- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
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 August 22, 2003 



The Week in Seven Days: Bad news for bad medicine; Accusations of bio-weapons; Settled debts; New news of old places; Home at last? . . .

Fake Medicine Outlawed: The advisor to Armenia's Health Ministry Suren Krmoyan commented August 15 on the article of the new criminal code concerning the punishment for the production and sale of fake medicine, ARMENPRESS reports.

According to the new criminal code enacted August 1, the punishment for unlicensed pharmaceutical activity, preparation and sale of fake medicines under the article 280 varies between a fine in the amount of 300 minimal wages and a three-year prison term. If a patient dies as a result of taking a fake medicine, the term is five years in prison.

Social Issues: Social Security Minister Aghvan Vartanyan told ministry personnel in Yerevan August 15 that he planed to crack down on "abuses, illegalities and corruption" in the allocation of social-security benefits, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Vartanyan questioned the credibility of official records, which list some 139,000 families as qualifying for poverty benefits worth 7,600 dram ($13) per month.

Toxic Accusation: According to Azerbaijani "Echo" newspaper Tamerlan Galayev, the Chairman of the Azerbaijani Association "Karabakh Home" does not rule out the possibility of Armenia's having used bacteriological weapons, ARMINFO reports August 16. He blames that the weapon caused an epidemic of infectious diseases in the villages on the front line.

The Azerbaijan's Ministry of Defense did not confirm this assumption

Echo of War: Relatives of Azerbaijani soldiers missing during war with Nagorno Karabakh paid a landmark visit to Stepanakert last weekend in the hope of ascertaining the whereabouts of the missing soldiers and establishing contacts with similar families in Karabakh and Armenia proper, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported August 17.

Vilen Kocharian, the head of a Karabakh commission on missing persons, welcomed the idea of Armenian-Azerbaijani cooperation on the sensitive subject. "We are using and will continue to use every opportunity to both repatriate Armenian soldiers and help the Azerbaijani side," he said.

Paid Off : The Hrazdan thermoelectric power plant will be transferred to Russia to pay Armenian debts by September 5, 2003, ARMINFO news agency reported August 17. The enterprise's shares amount to $31 million and is the fifth and the last enterprises to be given to Russia within the framework of the Russian-Armenian agreement on paying Armenian debts to Russia. Armenia's main debt to Russia amounts to $93.7 million and it will be paid off after the Hrazdan thermoelectric power plant is transferred to Russia.

Seeking new facts: The Armenian Prosecutor General has appealed to all those interested, sufferers and others, asking for any information concerning the terrorist act in the Armenian Parliament in October 1999 that was included in a special part of the trial.

The press-service of the Prosecutor General's Office told ARMINFO August 18 that no petitions for proof or interrogations of witnesses in the given part of the case have been made to the Prosecutor General's Office so far.

Privatization must go on: Armenian Parliament Speaker Artur Bagdasaryan called for suspending the privatization of health institutions until a health insurance system is created, RFE/RL Yerevan bureau reported August 18. Chaotic privatization may cause health care to collapse and trigger social upheavals, Bagdasaryan warned. However the Government dismissed Bagdasaryan's criticism, saying that the Government will continue to privatize public hospitals and policlinics.

Cultural Revival: Mary Danielyan, a local architect supervising the restoration of a medieval Armenian temple of Zvartnots, said the 179 million dram ($300.000) project is nearing completion, ARMENPRESS reported August 19.
The restoration of Zvartnots built in the VII century kicked off in 2002 September and is funded by the US-based Lincy Foundation.

Archeological Find: Another ancient temple was discovered on the right bank of Amberd River in Aragatsotn province of Armenia by the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, ARMENPRESS reported August 20.

The discovered open-air rock-carved town-temple of the Bronze Age was multi-layered and the findings witness that people had settled the area beginning from 17-16th centuries BC till 18th century AD.

Homes for Refugees: The Armenian Government has drawn up a $20 million plan to build homes for thousands of refugees from Azerbaijan and will turn to Western donors for the bulk of the funding, RFE/RL Yerevan bureau reported August 21.The plan will target 4,000 low-income refugee families who still live in deplorable conditions





According to Agnes
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Wary of Water: Recent village epidemic is a reminder of Armenia's "Ordinary Phenomenon"

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Embattled Belief: Jehovah's Witnesses threaten to sue government if it is refused legalization

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The Week in seven days


  Photo of the week
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Watch the birdie

Plenty of eyes have been focused this week on the Pan Armenian Games. Amateur athletes from 75 cities have been in Armenia for a series of team and individual sports.



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