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Armenia’s Mineral Waters Now Exported Around the World

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16:27, May 22, 2014

Around the world, 124 billion liters of mineral water are consumed annually — that’s 24 liters per capita. At 7–8% annually, this is one of the fastest growing markets. 

Armenia has huge reserves of mineral water — in Jermuk, Bjni, Arzni, Hankavan, and Dilijan. About 7 companies are engaged in mineral water production, but this sector has great potential to develop. There have been positive shifts in recent years. There was a record high of mineral water production in 2013 — 43.2 million liters, of which 11.8 million liters were exported. Thus, the industry succeeded in restoring and even exceeding its pre-crisis volumes (35.8 million liters were produced in 2008, of which 9.7 million was exported). Note, in the crisis year of 2009, mineral water production in Armenia dropped by about 30%. 

Made in Artsakh: Kataro Wine Breaks Into Armenian and Russian Markets

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15:21, May 21, 2014

Every visitor’s trip to the Kataro wine production facility in the village of Togh in Artsakh’s Hadrut region begins with a glass of the dry red wine. Chief technologist Grigory Avetisyan, filling the glasses, says that a few days after opening a good wine it should have a more saturated taste, and not spoil. 

After pouring the wine, Grigory gently swirls it in his glass, smells it, and only then drinks it. “It’s good,” he says with satisfaction. 

“To taste the quality of the wine, we open it and keep it for a few days. It has a completely different taste after being exposed to air.”

OSCE Sees Natural Disasters as Regional Security Threat; 3 Risk Management Projects in Armenia

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20:57, May 21, 2014

Interview with Dr. Halil Yurdakul Yigitguden, Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities.

-How and why did OSCE start implementing disaster risk reduction projects? Was there an urgent issue in the region?  

-First of all, we think disasters may threaten security. This is especially true when coupled with climate change. We expect more disasters, and this may cause dificulties to governments, because when people lose their daily life, earnings, and houses and so on, then you can not have a functioning society, a totally functioning society.

"Court’s Decision Might Have Caused Laughter, If Weren’t Talking About Someone’s Freedom"

May 21, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Sports No Comments
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14:31, May 21, 2014

Kotayk District Court of First Instance Judge Vaghinak Mkrtchyan yesterday announced the final part of his decision on attorney Marie Laure Dosé’s motion to change the measure of restraint applied to her client Vardan Petrosyan (who is currently in pre-trial detention): the judge refused to change the measure of restraint and release Petrosyan. 

“The court’s decision might have caused laughter, if we weren’t talking about someone’s freedom,” said Dosé during a meeting with journalists, mentioning the two grounds the court cited for keeping Petrosyan in detention: his possible escape from Armenia and possibly putting pressure on witnesses. 

Independent Armenia’s First Wine Producer Receives Bronze Medal in 2014 Decanter World Wine Awards

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19:05, May 19, 2014

Maran, a winery founded in 1991 but which dates back to the 1800s, produced the first wine in the Republic of Armenia after the country gained independence and recently received a bronze medal in the 2014 Decanter World Wine Awards for its Bagratuni dry red wine. Hetq paid a visit to Maran’s premises and had a chance to speak with the founder and director Avag Harutyunyan. 

The many trees on the winery’s premises seem to evoke an attraction to the few buildings there. The winery’s young employee tells us the buildings were constructed in the 1950s by German POWs and there was a huge wine factory there at one time. After Armenia gained independence, businessman Khachatur Sukiasyan’s family bought the premises, which in 1998, was leased to Maran.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be settled within OSCE Minsk Group

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As regards the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, the European Union (EU) is exerting consistent efforts – both officially and by different diplomatic means, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia Traian Hristea stated at a public discussion marking the 10th anniversary of the European Union enlargement program.An atmosphere of confidence as well as conditions for settling the conflict in the current format need to be created. The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs are exerting efforts, and the conflict must be settled within this framework, Hristea said.He also stressed the need for political will. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

