- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
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January 30, 2004 



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

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.

Forteen Armenian Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) are protesting against the Government's decision to place the ArmForest state not-for-profit organization under Agriculture Ministry's jurisdiction.

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.

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.

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 49.

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 leadership."

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.

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," Ghukasyan said.

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.

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 January 28.

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.

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.

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.

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 organization.

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 rights abuses.


According to Agnes
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The Week in seven days


The Arts in seven days


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In Honor

Wednesday was Army Day, marking the 12th anniversary of Republic of Armenia's forces. President Robert Kocharyan and government dignitaries visited a Yerevan military cemetary to pay respects.



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