On this day – 02/24

Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia
Advertiser Adelaide, Australia
The Mercury, Australia
Feb 24 2005

On this day

25feb05

1988 – Thousands demonstrate in Soviet Armenia despite directive to
local authorities to restore order.

1308 – Edward II is enthroned as King of England.
1545 – Scots defeat English forces at Ancrum Moor.
1570 – England’s Queen Elizabeth I is excommunicated by Pope Pius V.
1601 – England’s Earl of Essex is executed for treason.
1713 – Sweden’s King Charles XII is taken prisoner by Sultan of
Turkey.
1723 – Death of Sir Christopher Wren, English architect and designer.

1836 – American inventor Samuel Colt patents his revolver.
1841 – Explorer Edward John Eyre leaves Fowlers Bay in South
Australia on an overland trip around the Great Australian Bight.
1899 – Death in France of Paul Julius Reuter, German founder of the
international news agency that bears his name.
1914 – Death of Sir John Tenniel, English artist and illustrator of
Alice in Wonderland.
1948 – Communist coup in Czechoslovakia.
1954 – Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser usurps power as president of Egypt;
Syria’s President Chickekli flees following army revolt.
1956 – Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev goes before Communist Party
congress in Moscow and denounces late dictator Joseph Stalin.
1961 – Sydney’s last tram runs, to La Perouse in the eastern suburbs.

1964 – Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) becomes world heavyweight boxing
champion for the first time by knocking out Sonny Liston in Miami.
1969 – NSW Legislative Council expels Country Party member AE
Armstrong for “unworthy business conduct” for his part in helping
secure divorce evidence for another member.
1972 – Soviet Union’s Luna 20 spacecraft returns to earth with
samples of the Moon’s surface; President Kenneth Kaunda announces his
cabinet’s decision to impose a one-party state in Zambia.
1976 – United States vetoes UN resolution deploring Israel’s
annexation of Jerusalem.
1982 – Australian Government announces decision to purchase HMS
Invincible from England.
1983 – Death of Tennessee Williams, US playwright.
1986 – Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos resigns, brought down
by a “people’s power” uprising, military revolt, and US pressure.
1987 – Iranian-backed Shi’ite Muslims bury 23 militants killed by
Syrian soldiers in Lebanon, and claim they were massacred with axes
and bayonets.
1988 – Thousands demonstrate in Soviet Armenia despite directive to
local authorities to restore order.
1990 – At least 60 people are killed in India as violence mars
elections in eight states.
1991 – Iraqi President Saddam Hussein orders his forces, under attack
by allied ground troops, to withdraw from Kuwait. An Iraqi Scud
missile hits a US marine barracks near the Saudi city of Dhahran,
killing 28 soldiers and wounding several others.
1992 – Imelda Marcos accepts Philippine government conditions for
returning her husband’s body.
1993 – US Marines and Nigerian soldiers blast at snipers in central
Mogadishu, Somalia, in a five-hour battle that kills one Somali; Kim
Young-sam is sworn in as South Korea’s first civilian president for
32 years.
1994 – Jewish settler Baruch Goldstein, armed with an automatic rifle
and hand grenades, kills 40 Muslims at a mosque in Hebron, before
being beaten to death.
1995 – Two bombs blow apart a train car reserved for the military in
north-eastern India, killing at least 26 soldiers and wounding more
than 30.
1996 – Haing Ngor, a Cambodian refugee whose Academy Award-winning
performance in the film The Killing Fields mirrored his own ordeal at
the hands of the Khmer Rouge, is murdered in the US.
1997 – President Jiang Zemin delivers a final eulogy for leader Deng
Xiaoping, vowing that China’s opening to the outside world will
continue; Two days after a gunman goes on a fatal rampage at the
Empire State Building in New York, the observatory reopens with metal
detectors.
1998 – Death aged 90 of Italian abstract artist Luigi Veronesi, who
designed sets at Milan’s prestigious La Scala theatre; Death aged 82
of BA (Bob) Santamaria, Australian anti-communist crusader, political
commentator and Catholic intellectual.
1999 – China vetoes an extension of the UN peacekeeping mission in
Macedonia, which borders war-torn Kosovo province. Macedonia had
established diplomatic relations with Taiwan a month earlier.
2000 – Four white New York City police officers who killed unarmed
African immigrant Amadou Diallo in a barrage of 41 bullets are
acquitted of all charges.
2001 – The commander of the US submarine that struck and sank a
Japanese trawler off Hawaii expresses his “most sincere regret” – but
Commander Scott Waddle stops short of an apology.
2001 – Sir Donald Bradman, the greatest batsman in Test cricket
history and Australia’s most revered sporting figure, dies. He was
92.
2002 – The driver of a cash transport truck overpowers his partner
and drives off with a record $US8.7 million ($14.68 million) in euro
bills in Germany’s financial capital of Frankfurt. The robbery comes
in the wake of two similar ones in five months.
2003 – Two bomb blasts damage the Colombian consulate and Spanish
Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela; five people are wounded. The
explosions come two days after President Hugo Chavez Frias accuses
Spain and Colombia of meddling in Venezuela’s internal affairs.
2004 – The Czech parliament decides to send more than 100 soldiers to
Afghanistan in the first combat role for the Czech armed forces since
World War Two.

