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Not Much Bang for the Buck: Armenia Also Exports Firearms

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15:33, March 26, 2014

In 2013, Armenia exported US$128,000 in firearms and imported $1.38 million.

These figures are taken from the State Revenue Committee. They do not specify what types of weapons were bought and sold. The 2013 numbers dropped substantially from the previous year.

The RA Police say there are sixteen businesses in the country permitted to trade in firearms. The largest are Zenki Ashkharh,  Vorsord, Bourastan, Nagan and Aspar.

According to Armenian law, foreign citizens can purchase a weapon in Armenia with a permit issued by the RA Police (with a corresponding motion made by a foreign diplomatic or consular office) on condition that the purchased item be brought out of the country within five days of purchase.

Candidates Tournament 2014: Aronian ties score with Anand

March 22, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Sports No Comments
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In the eighth round of the Candidates Tournament being held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, Armenian chess grandmaster Levon Aronian tied his score with India’s Wiswanantan Anand.Both sportsmen, who had 4.5 points before this round, ended the match in peace at the 19th minute. They thus scored five after the latest game.
In case of a victory in this round, Russia’s Igor Kramnik may rise to the top of tournament list, sharing equal scores with the Armenian and Indian players.
The eighth round matches are still under way. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

Ukraine: Investigations Mushroom In Kurchenko’s Wake

March 14, 2014 Armenia, Business, Sports No Comments
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19:52, March 14, 2014

By Anna Babinets (Slidstvo.info)

The young Ukrainian ex-billionaire Serhiy Kurchenko, now widely suspected of being a front man for overthrown President Viktor Yanukovych’s family, clearly liked doing business in offshore tax havens.

Kurchenko’s companies registered offshore are now accused of trading in oil products using a tax evasion scheme that cost Ukraine’s government an estimated US$1 billion in lost revenues.

But he wasn’t just a big-picture, big-money guy, he also understood the importance of generosity and looking good. The offshore companies were also used to buy four US$20,000 Italian suits for a friend, according to documents obtained by journalists from the Slidstvo.info and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

Armenian lawmakers vote to ban commercials on Public TV

March 12, 2014 Armenia, Sports No Comments

The National Assembly of Armenia on Wednesday voted 85 to 5, with 18 abstentions to ban commercials on Public Television.

Under the government-introduced bill now approved in the first reading only social advertisement as well as information on sponsors of cultural and sports programs will be allowed on Public Television. Information about only one sponsor can be disseminated during one program.

Justice Minister Hrair Tovmasyan said excluding commercials on public television is a common practice abroad as it gives more time for broadcasts of more significant programs for the public. Also, according to the minister, it allows the public television channel to be independent from advertisers.

If adopted in the final reading, the law will become effective already next September.

Stitching Together a Life: Syrian-Armenian sets example for business success


Women’s blue jeans on mannequins are skillfully worked with sand paper to get the partly worn-out effect of almost white faded-blue. Young Syrian Armenians Aram and Shant work in silence, instead their hands run quickly, and soon mannequins dress into their next pair of jeans.

Harout Papazian

“We import the raw jeans fabric, but the rest is done here, be it designing, sewing, washing, working with sand paper, etc…” explains textile worker Harout Papazian who has moved from Aleppo to Yerevan. Here, in the suburb of Nubarashen, for a year now he has been running a small workshop. Since early this year the workshop has been producing the first made-in-Armenia Max brand jeans.

Romania: Eight Top Football Officials Jailed For Corruption

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12:11, March 7, 2014

The Bucharest Court of Appeal Tuesday handed down jail sentences for eight executives and management officials, who were found guilty of tax evasion, and money laundering involving the transfer of football players between international football clubs.

Gica Popescu, the former captain of Football Club (FC) Barcelona, was sentenced to three years and one month in prison. The sentence came just a day before the election of the next president of the Romanian Football Association, which Popescu was expected to win.

