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Armenia not far from raising issue of withdrawing its signature from Armenian-Turkish protocols

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Chairman of the European Integration NGO Karen Bekaryan commented on Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s speech at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.He stressed that the UN General Assembly is the best venue for presenting you own nation’s positions to the world.With respect to the part of the Armenian leader’s speech that deals with Turkey and the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, Mr Bekaryan noted that it showed Armenia has no intention to wait forever in what concerns the Armenian-Turkish protocols, especially in the context of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide.“Discussions on the protocols in Armenia were clearly signaled. The soft-line option was used – the one of withdrawing the protocols from the Armenian Parliament’s agenda. However, a harder-line options could have been used – the one of withdrawing Armenia’s signature. But we should realize the logic of diplomatic ethics. The issue of withdrawing the protocols from the Parliament has been raised. I am sure that if, within a reasonable timeframe, Turkey does not show any progress except for its hypocritical statements, we are not far from withdrawing our signature,” Mr Bekaryan said.With respect to the strong-worded statement on Armenian society’s harsh response to Turkey refusing to sign the protocols without preconditions, he said:“It was a clear signal, first of all to Turkey and, secondly, to all the mediators directly or indirectly involved in the Armenian-Turkish process and in the signing of the Armenian-Turkish protocols – the United States, European Union, Council of Europe, France, Russia and so on.“Turkey not ratifying the protocols or showing such a cynical attitude to the process is a slap in the face of all those behind the process, not Armenia alone. And it was also a call for the international community’s cautiousness – in a broader sense,” he said.The primary point is that Armenia has been living without the protocols, irrespective of its good will to launch the process without any preconditions, given the fact an unacceptable cost is demanded for that, especially by a state that has neither legal nor political or moral right.Bekaryan stressed the importance of the president’s word of gratitude to all the countries which have recognized the Genocide.“They called the international community’s attention to the fact that a failure to condemn the Genocide and eliminate its consequences is not only a moral or even a political issue but also a security concern, and the failure to punish it leads to other crimes of genocide,” he noted.The analyst further addressed the president’s remark regarding the Scottish referendum. “We see that the developments have not just begun; neither they have finished or will finish with Scotland. We see what is going on in our direct neighborhood – I mean the European community from where we hear signals,” he said, pointing out to the developments in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country.“This is only the first part of the big list. And if we understand that all this is actual in Europe, should we be surprised at all that the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic cannot think of being a part of Azerbaijan which continues behaving like an aggressor,” he added.
 

United Kingdom: Four Men Jailed For Carbon Credit Cyber-Heist

September 25, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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23:43, September 25, 2014

Four British men have been sentenced to jail for aiding the sophisticated theft of US$ 9.4 million worth of EU carbon credits in an international cyber-attack.

In a single day, Jan. 18, 2011, hackers stole 500,000 carbon credits from CEZ, a state-owned Czech utility company, reports Reuters. Another 200,000 credits were stolen from a separate CEZ account and 475,000 from Blackstone Global Ventures, also a Czech firm. The attack was coordinated with a bomb-threat hoax aimed at the Czech Republic’s emissions trading registry.

The four men had established two companies in Poland to fence the stolen credits, according to the National Crime Agency. Ruman Patel, 32, opened the company Segel Sp. z o.o., while Huntingdon Sp. z o.o. was opened by Hanif Patel, 53; Mohammed Hanif Patel, 52; and Ayyub Ibrahim, 60.

Iran’s statement on gas supply to Europe could just be taken into account – expert

September 24, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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Political scientist Alexander Markarov considers Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s statement that Iran could be a reliable supplier of energy resources to Europe a statement to be taken into account.
The Iranian president’ statement should be differentiated from reality.
“It is clear international sanctions are in effect against Iran, and none of them has so far been lifted. It is clear Iran is seeking to sell its gas and oil. However, there emerges a question of pipelines and the corridor for gas supply,” he said.
The Iranian leader’s statement shows Iran’s willingness to enter the European market.
On the other hand, Mr Markarov pointed out a number of problems.
“The first problem is if Europe is willing to accept the proposal. The second problem is how the gas market Iran is seeking to enter is going to develop. When the two problems are resolved along with that of the sanctions, we can speak of putting statements into practice.”

EU Seeking ‘More Clarity’ From Armenia

September 24, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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Armenia has to specify the implications of its upcoming accession to a Russian-led alliance of ex-Soviet states before it can negotiate new major agreements with the European Union, a senior official in Brussels said on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the EU’s Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele said the Armenian government has yet to detail its “new obligations stemming from membership in the Customs Union” of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The EU needs to see to what extent those obligations can “influence or limit our cooperation in certain areas where there might be issues of legal compatibility,” he said.

Ex-Russian Envoy Again Warns Armenia

September 23, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Top News, Video No Comments
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Armenia will put its national security and independence at serious risk unless rejects “Western values” to fully align itself with Russia, a former Russian ambassador in Yerevan warned on Tuesday.

