Minister Still Upbeat On Food Exports To Russia

Agriculture Minister Sergo Karapetian on Friday stood by his claims that exports of Armenian agricultural products to Russia should double this year because of the Russian ban on food imports from the West.

“I insist that we will double our export volumes this year,” Karapetian told a news conference. “We have a real opportunity to achieve that. Many are skeptical on this score, but I want to assure you that this will happen.”

“We have had a very good harvest this year, except for apricots [destroyed by a spring frost.] All other crops are abundant,” he said.

Armenian exports to Russia totaled $334.5 million last year, according to government data. Fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, prepared foodstuffs as well as alcoholic and soft drinks accounted for most of this figure.

New Armenian Plant To Supply Energy To Georgia

A new and large thermal power plant to be built in Armenia by a little-known company will supply electricity to neighboring Georgia, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Yervand Zakharian said on Friday.

Zakharian made the announcement after finalizing a corresponding agreement with representatives of the company, Anaklia IEP Holding, on the second and final day of Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili’s visit to Yerevan.

The “basic provisions” of the deal were signed one week after being formally approved by the Armenian government. The latter said that IEP Anaklia will invest about $600 million in building the natural gas-fired plant at an unspecified location in Armenia. The facility will be equipped with turbines manufactured by the U.S. giant General Electric and have a design capacity of 540 megawatts, the government said.

France Also Deplores Armenian Captive’s Death In Azerbaijan

France has joined the United States in deploring the suspicious death of an Armenian man in Azerbaijani custody and urging Baku to investigate its cause.

“France was shocked to learn about the death on August 8 of the Armenian national Karen Petrosian, who was detained in Azerbaijan,” a French Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement cited by Armenews.com late on Thursday. “It offers its condolences to the family of Mr. Petrosian.”

“We call on the Azerbaijani authorities to expedite the repatriation of his body and shed light on the circumstances of the death,” added the short statement.

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Georgian-Armenian Ties ‘At Historic High’

Relations between Georgia and Armenia are now better than at any other point in their long history, President Serzh Sarkisian said as met with the visiting Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Friday.

“Serzh Sarkisian emphasized that Armenian-Georgian relations are at their highest historical level and that that enables the two countries to discuss, in a calm and relaxed manner, any issue related to not only bilateral relations but also regional developments,” the Armenian presidential press service said in a statement on their meeting.

The statement said the two men discussed the “rich agenda” of bilateral ties and regional security. It quoted Gharibashvili as saying that “Armenia is not only Georgia’s neighbor but also friend.”

Latest Armenian News:

U.S. Envoy Meets Armenian Yazidis

August 20, 2014 Armenia, Top News No Comments
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John Heffern, the U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, met with leaders of Armenia’s Yazidi community on Wednesday to discuss the plight of their displaced co-ethnics in Iraq.

Heffern said they expressed “appreciation for U.S. efforts” to help tens of thousands Iraqi Yazidis but called for “more support.” Writing on his Twitter page, he described the meeting as “informative.”

A separate statement released by the U.S. Embassy in Armenia said Heffern assured the Armenian Yazidi leaders that the United States will continue its relief efforts in northern Iraq.

U.S. air strikes carried out over the past week have helped Kurdish fighters to push Islamic State insurgents back from Sinjar Mountain where thousands of Iraqi Yazidis took refuge after fleeing their homes earlier this month. Hundreds and possibly thousands of others were reportedly killed by the jihadist militants for refusing to convert to Islam.

U.S. ‘Refuses Arms Deal With Azerbaijan’

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The United States has reportedly refused to sell military vehicles to Azerbaijan because of the unresolved conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Baku-based APA news agency reported this week that the Azerbaijani government offered to buy some of the Humvee and Cougar vehicles used by U.S. troops in Afghanistan but was rebuffed by Washington. Citing unnamed military sources, it said the U.S. military pointed to a long-running U.S. arms embargo on all parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The Pentagon announced earlier this summer that about half of the military vehicles will be sold to friendly nations or disposed of otherwise during the ongoing U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is due to be completed by the end of 2016. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have contributed small military contingents to the NATO-led multinational mission in Afghanistan as part of their cooperation with the U.S. war on terror.

Residents Offer to Pay for Irrigation Water, But Yerevan Municipality Keeps Postponing Issue

August 20, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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11:49, August 20, 2014

Residents of one of Yerevan’s many administrative districts have even offered to pay for an irrigation water system to water the trees in their yards; however, the municipality keeps postponing addressing the issue.

Since September of last year, two Yerevan residents, Hrach Hakobyan and David Khachatryan, have been sending letters to the administration of Yerevan’s Arabkir district, raising the matter of irrigating the plots of land adjacent to their homes at Marshal Baghramyan Ave. and Yerznkyan St., to which they kept receiving the following reply: “The irrigation water pipes on Yerznkyan St. were repaired several times this year. To finally settle the issue, a new irrigation waterline (about 700 m) will need to be built.”

