There Is No Smoke Without Fire

THERE IS NO SMOKE WITHOUT FIRE

A1+
03-11-2004

On Wednesday, opposition activist Arshak Sadoyan, using his legitimate
right to attend government sessions, was present at the government’s
extraordinary session, where the fate of ArmenTel Greek-Armenian
company providing telecommunication services was to be decided.

He is convinced the company is involved in many illegal deals.

Even after the session, Sadoyan remained steadfast in his
determination to stage a protest action outside the government
building.

Sadoyan, as always, accused the government of being involved in
illegal deals.

He said he found out two days ago who takes bribes from Greek side for
giving it extra powers to enlarge its monopoly.

In his words, the bribe-taker is `a member of the government whose
sexual orientation is even unclear’.

Justice minister David Harutyunyan speaking at a news conference after
the session declined to comment Sadoyan’s allegations.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

ASBAREZ Online [11-03-2004]

ASBAREZ ONLINE
TOP STORIES
11/03/2004
TO ACCESS PREVIOUS ASBAREZ ONLINE EDITIONS PLEASE VISIT OUR
WEBSITE AT <;HTTP://

1) Bush Wins Re-Election, Reaches Out to Foes
2) Newly Elected ARF Body Reveals Priorities
3) Abkhaz Presidential Contenders Seek Crisis Resolution in Moscow
4) Republicans Boosts Senate Majority
5) Republicans Extend Decade of House Control
6) Terror Fears, Economy Spur US Voters

1) Bush Wins Re-Election, Reaches Out to Foes

WASHINGTON (Reuters)–President Bush won re-election to a second four-year
term
over Democratic Sen. John Kerry on Wednesday and promised deeply divided
Americans he would earn their support and trust.
“A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation,” he
said in
a victory speech in Washington. “When we come together and work together,
there
is no limit to the greatness of America.”
Speaking directly to supporters of Kerry, Bush said: “I will need your
support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can to deserve your
trust.”
Bush clinched victory in a bitter eight-month struggle for the White House
when Kerry ended the suspense of a vote-counting battle in the decisive state
of Ohio and conceded the election. Kerry called Bush and later told supporters
in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall that “I hope we can begin the healing.”
In a dispute that evoked memories of the prolonged election recount in
Florida
in 2000, delays in counting provisional and absentee ballots in Ohio had
postponed the final outcome of the presidential election for hours.
Ohio’s 20 electoral votes were the final hurdle to Bush capturing an
Electoral
College majority of 270 votes after a divisive campaign that focused on the
war
in Iraq, the battle against global terrorism and the economy.
“I would not give up this fight if there was a chance we could prevail,” an
emotional Kerry said in Boston. “There won’t be enough outstanding votes
for us
to be able to win Ohio, and therefore we cannot win this election.”
Bush begins his second term with the daunting challenges of a worsening
insurgency in Iraq–the aftermath of his decision to invade the country in
2003–and soaring federal budget deficits.
Republicans also celebrated expanded majorities in the House of
Representatives and the Senate in results likely to build the president’s
mandate and ease Bush’s conservative agenda in Congress.
Bush captured a majority of the popular vote, unlike the disputed 2000
election against Democrat Al Gore. With 99 percent of precincts reporting,
Bush
had 51 percent of votes against Kerry’s 48 percent.
Kerry called Bush after meeting with running mate John Edwards and Sen.
Edward
Kennedy, his colleague from Massachusetts in the US Senate.
“Sen. Kerry waged a spirited campaign and he and his supporters can be proud
of their efforts,” Bush said.

“DESPERATE NEED FOR UNITY”

