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Eurovision 2014: Bookmakers name Armenia favorite to win pan-European song contest

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Less than two months are left until the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen, Denmark, and bookmakers have already name Armenia as a possible winner of this year’s event, writes a major website on television-related news.

While Norway and Sweden rank high according to bookmakers, it is Armenian singer-songwriter Aram Sargsyan, better known by his stage name Aram Mp3, to secure the best odds at this point, according to www.tvlatest.com.

Aram Mp3 will perform the song ‘Not Alone’. The song has been met with enthusiasm by Youtube users. “This song is my favourite from this year’s contest, and I really want Armenia to win. It’s one of the only good songs in this year’s contest and I’m probably going to remember this entry more than any other entry from 2014,” the website quotes a fan from the United Kingdom as saying. Another user is even more optimistic about the outcome for Armenia: “What city will Armenia pick to host Eurovision 2015?”

Republican Party of Armenia, Prosperous Armenia Party delegations to visit Brussels

March 20, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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Delegations of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and of the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) will be on a visit to Brussels on Thursday.The RPA delegation will take part in the Summit of the European People’s Party (EPP), while the PAP delegation will take part in a meeting of the Council of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group.Secretary of the PAP parliamentary group Naira Zohrabyan told Tert.am that the process of the party’s accession to the ECR is under way.Armenia’s press reported earlier that the RPA delegation will include Armenia’s Premier Tigran Sargsyan and Minister of Education and Science Armen Ashotyan. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

Russia warns West over Crimea sanctions

March 19, 2014 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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Russia has told the US that Western sanctions over the Crimea dispute are unacceptable, and has threatened “consequences”, BBC News reported.Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued the warning in a telephone call to US Secretary of State John Kerry.It came hours after Russian and Crimean leaders signed a treaty absorbing the peninsula into the Russian Federation.Crimean voters chose to secede from Ukraine in a disputed referendum on Sunday.On Monday, the US and the EU imposed sanctions on several officials from Russia and Ukraine accused of involvement in Moscow’s actions in the Black Sea peninsula.After the signing of the treaty on Tuesday, the White House said those sanctions would be expanded.US Vice-President Joe Biden accused Russia of a “land grab”.After Mr Lavrov spoke to Mr Kerry, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement: “(Crimea) republic residents made theirdemocratic choice in line with the international law and the UN charter, which Russia accepts and respects.”The sanctions introduced by the United States and the European Union are unacceptable and will not remain without consequences.”It did not spell out what those consequences might be.Mr Kerry later warned that any incursion by Russia into eastern Ukraine would be “as egregious as any step I can think of”.”I hope we don’t get there,” he added. 

From Ukraine to Armenia: Decision in Crimea reaches discussion at home

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The discussions about the Crimea referendum on becoming part of Russia have stretched to reach also Armenia.

On Sunday, mostly Russian-populated Crimea, currently part of Ukraine, held a referendum, by which 96.8 percent of participants voted for being annexed into Russia.

However, Caucasus Institute director, political analyst Sergey Minasyan told the press on Tuesday that technically, from a legal view point, it was not a referendum, but a political attempt by Moscow to legitimize the borders, which had existed before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Expert at the Armenian Center for National and International Studies Ruben Mehrabyan shares the opinion that what happened in Crimea “cannot be viewed as a referendum”.

Oppositionist Fears Impact Of Russian Economic Slowdown

March 18, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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Weakening economic growth in Russia, which could be aggravated by Western sanctions, will have negative consequences for Armenia, Hrant Bagratian, a prominent opposition politician and economist, said on Tuesday.

Bagratian, who had served as prime minister from 1993-1996, claimed that Armenian growth looks set to further slow down this year of because of spillover effects of looming recession in Russia.

The Russian economy grew by a modest 1.4 percent last year, down from 4.5 percent in 2010. It was projected to expand at a similar rate this year before Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine strongly condemned by Western powers. Some Russian analysts expect the economy to enter into recession already in the second quarter of 2014 .

Karabakh Armenians Buoyed By Crimea ‘Precedent’

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Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and ongoing annexation to Russia has set a positive precedent for the resolution of the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, authorities in the disputed territory declared on Tuesday.

The ethnic Armenian leadership of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) further underlined its positive reaction to the outcome of the weekend referendum in Crimea by organizing a concert in Stepanakert. Bako Sahakian, the NKR president, and other local dignitaries made a point of watching the live performance by folk ensembles together with hundreds of ordinary Karabakh Armenians in the town’s central square .

This contrasted with Armenia’s extremely cautious official position on the crisis in Ukraine. Official Yerevan has pointedly declined to accept or reject the referendum results so far.

