KARABAKH COMMENT: The attitude of the Azeri society and political figures to the brutal murder of an Armenian officer by an Azeri serviceman in Budapest "has again apparently confirmed the impossibility for Nagorno Karabakh of being part of Azerbaijan ," Nagorno-Karabakh Foreign Minister Ashot Ghulyan stated in Stepanakert February 26. The Minister noted that "Armenophobia has become state policy in Azerbaijan .
AZERI COMMENT: Meanwhile, the accused soldier's father, 55-year-old Sahid Safarov told Azeri media that during his stay in Budapest his son had not uttered a single word about his bad relationship with the Armenian. He said: "Just the day before the incident my son spoke to us on the phone and said that everything was all right.
FREEDOM ANNIVERSARY: The Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians marked the 16th anniversary of their de facto secession from Azerbaijan on February 20, pledging to deepen their already close links with Armenia and ruling out their return under Azerbaijan 's rule, RFE/RL reported.
A special session of Parliament issued a statement stating the Nagorno Karabakh people's resolve to build an independent and democratic state. It urged Armenians around the world to consolidate for the sake of a just and final resolution of the Artsakh issue.
BROKEN MONOPOLY: The determination of the Armenian government to deprive the "ArmenTel" telecommunication company of its monopoly on cellular communication and internet will come into force from June, Arminfo agency reported.
The government accuses the company of violating contractual obligations on the quality of service and levels of investment.
MAESTRO IN WAX: On the eve of the 80th birthday of singer, composer and actor Charles Aznavour, his wax sculpture will appear in the Paris Museum of waxworks, Armenpress agency reported. Aznavour will celebrate his May 22 jubilee in Paris ' Palais de Congress.
LOAN LOOMS: Armenia is well placed to obtain yet another $14 million loan instalment from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this spring, RFE/RL reported.
A high-level IMF mission visited Yerevan this month and reached preliminary understandings with government officials on conditions for the release of the sixth tranche of the fund's $100 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.
KARABAKH RESETTLERS: Since the beginning of this year five families moved from Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh, and 28 families put in applications for resettlement, PanARMENIAN.Net reported.
The preference is given to young families with many children. Last year 75 families mostly from Armenia resettled in Nagorno Karabakh.
Meanwhile Azat Artsakh online reported that a resettler family in the Martouni region of Karabakh has just had its 11th child. The family will receive $5,000 under the government framework of "measures for stimulating birthrate.
SHORT SHRIFT: Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sargsyan met February 25 with students protesting a new bill on military service, which will repeal the right of postgraduate students to postpone military service, A1plus reported.
However the meeting at the Yerevan State University did not last long. Protestors walked out after the minister ruled out any concessions and accused the students of using arguments simply to dodge their military service.
PUBLISHING CRISIS: The twelve printed media outlets in Karabakh have failed to appear for two weeks, Azg daily reported February 26. The reason is the breakdown of the only RO-62 printing machine at Stepanakert's Polygraph publishing house, which is the only operator of printing service for the enclave's papers.
Media chiefs in Stepanakert say they are not sure that the publishing house will resume work in the next week. If repair of the printing machine is delayed further, some of the Karabakh papers will be issued in Yerevan.
REVIVING RALLIES: Armenian opposition is going to hold a rally in Yerevan at the weekend, Arka agency reported. According to a statement of the Republic party, everyone interested in the future of the country and who is honest and brave is welcome to take part.