Kerry said he congratulated Bush and they discussed the country’s divisions
and “the desperate need for unity, for finding the common ground, coming
together. Today I hope that we can begin the healing.”
The dispute over uncounted ballots in Ohio had thrown the presidential result
into uncertainty, as Kerry vowed he would not concede until all the
outstanding
provisional and absentee ballots had been counted while Bush claimed victory.
White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card made a predawn appearance before Bush
supporters to say Bush had a “statistically insurmountable” lead in Ohio and
had won a majority of the popular vote.
Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell had estimated as many as
175,000 provisional ballots could be cast, and counties reported as of
Wednesday morning that 135,149 had been issued.
Republicans will hold at least 54 of the 100 Senate seats, three more than
they now have, and widen their slim majority of the 435-member House in the
new
109th Congress, set to convene on Jan. 3.
That will make it easier for Bush to push his conservative agenda through
Congress, potentially making his tax cuts permanent and appointing more
federal
judges including possibly some US Supreme Court justices.
“With a bigger majority, we can do even more exciting things,” said House
Majority leader Tom DeLay, a Republican from Texas.
Stocks soared on news of the win from Bush, with shares of major US drug and
defense companies rising on the expectation those industries would do well
under Bush.
Allies like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister
Silvio
Berlusconi saw Bush’s victory as bolstering the US-declared “war on terror.”
But some disenchanted Europeans urged Bush to heal transatlantic rifts.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush’s biggest ally in the war in Iraq,
said in London the re-election of Bush came at a critical time when the world
must unite to fight terrorism and Europe must rebuild its relationship with
Bush.
“We must be relentless in our war against terrorism,” Blair said. “We should
work with President Bush on this agenda.”
Long voter lines were reported across the United States on Tuesday and few
major voting glitches were recorded in the final act of the long campaign.
With 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House, Bush had captured 29
states with 274 electoral votes. Kerry won 19 states and the District of
Columbia and 252 votes. Bush held a lead of 3.5 million votes over Kerry
nationwide with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.
Still undecided were Iowa and New Mexico, but only Ohio could make either
candidate a winner.

2) Newly Elected ARF Body Reveals Priorities

YEREVAN (YERKIR)–Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s (ARF) Supreme Body (SB)
representative Armen Rustamian, and SB member and National Assembly’s ARF
faction leader Levon Mkrtchian, held a news conference on Wednesday, following
the organization’s 8th Supreme Convention last weekend.
Rustamian noted that the convention was unique in nature, considering the ARF
is now a partner in the coalition government.
The convention pointed out that a great deal of the priorities included in
the
ruling coalition’s memorandum [drafted at the time of its formation] have not
been fulfilled; Rustamian added that the coalition did succeed, however, in
easing political tension and maintaining stability following elections in
Armenia.
Revealing the convention’s dissatisfaction at the implementation of
government
anti-corruption measures, Rustamian stressed the newly elected ARF Armenia
body
will work to establish reforms to permanently change the country’s direction.
“We have consistently said that the country has been heading in the right
direction since 1998, but we need serious steps to make that course
irreversible,” he said.
To reach that goal, we have decided to continue our presence in the coalition
government,” but added that the ARF “reserves the right to reconsider its
participation in the coalition government in the event of a breach of the
goals
spelled out in the [June 2004] memorandum on its creation,”
The convention underscored the importance of Mountainous Karabagh Republic’s
full participation in peace talks to resolve its conflict with Azerbaijan, and
suggested that the Armenian government work with Georgia to alleviate the
deteriorating socio-economic situation of the mostly Armenian populated region
of Javakhk.
With much talk of Turkey’s aspiration to join the European Union (EU), the
convention concluded that its recognition of the 1915 Genocide and a neutral
stance toward the Karabagh conflict be preconditions to EU accession.
Touching on the issue of sending Armenian troops to Iraq, Rustamian said the
convention concluded the Armenian government be guided by UN resolutions, but
also practice caution so as to prevent Armenian communities of the Middle East
from becoming targets of international terrorism.
Concluding the news conference, Rustamian said the convention also discussed
government’s relations with the opposition, as well as constitutional and the
electoral code reforms. The ARF is pushing for electoral reforms to increase
parliamentary seats contested on the party list basis as opposed to individual
races in single-mandate constituencies.

3) Abkhaz Presidential Contenders Seek Crisis Resolution in Moscow

(Civil Georgia)–After two days of talks with unnamed Russian officials in
Moscow, the two principal contenders for Abkhazia’s presidency Raul Khajimba
and Sergey Bagapsh, returned home on November 3. It is unclear, however, if
there was a breakthrough in the political crisis that erupted after the
disputed October 3 presidential elections in the unrecognized republic.
Pro-government presidential candidate Raul Khajimba said there are
possibilities for an agreement–while opposition candidate Sergey Bagapsh
insisted he has won at the polls.
“Together with Sergey Bagapsh, we discussed possible ways out of the current
crisis in Abkhazia. Moscow’s climate is better for finding a solution,”
Khajimba told Itar-Tass news agency on November 2.
“I feel that options to overcoming the crisis exist. Everything depends on
Sergey Bagapsh and me,” he added. He refrained from specifying details.
Opposition Abkhaz presidential candidate Bagapsh reiterated that he opposes
holding repeat elections, as demanded by Khajimba.
“Elections have been held and the president has already been elected,” he
told
RIA Novosti news agency on November 3.
The Central Election Commission announced Bagapsh the winner with 50.08% of
votes–but Khajimba challenged the decision in the Supreme Court. The latter
rejected Khajimba’s appeal on October 28 and, in turn, confirmed Bagapsh as
president-elect.
But with the subsequent storming of the Supreme Court building by Khajimba’s
supporters, the court reversed its decision and ruled new elections be held.
Russia’s open support of pro-governmental candidate Khajimba, has upset
Georgia. Georgia’s Parliament Chair Nino Burjanadze accused Moscow of
employing
double standards when dealing with conflicts in the Caucasus. She said Moscow
is fighting against separatists on its territory in Chechnya while supporting
separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

