- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
June 25, 2004

Guilty?: Opposition leader sentenced to 18 months


A court in the Armavir Region has sentenced political leader Lavrenti Kirakosyan to 18 months in prison on drug charges. Human rights activists and political opposition leaders say Kirakosyan, regional head of the National Democratic Union, was framed by police who planted drugs in his home during a search, and that his arrest was for political reasons.

In reaching its decision, the court relied on testimony of five policemen, while disregarding the testimony of two civilian search witnesses whose testimony implied that police placed marijuana in Kirakosyan’s home.

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Drams and Drama: Armenians bet EuroCup is a cash championship

Football fever means gambling fever in Armenia, as EuroCup 2004 brings out the bettors in numbers that would defy impressions of a country suffering economic hardship.

“In the streets of Yerevan people talk only about money won or lost as a result of betting,” says 46-year-old engineer Albert Arakelyan “They say people win from $20,000 to $50,000. I have no idea whether I should believe or not as I myself have hardly won $40 and then on a bet that was a little less than that sum.”

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Chemical Concern: Mothers in farm regions threatened by harmful pesticide

Research conducted on 30 women in three regions of Armenia found that 25 had traces of the chemical DDT in their systems.

Decades ago, Soviet health officials banned the use of DDT
(dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), a pesticide used to kill weeds and bugs in agriculture crops.

As in other countries, USSR scientists concluded that exposure to the powerful chemical could lead to birth defects, could promote the incidence of cancer, cause liver failure, effect the nervous system. Exposure was especially dangerous for pregnant women.

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

It’s good to see that the Government of Armenia is taking seriously the mandates of the Council of Europe to clean up its muddied and bloodied record on protection of human rights.

As a condition of membership in the Council, leaders of the country were told by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that the practice of jailing political dissidents would have to stop.

And so it has.

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Abuse of Power?: Regional head maintains post despite criminal involvement

A state official suspected of complicity or execution of five crimes, including one that involved a murder, has continued his government post despite personal and professional connections that could influence criminal investigations.

Ara Poghosyan, head of the Armavir Region Real Estate Cadastre Department was charged nine months ago with hooliganism, embezzlement, official falsification, exceeding authority and concealment. He could face up to five years in prison if found guilty.

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Fruitful Season of Film: First international festival to begin this week

From June 30-July 4, Armenia will host its first international film festival.

The “Golden Apricot” International Film Festival comes during a year when Armenia’s real apricot crop is questionable, but festival organizers are promising a fertile cultural event.

The idea of carrying out an international film festival in Armenia has been on cinematographers’ mind for many years, but the ambitious step was taken by movie director Harutyun Khachatryan, the chairman of Armenian Association of Film Critics and Cinema Journalists Susanna Harutyunyan and film critic Michael Stamboltsyan.

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Diplomatic Discussions: Armenian delegations received (and rejected) in Baku, Strasbourg, Prague


A NATO organized conference in Azerbaijan’s capital was interrupted Tuesday when several Azeri nationalists stormed the session hall of the hotel where the meeting was taking place in protest of the presence of the Armenian delegation.

The activists of Karabakh Liberation organization (KLO) broke the police cordon and the glass door of the Europe hotel and burst into a conference hall demanding the extradition of Armenians from Azerbaijan.

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From the World Stage to Armenia: Internationally renowned quartet to perform in Yerevan


After three years of effort to get them to Armenia, the world-renowned Kronos Quartet is scheduled play in Yerevan June 29 at Aram Khachatryan Philharmonic Hall.

As far back as 2001, the Armenian Informational Music Center has been trying to get the quartet to Armenia. For a number of reasons, including scheduling, and the musicians’ concern that Armenia was in an “unstable” region, invitations have been turned down.

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Sports: Armenians among contenders for world chess title

Three of seven Armenians participating at the World Chess Championships in Tripoli, Libya managed to enter the third round of the seven-round tournament where 128 chess players are competing.

Levon Aronyan (rating 2645), number one Armenian chess player Vladimir Hakobyan (rating 2689) and Ashot Anastasyan (rating 2587) are among 32 players, who were successful in first two rounds and no are competing for entering fourth round where only 16 players will be left.

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According to Agnes


The Week in seven days


The Arts in seven days


  Photo of the week
Click on the photo above to enlarge.
Street Sailing

The Ayas sailing club started its long voyage this week. Over the next two years it will sail “Cilicia” to ancient Armenia trade ports, after being launched from Poti, Georgia. First, though, the ship had to be towed out of Yerevan.



A Byte with...


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