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Sarkisian Stresses Friendly Ties With France On Bastille Day

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President Serzh Sarkisian put an emphasis on the friendly ties and trust that exist between Armenia and France in a congratulatory message sent to his French counterpart on the occasion of Bastille Day observed on Monday.

On July 14, which is marked as the French National Day, Sarkisian visited the Embassy of the French Republic in Yerevan to congratulate Ambassador Henri Reynaud, the Embassy staff and all French people on the occasion of their holiday.

According to Sarkisian’s press office, in his congratulatory message addressed to the French president, the Armenian leader, in particular, stressed that Francois Hollande’s recent official visit to Armenia “gave a new impetus to the high-level political dialogue between Armenia and France and the continuous reinforcement of the friendly ties between our peoples.”

Media Outlets Told To Disclose Sources

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An independent newspaper and an online news service have refused to comply with a court ruling ordering them to disclose the sources of their recent reports that accused a senior Armenian police officer of violent assault.

The daily “Hraparak” and ilur.am reported in early May that Vartan Nadarian, the police of chief of Armenia’s northwestern Shirak province, attacked two young men in a dispute outside the regional capital Gyumri. One of them turned out to be Artur Aleksanian, a prominent Armenian wrestler and three-time European champion.

Citing those reports, the Special Investigative Service (SIS) launched a criminal investigation into the alleged violence. The law-enforcement agency subordinate to state prosecutors told the two media outlets to disclose the sources of the information, saying that is necessary for solving the case. Both publications refused to do that, leading the SIS to take them to court.

Georgia ‘In Dark’ About New Armenian Trade Tariffs

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Georgia does not know yet the extent of new barriers to its trade with neighboring Armenia that are expected to emerge after Yerevan joins Russia’s Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, a senior Georgian diplomat said on Wednesday.

“We don’t know what the Customs Union will be requiring from Armenia with regard to us,” Tengiz Sharmanashvili, the Georgian ambassador in Yerevan, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) in an interview.

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Georgia — Georgian Ambassador to Armenia Tengiz Sharmanashvili.

“A free-trade regime between us is still functioning,” Sharmanashvili said. “We will try to ensure that this does not change. In essence, we don’t plan to change that regime. As for what changes the Customs Union will demand, we don’t know that yet.”

Emirates finalizes $56 billion order for 150 Boeing 777X planes

July 9, 2014 Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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Dubai airline Emirates [EMIRA.UL] finalized a $56 billion order to buy 150 Boeing (BA.N) 777X jets on Wednesday, firming up a commitment made last year, just weeks after scrapping an order with rival planemaker Airbus (AIR.PA), Reuters reports.The deal includes purchase rights for an additional 50 airplanes which, if exercised, could increase the value to about $75 billion at list prices, Boeing said in a statement.”With the order for 150 777Xs, Emirates now has 208 Boeing 777s pending delivery, creating and securing jobs across the supply chain,” Emirates president Tim Clark said.The agreement comes days before the Farnborough International Airshow, traditionally an event at which billions of dollars of new plane orders are announced.It follows the surprise cancellation in June of a $16-billion order by Emirates to buy 70 of Airbus’ A350 aircraft, which delivered a blow to the European planemaker’s newest aircraft and hit its share price.Airbus ended the first half of the year behind its U.S. rival in orders and deliveries, but is widely expected to unveil hundreds of new orders at the Farnborough show next week.The Emirates’ order was part of the 777X launch at the Dubai Air Show in November last year, one of the largest product launches in commercial jetliner history. Along with Emirates, Gulf carriers Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways also announced deals for the plane, totaling $100 billion at list prices.Emirates, which is the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 777 jet, was close to finalizing the order, Reuters reported last week.Emirates and Qatar Airways, which also ordered 50 777X jets, had jointly negotiated the deal at the Dubai Air Show. However, it was not clear whether the Doha airline had finalised its order yet.Qatar Airways could not be immediately reached for a comment.Emirates and Qatar Airways are part of a trio of Gulf carriers, alongside Abu Dhabi’s Etihad, that have secured large fleets of widebody jets to support the growth of new hubs.The 777X is the latest version of Boeing’s best-selling widebody jet, a so-called mini-jumbo, which carries a list price of up to $320 million.The current versions are capable of seating up to 550 passengers in a single-class configuration, according to Boeing. In a more typical three-class configuration, the jet family seats up to 386 passengers and has a range of up to 9,395 nautical miles. 