4) Republicans Boosts Senate Majority

WASHINGTON (AP) –Republicans toppled Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle,
winning their biggest Senate prize after sweeping the South, including a
Florida seat Wednesday. Alaska remained undecided.
Republicans were assured 54 Senate seats, expanding their current 51-48
margin, with one Democratic-leaning independent.
Daschle, who was elected to the Senate in 1986 and also served eight years in
the House, planned to concede midday in Sioux Falls, SD, according to
congressional sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Labeled an obstructionist by Republicans, Daschle garnered 49 percent of the
vote to 51 percent for his GOP challenger, former Rep. John Thune. With all
precincts reporting, Daschle fell short by about 4,500 votes.
The last time a Senate leader was unseated was in 1952, when Barry Goldwater
of Arizona turned Senate Majority Leader Ernest McFarland out of office.
An Associated Press exit poll showed that South Dakota voters concerned with
moral values and terrorism helped Thune.
Democrats hoped for a defection to ease the pain. Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln
Chafee said he would consider switching parties if President Bush were
re-elected.
”I’m not ruling it out,” Chafee told The Providence Journal. Known for
moderate views that often run counter to the Bush administration, Chafee said
he cast a write-in vote for Bush’s father, George HAW. Bush, in Tuesday’s
election, calling it a ”symbolic protest.”
In Florida, Democrat Betty Castor conceded defeat Wednesday in a tight
contest
with Mel Martinez, a Cuban emigrant who left Bush’s Cabinet to run for the
seat
opened by retiring Sen. Bob Graham, a Democrat. Martinez will be the nation’s
first Cuban-American senator.
Republicans were surprised by their Senate showing, winning competitive races
in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Louisiana–where the GOP won
its
first seat since Reconstruction.
Democrats had a nearly insurmountable hurdle to take control of the Senate,
since most of the competitive races were in states where Bush was strong.
In Illinois, state Sen. Barack Obama easily won, making him the only black
member of the new Senate that convenes in January. He cautioned against a GOP
mandate.
”You still need 60 votes in the Senate to make things happen,” Obama said
Wednesday on NBC’s ”Today.” ”The Republicans don’t have 60 votes. My hope
would be that they recognize that, and the Democrats are willing to serve as a
loyal opposition.”
The strengthened Republican Senate probably will mean more votes to confirm
nominees to the Supreme Court in a second Bush term. One Republican winner,
Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, is in line to become chairman of the
Senate
Judiciary Committee, which holds confirmation hearings on court nominees.

5) Republicans Extend Decade of House Control

WASHINGTON (AP)–The power of incumbency and an advantageous GOP redistricting
in Texas swept Republicans to another two years of control over the House of
Representatives.
Virtually all sitting representatives in the 435-member House won
re-election,
leaving Speaker Dennis Hastert, Majority Leader Tom DeLay and their GOP
majority firmly in charge.
Republicans were poised to add a few seats as they embark on another term of
House control–the first time the party has achieved 12 consecutive years in
power in the chamber since the dozen years that ended in January 1933..
Republican leaders sought to portray the results as an affirmation of their
priorities in Congress. The vote is ”an endorsement by the American people
that you’re moving in the right direction when it comes to security and safety
and more–on terror, prescription drugs and education,” Senate Majority
Leader
Bill Frist of Tennessee told CNN.
In the House, Democrats knocked off one Republican incumbent–Rep. Philip M.
Crane of Illinois, the party’s longest-serving member–but came nowhere close
to taking the 12 seats they needed to win back control.
Even celebrity didn’t help. Kentucky Democrat Nick Clooney, father of actor
George Clooney and brother of the late singer-actress Rosemary Clooney, lost
his bid for an open seat to Geoff Davis.
By early Wednesday, Republicans had won 228 seats and were leading in five
other races, which could give them at least 233 seats. Democrats had won 199
seats and led in two other contests.
Republicans hold a 227-205 advantage over Democrats in the outgoing House,
plus two vacant seats formerly held by Republicans who have retired and one
independent who sides with Democrats.
A minimum of 218 seats are needed for House control. A final tally for the
House won’t be available for several days. Two Louisiana races headed toward
runoffs with Republican Billy Tauzin III against Democrat Charlie Melancon,
and
GOP candidate Charles Boustany and Democrat Willie Mount. Other races were yet
to be called, including in Pennsylvania, Washington state, New York, Georgia
and Indiana.