Revisiting Armenia’s Shengavit Historical and Archaeological Culture Preserve: Will it Survive Current Mismanagement?

August 20, 2014 Armenia, Culture No Comments
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13:32, August 20, 2014

By Hovsep Dagdigian

Introduction

In August 2013 a number of newspapers published my report “Shengavit Historical and Archaeological Culture Preserve 2011-2013”. That report described the 4th millennium BC Shengavit Archaeological site, its museum, and its neglect by some of those responsible for its protection and preservation.

The 5 acre preserve above Yerevan Lake, across from the U.S. embassy, contains foundations of ancient dwellings and a small museum. Adjacent to the preserve is a private hospital (Hospital #6), and a private clinic, currently being renovated.  In 2012 the Cambridge Yerevan Sister City Association (CYSCA), working with Shengavit’s director Mr. Vladimir Tshagharyan, established a program to make available construction material to facilitate the site’s restoration.

U.S. Ambassador Calls on Both Sides to Start Serious Negotiations on Karabakh

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13:44, August 20, 2014

In the video clip below, US Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern calls on the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan to renew their efforts to find a peaceful negotiated resolution of the Karabakh conflict.

Speaking in Armenian, Ambassador Heffern expresses his condolences to those soldiers on both sides that have been killed during the recent fighting along the line of contact, adding that the best way to pay respects to those who have died is to immediately cease all hostilities.

Ambassador Heffern emphasizes that threats and crude rhetoric merely exacerbate the tensions that need to be ratcheted down.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Ambassador Heffern Met with Some Members of the Armenian Yezidi Community

August 20, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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16:09, August 20, 2014

Today Ambassador Heffern met with some members of the Armenian Yezidi community at the U.S. Embassy. They discussed the current situation for Yezidis in Iraq and the U.S. involvement there.

Ambassador Heffern underlined the United States Government’s ongoing efforts to alleviate the Yezidis’ humanitarian plight in Iraq and its commitment to their wellbeing.

 

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Lifer in Prison for 22 Years Not Granted Early Release Prescribed by Law

August 20, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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15:23, August 19, 2014

A man who has spent 22 years behind bars in Armenia says his case for early release was postponed for no reason, despite the fact that the law grants lifers conditional release after serving 20 years of their sentence. The following is his written appeal to Hetq.

I’m Vahagn Marukyan. Soon I’ll be 42 years old — I have been in prison since I was 20 years old. For 22 years I’ve been considered a maximum sentence convict. Initially, I was sentenced to death, but since 2003, life imprisonment has replaced the death sentence. But what was the point, if quick death was replaced by a slow, torturous death? They no longer give us a hope of returning [to life outside captivity], though 20 years later we have the right to conditional release.

Davutoglu likely to be Turkey’s next PM: President Gul

August 20, 2014 Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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Turkey’s outgoing President Abdullah Gul has become the highest level official who named Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as Turkey’s next prime minister, Hurriyet Daily News reports.
“As far as it seems, our foreign minister Ahmet Bey will take over (the prime ministry). You know that it’s me who took him to the politics and to the state life. I had appointed him as an ambassador,” Gul told the Ankara bureau chiefs of Turkish newspapers late Aug 19 on the sidelines of his last farewell reception.
President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan is yet to conclude his consultations with his party officials before officially announcing who will succeed him as the chairman and the prime minister. Gul’s announcement came two days before the AKP convenes its Central Executive Board to give the final decision on the issue.
Davutoglu was first appointed as the chief foreign policy advisor of Gl in his short prime ministry in early 2003. He continued to serve as advisor to both Erdoğan and Gl until 2009 when he was appointed as the foreign minister. Davutoglu was elected to the Parliament in 2011 elections.

ISIS claims to have beheaded US journalist

August 20, 2014 Diaspora, Video No Comments
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Militants from Islamic State (Isis) claimed to have killed an American journalist long held captive in Syria in retaliation for ongoing US air strikes against its forces in Iraq, The Guardian reports.
A propaganda video circulated on Tuesday showed a masked Isis fighter beheading a kneeling man dressed in an orange jumpsuit who is purported to be James Wright Foley, a photojournalist who went missing in Syria in 2012.
The masked executioner spoke in English, with what sounded like a British accent, and said the slaying came in response to the air strikes ordered by President Barack Obama against Isis 12 days ago.
Isis, whose chief spokesman came under US state department sanctions on Monday, warned of further revenge – including on another man purported to be a captured US journalist, Steven Sotloff – and in the video the victim was made to read a statement blaming the US for his own murder.
Foley has been missing in Syria since November 2012, where he went to report on the bloody struggle to overthrow dictator Bashar al-Assad. He was initially thought to have been captured by forces loyal to the Assad regime.
After the video came out a Facebook message from a support group, Free James Foley, urged patience “until we all have more information”, and asked that readers “keep the Foleys in your thoughts and prayers”.
Foley’s mother later released a statement saying her son gave his life to expose the suffering of the Syrian people. Diane Foley asked his kidnappers to release their other captives.
“He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person,” she said.

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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

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.