National men’s health month kicked off

April 7 2004


YEREVAN, APRIL 7, ARMENPRESS: Today when Armenia marks the
Motherhood and Beauty day, the biggest “Armenia” Medical Center has
announced the National Men’s Health Month, the purpose of which is to
heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage
early detection and treatment of disease among men over 40.
The month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the
media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men to seek
regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.
All medical examinations will be carried out by the Center’s
diagnostic department, equipped with advanced electronics and will be
free of charge.
According to experts, men have higher age-adjusted death rates
than women for the 15 leading causes of death. Multiple factors
contribute to the elevated health risks of men. These factors include
economic marginality, adverse working conditions and gendered coping
responses to stress that lead to high levels of substance use, other
damaging behaviors and an aversion to protective health behaviors.
Beliefs about masculinity and manhood that are deeply rooted in
culture and supported by social institutions play a role in shaping
the behavior patterns of men in ways that have negative consequences
for their health.
Several prominent Armenian men, including health minister Norayr
Davidian, were the first to be examined today. “Recognizing and
preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because
of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men’s health
is truly a family issue. Women are happy when they have healthy men
next to them,” he said.

New York: Spending talks going to school

Albany Times Union, NY
April 5 2004

Spending talks going to school

The failure by the “three men” to go into a room and come out with an
on-time budget for the 20th year in a row dashed the hopes of an
early summer vacation of not a few legislative staffers (and
lawmakers). Some gloomily predicted the budget battle among Gov.
George Pataki, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority
Leader Joseph Bruno could again drag out until as late as July.

But several sources who ought to know insist it may not. With the
exception of education, they say, the framework of the budget
agreement is essentially done.

One lawmaker joked that saying the budget is all-but-done — minus
education — is like saying you’ve undertaken an enormous spring
cleaning and managed to make everything sparkle with the exception of
a pile of … well, something, in the corner.

With the Legislature on break, staffers continue to discuss the
logjam — how to address a court-ordered reform of the way the state
funds public schools. Reporters trying to get Pataki to answer
questions have always faced obstacles — limited availability,
evasive answers, news conferences cut short. But at a news conference
Monday, a new problem arose: a question limit.

Pataki and Frank Zarb, head of a commission the governor created to
address last year’s court order to improve funding for New York City
schools and provide children a “sound, basic education,” were
fielding dozens of questions on the report by the commission.

Then one wire service reporter had the audacity to ask a follow-up

“You’ve asked a lot of questions already,” said Pataki Communications
Director Lisa Dewald Stoll (who didn’t seem bothered by multiple
questions from any other reporter).

Asked later if there was a new question quota, Pataki spokesman Kevin
Quinn responded: “It’s sad that our press office would need enforce
common courtesies that every child learns at an early age, which is
to share and take turns,” he said. “Our ‘kinder, gentler’ press
office encourages manners.”

Whether Pataki’s press office got that memo, however, wasn’t
immediately apparent the next day. Two aides double-teamed several
reporters whose coverage of the Zarb report, they contended, did
Pataki wrong. In all fairness, they did take turns berating the
reporters on speakerphone.

One Capitol observer last week was astounded at the openness of state
government. OK, he’s from Armenia.

Nver Sargsyan said that in his country, the public must stand
outdoors behind gates when their elected and appointed government
leaders discuss policy and financing.

Sargsyan, 27, a coordinator for International Executive Service Corp.
staying briefly in the area, was outside Pataki’s guarded chambers
when the governor emerged to take a few questions about his
discussions with Silver and Bruno.

“Compared to Armenia, it’s very open, even though he talks and then
he left,” Sargsyan said.

Armenia’s national budget, he added, is usually three or four months
late, and things like worker salaries don’t necessarily get funded.

Contributors: Capitol bureau reporters Elizabeth Benjamin, Erin
Duggan and James M. Odato.

