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Obama urges Russia to Respect Ukraine Cease-fire

November 14, 2014 Armenia, Australia, Europe No Comments
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US President Barack Obama has called on Russia to honor a September cease-fire between Kyiv and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, VOA News reported.White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said President Obama delivered the message to Russian Vladimir Putin during informal conversations at a summit this week in Beijing.Rhodes also told reporters that Obama will discuss the Ukraine crisis with European leaders on the sidelines of next week’s G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.NATO and European monitors have reported Russian tanks, troops and weapons crossing the border in the past few days.Moscow has repeatedly denied any official military involvement in Ukraine, and has described Russian troops fighting alongside rebels as volunteers.Meanwhile, Kyiv says it has has no intention of abandoning the truce deal it signed with Moscow and rebels in early September in Minsk, a government spokesman said Thursday. 
Read more at Voanews.com.

No alternative to peaceful settlement of Karabakh conflict – statememt

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The United States’ Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has called upon Armenia and Azerbaijan to abstain from any steps that could escalate tension along the Line of Contact.In statement, it has reaffirmed its strong support for the work of the Co-Chairs and the Chairmanship’s Personal Representative, and expressed appreciation of their continued engagement with the sides
“The United States warmly welcomes the three Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group, together with CiO Personal Representative Ambassador Kasprzyk, to the Permanent Council today. We reiterate our strong support for the work of the Co-Chairs and the Chairmanship’s Personal Representative, and appreciate their continued engagement with the sides.
“We welcome the three meetings of the Presidents during the past year in Sochi, Newport, and Paris, which reduced tensions and had a stabilizing effect along the Line of Contact. We expect the Presidents to continue their dialogue in the coming year, with an aim toward entering into formal negotiations and developing meaningful Confidence Building Measures. There is no alternative to a peaceful, negotiated settlement.
“The United States regrets the loss of life as a result of yesterday’s downing of a helicopter along the Line of Contact. We extend our condolences to the families of those killed or injured. We urge all sides to respect the ceasefire and not to take any actions to escalate the situation.
“As a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States remains deeply committed – as Ambassador Warlick has underscored this morning – to working with the sides to find a lasting and peaceful resolution to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh,” reads the address.

Kosovo: EU To Investigate Corruption In Its Own Ranks

November 13, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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19:59, November 13, 2014

In response to accusations of corruption, the European Union (EU)’s foreign policy chief has appointed an independent expert to review the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, EULEX. Federica Mogherini, the newly-appointed High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said on Monday Nov. 10 that she had chosen Jean Paul Jacqué, a French law professor, to investigate the corruption allegations.Officials in EULEX, which prosecutes sensitive organized crime, corruption and war crimes cases in Kosovo, including the trial of Naser Kelmendi, have been accused by British prosecutor Maria Bamieh and the newspaper Koha Ditore of taking bribes and cooperating with suspects.

U.S., EU Concerned About Downing Of Karabakh Chopper


The United States and the European Union have echoed international mediators’ serious concerns about by the fresh escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resulting from the shooting down of an Armenian helicopter gunship.

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, also called for an inquiry into the incident which could lead to another upsurge in fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces.

“It is essential that all sides show restraint and avoid any actions or statements which could escalate the situation. Furthermore, we call for an investigation into this incident,” read a statement issued by Mogherini’s office late on Wednesday.

“Both sides have to strictly respect the ceasefire, to refrain from the use of force or any threat thereof, and to resume efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” added the statement.

