Love On The Rocks

LOVE ON THE ROCKS

Irish Times
Oct 15, 2004

Donald Clarke

REVIEWED – VODKA LEMON: Several times in Hiner Saleem’s engaging
Armenian drama a horseman races across the screen, his progress
unacknowledged by any of the characters. One is reminded of the
speeding motorcyclist in Local Hero, and Vodka Lemon, though darker
and more fatalistic than Bill Forsyth’s film, takes a similar delight
in eccentric lives.

Following the trials of Hamo (Romik Avinian), an ageing musician
trying to get by in a country coping poorly with capitalism, the
picture touches on what is becoming a common theme in world cinema:
stubborn nostalgia for the certainties of the communist system. Much of
the picture is taken up with the characters attempting to sell their
possessions for US dollars. “We’ve nothing left but our freedom,”
somebody says at one point.

Hamo, whose apparently useless son has left his isolated Kurdish
village for Paris, travels each day to the graveyard to pay his
respects to his late wife. Over time, he becomes aware of the
middle-aged woman who repeatedly asks the bus driver – a kindly fellow
like most of the film’s characters – to allow her to travel for free.

The two lonely people tiptoe towards an unlikely romantic relationship.

Composed for the most part of static shots, often taken from face-on,
the picture has the steady, uncomplicated feel of folk cinema. The
snow, the booze and the surrealism call to mind the work of Aki
Kaurismäki, but Saleem has managed to find a humane, confident voice
of his own. And, though terrible things happen, the director always
manages to maintain a welcoming ambience.

That said, there are more than enough outbreaks of wilful quirkiness
in the picture and readers allergic to narrative cop-outs may wish
to cover their eyes for the last five minutes. Solid work, nonetheless.

PM promises government’s assistance to fight back religious sects

PRIME MINISTER PROMISES GOVERNMENT’S ASSISTANCE TO FIGHT BACK
RELIGIOUS SECTS

ArmenPress
Oct 14 2004

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 14, ARMENPRESS: Asked during a Wednesday Q&A
parliament session whether the authorities should have officially
registered Jehovah’s Witnesses religious sect at this time Armenian
prime minister Andranik Margarian said the government will work to
create such conditions that “if they violate the law we can ban their
activities by legal means.”

He said the issue on fighting against extremist religious sects
has been in the focus of the authorities for years and “now the
government’s Department on National Minorities and Religion is working
with the Church, non-governmental organizations and experts to draw
up amendments to Armenia’s law on religious groups to make their
activities more transparent.”

The prime minister, however, admitted that the government has few
levers to influence religious organizations’ activities “unless they
breach our laws.” He also added that Armenian Apostolic Church should
work hard to win the trust of Armenians and pledged the government’s
support. “The government and the Church will soon sign a document
that will specify their actions in fighting against sects,” he said.

Jehovah’s Witnesses was registered by the Justice Ministry this week
after years of pressure exerted on Yerevan by the Council of Europe
and other international human rights watchdogs.

According to Margarian, more than 30 other sects which were registered
earlier are no less dangerous.

Armenian FM receives US aide to secretary of state LORA kennedy

ARMENIAN FM RECEIVES US AIDE TO SECRETARY OF STATE LORA KENNEDY

ArmenPress
Oct 14 2004

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 14, ARMENPRESS: Armenian foreign minister Vartan
Oskanian today received an aide to US Secretary of State Laura
Kennedy. According to foreign ministry press services, during the
meeting the sides exchanged ideas on bilateral and international
issues of mutual interest.

Speaking on Armenian-American relations, the sides mentioned with
satisfaction that they continue to develop dynamically and with high
predictability

In this regard, the two attached great importance to the economic
element in Armenian-American ties. They discussed US-Armenia Task
Force 9th meeting which was held in Washington recently.

During the meeting reflections were made on regional issues. In
this context, ideas were exchanged on after-war recovery in Iraq and
possible Armenian participation in it.

In the context of regional development, relations with Turkey were
discussed noting the role of USA in this regard. Minister Oskanian
voiced his concern over the continued blockade by Turkey saying that
such policy impedes regional development.

Laura Kennedy serves as a minister-aide on foreign policy issues.
Starting this year, she works as an aide to US State Secretary. In
1992, she was charge d’affaires at US embassy in Armenia. In 2001,
she was US ambassador in Turkmenistan.

Memo for rehabilitation on Lake Gili signed

MEMORANDUM FOR REHABILITATION OF LAKE GILI SIGNED

ArmenPress
Oct 14 2004

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 15, ARMENPRESS: Armenian nature protection
minister, the governor of Gegharkunik province and the UNDP
Resident Representative in Armenia signed October 15 a memorandum
for rehabilitation of Lake Gili. The rehabilitation project, worth $1
million, is to be implemented by UNDP and Global Ecological Fund (GEF).