Vyacheslav Kovalenko claimed that failure to make a “final” geopolitical choice in favor of Russia could thrust the country into the kind of crisis that has plagued Ukraine since the overthrow of a pro-Russian government in Kiev.

“Armenia must make a choice because in order for the economy of a small country like Armenia to develop, it has to integrate, it has to join some integration structures,” Kovalenko told Armenian journalists in a video conference from Moscow. “And the choice here is stark. I think the situation will develop in such a way that we will require Armenia to make that choice.

Obama Praises ‘Strong’ Ties With Armenia

September 22, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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U.S. President Barack Obama has described U.S.-Armenian relations as “strong” and pledged to deepen them despite Armenia’s upcoming accession to a new Russia-led alliance of ex-Soviet states.

“Armenia and the United States have a strong history rooted in partnership and friendship. The people-to-people, cultural and economic ties that bind our countries are impressive and inspiring,” Obama said in a weekend letter to President Serzh Sarkisian that congratulated him on Armenia’s Independence Day.

“The U.S.-Armenia relationship remains strong, and we look forward to continuing and deepening our cooperation for many years to come,” read the letter publicized by Sarkisian’s office.

Armenia unconditionally heading to Eurasian Union – ex-parliamentarian

September 22, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Karabakh No Comments
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Armenia is making confident strides towards the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) while the other members of the bloc are looking for ways to separate from Russia, says a former parliament member.
“The Customs Union and the Eurasian Union can be considered a single political bloc built on economic foundations,” Hovhannes Igityan, the former head of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Foreign Relations, told a debate in Yerevan, commenting on the advantages and disadvantages of Armenia’s Eurasian integration.
Addressing the western powers’ sanctions against Russia, the former parliamentarian said he believes that the country seeks to foster cooperation with allies – Belarus and Kazakhstan – in an attempt to demonstrate that it isn’t alone in the current battle. He described Kazakh President Norsultan Nazarbaev’s recent statement (saying that the country will leave the bloc should the membership turn out to fly in the face of its interests) as a good proof that the country will not interfere in the developments in Russia and Ukraine, being more concerned of the sanctions’ impact on its own economy.
Commenting on possible impacts on Armenia, Igityan said he finds that the authorities themselves have to seek an answer to that question given the country’s dependence on Russia in energy and investment projects, and natural gas services.
Asked how the EEU membership will influence Armenia’s future cooperation with the World Bank or European states (with which there are agreements), Igityan said he sees that the country has already made considerable concessions, with the unsettled Nagorno-Karabakh conflict still standing high on the political agenda. “Did Serzh Sargsyan resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh security issue with his September 3 [2013] decision or did the issue switch over to another sphere from the [OSCE] Minsk Group to become a concern for Russia?” he asked.
Speaking further, the Civil Society Institute’s board chairman, Artak Kirakosyan, said he doesn’t think the EEU membership is an economic process for an idea-centered country like Russia.
“Our judiciary suffers from the same ailments as does Russia’s, with convictions targeting the phenomenon rather than the human being,” he noted.
Kirakosyan said he is concerned that decisions in Armenia are often made without wide debates. “Economically, Armenia is of no interest to either Russia nor Europe,” he said.

Pope Francis Visits Albania

September 21, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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Pope Francis is in Albania for his first visit to a European country outside of Italy, Voice of America reports.The leader of the world’s one billion Roman Catholics will celebrate Mass in Mother Teresa square in Tirana, the capital, during his day-long trip Sunday. He will also meet with Albanian President Bujar Nishani and is scheduled to visit orphans.Francis said on the plane to Albania that the tiny nation has “succeeded in finding peace” between different religions.Albania is a former communist state and is now a model of Christian-Muslim co-existence.Large portraits of Catholic priests and nuns who were persecuted under communism have been hung on the boulevards leading to Mother Teresa Square.The revival of Catholicism in Albania is due in part to the popularity of Mother Teresa, who was born in what is now Macedonia, but had Albanian origins. 

Southern Gas Corridor strategic energy avenue for 21st century – Barroso

September 20, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Europe, Turkey, Video No Comments
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The Southern Gas Corridor will be a strategic energy avenue for 21st century, according to Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.“The Corridor is more than a pipeline. It will be a strategic energy avenue for the 21st century, a true geostrategic project,” the European official said at a groundbreaking ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Contract of the Century and the Southern Gas Corridor.“The Corridor is more than a pipeline. It will be a strategic energy avenue for the 21st century, a true geostrategic project,” he said in video message, according to Trend.az.Mr Barroso added Azerbaijan makes an important contribution to Europe’s oil imports today.“At the same time we are celebrating the progress made regarding the Southern Gas Corridor,” he noted.He added that the corridor, once completed, would stretch over 2,000 kilometers along the Caucasus and across Turkey – through Greece and Albania – and across the Adriatic, to connect the Caspian with the heart of EU. 

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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.