EU special rep states desire to visit Karabakh

November 13, 2014 Asia, Diaspora, Europe, Karabakh No Comments
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The European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Ambassador Herbert Salber, reaffirmed the commitment of the European Union to support the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Salber was addressing a one-day conference on “The impact of international and regional developments on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process,” held on Tuesday, Nov. 11, at Oxford University, Asbarez reports, citing Commonspace.eu.
The Conference was jointly organized by the British non-governmental organization, LINKS, and the Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre at St Antony’s College, Oxford.Salber also reiterated that the position of the EU in the conflict is to support the Minsk process, rather than replace or undermine it. He gave “two simple reasons” for close EU involvement. Firstly, the fact that the conflict is located in the EU neighborhood gives Europe a “historically and philosophically strong stake.” Secondly, “if one day there would be a solution, then many eyes would be on Brussels, and expecting the EU to make not only a substantial financial contribution, but also a contribution in security arrangements.”
Ambassador Salber called on the sides in the conflict to approach the negotiations with a renewed sense of urgency. He emphasized that the international community cannot resolve the conflict by itself: “the parties must mobilize the political will.”
Sabler, who took up the South Caucasus job in July, stated his desire to visit Nagorno-Karabakh. He hoped that the political conditions for European diplomats to visit Nagorno-Karabakh could be created soon. “The representative of the EU should be able to say: ‘I saw what is happening there with my own eyes, and had the opportunity to talk to people.’”
Speaking about the international dimension of the conflict, Ambassador Salber stated that “Moscow has a very specific role to play,” while acknowledging that productive regional cooperation seems a long way off. He referred to concrete improvements to the situation in the Caucasus region that could be brought about as a result of a satisfactory arrangement with Russia, such as reconnecting the North and South Caucasus via the railway running through Abkhazia. 

Yerevan Seeks New Economic Accord With EU

November 11, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Top News No Comments

Armenia hopes to deepen economic ties with the European Union through a new agreement despite joining a Russian-led trade alliance of ex-Soviet states, Economy Minister Karen Chshmaritian said on Tuesday.

“We hope that after working out a certain format we can sign an agreement on developing further economic cooperation,” Chshmaritian told reporters, commenting on his visit to Brussels last week.

Chshmaritian and members of an Armenian government delegation headed by him visited the EU headquarters to meet with senior EU officials. They discussed possible alternatives to a far-reaching Association Agreement which Yerevan was due to sign with the EU until President Serzh Sarkisian unexpectedly decided last year to make his country part of the Eurasian Economic Union.

Will New Government Bill Deprive Women Inmates of Maternity Allowances?

November 11, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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10:10, November 11, 2014

Hasmik Haroutyunyan, a member of the Rights Without Borders NGO in Armenia, told Hetq that a recent government bill to amend the benefits received by those temporarily unable to work will deprive women who give birth in the country’s prisons from receiving maternity allowances.

Haroutyunyan points to Article 17 of the amendments bill that would modify Article 23 of the existing law, stating that, “Maternity allowances will not be granted to convicts serving time in correctional facilities.”

She argues that such an approach is discriminatory and rife with negative socio-economic consequences for women inmates.

Law Enforcement Takes On The Black Markets Of The “Dark Web”

November 11, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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13:22, November 11, 2014

Authorities from the US and Europe have made 17 arrests and taken down more than 400 so-called “Dark Web” domains in a crackdown on illegal online marketplaces.

The hundreds of “.onion” addresses and servers seized in the Nov. 6 assault, “Operation Onymous,” corresponded to dozens of markets, according to the FBI, who coordinated the operation with Eurojust, Europol’s European Cybercrime Center (EC3) and the US Justice Department. Authorities from 16 European countries took part, according to Europol.

However, a complete list of sites taken down is not yet available. The EC3 head, Troels Oerting,told Wired that his staff hadn’t had time to assemble a full list.

Iran offers Azerbaijan to joint car production deal

November 10, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Europe No Comments
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Azerbaijan and Iran may jointly produce cars, a member of the Iranian parliament’s mines and industries commission Ali Alilu told has told the Trend News Agency in Baku.
A automotive manufacturing plant can be in Baku or Tabriz,” he said.
Alilu said that automakers must do some work for the development of cooperation between the two countries.
“The quality of jointly produced vehicles must comply with international standards,” he said. “The cars must compete with those of European producers. Azerbaijan and Iran has the potential to create such vehicles.”
Alilu said that there is an automotive manufacturing plant in Tabriz, Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. The plant has the necessary equipment for the production of qualitative vehicles.
He said that at present, various cars are imported from Iran to Azerbaijan.
“The two countries are cooperating in this area,” he said. “However, this cooperation is not at a satisfactory level.” 

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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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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.

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