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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.

Ukrainian Investors Buy Into Armenian Airline

December 19, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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A Ukrainian investment fund announced the purchase of a 49 percent stake in Armenia’s leading airline on Friday, pledging to help restart soon its commercial flights that were suspended two months ago.

Vladimir Bobylev, the chief executive of the East Prospect Fund, pledged to invest at least $30 million in the troubled Air Armenia carrier. Armenian news agencies quoted him as saying that it plans to replace and expand the company’s small fleet of aircraft in the coming months.

It was not clear how much the fund, registered in the British Virgin Islands but headquartered in Kiev, paid for the minority share. It valued Air Armenia at $50 million on its website.

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ERBD To Loan Armenia €3.5 Million for Hrazdan Solid Waste Landfill

December 19, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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15:29, December 19, 2014

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) today signed a €3.5 million loan deal with Armenia to finance the construction of the country’s first European Union (EU) compliant solid waste landfill.

The new landfill, to be located in the city of Hrazdan in Kotayk Province and managed by eight participating municipalities – Hrazdan, Abovyan, Charentsavan, Tsakhkadzor, Byureghavan, Yeghvard, Nor Hatchn and Sevan – will operate as a commercially sustainable unit with modern solid waste management systems, covering the collection and disposal of municipal solid waste.

This will provide major environmental and social benefits for some 215,000 people in the area covered by the facility, according to the ERBD.

EU Concerned Over Armenian Attacks

December 16, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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The European Union expressed concern on Tuesday at a series of violent attacks on Armenian opposition politicians and activists, saying that failure to punish their perpetrators could deepen “a sense of impunity” in Armenia.

In a statement, the EU Delegation in Yerevan urged the Armenian authorities to identify and prosecute the attackers “without delay.”

“The EU Delegation reiterates its concern at the absence of results regarding the investigations into similar incidents of 2013,” it said. “The perception of ineffective law enforcement is raising concerns among Armenian civil society, Human Rights Defenders and international observers and risks nurturing a sense of impunity in Armenia.”

Bosnia: Eight Alleged Drug Smugglers Held In "Operation Oscar"

December 12, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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19:27, December 12, 2014

Officers have swooped on eight alleged organized crime gangsters as part of a large narcotics bust involving cross-border police cooperation and multiple raids.

The arrests of eight suspects on Thursday Dec. 11, aged from 35 to 64 years, marked the beginning of “Operation Oscar”, which officials said was the product of months of planning by Bosnian intelligence services in coalition with Serbian police.

 The suspects, seized during ten raids in the capital of Sarajevo as well as the smaller towns of Bihac and Zvornik, are linked to the distribution of heroin and cannabis from Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo. Bosnian state police (SIPA) say the alleged traffickers may have mixed drugs on Bosnian territory to transport on to Serbia and Croatia.

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

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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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

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