Saturday, 13 September 2008

Armenian News

Turkey bus crash kills 16 Iranian tourists
Sep 9, 2008

Sixteen Iranian tourists were killed and 32 injured when their bus careered off a bendy road in eastern Turkey, state news agency Anatolian said.

The crash took place late on Monday (local time) in Agri province after the driver lost control of the bus, media reports said. The tourists, Iranians of Armenian descent, had spent a week in
eastern Turkey visiting historical sites as part of a 90-person group, Vatan newspaper reported.

The buses were heading back to the Turkey-Iran border. Ambulances were sent to the scene and gendarme paramilitary police worked to save passengers trapped inside the bus.

The injured were taken to hospitals in Van, Agri and Igdir provinces, Anatolian said.

PACE Delegate Cites `Progress' in Armenia Report By Karine Kalantarian and Ruzanna Stepanian

Armenia's pro-establishment lawmaker on Friday quoted the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights as reporting `progress' on Armenia in the presentation that he made to the monitoring body of the pan-European organization's parliamentary assembly the previous day.

David Harutiunian, who heads the Armenian delegation to the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), told RFE/RL on the phone that while not submitting a written report, Thomas Hammarberg made a verbal assessment of Armenia's fulfillment of Resolution 1620, a follow-up on the organization's previous document calling on the Armenian authorities to restore democratic rights and freedoms after their unprecedented post-election crackdown on the opposition.

`He [Hammarberg] verbally presented his assessment of the situation and his latest communications with the Republic of Armenia. In particular, he presented the current status of criminal cases and informed [the monitoring committee] that preliminary investigations in all cases are now complete,' Harutiunian said. `He also mentioned that some issues
still require additional studies.'

`The overall assessment was that although some progress has been made, further serious steps are still warranted.'

Harutiunian also said that the issue on Armenia will not be heard at the plenary session of the PACE this time. Instead, he said, the PACE Monitoring Committee will reflect on the matter during its separate meeting and will make a statement in this connection.

The Armenian authorities avoided embarrassing sanctions of the PACE in June over their handling of the post-election crisis.

In its follow-up resolution then the PACE Monitoring Committee gave Armenia more time to comply with its demands laid out in April to deal with the country's worst post-election crisis.

At least ten people were killed in clashes between opposition protesters and security forces on March 1-2 following ten days of street demonstrations staged by opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian's supporters demanding a rerun of the February presidential vote that they
claimed had been rigged by the authorities.

The authorities have defended the use of deadly force against the protests which they said threatened the constitutional order of the state. Hundreds of opposition members were arrested during the imposed 20-day state of emergency rule for their alleged roles in what the
authorities presented as a coup attempt.

The Strasbourg-based body's resolution had demanded the release of all opposition members arrested on `seemingly artificial and politically motivated charges' and also called for the scrapping of serious restrictions on freedom of assembly and the launch of an independent
inquiry into the unrest. The PACE also warned that failure to take these measures could lead to the suspension of the voting rights of its four Armenian members.

Commenting on the development, senior representative of the Armenian opposition Ararat Zurabian said that obviously the discussion of problems related to democracy in Armenia have been `overshadowed by the Russian-Georgian relations' currently dominating the international
policy agenda.

But Zurabian also sounded certain that unless the authorities take steps towards fulfilling the demands of the Council of Europe, the PACE will impose sanctions on Armenia during its next session in January.

Speaking to RFE/RL on the phone later in the day, Thomas Hammarberg's spokesman said that the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights on Thursday had `an informal discussion with the Parliamentary Assembly', but wasn't there to publish the report. He added that the
report on Armenia is in the process of being finalized.

Yerevan Polls Marred By Violence
By Ruben Meloyan and Hovannes Shoghikian

Pro-government candidates swept weekend local elections in four administrative districts of Yerevan which were partly boycotted by the opposition and marred by a serious brawl.

Official vote results released on Monday gave victory to the incumbent mayors of the northern Kanaker-Zeytun and the southern and Nubarashen districts.

There was only one candidate in Nubarashen and the neighboring Erebuni district, making the outcome of the elections there a forgone conclusions. Their mayors are affiliated with the governing Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Republican (HHK) parties respectively.

The race was far more unpredictable in the other district, Arabkir. Its incumbent Republican mayor, Hovannes Shahinian, was defeated by Albert Yeritsian a local businessman effectively backed by the HHK. A candidate from the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, Zoya Tadevosian, came in third.