BAKU: 3 Azeri soldiers captured

AzerNews, Azerbaijan
Feb 24 2005

3 Azeri soldiers captured

Three soldiers of the Azerbaijan Army accidentally passed to the
Armenian side of the frontline on February 15, as they lost their way
close to Terter District.

The three – Hikmat Taghiyev, Khayal Abdullayev and Ruslan Bashirov
-are being interrogated by Armenian secret service. The Armenian side
says that it is trying to determine whether this was merely an
accident or the Azeri soldiers were on a special assignment. The
Ministry of Defence is currently in talks with the Armenian side on
the return of the lost soldiers.

Information about them has been forwarded to the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the State Committee on Prisoners,
Hostages and Missing Persons told Azernews. Armenian sources say that
the soldiers are safe and sound.

Local woman rejoins the living

Contra Costa Times, San Francisco
Feb 24 2005

Local woman rejoins the living

NOW THAT Mary Lawson of Pleasanton has been brought back to life in
the Social Security Administration’s database, she’s talking on
national TV about the ills of a bureaucracy that declared her dead
and cut off her benefits.

Lawson, 84, appeared Monday on cable network MSNBC’s “Hardball”
program with Chris Matthews to discuss a Social Security snafu that
declared her dead as of Jan. 10.

When Matthews asked her opinion of President Bush’s proposal to
overhaul Social Security she said, “I think that, before you change
the system, you change the people who work for the system.”

Lawson’s daughter, Peg Gardner of Livermore, accompanied her on
television.

Lawson speculates someone mistyped a digit in the Social Security
number of a person who died, mistakenly identifying her as the dead
person. From there, reports of Lawson’s “death” trickled down to
Medicare, which stopped paying her doctor bills, and to at least one
credit agency.

With help from aides of Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, Lawson got her
January Social Security check last week after being declared alive.

FREEWAY ICON TURNS 90: Commuters who see those “Donald D. Doyle
Highway” signs while driving Interstate 680 through the San Ramon
Valley can be rest assured that Doyle is a real person.

Doyle, who served in the state Assembly in the 1950s, and who helped
establish the route for the freeway corridor, turned 90 on Feb. 6 and
threw a big party.

The energetic Rossmoor resident still drives and says he gets a good
feeling when he sees signs with his name on the freeway. One is
posted at the southbound approach to Alamo and the other is
northbound near Alcosta Road in San Ramon.

“It’s a nice feeling to know my work came to some recognition, not
that I was looking for it,” Doyle said. On the other hand, “It’s
amazing when I hear people say, ‘When are you going get that highway
fixed, Doyle? It’s too bumpy.'”

NEIGHBORS SEE RED: Some residents of rural Bel Roma Road north of
Livermore might soon have plenty to say about Pardee Homes’ nearby
2,150-unit development proposal, to appear on the city ballot some
time this year.

But their more immediate focus is on paintball.

Alameda County’s East County Board of Zoning Adjustments today will
consider Clifton Matthews’ proposed permit to operate a paintball
park on 21 acres at 3726 May School Road, about a third of a mile
west of Dagnino Road.

With horses and a rural lifestyle on Bel Roma Road’s five-acre lots
not far to the west, “We just don’t feel it fits in with the
environment out here,” said resident Gail Vardanega.

Today’s meeting is set for 1:30 p.m. in the public works building at
4825 Gleason Drive, Dublin.

REMEMBERING GENOCIDE: The San Ramon City Council received an unusual
request Tuesday night from Gevorg Der-Galestanian, who arrived at
city offices wearing distinctive Armenia insignia in a black SUV
adorned with the Armenian flag.

Times reporter Scott Marshall says that during the council meeting’s
open forum segment, Der-Galestanian, an Iranian of Armenian descent
who works at SBC, asked the council to establish some kind of
memorial to commemorate the Armenian Genocide.

“I am still struggling and fighting for my rights as a genocide
survivor,” he told council members, who listened silently.

