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CNN International Explores the Secrets of Armenia's Stonehenge
INTRODUCTION OF BIOMETRICAL PASSPORTS IN ARMENIA TO
FACILITATE EU VISA APPLICATION PROCEDURES
Monday, May 21, 14:26
Introduction of biometrical passports in Armenia will facilitate the
EU visa application procedures, Hovhanness Kocharyan, Head of the
Passports and Visas Department, Armenian Police, told media on Monday.
Transfer to the new system is envisaged by the Armenian Government's
program of migration reform approved in 2008 and implemented as
part of cooperation with the EU, he said. Kocharyan assured media
that biometrical passports and ID-cards will allow reducing passport
forgery, automating the identification process. In future, ID-cards
will allow citizens to apply to state agencies for various issues
without direct communication when them, which will reduce corruption
The system of biometrical passports and ID-cards will be introduced in
Armenia on June 1 2012. PWPW Company, Poland, will produce biometrical
passports and ID-cards. The company won a relevant contest in April
2011. Nearly 304,000 passports and 1 million ID-cards in the amount
of 16 million EUR will be issued in the period from 2012 to 2016.
Production of a passport will cost 37 EUR and an ID-card - 6 EUR.
Identification card is for internal use, while passport is for foreign
travels. Alongside with personal details, digital photo, e-signature,
the foreign passport will contain two fingerprints of the owner. The
identification card will be valid within 10 years. It will contain
the same data on the person in Armenian and English as the current
Kocharyan said that biometrical passports are available for 25,000
drams and ID-cards for 3,000 drams. It is not compulsory for citizens
to get new passports. Citizens can change their expired passports
with the old model passports.
20% MORE PEOPLE LEAVE ARMENIA THIS YEAR THAN LAST
May 22, 2012 | 07:20
YEREVAN. - A total of 57,320 people left and did not return to Armenia
in the first four months of 2012, Haykakan Zhamanak daily writes.
"This number is publicized by the State Migration Service of the
Territorial Administration Ministry.
[A total of] 47,610 people had left and not returned to Armenia in
the same time period last year. That is, the indicator rose by more
than twenty percent as compared with the year past.
The number of those who left and did not return comprised 29,222 in
April alone. It is apparent that this indicator will further rise in
line with the data of May," Haykakan Zhamanak writes.
Baku Hails NATO Statement Denounced By Yerevan
Azerbaijan on Tuesday welcomed a declaration adopted at the NATO
summit in Chicago, saying that it endorsed Baku's position on the
unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Elman Abdullayev, a spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister,
pointed to the declaration's support for the territorial integrity of
Azerbaijan and other former Soviet republics locked in territorial and
`The fact that the statement was signed by major international players
testifies to serious [NATO] support for Azerbaijan's just cause in the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,' the Trend news agency quoted Abdullayev as
The NATO document made no mention of people's self-determination with
regard to the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute, a fact denounced by
Armenia. Official Yerevan says this is the reason why President Serzh
Sarkisian did not take part in the weekend summit unlike his
Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev.
Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, who represented Armenia at the
summit, argued in Chicago that the existing international peace
proposals on Karabakh, jointly drafted by the United States, France
and Russia, are based on both internationally recognized principles.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reaction came the day after a senior
aide to Aliyev accused NATO and other international structures of not
doing enough to accelerate a Karabakh settlement. The official, Ali
Hasanov, claimed that they `lack the will to intervene' in the
conflict in a way desired by Baku, according to Azerbaijani news
U.S. Remains Critical Of Armenian Rights Record
Authorities in Armenia have continued to restrict citizens' right to
change their government, freedom of speech and judicial independence
while ill-treatment of criminal suspects by law-enforcement bodies
remains the norm, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday.
In its annual reports on human rights practices around the world
presented by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the department also
noted the release in May-June 2011 of the last Armenian opposition
members remaining in prison on controversial charges stemming from the
2008 post-election unrest in Yerevan.
They were set free shortly after the Armenian opposition regained
access to a key square in the capital that has traditionally been the
main venue for anti-government protests in the country.
`The most significant human rights problems [in 2011] were limitations
on citizens' right to change their government, freedom of speech and
press, and the independence of the judiciary,' reads the extensive
report on Armenia.
`Courts remained subject to political pressure from the executive
branch, and judges operated in a judicial culture that expected courts
to find the accused guilty in almost every case,' it says, adding that
only about 2 percent of individuals charged with various crimes were
acquitted by Armenian courts last year. The acquittal rate stood at
0.9 percent in 2010.
The lack of judicial independence has long been linked with a
widespread torture of detainees reported by local and international
human rights groups.
`While the law prohibits such practices, members of the security
forces continued to employ them regularly,' says the
U.S. report. `Witnesses reported that police beat citizens during
arrest and interrogation.'
According to the State Department, Armenian law-enforcement bodies
investigated last year 35 complaints of police brutality and in about
half of those cases police officers involved were subjected to
disciplinary action. None of them was apparently prosecuted or fired.
`Authorities continued to arrest and detain criminal suspects without
reasonable suspicion and to detain individuals arbitrarily due to
their opposition political affiliations or political activities,' says
The State Department also highlighted the authorities' continuing
strong influence on the news coverage of Armenian TV and radio
stations. `Most stations were owned by politicians in the ruling party
or politically connected businessmen and presented one-sided views of
events,' it said.
