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Corruption and monopolies remain greatest evil in Armenia’s economy – MP

October 22, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Karabakh No Comments
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Secretary of the Armenian National Congress (ANC) parliamentary group Aram Manukyan proposed a draft by three political forces in Armenia’s Parliament.
The three non-coalition forces proposed their draft, but the parliamentary majority rejected it.
“Corruption and monopolies remain the greatest evil in Armenia’s economy and governance system. Armenian and international organization confirm this,” Mr Manukyan said.
“As a result, as many as 213,000 people emigrated from Armenia during the last four years. This policy of ‘initiatives’ damaged Armenia’s international reputation and international organizations make decisions that weaken Nagorno-Karabakh’s positions,” he said.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Ebola crisis: WHO says serum will be available within weeks

October 22, 2014 Diaspora No Comments
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Serum made from the blood of recovered Ebola patients could be available within weeks in Liberia, one of the countries worst hit by the virus, BBC News reports, citing the World Health Organization.Speaking in Geneva, Dr Marie Paule Kieny said work was also advancing quickly to get drugs and a vaccine ready for January 2015.
The Ebola outbreak has already killed more than 4,500 people.
Most of the deaths have been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Dr Kieny, WHO assistant director general for health system and innovation, said: “There are partnerships which are starting to be put in place to have capacity in the three countries to safely extract plasma and make preparation that can be used for the treatment of infective patients.
“The partnership which is moving the quickest will be in Liberia where we hope that in the coming weeks there will be facilities set up to collect the blood, treat the blood and be able to process it for use.”
It is still unclear how much will become available and whether it could meet demand.
Read more on the BBC website.

‘Holy Grail’ of timepieces: Gold pocket watch so complex it features stars above Manhattan is set to sell for over £10m

October 21, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Technology No Comments
Armenian News

A watch said to be the ‘Holy Grail’ of timepieces and one of the most complicated ever made is set to go under the hammer for £10million next month.The Henry Graves Supercomplication timepiece, made by famed watchmaker Patek Philippe, is the most complex ever produced without the use of computer technology.The gold pocket watch was first commissioned in 1925 by banker Henry Graves Junior, who is considered the greatest watch collector of the 20th century, and was eventually delivered to him in 1933.The watch was also calibrated so that Mr Graves could tell the time based on the exact position of the sun at his New York home.The watch features 24 horological complications – or features. They include a perpetual calendar, moon phases, a power reserve and an exact replica of the night sky as seen from Central Park in Manhattan, showing the exact position and magnitude of stars across the Milky Way.Tim Bourne, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Watches, and Daryn Schnipper, Chairman of Sotheby’s Watch Division, said of the watch: ‘The list of superlatives which can be attached to this icon of the 20th century is truly extraordinary.’Indisputably the ‘Holy Grail’ of watches, The Henry Graves Supercomplication combines the Renaissance ideal of the unity of beauty and craftsmanship with the apogee of science.’The Graves watch retained the title of the world’s most complicated watch for 56 years and even then was only surpassed by technicians working with the aid of computer-assisted machines.In 1999 Sotheby’s sold the Graves watch for £6.8 million, breaking the record for the most expensive timepiece ever sold at auction.Next month, to coincide with Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary, the watch is again being auctioned in Geneva by Sotheby’s, who expect it to sell for over £10 million.A number of other Patek Philippe and Rolex watches will also be sold.Henry Graves was the son of Henry Graves Senior, a founder and partner in the Maxwell & Graves baking firm, and made millions of dollars in banking and the rail roads.As well as being an avid art collector, Mr Graves had a passion for fine watches, and was a patron of Patek Philippe.It was a competition with car manufacturer James Ward Packard, that saw him commission the Supercomplication pocket watch.In 1927 Mr Packard commissioned what he thought was going to be the most complicated watch ever made only be trumped by Mr Graves who spent almost five times as much having his own custom watch created.After Mr Graves death in 1953, the watch was held in the Museum of Time near Chicago from 1968 until December 1999 when it was sold by Sotheby’s to anonymous bidder in New York.Until Sotheby’s again announced it had the famed timepiece for sale, it had been on display at the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. 
 
 
 

Armenian Parliament vice-speaker on bourgeois-democratic revolution

October 21, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora No Comments
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In an interview with Tert.am, Vice-Speaker of Armenia’s Parliament and Spokesman for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) Eduard Sharmazanov commented on the opposition’s accusations that the issue of ‘crisis of power’ put on the agenda is not being discussed as an urgent issue.He noted that the Parliament speaker has the authority to sort out the priorities.“The Parliament is not a market for anyone to say anything they want. We have the Rules of Procedure. Otherwise, we would not have the president of the Parliament, the vice-speakers, or the Rules of Procedure, with everyone supposed to respect them. They can do and say anything they want in their homes. But in Parliament we must say everything within the Constitution and the Rules of Procedure.”With respect to attempts to compare the three non-coalition forces’ rallies to a bourgeois-democratic revolution, Mr Sharmazanov said that such a revolution requires preconditions and an idea by the forces wishing to carry out such a revolution.“And Levon Ter-Petrosyan [leader of the Armenian National Congress party] does not look like a democrat. Rather, he looks like a revenge-seeker, and many members of the party you have mentioned are more economic figures rather than political ones. This is their problem. As to a bourgeois-democratic revolution, by making his previous statement Ter-Petrosyan proved he was a political pensioner.”There has never been a leader of a bourgeois-democratic revolution.“What revolution are you speaking of and, what is more, a bourgeois-democratic one? Moreover, it is not a bourgeois-democratic revolution. Rather, it is classical revanchism. It is interpenetration of revanchism and oligopoly rather than constitutional reforms that poses a threat in Armenia.” 

