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Azerbaijan cracks down while chairing Council of Europe – BBC

October 13, 2014 Azerbaijan, Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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“We are the last of the Mohicans,” says Leila Alieva. “First the government weakened the opposition, then targeted independent media, and now us – the NGOs.”Her research institute, the Centre for National and International Studies in Azerbaijan, is one of dozens of pro-democracy non-governmental organisations under investigation by the Azeri authorities.And the crackdown is taking place as oil-rich Azerbaijan chairs Europe’s leading pro-democracy institution, the Council of Europe.In most cases the authorities have frozen bank accounts or launched tax inspections, forcing NGOs that received foreign grants to suspend projects.Other organisations include Transparency International, Irex, National Endowment for Democracy and Oxfam.So far Ms Alieva has managed to escape prosecution. But many of her peers have been less fortunate.In recent months, the pressure on the government’s critics has intensified.Two prominent human rights activists, Leyla Yunus and Rasul Jafarov, were arrested in late July. They had been compiling a list of Azerbaijan’s political prisoners.Their names have since been added to the document.The list records 98 individuals in detention, among them human rights activists, opposition members, journalists and bloggers.The charges against them range from espionage and drugs and weapons possession to hooliganism and tax evasion. 
Read more on the BBC website.

Serbia supports OSCE Minsk Group’s efforts at peaceful settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – Tomislav Nikolic

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Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, who is on a two-day official visit to Armenia, is grateful to Armenia for not recognizing Kosovo’s independence, the Serbian leader stated at a news conference held jointly with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan.Serbia is chairing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) next year, and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan informed his Serbian counterpart of the latest developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and noted that, although Serbia has not recognized Kosovo, it is holding negotiations with Kosovo. In present-day world it is impossible to pretend that authorities formed as a result of conflicts do not actually exist.“The only alternative to that is chaos,” President Serzh Sargsyan said.Armenia’s leader stressed deep roots and a long history of Armenian-Serbian relations, particularly 20-year-long diplomatic relations. He expressed hope that the Serbian president’s visit to Armenia will give new impetus to the Armenian-Serbian political dialogue and progress of bilateral cooperation.For his part, President Tomislav Nikolic stated that Serbia is supporting the OSCE Minsk Group’s efforts at a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.“We are supporting efforts at a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of the Minsk Group principles and wish you success in defending your interests,” Armenpress quotes Mr Nikolic as saying.He is grateful to Armenia for its peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. Armenian peacemakers contributed to peace in that region and saved Serbs’ life as well as cultural heritage of Serbia and Kosovo.Serbia is seeking EU membership, without, however, abandoning its other friends, Mr Nikolic said. 

Russia to see surge of investments if sanctions lifted: VTB Bank head

October 12, 2014 Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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Western investors are keen on investing in the Russian economy and, should the sanctions against Russia be lifted, a surge of foreign investments could be expected, Andrei Kostin, President and Chairman of VTB Bank Management Board, has said.”I think, should the sanctions be somehow reduced or lifted, a surge of interest to Russia can be expected, as well as a surge of investments,” Kostin said in an interview to Russian Channel One.According to him, western investors maintain a high level of interest to the Russian economy.”Meetings … in Moscow and here [in Washington] show that investors, including American ones, are ready to invest,” Kostin said.The United States and the European Union have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia over its alleged role in escalating the Ukrainian crisis, an allegation Moscow has repeatedly denied.Some of the sanctions concern Russia’s largest banks, among other companies and institutions, VTB Bank being one of them. The sanctions also target several Russian defense and energy companies, as well as certain individuals. 

Armenia not opposing membership in Eurasian Economic Union to relations with EU – Serzh Sargsyan

October 12, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe No Comments
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Armenia made its decision to accede to the Eurasian Economic Union with a view to give impetus to its economic progress, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan stated at a press briefing held jointly with his Serbian counterpart Tomislav Nikolic.“Free turnover of goods and services, capital, workforce and available energy carriers, as well as transport solutions in the Eurasian area, open up new opportunities for us to enhance the efficiency of our economy,” Armenpress quotes Armenia’s leader as saying.President Serzh Sargsyan stressed that Armenia is not opposing its membership in the Eurasian Economic Union to its relations with the European Union (EU).“They have been and will be continued because we have numerous common interests and common heritage. And we continue democratic reforms on this basis,” he said.Armenia’s bilateral relations with different European nations play an important role in the country’s relations with the EU.“The Serbian president’s visit and political contacts at different levels are striking evidence thereof,” Armenia’s leader said. 

Hackers Using Malware To Steal Millions From ATM’s

October 11, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Business, Europe, Video No Comments
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21:59, October 11, 2014

ATM machines are being targeted by cyber-criminals using malware to steal millions of dollars around the globe.