JPMorgan, HSBC and Credit Agricole accused of euro rate-fixes

May 21, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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The European Commission has accuses JPMorgan, HSBC and Credit Agricole of colluding to fix a key euro benchmark borrowing rate – Euribor, the BBC reports.JP Morgan and HSBC will fight the charges. Credit Agricole will study the European Commission’s findings.Penalties for the guilty are up to 10% of annual revenue.Euribor is a cousin to Libor, which is used to set trillions of dollars of financial contracts from complex financial transactions to car loans.In December, the Commission imposed fines totalling 1.04bn on Barclays, Deutsche Bank, RBS and Societe Generale as part of the same investigation.Barclays escaped a fine as it had notified the Commission of the existence of the cartel, and the others were granted a 10% reduction in their fine for agreeing to a settlement.The EU’s competition body said: “The Commission has concerns that the three banks may have taken part in a collusive scheme which aimed at distorting the normal course of pricing components for euro interest rate derivatives.”JP Morgan said it had “co-operated fully with the European Commission throughout its investigation.” The bank said it believed that the competition concerns were “without merit”, and added it intended to “defend itself fully”.HSBC said: “We intend to defend ourselves vigorously.”The Commission’s investigation has centered around concerns that the banks may have manipulated the pricing of interest rate derivatives – financial products which are used by banks to manage risks associated with interest rate fluctuations.The products derive their value from “Euribor”, a benchmark interest rate which is the eurozone equivalent of Libor.In March 2013, the Commission opened proceedings regarding Credit Agricole, HSBC and JPMorgan, and the investigation as whether they were part of a Euribor rate-rigging cartel is continuing.Should the banks be fined, they will not receive any reduction in penalties, competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said. 

Armenian government’s program must be realistic – MPs

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The program of the government headed by Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan is realistic and cautious in terms of calculations, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs, member of the Prosperous Armenia parliamentary group Mikael Melkumyan told Tert.am.
“It contains only three indices: minimum wages, 5% economic growth and reducing poverty down to 10%. I consider the targeted 5% economic growth unsatisfactory, but it is realistic for the government. However, with the current socio-economic situation in Armenia, 5% growth is unacceptable to us,” Melkumyan said.
He also considers unsatisfactory the government’s plans to raise the minimum monthly wage up to AMD 65,000 (about $160) by 2017 as the current cost is the basket of goods exceeds this amount even now.
With respect to risks, Melkumyan said that the program contains a “most interesting section,” which has to do with Armenia’s relations with Russia and the European Union.
“So the risks allowed for in the program are inevitable,” the MP said.
Head of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) parliamentary group Vahram Baghdasaryan believes that a program should be feasible.
“The government program should conform with our possibilities. We have nothing to conceal from anyone. And the government itself said ‘we have what we have’,” Baghdasaryan said.
“The program contains most interesting wordings dealing with the private sector: the government must create conditions for creation of jobs rather than create jobs themselves.”
The government will be right if it presents a program it can actually implement, Baghdasaryan said.

Apple, Google agree to drop smartphone patent suits

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Apple Inc. and Google Inc. (GOOG) have declared a cease-fire in their intellectual-property wars, Bloomberg Businessweekly reported.The two Silicon Valley technology giants said they are dropping lawsuits against one another and will work together to reform patent law. The suits to be dismissed involve patent disputes regarding Google’s Motorola Mobility handset unit. The deal doesn’t include Apple’s patent battles with Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), which uses Google’s Android software for mobile devices.“This could signal a new strategy on Apple’s part to focus its litigation efforts even more squarely on Samsung, which is by far the largest Android phone manufacturer,” said Brian Love, a Santa Clara University School of Law professor.The agreement signals a de-escalation in hostilities between two companies that have filed about 20 lawsuits against each other in the US and Europe and compete fiercely on many technology fronts. Apple’s iOS software and Google’s Android power the majority of the world’s smartphones and tablets and both are seeking to keep their pre-eminent positions in those growing markets. They are also dueling each other in areas including mobile maps and online music, among other products.
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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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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


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


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.