6) Terror Fears, Economy Spur US Voters

Poll Finds Americans in Pessimistic Frame of Mind

WASHINGTON (AP)–Fears of terror attacks competed in voters’ minds with
pocketbook concerns, Associated Press exit polls found–and the rival worries
kept Tuesday’s race between President Bush and Democrat John Kerry close.
Overall, the polls indicated that Americans were in a pessimistic frame of
mind.
Majorities of voters said the war in Iraq is going badly and the economy is
not doing well. But three-fourths said they are worried about the possibility
of another terrorist attack, a factor playing to Bush’s strength.
The poll exploring the voters’ frame of mind was conducted among 9,753 people
who had just cast ballots. It was conducted for AP and the television networks
by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.
“I was really disappointed with both candidates, said Melissa Smith, 40, of
Swift Creek, NC, who said she didn’t finally make up her mind until she filled
out her ballot. “Bush has made some choices for the wrong reasons. But I’m not
sure I think Kerry has the strength to lead us in the right direction.”
Young voters supported Kerry over Bush by more than 15 percentage points, but
the expected surge in their participation this year was not evident. Just
under
10 percent of voters were between age 18 and 24, about the same share of the
electorate as in 2000. But four years ago, they were evenly split between Bush
and Al Gore.
About a fifth of the voters considered themselves born-again Christians, and
they cast ballots for the president by a 4-1 margin. That’s about the same
margin as in 2000, when Christians who described themselves as part of the
religious right said they were for Bush.
Bush fared best among those who said moral values were the most important
issue, and among those who said terrorism–two of the top issues.

All subscription inquiries and changes must be made through the proper carrier
and not Asbarez Online. ASBAREZ ONLINE does not transmit address changes and
subscription requests.
(c) 2004 ASBAREZ ONLINE. All Rights Reserved.

ASBAREZ provides this news service to ARMENIAN NEWS NETWORK members for
academic research or personal use only and may not be reproduced in or through
mass media outlets.

http://www.asbarez.com/&gt
HTTP://WWW.ASBAREZ.COM
WWW.ASBAREZ.COM

ANCA: Armenian American Issues Supporters Win Big in Congr Elections

Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th St., NW, Suite 904
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (202) 775-1918
Fax: (202) 775-5648
E-mail: [email protected]
Internet:

PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Serouj Aprahamian
Tel: (202) 775-1918

ARMENIAN AMERICAN ISSUES SUPPORTERS
WIN BIG IN CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS

— 100% of ANCA Endorsed Candidates for Senate
and 98.5% of House Endorsees Win Reelection

— 138 of 142 Armenian Caucus Members to Return to the House

WASHINGTON, DC — The Armenian American community scored bipartisan
Congressional victories across the political landscape yesterday,
with 199 of 202 Senate and House candidates endorsed by the
Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) winning their
elections.

“We are extremely pleased that such an overwhelming majority of our
supporters won yesterday, including over 98% of those we endorsed
in the House of Representatives and 97% of the Congressional
Armenian Caucus,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We
look forward to working with these friends and the many new members
of the 109th Congress on issues ranging from affirming the Armenian
Genocide to strengthening Armenia and defending Nagorno Karabagh’s
right to self-determination within secure borders.”

“More than ever, we were gratified by the dramatically increased
involvement of Armenian Americans in the electoral process, in
particular, by the positive response to our voter education
campaign on the ground in local communities and on our website –
In the weeks prior to the election, we registered
over 50,000 unique visits from Armenian American activists
interested in learning more about where their candidates for office
stood on the issues of importance to our community,” added
Hamparian.

In a separate statement issued earlier today, ANCA Chairman Ken
Hachikian congratulated President Bush on his election victory,
thanked Senator Kerry for a hard fought election campaign, and
praised the Armenian American community for an unprecedented level
of activism in this season’s electoral contests

U.S. Senate
————
All ten ANCA endorsed Senate incumbent candidates were re-elected,
including Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Evan Bayh
(D-IN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Harry Reid (D-
NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
and Russell Feingold (D-WI).

In a stunning upset, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) lost
his seat yesterday to former South Dakota Congressman John Thune.
Daschle, who had received a “C” grade on the ANCA report card, had
been largely unresponsive to Armenian American concerns,
withholding his support for the Genocide resolution (S.Res.164) in
the 108th Congress.

