- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 August 15, 2003 



Hope for Help: Azeri Opposition in Baku: Armenian Opposition in Tbilisi: New Prime Minister, Old Issue: Keeping the Peace: Building: Checkup: Chief Witness?: Money in the Bank: Boycott:

Hope for Help: On August 8 the Armenian Government approved a long-awaited socioeconomic program that pledged to drastically reduce the share of Armenia's population living in poverty from the current 50 percent to 19 percent by 2015.

As Armenialiberty reported the Poverty Reduction Strategy drawn by a large group of local and foreign experts will fulfill the program through creation of new jobs, improved tax collection and greater public spending.

Azeri Opposition in Baku: ARMINFO-TURAN reports that on August 8 opposition parties gathered outside the Turkish embassy in Baku, to protest Ankara's support of Ilham Aliyev being named (by his father, President Heidar Aliev) as Prime Minister of Azerbaijan. Holding signs calling the President's son, a "Gambler", the picketers called on the Turkish Government to build relations based on democratic principles and to support democratic elections in October.

Armenian Opposition in Tbilisi: Another action of protest took place in Georgia, where the Armenian community spoke with an open letter, expressing deep indignation about the statements of Sandro Bregvadze, Georgian parliament member.

As reported by ARMINFO agency August 9 Bregvadze in his interview to one of the Georgian TV channels said: "The US Armenian lobby's false program for committing a coup in Georgia aims to bring to power the native Armenians there". Bregvadze's statement against permitting Georgian Armenians from participating in the presidential elections also aroused the discontent of the Armenian community.

New Prime Minister, Old Issue: Azeri Prime Minister Ilham Aliyev announced August 10 that he would continue efforts aiming at the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. "We should try to settle the conflict peacefully. Azeri people want peace but not war," the Prime Minister said. At the same time he voiced an opinion that the situation is developing in favor of Azerbaijan. "If all the opportunities are evidently exhausted Azerbaijan will have the full right to undertake measures to restore its territorial integrity," he said.

Keeping the Peace: The City Council of Yerevan announced August 11 that it intends to fine the owners of cafes and restaurants if their activities disturb public order. The heads of communities' administrations will conduct control over acting open-air cafes and restaurants and will fine them 20,000-50,000 drams (about $35-85) for excessively loud music

Building: Officials from the Lincy Foundation of Armenian-American billionaire Kirk Kerkorian said August 13 that its $45 million plan to rebuild Armenia's northern regions devastated by the 1988 earthquake is being successfully implemented and will be complete by November.

Under the reconstruction program launched in 2001, a total of 4,000 families left homeless by the calamity will be provided with new homes. More than 2,500 homes are to be constructed in the northwestern Shirak region, the worst hit area. But so far only about a thousand families there have moved into new apartments and houses, with 15 new apartment buildings constructed in the regional capital Gyumri.

Checkup: ARMENPRESS reports on August 13 that two election observers from the May parliamentary elections will make a fact-finding visit to Yerevan next week to see if Armenia is honoring commitments made upon joining the Council of Europe in January 2001. Jerzy Jaskiernia (Poland) and Rene Andre (France) will meet with President Robert Kocharyan and well as representatives of non-governmental organizations, religious communities, national minorities and the media.

Chief Witness?: Nairi Hunanyan, the leader of an armed group that stormed Armenia's Parliament in October 1999 announced in the court August 13 that President Kocharyan should be questioned as a witness at Hunanyan's trial.

Hunanyan said that Kocharyn should testify that the gunmen "voluntarily" agreed to turn themselves in after holding negotiations in the Parliament, Armenialiberty reported. Hunanyan and his group attacked Parliament during the session and left the Speaker and six other officials dead. The court rejected his appeal. According to the President's Institution of the country the President cannot be forced to appear in court.

Money in the Bank: On August 14 ARMENPRESS reported that the Armenian Government received the second part of a nine-million Euro grant, made available to Armenia by the European Commission in 2002 (Food Security Program) to support the 2003 budget.

Boycott: Armenialiberty reported on August 14 that the family of the late parliament speaker Karen Demirchyan has said it, in protest, will no longer participate in the ongoing trial of his assassins.

The decision was made by Demirchyan's widow Rimma and two sons after the court of first instance in central Yerevan refused to reconsider its refusal to hear dozens of more witnesses of the October 1999 terrorist attack.




According to Agnes
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Karabakh Ceasefire Under Strain: Upsurge in shooting incidents worries negotiators

Full story


Convenience or Conspiracy?: Outlandish claims circulate regarding proposed ID cards

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Identity Crisis: Government alters ID card plan to placate Church

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The Week in seven days


  Photos of the week
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Hey Europe and UK! Stop complaining!

While the UK broke temperature records with 38 C (100.4 F), Summer in the City was a hotter tune in Yerevan. The Opera House thermometer registered as high as 48 (118.4).

On August 10, temperatures in high elevations were said to have reached 55 (131). The Ministry of Healthcare advised residents to eat more fruit and easily digestible foods.

By Friday, things had "cooled down" to 30 (86).



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