- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
July 2, 2004

Too Far from Home?: Parents fret over treatment of their children at school in India

By Gayane Mkrtchyan

Alvard Gevorgyan strokes her 10-year-old daughter Mariam’s head and says agitatedly: “It was very hard to get my baby back, I thought I would never see her again. When she returned, she was sick and ridden with ticks and lice. The skin on her head was covered in sores.”

Mariam is one of 30 children who were sent to India to be educated at the Calcutta Charitable Seminary under an assistance program agreed with the Armenian Apostolic Church. She was just seven when she left Armenia in 2001.

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Guns and God: State offers alternative to army service for those with religious objections

The law on “Alternative Military Service” came into force on July 1.

Those who refuse to carry guns from religious conviction can now apply to military enlistment offices for exemption from service before the next draft call-up on September 1. Instead of 24 months in the military, however, they will be required to complete an alternative conscription of 36 or 42 months.

Until now, military service has been obligatory for all young males in Armenia without exception. The alternative service will take two forms: conscripts serving 36 months will undergo training in the army but carry out non-combatant tasks, while those who refuse to enter the military must spend 42 months on a form of civilian service in hospitals, elderly homes and other social provision.

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Final Curtain: Friends and fans pay tribute to Tigran Levonyan

By Gayane Abrahamyan
ArmeniaNow arts reporter

The art of opera in Armenia suffered a sad loss this week with the death of director and singer Tigran Levonyan.

Levonyan, People’s Artist of the Republic of Armenia and a state prize laureate, died on June 25 aged 68. Thousands of admirers attended his funeral service on June 29 at Yerevan’s Opera House to bid a last farewell to the artist as the magnificent sounds of the Anush opera rang out.

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Outside Eye: A non-Armenian's view of life in his adopted home

The elderly woman began to cry as soon as the wheels touched the asphalt.

Small personal tears, not intended for public display, trickled from her eyes as they snatched repeated glances of the landscape outside the cabin of the aircraft arriving in the midnight blackness at Zvartnots airport.

Her daughter in the next seat caressed her mother’s hand in sympathy as she too stared intently out of the window. At the start of the flight some five hours earlier, she had been anxious to have my window seat and in these few seconds as we taxied to a halt on the runway it was clear why.

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Nature Worship: Sounds and sights make a special night in Garni

Beneath a full moon over an ancient temple, the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia filled Garni with music Thursday night in the first of two concerts devoted to the 10 th anniversary of the Armenian Tree Project. A second concert was scheduled for this evening.

Maestro Aram Gharabekyan waved his orchestra into motion at 10 p.m., with “Dance of Rosy Girls”, from Aram Khachaturyan’s ballet “Gayane”, just as the moon made its way into view over the 1 st Century B.C. temple.

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New “Power” in the Press: “Yerrord Uzh” promises to represent society

A controversial former Karabakh reporter has launched a new newspaper in Armenia, claiming that it will become a tribune for all political forces which possess sensible ideas and sane policy and will serve the interests of society.

“Yerrord Uzh” newspaper appeared this week in Yerevan thus joining the ten major newspapers which claimed to be independent print media in Armenia.

Vahram Aghajanyan, the editor of “Yerrord Uzh” (Third Power) says despite the variety of newspapers in small Armenia society has no sympathy with the press, but apathy as the mass media is out of touch with the community.

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Turf War: Farmers fight to save ancient gardens from becoming a concrete jungle


Despite heavy rain, a group of about 40 protestors gathered near the Parliament on June 28 in the latest demonstration over the fate of ancient gardens.

The Dalma Gardens cover 530 hectares of land near the Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial in Yerevan and have a history stretching back 3,000 years. It is now considered a cultural-historical monument where, since ancient times, grapes have been grown and wine produced.

More than 1,000 farmers currently work the land, many of them for decades. However, Yerevan Municipality’s urban development program now threatens to engulf Dalma Gardens.

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Pilgrims’ Progress: Young people gather for a day of spiritual reflection and discovery


There was a larger than usual gathering of visitors to the Holy See of Echmiatsin on June 27. About 2,000 young people from different universities and schools in Yerevan gathered there for a day of pilgrimage declared by the Araratian Patriarchal Diocese.

Students from the Diaspora are also here together with local young people for the event which has been mainly organized by the Youth Union of the Araratian Patriarchal Diocese. They are led in the pilgrimage by the head of the Araratian Patriarchal Diocese, Bishop Navasard Ktchoyan.

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Writers’ Bloc: Literary Conference draws authors from Armenia and Diaspora


More than 60 authors from 18 countries gathered in Yerevan this week for the second All-Armenian Conference of Writers.

Organised by Armenia’s Union of Writers, the conference brought together figures from the Republic and Diaspora to discuss developments in Armenian literature. Levon Ananyan, President of the Union, says the first conference in 2002 was more introductory in character since Armenian writers in different countries had had little previous opportunity to make personal contact.

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Sports: Armenia bows out of the World Chess Championship

Armenian participation in the World Chess Championship ended in the quarter final with the defeat of Vladimir Hakobyan by the English grandmaster Michael Adams.

Hakobyan (rating 2,689) was the last of seven Armenians participating to go out of the championships in Tripoli, Libya. His run ended as a result of losing two matches to Adams, rated the sixth best chess player in the world.

Hakobyan beat four opponents on the road to the quarter finals. In the first round he defeated by 1.5–0.5 the Mexican player Jose Gonzalez Garcia, then followed this result with wins by the same score over Utut Adianto from Indonesia and Alexander Moiseenko from Ukraine.

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According to Agnes


Resolved: Survey finds Armenians ready to defend Karabakh at all costs

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Setting the Pace: Kocharyan’s speech at Council of Europe wins praise and criticism at home

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A Byte with...

Christine Pepelyan

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Bearing Fruit

A priest blesses a bowl of Armenian apricots prior to the opening of the Golden Apricot International Film Festival in Yerevan on June 30. The fruit was handed out to guests at the opening ceremony at the city's Moscow Cinema.


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