Its report also points to an upsurge in libel lawsuits filed against
media outlets over the course of 2011. `The government decriminalized
libel and defamation but established high new civil fines that
encouraged journalists and media outlets to practice self-censorship,'
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL HAS CONCERNS OVER ARMENIA, TOO
13:30 . 24/05
The international human rights organization Amnesty International
has published its annual 2012 report on the freedoms and human
rights protection in the world. Touching upon Armenia, the report
says three main problems give rise to concern: freedom of assembly,
ill-treatment towards the arrested and imprisonment of those who
avoid military service because of religious views.
Radio Station Liberty writes that touching upon the freedom of
Assemblies, the organization states some progress in this sphere
was recorded in 2011. A reformed law was adopted, the ban on public
gathering in Azatutyun Square was lifted. "However, a number of issues
still give rise to concern," Amnesty International states and adds:
"The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights reported in May
about the unlawful and disproportionate impediments to the right of
peaceful assembly, such as intimidation and arrest of participants,
disruption of transportation means and blanket prohibitions against
assemblies in certain places."
Making a reference to the Council of Europe's Venice Commission, the
report states that the new Law on Assemblies is largely in accordance
with international standards, but concerns remained. In this respect,
the Commission highlighted the Law's blanket prohibition against
assemblies organized within a certain distance from the presidential
residence, the national assembly and courts. Besides, it gives a
generalized justification for banning the assemblies.
In the report Armenia was also criticized for the ill-treatment against
detainees and suspects in police stations. "The UN Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention's February report stated that many detainees and
prisoners had complained of torture and beatings, while prosecutors
and judges frequently refused to admit evidence of ill-treatment
during court proceedings".
Amnesty International notes that besides the UN Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention, the European Committee for the Prevention of
Torture has also published a report on the same accusations and last
year based on the commitments assumed to US, Armenia established an
independent body to monitor places of detention.
At the end of the report on Armenia the human rights organization also
touches upon prisoners of conscience stating that in 2011, 60 men were
still in places of detention for avoiding military service because of
their convictions. "Alternative military service continues to remain
under the discretion of the armed forces," Amnesty international
states, according to Radio Station Liberty.
TURK JOURNALIST SPOKE ABOUT THE JUST CLAIMS OF ARMENIANS
21 May, 2012
YEREVAN, MAY 21, ARMENPRESS: Armenians living in Turkey continue to
speak about their Armenian origin and demand from Turkish authorities
their property. Armenpress reports that Evrensel newspaper's journalist
Elif Giorgu in his article says that Armenians don't give up their
homeland and return their.
"There is a strange relation between earth and person. Person can be
cut from another person, but can not be cut from earth. The work given
to earth, the history written on the stone don't give strangely do
not give rest to people. The same thing is happened with Armenians who
"have been cut" from Anatolia" writes Giorgu in the beginning of his
article. The journalist speaks about that Armenians have begun active
works for returning Armenian churches, cemeteries in different places.
He spoke about the president of company "Social help and cultural
cooperation of Armenians from Bitlis, Batman, Mush, Van, Istanbul
and Sasun regions" Aziz Daghji who has Armenian origin.
ARMENIAN MP GETS $18 MLN ANNUAL PROFIT FROM SUGAR IMPORT
May 22, 2012 - 14:46 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - An interesting fact has been recorded in the
Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) report on "Refinancing rate in May,
2012, Haykakan Zhamank paper reports.
Sugar price dropped by 7% in world market in April 2012, compared with
the same period of 2011. However, according to statistical data, 1
kg sugar cost AMD 455 in Armenia, against last year's AMD 388 in April.
Hence, were prices in Armenia conditioned by world market trends,
sugar would cost AMD 384 instead of AMD 455 in April. According
to official statistics, about 100 thous. tons of sugar is annually
consumed in Armenia, with MP Samvel Aleksanyan getting additional USD
18 mln. profit as the only businessman involved in import of sugar,
the paper says.
TRY ARMENIAN POTATO SALAD, AND FORGET THE MAYONNAISE
By Jim Hillibish
May 24 2012
Recipe: Armenian Potato Salad
Armenia sits at the crossroads between Eastern Europe and Western
Asia. Wars have scattered its people all over the Middle East, France,
Russia and the United States.
Despite this, they've maintained their ethnic heritage in tightly
knit communities. Their culinary history binds them.
Nations surrounding Armenia are famed for their highly spiced food.
Armenians take an opposite approach. They believe if food is fresh,
it needs a little more than salt, pepper and perhaps some garlic. Mint
is a favorite.
Armenians love grilled meats, especially lamb in olive oil and
rosemary or mint. They set up portable charcoal grills on roadways
to feed travelers, often in kebabs.
Your best chance at sampling this cuisine is in Middle Eastern
restaurants. Ask for Armenian dishes.
Armenian preserved meats are dried to concentrate flavor. They include
a ground beef hot sausage and a salami made with veal. You may find
them in ethnic delis.
Armenian Potato Salad is a favorite side dish. It strips away the
usual thoughts of mayonnaise, mustard and celery seed to make the
dish a nearly pure potato experience. As with most Armenian recipes,
ingredients are at a minimum and preparation times short. You'll find
it a welcome switch from other potato salads.
ARMENIAN POTATO SALAD
4 medium red potatoes, unpeeled, boiled and cooled 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried mint or 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped rosemary
1/2 large, red onion, thinly sliced 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup fresh
Slice potatoes. Mix remaining ingredients and toss with slices. Chill
covered at least three hours to meld flavors. Serves 4.