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China to invest $8m in construction of Chinese language school in Armenia

October 30, 2014 Armenia, Culture, Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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The school with in-depth study of the Chinese language to be constructed in Yerevan will be the largest school in Eastern Europe, Armenia’s Minister of Education and Science Armen Ashotyan told reporters on Thursday.The students will study Chinese culture as well.“The school will be provided with state-of-the-art infrastructures: a library, culture center, as well as a hall of residence, for talented students from Armenia’s regions to receive education,” the minister said.“We encourage foreign investments in education. This Armenian-Chinese project is of political importance because the school will promote Armenian-Chinese humanitarian cooperation. Given the Chinese side’s enthusiasm, $8m investment is expected. The Chinese language is gaining worldwide popularity,” Mr Ashotyan said.The construction is to be launched next year, with education process to start in two years. 

Armenia Reports Further Fall In Remittances From Russia

October 30, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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Private remittances from Russia to Armenia continued to fall in September, according to the latest statistical data posted by the Central Bank.  

The total transfers made by individuals last month stood at $153.3 million, which is 8.6 percent less than the figure reported for September 2013 ($167.7 million).

Economists explain the decline in the private remittances from Russia by the continuing economic stagnation observed in the country that currently also experiences the negative effects of Western sanctions imposed over the crisis in Ukraine.

Whereas according to the forecast made by the International Monetary Fund last October Russia’s economy would expand by 3 percent in 2014, a similar forecast made earlier this month refers to a mere 0.2 percent economic growth to be achieved by the end of the year.

Artsakh Parliament Passes Law Regarding Ratification of European Cultural Convention

October 29, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Culture, Europe No Comments
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14:00, October 29, 2014

After one reading, the Artsakh Parliament today passed a law “On the Ratification of the European Cultural Convention”.

The parliament’s press office describes this step  as the beginning of Artsakh’s unilateral drive to join a number of international treaties and conventions.

The Convention was launched in 1954 by the Council of Europe.

In brief, it is designed to:

Develop mutual understanding among the peoples of Europe and reciprocal appreciation of their cultural diversity, to safeguard European culture, to promote national contributions to Europe’s common cultural heritage respecting the same fundamental values and to encourage in particular the study of the languages, history and civilisation of the Parties to the Convention. The Convention contributes to concerted action by encouraging cultural activities of European interest.

Armenia’s accession to EEU not end to cooperation with EU – Traian Hristea

October 28, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea had a meeting with reporters on Tuesday.He presented his opinion on Armenia’s cooperation with the European Union (EU) in the context of Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).Mr Hristea believes that despite its accession to the EEU Armenia does not stop cooperating with the EU.Armenia’s opposition political forces are supportive of Armenia’s accession to the EEU. The EU is not concerned over it respects Armenia’s political choice. Mr Hristea welcomes the agreement over the issue between the opposition forces as beneficial for Armenia. As regards Armenia-EU relations, the EU will continue cooperating with Armenia and remain committed to the principles the sides agreed on.As to Armenian National Congress (ANC) party leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s statement that Armenia could lose its sovereignty if it signed an Association Agreement with the EU, Mr Hristea said that Armenia has no task of joining the EU now.The Armenian and EU delegations are to hold a meeting and, as Mr Hristea has repeatedly noted, are working at a new legal framework.As to what stage the negotiations have reached, Mr Hristea said that it is not negotiations that are in question. The EU would like to study the areas of bilateral relations that are in harmony with Armenia’s commitments. And now that Armenia has signed a treaty with the EEU, the EU, in cooperation with its Armenian partners, would like to specify the areas where it could deepen its ties with Armenia. The sides must continue implementing the agreements reached in Vilnius. And in addition to democracy and human rights protection the sides could agree on specific areas and use it as a framework for further cooperation.Armenia’s authorities often note that Armenia is implementing a ‘both…and’ policy and is ready to act as a link between the EEU and EU economies.Mr Hristea said that the EU is pragmatic, and proper management is needed. The EU does not want to put its partners’ plans at risk. It is important to complete the process now and specify the areas of cooperation. The EU hopes that Armenia’s economic achievements as a result of negotiations over the Association Agreement will be continued. The EU is willing to consolidate the achievements. 