Others sentenced include:

Incentive Program for Armenia Drivers Could Backfire, Expert Warns

March 6, 2014 Armenia, Sports No Comments
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13:45, March 5, 2014

An incentive program for drivers in Armenia might backfire says one insurance expert if the system used to check a driver’s history is not improved.

The incentive program, called “Bonus-Malus,” was introduced on January 1, 2013, though it was formalized only this year. The program rewards drivers with a good track record by making them pay less for automobile insurance (the “bonus” part of the program’s name) and punishes accident-prone drivers by making them pay more (the “malus” part). The program is in conjunction with compulsory third-party liability motor vehicle insurance (more often referred to and known by its acronym in Armenian: APPA), which was introduced in Armenia on January 1, 2011. 

Hong Kong: Former Hairstylist Convicted For Money Laundering

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18:47, March 4, 2014

Hairstylist-turned-businessman Carson Yeung, 54, was convicted on Monday after a 50-day trial and faces up to seven years in prison for laundering nearly US$100 million from casinos and gang members.

Yeung is the chairman and executive director of Birmingham International Holdings, an investment, entertainment and sportswear company through which he owns the English football club Birmingham City F.C.  

The son of a Kowloon vegetable stall proprietor, Yeung was a hairstylist in Hong Kong during the 1980s before he began amassing a huge fortune that he has said to be the product of his hair salon, investment and gambling. 

How the Bush family dynasty became America’s first family if finance

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America doesn’t have many political dynasties as powerful and well known as the Bush Family, according to the Business Insider.Their success is an effort that takes money, power, and all of the right connections — some of which comes from a history on Wall Street.Bushes have served in both the executive and legislative branches of our federal government. The family provided a pair of Presidents — the 41st and 43rd — and have held two state governorships.And because of George W. Bush’s close ties to Texas and connections with the oil industry, the Bush family is often perceived as a bunch of oil tycoons.In reality, however, the oil industry is just one of many in which the Bush family displayed their financial expertise. The family tradition, which continues to this day, was founded upon the pursuit of riches through investment banking and wartime business ventures.This is why the family has had a hand in businesses from Halliburton to Merrill Lynch, and also has a history of owning major league sports teams.Samuel P. Bush, one of the two patriarchs of the dynasty, had extensive experience as a banking executive.Samuel served on the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and helped found the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. During WWI, he served as Chief of the Ordnance, Small Arms and Ammunition division on the War Industries Board, where wartime business ventures coupled with his connections to the Rockefeller family laid the foundation for the family’s fortune. 

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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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Capitalism Run Amok Is Just Plain Capitalism

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16:37, January 17, 2015

By Markar Melkonian

The source of Armenia’s misery and humiliation, we often hear, is not capitalism per se, but rather “gangster capitalism,” “a broken system,” “capitalism run amok.”

The goal for the future, then, is to “fix the system,” to reform capitalism, to make it more like regular, pure, genuine Free Enterprise, the kind of capitalism that works. But what if Armenia’s actually existing capitalism already is genuine capitalism?

An economist once observed that the only existential meaning of “enterprise” in the term free enterprise is “whatever capitalists happen to be doing at the time”–and “free” is the accompanying demand that they be allowed to do it.

Ukraine: Cops Go After Casinos, Suggest Yanukovych Connection

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21:45, December 15, 2014

Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs has launched a campaign against illegal casinos amid fears that a large network of underground gambling dens could be providing an income source for the son of the country’s disgraced former president Viktor Yanukovych.

The new crackdown on unlawful casinos – an ongoing scourge for law enforcement agencies in Ukraine since regulation was made stiffer with a 2009 law – was launched on Dec. 8 after an announcement on Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov’s official Facebook page.

Avakov, who keeps a lively and occasionally angry Facebook commentary on current affairs, pledged to put a complete stop to the establishments within ten days; first in the capital of Kyiv, then the rest of the nation.

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.