Of the eight members of the Senate retiring, two – Illinois
Republican Peter Fitzgerald and Oklahoma Republican Don Nickles –
had received an “F” grade from the ANCA. The others, including
Senators Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO), Bob Graham (D-FL), Zell
Miller (D-GA), John Breaux (D-LA), and Fritz Hollings (D-SC)
generally failed to take a stand on Armenian American concerns. Of
the incoming Senators, the ANCA had endorsed Barack Obama (D-IL),
who had reached out to the Armenian American community in the
months leading up to the elections and Rep. Johnny Isakson (R-GA),
who, as a House Member, had supported Armenian Genocide recognition
initiatives. Rep. David Vitter (R-LA), who will be replacing Sen.
Breaux (D-LA), had received an “F” rating in the House from the
ANCA for his opposition to Armenian American concerns.

A consistent supporter of Armenian American issues, Democratic
Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards, will be replaced by Rep.
Richard Burr (R-NC), who has received a “C” rating from the ANCA.

U.S. House of Representatives
—————————–

Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and
Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) both will return to the 109th Congress,
along with 138 of the 142 Caucus members from the 108th Congress.
Also returning are Armenian American Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-
CA) and John Sweeney (R-NY) each winning re-election by large
margins.

Caucus member Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX) lost, in what emerged as one
of the most expensive House races, to Rep. Jeff Sessions, who has
received an “F” rating from the ANCA. Rep. Joe Hoeffel (D-PA) lost
his bid for the Pennsylvania Senate to Republican Senator Arlen
Specter. Other Caucus members retiring are Gerald Kleczka (D-WI)
and Jim Greenwood (R-PA).

ANCA endorsed non-incumbents Jim Costa (D-CA-20), Kenny Marchant
(R-TX-24), Joe Schwarz (R-MI-7), Dan Lungren (R-CA-3) and Cynthia
McKinney (D-GA-4), each of whom won their election bids. Central
California ANC members worked closely with the Costa campaign in
the months leading up to the vote. McKinney, who served in the
House of Representatives until 2002, was an outspoken advocate of
Armenian Genocide reaffirmation efforts, serving on the House
International Relations Subcommittee on Europe. Michigan area
Armenian American activists worked with and fundraised extensively
for Joe Schwarz, who is replacing outgoing House member Nick Smith,
who has received an “F” rating from the ANCA. Other House Members
with “F” ratings leaving Congress include New York Republican Amo
Houghton and Florida Republican Porter Goss.

For a full listing of ANCA endorsements visit

www.anca.org
www.anca.org.
www.anca.org.

Synopsys acquires assets of Armenia-based LEDA Design

Solid State Technology
Synopsys acquires assets of Armenia-based LEDA Design
November 3, 2004 – Synopsys Inc. has acquired certain assets and hired the
engineering team of LEDA Design, a developer of mixed-signal intellectual
property (IP). The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.
LEDA Design has a team of more than 80 experienced digital and mixed-signal
IP design engineers and support personnel located in Yerevan, Armenia, who
will join the Synopsys DesignWare IP engineering team. These engineers have
a proven track record of developing and delivering IP and will help Synopsys
meet increasing customer demand for Synopsys’ portfolio of DesignWare IP.
The LEDA Design team has worked together for more than four years
developing, marketing, and selling silicon-verified analog, digital and
mixed-signal IP, as well as digital core and IO libraries.

Armenia: Displaced by a Prestige Project

Caucasus Reporting Service
Armenia: Displaced by a Prestige Project

Householders complain of forcible eviction to make way for a grand avenue
through Yerevan.
By Rita Karapetian and Susanna Petrosian in Yerevan (CRS No. 260, 03-Nov-04)

