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Hurriyet daily News: Yerevan-Van direct flight canceled due to low demand
 Saturday, March 30 2013 13:48

 Direct flights between Van and Yerevan have been canceled before they even began operating. BoraJet, the company handling the flights, canceled the agreement after a low number of passengers during preliminary flights, Deputy Governor of Van Mehmet Yuzer said, Hurriyet Daily News reported. 

According to the agency, the decision was made on March 28 by Turkey's General Department of Civil Aviation.  However, an Armenian tour agency, Narekavank, issued a statement March 29 saying that it was the Turkish aviation authorities who suspended the first flight between Yerevan and Van.

Turkey's Directorate General of Civil Aviation declined to comment and BoraJet officials have said the reason for the cancelation were passenger numbers far below the capacity of the flights.  Yuzer also said the Directorate did not inform them of any such issue and that the decision was made only by BoraJet.  "We were not informed by Turkey's Directorate General of Civil Aviation to cancel the flights. The necessary permissions were already granted by Iran and Armenia,"
Yuzer told the Hurriyet Daily News on March 29 in a phone interview.  The flights were planned to operate on April 3, despite closed borders between the two countries, marking the first of their kind for Turkey's eastern cities.  Ayanis Travel Agency from Van said they were disappointed by the cancelation as they had made campaigns for the upcoming season.  Abdullah Tuncdemir, the director of Ayanis Tourism Agency, said this was an important step to reviving the
economy in the region.  "The Armenian and Iranian markets are so close to us but for years we did not have the chance to open the doors for these countries as locals. We had arranged our package tour and they are all in vain now. We avoid politics here, the reason is only trade, economy and the peace between people," he told the Daily News by phone.

Some Armenia media report that Turkey's General Department of Civil Aviation will cancel also Yerevan-Istanbul flight starting April 1. 

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Naira Zohrabyan: Prosperous Armenia and Republican parties do not negotiate over elections to Elders' Council of Yerevan
 Saturday, March 30 2013 13:44

Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) and the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) have held no talks over elections to the Elders' Council of Yerevan, Naira Zohrabyan, Secretary of the PAP Faction, told ArmInfo.

"PAP does not hold talks behind the back of the public and does not engage in distribution of mandates. The party will fight for fair elections and for the voice of the citizens that remain unheard, and not for a place to feed at the through of a European official," she said.  Zohrabyan refused to comment on the termination of Raffi Hovannisian's hunger strike as she think it Hovannisyan's personal affair.

"Such issues must be considered from the humane point of view and should not be commented alongside with political processes.  Itishispersonalaffair. If he thought it necessary to start hunger strike and stop it, that was the way, probably," she said.  To recall, Hovannisian announced hunger strike on March 10 demanding resignation of the president. Later on March 29, he declared about his intention to stop hunger strike and start meetings with his supporters in the regions of Armenia.

"Before April 9, the day of the president's swearing-in ceremony, we will gather our army and achieve victory," he said.

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Republicans welcome Raffi Hovannisian's decision to stop his hunger strike
 Saturday, March 30 2013 10:32

The Republican Party of Armenia welcomes Raffi Hovannisian's decision to stop his hunger strike, the secretary of the party's parliamentary group Hovhannes Sahakyan told ArmInfo on Saturday. 

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Newspaper: Raffi Hovannisian offered to chair Supervisory Chamber
 Saturday, March 30 2013 08:44

Zhoghovurd newspaper reports that the leader of Heritage Party, former presidential candidate Raffi Hovannisian has been offered to chair the Supervisory Chamber.

The six-year term of the current chairman Ishkhan Zakaryan expires in Nov 2013.

Hovannisian's deputy Stepan Safaryan has refuted the rumors.


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Newspaper: Staff reshuffles discussed at Armenia's Foreign Ministry
 Saturday, March 30 2013 08:43

 Staff reshuffles are being actively discussed at Armenia's Foreign Ministry, reports 168 Zham newspaper.

It says that Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan will be appointed as Ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland in place of Charles Aznavour, with his post to be given to the head of the presidential staff Vigen Sargsyan, who, according to the newspaper, has long dreamed of it.



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Yerevan advises Baku to stop creating new dividing lines
 Saturday, March 30 2013 08:40

Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia Shavarsh Kocharyan advises Azerbaijan to stop creating new dividing lines.

In comment to Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov's attempt to present the last trilateral meeting of the Georgian, Azeri and Turkish FMs in Batumi as a message against Armenia, Kocharyan said that it is logical that being the foreign minister of an anti-democratic country, Mammadyarov does not understand that in
modern world it is better to be friends with somebody rather be friends against somebody.

