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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.

Heritage Party Issues Statement in Support of Prominent Armenian Businessman Arrested in Moscow

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15:36, July 30, 2014
The Heritage Party today issued the following statement on Levon Hayrapetyan, an Armenian businessman who wasarrested in Moscowrecently and charged with embezzlement and money laundering.

“According to the press, the health of Armenian businessman and public figure Levon Hayrapetyan, who is in the Matrosskaya Tishina detention facility, drastically deteriorated — a man, who always stood at the source of state building of the Republic of Artsakh and to date contributes with his patriotic work to overcoming the serious challenges faced by the Armenian people.

BP sees profits rise but warns of Russia sanctions risk

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BP has warned that further sanctions against Russia could affect its business as it posted a rise in second quarter profits, the BBC reports.BP said that sanctions imposed over the Ukraine crisis have not affected the oil giant so far, but could do so in the future.The warning came as European ministers were due to meet to discuss bolstered measures against Russia.Sanctions “could adversely impact our business”, BP said.BP has around a 20% stake in Russian energy giant Rosneft.”Any future erosion of our relationship with Rosneft, or the impact of further economic sanctions, could adversely impact our business and strategic objectives in Russia, the level of our income, production and reserves, our investment in Rosneft and our reputation,” BP said.The company’s second quarter replacement cost profits, which strip out volatility in oil prices, were $3.2bn (£1.9bn), up from $2.4bn in the same period last year.”I think in the short term they’ll be looking in particular at the effect [sanctions are] going to have on technology transfer to Russia,” said Russian oil economy expert John Lough.”But I think, more broadly, this is of course a cloud on the horizon for BP, because the crisis in Ukraine seems to be escalating rather than de-escalating,” he told the BBC. 

Diaspora Tycoon Slams Armenian ‘Monopolies’

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A prominent Armenian-American businessman sounded alarm bells on Monday over what he sees as a lack of competition in Armenia, saying that it could spell serious trouble for the country’s economy.

Vahak Hovnanian singled out the monopolization of lucrative imports of goods by “a handful of people” close to the government. He declined to name any of them, though.

“That could have deadly consequences for the economy,” Hovnanian warned in an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “I maybe going to extremes but I want people to take note.”

“The monopolies must be broken up,” he said. “Competition is what drives countries forward. There is no competition here. We can’t move forward in this way.”

One Family’s Odyssey: To Belgium and France, and Unwillingly Back to Armenia

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10:03, July 28, 2014

All of five year-old Davit’s toys were left behind in the Belgian town of Kortenaken.

That was the day Belgian officials told Davit’s parents that they were sending the family back to Armenia. Taking only the essentials, the family fled across the border to France.

“We didn’t want to come back and were ready to go anywhere but Armenia,” Marieta Aslanyan told Hetq. The mother gave birth to three children in Belgium and a fourth in Armenia.

Travelling to the French border town of Lille, the family was forced to sleep in the halls of a hospital and other public places.  But the family soon gave in.

Harvesting almost over in border villages of Tavush, says regional governor

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The wheat harvesting is almost over in the border villages of Tavush despite the continuing cross-border shootings and a recent attack against an ICRC car, says the regional governor.
“There is, of course, tension in the border villages, the shootings starting mainly in the harvesting season. Our neighbors are simply more aggressive this year,” Hovik Abovyan told Tert.am.
He said their earlier agreements with the ICRC Yerevan office did not work to prevent gun attacks. “The Red Cross was in the Tavush region on July 26; it was in the vicinities of Chinari and had a preliminary with Azerbaijani counterparts, but that wasn’t of help. They started shooting Red Cross vehicles and agricultural equipment,” he said, adding that the village suffered no material or human loss as a result of the armed violence.
Abovyan said the village’s population continues harvesting the crop despite the existing danger. “We’ll collect the entire [harvest], without leaving any grain in the valley,” he added.
Speaking of government privileges, Abovyan said their residents are exempt from the property and land taxes. “Discussions for granting new tax privileges tp the entire region’s border towns and villages are now under way, so the question will be addressed at the National Assembly’s upcoming session. If businessmen work in border areas, they will be exempt from taxes; [they will pay] only the income tax, without any duty to pay value added taxes,” Abovyan added. 

Ukraine to keep western companies out of gas industry

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Ukraine’s parliament has rejected allowing EU and US companies to buy up to 49 percent of oil and gas company Naftogaz, and also said they were against liquidating the national energy monopoly, Russia Today reports.
Kiev rejected splitting the company in two, a measure encouraged by the West in order for Naftogaz to comply with Europe’s third energy package, which doesn’t allow one single company to both produce and transport oil and gas.
The bill proposed creating two new joint stock companies in order to conform to the package, “Ukraine’s Main Gas Transmission” and “Ukraine’s Underground Storages.”
The proposal sought to meet the requirements of EU legislation and strengthen Ukraine’s energy independence.
Earlier in July, the Ukrainian parliament passed a first reading of the bill that would have allowed Western companies up to a 49 percent of Ukraine’s Gas Transportation System (GTS).
There had been rumors the state would sell off at least 15 percent of Naftogaz in a public offering, however, the conditions in Ukraine’s capital and equity market aren’t strong enough to get a high enough price.
The changes was rejected because of the large monopoly and influence Naftogaz has over the Ukrainian market, the country’s political scientist Alexander Ohrimenko, told Russian business daily RBC. 

Hayrapetyan Charged with Embezzlement, Money Laundering

July 25, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Business No Comments
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22:12, July 24, 2014

Levon Hayrapetyan, the native Artsakh businessman arrested in Moscow on July 15, has been officially charged with embezzlement and illegal money laundering by a Russian investigative body according to ITAR TASS.

Hayrapetyan, 65, has pleaded not guilty.

A Russian court has issued a three month pre-trial detention order for Hayrapetyan and has placed a freeze on his shares in Bashneft, a Russian oil company, that are worth some US$8.5 million.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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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.