Both Shahinian and Tadevosian conceded defeat on Monday, the latter claiming that the election was decided by vote buying. Shahinian said he too will not challenge the vote results but gave a different reason. `For me, at stake on Sunday was not my participation in the elections but the security of the community's population, and I consider my mission accomplished,' he claimed in a statement.

The statement made no mention of a violent clash on Sunday morning between two groups of men supporting the two main Arabkir candidates. One man, identified as Mher Kerobian, was badly beaten and stabbed in the hip before being rushed to Yerevan's Erebuni hospital with serious injuries. A hospital official told RFE/RL that Kerobian was hospitalized with a fractured skull and broken ribs.

Lusine, a pro-Shahinian resident of a neighborhood where the fight took place, said the violence broke out after Kerobian and his friends were attacked by a group of other burly men who arrived at the scene in several cars. `Some of these guys had guns and they pistol-whipped our
men,' she claimed.

The police said two men turned themselves in on Monday, admitting their participation in the brawl. A senior police official denied rumors that law-enforcement authorities suspect that Yeritsian's son Robert was also involved.

Yeritsian likewise insisted that his son had no hand in the violence. `This was a provocation,' he told RFE/RL. `People wanted to botch my campaign.' He said he won the ballot fair and square.

The incident occurred despite increased police presence in and outside Arabkir's polling stations.

The race was even tighter in neighboring Kanaker-Zeytun where the opposition candidate, Manuel Gasparian, was narrowly defeated by the incumbent Republican Mayor Arayik Kotanjian. Gasparian, who represented the Armenian National Congress of Levon Ter-Petrosian, refused to concede defeat, alleging `disgraceful falsifications.'

But Vanush Zeynalian, chairman of the district election commission, denied the allegations. `We have no reports of violations that could affect the election results,' he told RFE/RL.

Zeynalian said the commission nonetheless agreed to recount ballots in some local precincts on Tuesday.

The Associated Press
September 10, 2008

ANKARA, Turkey: If Turkey and Armenia forge diplomatic ties and are seen to have good relations, other countries could well stop passing resolutions that accuse Ottoman Turks of genocide against their Armenian population during World War I, Turkey's foreign minister
said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said in a television interview that after the Turkish president's breakthrough visit to Armenia on Saturday, the two countries had stepped up efforts to resolve their differences.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed in 1915-18 in Ottoman Turkey in what is widely regarded as the first genocide of the 20th Century. About 20 parliaments have passed resolutions to this effect.

Turkey denies any genocide, saying the death toll has been inflated and the dead were victims of civil war and unrest.

Turkey lobbies vigorously whenever a legislature handles a bill that describes the mass killings as an act of genocide. Last year President George W. Bush narrowly prevented the passage of a nonbinding resolution to that effect in the U.S. Congress. He warned lawmakers that it would imperil Turkey's logistic support for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

2008-09-11 14:53:00

ArmInfo. A total of 207.500 tourists visited Armenia over the first half-year 2008, the head of Tourism Department of Armenian Economy Ministry Mekhak Apresyan told journalists today.

'Thus, an indicator of tourists inflow has grown by 13.3%, as only 183.000 tourists visited Armenia over the same period of 2007", - he said and added this is explained by the effective policy of the state, stimulating this branch as well as by the actions of the legal persons interested in development of the branch. According to the accounts of experts, the number of tourists visiting Armenia is growing by 20% annually. If this tendency is preserved, more than 600.000 tourists may visit Armenia this year.

Noyan Tapan
Sep 10, 2008

YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 10, NOYAN TAPAN. It is envisaged increasing the pensions in Armenia from January 1, 2009: the base pension will make 5,800 drams instead of the current 5,000 drams (about 16 USD), the main pension will make 7,950 drams instead of current 6,800 drams, while the cost of 1 year of the insurance length of service will make 455 drams instead of current 395 drams, the RA minister of labor and social issues Arsen Hambartsumian announced at the Septemer 10 press conference.

As a result of the indicated increases, the average amount of insurance pensions will make 25,700 drams instead of current 21,900 drams, the average amount of social pensions - 10,200 drams instead of current 8,800 drams, while the average amount of pensions paid to servicemen and their family members will be increased to 20,400 drams from current 17,700 drams. The minister said that an extra sum of 24 billion drams will be allocated from the state budget for this purpose.