Dozens of families who have lost their homes as part of the Armenian
government’s ambitious project to build a new avenue in the capital Yerevan
say their rights have been trampled on.
Now they are fighting to win compensation.
The multi-million dollar Northern Avenue begun three years ago is a prestige
project championed by the government. It will run through the centre of
Yerevan from the opera house to Republic Square.
The road is due to be finished next year, but only in the last few months
has the construction programme started to hit large numbers of local people.
While the government is taking pride in the new avenue, residents and
opposition politicians have accused the government of destroying the old
city of Yerevan and forcing people onto the street.
“The process of growing stratification in society that began over ten years
ago is continuing,” opposition parliamentary deputy Shavarsh Kocharian told
IWPR.
“And that polarisation now has a geographical form. The face of central
Yerevan is changing year in, year out, as its inhabitants are forced by
economic hardship to sell their homes and move to the outskirts.”
Another contentious issue is the threat the road construction could pose to
the Dalma Gardens, one of the largest green zones in the city. The gardens
are an ancient feature of the city and have their own irrigation system.
They also have 1,800 tenants, who tend allotments to grow grapes, peaches,
apricots and vegetables. For many of them the gardens are their main source
of livelihood.
But under a government decree from March last year, about half the area of
the Dalma Gardens is to be put up for auction and then used for real-estate
development.
“Yes, on 50 per cent of the gardens’ territory they will build elite
apartment blocks,” Suren Melikian, one of the tenants, told IWPR. “Those who
took that decision care nothing for the social position of the people or
their sources of subsistence,”
Another allotment holder, Ambartsum Khachatrian, said, “Not one of those who
conquered Armenia touched or damaged the Dalma, and we don’t understand why
the authorities want to destroy these gardens.
“We’re not only fighting for our own rights, we are also concerned about the
fate of the Dalma Gardens, which are effectively the lungs of Yerevan.”
The government has made a concession by allowing 580 plot-holders to renew
their contracts. However more than a thousand other tenants are still
awaiting their fate.
Parliamentary deputy Viktor Dallakian said that by law, anyone who has
farmed a plot of land for ten years must be given priority rights to rent or
privatise that land.
A number of people have lost their homes to the Northern Avenue project,
saying they were forced under duress to sign contracts selling their
property.
Vachagan Akopian, one of the evicted residents, claims that the
government-created Office to Implement the Northern Avenue Programme, OIP,
put unfair pressure on residents. “OIP representatives offered us agreements
which completely failed to take our interests into consideration.
“We were told: if you don’t sign the agreements and leave your houses in
five days, we will take you to court, after which a forced eviction will
follow.”
Mariam Gishian, a disabled person who refused to sign the agreement, said
she was forcibly evicted from her home by the court along with her five
children. “My children and I are sleeping in the open air,” she told IWPR.
“The money they gave me for selling my home is not enough even to buy a
garage,” Karine Palian, who has had to rent accommodation with her family
for eight months now, told IWPR.
Another resident, Gohar Sarkisian, told IWPR that her neighbour Shavarsh
Grigorian tried to kill himself when he saw an excavator demolishing his
house.
Vagram Abrahamian, an official in the presidential monitoring office, denied
that pressure had been applied to get people to leave, saying, “Everything
happened by people’s free will. Who could make someone sign the agreement?”
The OIP’s director Karen Davtian, who has been in the post for three month
now, also assured IWPR that the agreements were signed voluntarily.
Davtian said some homeowners had been paid as much as 280,000 US dollars,
while others who did not actually own their properties had received payments
of 3,500 dollars. He conceded that the latter group “really suffered” and
said he was investigating their complaints, as well as those of people who
had refused to sign contracts and were evicted from their homes.
Many residents said that their houses were protected by the state and could
not be subject to demolition.
However, Narek Sarkisian, a former chief architect of Yerevan who was until
recently the manager of the Northern Avenue project, said, “The problems to
be solved by town-planning change with time. There are some ulcers in the
centre of Yerevan – old barrack-like houses – and this is why we are doing
this project. Instead of these barracks, high-rise apartment blocks that
meet European standards will be built, and their ground floors will be made
into offices.”
A number of court cases are now in progress over the Northern Avenue scheme,
but Major-General Vaginak Kazarian, a legal expert, said that residents had
yet to win a single case.
Court rulings have cited two government decrees of October 2001 and August
2002, rather than the law, angering the plaintiffs.
“The government effectively took over the functions of the judicial body,
thus exceeding its own authority,” said Kazarian.
Government spokeswoman Meri Harutiunian told IWPR that every government
decree receives prior approval from the justice ministry to ensure it
conforms with the law – and that this had happened with the decrees on the
Dalma Gardens and the Northern Avenue.
The justice ministry refused to comment, saying it was inappropriate to do
while legal proceedings were still going on.
According to Vachagan Akopian, an activist in the Northern Avenue case, 27
lawsuits are ready to be filed to the European Court of Human Rights in
Strasbourg.
“We, the people who worked the Dalma Gardens, sparing no effort or our own
health, will not give up an inch of the land,” said plot-holder Khachatrian.
“We are prepared to fight till the end.”
Rita Karapetian and Susanna Petrosian are journalists for the Noyan Tapan
news agency in Yerevan

BAKU: UN Discussions on Conflict Not to Promote Settlement – Rus FM

Assa-Irada, Azerbaijan
Nov. 3, 2004

UN Discussions on Conflict Not to Promote Settlement – Russian Foreign
Ministry

The initiative to consider the Nagorno Karabakh conflict at the United
Nations General Assembly session will not have a positive influence on
peace talks, Russian Foreign Ministry information and press department
officials said.