An estimated 1.5 million people were killed outright or died later of
starvation in the genocide. From 1915-18 during World War I, the
Ottoman Empire forced people to move from Armenia and Anatolia to
Syria. Deaths attributed to the deportations continued until 1923.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Cocaine Suspect’s Attorney Enters Not Guilty Plea

Fort Smith Times Record, AR
Feb 24 2005

Cocaine Suspect’s Attorney Enters Not Guilty Plea
By Aaron Sadler

An attorney for a New York City woman accused of having cocaine
valued at $912,000 entered a not guilty plea on his client’s behalf
Wednesday in Crawford County Circuit Court.

Florence Hinds, 54, was arrested by Arkansas State Police on Feb. 9.
She was a passenger in a pickup on Interstate 40, where police said
they found 19 pounds of suspected cocaine hidden inside the tailgate.

She is charged, along with a co-defendant, with possession of cocaine
with intent to deliver. She is free on $15,000 bond. Attorney Marvin
Honeycutt of Van Buren entered the plea for her at Wednesday’s
arraignment.

Ainsley Fitzroy Hoffman, 48, was the driver of the pickup. He is also
free on bond and has a court appearance next week.

State Police Cpl. Olen Craig said he was patrolling the interstate
near the Oklahoma border when he noticed the pickup swerving toward
the shoulder.

Hoffman gave police permission to search the vehicle and a
drug-sniffing dog alerted to the drugs, a report stated.

Also Wednesday, Circuit Judge Gary Cottrell reduced by half the bond
for a Glendale, Ariz., man charged with possession of methamphetamine
with intent to deliver.

Bond was set at $50,000 last week for Robert Nirzakanian. He was
arrested along with Dora Uriarte, 40, of Long Beach, Calif., at the
truck inspection station on I-40 near Van Buren.

Highway police said they found more than six pounds of suspected
methamphetamine in the tractor-trailer rig Nirzakanian was driving.
The drugs were in a bag filled with women’s clothing, police said.

Fort Smith attorney Robert Blatt, who represents Nirzakanian argued
for the bond reduction to $25,000. He said his client, an Armenian
immigrant, had no prior criminal record.

Blatt said Nirzakanian was training Uriarte on how to drive the rig.
He said the fact the suspected drugs were found along with women’s
clothing is another reason for reduced bond.

Uriarte, who is free on $50,000 bond, pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

ANKARA: Armenian motion from Merkel

Hurriyet, Turkey
Feb 24 2005

ARMENIAN MOTION FROM MERKEL

German Christian Democrats Union leader Angela Merkel, who could not
prevent Turkey from taking a date for EU entry talks, is presenting
an Armenian motion to parliament this time. The motion claims that
Turkey killed 1.5 million Armenians but not confess it.
”This rejective attitude contradicts EU’s view of peace and
forgiveness,” claims the motion.

Georgia Wants to Sell Coastal Pipelines to =?UNKNOWN?Q?Russia’s?Gazp

MosNews, Russia
Feb 24 2005

Georgia Wants to Sell Coastal Pipelines to Russia’s Gazprom

MosNews

Georgia would like to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the
sale of coastal pipelines that supply Russian gas to Georgia and
Armenia. This information was revealed on Thursday, Feb. 24, by
Georgia’s Minister for Economic Reform and former Russian businessman
Kakha Bendukidze.

`We want to sell the coastal pipelines to [Russian gas monopoly]
Gazprom or to a Western investor,’ Bendukidze told Reuters, adding
that the sale would include a clause to guarantee supplies to
Georgia. `The price for the pipeline will not be tens of millions but
hundreds of millions of dollars,’ he said.

He also said the buyer could extend the network, enabling Gazprom to
pipe gas from Russia to Turkey.

The pipelines’ capacity has fallen to 7-8 billion cubic meters
annually since the fall of the Soviet Union, when they supplied 16
billion cubic meters.

Repairs are likely to cost around $200 million, experts say

Watertown: Armenian women to share International Day of Prayer

Belmont Citizen-Herald, MA
Feb 24 2005

Armenian women to share International Day of Prayer

Armenian women from all area Armenian churches will gather for a
special women’s service on the International Day of Prayer, March 4,
at the Armenian Memorial Church, 32 Bigelow Ave., Watertown. Held at
11 a.m., the ecumenical service will include an address in Armenian
by Nevart Khederian and one in English by the Rev. Dr. Shoushan
Salibian.

