- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 December 26 , 2003 



A Week in Seven Days: Matters that made the media since last Friday .

SOLDIERS IN DANGER: Every year Armenian officers kill about 100 soldiers with majority of them having high education in the army, human rights agent Ruben Martirosyan, the former chief of Armenian Defense Ministry's emergency department, announced December 19 in Azdak discussion club.

Azg daily quoted Martirosyan as saying that the trials of 18 murders were closed in 2001, because Prosecutor's Office's investigators forced witnesses to give false evidence and fabricated lawyers' conclusions.

SURVEY ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: An annual U.S. government survey of religious freedom around the world has found no marked changes in the situation in Armenia over the past year, saying that its authorities maintain "some restrictions" on non-traditional faiths, RFE/RL reported December 19.

The report released by the U.S. State Department singled out the Armenian government's refusal to legalize the Jehovah's Witnesses and continuing imprisonment of its male members refusing compulsory military service. There are an estimated 7,500 Jehovah's Witnesses in Armenia, most of them are middle-aged and elderly women.

OLIMPIC PREZ: Armenian President Robert Kocharyan is conferred the highest award of the International Olympic Committee organization -- the Honorary Order for considerable contribution to the international Olympic movement, PanARMENIAN.Net reported December 20.

Deputy Chairman of the International Olympic Committee Vitaly Smirnov handed the award to the president said the committee appreciates the personal attitude and important contribution of Robert Kocharyan in advancing mass sport in Armenia.

NUCLEAR ISSUES: The European Union will provide 4 million euros assistance to Armenia for upgrading the operational safety of the Metsamor nuclear power station, Armenpress reported December 22.

The U.S. government has already made available around $35 million on boosting Metsamor's safety standards since its reactivation in 1995 and the overall amount of EU aid to the plant has since surpassed $20 million.

NEW TRIAL: The Prosecutor General's office has finished the investigation of the assassination attempt against Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sargsyan, Yerkir reported December 23.

The prosecutors have charged Levon Abrahamyan with the assassination attempt, who, according to prosecutors, attempted to kill Sargsyan in July. The trial began this week.

The Diocese of the Armenian Church in Germany and the German-Armenian Council has called upon all the Armenian organizations and Armenian communities to cooperate with the newly-formed committee called "April 24", Yerkir reported December 23.

The main goal of the committee will be to gain recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

CHILD ADOPTION: The Armenian government announced a major toughening of its procedures for the adoption of Armenian children by foreign nationals, RFE/RL reported December 23.

Senior officials dealing with the issue admitted that the existing rules leave the process open to government abuse and corruption, adding they are aimed at placing more Armenian orphans in local families. According to official figures, 76 children were adopted by foreigners, most of them U.S. citizens in the first eleven months of this year, up from 43 such cases registered in 2001.

AZERIS PROTEST: Azerbaijan Parliament Milli Mejlis adopted December 24 a statement expressing a strong protest at recognition of Armenian genocide in 1915 by Swiss parliament earlier this month, Arminfo reported citing Azeri Turan agency.

Milli Mejlis statement reads that "myth" about Armenian genocide is inconsistent and historical facts have been distorted. It claimed that the Swiss parliament's decision is "interference into internal affairs of another state".

A referendum on the proposals over settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict can be held only after talks are completed, Armenian President Robert Kocharyan said in an interview with "Golos Armenii" newspaper.

He reminded that technology of settlement of such complex issues provide for confidentiality of the negotiation process. In his words, all conflicts, solved more or less successfully, have passed through confidentiality of the settlement process for the solution not to be sacrificed to current political processes.

CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON: The Armenian International Team of Economic Studies plans to hold the second international conference on "Armenia: Problems of Sustainable Development and Economic Growth" at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington (U.S.), on January 17-18, Arka reported December 25.

The conference will give a chance to Armenian and foreign theorists and experts to hold meetings and discussions on social and economic development of Armenia. The major topics to be discussed at the conference are the problems of international trade, capital market, financial and tax policy, State administration, as well as Armenia-Diaspora relationship.






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