Armenian Ruling Party Slams Opposition ‘Traitors’

The parliamentary leader of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) sparked a bitter verbal exchange with outspoken opposition lawmakers on Tuesday after accusing them of accepting money from the West and Azerbaijan to betray Armenia.

“We witnessed yesterday a classical example of high treason,” charged Vahram Baghdasarian. “The Armenian parliament’s rostrum was used for spreading Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s disinformation. False information was made public here ahead of a meeting between the president of our country and the president of an unfriendly country (Azerbaijan).”

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Opposition Parties Still Debating ‘Regime Change’ Plan

Armenia’s three leading opposition parties campaigning against President Serzh Sarkisian have not yet worked out a plan of joint actions aimed at achieving “regime change” sought by them, a senior opposition figure said on Tuesday.

Ruben Hakobian, the parliamentary leader of the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, said it is still not clear whether Zharangutyun, the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and the Armenian National Congress (HAK) will draw up such a “roadmap” in time for their next joint rally slated for Friday.

At their last rally held on October 10 the three parties warned Sarkisian to agree to leave power or face what a top HAK representative described as a “wave of civil disobedience.” Their leaders did not clarify, though, just what they will do if the president rejects their demand. It also remained unclear whether they want him to go now or after the next national elections due in 2017 and 2018.

Armenia Taking Preventive Measures Against Ebola

Health authorities in Armenia have installed fever detectors at the national border crossings, trained medical personnel and provided them with protective equipment in an effort to contain a possible spread of Ebola into the country.

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Armenia – An official at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport shows a device used for screening arriving passengers for possible symptoms of Ebola, 21Oct2014.

No cases of the deadly virus have been registered in Armenia so far, and officials in Yerevan say that the likelihood of that happening soon is very low. They point to the absence of direct communication with west Africa, the epicenter of the latest Ebola outbreak, and tropical animals transmitting the disease. The Armenian government banned imports of animals from Africa in August.

Armenia, Georgia To Hold Trade Talks

Armenia and Georgia will hold trade negotiations next month to iron out possible contradictions between their new commitments to a Russian-led bloc and the European Union respectively, a senior Georgian diplomat said on Monday.

Tengiz Sharmanashvili, the Georgian ambassador in Yerevan, pointed to Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the recent entry into force of Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU envisaging a “deep and comprehensive free trade area.”

“There are some details that need to be clarified,” Sharmanashvili told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “Georgia’s economy minister [Giorgi Kvirikashvili] will arrive in Yerevan on November 11-12 so that we review all those issues.”

Latest Armenian News:

Turkish Cyprus sends letter to UN to reopen peace talks

October 19, 2014 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroğlu has sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling for the re-launching of negotiations with the Greek Cypriot administration, the Hurriyet Daily News reports. According to a statement issued by the president’s office on Oct. 18, Eroğlu called on the Greek Cypriot side to return to the negotiating table.The letter comes after the Greek Cypriot administration suspended talks on Oct. 8, in retaliation to Turkey’s sending of a warship to monitor an oil and gas exploration mission off the Cyprus coast.“Negotiations are the only way to reach a solution,” said Eroğlu, calling for a return to the negotiating table to reach a “fair, sustainable and negotiated solution.”Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot government have expressed strong opposition to any unilateral move by the Greek Cypriot administration to explore hydrocarbon resources around the island, saying natural resources should be exploited in a fair manner under a united Cyprus. 

Iraq PM to visit Iran for talks on fight against ISIL

October 19, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi is to visit Iran on Monday for talks on Baghdad’s battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), which holds swathes of the country, his office said.The one-day trip is part of Abadi’s bid “to unite the efforts of the region and the world to help Iraq in its war against the terrorist group,” it said in a statement issued on Sunday.The visit also aims to strengthen cooperation between the two neighbors “in the fields of energy, and housing and construction,” among other areas.Iraq is fighting to push back ISIL, which overran much of the country’s Sunni Arab heartland in a lightning offensive in June.Tehran is a key backer of the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.According to senior Iraqi Kurdish officials, it has deployed troops on the Iraqi side of the border in the Khanaqin area northeast of Baghdad.They say Iranian forces also played a role in the Shiite Turkmen town of Amerli, where security forces and allied militiamen broke a months-long jihadist siege at the end of August.Evidence also indicates that Iran sent Sukhoi Su-25 ground attack jets to Iraq, though it is unclear who subsequently piloted the aircraft.A US-led coalition is carrying out air strikes against ISIL in Iraq and neighbouring Syria, where the jihadists also hold major territory.Washington and its allies have also sent military advisers to assist Baghdad’s forces.Abadi has repeatedly stated that he opposes the presence of foreign ground forces in Iraq. 

