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Uptrend in Armenia’s fruits, vegetables exports

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Armenia’s fruits and vegetables exports have totaled 27,370 tons against 37,000 tons in the corresponding period last year, Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture Robert Makaryan told Tert.am.
Grapes exports totaled 2,620 tons, and apricot exports 1,700 tons.
Potatoes exports totaled 19,443 tons, cabbage and cauliflower 1,493 tons, greens 731 tons, beet and radish 653 tons, pepper 60 tons, and beans 22 tons.
Mr Makaryan pointed out an uptrend in exports of fruits and vegetables, except for apricots.
Armenia mainly exports fruits and vegetables to Georgia, Russia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Georgia to apply new visa rules to Armenian citizens

July 29, 2014 Armenia, Georgia No Comments
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Starting from September 2014, Georgia will establish new visa procedures for citizens of foreign states, including Armenia.
Citing Grigor Tabatadze, the head of the Georgian Foreign Ministry’s Consular Department, Armenpress reports that the country will limit the visa free residence term to 90 days for each 180-day period.
The procedure will apply to all countries with which Georgia maintained a visa-free regime.
The Georgian official has said that a recently-adopted law on the legal status of foreign citizens and individuals not having citizenship is aimed at regulating integration relations with other states.
“That implies an identical attitude to all the states and foreign citizens. To say in this situation that Georgia is establishing a visa regime with Armenia is wrong,” Tabadadze is quoted as saying.
The Georgian official described the new regulation as a standard regime which the EU pursues in relation to visitors to the Schengen Area. “We also apply that format in relation to all foreign citizens,” he said.
“It’s for long-term visits; for short-term visits, the previous regime – which allows for visa-free visits to Georgia – will be applied,” Tabadadze explained.
He said further that the right to residence can be both temporary (one to six years) and permanent.

Former Georgian President Saakashvili Charged with Violent Dispersal of 2007 Protests

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21:38, July 28, 2014

The Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia reports that it has filed criminal charges against the former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili.

The criminal case pertains to the violent dispersal of anti-governmental mass protests on November 7, 2007, raiding the TV Company IMEDI by a riot police, and the illegal take-over of the property of Arkadi Patarkatsishvili.

Charges were also filed against Ivane Merabishvili, the former minister of the interior, Zurab Adeishvili, the former prosecutor general, Davit Kezerashvili, the former minister of defense and Giorgi Ugulava, the former mayor of Tbilisi.

TV IMEDI Ltd. has been intensively broadcasting internal developments of Georgia of a highly sensitive nature, thus raising public concerns.

Excise taxes on drugs may cause surge in market, says importers’ union chief

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Tert.am has talked to Samvel Zakaryan, the president of Medicine Producers and Importers’ Union, over the impact of a government decision to impose excise taxes on the purchase of drugs.
Do you think the government measures in the pharmaceutical industry are justified given that this is a priority sector?
They are justified; we would simply expect more active measures. In terms of the strategy timing, our sector is the best. and it is one of the first in terms of the activities accomplished. We are very actively working with the Ministry of Economy and the Industrial Development Foundation. The result was that the pharmaceutical sector had the highest records, with 29.8 percent production growth and 25.8 percent export growth.
Do you observe changes in the new government or do they pursue the predecessors’ [policies]?
No, it is an absolutely different work style. What particularly surprised us was that the reforms are implemented without any discussions with us, with our opinion remaining overlooked. For instance, the document on approving simultaneous import procedures was put forward to the private sector all of a sudden.
What will you say about the new reforms that call for imposing excise taxes on medicines?
That’s the other problem we face; the [amended] law “On Trade and Services” envisages excise taxes also for medicines, apart from soap, make-up products and other items. That’s a non-professional approach, because drugs, as a specific form of product, should [be imported] based on specific procedures. As a result, drugs too appeared on that list on grounds of combating the shadow economy. Over one million drug packages, with different sizes and quality, are imported to Armenia, so it is important to excise all that, as we deal with considerable expenses. If the package includes 60 pills while the patient wishes five, for example, that would violate the excising procedures. Our patients will not buy all 60; they will take 5 [pills] and throw away all the rest. The excise tax costs may cause a surge in the prices of medicines.
It is argued to be a method of combating the shadow.
The excision will offer no benefits at all; it doesn’t make any sense in the case of medicines. There are special surveillance procedures for pharmaceutical products, as it is, with every single vial being registered during the import. So shadow activities are practically ruled out. If drugs used to be smuggled from Georgia, then it is necessary to take action against that; official importers cannot carry out a shadow import. Excise offers wide opportunities to smugglers; they may tear the label from a drug sold for 10 Drams and stick it to a 10,000 Drams worth drug imported without registration. Official importers work in a coordinated manner, so they cannot act in the shadow. It is necessary to fight smugglers instead of dismantling the accomplished market through experiments. There are no procedures of the kind in European countries.