Got a tip? Call 454-5424 or e-mail [email protected]

Frontier Medicine: Nurses are the link of life for distant villages

Frontier Medicine: Nurses are the link of life for distant villages
April 02, 2004

By Vahan Ishkhanyan
ArmeniaNow reporter In the Ltchashen village of the Gegharkunik Region,
some 100 kilometers eastof Yerevan, 65 year old Paytsar Grigoryan runs from
house to house administering vaccinations to children before the medicine
can spoil.
The “clinic” at Ltchashen.

She has no way of keeping it fresh, and there is not even a window in what
used to be the village medical outpost.

Paytsar has been a nurse for 50 years, and remembers when the Soviet system
managed an efficient clinic in Ltchashen. But while those days have gone,
Paytsar has stayed, as her village’s link to medical care.

“Since 8 o’clock in the morning, I’m working,” Paytsar says. “I beg the head
of the village to at least put in a window that I could give injections to
patients here.”

But without so much as the light by which to aim a needle, the senior nurse
instead goes from house to house.

“Now I open a medicine and begin visiting people’s houses as I must manage
to vaccinate everyone within two hours,” Paytsar says. “If (authorities)
wanted, they could reconstruct the clinic. But they know that I run and
manage to visit all houses alone and that’s why they don’t rebuild it.”

In small villages like Ltchashen, lone nurses administer vaccinations and
injections prescribed by doctors, deliver babies, and are on call for

As the village health-care provider, 65-year old Paytsar Grigoryan with 50
years nursing experience is paid 5000 drams (about $9) per month.

The Belgian division of “Medecins Sans Frontieres” (Doctors Without Borders)
has begun a five-year program aimed at improving the state of ambulatories
and medical treatment. It also includes providing hospitals and polyclinics
with medicines and medical equipment.

But, waiting for those improvements, Paytsar’s situation is not unique.

Nurse Nune’s apartment has become an ambulatory.
ArmeniaNow visited four villages in the Vardenis district and found, at
best, dilapidated clinics. In two villages, Aghbiuradzor and Kakhakn, nurses
use their homes as medical stations.

The list of vaccinations is attached to the wall of the house of Kakhakn
nurse from Nune Vatyan.

“I give injections to little newborn babies at their homes but injections to
one-two year old children I give here,” says Nune.

Refugees from Azerbaijan live in Kakhakn, which has a total of about 530

“When a patient visits my home and I must give injection to him I tell my
husband to go out of the house. My home turns into a hospital ward,” says
Nune. “Many patients cannot come here and I visit them myself. I walk a lot.
I have a hard time. It’s ok if I have difficulties with my work I just want
them to send medicines to me so that I could render first aid, so that if
someone visits me I could give a tablet to a patient and tell him to put
that pill under his tongue. I have to buy medicines myself with my money as
I don’t want to tell patients, ‘go, I have no pills’.”

Nune also delivers babies. This year she has delivered three babies out of
five that were born in the village. The two she didn’t deliver were
first-borns. She believes the mother’s first child should have a proper
delivery, so she insists that her patients go to the nearest hospital, 10
kilometers away in Vardenis.

Primate attends luncheon honoring Patriarch Bartholomew I

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Jake Goshert, Coordinator of Information Services
Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 60; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]

March 29, 2004


Recently, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the
Armenian Church of America (Eastern), was joined by other Diocesan leaders
in attending a luncheon hosted by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation to
honor His All Holiness Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople, New
Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch.

The luncheon, in New York City on March 17, was on the occasion of the 10th
anniversary of the Peace and Tolerance Conference that resulted in the
Bosphorus Declaration of 1994, which condemned violence in the name of

The Primate serves on the board of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an
interfaith coalition of business and religious leaders working around the
globe to promote peace, tolerance, and resolution of ethnic conflicts. He
delivered the blessing at the luncheon.

“Bless those who labor in the name of religious freedom, moral unity, and
peace for all your children,” the Primate said.

Joining the Primate were Fr. Vazken Karayan, pastor of the Holy Cross Church
of Union City, NJ; Dr. Sam Mikaelian, executive director of the Diocesan
Center; and Kevork Toroyan, chairman of the Diocesan Legate’s Committee.

