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Euro reels after ECB’s liquidity splurge

September 5, 2014 Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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The euro was deep in the red on Friday, having suffered its steepest fall in three years after the European Central Bank stunned markets by cutting interest rates and embarking on a trillion-euro asset-buying binge, Reuters reports.
The aggressive shift sent short-term bond yields into negative territory in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Austria, giving investors an overwhelming incentive to sell euros for higher-yielding assets elsewhere.
That stood in stark contrast to the United States, where upbeat data only reinforced the case for the Federal Reserve to wind down its stimulus, driving the dollar higher and sideswiping oil and gold in the process.
After surging to a 6-1/2 month high on Thursday, European share markets saw some minor profit taking as the U.S. payrolls report loomed large later in the session.
London’s FTSE 100 .FTSE, the DAX .GDAXI in Frankfurt and CAC 40 .FCHI in Paris were all around 0.1-0.2 percent lower but this week’s gains – the fourth in a row – took the pan-regional FTSEurofirst 300 index’s .FTEU3 rise since mid August to over 8 percent.
“Ourselves along with most market participants were surprised by the degree of the action taken by the ECB yesterday,” said Derek Halpenny, European head of Global Markets Research at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.
“We believe euro depreciation is what the ECB is focused on for alleviating the near-term downside inflation risks that have become apparent of late,” he added, also saying the bank would cut is end of year forecast for euro.

New geopolitical arrangements offer advantages to Armenia – opinion

September 4, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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The latest geopolitical developments give Armenia much room for maneuvers, an opposition MP has said, addressing the situation around Russia.
“The situation has completely changed, so a question arises as to whether our accession to the Eurasian Economic Union is to the point in this situation,” Alexander Arzoumanyan (Heritage faction) told reporters, noting that Russia has now become absolutely isolated, having declared NATO and the EU its enemies.
The politician said he thinks that maneuvering remains the only choice for Armenia, given especially the country’s geographic contours. “It is obvious that the Union – which is problematic as it is – will not have a political future. So it will just remain on paper,” he noted.
Arzoumanyan further dwelled on the economic advantages of EU integration. “The economic system proposed by the EU was much more advantageous to Armenia. As for the Eurasian Economic Union, it will be a ‘force structure’ which we have already seen,” he said, adding that the newly emerging bloc is completely governed by oligarchs.
The opposition MP noted that the geopolitical arrangements in and around Armenia force the country to maintain and develop relations with both Russia and Ukraine, and Europe and the United States, as well as China.

Activists Protest On Anniversary Of Armenian U-Turn

September 3, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Asia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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Several dozen opposition and civic activists rallied in Yerevan on Wednesday to mark the first anniversary of the official announcement of President Serzh Sarkisian’s unexpected decision to make Armenia part of a Russian-led union of ex-Soviet states.

Sarkisian announced the foreign policy U-turn after talks held with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin near Moscow on September 3, 2013. The move, widely attributed to Russian pressure, came less than two months after his government completed negotiations with the European Union on a far-reaching Association Agreement.

The EU responded by cancelling the planned signing of the agreement, saying that its dominant free-trade component is “not compatible” with Armenia’s membership in Russia’s Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan. It rejected Yerevan’s proposal to sign a significantly watered-down version of the accord.

One Caucasus Festival Uses Music to Bring Youth Closer

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17:49, September 2, 2014

From August 28 to 31, the One Caucasus festival took place in the Tseravki District of Georgia bordering both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The site was strategically chosen by the organizers of the initiative that seeks to create an inspirational and safe space for young people of the Caucasus to meet.

Musicians from several European and African countries, including the UK, Senegal and Ukraine, performed to an audience that was mostly made up of residents from the nearby Armenian village of Shahoumyan.

The region hasn’t seen an event of such scope since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Rosneft to gain $13.5b net profit by end of 2014 – CEO

September 1, 2014 Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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Net income of Russia’s Rosneft will be $13.5 billion by the end of this year, RIA Novosti reports, citing an interview by the company’s CEO, Igor Sechin, with the German magazine Spiegel.

“In the first half of 2014 alone, our income was five billion on revenue of $80 billion. Net profit at the end of the year will be $13.5 billion,” Sechin said.

The funding base of Rosneft will ensure the company’s work for a period over 20 years, and the Western sanctions imposed against it will affect only those fields, which were only planned to be developed in the future, Sechin said.

Ukraine crisis: US senators urge arms for fight against Russsia

September 1, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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Leading American senators have called for the US to send weapons to help Ukraine fight what they say is “a Russian invasion”, BBC News reports.Robert Menendez, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Russia’s President Vladimir Putin must face a cost for his “aggression”.Senator John McCain said: “This is not an incursion. This is an invasion.”Earlier, Mr Putin called for talks to discuss the matter of “statehood” for eastern Ukraine.Meanwhile, a meeting of the so-called Contact Group on Ukraine is expected to start later on Monday in Minsk, Belarus.Representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe will attend the talks. The participation of pro-Russian rebels from eastern Ukraine remains unclear.Last week’s first direct talks between Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk did not lead to any major breakthrough.The conflict in eastern Ukraine erupted in April following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsula a month before. Some 2,600 people have died since April.Read more on the BBC website. 

Mine exploitation plan raises wave of protest in Armenian village

August 30, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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Villagers in the southern region of Vayots Dzor are going to organize a protest action against a plan to exploit a gold mine close to their community.

Speaking to Tert.am, the mayor of Gndevaz, Hayrapet Mkrtchyan, said the project aimed at launching the mine of Amulsar has angered the local youth who are concerned about the arable lands’ future. “The village’s youth has initiated this protest action. Our demand is to understand the technologies of exploitation. The major part of our lands goes to the exploiters. So what will become of the villagers if the stay in the village? What are they supposed to do?” he told Tert.am.

Erdogan Handed Armenian Invitation

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Turkey’s new President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was formally invited to visit Armenia next April and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire after being sworn in for a five-year term on Thursday.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian handed Erdogan a corresponding letter from President Serzh Sarkisian as the two men briefly spoke at a reception in Ankara that followed the presidential inauguration. Nalbandian’s press office reported no other details of the conversation.

Sarkisian first publicly extended the invitation in May, three months before the Turkish presidential election. In televised remarks, he urged the winner of the ballot to visit Yerevan on April 24, 2014 and “face up to telling testimonies of the history of the Armenian genocide.”

European Court Data On Armenia Released

August 28, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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The European Court of Human Rights has handed down almost 50 rulings against the Armenian authorities in the past seven years, costing them over 576,000 euros ($770,000) in damages, a senior official said on Thursday.

Deputy Justice Minister Arman Tatoyan said most of these cases have involved serious breaches of the due process of law which the Strasbourg-based court believes were committed by Armenian law-enforcement authorities and ignored by courts.

Armenia fell under the European Court’s jurisdiction as it joined the Council of Europe in 2001. Its government lost the first case in Strasbourg in 2007.

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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

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.

2013 in Civil Society: Protests and more protests

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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.