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Yerevan ‘Still Committed’ To Closer Ties With West

December 19, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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Armenia’s leadership has assured Western powers that it will continue deepening relations with them even after joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the outgoing U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, John Heffern, said on Friday.

Heffern said that the United States trusts in these assurances because it believes that closer ties with the West are “not incompatible” with Yerevan’s membership in the Russian-led alliance of ex-Soviet states. The U.S. and the European Union are therefore trying to help Armenia develop a “strategic” capacity to closely cooperate with both the West and Russia, he said.

“We think that Armenia can benefit from both,” Heffern told a farewell news conference in the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan.

Armenia’s National Football Squad Closes Year in 79th Place

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13:34, December 18, 2014

According to the latest FIFA rankings of national football teams released today Armenia came in 79th, a drop of two spots, with an overall score of 436.

In December 2013 Armenia was ranked 35th in the world. By January of the following year it had slipped to 38th place but jumped to 30th, its best ranking ever, just one month later. It’s been downhill ever since.

World champion Germany remains in first place followed Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Netherlands, Brazil, Portugal, France, Spain and Uruguay.

As for Armenia’s competition in the qualifying round in Group I for Euro-2016, Denmark was today ranked 30th in the world, Portugal (tied with France for 7th place), Serbia – 38th, and Albania – 58th.

Armenian Gas Price Unchanged For Now

December 15, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Business, Top News No Comments
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Armenia’s Russian-owned national gas distribution company said on Monday that it does not yet plan to seek a further increase in its tariffs despite recent weeks’ significant depreciation of the Armenian dram.

The Gazprom Armenia network buys natural gas from Russia at a price set in U.S. dollars and sells it to Armenian households and businesses in drams. The dram has weakened against the dollar by over 15 percent since the beginning of November, meaning that the company is having to pay its Russian parent company, Gazprom, more in real terms.

Armenian Family Repatriated From Azerbaijan

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An Armenian couple and their three young children unexpectedly returned to Armenia on Friday almost five years after fleeing to Azerbaijan in dramatic circumstances.

Yeghishe Gevorgian, his wife Ruzanna, two sons and daughter were escorted by officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as they crossed the Azerbaijani-Armenian border in the morning. The repatriation was agreed with relevant authorities in the two warring nations.

Gevorgian drove his family to Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave in January 2010 through a heavily militarized border checkpoint located about 50 kilometers southeast of Yerevan. The Armenian military said at the time that its soldiers manning the Yeraskh crossing, closed to traffic ever since the start of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, did not fire on Gevorgian’s old van because it carried the children then aged 3, 6 and 7.

Armenian Firm Wins "Software of the Year" Competition at GITI 20214

December 12, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Georgia No Comments
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12:17, December 12, 2014

Armenian Software LLC won the “Software of the Year” competition held at the Georgian Information Technologies Innovation  (GITI) annual regional conference held on November 6-7 in Tbilisi.

The company’s AS-Accountant 6 system was found to be the best nominee in the category.

The motto of the GITI 2014 was “Partnerships for Competitiveness, Innovation and Cyber Security”. The major objective is to establish and promote effective partnerships among the public and the private sectors, associations and other IT&T industry related organizations in the Central and East Europe, Baltic States, Caucasus and Middle Asia region to promote competitiveness, innovation and security..

 More than 400 participants from 20 countries attended the conference this year.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Another Oppositionist Attacked In Yerevan

December 12, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Film, Karabakh, Top News No Comments
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An Armenian opposition lawmaker was beaten up late on Thursday, the latest in a series of violent attacks on prominent participants of recent anti-government demonstrations staged by three major opposition parties.

Aram Manukian, a veteran politician affiliated with the Armenian National Congress (HAK), was assaulted outside his apartment block in Yerevan. Manukian, who had a black eye and other visible facial injuries, described the attacker as a middle-aged who said nothing while throwing punches.

Manukian required medical examination and aid. He was also questioned by police later in the evening. Nobody was arrested in the following hours.

Other senior members of the HAK were quick to arrive at the scene of the incident. They accused the Armenian authorities of ordering the violence.

Eurasian Union ‘No Hurdle’ To Georgian-Armenian Ties

December 11, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Georgia, Top News No Comments
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Armenia’s upcoming membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) will not damage its relations with Georgia, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said on Thursday after talks with his visiting Armenian counterpart Hovik Abrahamian.

“We pointed out that Georgia and Armenia have close political and economic links, and the fact that Armenia will join the Eurasian Union in January and Georgia has signed an association agreement with the European Union will not affect our relations,” Gharibashvili told a joint news conference in Tbilisi. “We will on the contrary use that in the interests of our countries.”

“We are paying special attention to maintaining the existing trade regime between the two countries and further developing bilateral economic ties,” added the 32-year-old premier.

Armenia Ranked World’s Third Most Militarized Nation

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Armenia has become the third most militarized country in the world after Israel and Singapore due to the unresolved the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, according to an annual survey conducted by a German think-tank promoting peace.

In its 2014 Global Militarization Index ( GMI) released this week, the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) rated “the weight and importance of the military apparatus” in 152 states. Its resulting rankings are based on comparisons between their defense spending and Gross Domestic Products and health expenditure as well as the ratio of their military force to the size of the population.

Armenia Scraps Visas For U.S. Citizens

December 11, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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Citizens of the United States will no longer need visas to visit Armenia starting next month, the Armenian government said on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian announced the lifting of visa requirements for them, effective from January 1, during a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan.

Nalbandian said that the U.S. government will reciprocate by easing some of its own, much stricter visa procedures for Armenian nationals. In particular, “many categories” of Armenians will now be eligible for multiple-entry American visas valid for 10 years, he said.

Yerevan’s plans to unilaterally abolish the visa regime with the U.S. were first revealed by one of Nalbandian’s deputies, Sergey Manasarian, in May. “This shows that the level of our relations with the U.S. is really rising,” Manasarian told Armenian parliamentarians.

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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

Ukraine: Cops Go After Casinos, Suggest Yanukovych Connection

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21:45, December 15, 2014

Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs has launched a campaign against illegal casinos amid fears that a large network of underground gambling dens could be providing an income source for the son of the country’s disgraced former president Viktor Yanukovych.

The new crackdown on unlawful casinos – an ongoing scourge for law enforcement agencies in Ukraine since regulation was made stiffer with a 2009 law – was launched on Dec. 8 after an announcement on Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov’s official Facebook page.

Avakov, who keeps a lively and occasionally angry Facebook commentary on current affairs, pledged to put a complete stop to the establishments within ten days; first in the capital of Kyiv, then the rest of the nation.

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