NEW SHIP, OLD HISTORY: The sailing ship “Cilicia”, the copy of one of the largest ships of Cilicia fleet of 13th century, constructed in Armenia by "Ayas" Club will be put out to sea in the middle of July, Arminfo reported.
In the course of the first stage of its trip, Cilicia will visit 12 countries: Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus and Italy. The second stage will start in May-September, 2005 on the route Venice-Amsterdam. Cilicia has enough capacity for taking five tourists.
ARMENIA-CE: The regular fifth sitting of the Armenia-European Union Committee on Cooperation was held in Brussels last Friday, Noyan Tapan reported. According to Armenian Co-Chairman of the Committee, the European side highly estimated the economic reforms carried out in Armenia during recent years.
The importance of the measures undertaken by the government and directed at the improvement of business, the attraction of investments and the encouragement of export, were stressed. GDP increased by 63% in Armenia during the recent five years, industry increased by 50%, investments increased by 65% and export tripled.
ANOTHER LOAN: The World Bank Board of Directors approved a four year loan program for assisting Armenia, Armenpress reported. As Armenian finance and economy minister said earlier the government expected to receive around $200 million from World Bank in the four years to come for implementation of strategic projects.
A spokesman for World Bank Yerevan office said three additional projects, related to health, social security and dam reinforcement, worth $30 million, will be also submitted to the Board of Directors' consideration. World Bank has made available a total of $788 million to Armenia for implementation of 33 projects since 1992, when Armenia joined the organization.
WELCOME TO YEREVAN: An Argentine company managing Armenia’s main international airport began the construction of a promised new terminal which is supposed to bring the facility into conformity with international standards, RFE/RL reported.
According to Zvarntnots’s commercial director the construction will cost at least $42 million. The reconstruction will enable Zvartnots to handle at least 1.2 million passengers a year. Up to 800,000 people presently arrive at and depart from the airport each year.The Argentine company is owned by ethnic Armenian billionaire Eduardo Eurnekian and operates 33 airports across South America.
NEW HOMES: Eighty-two families or 326 people (including134 children) from Armenia, CIS countries and Middle East have moved to Nagorno-Karabakh permanently this year, Yerkir reported.
The head of Karabakh’s Department of Migration and Resettlement Affairs said over 100 houses will be built by August to accommodate the newcomers. The priorities are given to young couples and large families.
ATTACKERS ARE FINED: A court in Yerevan convicted two men of involvement in last April’s unprecedented attack on journalists covering an opposition rally but stopped short of imprisoning them, fining each of them 100,000 drams ($182) instead, RFE/RL reported.
The culprits admitted assaulting journalists and smashing their cameras and were found guilty of “deliberately damaging property” belonging to other persons. The light punishment was demanded by city prosecutors who cited “many mitigating circumstances” such as the defendants’ confession of their guilt. The trial was dismissed as a farce by some of the journalists subjected to violence during the April 5 demonstration held in Yerevan.
HEALTH WARNING: In a strongly-worded statement, Armenian health officials warned the population against buying food from open-air kiosks after investigating conditions under which food was manufactured, Armenpress reported.
The investigation covered only those food trades which seem particularly dangerous to health. The ministry examined 70 such kiosks in a Yerevan borough, finding that almost half of barbecue and kebab sold there were contaminated with staphylococcus. The health ministry is seeking an amendment to the law on licensing so that food manufacturing companies undergo a complicated procedure before receiving permission to operate.
UNSAFE SPOTS: Only ten out of 270 Yerevan’s petrol stations comply with the standards set by the city municipality, AyBFe reported. According to municipality thirty stations have already dismantled, and 125 petrol stations will be dismantled soon.
The municipality says that currently 105 petrol filling stations are under investigation and are needed to be reconstructed and adjusted to proper criteria.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE : Every third Armenian woman has been subjected to physical or psychological violence at least once in her life, according to USAID Intra/PRIME, Arminfo reported.
An anonymous interview conducted under the program testifies that 46% of 1,450 respondents were subjected to psychological, 21% to physical, 17% to economic, 13% to sexual pressure. Two per cent of the women were raped before marriage. The interview results show that women do not usually apply to law-enforcement.