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US dollar rally ‘has years to go’

October 2, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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The US dollar continued its rally on Wednesday, hovering near a four-year high against major currencies, the BBC reports.
In early trading, it rose over 110 yen for the first time in six years and was close to a two-year high against the euro at $1.25.
Analysts say the dollar rally shows no signs of ending as sharp losses mount for other currencies.
“We think the dollar rally has another two years to go at least,” said Chris Turner, global head of strategy at ING.
“It’s come a long way, pretty quickly. I think a 5% advance over the next six months is very achievable,” Mr Turner added, referring to the US dollar index, which measures the dollar against a basket of major currencies.
The US dollar index is up nearly 9% since the beginning of May, being driven by expectations that the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates as the US economy recovers. Meanwhile, growth fears in Europe, China and Japan are likely to lead central banks to loosen monetary policy, putting pressure on their currencies.
“As we get closer to the Fed beginning to tighten policy and the ECB [European Central Bank] still being particular to easing policy, we think the bias is still towards dollar gains,” said Adam Cole, head of currency strategy at RBC Capital Markets.
Last month, the US central bank confirmed that it would end its massive bond-buying program in October, which has been helping the US economy recover from the financial crisis of 2008-09.
Currencies hardest hit
The major currencies that would continue to face the biggest headwinds from the US dollar’s rise in the next 12 months will probably be the euro and the Japanese yen, according to analysts.
“Old-world currencies like the euro and the yen, they’re going to suffer the sharpest losses against the dollar probably in the next 12 months,” Mr Turner said.
The euro saw its biggest fall in more than two years in September, losing nearly 4% against the dollar, and has been hit by recent weak manufacturing reports from the region, along with data on Tuesday that showed cooling inflation in the eurozone.
However, Mr Cole from RBC sees it as more of a story of the dollar’s strength than of the weakness of other currencies.
“It’s simply been dollar up against every single developed market and emerging market currency,” Mr Cole said. “The US dollar continues to stay strong through 2015.”

Armenia, EU To Discuss New Formats Of Cooperation

October 1, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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Armenian and European Union officials will meet soon to try to work out a new legal framework for bilateral relations that would not contradict Armenia’s upcoming membership in a Russian-led alliance, officials said on Wednesday.

According to Traian Hristea, the head of the EU Delegation in Yerevan, the two sides are planning “brainstorming” sessions on new formats of their cooperation in the new geopolitical environment.

“The discussions are in the preparatory stage, and we are working with our Armenian partners,” Hristea told reporters. “Very soon we will have a bilateral meeting aimed at preparing a new package of proposals.”

The EU official declined to give concrete dates for such talks. “I think the most important thing will be their substance, rather than the deadline,” he said.

PACE rep. slams Azerbaijan for poor human rights record

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A representative of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) has criticized Azerbaijan for deteriorating human rights situation.
At the Assembly’s meeting in Strasburg, Tin Kox (Netherlands) said particularly that the country’s poor human rights record adds to the past months’ wars and crises (Ukraine civil war, the war in Gaza) and the increased tension in Iraq and Syria.
“I think it is a shame that a country that has the honor to share membership of this Organisation uses its time in the chairmanship to deteriorate its human rights situation. To improve it would perhaps be to ask too much, but to let it deteriorate is a shame. I thank you, President, for going there and having clear talks about the situation and for the clear statements about what should be improved in the country that chairs the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Genocide conference in Romania held despite Turkish protests

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By Harut Sassounianwww.TheCaliforniaCourier.comI just returned home from two hectic weeks of travel. First, I participated in the Armenia-Diaspora Conference in Yerevan, where I co-chaired a panel on the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, and spoke in two other panels proposing the formation of a democratically elected Diaspora-wide structure to represent the seven million Armenians residing outside of Armenia and Artsakh.I then flew to Bucharest, Romania, to join scholars, activists, journalists and clergy from a dozen countries in the first-ever international Armenian Genocide conference.The always vigilant Turkish Ambassador to Romania went to great lengths to undermine not only the Armenian Genocide conference, organized by the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Romania, but also the inauguration of a Khachkar or Cross Stone dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.Turkish Ambassador’s efforts failed miserably as the Khachkar was inaugurated as scheduled on Sept. 26, and both the Vice Mayor of Pitesht and Governor of Arjesh attended the ceremony along with other Romanian dignitaries and Genocide conference participants. In fact, when the Ambassador objected to the inauguration of the Khachkar, the Mayor of Pitesht sharply rebuked him by telling him that he has no right to interfere in the internal decisions of a Romanian city!The Turkish Ambassador next tried to block the international Armenian Genocide conference. Turkey has a major influence over Romania due to a large amount of trade between the two countries. The Ambassador must have been particularly upset by the fact that the Romanian government was funding the Genocide conference. Fortunately, the Ambassador could not disrupt the conference which was held as planned. It was attended by specialists from Armenia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Iran, Lebanon, Romania, Syria, and the United States.The only surprise was the location where the conference participants were staying. As I walked into the Tempo Hotel lobby, I noticed that there were several Turkish newspapers, including Zaman (in Romanian!), on a rack next to the front door. Upon further inspection, I discovered a brochure that described the hotel as being owned by Muslim Turkish Cleric Fethullah Gulen! Even though the hotel was conveniently located just one block from the Armenian Church headquarters in Bucharest, where the conference was being held, some of the Armenian participants felt uncomfortable staying in a Turkish hotel. We wondered how the Turkish hotel owners felt, after discovering that they housed scores of Armenian genocide specialists from around the world!Curious as to what was being discussed at the conference, the Turkish Embassy had sent two of its employees to take notes which the Turkish Ambassador must have dutifully forwarded to Ankara. Fortunately, there were no unpleasant incidents. The two Turkish diplomats kept a low profile and did not attempt to disrupt the conference. Likewise, none of the Armenian participants attempted to interfere in the work of the Turkish Embassy officials.In addition to the lecture I delivered at the conference on the subject of “Genocide Recognition or Quest for Justice,” I had the pleasant task of introducing two of my books on the Armenian Genocide in Romanian translation, which were just published by the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Romania. The first book is a collection of one hundred of my columns published in recent years in The California Courier and other newspapers. The 400-page book is titled, “One hundred columns on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.” My second book, “The Armenian Genocide, Documents and Declarations, the World Speaks Out, 1915-2015,” was also published by the Armenian Diocese in Romanian translation.Both the Diocese and the Armenian community leaders have an active publication program, having translated into Romanian many important books on the Armenian Genocide, despite the dwindling of the Armenian community due to waves of exodus to Western Europe and North America.There are two prominent Varujans in the local Armenian community. The first is Senator Varujan Vosganian, President of the Armenian Union of Romania, and Vice President of the Writers Union of Romania. He is a former Minister of Economy and Trade and author of a widely read autobiographical novel on the Armenian Genocide. The second is Varujan Pambuccian, Parliament member and President of National Minorities represented in the Romanian Parliament.Many of the scholars were in Romania for the first time. They pledged to support the local community’s efforts, particularly on the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide. 

