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Armenia, Georgia To Hold Trade Talks

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Armenia and Georgia will hold trade negotiations next month to iron out possible contradictions between their new commitments to a Russian-led bloc and the European Union respectively, a senior Georgian diplomat said on Monday.

Tengiz Sharmanashvili, the Georgian ambassador in Yerevan, pointed to Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the recent entry into force of Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU envisaging a “deep and comprehensive free trade area.”

“There are some details that need to be clarified,” Sharmanashvili told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “Georgia’s economy minister [Giorgi Kvirikashvili] will arrive in Yerevan on November 11-12 so that we review all those issues.”

Impressions of Armenia – The Moscow Times (photo set)

October 18, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Diaspora, Europe, Film, Music No Comments
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A photo set published by The Moscow Times has fixed episodes featuring recent developments in Armenia.
The pictures, taken in different parts of the country, are presented below:

A police officer walks along central Yerevan’s Victory Bridge — named after the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany — that crosses the Armenian capital Yerevan’s Hrazdan River.

A young man shows his support for Armenia’s national football team in central Yerevan before a European Championship qualifying match against Serbia.
A musician looks out the window of a bus carrying the members of a brass band to their next destination.

Young boys gratefully drink from the water fountains on Yerevan’s central Republic Square.A woman is seen preparing dolmas (stuffed cabbage rolls)
Khorovats (the Armenian word for barbecue ) prepared on large skewers for meat, vegetable and even fruit dishes

Armenia’s Membership in the EEU: Raises More Questions Than It Answers

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19:01, October 17, 2014

Babken Der Grigorian

In response to Harut Sassounian’s article “The West Must Offer Armenia Incentives Rather than Decry its Ties with Russia 

Upon reading Harut Sassounian’s latest article “The West Must Offer Armenia Incentives Rather than Decry its Ties with Russia”, I have been compelled to write a response addressing its shortcomings and inaccuracies, increasingly common also within the broader narratives regarding Armenia’s accession into the EEU in the Armenian community.

On September 3, 2013, after Armenia completed nearly three years of negotiations with the European Union on an Association Agreement, which included years of European-funded legislative reforms, President Serzh Sargsyan was summoned to Moscow for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

Opposition Party Condemns Eurasian Union Entry

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The opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party of Raffi Hovannisian on Friday officially condemned as Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) which was formalized by President Serzh Sarkisian on October 10.

Zharangutyun claimed that membership in the Russian-led bloc will pose a “most serious threat” to Armenia’s independence and put at risk continued Armenian control over Nagorno-Karabakh. It said Sarkisian had no mandate to sign an “unconstitutional” accession treaty with his Russian, Kazakh and Belarusian counterparts at an EEU summit in Minsk.

“The deplorable efforts of the republic’s regime to compel Armenia’s accession to the EEU … aim merely to maneuver and perpetuate his illegitimate personal power obtained through falsification of the past elections,” charged the statement. “It is quite clear that Mr. Sarkisian, who has usurped power through unjust elections, is not authorized to sign any agreement or undertake any obligation on behalf of the people of Armenia.”

Historian Claude Mutafian: The Old and New Diasporas Have Yet to Reconcile

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13:14, October 16, 2014

During a talk held the other day at the Naregatsi Art Union in Yerevan, Sorbonne Professor Claude Mutafian said that relations between the diaspora and Armenia had become further complicated due to the existence of two diasporas – the one created as a result of the 1915 Genocide and the one comprised of those who have left Armenia in the post-independence era.

Mutafian said that the two have yet to reconcile themselves and gave the example of recent clashes between the two in the French city of Nice.

The historian lamented the loss of once culturally significant communities like Aleppo, but was hopeful that the community in Lebanon would survive.

Karabakh Armenian Army Warns Azerbaijan

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Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenian-backed armed forces threatened late on Tuesday to respond strongly to what they called a sharp rise in ceasefire violations by Azerbaijani forces deployed near the disputed territory.

“In recent days violations of the ceasefire regime have quadrupled,” the Karabakh Defense Ministry said in a statement issued one day after one of its soldiers was shot and wounded at a southern section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh.

The statement urged Azerbaijan to “take steps to stabilize the situation on the line of contact.” “In case of a further escalation of the situation on the frontline the Defense Army will take all necessary measures to silence the enemy,” it said without elaborating.

Obama to discuss Islamic State with European leaders

October 15, 2014 Africa, Armenia, Arts, Turkey, Video No Comments
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US President Barack Obama is to hold a video conference with the leaders of the UK, France, Germany and Italy to discuss combating Islamic State (IS), the BBC reports.Mr Obama told foreign military chiefs on Tuesday to expect a long campaign against the jihadist group, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq.He also expressed deep concern about the IS offensive on the town of Kobane, on Syria’s border with Turkey.The Ebola epidemic will also be discussed in the video conference.The World Health Organization (WHO) says 4,447 people have died after contracting the virus, most of them in West Africa.On Wednesday morning, the US authorities confirmed that a second health worker in the state of Texas had tested positive for Ebola.A third item on the video conference’s agenda will be efforts to encourage Russia to implement the Minsk ceasefire agreement with Ukraine.The US-led coalition against Islamic State has stepped up its air strikes on the group’s heavily-armed fighters surrounding the town of Kobane, where Kurdish militia have been holding out for almost a month.The jihadists are also said to be advancing on the Iraqi town of Amariya al-Falluja, one of the last still controlled by government forces in Anbar province and only 40km (25 miles) from the capital Baghdad.”Coalition air strikes will continue in both of these areas,” Mr Obama told a meeting of senior military commanders from more than 20 Western and Arab countries at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington on Tuesday.Mr Obama warned that they were facing a “long-term campaign”.”There are not quick fixes involved. We’re still at the early stages.”"As with any military effort, there will be days of progress and there are going to be periods of setback,” he added.

Nagorno-Karabakh president attends birthday anniversary of Artsakh war hero

October 15, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Culture, Diaspora No Comments
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On 15 October President Bako Sahakyan was present in the event dedicated to the 55th birthday anniversary of Artsakh hero, legendary commander Ashot Ghoulyan (Bekor), held at the Stepanakert Culture and Youth palace.The Head of the State considered important keeping alive the memory of the perished heroes and introducing their heroic deeds to the younger generation from the political, moral and educational viewpoints.Primate of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, defense minister Movses Hakobyan and other officials partook in the event. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

Artsakh State University and Belgium’s Catholic University of Leuven Sign Declaration of Cooperation

October 15, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Europe No Comments
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14:54, October 14, 2014

On October 13, Artsakh State University and Belgium’s Catholic University of Leuven signed a Declaration of Cooperation in Stepanakert.

The Declaration was signed in Artsakh by Rector of the Artsakh State University Manush Minasyan and in Belgium – by Rector of the Catholic University of Leuven Rik Torfs.

The Catholic University of Leuven was represented in Stepanakert by the University Honorable Rector, Professor, member of the Europe-Armenia Advisory Committee, Bernard Coulie.

The ceremony of signing was also attended by Chairman of the NKR NA Ashot Ghulian, Foreign Minister Karen Mirzoyan, as well as member of the European Parliament, President of the EU-Armenia Friendship Group Eleni Theocharous, political advisor to a MEP, International Law and European Studies Doctor Ioannis Charalampidis and Chairman of the ARFD Hay Dat Committee Gaspar Karampetian. 

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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.