The main objective of the project is protection of rare and endemic
biodiversity already present in Lake Gili as part of the Lake Sevan
basin, and the provision of a first-best habitat for threatened wetland
biodiversity in Armenia (currently found in second-best habitats).

Nature protection minister Vartan Aivazian said some 560 hectares of
land belonging to residents of a nearby village of Norakert will be
covered by water. He said the residents will get new land plots from
state-owned reserve fund.

UDDP Resident Representative Lise Grande said the UNDO and GEF will
help the Norakert community to avoid the negative consequences of
the project by assisting it to solve its social issues and improve
water supplies.

Armavir provinces to raise $23 million from land sale

ARMAVIR PROVINCES TO RAISE $23 MILLION FROM LAND SALE

ArmenPress
Oct 14 2004

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 14, ARMENPRESS: State subsidies to the province
of Armavir rose from 29 million Armenians drams in 1998 to 142
million drams in 2004, which, according to the province’s governor,
Albert Heroyan, is an apt illustration of real economic growth.
Another indication of the robust economic growth, according to the
governor, is a significant increase in teachers’ wages which have
risen to 30,000 drams (approximately $60).

Heroyan said the sale of some 14,000 hectares of formerly state
reserve lands in the province will bring some $23 million to the
provincial budget.. He said more than 1,000 hectares of that land
was already auctioned and the raised proceeds, according to the law,
will go for improvement of local infrastructure facilities, health
and education sectors.

The governor also said many families that had chosen to leave the
provinces are now coming back. “We are planning to build three blocks
of apartments for them,” he said.

Armenian Clergyman Disappeared In Russia

ARMENIAN CLERGYMAN DISAPPEARED IN RUSSIA

A1 Plus
15-10-2004

On October 10 Deacon Zorik Abeshyan of Saint Grigor Lusavoritch
Church of Vladikavkaz disappeared on his way to the church. The
law-enforcement bodies carry out investigation to find Deacon
Zorik. There is no information about the accident for the time being.

Catholicos of all the Armenians has been informed about the case. He
is in continual contact with Bishop Movses Movsisyan, leader of South
Russia Diocese of Armenian Apostolic Church.

Ukraine offers mediation between Azerbaijan, Armenia

Ukraine offers mediation between Azerbaijan, Armenia

Interfax-Ukraine news agency
14 Oct 04

Kiev, 14 October: Ukraine is ready to take part in efforts to settle
the conflict in Nagornyy Karabakh [dispute between Azerbaijan and
Armenia], Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko has said.

Ukraine is interested to see conflicts located close to its borders
being settled as soon as possible, he told journalists in Kiev today
after a meeting with Azeri Prime Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

Ukraine would like to see more effort by the international community
and the involvement of all main international players, so that the
talks between the two conflicting sides will find support not only on
the level of experts but also on the level of leaders of the states
and organizations which can influence the process, Hryshchenko said.

“We are ready to join these efforts and we are ready to join the
form of a settlement which will probably require the participation
of Russia or the UN, as it is done in other regions of the world,”
Hryshchenko said.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Armenia selected one of 9 pilot countires for UNIDO-WTO enhanced coo

ARMENIA SELECTED ONE OF NINE PILOT COUNTRIES FOR UNIDO-WTO ENHANCED COOPERATION

ArmenPress
Oct 14 2004

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 14, ARMENPRESS: The UN Industrial Development
Organization (UNIDO), UN Development Program (UNDP), World Trade
Organization (WTO) and the Ministry of Trade and Economic Development
of Armenia held a joint seminar today to begin implementation of the
Doha Development Agenda. Seminar participants included senior officials
from the Government, donor community, international organizations,
business associations, as well as experts.

A press release from UNDP said the main aims of the Doha Development
Agenda, which was agreed in December 2001 by WTO members, are
to ensure that trade and industrial development enhance economic
development and to assist the integration of the developing countries
and transition economies into the global economy and the multilateral
trading system. In order to facilitate implementation of the Doha
Agenda, UNIDO and WTO will implement pilot activities in an initial
group of nine countries, including Armenia. The initial group also
includes Bolivia, Cambodia, Cuba, Egypt, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya and
Mauritania. The aim of these pilot activities is to identify priority
sectors and products with high and strategic export potential;
address trade capacity weaknesses including supply-side constraints,
lack of conformity to market requirements and standards; and support
the implementation of multilateral trade agreements.

Mr. Alexander Avanessov, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, noted:
“The fact that Armenia has become a member of the WTO indicates the
great progress made by the country since independence. The pilot
activities that are being launched by UNIDO and WTO at this seminar,
in combination with initiatives from UNDP and other donors, will
assist countries like Armenia to integrate further into the global
economy and multilateral trading systems.”

