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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.”

Royal couple to welcome new baby in April next year

October 20, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Georgia No Comments
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be welcoming their second baby in April 2015, the Daily Mail reports, citing Kensington Palace.
Kate’s pregnancy was announced last month but the due date had not been released until now.
In a statement, the palace said the 32-year-old Duchess, who is around fourteen weeks pregnant, continued to suffer from extreme morning sickness but her condition was “steadily improving”.
The pregnant Duchess will make her first public appearance on Tuesday where she will join Prince William to officially welcome Singapore’s President Tony Tan as he begins a four-day visit to the UK.
The royal couple’s second baby will be fourth in line to the throne, behind one-year-old Prince George, who was born in July last year.
Kate recently took refuge with her parents while she was ‘struggling terribly’ with her debilitating antenatal sickness.
The royal retreated to her family home in Bucklebury, Berkshire, last week with her son, Prince George.
Her mother Carole Middleton has apparently helped to take charge of her recovery and has been researching alternative sickness cures, such as herbal tea, on the internet.
And despite the presence of Spanish nanny Maria Borallo, Mrs Middleton has also been taking George off her daughter’s hands. She has been seen in local shops with her 15-month-old grandson, prompting one startled assistant to write on Twitter: “Served Kate Middleton’s mum and Prince George today at work. He is gorgeous!”
The Duchess has said that she feels far more relaxed at the Middleton family’s £5million Georgian mansion, Bucklebury Manor, than at Kensington Palace.

Armenia’s Membership in the EEU: Raises More Questions Than It Answers

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19:01, October 17, 2014

Babken Der Grigorian

In response to Harut Sassounian’s article “The West Must Offer Armenia Incentives Rather than Decry its Ties with Russia 

Upon reading Harut Sassounian’s latest article “The West Must Offer Armenia Incentives Rather than Decry its Ties with Russia”, I have been compelled to write a response addressing its shortcomings and inaccuracies, increasingly common also within the broader narratives regarding Armenia’s accession into the EEU in the Armenian community.

On September 3, 2013, after Armenia completed nearly three years of negotiations with the European Union on an Association Agreement, which included years of European-funded legislative reforms, President Serzh Sargsyan was summoned to Moscow for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

Armenia’s Eurasian Accession; Security Guarantee the Game Changer

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14:58, October 14, 2014

By Pietro A. Shakarian

On Friday, 10 October, Armenia officially joined the Eurasian Customs Union. It was more than a year ago since the Caucasus country made its fateful decision to join the Moscow-backed union and to turn down a potential Association Agreement with the EU.

The decision by the Armenian government has sparked debate in Armenian society about the respective benefits of the two rival blocs. It is true that Armenians have long sought to integrate their country with Europe and, like their northern neighbors the Georgians, they point to long historical associations with Europe. These include their shared Christian roots, the left-to-right directionality of the Armenian alphabet, the mutual contact between the old Armenian kingdoms and the West, and even the very personality of Charles Aznavour. In fact, to an Armenian or Georgian, the idea of possibly joining the EU represents the culmination of a centuries-long quest for Europe.

Anadolu Group Launches $200 Million Hydro-Electric Plant in Javakhk; Electricity Destined for Turkey

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00:02, October 13, 2014

The Turkish-based multinationalAnadolu Group officially launched the operation at its US$200 million Paravani hydro-electric plant in the Armenian-populated Javakhk region of Georgia.

On hand at the official opening of the 87 megawatt plant, the energy of which is to be exported to Turkey,were Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız.

The Parvani hydro plant is the largest built in Georgia in the past 35 years.

In his remarks Garibashvili noted that the plant is yet another example of the close cooperation between Georgia and Turkey.

Anadolu Group’s official website also praises the opening of the plant noting – “In the history of Turkish Republic, this is the first investment that uses the natural resources of a neighboring country to fulfill energy demand of Turkey.”

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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

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.