Three killed in cable car accident in Armenian capital

Three killed in cable car accident in Armenian capital

Public Television of Armenia, Yerevan
2 Apr 04

[Presenter over video of a crashed cable car] At least three people
have been killed in a Yerevan cable car accident. The tragic accident
took place at 1420 [0920 gmt] today. Seven people were injured and
rushed to hospital. One of them died on the way to hospital. According
to witnesses, the cable car, which was coming down from Nork hill to
the city centre, came off the cable and fell down from a height of
15-20 m into a courtyard.

Many ambulances have arrived at the scene. Employees of the State
Emergencies Department arrived at the scene recently. People from
nearby houses rendered first aide to the victims. Details of the
accident are being clarified.

Armenian president briefs European envoys

Armenian president briefs European envoys

Public Television of Armenia, Yerevan
1 Apr 04

[Presenter over video of meeting] President Robert Kocharyan has met
the ambassadors of the EU member countries accredited to Armenia, the
representative of the European Commission and Polish charge
d’affaires.

Robert Kocharyan welcomed Armenia’s involvement in the Wider Europe:
New Neighbourhood programme.

The participants in the meeting touched also upon the republic’s
domestic situation. They agreed that the main task is to preserve
stability in the country, which is the guarantee of current and future
development.

The president also outlined the current situation in the settlement of
the Karabakh problem and official Yerevan’s approaches to it.

Interfaith Program brings Armenian and Jewish Communities Closer

PRESS OFFICE
ARMENIAN CHURCH OF NORTH AMERICA WESTERN DIOCESE
3325 North Glenoaks Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91504
Tel: (818) 558-7474
Fax: (818) 558-6333
E-Mail: [email protected]
Website:

Dear Friends,

We are so grateful for Archbishop Hovnan Derderian’s visit on
Wednesday. As promised, here are my reflections on the program.

Thank you for sharing your gifted and inspiring spiritual leader with
the Jewish community.

With God’s blessings of peace,

Rabbi Mark S. Diamond
Executive Vice President

The Board of Rabbis of Southern California
6505 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 415
Los Angeles, CA 90048
323-761-8600
323-761-8603 (fax)
[email protected]

Torat Malakhim
(Torah from the City of Angels)

March 27, 2004 5 Nisan 5764
Rabbi Mark S. Diamond
Executive Vice President

The Board of Rabbis of Southern California

Torah Portion: Vayikra (“The Eternal One called …”)

Leviticus 1:1-5:26

Haftarah Portion: Isaiah 43:21-44:23

The weekly Torah portion details a elaborate set of mandated sacrifices
through which our ancestors worshiped God. The Hebrew word for
sacrifice, korban, bears the connotation of “drawing near” or “coming
into close contact” with the Holy One. In his masterful Torah
translation, The Five Books of Moses (Schocken Press), Dr. Everett Fox
renders the second verse of the parashah, “When one among you
brings-near (yakriv) a near-offering (korban) for YHWH…”

Nearly two thousand years after the cessation of formal animal
sacrifice, we demonstrate devotion to God in alternative ways. Prayer,
Torah learning and mitzvot have supplanted sacrificial rites in the
Jewish tradition. Furthermore, we are bidden to demonstrate our love of
God by manifesting love and respect for our fellow men and women, the
highest forms of Divine creation.

The more I travel throughout our community, the more I realize how
little we really know about the religious beliefs and practices of our
neighbors. Earlier this week, I had the great pleasure to bring a
cherished friend and colleague to speak at the Milken Community High
School of Stephen S. Wise Temple. Our special guest was Archbishop
Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church
of North America. As Primate, Archbishop Derderian oversees a region
with more than 600,000 Armenians and dozens of congregations and
church-affiliated schools. Two-thirds of the Armenian community lives
here in greater Los Angeles.

The Archbishop was warmly welcomed in private meetings with Rabbi Eli
Herscher and Head of School Dr. Rennie Wrubel, and enthusiastically
received by students and faculty at an open forum. We noted several
fascinating points of commonality between the Jewish and Armenian
communities–a burgeoning day school movement, pressing issues facing
new immigrants to this country, and the special challenge of maintaining
religious, ethnic and national identity among second and third
generation Jewish and Armenian Americans. Archbishop Derderian
spearheads a project to bring young people on trips to Armenia, a
program that reminds me of our own acclaimed Birthright Israel.

