Labor Socialist Party of Armenia to support candidature of Heritage Party Leader at 2013 presidential election in Armenia
 Friday, January 11 2013 11:38

Labor Socialist Party of Armenia (HASK) will support Raffi Hovannisian, Leader of Heritage Party, at Feb 18 presidential election in Armenia, Leader of HASK Movses Shahverdyan told media.

He explained that the decision is based of "Hovannisian's unreserved and even fanatic patriotism."     In addition, he said, Hovannisian is an experienced and competent politician having a high value system.  Shahverdyan said that it is necessary to put an end to the epoch of the triumvirate of Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan and organize a fundamental change of power in Armenia.

"I don't think that the election outcome is predetermined. Let expect the unexpected," he said.

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Presidents of European Parliament and Armenian National Assembly make joint statement
 Friday, January 11 2013 10:53

 Permanent promotion of Armenia-EU cooperation is mutually advantageous. This was mentioned during a working breakfast of the parliamentary delegation of Armenia, which is on a visit to Brussels, and President of EP Martin Schultz.

Issues of the multi-vector cooperation of Armenia and EU were discussed during the meeting. The parties touched upon the Karabakh conflict as well. In this context, Hovik Abrahamyan said that Armenia is committed to peace and stability in the region, while Baku makes constant bellicose statements and organizes provocations of the line of contact with Nagorno Karabakh.

As for Armenia-Turkey relations, President of the Armenian National Assembly H. Abrahamyan said that normalization of those relations is within both bilateral and regional interests. He said that Armenia is committed to establishment of relations with Turkey without preconditions, while Ankara links the normalization process with the Karabakh conflict's resolution. "However, the Karabakh problem and the Armenian-Turkish relations have nothing in common," the speaker
said.

Afterwards, the Presidents of the Armenian and EU Parliaments came out with a joint statement wherein they highly appreciate the cooperation of the two parties in 2012. The statement says that the processes related to the Armenia-EU Association Membership and the DCFTA will be completed by late 2013, which will boost economic development of Armenia. Hovik Abrahamyan assigned high priority to visa facilitation with the EU for the citizens of Armenia, which will
lead to visa free communication with the countries in the Schenghen area in future.

The two parties discussed also the upcoming 2013 presidential election in Armenia. Hovik Abrahamyan assured Martin Schultz that the Armenian authorities have enough political will to conduct elections meeting international standards.

For conclusion, Hovik Abrahamyan invited Martin Schultz to Armenia.

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Hrant Bagratyan introduces economic platform of his election program
 Friday, January 11 2013 10:45

Candidate for president of Armenia, Leader of Azatutyun (Liberty) Party, part of the Armenian National Congress, former prime minister of Armenia, Hrant Bagratyan has introduced the economic platform of his election program on his Facebook page. The program is entitled "Just 100 steps towards social justice" and implies creation of a social consensus model, increase of incomes, employment, birthrate, tax and customs reforms, modernization of the budgetary policy, banking system, creation of investment funds, improvement of business environment, developments of SMEs, reduction of shadow economy. Bagratyan says that his program is combination of actions in conditions of limited time and resources with specific results. He expresses readiness to hold discussions with other candidates for president on the efficiency of their election programs.

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Selim pass and Berd-Chambarak highway still closed due to heavy snow
 Friday, January 11 2013 10:44

 As of 9.45am on January 11, the Selim pass and Bard-Chambarak highway were closed for traffic due to snowstorm and low visibility, the Ministry of Transport and
Communications told ArmInfo.

Kuchak-Aparan-Alagyaz road is heavy going. There is black ice on the roads. Snow removal operations are continued. The Ministry urges drivers to use winter tyres.  By data of the Georgian Interior Ministry Department for Emergency Situations, the Stepantsminda-Lars highway is closed as well.

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Police detains criminal on suspicion of committing vicious murder in Yerevan
 Friday, January 11 2013 10:40

 On January 10 at 12:45 pm the Malatia Community Police Department officers conducted efficient investigative actions and detained Sergo Yeremyan (born in 1960) on suspicion of murder. Yeremyan has a previous conviction for murder. He was set free in 1996, the Police press- service reports.

Yeremyan pled guilty of murder of Ara Hunanyan. During the interrogation, Yeremyan told that on January 3 at his house in the area of "Dalma Gardens" he beat Ara Hunanyan with various items till the latter died of traumas. Afterwards, the murderer dismembered Humanyan's body and hid it in the backyard. Sergo Yeremyan is arrested. Investigation is continued.

