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Dutch experts headed to MH17 crash site: official

July 27, 2014 Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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A team of 30 Dutch forensic experts headed Sunday to the crash site of flight MH17 in rebel-controlled east Ukraine, Dutch officials said, despite intensifying fighting in the area, media report.The team was able to travel following an agreement the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe made with the pro-Russian separatists, the justice ministry said in a statement.The Dutch are in charge of victim identification and leading the probe into what caused the crash.A total of 298 people died in the July 17 disaster, 193 of them Dutch. Separatists have been accused of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines 777 by mistake.Many of the bodies have been removed. A Dutch forensic team has been to the site already, but the forensic specialists investigating the crash have yet to go amid security concerns.A truce has been called in the immediate area around the site by both Kiev forces and the separatists, but combat has been raging just 60 kilometres (35 miles) away, with loud explosions heard at regular intervals in western and northern suburbs of rebel stronghold Donetsk. 

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. 

Armenian PM Appoints New Deputy Justice Minister

July 25, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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12:06, July 25, 2014

Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan today appointed Artyom Geghamyan to the post of deputy justice minister.

From 2008 to 2011, Geghamyan headed the ministry’s liaison division to the European Court of Human Rights. 

Geghamyan holds a JD and Master of Laws from Yerevan State University School of Law, and a PhD in European Union Law and Integration from Public Administration Academy. He holds an LLM in International and Comparative Law from Indiana University School of Law.

For the past year he was a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Karabakh Negotiations Reach Deadlock, Says Armenian Opposition

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The internationally mediated talks aimed at finding a solution to the protracted Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have reached an impasse, an opposition party representative in Armenia argued on Thursday, reacting to the latest meetings of diplomats and statements made by the peace brokers.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am), Vladimir Karapetian, a chief foreign-policy spokesman for the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), also suggested that French President Francois Hollande’s proposal on holding an Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Paris in the near future may no longer be on the agenda as well after the parties reported no progress following their foreign ministers’ meetings with the mediators in Brussels earlier this week.

Bulgaria prime minister quits to allow snap election

July 24, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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The embattled Socialist prime minister of Bulgaria has resigned after only a year in office to allow for an early election on 5 October.
Plamen Oresharski’s government had been expected to quit after the Socialists did badly in May’s European elections and lost a key ally in parliament.
The previous cabinet formed by Boiko Borisov’s conservative Gerb party collapsed amid economic unrest.
Bulgaria is now grappling with its worst banking crisis in decades.
Parliament is expected to approve the cabinet’s resignation on Thursday. An interim government is likely to take over in August.
Bulgaria is one of the EU’s poorest countries.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Karabakh Peace Brokers Concerned About ‘Targeted Killings of Civilians’

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International mediators brokering a solution to the protracted conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh have expressed their ‘serious concern’ about the increase in tensions and violence, including “the targeted killings of civilians”, along the Line of Contact and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

After holding separate meetings with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels earlier this week, the American, Russian and French co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group, Ambassadors James Warlick, Igor Popov and Pierre Andrieu, issued a statement from Vienna, Austria, on July 23, saying that during the meetings they urged the parties “to commit themselves to avoiding casualties” and “rejected the deliberate targeting of villages and the civilian population”.

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Montenegro: Alleged Serbian Drug Lord Arrested

July 23, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Turkey No Comments
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18:12, July 23, 2014

A man who the Serbian prime minister has called “the biggest drug lord” in the country was arrested Monday in Montenegro, but he was released Tuesday after interrogation.

Montenegrin police detained Dragoslav Kosmajac in the town of Kotor, Balkan Insight reports. Police said Tuesday he would have to leave the country immediately. Other media reported he would be extradited to Serbia, according to Balkan Insight.

Kosmajac fled Serbia last month after Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić held a press conference in which he fired the chiefs of five police departments, including Rodoljub Milović, the chief of the criminal police, for interfering in politics and being in contact with “Kosmajac, the biggest drug dealer.”

Prosperous Armenia MP Doesn’t Rule Out Hand of Azerbaijan in Hayrapetyan’s Arrest

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15:16, July 23, 2014

Regarding the July 15 arrest of Artsakh native businessman Levon Hayrapetyan in Moscow, Prosperous Armenia MP Grigori Margaryan told Hetq that while he saw no political undertones in the matter, he could not rule out the hand of Baku.

“I do not rule out the possibility of Azerbaijani complicity in the matter, even though I don’t see evidence of it,” Margaryan told Hetq.

Russian law enforcement arrested Hayrapetyan at a Moscow airport on suspicion that he is linked to a Russian organized crime syndicate.

Margaryan, a member of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on European Integration said he based this opinion on his experience as a member of the Armenian delegation to PACE where he witnessed the “underhanded and dirty” working practices of Azerbaijani delegates.

Armenian Foreign Minister Attends Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the EU and Eastern Partnership States

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17:09, July 23, 2014

On July 22 in Brussels, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian took part in the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the EU and Eastern Partnership states, that was also attended by the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle.

Delivering a speech at the meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian mentioned that Armenia desires to develop its cooperation with EU, based on the results and progress achieved over the last years.

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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

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.

Armenian Foreign Policies 2013: Customs Union, U-turn on EU accord, Karabakh, Turkey, regional developments

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2013 became a milestone year for Armenia not only in its foreign, but also domestic politics. After nearly four years of negotiations with the European Union over the signing of an association agreement on September 3 Armenia unexpectedly announced its intention to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This decision has had its influence not only on Armenia proper, but also on the processes elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Inspired by Armenia’s decision, Russia stepped up its pressure on Ukraine, which suspended the process of signing of the Association Agreement with the EU one week before the Vilnius summit of Eastern Partnership. As a result, on November 29 such agreements were initialed only by Moldova and Georgia.