Tyupkin, the name of the malware, enables hackers to steal cash from ATMs without using debit or credit cards, but rather with a series of codes, reportsThe International Business Times.

Kaspersky Lab, a Russian security company, detected the cyber attacks, which have thus far been found across Europe, Latin America, Asia, the US, and Israel. As of last March, when the investigation was conducted, more than 50 machines were found to be infected in Eastern Europe and Russia.

International school officially opens doors in Armenia’s resort town

October 11, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Karabakh No Comments
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The United World Colleges’ (UWC) first ever international school in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States,UWCDilijan on Saturday held its official opening in Armenia’s north-eastern resort town (Tavush region).
The school, which now has 96 students (aged 16-17) and only 25 pedagogues, is planning to increase its overload to by 2023 to involve more young people and specialists in the system.
At a news conference held before the opening event, the school’s founding partner, Ruben Vardanyan, thanked all the people who believed and assisted in the project. He expressed hope thatUWCDilijan will set a good model in the international education system, by helping shape new standards and values.
Armenian will not be taught as a foreign language at the school whose curriculum includes courses in mathematics and foreign languages, said John Puddefoot, the acting principal. But he expressed hope that they will manage to organize classes of Armenians in the near future. The school will also engage in scientific projects.
The idea to launch the school came into life thanks to assistance by donors from around 200 countries. The total cost of the development activities is $115 million as of now. An additional $30 million will be spent for the procurement of land lots, architectural-engineering activities and infra-structure development.
The curriculum, offered in the Armenian language, is based on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma program. Starting from 2017, the school will admit students aged 13-14.
The opening ceremony was attended by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Bako Sahakyan, and other high-ranking officials.

Global shares drop further on economy fears

October 11, 2014 Diaspora, Europe, Technology No Comments
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European and US stock markets have seen sharp falls as fears have deepened over prospects for the global economy, BBC News reported.London’s FTSE 100 share index fell 1.4% to 6,339.97, a 12-month low, as did Germany’s Dax. France’s Cac-40 fell to it lowest level in 2014.In the US, the Dow Jones erased its gains for the year, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbling more than 2%.Poor economic data from Germany this week has stoked fears that the eurozone could be heading for another recession.Oil prices also saw sharp falls, with the Brent crude price hitting its lowest level for nearly four years.After recording its biggest one-day fall of the year on Thursday, the Dow Jones dropped another 0.7% on Friday to close at16,659.25, losing all the gains it has made this year.The tech-heavy Nasdaq index slumped 2.3% to 4,276.24, led lower by semiconductor makers. Microchip Technology, which cut its sales forecast for the quarter and warned that declines could be expected across the industry, saw its share price fall by 12%.The broader S&P 500 index fell 1% to 1,906.13.
Read more on the BBC website. 

Tesla unveils ‘the D’: Smart dual-motor Model S can be ‘summoned’ remotely – and goes from 0 to 60 in just 3.2 seconds

October 10, 2014 Diaspora, Europe, Sports No Comments
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After a week of speculation, Tesla Motors boss Elon Musk has taken the cover off the firm’s mysterious ‘D’ car, the Daily Mail reports.During an event at Hawthorne Airport in Los Angeles, Mr Musk took to the stage to announce that the ‘D’ stands for ‘dual motor.’The current Model S is a rear-wheel-drive car with one motor. The ‘D’ will have two motors – one powering the front wheels and one powering the rear wheels.More than 1,000 Tesla fans attended the unveiling.Mr Musk said unlike all-wheel-drive systems on gas-powered cars, which tend to be heavy and make the cars less efficient, Tesla’s system ‘improves the speed, acceleration and mileage by optimizing which motor is used’.The dual motor version of the P85 performance sedan will have a top speed of 155 mph (249 km/h), compared with the current 130 mph (209 km/h).It will accelerate from 0 to 60mph (96km/h) in 3.2 seconds, akin to sports cars.’This car is nuts. It’s like taking off from a carrier deck,’ Musk said at the airport, where the Mr Musk’s rocket firm SpaceX is based.After Musk left the stage, the audience was shown demonstrations of the car’s acceleration and safety features.The all-wheel-drive system helps grip slippery roads, and analysts have said Tesla needed it to boost sales in the Northeast and Midwest, as well as Europe.The company sold 13,850 cars in the U.S. this year through September, down three per cent from a year ago, according to Autodata.Tesla is also significantly upgrading its safety features. 

EPP president condemns destruction of Armenian church in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor

October 10, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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President of the European People’s Party Joseph Daul has condemned the destruction of the Holy Martyrs Armenian Church in Deir ez-Zor.“The EPP condemns ISIS terrorist acts against sacred places such as the Holy Martyrs Armenian Church in Deir ez-Zor, Syria,” he read on his Twitter page. 

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

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.