The dismembered body of a man was found not far from Dalma Garden Mall in Yerevan, the Armenian Police press-service reported earlier.  It was the body of Ara Hunanyan, at the age of 48, who had been missing since January 4. A criminal case has been initiated basing on Article 104.1 (murder). The body will be submitted to forensic examination.  Investigation is underway.

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Another candidate for president of Armenia calls for boycotting presidential election
 Friday, January 11 2013 10:34

 Another candidate for president of Armenia, political expert Andrias Ghukasyan, offers boycotting the presidential election of Feb 18 2013.  Ghukasyan sent an open letter with relevant content to the remaining six candidates (except incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan- ed.). The political expert, particularly, offers all the other candidates to withdraw their candidatures on January 15 and establish a united civil front to mark the beginning of "new political reality in Armenia."

Ghukasyan offers Paruyr Hayrikyan, Leader of the Union for Self-Determination Party, Raffi Hovannisian, Leader of Heritage Party, and Hrant Baghratyan, Leader of Azatutyun Party, to head the new civil movement to put an end to the criminal and oligarchic power in the country. 

"The people are expecting specific steps from us, and not a senseless fight for the so-call second place," the letter reads.

Earlier on Thursday, another candidate for president, Leader of National Accord Party Aram Haroutiunyan, also came out with a similar call.

Thus, the presidential candidates are eight: incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan from the Republican Party and former prime minister Hrant Bagratyan from the Liberty Party. All the remaining are self- nominated candidates:  Leader of the Union for National Self-Determination Party Paruyr Hayrikyan, Leader of Heritage Party Raffi Hovannisian, Advisor for Political Issues of the Refugees and the International Law Civil Society Network, ex-foreign minister of NKR Arman Melikyan, Leader of National Accord Party Aram Haroutiunyan, political expert Andrias Ghukasyan, and specialist in epic Vardan Sedrakyan. The elections will be held on Feb 18 2013.

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MIAK Party to support incumbent president of Armenia at upcoming presidential election
 Friday, January 11 2013 10:33

United Liberal National Party (MIAK) has disseminated a statement announcing its support to the candidature of incumbent president of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan.  The party explains its decision with a number of factors: Armenia has overcome neutralized the aftermaths of 5 years of global financial
and economic crisis and; foreign policy of Armenia is initiative, predictable and acceptable to the world community; Armenia's positions in the Karabakh issue have become significantly stronger; Armenia's approaches based on the International Law are welcomed by the world community.

The authors of the statement say that during Sargsyan's presidency there have been breakthroughs also in Armenia's integration into Europe. The authorities wage a successful social policy, anti-corruption policy.  At the same time, MIAK believes that there are still many problems that need solution and expects reforms to improve the living standards of the population.

"We expect also change of the political generation, dynamic growth of economy, strengthening of the country's positions in the international structures, further development of cooperation with Russia, USA and EU, consistent measures for international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and promotion of Armenia-Diaspora cooperation," the statement reads.

The presidential candidates are eight: incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan from the Republican Party and former prime minister Hrant Bagratyan from the Liberty Party. All the remaining are self- nominated candidates:  Leader of the Union for National Self-Determination Party Paruyr Hayrikyan, Leader of Heritage Party Raffi Hovannisian, Advisor for Political Issues of the Refugees and the International Law Civil Society Network, ex-foreign minister of NKR Arman Melikyan, Leader of National Accord Party Aram Haroutiunyan, political expert Andrias Ghukasyan, and specialist in epic Vardan Sedrakyan. The elections will be held on Feb 18 2013.

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Exchange rate of dram against US dollar and EUR
 Friday, January 11 2013 08:06

 Today, the maximum buying rates at commercial banks of Yerevan were 408,5 drams for 1 dollar, 541,5drams for 1 EUR and 13,5 drams for 1 Russian ruble. The minimum selling rates stood at 410 drams for 1 dollar, 541,5 drams for 1 EUR and 13,6 drams for 1 Russian ruble.

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Another Armenian murdered in Istanbul
 Friday, January 11 2013 08:01

An Armenian schoolteacher working at Aramyan School in Istanbul's Kadikoy district was found in his flat with a slashed throat.

Haberturk quoted the 40-year-old Sahin's colleagues as saying that they did not hear from him for some time and so decided to visit him. After finding the door to his apartment closed they alerted the police that later entered the house and found the body of the Armenian man with a slashed throat. A reported theory is that Sahin fought for some time with his murderer or murderers. The police reportedly ruled out the possibility of murder during a robbery attempt.

This is already the second murder of an ethnic Armenia in Istanbul this week. Earlier an old Armenian woman was found dead with her head cut off. Another old Armenian woman was attacked before. Although her life was saved, she lost her eye.