I watched and listened with pride and joy as the Milken students and
staff peppered the Archbishop with questions. What was the religious
significance of the robe and necklace he wore during his visit? Did he
believe that the Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death? How does
Armenian Orthodoxy differ from Roman Catholicism? Do Armenian priests
have to take vows of celibacy? What happened during the Armenian
genocide, and what parallels can we draw with the Nazi Holocaust? How
does the Archbishop feel about Israel? Muslim-Armenian relations? A
return of Armenians to their homeland?

As we prepared to leave the campus, Archbishop Derderian was surrounded
by a crowd of inquisitive students who greeted him with more questions.
As before, the Archbishop responded to each query with warmth, love and
respect. The Milken students did not want to let this distinguished and
dynamic spiritual leader leave their campus. Their enthusiasm and
hospitality were matched by the Archbishop’s keen interest in prolonging
his first visit to a Jewish school.

I’m uncertain who enjoyed and appreciated this interfaith program the
most–the hosts or the guest. One thing I do know–on that day, the
Jewish and Armenian communities took a small step closer to God, and to
one another.

* Shabbat Shalom *

www.armenianchurchwd.com
www.boardofrabbis.org

Selling the House Where Tolstoy Lived

The Moscow Times
Friday, Mar. 26, 2004. Page 1

Selling the House Where Tolstoy Lived

By Kevin O’Flynn
Staff Writer

Mike Solovyanov / MT

Two of Alexei Tolstoy’s writing desks, standing as they did in his study at
2 Ulitsa Spiridonovka, where he lived from 1941 to 1945.

The museum dedicated to Alexei Tolstoy, one of the Soviet Union’s most
famous writers and a distant relative of 19th-century novelist Leo Tolstoy,
came under threat Thursday as it was discovered that the house in which it
stands, one of Moscow’s finest art nouveau buildings, has been sold to a
construction company.

Occupying the rooms at 2 Ulitsa Spiridonovka in the heart of old Moscow,
where Tolstoy lived from 1941 until his death four years later, the museum
is in the grounds of Ryabushinsky House, the home of the more well-known
Gorky Museum.

The house, named after Stepan Ryabushinsky, a rich merchant who fled Russia
after the 1917 revolution, is in one of Moscow’s most prestigious locations,
between Pushkin Square and Stary Arbat.

Turning up for work Thursday, museum workers were shocked to read a letter
telling them the museum was no longer responsible for paying its communal
bills.

Quite to the workers’ surprise, it turned out that the building had been
sold to construction company Evro- Stroi on Dec. 30.

Evro-Stroi’s general director, who would only identify himself by his last
name, Simonyan, said the building’s previous owner, a charitable fund called
The Society for the Support of the Arts, had bought the building from the
Moscow city government.

The museum and its supporters have decried the deal, saying that it is
illegal and simply a real estate grab.

But Simonyan said the sale was legal and that Evro-Stroi had no plans to
harm the museum. It just wanted to carry out some repairs and use part of
the building as an office, he said.

“Have you seen the ceiling, the walls, the roof?” he said. “They are in
complete disrepair.”

But Simonyan also said the museum did not need the 300-plus square meters it
now occupies, as Tolstoy’s apartment was only 80 square meters when he lived
there.

“We appreciate culture,” he said.

The State Literature Museum, which is in charge of the Tolstoy museum,
called the purchase “criminal,” saying it would fight the purchase in the
courts. The Moscow city government has set up a commission to examine how
the building was sold.

Mike Solovyanov / MT

The entrance to the Tolstoy museum is around the corner from Ulitsa
Spiridonovka, in part of what was the Ryabushinsky estate.

Museum workers were in shock Thursday as the news spread through the city’s
literary community, fielding phone calls and visits from outraged Muscovites
coming to show support.

“Everyone is worried,” said museum director Inna Andreyeva, who has worked
at the museum since it opened in 1987.

Alexei Tolstoy came to live on Spiridonovka after he became one of the
Soviet Union’s establishment writers under Stalin. He had left Russia after
the 1917 Revolution, but returned in 1923.