Armenian Teams Lose In UEFA Europa League Qualifiers

July 6, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
Armenian News

12:24, July 4, 2014

In the first qualifying matches of the 2014-2015 UEFA Europa League, teams from Armenia lost.

Shirak (Gyumri) was beaten by Shakhter Karagany (Kazakhstan) by a score of 2-1 at Gyumri.

Yerevan’s Mika was beaten by RNK Split (Croatia) 2-0 in a game played in Split.

Yerevan’s Pyunik was beaten by Astana (Kazakhstan) 4-1 in a game played in Yerevan.

The return matches are scheduled for next week.

The 2014–15 UEFA Europa League is the 44th season of Europe’s secondary club football tournament organized by UEFA, and the 6th season since it was renamed from the UEFA Cup to the UEFA Europa League. The 2015 UEFA Europa League Final will be played at the Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Moldova: Criminal Underground Feeds Ukrainian Civil War With Russian Weapons

July 5, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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22:50, July 4, 2014

By Mihai Munteanu

CHISINAU, Moldova - One of the most powerful criminal groups in Moldova offered a reporter from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) Russian army weapons including rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) units last month.

The reporter purchased one RPG from the group to demonstrate the ease of getting weapons.

The flow of such weapons into Ukraine has fueled separatist tensions, and the transaction offered a glimpse into a black market that has revived since Russia annexed Crimea and ignited conflict in eastern Ukraine this year. Pro-Russian forces have shot down Ukrainian helicopters and planes with similar heavy weapons.

Key Summit On Armenia’s Eurasian Union Bid Cancelled

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Raising more questions about Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian has announced the cancellation of a summit of ex-Soviet states which was due to discuss Yerevan’s membership bid.

“There was an agreement that the presidents will meet on July 3. But the meeting will not take place,” Abrahamian told reporters late on Thursday.

He did not clarify whether the meeting was due to involve the presidents of only Armenia and Russia or also the EEU’s two other member states: Belarus and Kazakhstan. The EEU’s most recent summit took place on May 29 and the leaders of three ex-Soviet states announced no plans to meet again this summer.

Czech Airline Warned By Yerevan Over Russian Forms

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Armenia’s civil aviation authority said on Friday that it has censured the Czech Republic’s national airline for ordering its passengers flying to Yerevan to fill out Russian immigration forms.

The CSA airline handed out Russian “migration cards” on at least one of the daily Prague-Yerevan flights carried out by it this week. One of the passengers told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that he refused to fill out such a form despite being warned by a flight attendant that he may not be allowed to leave the plane at Yerevan airport. But he said dozens of other Westerners on board the plane obliged.

Armenia’s premier, EBRD reps discuss further cooperation

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Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan received on Friday a delegation led by Mr Francis Malige, Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).The premier highlighted Armenia’s further cooperation with the EBRD.“Armenia’s government is interested in new bilateral programs. The government intends to be consistent in ensuring successful implementation of each program,” he said.Mr Malige presented the EBRD programs implemented in Armenia and stated the EBRD’s willingness to assist reforms in Armenia, infrastructure and energy sector development. He welcomed the new Armenian government’s activities to improve the country’s business environment, create equal economic conditions and implement anti-monopoly measures.He informed Armenia’s premier of the EBRD’s plans to approve a new strategy of cooperation with Armenia, with the priorities to be sorted out in cooperation with Armenia.The EBRD has approved a new loan for the development of renewable energy in Armenia. The EBRD is ready to invest in the North-South highway construction, improvement of energy efficiency and environment.Armenia’s premier highlighted the bilateral programs and presented the government’s approaches to improving the country’s business environment. 

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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

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.