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Newspaper: Ex-foreign minister of Armenia makes vain efforts to meet with Gagik Tsarukyan
 Friday, January 11 2013 08:01

 Ex-foreign minister of Armenia, MP from Prosperous Armenia Party Vartan Oskanian has made a vain effort to meet with Leader of Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) Gagik Tsarukyan.

A Yerevan-based Haykakan Zhamnak Daily writes citing its own sources that on Jan 10 Oskanian visited the PAP Office at the Yerevan Brandy-Wine-Vodka Factory to meet with Tsarukyan. However, the latter did not receive Oskanian even after he had waited for approximately two hours.

"What was Oskanian going to talk about is still unknown," the paper writes.

To recall, PAP Leader G. Tsarukyan refused to run for president and declared that he would not support any other candidate either.

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Minister: Armenia has no mafia selling human organs
 Thursday, January 10 2013 19:10

 Armenia has no mafia selling human organs, Health Minister of Armenia Derenik Dumanyan told journalists on Wednesday. "Nothing of the kind", he stressed.

To remind, earlier resident of Ashtarak Karapet Karapetyan accused some of the surgeons of Margaryan Hospital in Yerevan of selling human organs. In particular, the kidney of Karapetyan's wife was removed.  However, according to the Health Ministry, an independent forensic medical examination conducted at Karapetyan's initiative in Germany has confirmed that the surgical interference was chosen correctly, and the given case belongs to the health complications,
not medical errors.      

The Karapetyans were informed beforehand of the possible complications in case of the surgery, and this is confirmed by relevant documents. In addition, during the reparative surgery the spouses insisted on nephrectomy. The relevant records are in the medical documents. The claim on this case was rejected by the court
of general jurisdiction of Kentron-Nork-Marash administration districts because the accusations were unsubstantiated.

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Armen Yeghiazaryan: The nation’s elite should be employed in the state governance system
 Thursday, January 10 2013 18:52

The National Center for Legislative Regulation under the Government of Armenia started taking shape in the second half of 2012 and has already come out with a number of serious initiatives on reduction of administrative barriers and improvement of the business environment. The first topic of 2012 was the sphere of information and communication, where the “regulatory guillotine” studied the situation in the market and offered the Government to seriously reform the license system and to cancel the licenses for internet provision, voice communication and network construction. Below is ArmInfo News Agency’s interview with Armen Yeghiazaryan, Head of the National Center for Legislative Regulation, ex-minister of economy of Armenia.

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Benefits in Armenia to be left unchanged in 2013
 Thursday, January 10 2013 12:21

 Benefits in Armenia will be left unchanged in 2013. The budget envisages no indexing of benefits for 2013, Artem Asatryan, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, told media, Thursday.

"I don't think that increase in benefits would settle social problems in the country. In addition, we have no law on indexing benefits," the minister said. Asked why the number of the citizens receiving benefits does not decrease despite the 7% economic growth for 2012, the minister said that the government policy is aimed implementation of 'employment programs.'

The Government of Armenia adopted a decision on Thursday to allocate benefits to 104,685 families from the state budget of 2013 in the amount of a total of 37.1 bln drams.

By data of the National Statistical Service of Armenia, there were 73.9 thousand unemployed in the country in early 2012 and 63.1 thousand unemployed in late 2012.

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Specialist in epic still going to "storm" Baghramyan 26, while karateka and socialist refuse to continue "the battle" for the post of president
 Thursday, January 10 2013 12:15

Leader of the Armenian-Russian Public Union Robert Aharonyan and President of the Armenian Federation of Karate Kobudo Taron Abrahamyan announced on January 10 that they will not continue the presidential race.

Both the ex-candidates explained that the Armenian public is not ready for fundamental changes. For instance, socialist Aharonyan believes that Armenia needs to orient at Russia and recreate the socialist values of the Soviet Union. However, he probably forgot that there is capitalism in Russia and Armenia and Russia already have partner relations. For his part, sportsman Taron Abrahamyan said that he has both finance and "courage" to run for president, but he
no public or political support. He relied on the support of the high-ranking officials insulted by the authorities, but they refused to support him.  On January 9 another candidate for president, a member of Prosperous Armenia Party, lawyer Ruben Ayvazyan, refused to run for president due to financial problems.