Silva Khoshafian of the First Armenian Church of Belmont,
chairman of the event, reports that women will be observing this Day
of Prayer throughout the world. Serving with her on the committee are
women from seven Armenian churches of all the Armenian faiths. The
Protestant churches are represented by Doris Markarian, Angel
Parseghian and Arpi Boynerian of the Armenian Memorial Church of
Watertown; and Silva Khoshafian and Sossi Haroutunian of the First
Armenian Church of Belmont. Committee members from Armenian Apostolic
churches are Elaine Westermark from Saint James Church of Watertown,
Nevart Khederian of Saint Stephen’s Church of Watertown, Arpi
Kouzouian of Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Cambridge, Liza
Zeytoonian of Metro-West Armenian Church of Framingham, and Margaret
Stepanian of Saint Asdvadzazin Church of Whitinsville. Armenian
Catholics are represented on the committee by Liza Zeytoonian of the
Holy Cross Church of Belmont.

Women from all the Armenian churches are invited to this
inspirational service. This year’s basic worship service was prepared
by the women of Poland and will be repeated in churches all over the
world. Following the service, there will be a lenten luncheon served
in the Arpen Abrahamian Hall of the church. Reservations for the
luncheon, which will cost $5 per person, may be made by calling Silva
Khoshafian at 781-373-3075.

Tbilisi: Chief of Russian Railway Calls to Restore Link via Abkhazia

Civil Georgia, Georgia
Feb 24 2005

Chief of Russian Railway Calls for Restoration of Link via Abkhazia

Chief of the state-run Russian Railway Company Genadi Fadeev said
on February 24 that restoration of the railway link through Georgia’s
breakaway republic of Abkhazia `will be the key for resolving
problems in the Caucasus,’ RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The railway link via Abkhazia has been defunct for the past eleven
years, after the armed conflict in the region ended. However, Russia
unilaterally restored rail traffic between Moscow and the Abkhaz
capital of Sokhumi in 2004.

Genadi Fadeev said that the current situation with the railway
communication is absolutely acceptable for Abkhazia. `[Rail] traffic
is organized there,’ he added.

He also said that involved parties should launch talks in order to
restore the railway connection between Russia and Georgia via
Abkhazia, which will also be beneficial for Armenia.

Armenian-Russian relations face uncertain times

EurasiaNet
Feb 24 2005

ARMENIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS FACE UNCERTAIN TIMES
Samvel Martirosyan 2/24/05

Despite Moscow’s strong interest in Armenia’s energy sector,
officials in Yerevan worry that the Kremlin is considering a policy
realignment that would enhance Azerbaijan’s stature at the expense of
the Russian-Armenian special strategic relationship.

The main source of Yerevan’s concern is a planned railway project
that would connect Iran to Russia via Azerbaijan. Armenian officials
fear that the railway, if built according to current plans, would
deepen Armenia’s regional economic isolation. The proposed Kazvin
(Iran) – Astara (Azerbaijan) line would skirt Armenian territory,
denying Armenia an opportunity to expand trade with Russia. Given the
existing economic blockade maintained by Turkey and Azerbaijan,
Armenia can ill afford to be left on the sidelines of such a project,
officials in Yerevan say. [For background see the Eurasia Insight
archive].

Since the 1991 Soviet collapse, Armenia has maintained a close
strategic relationship with Russia, in part to offset the
geopolitical disadvantage of having hostile neighbors on its eastern
and western flanks. In recent years, the special relationship has
shown signs of fraying. Russia-Azerbaijani relations have thawed,
while Yerevan has expanded contacts with both Iran and the United
States. [For additional information see the Eurasia Insight archive].

Armenian officials took note of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov’s February 2 trip to Azerbaijan. Lavrov’s comment in Baku that
“there are no unresolved problems” between the Russian and
Azerbaijani governments heightened concerned in Yerevan about
Moscow’s potentially shifting loyalties in the South Caucasus.

Lavrov’s February 16-17 visit to Armenia did little to assuage
Yerevan’s concerns. During talks with Lavrov, Armenian Prime Minister
Andranik Markarian voiced concern about the railway project,
according to official sources. In response, Lavrov merely indicated
he would relay the Armenian government’s views to Russian Transport
Minister Igor Levitin and Russian Railways President Gennady Fadeyev.

Markarian and Lavrov also reportedly discussed the possibility of
reopening the Abkhaz section of Georgia’s railway system, a link that
would reestablish Armenia’s railway ties with Russia. Officials
provided no details on the substance of those discussions.

