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Armenia’s Biggest Drug Bust Trial Postponed Yet Again; Georgian Attorney Needs More Time

October 30, 2014 Armenia, Georgia No Comments
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14:31, October 30, 2014

Yesterday’s scheduled preliminary trial session in the largest drug bust ever in Armenia was postponed because the Georgian  attorney defending the driver of the truck in which the 850 kilos of heroin was found needs more time to familiarize himself with the case.

The heroin was seized on January 17, 2014 at the Meghri customs house when a truck, driven by Georgian citizen Avtandil Martiashvili, entering Armenia from Iran was inspected.

Martiashvili was arrested on the spot. Turkish citizen, Osman Oğurlu, was arrested several days later in Yerevan as an accomplice. Oğurlu heads Hovo Logistica, the company that had leased the truck in question.

Georgia military in funds scandal

October 30, 2014 Armenia, Georgia No Comments
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The Georgian prosecutor’s office says five current and former senior military officials have been arrested on suspicion of misusing of state funds.
In a statement on October 28, the prosecutor’s office said that the Defense Ministry and armed forces General Staff officials – four current and one former – are suspected of misspending more than $2.3 million.
The suspects, whose names were not made public, are accused of arranging a sham tender last year for laying fiber optic cable and procuring equipment.
The United States has urged Georgian authorities to avoid using the courts as a political lever since an opposition coalition defeated then-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s long-ruling party in a 2012 parliamentary election.
Last week, U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki stressed “the importance of due process and rule of law and of conducting investigations with transparency to avoid even the perception that the judicial system is being used for political retribution.”

Primate of Armenian Church in Georgia Hosts Yerevan Municipality delegation

October 28, 2014 Armenia, Georgia No Comments
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15:33, October 27, 2014

During an October 25-26 visit to Tbilisi to participate in the Tbilisoba annual October festival, a delegation from the Yerevan Municipality attended Sunday services at the Havlabar Holy Etchmiadzin Church yesterday.

Afterwards, the delegation, headed by Yerevan Deputy Mayor Davit Ohanyan, was received by Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan, Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Georgia.

The primate informed the visitors from Yerevan about the Tbilisi Armenian community’s participation in the festival, first held in 1979, to celebrate the diversity and history of Tbilisi.

Bishop Mirzakhanyan also brought the visitors up to date about renovations to St. Gevork Church (the diocesan seat) and to St. Norashen Cathedral.

Photo: Armenian Apostolic Church Diocese of Georgia

Aeroflot resumes Russia-Georgia flights

October 28, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Georgia No Comments
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The state-controlled Russian airline Aeroflot has resumed flights between Moscow and the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, after a six-year hiatus caused by the war between the two former Soviet republics, RFE/RL reports.
An Aeroflot Airbus 320 carried about 100 passengers from Moscow to Tbilisi on October 27.
It was the Russian flag-carrier’s first direct flight since a five-day war in August 2008 over breakaway South Ossetia.
Russia recognized South Ossetia and another Moscow-backed separatist province, Abkhazia, as independent states after the war, and it has troops stationed in both regions.
Diplomatic ties were severed over the war.
Direct flights between Russia and Georgia – operated by Russia’s S7 and Ural Airlines as well as Georgian Airways – have been available in charter form only since August 2010.

Turkey not only Georgia’s neighbor but also strategic partner – PM

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Turkey is not only a neighbor of Georgia but also a friend and a strategic partner, said a statement covering a recent meeting between Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and the head of the General Staff of Turkish Armed Forces, Army General Necdet Ozel.Citing the Georgian Government, the Azerbaijani news agency Trend reports that the sides discussed possibilities of intensifying bilateral cooperation, including in the sphere of military education,”We have repeatedly said and proved that Turkey is not only a neighbor of Georgia, but also a friend and a strategic partner,” Garibashvili is quoted as saying at a meeting.The Georgian PM expressed hope that Turkey will have a maximum involvement in implementation of the Georgia-NATO rapprochement package.The statement also reportedly unveiled plans for organizing a military exercises as part of the Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan trilateral cooperation efforts. 

“The country is a country”: The Strength of Armenian Resolution

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15:36, October 22, 2014

By Vrej Haroutounian

As I sit to write this article in my office in Yerevan, my mind wanders away a few hundred kilometers to the desert lands encompassing Syria, Iraq and Turkey.

Seemingly, I am dumbfounded at the lack of change over the span of a century and atcertain patterns thathave adapted themselves into the regionalebb and flow.

This brings to light the question of the purported advancement that mankind has experienced in the 21st century and our tendency to constantly boast of it.

Walking down the streets of Yerevan, I am witness to people conducting their everyday lives. My mind once again drifts to an image of Yerevan a century ago.

Armenia Taking Preventive Measures Against Ebola

October 21, 2014 Africa, Armenia, Georgia, Top News No Comments
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Health authorities in Armenia have installed fever detectors at the national border crossings, trained medical personnel and provided them with protective equipment in an effort to contain a possible spread of Ebola into the country.

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Armenia – An official at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport shows a device used for screening arriving passengers for possible symptoms of Ebola, 21Oct2014.

No cases of the deadly virus have been registered in Armenia so far, and officials in Yerevan say that the likelihood of that happening soon is very low. They point to the absence of direct communication with west Africa, the epicenter of the latest Ebola outbreak, and tropical animals transmitting the disease. The Armenian government banned imports of animals from Africa in August.

Closed Border? Armenia Imports Most of Its Wood from Turkey

October 21, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Georgia, Turkey No Comments
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00:02, October 21, 2014

Readers might be surprised to learn that despite closed borders, for the past four years Armenia has been importing the bulk of its wood and wood by-products from Turkey.

Such imports, according to Armenia’s National Statistical Service, reached a peak in 2011 at a value of US$20 million. Following Turkey, Armenia gets most of its wood and wood by-products from Ukraine, China and Georgia.

Armenia’s Imports: Wood/Wood Byproducts (in USD millions) Surprisingly, Armenia also exports wood. In the past two years, the largest recipients have been Moldova and Canada. Armenia’s wood exports are dwarfed by the amounts imported. Exports reached a peak in 2010 at a value of US$ 282,000.

Armenia, Georgia To Hold Trade Talks

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Armenia and Georgia will hold trade negotiations next month to iron out possible contradictions between their new commitments to a Russian-led bloc and the European Union respectively, a senior Georgian diplomat said on Monday.

Tengiz Sharmanashvili, the Georgian ambassador in Yerevan, pointed to Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the recent entry into force of Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU envisaging a “deep and comprehensive free trade area.”

“There are some details that need to be clarified,” Sharmanashvili told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “Georgia’s economy minister [Giorgi Kvirikashvili] will arrive in Yerevan on November 11-12 so that we review all those issues.”

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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.