In the meantime, candidate for president, specialist in epic Vardan Sedrakyan, who is in reality an architect and has no philological or historical education, will continue his fight for "Baghramyan 26" (the presidential residence). He has repeatedly declared that he will get 81% of votes and recommended the epic poem "Sasna Tsrer" as his election program. Ambitious Sedrakyan declared earlier that the three presidents of Armenia: Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Robert Kocharyan and
Serzh Sargsyan, will become his senior advisors after Feb 18.   Sedrakyan, who draws strength from the Armenian epic poem, says if elected, he will recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia and will conquer Tbilisi in order Armenia gets overland communication with Russia.

It is not the full list of the unknown candidates with absurd and marasmic ideas.  Head of Kashatagh NGO Robert Simonyan, pensioner Pavlik Sargsyan, and unemployed Mher Hayrapetyan will also continue their fight for the post of the president if they make the necessary deposit in the amount of 8 million drams.  Given the "seriousness" of the upcoming presidential election and "grandiosity" of the election programs, all that is left to do is to wish success to all
candidates, specifically, to the well-known politician- candidates, in order they could present a competitive election program from the viewpoint of "humor". It is very hard for a journalist having a bit sense of humor to take seriously the candidates having no idea of state institutions of Armenia and the Constitution.

The presidential election will be held on Feb 18.

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Eight candidates to run for president in Armenia
 Thursday, January 10 2013 12:13

The Central Electoral Committee of Armenia has registered 8 candidates for president of Armenia. The remaining 7 candidates were not registered, with three withdrawing their candidatures: Ruben Ayvazyan, Robert Aharonyan and Taron Abrahamyan. Another four candidates:  Robert Simonyan, Pavlik Sargsyan, Mher Hayrapetyan and Narine Mkrtchyan, failed to pay the deposit till 2:00pm on January 10, the CEC told ArmInfo.  

Thus, the presidential candidates are as follows: incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan from the Republican Party and former prime minister Hrant Bagratyan from the Liberty Party. All the remaining are self- nominated candidates:  Leader of the Union for National Self-Determination Party Paruyr Hayrikyan, Leader of Heritage Party Raffi Hovannisian, Advisor for Political Issues of the Refugees and the International Law Civil Society Network, ex-foreign minister of NKR Arman Melikyan, Leader of National Accord Party Aram Haroutiunyan, polital expert Andras Ghukasyan, and specialist in epic Vardan Sedrakyan. The elections will be held on Feb 18 2013.

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An evening of tango music in Yerevan
 Thursday, January 10 2013 12:12

 A joint concert of prominent Italian accordionist and bandoneonist Mario Stefano Pietrodarchi and State Youth Orchestra of Armenia will be held in Yerevan on January 14.  Pietrodarchi told media on Thursday that a premiere of Martin Palmieri's music piece will be performed during the concert alongside with the music by Roberto Molinelli, Ennio Morricone, Astor Piazzolla and others. 

The Youth Ortchetra will direct 10% of the proceeds from the concert to the Charity Fund "Give a Life" for the children suffering from leukemia.

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PACE Delegation to visit Armenia on January 16 to get first hand view of electoral processes
 Thursday, January 10 2013 12:11

 A delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will be in Armenia on January 16-17 to get first hand view of the electoral processes in the country, Council of Europe Office in Yerevan told ArmInfo. On January 17 the delegation will give a press conference.

Thus, the presidential candidates are as follows: incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan from the Republican Party and former prime minister Hrant Bagratyan from the Liberty Party. All the remaining are self- nominated candidates:  Leader of the Union for National Self-Determination Party Paruyr Hayrikyan, Leader of Heritage Party Raffi Hovannisian, Advisor for Political Issues of the Refugees and the International Law Civil Society Network, ex-foreign minister of NKR Arman Melikyan, Leader of National Accord Party Aram Haroutiunyan, political expert Andrias Ghukasyan, and specialist in epic Vardan Sedrakyan. The elections will be held on Feb 18 2013.

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Court Proceedings on Okruashvili's Case, Concerning Events of 2011, is Continued in Tbilisi City Court
 Thursday, January 10 2013 10:47

Tbilisi Court proceedings on the case of ex-defence minister of Georgia Irakli Okruashvili, accused of illegal armed unit formation and its leadership, are held in Tbilisi City Court on Wednesday, January 9.

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Traffic Restrictions are Imposed on Georgian Roads because of Snow
 Thursday, January 10 2013 10:46

Tbilisi Traffic restrictions have been imposed on some roads of Georgia because of heavy snow fall and glaze ice, the Georgian Road Department reports on Wednesday, January 9.

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Two Commissions Discuss in Tbilisi Changes to Constitution
 Thursday, January 10 2013 10:46

Tbilisi The first joint sitting of two commissions on nation-wide discussion of the amendments to the Constitution of Georgia is being held in Tbilisi House of Justice on Wednesday, January 9.

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