PROMOTING EDUCATION: The World Bank approved
a $19 million equivalent credit for the Armenia
Education Quality and Relevance Project, Armenpress
agency reported January 23.
The Project will make the school curriculum more
suitable for the Armenian economy and society
and make the way students are tested more objective
and reliable. It will also provide computers and
other materials and help teachers use them effectively
in the classroom.
FORESTS DISPUTE: Forteen Armenian Non Governmental
Organizations (NGO) are protesting against the
Government's decision to place the ArmForest state
not-for-profit organization under Agriculture
Arminfo agency reported January 23 that the organizations
sent an open letter to President Robert Kocharyan
and Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan asking them
not to ratify the decision. "Having similar
goals and functions ArmForest and Agriculture
Ministry can enter into conflict leaving the forest
problem in the background," the message says.
GENOCIDE CONFERENCE: Delegates from over 60
countries are participating in the international
forum "Preventing Genocides; Threats and
Responsibilities," opened in Stockholm, Sweden
January 26, Yerkir online reported.
The suggestion of Armenian Prime Minister Andranik
Margaryan to declare the year 2005 a year of fighting
against wars and genocides was welcomed by the
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
STATISTICS 2003: According to the data provided
by the Ministry of Justice of Armenia, 35,046
babies were born in the country last year and
25,898 people died. Also an estimated 15,464 marriages
were performed and 1,955 divorces granted, Armenpress
reported January 27.
The ministry also registered 133 mass media outlets,
re-registered nine and disbanded two. It also
registered 3 new political parties and reregistered
DENIED RUMOR: A spokesman for the President's
Office has denied allegations by a pro-opposition
daily that claimed that Robert Kocharyan was not
invited to participate in this yea's World Economic
Forum in Swiss Davos, as "none of foreign
leaders wishes to have contacts with Armenian
According to Armenpress agency the spokesman
said that the "participation of heads of
states or governments at the forum every year
is not obligatory." It is the country that
decides to either participates in it or not based
on the urgency of its agenda.
KARABAKH ISSUE: Arkady Ghukasyan, President
of Nagorno Karabakh does not have great anticipations
connected with the peace process in 2004, taking
into account the fact that today Azerbaijan is
not ready for negotiations, Azat Artsakh daily
reported January 28.
"Azerbaijan is not ready to make concessions,
but I hope 2004 would contribute to future negotiations,"
ARMY ANNIVERSARY: The Armenian armed forces
marked their 12th anniversary on January 28. Festivities
took place on Republic Square, including fireworks,
and 12 volleys fired for each year of the army.
Armenpress reported that Armenian top officials
visited Yerablour cemetery on the outskirts of
the capital Yerevan to commemorate Armenians who
fell in the war with Azerbaijan over Nagorno Karabakh.
Minister of Defense Serzh Sargsyan said the Armenian
army remains combatant and prepared to defend
any aggression against the nation.
ARMENIAN MP IN US JAIL: The diplomatic offices
of Armenia in the USA are dealing with the problem
of an Armenian parliament member Tatul Manaseryan,
who had been detained in the USA, Arminfo reported
Manaseryan was detained in Washington D.C. last
week as a result of the dispute with his ex-wife,
now a US citizen, over their 17 year old boy.
He was taken into custody in the Washington airport
and now is being kept in jail in Los Angeles.
FULLFILLED OBLIGATION: The Parliamentary Assembly
of the Council of Europe (PACE) welcomes the abolition
of the death penalty in Armenia, Arminfo agency
reported January 29.
The PACE resolution notes that the decree of
Armenia's President to commute the death sentences
of 42 people to life sentences has raised strong
protests from some of the convicts. PACE believes
that this issue should be dealt with on a case-by-case
basis and urges the Armenian authorities to re-examine
as soon as possible the cases of those who had
asked for a change of sentence or a retrial.
ECONOMIC GROWTH: The Armenian government has
tabulated the country's basic economic indicators
for last year that show a record-high growth rate
of 13.9 percent but higher-than-expected inflation,
RFE/RL reported January 28.
The figure falls short of the 15 percent rate
forecast by some government officials, including
President Robert Kocharyan, late last year. However
it marked a second consecutive year of double-digit
economic growth in Armenia which is still reeling
from the post-Soviet slump of the early 1990s.
OMBUDSMAN CREATED: President Robert Kocharyan
has nominated Armenia's first-ever human rights
ombudsman and is now awaiting the parliament's
non-biding opinion about the candidacy, RFE/RL
reported January 29. The position was offered
to Larisa Alaverdyan, a member of a presidential
commission on human rights and the head of a non-governmental
Armenia adopted a law on ombudsman last autumn
under pressure from the Council of Europe which
says the country needs a special official tasked
with identifying and preventing widespread human