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Global shares drop further on economy fears

October 11, 2014 Diaspora, Europe, Technology No Comments
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European and US stock markets have seen sharp falls as fears have deepened over prospects for the global economy, BBC News reported.London’s FTSE 100 share index fell 1.4% to 6,339.97, a 12-month low, as did Germany’s Dax. France’s Cac-40 fell to it lowest level in 2014.In the US, the Dow Jones erased its gains for the year, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbling more than 2%.Poor economic data from Germany this week has stoked fears that the eurozone could be heading for another recession.Oil prices also saw sharp falls, with the Brent crude price hitting its lowest level for nearly four years.After recording its biggest one-day fall of the year on Thursday, the Dow Jones dropped another 0.7% on Friday to close at16,659.25, losing all the gains it has made this year.The tech-heavy Nasdaq index slumped 2.3% to 4,276.24, led lower by semiconductor makers. Microchip Technology, which cut its sales forecast for the quarter and warned that declines could be expected across the industry, saw its share price fall by 12%.The broader S&P 500 index fell 1% to 1,906.13.
Read more on the BBC website. 

Tesla unveils ‘the D’: Smart dual-motor Model S can be ‘summoned’ remotely – and goes from 0 to 60 in just 3.2 seconds

October 10, 2014 Diaspora, Europe, Sports No Comments
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After a week of speculation, Tesla Motors boss Elon Musk has taken the cover off the firm’s mysterious ‘D’ car, the Daily Mail reports.During an event at Hawthorne Airport in Los Angeles, Mr Musk took to the stage to announce that the ‘D’ stands for ‘dual motor.’The current Model S is a rear-wheel-drive car with one motor. The ‘D’ will have two motors – one powering the front wheels and one powering the rear wheels.More than 1,000 Tesla fans attended the unveiling.Mr Musk said unlike all-wheel-drive systems on gas-powered cars, which tend to be heavy and make the cars less efficient, Tesla’s system ‘improves the speed, acceleration and mileage by optimizing which motor is used’.The dual motor version of the P85 performance sedan will have a top speed of 155 mph (249 km/h), compared with the current 130 mph (209 km/h).It will accelerate from 0 to 60mph (96km/h) in 3.2 seconds, akin to sports cars.’This car is nuts. It’s like taking off from a carrier deck,’ Musk said at the airport, where the Mr Musk’s rocket firm SpaceX is based.After Musk left the stage, the audience was shown demonstrations of the car’s acceleration and safety features.The all-wheel-drive system helps grip slippery roads, and analysts have said Tesla needed it to boost sales in the Northeast and Midwest, as well as Europe.The company sold 13,850 cars in the U.S. this year through September, down three per cent from a year ago, according to Autodata.Tesla is also significantly upgrading its safety features. 

EPP president condemns destruction of Armenian church in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor

October 10, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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President of the European People’s Party Joseph Daul has condemned the destruction of the Holy Martyrs Armenian Church in Deir ez-Zor.“The EPP condemns ISIS terrorist acts against sacred places such as the Holy Martyrs Armenian Church in Deir ez-Zor, Syria,” he read on his Twitter page. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

Armenia Joins Eurasian Union

October 10, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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After months of delay, Armenia formally joined the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on Friday, drawing praise from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

President Serzh Sarkisian signed a corresponding accession treaty with Putin and Presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan and Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus at a summit of the Russian-led bloc held in Minsk.

The signing of the document, originally expected in May, was, held up by the Kazakh and Belarusian leaders for apparently economic and geopolitical considerations. It was still not a forgone conclusion in the days leading up to the Minsk summit.

Russia not opposed to closer ties with EU – Putin

October 10, 2014 Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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Russia is not opposed to rapprochement with the European Union, but is calling for an open and timely discussion of the consequences of such steps, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, according to TASS.
“We have never been the opponents of rapprochement with the EU, and we seek closer ties ourselves,” Putin said at the summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Minsk, adding that the conditions of the rapprochement are a vital issue.
“The problems are created not in connection with the retaliatory and protective measures of the Russian Federation, but because our partners do not believe it is necessary to timely, openly and professionally discuss in detail all the risks arising for Russia’s economy and other countries of the Commonwealth (of Independent States) in regard to the norms of free-trade zone norms after the accession of our colleagues to other trade and economic formations,” Putin said.
The Russian president said if such a discussion had been held on time, there “would have been no problems.” This also relates to the former Soviet states of Moldova and Ukraine, Putin added. 

EU: Balkans Still Plagued By Crime, Corruption And Censorship

October 9, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Turkey No Comments
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20:43, October 9, 2014

Organized crime, corruption, and pressure on media continue to be major barriers to countries hoping to join the European Union (EU).

A set of European Commission reports released on Oct. 8 warn that aspirants’ intentions to fight crime are not enough, and that countries need to “need to build up credible track records of investigations, prosecutions and final convictions in cases of organized crime and corruption, with adequate sentencing and confiscation of assets.”

The reports also note that criminality continues to infiltrate the political, legal and economic systems. Seven countries were analyzed: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.

European Commission: Did Amazon Cheat On Luxembourg Taxes?

October 9, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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20:47, October 9, 2014

The European Commission (EC) is investigating whether Amazon’s deal to avoid paying taxes in Luxembourg violated the rules.

The focus of the investigation is a 2003 local tax ruling in favor of the Luxembourg-based “Amazon EU Sarl”, the company’s main European operating subsidiary that keeps track of Amazon’s European profits and sales. This includes more than US$ 6.5 billion from UK sales, reports The Guardian.

The EC says that according to the ruling, Amazon EU Sarl pays a tax-deductible royalty to a limited liability partnership in Luxembourg, which is exempt from corporate taxation. “As a result, most European profits of Amazon are recorded in Luxembourg but are not taxed in Luxembourg,” said the EC’s press release.

EU: International Customs Operation Seizes 1.2 Million Counterfeit Goods, 130 Million Cigarettes

October 9, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Europe No Comments
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20:55, October 9, 2014

A two-week international customs operation, code-named “Replica”, has seized 1.2 million counterfeit goods and 130 million cigarettes, or a year’s worth of smokes for 17,000 pack-a-day smokers.

According to a European Commission website release from Oct. 6, the European Anti-Fraud Office coordinated the operation, which targeted counterfeit imports by sea.

The operation involved physical and X-ray checks of several hundred shipping containers, which turned up € 65 million (US$ 82 million) worth of counterfeit goods including cigarettes, perfumes, car and bicycle spare parts, toys, fashion accessories and electric devices. Officials said the seizures prevented € 25 million (US$ 31.6 million) in lost taxes and customs fees.

European Official Alarmed By Jail Term Sought For Teenager

October 9, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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The Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights on Thursday criticized Armenian law-enforcement authorities for seeking to imprison a 15-year-old activist prosecuted for his participation in a violent anti-government demonstration.

Nils Muiznieks expressed concern about Shahen Harutiunian’s fate at the end of a fact-finding visit to Armenia that involved meetings with President Serzh Sarkisian, senior Armenian security officials and civic activists.

Harutiunian went on trial earlier this year along with 12 other men, including his father Shant, who were arrested during a violent clash with riot police in Yerevan in November last year. Unlike them, he was not placed under arrest.

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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.