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Bodies Of Armenian Pilots Recovered From Downed Helicopter

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Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenian-backed armed forces said on Saturday that they recovered, in an overnight commando raid,

France Seeks Armenian Access To Helicopter Wreckage

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France pledged on Friday to “do everything” to help the Armenian military gain unfettered access to the wreckage of its helicopter shot down by Azerbaijani forces and recover the bodies of its three crew members.

A top aide to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accused, meanwhile, the French, Russian and U.S. mediators of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process of taking a pro-Armenian line in the wake of the helicopter’s downing.

“As a co-chair of the [OSCE’s] Minsk Group, France wants, from the humanitarian standpoint, the bodies of the three pilots of the downed helicopter to be handed over to Armenia. France will do everything to make that handover possible,” Jean-Francois Charpentier, the French ambassador in Yerevan, said in a written statement.

Armenian Official Awarded By Putin

November 21, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Asia, Top News No Comments
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President Vladimir Putin has awarded a Russian state medal to an Armenian official who has coordinated Armenia’s accession talks with a Russian-led trade bloc transformed into the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

A decree signed by Putin on Monday and publicized on Friday says that former Deputy Economy Minister Karine Minasian as well as four other foreign dignitaries will receive Russian Orders of Friendship for their “great contribution” to economic and other ties with Russia.

Minasian was tasked with handling negotiations with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan after President Serzh Sarkisian unexpectedly decided to make Armenia part of their Customs Union in August 2013. She also coordinated the implementation of Yerevan’s “roadmap” to joining the bloc, which was agreed with its three member states in December.

Government Loses More European Court Cases

November 21, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Top News No Comments
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Three more families evicted from their homes during a controversial redevelopment in central Yerevan a decade ago have won lawsuits filed against the Armenian government in the European Court of Human Rights.

The court ordered the government this week to pay them a total of 160,000 euros ($200,000) in damages for the demolition of their old houses and confiscation of land owned by them.

Hundreds of such homes were torn down in the early and mid-2000s to make way for expensive residential and office buildings constructed by private developers in accordance with a government-backed plan. Many of the displaced families were unhappy with modest compensations offered by the state. Some challenged the eviction orders with physical resistance and lawsuits.

Ruling Party To Block Opposition Bill

November 21, 2014 Armenia, Top News No Comments
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The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) indicated on Thursday that it will likely block the passage of major amendments to electoral legislation that will be tabled by the opposition minority in parliament.

“We will discuss [amendments] to the Electoral Code. But we will do that against the backdrop of constitutional reforms [planned by President Serzh Sarkisian,]” said Galust Sahakian, the parliament speaker and a deputy chairman of the HHK.

Another senior HHK lawmaker, Gagik Melikian, said that amending the code now would be “untimely.” He claimed at the same time that the Armenian government and its loyal parliamentary majority are ready to discuss this and other opposition demands.

Ruling Party Deplores Opposition Snub

November 19, 2014 Armenia, Top News No Comments
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The three main parties challenging President Serzh Sarkisian will face “extinction” after rejecting a government offer of dialogue, the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) claimed on Wednesday.

Eduard Sharmazanov, the chief HHK spokesman, said the Armenian National Congress (HAK), Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Zharangutyun parties only marginalized themselves when they dismissed Sarkisian’s latest overtures.

“Marginalized forces end up becoming extinct,” Sharmazanov told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “I mean not a physical extinction but a moral-psychological and political one.”

In a move initiated by Sarkisian, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian said on Tuesday that the government is ready to negotiate with the three parties on ways of fulfilling 12 political and economic demands that were made by them in June.The opposition trio was quick to turn down the proposal, saying that the Sarkisian administration is only keen to stave off more anti-government protests in Yerevan.

Mediators Urge Access To Armenian Helicopter Wreckage

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International mediators on Wednesday urged Azerbaijan to give the Armenian side access to the wreckage of an Armenian military helicopter shot down near Nagorno-Karabakh for recovering the bodies of its three crew members.

The U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group said they “remain deeply concerned that there has been no humanitarian access to the crash site” of the Mi-24 helicopter that was downed by Azerbaijani forces on November 12.

“We call on the sides to cease firing in the vicinity of the crash site and facilitate the demining of the area surrounding the site,” they said in a joint statement. “In the spirit of the Astrakhan statement of October 2010 between the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia, the Co-Chairs urge Azerbaijan to permit the recovery of the bodies of the victims, and Armenia to cooperate fully with all efforts to resolve this humanitarian situation.”

Government Offer Of Dialogue Rejected By Opposition

November 18, 2014 Armenia, Business, Top News 2 Comments
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Three leading Armenian opposition parties dismissed on Tuesday a government proposal to open negotiations on a list of demands which they issued before launching joint street protests in September.

Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian made the offer one week after President Serzh Sarkisian said that the government should “once again address that document” circulated in June by the Armenian National Congress (HAK), Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Zharangutyun parties as well as the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

Abrahamian’s cabinet claimed to have met some of those demands in its official response to the opposition publicized on October 1. The HAK, the BHK and Zharangutyun said, however, that the response amounted to a rejection of their 12-point ultimatum and vowed to keep up their campaign for “regime change.”

Government Reports Slight Drop In Poverty

November 18, 2014 Armenia, Top News No Comments
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Poverty in Armenia decreased only marginally last year despite continued economic growth, the Armenian government and the World Bank said in a joint report presented on Tuesday.

According to the report analyzing the socioeconomic situation in the country, 32 percent of Armenians lived below the official poverty line as of 2013, slightly down from 32.4 percent in 2012.

The figure thus remained well above the official poverty rate of 27 percent registered in 2008, just before a global financial crisis plunged Armenia into a recession. The Armenian economy contracted by over 14 percent in 2009 before again growing in the following years. It expanded by 3.5 percent in 2013, according to official statistics.

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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.