Patriarch Bartholomew I was in New York City for a week of meetings and
events. The Primate met with him on several occasions as a leader in the
ecumenical dialogue between the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox

— 3/29/04

E-mail photos available on request. Photos also viewable on the Eastern
Diocese’s website,

PHOTO CAPTION (1): Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern
Diocese, delivers the blessing at a luncheon honoring His All Holiness
Bartholomew I at the Minskoff Cultural Center in New York City on March 17,

PHOTO CAPTION (2): A photographer takes a photo of His All Holiness
Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical
Patriarch; Archbishop Demetrios, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of
America; Archbishop Khajag Barsamian; and Rabbi Arthur Schneier, founder of
the Appeal of Conscience Foundation.

PHOTO CAPTION (3): Dr. Sam Mikaelian, executive director of the Eastern
Diocese; Archbishop Khajag Barsamian; and Rabbi Arthur Schneier, founder of
the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, at a luncheon on March 17 hosted by the
foundation on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Peace and
Tolerance Conference and the Bosphorus Declaration of 1994.

# # #

Azerbaijan, Georgia eying NATO, EU

Czech News Agency (CTK)
March 19, 2004


BRATISLAVA, March 19 ; (PVR)

Azerbaijan and Georgia are part of Europe and they see their future
in NATO and the EU, their presidents, Ilham Aliyev and Mikheil
Saakashvili, said at the conference Towards a Wider Europe: The New
Agenda today.

Azerbaijan sees its future in the deeper integration into the
Euro-Atlantic space, Aliyev said.

He said his country was mostly tormented by the dispute with Armenia
over the region Nagorny Karabakh.

The problem can threaten the stability of the whole region, Aliyev

He called on the EU and the Council of Europe to devote more
attention to Nagorny Karabakh.

If international organisations pay more attention to the problem, a
peaceful solution will be found, Aliyev said.

Saakashvili congratulated the European countries which are to join
NATO and the EU in the months to come.

He mentioned Romania which persistently supports Georgia in its
effort to join European structures and Bulgaria whose representatives
supported him during the solution to the last Adzhara crisis.

Saakashvili stressed that Georgia made part of Europe as it its
easternmost part.

The right steps were chosen by the Baltic countries which do not
close the door behind them to European institutions, trying to keep
them open also for others, Saakashvili said.

Everyone wants to share the success story, Saakashvili said. The idea
of New Agenda – more attention to the Balkans, the Black Sea and
Transcaucasia – was also supported by Romanian Premier Adrian

He supported integration of these countries into the EU and NATO. For
a successful integration, relationships with Partnership for Peace
should be developed, Nastase said.

The close entry of Kosovo’s neighbours into NATO and the EU can help
the security of the whole region, Nastase said.

The expansion of NATO and the EU should not end at the eastern border
of Romania, he added.

Armenia posts deflation of 0.6% in Feb

09.03.2004 09:02:00 GMT
Armenia posts deflation of 0.6% in Feb

Yerevan. (Interfax) – Consumer prices in Armenia fell 0.6% in
February, owing to a seasonal drop in prices for food and tobacco and
a 0.1%-decrease in service charges, the National Statistical Service
told Interfax.

Nonfood prices were unchanged in February, the service said.

Armenia had inflation of 2.5% in January 2004 and 8.6% in the whole of
2003. The government is targeting inflation of not more than 3% this
year as a whole.

Swingin’ Armenia


New York Post

March 9, 2004 — NIGHT has fallen upon the cradle of civilization, and
high above the city of Yerevan, in the shadow of Mount Ararat, the new
Armenia is swinging drivers.

Men and women, bathed in flood light, stand in a row. They’re hitting
balls far down the immaculately kept range, toward the summit of a
mountain where, in biblical times, Noah’s Ark ran aground.

This is the only golf course in the Caucasus, brought to you by G. K.

Hovnanian, part of the family that brought us New Jersey’s finest
planned communities.

Across town and high in the hills, glasses clink and subdued voices
fill the dry night air. They’re coming from the patio of the Avan
Villa, one of two small hotels recently opened here by New Yorker
James Tufenkian, a purveyor of Oriental rugs.