The statement comes after the proposal to include a provision on the
`Situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan’ into the meeting
agenda.

`Russia abstained from voting, along with the other OSCE Minsk Group
co-chairs. We believe that consideration of the issue at the UN General
Assembly session, along with the OSCE, is not likely to favorably
affect the negotiations process’, the same source said and added that
the results of the vote indicate that most of international community
adhere to the same position.

more comments

Sunday, October 31, 2004
************************************
BUGGERING ON.
FAITH, RELIGION, AND IDEOLOGY.
MASTERS OF THE BLAME GAME.
********************************************
Very early this morning I opened my eyes with the words: “Many have tried before me and failed. When they were not silenced, they gave up in despair. Why go on?”
And here I am again, “unwashed, unshaved, unshat” (Auden), “buggering on” (Churchill).
*
What matters about an idea is not whether it is positive or negative, or pro-this or anti-that, but how accurately it explains a situation. Which is why, whenever we approach reality with preconceived notions and prejudices, it blows in our face. Our recent history provides us with so many instances of this occurrence that we, or rather, our political parties, have become masters of the blame game in order to avoid all responsibility for their miscalculations.
*
An argument between a commissar without a license to kill and a writer without an audience is like a fight between two bald-headed men over a comb.
*
The difference between faith and religion is that faith unites and religion divides. Religion divides not only in relation to other religions but also within itself – Sunni and Shi’a, Catholic and Protestant, sometimes even Catholic and Catholic, and Protestant and Protestant. The same applies to ideologies, like Marxism or Communism (Stalinist and Trotskyites) and nationalism (Tashnak and Ramgavar).
*
When religions and ideologies divide, they declare their moral and political bankruptcy by ignoring the central message of their faith (love, compassion, tolerance and mercy) or the interests of the nation (strength in solidarity). Because without solidarity, a nation makes itself more vulnerable to the enemy or to social, political and economic forces “beyond its control” – or so the political leaders say in obedience to the rules of the blame game.
#
Monday, November 01, 2004
************************************
THE ALIENATED,
THE ASSIMILATED,
AND THE FORGOTTEN.
*********************************************
The Armenian critic or dissident may not be the rule, but neither is he the exception we may think he is. Just because we silence critics, it does not mean they cease to exist. And just because we alienate our fellow Armenians, it does not mean they cease being Armenian.
*
The alienated Armenian is not a second-class citizen. Rather, he is a reflection of our own cult of intolerance and hatred.
*
An alienated Armenian means what he says and he says it with his feet. And what he says is what I have been saying: our institutions are run by charlatans who legitimize Ottomanism in the name of Armenianism.
To forget, or to ignore, or to dismiss them as defective Armenians is to compound the felony. They are as much our victims as our parents were of Turkish atrocities, and like our victims of the massacres, they number in the million.
*
The alienated Armenian is our responsibility. Not to recognize this is nothing but an Armenian variation on a Turkish theme.
*
Let us not emulate our leaders who have become such masters of the blame game that they see themselves as infallible role models whose every word has the authority of Holy Writ.
*
Imams and bishops may pretend to speak in the name of God, but all politicians, regardless of nationality, will behave like pathological liars for the sake of expediency and whenever it is in their own interest.
#
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
************************************
A new idea will be a source of dread only to the man who is infatuated with his own ignorance.
*
The purpose of an Armenian argument is not thesis-antithesis-synthesis (or consensus) but “You are full of s***! that’s who I am.”
*
As perennial victims, our only chance to achieve top-dog status is in verbal vitriol.
*
Nothing illustrates our Ottoman heritage better than an exchange of views.
*
For every insecure Armenian who needs to assert superiority in argument, there will be another who has developed strategies to avoid confrontation.
When asked which church he goes to, a friend of mine is in the habit of replying: “I am with the good guys.”
Another friend has trained himself never to say, “I disagree with you.” Even when he disagrees with a fellow Armenian violently he says, “You may be right.”
*
In an argument, our unstated aim in not consensus but the total destruction of the adversary.
*
If our bishops, who speak in the name of the Almighty (Who knows everything) cannot agree, why should we?
*
Two people disagree because neither knows the whole truth.
*
When we disagree, we cling to our partial knowledge the way a drowning man is said to cling to anything, including a venomous serpent.
*
To think to know everything is as bad as to know nothing.
*
The only reason some people think they know everything they need to know is that their standards are mighty low and their demands minimal to the point of non-existence.
*
He who cannot tell the difference between knowledge and information is a complete ignoramus even when he is well informed.
#
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
**************************************
To understand another you must walk a hundred miles in his moccasins. To know him, to really know him, you must share his beliefs, superstitions, prejudices and misconceptions.
*
I understand Armenians because I grew up in an Armenian ghetto; I had an Armenian education; and I have spent most of my life working for them. I could write a dictionary of Armenian fallacies, clich├ęs, misconceptions, and prejudices, all of which have been mine at one time or another.
*
When we silence dissent, we cease to have a balanced view of ourselves, and an unbalanced view of ourselves might as well be the initial stage of insanity. To those who say, individuals may go insane, but not nations, may I remind them of what happened to the Italians under Mussolini, the Germans under Hitler, and the Soviets under Stalin. (And today, I am tempted to add: the Americans under Bush.)
*
What could be more ridiculous, not to say absurd, than to suggest that a nation that has endured six centuries of brutal oppression, a series of massacres, dispersion, and destitution in alien environments, can be threatened by the criticism of a single minor scribbler?
*
If you take things seriously, happiness for you is taking nothing seriously, not even death.
*
I love this sentence by Saint-Simon: “My self-esteem has always increased in direct proportion to the damage I was doing to my reputation.”
#