Armenian Ruling Party Slams Opposition ‘Traitors’

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The parliamentary leader of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) sparked a bitter verbal exchange with outspoken opposition lawmakers on Tuesday after accusing them of accepting money from the West and Azerbaijan to betray Armenia.

“We witnessed yesterday a classical example of high treason,” charged Vahram Baghdasarian. “The Armenian parliament’s rostrum was used for spreading Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s disinformation. False information was made public here ahead of a meeting between the president of our country and the president of an unfriendly country (Azerbaijan).”

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Armenia Taking Preventive Measures Against Ebola

October 21, 2014 Africa, Armenia, Georgia, Top News No Comments
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Health authorities in Armenia have installed fever detectors at the national border crossings, trained medical personnel and provided them with protective equipment in an effort to contain a possible spread of Ebola into the country.

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Armenia – An official at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport shows a device used for screening arriving passengers for possible symptoms of Ebola, 21Oct2014.

No cases of the deadly virus have been registered in Armenia so far, and officials in Yerevan say that the likelihood of that happening soon is very low. They point to the absence of direct communication with west Africa, the epicenter of the latest Ebola outbreak, and tropical animals transmitting the disease. The Armenian government banned imports of animals from Africa in August.

Closed Border? Armenia Imports Most of Its Wood from Turkey

October 21, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Georgia, Turkey No Comments
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00:02, October 21, 2014

Readers might be surprised to learn that despite closed borders, for the past four years Armenia has been importing the bulk of its wood and wood by-products from Turkey.

Such imports, according to Armenia’s National Statistical Service, reached a peak in 2011 at a value of US$20 million. Following Turkey, Armenia gets most of its wood and wood by-products from Ukraine, China and Georgia.

Armenia’s Imports: Wood/Wood Byproducts (in USD millions) Surprisingly, Armenia also exports wood. In the past two years, the largest recipients have been Moldova and Canada. Armenia’s wood exports are dwarfed by the amounts imported. Exports reached a peak in 2010 at a value of US$ 282,000.

UK: Police Intercept Stolen Cars At Ports

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17:17, October 21, 2014

In ports across the United Kingdom, shipping containers may conceal stolen vehicles destined for other countries. A recent operation by British authorities seized many of these vehicles before they could be smuggled overseas.

A crackdown codenamed “Operation Toyer” recovered 44 high-end vehicles and SUVs, including BMWs, Range Rovers, Audis, and a Porsche Cayenne. The haul also included Scania trucks and a Komatsu hydraulic excavator, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Police said the vehicles were destined for Africa, Cyprus, France, the USA, Malaysia and Burma. The stolen goods, which also included a container of parts from 29 stolen BMWs, were worth nearly US$ 2 million.

Designer Oscar de la Renta dies aged 82

October 21, 2014 Arts, Diaspora No Comments
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US fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who dressed former first ladies Jackie Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, has died aged 82, his family has confirmed, the BBC reports. De La Renta, who most recently designed Amal Clooney’s wedding dress, was diagnosed with cancer in 2006.Born in the Dominican Republic in 1932, he left home at 18 to study painting in Madrid, Spain.He soon developed a love of fashion design and began an apprenticeship with Spain’s designer Cristobal Balenciaga.De la Renta made his name in the early 1960s when the then first lady, Jackie Kennedy, frequently wore his designs. He launched his own label several years later.Over the following decades he dressed nearly every first lady up to and including Michelle Obama, who he once chided for not wearing American designers.Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush all opted for De la Renta gowns.Laura Bush described the designer as “the man who made women look and feel beautiful”.Mrs Obama eventually made her first appearance in one of his dresses at a White House reception in October.At a ceremony honoring the designer this year, Hillary Clinton heaped praise upon De la Renta.”This man has been working for more than 20 years to turn me into a fashion icon,” she said.De la Renta rose to further prominence after being chosen by Amal Alamuddin to design the gown for her wedding to George Clooney.”George and I wanted a wedding that was romantic and elegant, and I can’t imagine anyone more able than Oscar to capture this mood in a dress,” Mrs Clooney told Vogue.”Meeting him made the design process all the more magical, as he is so warm and such a gentleman.”De la Renta passed away at his home in Connecticut, reports say. The cause of his death was not immediately clear, although he had been diagnosed with cancer.His stepdaughter Eliza Reed Bolan said in a statement that De la Renta had passed away surrounded by family and friends and “more than a few dogs”.”While our hearts are broken by the idea of life without Oscar, he is still very much with us,” the statement said.”All that we have done, and all that we will do, is informed by his values and his spirit.” 

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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.