Sarkisian Again Defends Turkish-Armenian Accords

Armenia – President Serzh Sarkisian examines an Armenian-made rifle during a visit to the Defense Ministry in Yerevan, 18Apr2014.

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President Serzh Sarkisian on Friday again defended his administration’s 2009 normalization agreements with Turkey against strong criticism voiced in Armenia and especially its worldwide Diaspora.

Yerevan Silent After Russian ‘Threat’

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Armenia – Russian Ambassador to Armenia Ivan Volynkin.

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The Armenian government has pointedly refused to add its voice to domestic concerns about Russia’s recent pledge to counter any “aggressive” foreign interference in Armenia’s internal affairs.

Armenia’s Customs Union Accord In Doubt

Russia — Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (C) meets with his Belarusian and Kazakh counterparts Mikhail Myasnikovich (L) and Karim Masimov in Moscow, April 15, 2013

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Azerbaijan Hopes For More Russian Arms Supplies

Azerbaijan – Russian-made tanks, artillery systems and attack helicopters put on display at a military base in Nakhichevan, 7Apr2014.

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Latest Armenian News:

Azerbaijan Hopes For More Russian Arms Supplies

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Azerbaijan – Russian-made tanks, artillery systems and attack helicopters put on display at a military base in Nakhichevan, 7Apr2014.

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Erdogan mocks rumors he’ll flee to Malaysia, poses for selfie with PM Razak

April 18, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora No Comments
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has mocked rumors that he would flee to Malaysia or Sudan before the March 30 local elections by saying that he dined with Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak in Ankara on April 17, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
“They were saying the prime minister would flee to Malaysia or Sudan. So, what happened? The prime minister of Malaysia was here yesterday. We dined together,” Erdoğan said at an expanded meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) provincial chairs on April 18.
Meanwhile, semi-official Anadolu Agency reported that Razak shot a “selfie” with Erdoğan during the dinner at the prime minister’s office in Ankara. Although the agency distributed the photo of the “selfie moment,” Razak had not shared the original shot as of the afternoon of April 18 through his Twitter account, which hails almost 2 million followers.
Regarding the presidential elections scheduled for August, Erdoğan repeated that his party has not decided on a candidate yet. 
Read more here.

Post-coalition Life: Ruling party undaunted by junior partner’s decision to quit

April 18, 2014 Armenia, Culture No Comments
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The latest ‘divorce’ with the only coalition partner and new political conditions have not at all surprised or unsettled the ruling party as its members believe that they can take political processes further alone.

After the appointment of Parliament Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan as prime minister the junior coalition partner of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), Orinats Yerkir, announced its withdrawal from the government in conditions of a “changed political situation.”

As part of the coalitional government Orinats Yerkir had three ministerial portfolios – held by Minister of Emergency Situations Armen Yeritsyan, Minister of Agriculture Sergo Karapetyan and Minister of Urban Development Samvel Tadevosyan. The three decided to quit the party and stay in the executive, saying that they did not share the political decision of Orinats Yerkir to quit. Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations David Karapetyan also left the party on Thursday.

EU Parliament condemns attack on Kessab and other vulnerable communities in Syria

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The European Parliament in its last plenary session before the May 2014 elections, adopted a resolution on Syria, expressing its concern on the latest developments in the country, especially with the situation in Kessab, and vulnerable communities who find themselves in the middle of the war.

The resolution specifically condemns the attack against the Armenian town of Kessab, and takes note that “the fights between regime forces and rebel fighters, including elements linked to Al-Qaeda, at the end of March 2014 led to the evacuation of the vast majority of the population of Kassab, an Armenian town on the Syrian-Turkish border”.

Choking Embrace: ‘Mother’ Russia says won’t tolerate ‘outside interference’ in friendly countries

April 18, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Asia, Georgia, Sports No Comments
Armenian News

Russia will prevent any aggressive intervention in the internal affairs of friendly countries made “under the pretext of planting ideas alien to our minds and hearts”. This was stated by Russian Ambassador to Armenia Ivan Volynkin during the Seventh Forum of Russian compatriots in Armenia on April 12.