Armenia should be more active over Armenian Genocide problem – MP

October 26, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Turkey No Comments
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In an interview with Tert.am, Armenian crossbencher Edmon Marukyan spoke of the approaching centennial of the Armenian Genocide.“The government has its functions, but is should not always raise problems that could cause harm to its international relations.Relevant organizations represent the interests of Armenians in the west and raise the problem of their rights,” the MP saidThe organizations in question would act correctly if their raised their problems within law, in Turkey’s judicial bodies, he added.“I am not naïve to believe that Turkey’s courts will uphold the claims. However, it would be a start. That is, by employing the mechanisms they could take their cases to the European Court of Human Rights. Numerous verdicts against Turkey have been returned in Cyprus-related cases,” Mr Marukyan said.It is important to record seizure of property and murders.“As a state, Armenia could raise the problems at the United Nations, but the way of doing it should be different from that of organizations,” Mr Marukyan said.Certain issues need to be raised jointly, others do not. Since Armenia is negotiating re-opening of border with Turkey, raising such problems could prevent the negotiation from producing results.“Let the border be opened and diplomatic relations established, and organizations defend their rights.” 

Almost No Opposition To EEU Membership In Armenia, Says Russian Envoy

October 26, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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Russian Ambassador Ivan Volynkin expects the current internal political developments in Armenia to have no major impact on the country’s foreign policy, including its decision to join the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) beginning next year.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) the diplomat substantiated his view

Armenian wrestler declared winner of Andiev prize

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A representative of Armenia’s wrestling team, participating in the 36th traditional tournament dedicated to double world champion Soslan Andiev, earned the winner’s title on the first day of the competitions.
Gagik Barseghyan (w/c 57 kg), who had won a bronze medal in the European Championship earlier this year, was declared a winner of Andiev Prize after gaining advantage over Artak Hovhannisyan in the same weight class.
Narek Sanoyan, another representative of Armenia, came in the fifth after losing to the rival in a fight for a bronze medal.
The tournament kicked off in Vladikavkaz, Russia on Friday. It has brought together over 250 wrestlers from Russia, United States, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Apart from the legendary champion, participants, coaches and the crowd of fans, yesterday’s opening event was also attended by Rustem Kelekhsaev, the vice president of North Ossetia’s government.
Armenia’s delegation, headed by coach Arayik Baghdadyan, includes eight sportsmen.

Azerbaijan: Stop reprisals against rights defenders

October 25, 2014 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Europe No Comments
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The targeting of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan must stop, said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, at the end of a two-day visit to the country.“The urgency of this visit was dictated by the arrest and detention over last summer of virtually all the civil society partners of my Office, which makes it increasingly difficult to work on human rights issues in Azerbaijan”, a press release on the Council of Europe’s website quotes him as saying.The Commissioner had already highlighted important deficiencies in the protection of freedom of expression, assembly and association in Azerbaijan in a report he published last year following a visit in May 2013 and in an update he published in April this year, following a worrying deterioration of the situation in the above areas. “The recent repressive measures go in exactly the opposite direction from what I have recommended” he added.

Spain: People Demanding Crackdown Against ‘Untouchable’ Elites

October 25, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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00:13, October 25, 2014

Alleged corruption among Spain’s elites has authorities taking tougher actions in response to public outrage.

Rodrigo Rato, a former head of the International Monetary Fund and former chairman of the Spanish lender Bankia, is the primary target of the probe.

Rato and a dozen more executives at Bankia allegedly used secret company credit cards to spend US$ 19 million on personal trips and expenses including groceries, and even safaris, reports Agence France-Presse.

Priot to the credit card scandal, Rato had survived a previous probe into whether or not he misrepresented Bankia’s fiscal health as it prepared its 2011 stock market listing.

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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.