Tolstoy’s serious novels, such as “Peter I” and “The Road to Calvary,” are
less read now. But his children’s novels, particularly “The Adventures of
Buratino,” a Russian version of the Pinocchio tale, remain very popular.

Tolstoy’s reputation dimmed in recent years, amid accusations that he was an
apologist for Stalin’s regime. But the family’s literary tradition has been
continued by his granddaughter, Tatyana Tolstaya, also a novelist.

Tolstoy’s wife lived on in the house until her death in 1982, keeping it
much as it was when the writer died, complete with its valuable collection
of paintings and antique furniture intact.

In the museum, Tolstoy’s study has his writing desks kept as they were. The
writer always used all four desks when working, switching from one to
another as he researched his stories, typed them up on a classic Underwood
typewriter, and checked his manuscripts.

The museum also has a small but valuable art collection, including a work by
Karl Bryullov, the artist most famous for his “Last Day of Pompeii,” which
hangs in the Russian Museum.

The building is not just important as a museum, but “as a cultural center
which is alive,” Andreyeva said, listing the concerts, lectures and other
events that take place at the museum, such as the concert of chamber music
and reading of Spanish poetry in translation planned for Sunday evening.

Mike
Solovyanov / MT

Since opening in 1987, the museum has hosted many literary and musical
events.

The museum is in a corner of Moscow that is very special for Russian
writers, Andreyeva said, pointing out Maxim Gorky’s house next door and the
church a few meters away where Alexander Pushkin got married.

Other famous literary residents nearby included Alexander Blok, who lived on
the street when he first came to Moscow, and Ivan Bunin, who used to stay up
all night playing cards at his friends’ a bit further down the road.

In another part of the grounds, nearer to Malaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa, is the
Gorky apartment museum, where Gorky lived from 1931 until his death in
mysterious circumstances in 1936.

Reactions Thursday to the sale from the literary community ranged from anger
to resignation.

“Some con merchants, some bandits bought the building behind our backs,”
said Natalya Shakhalova, the director of the State Literature Museum.

As a national culture and architecture monument, it cannot be sold without
the permission of the federal government, she said.

Other museum workers, including the worried head of the Chekhov apartment
museum, phoned during the day to offer their solidarity.

And despite the assurances of the new landlord, museum workers and many
Muscovites fear for the fate of the building and the museum. Hundreds of
historical buildings, many supposedly protected by the state, have been
knocked down over the last decade.

One customer brought three flowers, saying that she hoped that it wouldn’t
be two the next time. Russians give an even number of flowers only at
funerals.

“It shows that the people in charge of Moscow couldn’t care less. Look what
they have done to Moscow,” said one visitor, trying out the antique
Chippendale wooden chair in the staff room at the museum, who did not want
to give his name. “They have destroyed the Arbat, Ostozhenka and
Prechistenka. Now they’ve gotten to Spiridonovka.”

But Evro-Stroi insists it has no plans to do any work on the building this
year.

Kommersant quoted the head of the commission investigating the sale,
Vladimir Avekov, as saying that it was unclear which part of building had
been sold. He said he believed the sale affected 450 square meters out of
the building’s total area of 800 square meters.

Avekov said the charity that bought the building first had been founded in
1999, and that one of its backers was the State Literature Museum.

“It seems as if they sold it to themselves,” the paper reported Avekov as
saying.

But Shakhalova denied Thursday that the State Literature Museum was a
founder of the fund.

Martirosyan returns home a local hero

Los Angeles Times , CA
March 23 2004

Martirosyan returns home a local hero

Boxing: Glendale resident honored by Homenetmen Glendale Ararat
Chapter after qualifying for 2004 Summer Olympics.

By Charles Rich, News-Press

LOS ANGELES – Outside the boxing ring, he’s shy.

Flashbulbs popped inside the Baghdararian-Shahinian Hall of the
Homenetmen Glendale Ararat Chapter on Monday night to catch a glimpse
of Vanes Martirosyan, who was flanked by family members, city
councilmen and former international boxers in honor of him earning a
spot on the 2004 United States Olympic boxing team.

The 17-year-old Martirosyan, a Glendale resident, won the gold medal
in the welterweight division when he beat Haiti’s Andre Berto, 25-21,
in a four-round decision in Tijuana. The 6-foot, 152-pounder
qualified for the Olympics – which will be held in Athens – on
Thursday after he beat Adam Trumpish of Canada in a semifinal bout.

