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Activists Decry Libel Case Ruling In Favor Of Pro-Government Newspaper

October 31, 2014 Armenia, Top News No Comments
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Civil activists in Armenia have described as a ‘disgrace’ a recent court ruling rejecting the lawsuit of a group of citizens against a local pro-government newspaper in a libel case.

Apart from refusing to grant the 5 million AMD (about $12,500) claim against the Iravunk daily, the court in Yerevan ordered the 16 citizens to pay 300,000 AMD (about $750) each to cover the legal expenses of the paper and the author of its article contested as libelous.

Positive, Negative Influences Of EEU Membership On Armenia ‘Relative’

October 31, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Top News No Comments
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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates positive and negative influences of membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on the Armenian economy as relative, the organization’s resident representative in Armenia said on Friday.

Against the backdrop of some expert opinions suggesting that Armenia’s entry into the Russian-led trade bloc will only bring losses for the country’s economy, considering the high customs duties applied by the member states, Teresa Daban Sanchez spoke about some positive factors of EEU membership. She, in particular, pointed out that Armenia is entitled to exemptions on 750 names of products. Another major factor, according to the IMF official, is that customs houses between the members of the trade bloc will be removed.

Ruling Party Wants ‘Specific’ Examples Of ‘Forced’ Business Acquisition

October 31, 2014 Armenia, Business, Top News No Comments
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The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) has urged an opposition leader to cite at least one specific example of a business being seized or partly acquired through force after an allegation made by him in a recent interview.

Talking to Zham.am on Thursday, Prosperous Armenia Party head Gagik Tsarukian, in particular, called for putting an end to “the tradition of individuals using their positions to seize a share of another individual’s business”. Tsarukian, who himself is a wealthy businessman, did not name names.

HHK parliamentary faction head Vahram Baghdasarian on Friday categorically denied any such practice in Armenia, calling on those who know concrete cases to report them.

Russian Official Points Out Differences Between Crimea, Karabakh

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A senior member of the Russian Federal Assembly believes Nagorno-Karabakh will be entitled to join the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) only if its status is finally determined. Meanwhile, according to him, Crimea will be part of the emerging trade bloc as “primordially Russian land”.

“If the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is determined as Armenian territory, then there will be no problems. But today the issue is suspended,” said Nikolay Ryzhkov, a member of the Council of the Federation of the Russian Federal Assembly. 

Ryzhkov was one of the top government leaders in the late Soviet period. In 2008, the Armenian Government awarded Ryzhkov its highest state decoration, the National Hero of Armenia, in recognition of his significant personal contribution to the reconstruction in Armenia after the 1988 Spitak earthquake.

Armenian Airline Blames Russian Agency For Flight Suspension

October 30, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Business, Top News No Comments
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Armenia’s only air carrier has suspended commercial flights in all directions for about two months, blaming a Russian navigation service for the situation.

Air Armenia, which began operating commercial passenger flights in 2013 after the bankruptcy and liquidation of Armavia, signaled its inability to continue its regular services due to financial difficulties.  

In a press release late on Wednesday the company claimed the situation resulted from a ‘panic’ among investors and customers after a statement made by Rosaeronavigatsia, a Russian federal air navigation service, about the Armenian airline’s outstanding debts.

In its statement on September 11 Rosaeronavigatsia warned that it would ban Air Armenia from operating flights to Russian cities unless the Armenian company repaid its debts by September 21.

Government To Redraft Amendments To Maternity Benefits Law

October 30, 2014 Armenia, Top News No Comments
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Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian has instructed his government to redraft controversial amendments to a law that originally envisaged substantial cuts in maternity leave benefits paid by the state.

Armenia Reports Further Fall In Remittances From Russia

October 30, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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Private remittances from Russia to Armenia continued to fall in September, according to the latest statistical data posted by the Central Bank.  

The total transfers made by individuals last month stood at $153.3 million, which is 8.6 percent less than the figure reported for September 2013 ($167.7 million).

Economists explain the decline in the private remittances from Russia by the continuing economic stagnation observed in the country that currently also experiences the negative effects of Western sanctions imposed over the crisis in Ukraine.

Whereas according to the forecast made by the International Monetary Fund last October Russia’s economy would expand by 3 percent in 2014, a similar forecast made earlier this month refers to a mere 0.2 percent economic growth to be achieved by the end of the year.

Tsarukian Signals ‘No Retreat’ In Anti-Government Campaign

October 30, 2014 Armenia, Business, Top News No Comments
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Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian has given another strong indication of his intention to seek a change of power in Armenia as he spoke about “no way back” in his latest interview published on Thursday.

“I have no way back, so we will go as far as it takes to change the situation,” Tsarukian told Zham.am.

In his first remarks after the October 24 rally of the BHK and its two more radical opposition allies, the Armenian National Congress and Heritage, Tsarukian again spoke about “change of government”, but, just like it was before, he did not set any deadlines to the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). Nor did he explicitly demand President Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation.

Ruling Party Resources ‘Underestimated’

October 29, 2014 Armenia, Top News No Comments
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No one in Armenia can force a change of government today, a senior government official said on Wednesday, reacting to opposition calls for an immediate handover of power.

Addressing tens of thousands of supporters in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on October 24, leader of the non-governing Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) Gagik Tsarukian urged the current leadership to comply with a set of opposition demands or face the prospect of being ousted by a campaign of street protests seeking early elections.

Chief of government staff David Harutiunian said that even unprecedented financial and human resources will not help the opposition to achieve its stated goal because, in his opinion, there are no grounds for a change of government in Armenia today.

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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.