Georgia Thanks Armenia For Urgent Energy Supply

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Georgia thanked Armenia on Monday for helping to restore electricity supplies in the country that were disrupted the previous night by reported accidents in the Georgian power distribution network.

Most of Georgia, including the capital Tbilisi, were left without electricity for more than two hours late on Sunday. Georgian officials attributed the outage to disruptions of several high-voltage power transmission lines. The precise cause of the emergency was not immediately clear.

Power supply in the country was restored after the Georgian government reportedly asked neighboring Armenia and Turkey for emergency electricity imports. Yerevan appears to have swiftly reacted to the request.

Armenia Says Georgia Not To Introduce Visa Regime

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Georgia is not going to introduce a partial visa regime for citizens of Armenia beginning in September, the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday, denying a report made earlier by a Russian news agency.  

Citing its sources at the Georgian Foreign Ministry, Regnum reported that the current visa-free regime between Georgia and Armenia will remain in force only for those Armenian citizens who will visit the neighboring country for a short period of time as tourists. Meanwhile, it said, the visa regime will apply to Armenian citizens who intend to stay in Georgia for a longer period, such as for education or business purposes.

Armenian Primate of Georgia: ‘Assault On Church Was Definitely Organized’

July 22, 2014 Armenia, Georgia No Comments
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17:06, July 22, 2014

Archbishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan, Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia, told Hetq that he has no doubt that yesterday’s assault by a mob of fifty on the clergy and staff at the Tbilisi Holy Etchmiadzin Church was organized and premeditated.

“We are quite incensed over what happened and demand that the organizers are identified and those who participated are prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Archbishop Mirzakhanyan told Hetq by phone.

The primate couldn’t say who organized the assault that left several Armenian clerics and church staffers bruised and battered.

Mirzakhanyan didn’t rule out the possibility that yesterday’s incident was the beginning of concerted assault against the diocese.

Echmiadzin Condemns Attack On Armenian Clerics In Georgia

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Church officials in Armenia have expressed their concern over a violent incident in an Armenian church in Tbilisi that left several clergymen injured.

In a statement disseminated on Sunday the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church (AAC) described the previous day’s altercation and subsequent violence against Armenian clerics, Diocese employees and a group of Christian Armenians in the yard of the Holy Echmiadzin Church in the Georgian capital as a ‘pre-planned attack’ committed on the grounds of ‘ethnic and religious hatred’.

It said as many as 50 men, some of whom were armed with cold weapons, committed the violence that was prompted by an earlier argument over parking space involving a Georgian woman and an Armenian priest.

An Assault on the Armenian Church in Tbilisi

July 21, 2014 Armenia, Georgia No Comments
Armenian News

22:39, July 20, 2014

On July 19, 2014, a pre-planned attack was perpetrated on the representatives of the Armenian Church of SurbEtchmiadzin located in Tbilisi, which was motivated by ethnic and religious hatred.At around 4 pm, a provocation was organized ona territory adjacent to the yard of the Church. After an unsuccessful attempt to drive fromthe territory adjacent to the yard of the Church, a person got outraged and began to reproacha clergyman, whose car was allegedly blocking her way.Soon, two openly aggressive men arrived on the scene and helped to take out the vehicle. The clergyman entered the administrative building of the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, while young deacons, who stood outside, heard the men using foul language against Armenians.When people began to protest this move, the man got off the vehicle, took a truncheon, continued to use obscene language, picked up a stone, and attempted to hit the representatives of the Armenian Diocese.When the personnel of the Armenian Diocese heard these voices, they rushed outside hoping to calm down the situation. At this time, one of the employees of the Diocese was hit in the back, and a short fight ensued.

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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.