“I’m shy, but I’m going for the gold medal,” said Martirosyan, a
senior at Verdugo Hills High. “It hasn’t hit me yet that I’ll be
competing in the Olympics, and I feel like I’m living a dream.

“I’m so happy to be back home. To come back to Glendale after being
in other countries, you feel the love.”

Martirosyan, who sported a small welt under his right eye, had
several trophies and victory belts displayed on a small circular
table. He was given a plaque by the Homenetmen Chapter, commemorating
his accomplishments.

Martirosyan received plenty of advice, including some from Glendale
City Councilman Bob Yousefian.

“You’ve achieved such a high goal,” Yousefian said. “You can achieve
what you dream in this country.

“We are proud that you are Armenian, American and from Glendale.”

The support didn’t stop there.

Burbank resident Vazek Gazarian, who spent nine years on the Iran
National Team, said Martirosyan could win the gold medal.

“I’m so glad for him,” said Gazarian, who fought in the 1960 Summer
Olympics in Rome after he won a silver medal at the 1958 Asian Games
in Tokyo. “I hope he’s got a good chance.

“In any fight, you’ve got to have good luck.”

Martirosyan’s father, Norik, introduced him to boxing in 1994.
Martirosyan said he’ll be flanked by his family – in the United
States and Greece – when the Olympic boxing competition begins in
August.

Until then, there will be many practices to prepare Martirosyan for
Athens.

“You can’t be shy in the ring,” said Martirosyan, who was one of
seven U.S. boxers to qualify for the Summer Olympics. “I’m already
getting advice on using my jabs more.”

Int’l Festival of Armenian Films to Be Held in Armenia in June 2004

PRESS RELEASE
March 15, 2004
Embassy of the Republic of Armenia
2225 R Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20008
Tel: 202-319-1976, x. 348; Fax: 202-319-2982
Email: [email protected]; Web:

International Festival of Armenian Films to Be Held in Armenia in June/July

The first international festival of Armenian films, Golden Apricot, will be
held in Yerevan, Armenia on June 30 – July 4, 2004. The festival is
organized by the Benevolent Fund for Culture Development, the Armenian
Association of Cinematography, and the Armenian Ministry of Culture and
Youth.

The objectives of the festival are to present new works by the film
directors and producers in Armenia and foreign cinematographers of Armenian
descent and to promote creativity and originality in the area of cinema and
video art. Any feature films, documentaries, and animation created between
2002 and 2004 is eligible to be presented at the festival.

The deadline for applications is April 15, 2004. For detailed inquiries and
application forms, please contact the Embassy of Armenia, or the organizers
of the festival (The Benevolent Fund for Culture Development, Byron Street,
#5, Yerevan, 375009, Armenia, Tel. (+374-1) 564484, email:
[email protected]).

www.armeniaemb.org

BAKU: Mil. aid to Azerbaijan to guarantee Caspian security – US

Military aid to Azerbaijan to guarantee Caspian security – US official

Trend news agency
13 Mar 04

BAKU

Trend correspondent S. Agayeva: As a co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk
Group for the Nagornyy Karabakh settlement, the USA cannot take
anyone’s side in the conflict, and it is impossible to use US military
aid in the conflict, Trend news agency has quoted US Assistant
Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Elizabeth Jones
as saying.

Jones said that US military aid to Azerbaijan is to guarantee the
security of the Caspian Sea. “There is a danger today that the Caspian
Sea may turn into a transit area for terrorists, a route for the
transportation of materials to produce weapons of mass destruction and
other transnational threats. We have to increase the possibilities of
Azerbaijani marine border guards to carry out a struggle against these
threats,” she said.

According to Jones, the modernization of an Azerbaijani air base,
which is used by US aircraft for flights to Afghanistan, is another
purpose of military aid. All this is to help the USA’s fight against
terrorism, she added.

Jones believes that Armenia should not protest against military aid to
Azerbaijan. “Neither Armenia, Russia nor any other regional state
wants the Caucasus to be used for helping terrorists,” she said.

The US Department of State proposes to the Congress to allocate 8m
dollars to Azerbaijan and 2m dollars to Armenia as military aid in the
fiscal year 2004.