Norayr Bakhtamian Places Second in Air Pistol Competition in Bangkok

ArmenPress
Nov. 2, 2004

NORAYR BAKHTAMIAN PLACES SECOND IN AIR PISTOL COMPETITION IN BANGKOK

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 2, ARMENPRESS: Norayr Bakhtamyan of Armenia placed
2nd in the 10m Air Pistol competition at the International Shooting
Sport (ISSF) World Cup that took place in Bangkok, Thailand, October
25-31.
Bakhtamyan was ranked 8th in the sport. First ranked Mikhail
Nestruev took the championships. The 34 year-old Bakhtamyan
participated in the Men’s 50m Pistol and 10m Air Pistol competitions at
the 2004 Summer Olympics, and has been a scholarship holder with the
Olympic Solidarity program since August 2002.

Diamonds are Forever

St. John’s Telegram (Newfoundland, Canada)
November 1, 2004 Monday

Diamonds are Forever

by Hebbard, Gary

In less than a decade, Canada has gone from not producing any diamonds
to being the third largest producer in the world, behind Bots-wana and
Russia.

Diamonds are measured in carats, with the weight of a diamond expressed
as a fraction of a gram.

One carat equals 1/5 of a gram. A five-carat diamond, therefore, would
weigh one gram.

There are two diamond mines in the Northwest Territories, producing
between them about 11 million carats per year.

Two more mines are expected to come on stream in the next few years.

In October, Pat Thompson of Diamond Design in Churchill Square, St.
John’s, hosted Canadian diamond cutter Chad Snider of A.C.W. Ltd.,
Yellowknife, who demonstrated his art and answered questions for
customers and visitors to the store. A.C.W. is one of four
diamond-cutting factories in the Northwest Territories. Snider was
hired four years ago and spent three years training with Armenian
diamond-cutting craftsmen to reach his current level of proficiency.

Russia abstains from voting on UN GA agenda item on Karabakh

ITAR-TASS News Agency
TASS
November 2, 2004 Tuesday

Russia abstains from voting on UN GA agenda item on Karabakh

By Yelena Pankratyeva

MOSCOW

Russia abstained from voting in favor of putting an item concerning the
situation on Azerbaijan’s occupied territories on the agenda of the
U.N. General Assembly session.

Moscow believes that “the initiative of considering this issue at the
U.N. General Assembly session in parallel with its consideration by the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe can hardly produce
a positive impact on the negotiating process related to the
Nagorno-Karabakh settlement,” a Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry
official said.

The results of the voting “show that a majority of the members of the
international community stick to a similar position.”

Russia “is interested in a prompt solution to the Karabakh issue and is
doing all in its power to facilitate the solution, be it in a bilateral
format or in a its capacity as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk group.”

Moscow believes that the Minsk group format “enables it to handle any
issues related to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and to secure progress
towards peace.” “A recent meeting of the presidents of Azerbaijan and
Armenia outlined prospects for the resumption of the talks aiming to
find a mutually acceptable solution,” the Russian Foreign Affairs
Ministry official noted.

The U.N. General Assembly took a vote on the motion to put an item on
the situation in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories on the agenda of its
current, 59th session. Forty-two delegations voted in support of
Azerbaijan’s request, two delegations voted against with ninety-nine
states, including Russia, abstaining.