Armenia has still not officially protested against this statement by the Russian diplomat. But in the media there have been some articles describing it as “diplomatic nonsense” and a bid for total control of “hearts and minds” in Armenia.

The relations between Armenia and Russia increasingly appear to be contradictory: on the official level the two sides state about their fraternal friendship, loyalty for all times to come, about Armenia’s intentions to integrate into the pro-Russian Eurasian space. And on the “second level” the entire spectrum of conflict of interests and intentions of Armenia and Russia is manifested.

Ukraine crisis: NATO sending five ships to Baltic Sea

April 18, 2014 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

NATO members are sending part navy ships to the Baltic Sea to increase the security of the alliance’s eastern European allies in response to the Ukraine crisis, the Voice of America reported.
NATO’s Maritime Command said Thursday it is sending four minesweepers and a support vessel to the Baltic Sea. The ships are from Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Estonia.
The alliance said Thursday it does not intend to escalate the situation in Ukraine, but rather to “demonstrate solidarity” and ramp up NATO’s readiness. 
See more here.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Registration of Syria presidential candidates starts on Apr 9

April 18, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora No Comments
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Syrians will be able to register to run in the upcoming presidential election starting next week, Agence France Presse quoted a government source as saying Thursday.
“On Monday April 21, the Council of the People [parliament] will meet to open registration for presidential candidates and set a date for the election,” the source told the agency.
On Tuesday, the pro-regime Al-Watan newspaper reported that the speaker of Syria’s parliament, Mohammad Jihad Lahham, would announce next week the date of the country’s presidential election, which is expected to be held around June.
Syria’s civil war has raged for more than three years and the international community has criticized the plan to go ahead with the presidential election. 
Read more here. 

Employers In Armenia Not To Be Penalized For Withholding Controversial Pension Contributions

April 18, 2014 Armenia, Top News No Comments
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Armenia — A symbolic protest action of Dem.am civic initiative against the unpopular pension reform at the Constitutional court in Yerevan, 28 Mar, 2014

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Russian PM congratulates new Armenian counterpart

April 17, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Diaspora No Comments
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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has congratulated Hovik Abrahamyan on being appointed the head of Armenia’s cabinet.
In an address, he has praised the traditionally developed alliance and partnership between Armenia and Russia, expressing confidence that they will develop with stronger efforts during Abrahamyan’s tenure.
“Armenia and Russia are bound by partnership relations and a strategic alliance anchored on the nations’ friendly traditions.
“I am confident that the future development of our bilateral cooperation in the trade-economic, investment, scientific-technical and other sectors, the implementation of new projects and the Armenian partners’ full involvement in the Eurasian integration process fully corresponds to our states’ interests. I am ready for a constructive work over the actual issues between the Armenian and Russian governments,” reads the statement.

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CNN International Explores the Secrets of Armenia’s Stone Henge

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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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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.

Armenian Foreign Policies 2013: Customs Union, U-turn on EU accord, Karabakh, Turkey, regional developments

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2013 became a milestone year for Armenia not only in its foreign, but also domestic politics. After nearly four years of negotiations with the European Union over the signing of an association agreement on September 3 Armenia unexpectedly announced its intention to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This decision has had its influence not only on Armenia proper, but also on the processes elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Inspired by Armenia’s decision, Russia stepped up its pressure on Ukraine, which suspended the process of signing of the Association Agreement with the EU one week before the Vilnius summit of Eastern Partnership. As a result, on November 29 such agreements were initialed only by Moldova and Georgia.

Heritage reshuffle: Postanjyan becomes new leader of parliamentary faction

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Zaruhi Postanjyan has been elected new head of the opposition Heritage faction in parliament. The change comes after Ruben Hakobyan announced his decision to resign as faction leader earlier today.

Talking to media in parliament Hakobyan said Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian had been notified about his move well in advance. He left questions about reasons for his step without commentary, only saying that he had decided to step down as faction leader before the recent scandal around Postanjyan in the wake of her controversial question to President Serzh Sargsyan about his gambling habit at the PACE plenary session in Strasbourg on October 2.