GRAVES VANDALIZED: Al least ten Armenian gravestones were vandalized this week in the Slavyanskoe cemetery of Krasnodar , southern Russia , the Armenian newspaper Yerkramas in Krasnodar reported.
So far the Krasnodar police did not detain any suspect. However the Armenians of Krasnodar believe that the vandalism was organized by skinheads. In 2002, skinheads destroyed more than 30 Armenian gravestones in the same cemetery.
ANKARA TO MOBILIZE DIASPORA : Turkey 's foreign minister Abdullah Gul expressed concern over the activities of Armenian lobby organizations concerning international recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire, reported Armenian newspaper Marmara published in Turkey . Gul called on the four-million strong Turkish Diaspora to counter the activities of the Armenian lobby.
GENOCIDE RESOLUTION EXPECTED: There is a strong probability that the Canadian parliament will adopt a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey, says Armenia 's Ambassador to Canada Ara Papyan.
Arminfo agency reported that almost all the Canadian MPs except for the representative of the Foreign Ministry spoke in support of the resolution. Papyan hopes that the resolution will be put to a vote in March.
ENERGY SECURITY: The US Department of State will allocate over $1 million to enhance the physical protection of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, PanARMENIAN.Net reported.
The funds will be spent in 2004/05 on modernization of the system of physical protection of the station against possible acts of terrorism and external interference.
VERMIN SECURITY: The UN Food and Agricultural Organization pledged this week to provide more than $1million in aid to Armenia 's Agriculture Ministry to help it fight an invasion of rodents and locusts, Armenpress agency reported.
International experts are expected to arrive in Armenia soon to teach farmers advanced methods of struggling against locust and rodents so as to reduce agricultural damages by 50 per cent.
GAS PIPELINE: Member of the European Commission's General Directorate for Energy and Transport, Faouzi Bensarsa, declared recently that the European Union supports construction of the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline, Azg daily reported.
Europe is eager to see Iran 's "blue flame" transported to "the continent" and sees two possible routes for the pipeline: one via Armenia , Georgia , the Black Sea and Ukraine , and the second, partly constructed, via Turkey to Greece . Some 2,577 kilometers of pipeline from southern Iran to Ankara were built several years ago and the first cubic meters of gas was pumped through it in December 2001.
EXPENSIVE WATER : The tariff on drinking water will rise sharply in Armenia from April 1, PanARMENIAN.Net reported. Yerevan residents will pay 90 drams (16 cents) for 1 cubic meter of water, compared to the present 56 drams, while inhabitants of the regions will pay 100 drams instead of 53.
Heads of the water companies say the tariff increase will allow them to improve the safety and efficiency of the supply system.
DRAFT RECALL: The Government has recalled a controversial bill that would have abolished deferments from military service of postgraduate and doctoral students, Armenpress reported. The bill provoked protests for almost three weeks by a thousand students, who boycotted lessons.
Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan said that the authors of the bill failed to explain the wisdom of the change to the public. He said the bill is recalled for further elaboration.
BROKEN PARITY: More than 30 Members of the US House of Representatives joined Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone in expressing concern about a provision of President Bush's FY 2005 budget proposal that would undermine an agreement between the White House and Congress to maintain parity in military aid to Armenia and Azerbaijan , reported the Armenian National Committee of America
The Administration wants to give Azerbaijan $8.75 million in military assistance, $6 million more than Armenia .
ROSE REPLAY?: The opposition Artarutyun (Justice) alliance continues to meet supporters in rural areas around Yerevan, indicating that they should get ready for mass anti-government rallies similar to the so called rose revolution in neighboring Georgia, RFE/RL reported.
Artarutyun and another major opposition force, the National Unity Party, have been jointly boycotting parliamentary sessions over its pro-Kocharyan majority's refusal to call a referendum of confidence on the President.