Armenia officially became the 145th member of the WTO on February
5, 2003. The country’s main trading partners include the European
Union (EU), Russia, USA, Iran and Georgia. A recent survey within
the business community on external trade and which was presented at
the seminar indicates that certification and standardization have
had a serious impact on external trade. Local companies involved
in the survey identified a number of obstacles to trade, including:
corruption in customs and taxes; complicated and fragmented tax and
customs legislation; and lack of cooperation between the customs and
tax administration bodies. Sixty-three percent of the respondents said
that they had lost export orders due to technical barriers to trade.

Another Attack On Journalists Reported In Armenia

Another Attack On Journalists Reported In Armenia
By Armine Geghamian 14/10/2004 10:44

Radio Free Europe, Czech republic
Oct 14 2004

The editor of an independent newspaper in southeastern Armenia said on
Wednesday that a group of local loyalists of Prime Minister Andranik
Markarian attacked him and ransacked his office after it ran articles
questioning government policies.

Samvel Aleksanian of the “Syuniats Yerkir” weekly based in Kapan,
the administrative center of the Syunik region, said the attack was
carried out in the morning by three young men led by the head of the
local branch of Markarian’s Republican Party (HHK). He claimed that
they hit and injured him with wooden clubs. “Right after that they
told me that the newspaper must not write anything about the country’s
prime minister and the Syunik governor anymore,” Aleksanian told RFE/RL
from Kapan. “Otherwise, they said, the newspaper offices and car would
be burned down. As they left they shouted more threats and insults.

“I replied that the newspaper will now be more consistent in its
work. From now on, we will provide an even better coverage of issues
which they don’t want to be highlighted.”

The editor appealed to President Robert Kocharian and Armenian
law-enforcement agencies to investigate the incident. “If they
don’t punish those thugs we will be forced to take measures for
self-defense,” he said

An officer at the Syunik police headquarters told RFE/RL that they
have already launched an investigation. According to Aleksanian, the
police found and returned to the newspaper a mobile phone stolen by
the attackers. It was not clear if anyone was detained or questioned
in the process, however.

In Yerevan, meanwhile, Markarian said he is not aware of the reported
incident. “I hear about that for the first time. I will try to
clear things up,” he said. “In any case, I consider the beating of
journalists inadmissible.”

At issue, according to Kapan journalists, is an article in a September
issue of “Syuniats Yerkir” that questioned government motives for the
recent closure of two regional secondary schools as part of massive
nationwide lay-offs of teachers.

“We directed that question to the country’s prime minister and
education minister,” Aleksanian said. He added that the local
authorities responded on September 28 by evicting the newspaper staff
from offices which they rented in the Kapan building that houses the
regional administration. But the paper again addressed the issue in
its next edition, he said.

Syunik’s governor, Surik Khachatrian, has close ties with the HHK. He
was based in the regional town of Goris before his appointment by
the central government last March. Goris and the surrounding villages
have long been considered a de facto fiefdom of Khachatrian and his
extended family.

The “Syuniats Yerkir” editor said Khachatrian, better known with his
“Liska” nickname, and other regional officials are extremely intolerant
of dissent. “They think that there must be no other opinion in the
Syunik region,” he said. “You are not supposed to question anything.”

The reported violence in Kapan is the latest in a series of attacks
on Armenian journalists which have raised domestic and international
concerns about the state of press freedom in Armenia. It came just
two days after a court in another part of the country sentenced to
six months a man who reportedly beat up a photojournalist for taking
pictures of expensive houses belonging to senior government officials.

Minister Oskanian receives the assistant to US Secretary of StateLau

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA
—————————————— —-

PRESS AND INFORMATION DEPARTMENT
375010 Telephone: +3741. 544041 ext 202
Fax: +3741. .562543
Email: [email protected]:

PRESS RELEASE

14 October 2004

Minister Oskanian receives the assistant to US Secretary of State Laura
Kennedy

On 14 October Minister Oskanian received the assistant to US Secretary
of State, Laura Kennedy.

During the meeting the two sides exchanged views on bilateral and
urgent international issues of mutual interest. Touching the nature of
the Armenian-American relations, the sides stated with satisfaction
that they are characterized by dynamic progress and high level of
certainty.

The sides paid great attention to the economic constituent of the
Armenian-American relations. They discussed the results of the 9th
meeting of the Armenian-American working group of Economic cooperation,
which recently took place in Washington.

During the meeting, the parties exchanged views on the current
status of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict settlement, Armenia -Turkey
relations, as well as several other issues on the international agenda.
Minister Oskanian expressed his concern regarding the policy of
blockade carried out by Turkey and stressed that such a policy is
inconsistent with current regional developments.

Laura Kennedy is a Minister-Councellor in the Foreign Service of
the USA. Since June, she has been appointed assistant to the US
Secretary of State. In 1992, she was Charge d’Affaires of the newly
opened US embassy in Armenia. In 2001, she was the US ambassador
in Turkmenistan.

www.armeniaforeignministry.am