Europe: More Than 1,000 Organized Crime Suspects Arrested In Multinational Operation

September 30, 2014 Armenia, Australia, Europe No Comments
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21:46, September 30, 2014

Law enforcement agencies have arrested 1,146 suspects in what they claim is Europe’s largest-ever international coordinated operation against organized crime, codenamed “Operation Archimedes.”

Officers from the 28 European Union (EU) member states as well as Norway, Switzerland, Serbia, Colombia, Australia and the US participated in the operation, which took place over nine days from Sept. 15 to 23. It was coordinated by Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, with the help of Eurojust, the EU’s judicial cooperation agency; Frontex, the EU’s external border agency; and Interpol.

Armenia Counts On Greek Support For Closer Ties With EU

September 30, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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Armenia hopes that Greece will help it deepen relations with the European Union, President Serzh Sarkisian said on Tuesday after talks with his visiting Greek counterpart, Karolos Papoulias, on Tuesday.

“We reaffirmed our desire to further deepen cooperation between our countries on multilateral planes, including within the framework of the Armenia-EU partnership,” he said in a statement to the press. “I voiced Armenia’s determination to develop our relations with the EU in all possible directions and expressed hope that friendly Greece will support Armenia on this issue.”

IMF Again Lowers Armenian Growth Forecast

September 30, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Business, Europe, Top News No Comments
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The International Monetary Fund announced a further downward revision of its economic growth forecast for Armenia on Tuesday, singling out the fallout from Western economic sanctions against Russia.

“We have found here that growth is weaker than we expected,” said Mark Horton, the head of an IMF mission visiting Yerevan. “We thought that growth would be around 3.5 percent this year. But it looks like it will be possibly around one percentage point lower than that.”

The IMF predicted a year ago that the Armenian economy will expand by 4.8 percent in 2014. It forecast higher growth rates for the following years. The fund began revising these growth projections downwards in April amid Russia’s intensifying standoff with the West over the crisis in Ukraine.

Armenia Ranks 78th in 2014 World Press Freedom Index

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17:35, September 30, 2014

Armenia ranks 78thin the 2014 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders that covers 180 countries.

The country dropped four points from last year.

In terms of Eastern Europe and Central Asia the Index writes:

The region’s four best-placed countries in this year’s index are the same as last year. Although their positions in the index are fairly dispersed, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan all enjoy a significant degree of pluralism and relatively little state censorship. But the considerable social polarization is reflected in the media and the climate for journalists, who are often harassed by pressure groups. Given that the political orientation of individual media usually coincides with that of their owners, it would seem that respect for the editorial independence of media employees is still limited.

Record 3,072 migrants killed crossing Mediterranean in 2014

September 30, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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More than 3,000 migrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean so far this year, more than double the previous peak in 2011, AFP reports, citing the International Organisation for Migration.Europe is by far the most dangerous destination for “irregular” migrants, the organisation found in a report, with 3,072, or 75 percent, of the 4,077 registered migrant deaths worldwide since January happening in the Mediterranean.In the 216-page report titled “Fatal Journeys: migrant fatalities across land and sea”, IOM said more than 40,000 people had perished since 2000 while migrating – 22,000 of them while trying to reach Europe.”It’s time to do more than count the number of victims,” IOM chief William Lacy Swing said in a statement.”It’s time to engage the world to stop this violence against desperate migrants,” added Swing, whose agency is not part of the United Nations but works closely with the world body.The IOM report comes just weeks after one of the deadliest wrecks on record, when a ship carrying some 500 migrants, including Syrians, Palestinians and Egyptians and an estimated 100 children, sank. 

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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.