Russia grants equal rights to Eurasian Union citizens – pros and cons

October 18, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Diaspora No Comments
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Armenia and Russia have agreed on a joint measure to grant equal rights and conditions to employment migrants.
Speaking to Tert.am, Aram Safaryan, President of the local NGO Integration and Development,  said a corresponding document has been already coordinated with the Russian government agencies to ensure equality for the Armenians ctizens in Russia.
“Those rights imply equal employment conditions, lifting of patents and licenses, as well as a corresponding social package which particularly envisages a right to access primary healthcare and ambulance services. Besides, Armenian citizens are granted the right the free school and nursery-school attendance for their children,” he said.
Asked to comment on the amended Russian migration rules that restricted the entry of people who violated the residency terms, Safaryan said he knows that the Federal Migration Service has now launched an interagency commission to revise the dossiers of those Armenian citizens who faced entry bans earlier this year.“It has already been announced that the cases involving spouses and parents are automatically subject to revision. And that also automatically applies to the Armenian citizens in Russia. Citizens falling within other categories have to apply to the Federal Migration Agency centers to have their cases revised by the commission within short timeframes,” he explained.Safaryan noted that the corresponding bodies have already got the procedure underway. “Under the document already coordinated with the interested Russian ministries, the Armenian citizens are granted the right to the same employment and residency conditions as do the citizens of the [Eurasian] Customs Union member states,” he added.Safaryan said he thinks that the Eurasian Economic Union is a step ahead compared to the Customs Union. “In the case of the Customs Union, we deal with the free movement of money, capital, goods and services. whereas in the Eurasian Economic Union, the right to free movement adds to that,” he added.
Asked whether he isn’t afraid that the measure will boost migration, Safaryan replied, “I don’t think so, because I know that thousands of people used to renounce their Armenian citizenship to become citizens of Russia under the pretext of their children’s [free] schooling opportunity, patent right etc. I believe that after the signing of this treaty [on EEU accession], the Armenian citizens will overwhelmingly stop thinking about giving up the Republic of Armenia citizenship.”
Commenting on the measure, Head of the Armenian Migration Service Gagik Yeganyan said he is aware that the united labor market and the free movement of labor force will also apply to the Armenian citizens after treaty’s effective date (January 1, 2015)
“Those rules of the game will apply to citizens of all the EEU countries. An Armenian citizen will have the same employment rights as the Russian citizen, and that will have a mutual effect,” he said, ruling out the necessity of further documentation procedures.Yeganyan added that the entry bans resulting from irregular migration are not within the realm of the EEU authorities. “As far the the individuals facing entry bans are concerned, we send requests to our colleagues in Russia for each individual case. Based on the notice, they revise the decision,” he said, considering the Russian authorities’ agreement to reconsider the cases a manifestation of good will.
As for possible migration concerns, Yeganyan said he doesn’t think that the facilitated rules will boost exodus 

Matera declared 2019 European Capital of Culture

October 18, 2014 Culture, Diaspora, Europe No Comments
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The selection panel of independent experts responsible for assessing the Italian cities competing to be European Capital of Culture in 2019 has recommended that Matera should be awarded the title.The other five cities short-listed after the initial pre-selection round in November 2013 were Cagliari, Lecce, Perugia, Ravenna and Siena. The formal designation of Matera by the EU’s Council of Ministers is expected to take place next year, the European Commission says in a press release.
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for culture, stated: “I congratulate Matera on its successful bid. The competition for the title in Italy was one of the strongest ever, with 21 initial contenders narrowed down to six finalists. This number is a testimony of the immense popularity of this European Union initiative. I am confident that Matera will attract more visitors from Europe and all over the world to discover the city, its history and the cultural diversity which is one of strengths of our continent. I am convinced that the title will bring Matera and its surrounding area significant long-term cultural, economic and social benefits, as we have seen with previous European Capitals of Culture.” 

Armenians of Iraqi Kurdistan – Taking Up Arms Against the Ongoing ISIL Threat

October 18, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Europe, Turkey No Comments
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11:40, October 18, 2014

Commander Murad Vardanian – “We went to confront the treacherous enemy on the riverbank, before they reached our villages.”