According to A. Hambartsumian, thanks to a year-by-year increase of pensions, it will become possible to ensure an average pension making up 100% of the minimum budget of life support in 2012. It is also envisaged registering the pension files soon which may allow to raise pensions of 20 thousand pensioners.

The minister said that starting from 2010, a shift to the system of cashless payment of pensions and benefits is envisaged in Armenia. With this aim an interdepartmental working group was set up to implement preparatory work.

Lucas Brown
Sept 11 2008

Spain eased to a four-goal victory over Armenia on Wednesday evneing to maintain their 100 per cent start to the World Cup qualfiying campaign. watched and analysed the game and handed out marks out of ten to each player...

Iker Casillas 8 - Had to remain alert in the opening half when Armenia found a way through on occasion and forced the keeper to make some crucial stops.

Sergio Ramos 7.5 - The Madrid full-back always looked confident and strong when going forward and he could have gained a higher mark with a few more crosses.

Joan Capdevila 8 - Opened the scoring with an opportunistic effort and enjoyed making several forays up the left flank when required.

Carles Puyol 7.5 - Had nowhere near as much to do against Armenia as he did against Bosnia, but the Barca captain looked comfortable nonetheless.

Raúl Albiol 7 - In the same manner as his defensive partner, the Valencia centre-back did what was required, but rarely looked troubled.

Marcos Senna 8 - A stunning strike capped a powerful performance in front of Spain's back four and his role is truly crucial to the team.

Xavi Hernandez 7 - Did enough, but was nowhere near at his best in a midfield that allowed him much more space than he had at the weekend.

Santi Cazorla 7 - Was brought in to bring something different to the team, but he failed to shine and will need more games at this level.

Andres Iniesta 8 - Was busy throughout down the left and battled back to cover when required in another impressive performance.

Dani Guiza 7 - Did what he could, but the system was not designed for him to benefit as Spain hardly put over any crosses while he was on.

David Villa 9 - The striker is already well on the way to becoming Spain's all-time top scorer and he could have had far more than the brace he bagged here.


Cesc Fabregas 8 - Came on and looked more composed as he enjoyed the space afforded to him that he could just not find the other day against Bosnia.

Bojan Krkic 8 - The youngster also did well and his speed and trickery meant that Armenia could not take their eyes off him for long.

Xabi Alonso 8 - Another introduction that made an impression as the scoreline and the level of play increased when all three subs were on.


Roman Berezovsky 6.5 - To let in four goals could show that the keeper was poor, but that would be unfair because it could have been far more had it not been for him.

Sargis Hovsepyan 4.5 - Was unable to to cope with Capdevila and Iniesta creating down Spain's right an will put the game down to experience.

Karen Dokhoyan 5 - Dealing with David Villa was never going to be easy and he could consider himself lucky that the striker did not score more.

Ararat Arakelyan 6 - Arguably better than his partner because he was able to keep Guiza quiet in a game that he could have thrived in.

Alexander Tadevosyan 5 - Despite the eventual scoreline, Armenia were not as bad as that would suggest and held their own for periods.

Arthur Voskanyan 6 - Was an impressive performer down the left in the opening period when the visitors had their best spells of pressure.

Levon Pachajyan 5.5 - Another decent player for Armenia and he could have done much more had he had more options in front of him.

Artavazd Karamyan 5 - Sergio Ramos was strong and stopped him from having more chances to impress as he made several strong runs.

Hamlet Mkhitaryan 4.5 - Where for art thou may well have been the question asked by many on the bench of this Shakespearian-named midfielder.

Samvel Melkonyan 5 - Another that was unable to cope with the opponents and had a quiet encounter.

Romik Khachatryan 4.5 - Could have done better had he been given more supply, but will have known it was always going to be a difficult evening.


Karen Aleksanyan 5 - Armenia's subs were not going to change the game, but he did nothing wrong when coming on.

Arman Karamyan 5 - Attempted to hold things up by playing own the flanks, but was unable to find a way past Capdevila.

Gevorg Ghazaryan 4.5 - Did not impress as he was well shackled when coming on and was a passenger when coming on.

[12:35 pm] 08 September, 2008

On September 6 a bear attacked Hersik Poghossian, inhabitant of the village of Tsakkar, Gegharkunik, in the yard of her house. The woman got injuries and was taken to hospital. Poghossian's neighbours who came to help killed the bear.

Doctors say Poghossian's state is of average seriousness.


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