Armenia still evasive on Ukraine crisis: FM Nalbandian calls for negotiated settlement based on int’l law

March 18, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Karabakh No Comments
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Official Yerevan has been evasive in its position on the issue of the referendum in Crimea where an overwhelming majority pronounced for seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia.

In a written reply to the question of the Armenian Public Television’s First News program regarding Armenia’s attitude towards the current developments in Ukraine after the Crimean referendum, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said: “We are for the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis through dialogue, in peaceful and negotiated manner based on the UN Charter, international law.”

Nearly 97 percent of the voters in the March 16 referendum in Crimea, a southernmost peninsula in Ukraine with a predominantly ethnic Russian population, voted in favor of becoming an entity of the Russian Federation.

Dream v Reality: “. . . You wish you were still part of the culture club . . .”

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Overcoming numerous challenges and guided by the ideology nurtured in him since childhood that this is you motherland, this is your land, Syrian Armenian Byuzand Getenjian remains in Armenia despite challenging circumstances.

“In Aleppo in culture clubs they used to teach about motherland, fidayeens [freedom fighters who formed guerrilla organizations and armed bands in reaction to the oppression and mass murder of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire], Mount Ararat… Then you come here, and the light in you somehow fades making you wish you were still part of the cultural club; the difference between here and there is 180 degrees,” says Byuzand, 35. “But, no matter what, the Armenian in your heart is always there, this is your country, you have to encourage others to come and live here, at the same time it feels as if your deceiving people. You say come, the person comes, the first 15 days are great, but when s/he wants to stay, s/he has to start working. They’ll say, ‘ok let’s run a business, how much money do you need?’ You keep silent not sure how to respond, because running a profitable business here is not an option.”

Armenian MP raises problem of Armenian captives in Azerbaijan at PACE

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PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons discussed the problem of missing persons and POWs in military and frozen conflicts.Member of the Armenian delegation to PACE and of the Prosperous Armenia parliamentary group Naira Zohrabyan raised the issue of the Armenian captives tortured in Azerbaijan.Mrs Zohrabyan stressed the importance of the Committee more frequently addressing the problem of missing persons and captives in different military conflicts.“We have no right to say that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and we have nothing to do,” the Armenian MP said.Mrs Zohrabyan noted that one of PACE’s fundamental principles of the protection of human rights. She does not call into question the ICRC’s activities. But the ICRC’s activities are not often effective because it may encounter a style of action by such a state as Azerbaijan.Mrs Zohrabyan reminded the Committee of 77-year-old Armenian citizen Mamikon Khojoyan, who was lost his way and was taken captive by Azerbaijan. She spoke of the physical and psychological pressure on the Armenian citizen. Khojoyan was returned to Armenia with numerous wounds, including a gunshot wound, as well as fractures. Doctors are now struggling to save him.Azerbaijan is also holding Armenian soldier Hakob Injighulyan and a number of civilians captive, and PACE must deal with the problem.Azerbaijan is a CE member, and all the means are available to demand that the country respect the international conventions it has signed, primarily the Geneva Convention.Mrs Zohrabyan reminded the committee of the Armenian shepherd Manvel Saribekyan, who was tortured to death in Azerbaijan, with his body handed over to his parents.The Armenian MP proposed entrusting the CE Human Rights Commissioner with greater powers, to enable him to deal with the problem of POWs and captives in Azerbaijan.Mrs Zohrabyan also proposed holding a join meeting to discuss the situation in the Council of Europe member-states. 

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John Balian’s “Novel Approach” Brings the Armenian Saga to the Masses – An interview with John Balian by Lucine Kasbarian

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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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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.

Armenian Foreign Policies 2013: Customs Union, U-turn on EU accord, Karabakh, Turkey, regional developments

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2013 became a milestone year for Armenia not only in its foreign, but also domestic politics. After nearly four years of negotiations with the European Union over the signing of an association agreement on September 3 Armenia unexpectedly announced its intention to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This decision has had its influence not only on Armenia proper, but also on the processes elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Inspired by Armenia’s decision, Russia stepped up its pressure on Ukraine, which suspended the process of signing of the Association Agreement with the EU one week before the Vilnius summit of Eastern Partnership. As a result, on November 29 such agreements were initialed only by Moldova and Georgia.

Heritage reshuffle: Postanjyan becomes new leader of parliamentary faction

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Zaruhi Postanjyan has been elected new head of the opposition Heritage faction in parliament. The change comes after Ruben Hakobyan announced his decision to resign as faction leader earlier today.

Talking to media in parliament Hakobyan said Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian had been notified about his move well in advance. He left questions about reasons for his step without commentary, only saying that he had decided to step down as faction leader before the recent scandal around Postanjyan in the wake of her controversial question to President Serzh Sargsyan about his gambling habit at the PACE plenary session in Strasbourg on October 2.