Erbil, Dohuk, Zakho, Avzrouk, Havresk, Ishkender….

They’re all towns and villages in Iraqi Kurdistan where Armenians are living today. Most speak Kurdish, but they still adhere to Christianity.

Their nationality and religion have made them a double target for the forces of ISIL/IS who seek to create a radical Islamic caliphate across large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

Recently, I came across an interesting post in Keghart.com written by a certain HamoMoskofian. He had recently travelled to the area and wrote about meeting MuradVardanian, a former Iraqi army commander, who now heads a group of local Armenian fighters defending these communities from ISIL assaults.

Impressions of Armenia – The Moscow Times (photo set)

October 18, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Diaspora, Europe, Film, Music No Comments
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A photo set published by The Moscow Times has fixed episodes featuring recent developments in Armenia.
The pictures, taken in different parts of the country, are presented below:

A police officer walks along central Yerevan’s Victory Bridge — named after the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany — that crosses the Armenian capital Yerevan’s Hrazdan River.

A young man shows his support for Armenia’s national football team in central Yerevan before a European Championship qualifying match against Serbia.
A musician looks out the window of a bus carrying the members of a brass band to their next destination.

Young boys gratefully drink from the water fountains on Yerevan’s central Republic Square.A woman is seen preparing dolmas (stuffed cabbage rolls)
Khorovats (the Armenian word for barbecue ) prepared on large skewers for meat, vegetable and even fruit dishes

Armenian defense minister calls for observance of ceasefire across Contact Line

October 18, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

Armenia’s minister of defense has appealed to Azerbaijani defense officials to maintain the ceasefire regime across the Line of Contact with Nagorno-Karabakh.
“We all have an expectation of peace. So as part of the confidence-building efforts, I would recommend the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense to first of all stop the gunshots across the Line of Contact and the borders of the Republic of Armenia,” Seyran Ohanyan said at the National Assembly on Friday, expressing concerns over the past days’ increased cross border violence.
It comes after the Azerbaijan’s minister of defense said the country has readiedpeace accord ahead of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents’ meeting in Paris.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Many dead in collapse at South Korea 4Minute concert

October 18, 2014 Diaspora, Technology No Comments
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At least 16 people have been killed and 11 injured in an accident at a pop concert in Seongnam, south of Seoul in South Korea, the BBC reports, quoting officials as saying.
They say a ventilation grate collapsed and a group of concert-goers fell 10 metres (33ft) into an underground parking area.
The crowds had been watching an outdoor performance by the popular Korean girl band 4Minute and other bands.
The victims climbed on top of the grate to get a better view of the show.
Rescue workers warn that the death toll may rise.
“Twelve people were killed at the scene, two others died while they were being rushed to the hospital. Others are assumed to have passed away while receiving medical treatment,” a local fire official was quoted as saying by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
About 700 people were at the concert, part of a local festival being held at Pangyo Techno Valley, a multi-purpose complex for technology firms.
In the dense crowd, 20-30 people climbed on a grate over the deep ventilation shaft. Under their weight the grate gave way and the group fell through.
“I’m a bit shaken up but I’m OK. I was literally 20 ft away from where it happened. None of us knew what had happened. I was queuing up at the beer tent at the time. The concert had just started,” Ross Gibson, who lives in Seoul, told the BBC.
Another eyewitness told YTN news channel: “There was a sudden, loud screaming, and when I turned it looked as if people were being sucked down into a hole.”
The BBC’s Steve Evans in Seoul says the immediate task was to save the lives of the injured but that the accident may intensify a debate in South Korea about safety standards.
After the Sewol ferry sank six months ago, with the loss of more than 300 lives, many alleged that the country’s regulations had not kept pace with its rapid economic development.

Armenia’s Membership in the EEU: Raises More Questions Than It Answers

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19:01, October 17, 2014

Babken Der Grigorian

In response to Harut Sassounian’s article “The West Must Offer Armenia Incentives Rather than Decry its Ties with Russia 

Upon reading Harut Sassounian’s latest article “The West Must Offer Armenia Incentives Rather than Decry its Ties with Russia”, I have been compelled to write a response addressing its shortcomings and inaccuracies, increasingly common also within the broader narratives regarding Armenia’s accession into the EEU in the Armenian community.

On September 3, 2013, after Armenia completed nearly three years of negotiations with the European Union on an Association Agreement, which included years of European-funded legislative reforms, President Serzh Sargsyan was summoned to Moscow for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

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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.