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Armenia To Scrap Visas For Americans

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Armenia – Zvartnots international airport near Yerevan.

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The Armenian government plans to unilaterally lift visa requirements for citizens of the United States travelling to Armenia, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Manasarian announced on Thursday.
 
“It is expected that we will essentially do what has been done with the European Union,” Manasarian told lawmakers in Yerevan.
 
Manasarian referred to a visa facilitation agreement with the EU that took effect in January. The agreement signed in late 2012 eased the EU’s stringent requirements for some categories of Armenians travelling to Europe. Earlier in 2012, Yerevan allowed citizens of EU member states to enter Armenia and stay there visa-free for up to 90 days.
 
According to Manasarian, Armenia is currently engaged in a similar “very interesting process” with the U.S. “That shows that the level of our relations with the U.S. is really rising,” he said during parliamentary hearings.
 
Armenia’s visa procedures for much of the outside world have been quite simple since the late 1990s. U.S. citizens, many of them ethnic Armenians, have been able to easily get visas not only at Armenian consulates abroad but also the country’s border crossings and airports.

Intn’l observers go missing in Estonia

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International observers have gone missing in eastern Ukraine as fighting between government troops and pro-Russian rebels rages on, The Independent reported.A team from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have been unaccounted for since 6pm on Monday.In a statement, the group said the four observers – an Estonian, a Swiss, a Turk and a Dane – were on a “routine patrol” east of Donetsk when contact was lost.It added: “We are continuing with our efforts and utilising our contacts on the ground. The Ukrainian Government as well as regional authorities have been informed of the situation.”Donetsk has seen fierce fighting in the last two days as government forces battled to take control of the city’s international airport back from rebels. 

EU Leaders agree to review agenda at Brussels summit

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EU leaders have agreed to re-evaluate the bloc’s agenda after voters “sent a strong message”, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has said, according to BBC News.Mr Van Rompuy said leaders of the 28 member states had asked him to launch consultations on future policies.He was speaking after a meeting in Brussels to discuss big election gains by populist and far-right parties.The results of the European Parliament election led to calls for an EU rethink by those leaders who suffered defeats.But despite gains by anti-EU groups, pro-European parties still won most votes overall.Tuesday’s summit was the first opportunity for leaders of all member states to discuss the way forward after last week’s polls.Mr Van Rompuy said the results of the European elections had shown “a mix of continuity and change” and that the Eurosceptic message from voters was “at the heart” of discussions between leaders.He said the meeting in Brussels had been a “useful first discussion” and that EU leaders had agreed on putting the economy at the heart of the group’s agenda.”As the Union emerges from the financial crisis it needs a positive agenda of growth,” he said, repeating a common refrain of what is needed to reverse growing anti-EU sentiment. 

Georgian president entitles premier to sign association deal with EU

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Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili will issue a special decree to give Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili the right to sign the Georgia-EU association agreement, Parliamentary Secretary of the President David Pataraia said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
“The constitution attributes the signing of this agreement to the prerogatives of the Georgian president but the government has decided the prime minister will sign this deal,” he said.
“The Georgian president will transfer his powers to the prime minister on a one-time basis so that the legitimacy of the prime minister’s signature is not called into question,” Pataraia said.
The Georgian government press service reported last week that the prime minister would sign the association agreement with the European Union in Brussels on June 27 in order to avoid unnecessary bureaucratic procedures, as the constitution required government approval of any international act signed by the president.
The decision triggered mixed feelings in Georgia. The opposition and some non-governmental organizations viewed the decision as illegal and said it was a form of the ongoing confrontation between the Georgian president and prime minister, which started several months ago with a public statement of former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili who disapproved of the president’s activity and called the prime minister the first official of the country, Interfax reports.

France for equal status for Armenia at negotiations with EU – Henri Reynaud

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There must be a way to Armenia’s association with the European Union (EU), and France is for Armenia to have an equal status at the negotiating table, French Ambassador to Armenia Henri Reynaud told reporters on Monday.“And we feel Armenia has this wish. To specify Armenia-EU relations the following slogan should be repeated: unity in diversity,” Reynaud said.The Armenian president’s decision in favor of Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union was a sovereign state’s decision.“And we are ready to respect this decision,” the ambassador said.With respect to the visa facilitation law, Mr Reynaud said that it has effectively been applied since it was enforced.This system is producing good results in Armenian-French relations. The tourist industry recorded a 50% increase in the first four months of 2014. 

Armenian Authors’ Works Attract Interest in International Literary Market

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11:48, May 26, 2014

Hetq spoke with First Armenian Literary Agency owner and literary agent Arevik Ashkharoyan about the interest in Armenian authors in the international market, as well as the reaction in Armenia to not only local authors’ works, but also translations of famous foreign literature. 

You represent Armenian writers at international literary platforms, mainly in Europe, coming into contact with foreign contemporaries in literature and their propaganda. Generally, what trends is the international literary market guided by?

It’s hard to speak of definite trends, since everything depends on what literature we’re talking about. If we look at bestsellers in this context, the trends are clear: they are those books that are not of very good quality and easily read, sometimes even very cheap pornographic or erotic literature. 

Yerevan Mum On Ukraine Election

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Ukraine — Presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko gives a press conference in Kyiv, May 25, 2014

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Promoting Innovative Rural Tourism in the Black Sea Basin Region

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13:46, May 26, 2014

The Promoting Innovative Rural Tourism (PIRT) project partly funded by the EU on May 24 participated in the info fair organized as part of the Europe Day in Armenia week of events in order to raise public awareness and visibility of the project.

Project Coordinator Anna Arakelyan informed visitors to their booth about the project’s success and progress. She said that the project will strengthen regional cooperation and partnerships — through an exchange of experience and the integrated use of physical and human resources, which aims to improve tourism product standards and service quality.

Russia might have to look for alternative South Stream route – Putin

May 25, 2014 Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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Russia might have to re-route the South Stream gas pipeline if problems on the European Union’s part with respect to the project continue, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with media bosses in St. Petersburg.
“If we continue to have problems with South Stream, and Brussels is constantly throwing a spanner in the works of this project, then we’ll look at other options via non-EU countries,” he said. In that even, Brussels will get “another transit country,” he said.
“Why they do this, in Brussels, I don’t know. But if they don’t obstruct us we are minded to carry these projects, both Nord Stream and South Stream, out,” he said.

Source: TertOriginial Article

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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.