truth and logic are not part of the equation, reportsCTV News.

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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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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.