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

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’

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

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

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.

Latest Armenian News:

Tesco cash machine offers ‘free erection’ because of translation error

October 29, 2014 Diaspora No Comments
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A branch of Tesco in Wales has been accused of “promising more than it can deliver” after a mistake in the Welsh translation of “free cash withdrawals” meant it ended up offering a “free erection”, The Independent reports.
Aberystwyth councillor Ceredig Davies said the new cash machine put up this morning at a Tesco Express was the topic of all the “gossip around town this lunchtime”, with the error immediately noticeable to Welsh speakers.
He later went down to see for himself, and posted a picture on Facebook with the caption: “’Codiad am Ddim’ translates colloquially as ‘Free Erection’.”
Mr Davies said: “We’re accustomed to people making an effort to consider the Welsh language but not checking it properly. We come across plenty of examples – but few are as entertaining as this.
Read more here>>>

Air Armenia Flight to Krasnodar Delayed Four Times: Irate Couple Demand Compensation

October 29, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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12:17, October 29, 2014

Lousineh and Hayk Mouradyan are disgruntled Air Armenia customers.

They had tickets to fly an October 25 Air Armenia flight back to Krasnodar from Yerevan.

On the 23rd they got a call from Air Armenia saying their flight was leaving the very next day – the 24th.

“We still had things to do and people to meet on the 24th. We asked Air Armenia to book us on their next flight leaving the 27th,” Lousineh told Hetq. They were booked for the 27th.

The unlucky couple then received another telephone call from the airline on October 26, one day before they were scheduled to leave. Air Armenia informed them that the flight had been delayed till the 29th. When they asked why, the clerk refused to say.

Artsakh Parliament Passes Law Regarding Ratification of European Cultural Convention

October 29, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Culture, Europe No Comments
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14:00, October 29, 2014

After one reading, the Artsakh Parliament today passed a law “On the Ratification of the European Cultural Convention”.

The parliament’s press office describes this step  as the beginning of Artsakh’s unilateral drive to join a number of international treaties and conventions.

The Convention was launched in 1954 by the Council of Europe.

In brief, it is designed to:

Develop mutual understanding among the peoples of Europe and reciprocal appreciation of their cultural diversity, to safeguard European culture, to promote national contributions to Europe’s common cultural heritage respecting the same fundamental values and to encourage in particular the study of the languages, history and civilisation of the Parties to the Convention. The Convention contributes to concerted action by encouraging cultural activities of European interest.

Armenian Environment Minister: "We welcome responsible mining"

October 29, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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17:32, October 29, 2014

During a recent meeting held at the Aragatzotn Provincial Authority with the heads of communities located adjacent to mining operations, Armenian Minister of Nature Protection Aramayis Grigoryan said that responsible mining should be encouraged in Armenia.

The meeting, also attended by ministry branch representatives, focused on the issue of the Toukhmanuk Gold Mine and its tailings dams operated by Mego Gold LLC.

Hakob Mkrtchyan, mayor of the village of Melik, complained that the company hasn’t carried out its promises to financially assist the community and that workers are owed back wages.

Big Brother to launch in China

October 29, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Asia, Diaspora, Video No Comments
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China is to get its own version of Big Brother for the first time, with the housemates’ exploits to be broadcast on popular video site Youku Tudou.The reality show, in which contestants are monitored 24 hours a day, has been seen in dozens of countries since launching 15 years ago, reports BBC Entertainment & Arts.Big Brother’s creators Endemol have signed a deal with Youku Tudou, the biggest online video site in China.The site has 500 million active users, according to a statement.Big Brother China will launch in early 2015 and will last for 10 weeks.Endemol Asia chief executive Arjen van Mierlo said: “We’re thrilled to announce this landmark deal with Youku Tudou Inc, bringing a format that has changed the face of television to China for the first time.”In a market that annually generates hundreds of billions of video views, partnering with the number one digital video platform will allow us to bring Big Brother to a young audience and deliver the most immersive, interactive and unique experience to fans across the nation.”The deal comes three years after the Chinese government orderedsatellite TV channels to cut the number of reality TV, dating and talk shows because of their “vulgar tendencies”. 

Budgeted 4% GDP growth very low – MP

October 29, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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Armenia’s budget is claimed to be socially-oriented, but an anti-social policy has been implemented by means of amendments to the draft budget, Heritage party Vice-Chairman Armen Martirosyan told Tert.am.According to him, even with the planned increase in minimum wages and pensions, the 2015 draft budget cannot be considered socially-oriented.The budgeted 4.1% GDP growth is very low for Armenian citizens feel its effect in terms of their incomes. Annual GDP growth needs to be at least 10% in this case.Asked if he considers the draft budget realistic, Mr Martirosyan said:“It is not a question of ‘realistic’ or ‘unrealistic.’ It is a question of ensuring normal growth.” 

Source: TertOriginial Article

International organizations pursue their own goals – Vardan Bostanjyan

October 29, 2014 Armenia, Business, Diaspora No Comments
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International organizations are pursuing goals peculiar to each of them and their assessments contain certain political implications though they try not to allow serious deviations, economist Vardan Bostanjyan told Tert.am as he commented on the Doing Business 2015 report, which ranks Armenia 45th against last year’s 49th.Countries’ higher or lower rankings by international organizations do not reflect the real situation in the countries.“So I mistrust any such assessments,” he said.On the other hand, Armenia’s banking system has revised its monetary policy, allowing for higher risks, and Armenia is viewed as a more stable economy.“So this may be a likely reason why Armenia has moved up to the 45th place as compared with last year,” Mr Bostanjyan said. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

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.

Ukraine Says Armenia-Crimea Flights Must Be Agreed With Kyiv

October 29, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

Permission from the government in Kyiv will be necessary for direction air connection between Armenia and Crimea, Ukrainian Ambassador Ivan Kukhta warned

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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.