And meanwhile, on a side street off of Republic Square, Yerevan’s best
restaurant, Dolmama’s, is closing up for the evening.

Owner Jirair Avanian is another New Yorker. He formerly owned the
Abovian Galleries, which hawked German impressionistic art to East
Siders back in the 1980s.

Armenia is reborn, and its diaspora has given it inspiration – and

(MGM Grand CEO Kirk Kerkorian sent millions toward rebuilding.)
Tufenkian is putting carpet-makers to work, and Hovnanian wants to
sell houses. His Yerevan Estates development calls for 600 or more

Here in this spot of land, smaller than the state of Maryland, the
very old and the very new sit practically on top of each other, which
always makes for interesting traveling.

An afternoon spent sipping coffee in one of Yerevan’s myriad new cafes
gives way to an evening of quiet along Lake Sevan, where fishermen
gather at day’s end to pull in the nets, as they have for centuries.

But you don’t have to swap locations to see centuries meet. Spend a
Sunday at the Geghard Monastery, founded in the 4th century, high atop
the Azat River gorge. Being here is to watch history come to life.

Teenagers bring lambs to the slaughter, old men share glasses of red
wine and smoke cigarettes, mothers pray. Outside the walls, old women
sell bread and fruit leather.

Eat it down by the river, where, perhaps, a small child will ask to
exchange rings, and you start talking with people who have relatives
in Glendale, Calif., Armenia’s other holy city, and you didn’t even
realize how bizarre it all was until long after it was over.

David Landsel

NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc. NYPOST.COM,
are trademarks of NYP Holdings, Inc.
Copyright 2003 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

Covering Up Potholes Doesn’t Fix Corruption

The Moscow Times
Thursday, Mar. 11, 2004. Page 13

Covering Up Potholes Doesn’t Fix Corruption

By Kim Iskyan

Corrupt activities in the developing world — government ministers
controlling local industry cash cows, traffic cops shaking down random
motorists for a buck or two, tax inspectors squeezing small businesses until
they bleed — tend to be homegrown.

But abuse of power in Armenia is often exacerbated by the misguided and
naive efforts of foreign do-gooders, including wealthy outsiders with a few
teaspoons of Armenian blood.

Take the Lincy Foundation. Back in June 2000, Armenian President Robert
Kocharyan lobbied Las Vegas billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who is of Armenian
descent, for handouts.

Tell us what you want, Kerkorian’s Lincy Foundation said, as the candy
cupboard door swung open.

Three years and $165 million later downtown Yerevan has spanking new
sidewalks, bigger highways and fewer potholes. There’s better tourism
infrastructure, and people hit by a 1988 earthquake now have a permanent
roof over their heads.

One of the greatest beneficiaries was Kocharyan, who was happy to take
credit for the improvements during his re-election campaign last year.

Never mind that the money spent amounted to more than twice the total annual
health care budget for 2003. Fresh blacktop is nice, but so are doctors and

And many of the new roads were riddled with potholes in under a year, thanks
to shoddy workmanship by contractors handpicked by the government.

While the Lincy Foundation certainly helped the economy in the short term,
it missed a golden opportunity to try to bring about sustainable, long-term
growth by investing in the country’s economy.

Often, foreign investors in Armenia — usually diaspora Armenians — let
their feelings overrule business sense. They buy into ideas, sometimes sold
to them by selfish and arrogant government bureaucrats, that wouldn’t
warrant a moment’s consideration back home.

Other times, diaspora investors cut sweetheart deals with the government,
thereby destructively promulgating the culture of corruption. Instead of
being a force for change, they sometimes wind up propagating the same old
corrupt system.

Yes, it could be worse. Transparency International ranked Armenia 78th out
of 133 countries surveyed in its Corruption Perceptions Index. This compares
with, say, Russia (86th), or Azerbaijan and Georgia (tied at 124th).

But comparing yourself with some of the ugliest kids on the block doesn’t
make you pretty. And it could be so much better, if only the do-gooders
looked in the mirror once in a while.

Kim Iskyan, a freelance journalist and consultant based in Yerevan, Armenia,
contributed this comment to The Moscow Times.