Problems between Yerevan and Moscow are not limited to rail-related
topics. For the past two years, five Armenian companies, handed over
to Russia as compensation for $100 million in unpaid Armenian debt to
Moscow, have stood idle. In his meeting with Markarian, Lavrov
assured the prime minister that Russia is doing everything possible
to reopen the companies, but neither Moscow nor Yerevan has announced
a concrete plan for getting the firms up and running again. Golos
Armenii (Voice of Armenia), a Yerevan-based Russian-language
newspaper, has described the fate of these companies as the most
sensitive issue in relations between Russia and Armenia.

Armenian media outlets also looked askance at Lavrov’s actions on his
recent visit to Azerbaijan, when the foreign minister visited Baku’s
Martyr’s Avenue, a memorial to the 130 people killed during the
Soviet Army’s 1990 crackdown on anti-Armenian pogroms in the
Azerbaijani capital. Meanwhile, as Armenia commemorates 2005 as a
Year of Russia, Russia has declared 2005 a Year of Azerbaijan.

Moscow’s recent behavior has left some Armenian political leaders
feeling confused. “Honestly speaking, Armenia sometimes does not
understand some of Russia’s steps, especially those concerning
relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey,” Giro Manoyan, international
secretary of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, a member of
Armenia’s ruling coalition, said in a recent interview with the
Caucasus Journalists Network.

Amid the uncertainty surrounding the Armenian-Russian special
relationship, Armenia’s energy sector is one strategic area in which
Russia, sensitive to growing Western influence in the South Caucasus,
maintains a strong interest. Accordingly, Lavrov probed economic
cooperation possibilities with Markarian.

The Russian energy company United Energy Systems (UES) is reportedly
considering the purchase of Armenia’s electricity distribution
network, according to the Armenian news agency ARKA. UES already
holds three power stations in Armenia – Sevan-Hrazdan hydropower
plant, the Hrazdan thermal power station and the Armenian Nuclear
Electric Plant – facilities that generate some 75-80 percent of the
country’s electricity. With the purchase of UK holding company
Midland Resources’ 80 percent stake in the distribution network, UES
would hold control over almost the entire Armenian electrical power
grid.

Russian energy giant GazProm, has been similarly active. The
Iranian-Armenian gas pipeline, scheduled to be operational before
2007, could provide stiff competition for gas in European markets
from GazProm’s own Blue Stream gas pipeline project with Turkey,
according to GazProm Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander
Ryazanov. “If we do not take part in the construction of [the] Iran –
Armenia gas pipeline, no one knows where that gas will go,” the news
site PanArmenian Network reported Ryazanov as saying at a recent
session of the Federation Council, the Russian parliament’s upper
chamber.

During his trip to Armenia, Lavrov confirmed Russia’s interest in
joining a pipeline construction consortium. “We received an offer,
inviting our corresponding structures to take part in this project,”
Lavrov said, repeating past assurances that the pipeline meets with
Russia’s approval. “This offer is presently under consideration and I
am convinced we will be able to give an answer in the nearest
future.”

Editor’s Note: Samvel Martirosyan is a Yerevan-based journalist and
political analyst.

Movie review: ‘Vodka Lemon’ serves up yearning and hardship

Minneapolis Star Tribune , MN
Feb 24 2005

Movie review: ‘Vodka Lemon’ serves up yearning and hardship

Leisurely to a fault but emotionally generous, “Vodka Lemon” shows us
a season in the life of an icebound Armenian village and the economic
and emotional travails of several locals. Objectively, it’s a sad
story of yearning and hardship, but it’s structured and performed
like a comedy. As life is.

Hamo, a rugged old veteran, puts the best face on events as he talks
to his late wife’s headstone. He’s supplementing his skimpy pension
by selling off their possessions, and there’s not much left but the
wallpaper. Romen Avinian, who plays the part, bears a striking
resemblance to Omar Sharif and shares that actor’s aura of
unassailable dignity even in advanced age. Iraqi-Kurdish
director-writer Hiner Saleem uses that quality to stage some physical
comedy that would otherwise feel cruel.

A scene from “Vodka Lemon”Minnesota Film ArOn a visit to the
graveyard, Hamo crosses paths with Nina (Lala Sarkissian), a pretty
widow who works in the Vodka Lemon liquor store. (“Why is it called
Vodka Lemon when it tastes like almonds?” a patron asks. “That’s
Armenia,” she shrugs.) Nina is a decade younger than the courtly Hamo
but in equally dire straits. Saleem is in no rush to pair them up,
and their gradual realization that they might be good company for
each other proceeds as gradually as winter giving way to spring.

Vodka Lemon

*** out of four stars

Unrated; brief violence and adult themes. In Kurdish, Russian and
Armenian, subtitled.

Colin Covert