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Sarkisian Wants More Government Action On Economy

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The Armenian authorities should do more to minimize the fallout from Russia’s deepening economic troubles as well as sluggish growth in the European Union, President Serzh Sarkisian said on Friday.

Sarkisian also insisted that Armenia will reap major economic benefits from its membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) even now that the Russian economy is plunging into recession.

“It is evident that Armenia cannot buck the current trend and that what is happening in the global economy should also reflect on our country and our economic indicators. Nevertheless, Armenia’s government and Central Bank should step up their efforts to mitigate negative influences on our economy coming from the outside world and to smoothly carry out necessary adjustments,” he said in a speech at an annual conference of the country’s largest business association.

Opposition Parties Defend Support For Eurasian Union

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Two leading Armenian opposition parties defended on Friday their endorsement of Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union against criticism voiced by other, pro-Western forces and figures critical of President Serzh Sarkisian.

Dozens of deputies from the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and the Armenian National Congress (HAK) on Thursday joined the pro-government majority in the National Assembly in voting for the ratification of an accession treaty with the EEU signed by Sarkisian. The treaty was also backed by lawmakers representing the opposition Orinats Yerkir and Dashnaktsutyun parties.

Stepan Markarian, a senior BHK deputy, said the party led by business Gagik Tsarukian did so “for the sake of the country’s security,” clearly alluding to Armenia’s military alliance with Russia.

85.2 Million Euro Loan by KfW Bank to Unite Armenia-Georgia Electricity Grids

December 5, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Georgia No Comments
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15:47, December 4, 2014

The Armenian government today gave the green light for a 105.2 million Euro project that will unite the electricity grids of Armenia and Georgia.

Under the agreement, the first stage of the “Caucasian ElectroCommunications Network I” project will be financed by an 85.2 million Euro loan by the KfW Development Bank to Armenia. (75 million of its own capital and 10.5 million from the German government)

The European Investment Bank will offer 10 million Euros in lending instruments and the European Union’s Neighbourhood Investment Facility will fund an additional 10 million. 

Source: HetqOriginial Article

OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs: Downing of Armenian Helicopter an “Avoidable Tragedy”

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18:01, December 4, 2014

The following statement was released today by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs:

“We, the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries – Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State of the United States John Kerry,­­ State Secretary for European Affairs of France Harlem Desir – remain strongly committed to a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  There is no military solution, and we call on the sides to refrain from violence and work actively towards a lasting settlement.

Turkey And Bosnia Slip In Fight Against Corruption, Says New Transparency International Index

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20:34, December 3, 2014

Transparency International has released its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2014, identifying Turkey as the country whose reputation for graft has grown the most in the past year.

Turkey’s reputation suffered in 2014 amid fallout from a corruption scandal that first broke late last December. Under former Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country took a number of stern steps to clamp down on the case, including arresting dozens of police who were investigating officials, temporarily blocking Twitter, and, most recently, banning media coverage of the scandal. Turkey’s score dropped by five points since last year, from 50 to 45. Other countries whose scores dropped include Angola, China, Malawi and Rwanda, all of which dropped by four points.

Moldova: Pro-EU Parties Lead Elections

December 3, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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20:47, December 1, 2014

Preliminary results of Moldova’s Nov. 30 national elections show the outcome tipping toward parties in favor of closer ties with the European Union (EU) – if they can put aside their differences to form a coalition.

With 91.5 percent of votes tallied by the Central Election Commission, the three major pro-EU parties held 44.66 percent of the vote: Liberal Democratic Party had 19.41 percent, the Democratic Party had 15.80 percent and the Liberal Party had received 9.45 percent. Past discord between Moldovan pro-EU parties may indicate a difficult bargaining process. The Liberal party left the country’s current pro-Europe coalition government last year.

Armenian FM to attend OSCE ministerial meeting

December 3, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian will take part in the Organization for Security and Cooperation of Europe’s (OSCE) 21st ministerial session in Brussels.
According to a press release by the Foreign Ministry, he is scheduled to have meetings with counterparts from different countries on the sidelines of the event. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

Putin vision matches Turkey’s oil and gas ambition – Financial Times

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Vladimir Putin’s suggestion that Turkey could serve as a “gas hub” in lieu of Moscow’s now abandoned South Stream pipeline chimed with Ankara’s energy ambitions.
With scarce hydrocarbon energy resources of its own, Turkey is keenly aware of the oil and gas deposits that surround it on all sides.
Under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the country has declared its aim to bring oil and gas to Europe from the Middle East, the Caucasus and elsewhere – and in so doing bolster its own energy security while pocketing transportation fees.
Turkey has made big strides to realise that ambition.
Plans are proceeding to build a gas pipeline from Azerbaijan across Turkey to southeastern Europe. Turkish officials also hail an agreement between the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government, formalised this week, which they say could make it much easier for Iraq’s Kurds to transport oil and eventually gas through Turkey to international markets.

Macedonia: Police Skeptical Of Passport Fraud

December 2, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Sports, Video No Comments
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21:33, December 2, 2014

Macedonia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVR) has nixed claims that a new video, which purports to depict the large-scale forgery of passports, reveals an election fraud scheme.

The 45-second clip, published online by Fokus, a Macedonian weekly newspaper, shows what appears to be an apartment with computers and materials allegedly used to counterfeit Macedonian passports.

But MVR said in a press release that biometric security features on current Macedonian passports place them among the most secure in Europe, and that there was as yet no evidence of forgery.

“The footage may be inaccurate or commissioned by a political party,” police spokesperson Ivo Kotevski told Balkan Insight.

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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

Capitalism Run Amok Is Just Plain Capitalism

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16:37, January 17, 2015

By Markar Melkonian

The source of Armenia’s misery and humiliation, we often hear, is not capitalism per se, but rather “gangster capitalism,” “a broken system,” “capitalism run amok.”

The goal for the future, then, is to “fix the system,” to reform capitalism, to make it more like regular, pure, genuine Free Enterprise, the kind of capitalism that works. But what if Armenia’s actually existing capitalism already is genuine capitalism?

An economist once observed that the only existential meaning of “enterprise” in the term free enterprise is “whatever capitalists happen to be doing at the time”–and “free” is the accompanying demand that they be allowed to do it.

Ukraine: Cops Go After Casinos, Suggest Yanukovych Connection

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21:45, December 15, 2014

Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs has launched a campaign against illegal casinos amid fears that a large network of underground gambling dens could be providing an income source for the son of the country’s disgraced former president Viktor Yanukovych.

The new crackdown on unlawful casinos – an ongoing scourge for law enforcement agencies in Ukraine since regulation was made stiffer with a 2009 law – was launched on Dec. 8 after an announcement on Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov’s official Facebook page.

Avakov, who keeps a lively and occasionally angry Facebook commentary on current affairs, pledged to put a complete stop to the establishments within ten days; first in the capital of Kyiv, then the rest of the nation.

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.