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Facebook to launch money transfer service

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Facebook is preparing a push into financial services, with tools for members to store and send money online, The Telegraph reported.
The social network has applied to Irish authorities for a licence that would allow it to provide remittance and electronic money services to its members across Europe, according to The Financial Times. Dublin hosts Facebook’s headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.Facebook has reportedly held also discussions with three London-based international money transfer providers, TransferWise, Moni Technologies and Azimo, to help it build the services.Allowing members to send remittances via their Facebook accounts could strengthen the social network in emerging markets. Migrants send hundreds of billions of dollars home to developing countries every year where large sections of the population do not have bank accounts.Facebook would be taking on wire transfer services such as Western Union, existing electronic money providers such as PayPal and a new breed of mobile phone-based payment services, of which Vodafone’s M-Pesa is a leading example. See more here.

Risk of African Swine Flu Increases in Armenia, Says New Report

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13:35, April 14, 2014

According to a new brief that appeared in today’s Global Meat news.com, the endemic risk of African swine fever (ASF) has increased from a moderate to a high rating in Georgia, Armenia and Russia since 2010.

These findings were issued in a recent report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) following a request by the European Commission to provide an update on the risk of endemicity of ASF in countries surrounding the EU.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Ceasefire 20: Minsk Group activities – failure or success?


May 2014 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Karabakh ceasefire when after nearly three years of fierce fighting guns finally stopped firing and people on all sides started talking. The main international format advancing the negotiations is the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Its co-chairing nations are Russia, the United States and France.

Russia urges caution in Ukraine’s East

April 14, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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Russia has urged the authorities in Kiev not to use force against pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine, BBC News reported.
At a special UN Security Council session, Russia’s ambassador Vitaliy Churkin called on Kiev to “start a genuine dialogue”.
But Ukraine’s UN ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev said Moscow had artificially created the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine’s government has promised military action against pro-Russian militants on Monday morning.
According to a Ukrainian presidential decree, pro-Russian separatists should give up their weapons and leave government buildings they have occupied by 06:00 GMT, Reuters reported.
Pro-Russian forces have targeted several cities in eastern Ukraine in the past week.
Mr Churkin said that there neo-Nazis and anti-Semites within the ranks of what he called “the self-proclaimed government in Kiev”.
“The henchmen of Maidan [protest movement] must stop attacking their own people,” said Mr Churkin.
Ukraine’s government has promised military action against pro-Russian militants if they do not relinquish control of government buildings by the early hours of Monday.
Mr Churkin said that the opinions and interests of protesters in eastern Ukraine had not been taken into consideration.
European Union foreign ministers are due to meet later on Monday in Luxembourg to discuss the crisis.  
See more here.

Allied Vote: Armenia says ‘nyet’ to anti-Russian resolution at PACE


Armenian delegates to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) have voted against a resolution stripping Russia of its vote at the Strasbourg-based body until the end of the year.

The Russian delegation itself did not show up for the vote that took place on April 10.

The PACE adopted the resolution by a vote of 145 to 21, with 22 abstentions (Armenia has four votes at the Assembly). It denounced the actions of Russia in Ukraine and demanded that Moscow withdraw its armed forces, including the Black Sea fleet, from Crimea.

Crunchy Delicacy: Europe Loses its Taste for Armenian Crawfish

April 10, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Georgia No Comments
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18:53, April 8, 2014

While Armenian exporters have never received licenses to market fish to European Union countries, locally grown crawfish (both live and processed) was recently a big hit in Belgium, France, Germany and Austria.

Sales to Europe overall have been cut in half, of late, and crawfish exports to France have dropped threefold.

The U.S. and Europe have started to give preference to either cooked or frozen crawfish for hygienic reasons. Some countries, like Sweden, have banned imports of the live variety altogether.

Despite slumping sales to Europe, Armenian exports of fish and crawfish soared in 2013, mainly due to sales to Russia.

Italy: 26 Arrested In Romanian Sex Trafficking Ring

April 10, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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22:09, April 9, 2014

On April 4, Italian police arrested 26 suspects for being involved in a Mafia-style sex trafficking ring in Italy led by Romanian nationals.

Italy’s military police, the Carabinieri, collaborated with Belgium’s Fugitive Active Search Team and Romania’s anti-organized crime police, to arrest 16 people in Italy and 10 more in other European Union member countries.

The members of the group are accused of running a Mafia-style association that involved a

Italy’s military police, the Carabinieri

prostitution ring, extortion, and theft.

According to police, more than 100 women were victims of the gang. Some of the women from Romania were taken from small countryside towns, where “suspects used psychological pressure to recruit and take the girls to Italy,” said Carabinieri Captain Sergio Agostini.

Glendale Armenians Sound Off: A Wish List for Armenia’s Next Prime Minister

April 9, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Europe No Comments
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18:24, April 9, 2014

By Karineh Danielyan

While politics might not be an inseparable part of life for Armenians living in the United States as it is for Armenians living in Armenia, those who have migrated to the States from the homeland continue to follow political developments back home very closely.

Parallel to the daily discussions in Armenia around the topic of who will be the country’s next prime minister, Armenians in Glendale also have their opinions and comments on the matter.

In an attempt to gauge what type of prime minister they’d want to see in Yerevan, Hetq randomly spoke to a number of Glendale Armenians.

Reality Check: Teams of 2013 presidential rivals assess situation on anniversary of ‘dueling inaugurations’

April 9, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Sports No Comments

One year after the ‘inauguration’ ceremonies of “Secure Armenia” and “New Armenia” held by official winner of the 2013 presidential election Serzh Sargsyan and his top challenger Raffi Hovannisian, representatives of the two men’s parties differ in their evaluations of the past 12 months that have seen some very significant political events. Representatives of the ruling party say the past year has been a period of achievements, the opposition sees only losses and missed opportunities.

Sargsyan, who officially gained more than half of the vote in the February 18, 2013 election was sworn in for his second and last five-year term as president in the Sports and Concert Hall in Yerevan on April 9 that year. He took an oath on the Bible and the Constitution. In the meantime, the official runner-up, Hovannisian, gathered supporters in Yerevan’s Liberty Square for a ceremony of “inaugurating a New Armenia”.

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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.