"It is time for the Azeri authorities to stop their unpromising efforts to create new dividing lines with the sole purpose to preserve their hereditary authoritarian regime," Kocharyan said.

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Levon Aronyan has almost no chances to win London Candidates 2013
 Saturday, March 30 2013 08:37

After his loss to Vladimir Kramnik from Russia on Friday Armenian chess player Levon Aronyan has almost no chances to win London Candidates 2013.

Aronyan is now the third with 6.5 points after Kramnik and Magnus Carlsen from Norway, who have 8 and 7.5 points, respectively.

The winner of the tournament will win the right to contend with reigning World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand (India).


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Expert: Reluctance to let Carrefour into Armenia's retail market proves the cowardice of local monopolists
 Saturday, March 30 2013 08:35

The debates on Carrefour's possible activities on Armenia's retail market are continued. Everybody - experts, NGOs, mass media and government officials – is anxious to know if there will be a Carrefour hypermarket at Yerevan's Dalma Garden or not. 

"The Economy Ministry does all it can to support big investors and is doing nothing to prevent Carrefour's entry into the Armenian market," the head of the Ministry's Business Climate Improvement Department Karen Vardanyan said during a press-conference on Friday.

He said that the Carrefour hypermarket may be opened by the end of this year. "The only reason why this process is being delayed is that there are certain problems with the contract, the rent and some other formal procedures. Carrefour is already in Armenia and is already unfolding its business here," Vardanyan said.

He believes that this will be good for the local competitive environment and business and service culture. "It is quite possible that Carrefour will decide to sell local products in its chain or even distribute them abroad," the official said.

Chairman of the Standing Parliamentary Commission on Economic Issues Vardan Ayvazyan does not think that this issue needs so much discussion. "Of course, our retailers are worried as they will have to compete with an experienced global competitor. But we have a law allowing any investor to register a firm in the country," Ayvazyan said, adding that he sees no obstacles to Carrefour's business in Armenia.

Management expert Harutyun Mesrobyan is of a different opinion: "Let's forget about sterile, ideal Armenia we all are dreaming of. Real Armenia is a country where government and business are not separated, where laws are on paper only, where there are no healthy market relations. Our monopolists are simply afraid of rivalry because they are not used to acting by the rules and prefer using privileges and administrative resources," Mesrobyan said.

He believes that the government should protect ordinary business entities rather than oligarchs. "This will be a chance for us to see if they are actually so cool," Mesrobyan said.

French businesswoman of Armenian origin, former advisor of Parisian Surch company Valerie-Aschken Gortzounian said that her working experience in Armenia has shown that here laws are not effective and the state does nothing to protect businessmen.  Executive Director of the Union of Manufacturers and Business of Armenia Eduard Kirakosyan said that Carrefour may gain dominance on the Armenian retail market unless local retailers do something to improve their quality.

Some mass media report that the owner of Dalma Garden Mall Samvel Karapetyan has cancelled his contract with Carrefour and will not lease the mall's territory for a Carrefour hypermarket. And the key person to blame for this, according to them, is Armenian oligarch, importer of essentials, the owner of Yerevan City trade chain, MP Samvel Alexanyan,

Carrefour has over 15,000 shops and employs over 400,000 people worldwide.

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Aram Karapertyan: Serzh Sargsyan's legitimacy is on Raffi Hovannisian's head
 Friday, March 29 2013 12:32

Mr. Karapetyan, the Armenian authorities and the opposition represented by Heritage Party and its Leader Raffi Hovannisian demonstrate willingness for a compromise and dialogue but fail to agree on technical issues. Do you think that they are really ready to sit at a negotiating table and what specific tasks do they settle?

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Raffi Hovannisian to stop his hunger strike on Easter
 Friday, March 29 2013 17:20

 Raffi Hovannisian will stop his hunger strike on Easter Mar 31. After that he will start a tour of Armenia.

During a rally on Friday he said that this will not be the end of his struggle - it will continue till Apr 9. "Before that we will be touring across Armenia and recruiting people who will take power," Hovannisian said.

He said that he is not afraid of governor of Syunik region Suren Khachatryan, who said that "his head may be broken with stones as it must be done with snakes," and invited him to a "duel" at Kapan's central square.

A group of green activists joined the protesters during the rally. They climbed on Alexander Spendiaryan's monument. The police asked them to come down but they refused. The crowd showed displeasure, but Hovannisian interfered and the activists came down.





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Apr 1-4 Raffi Hovannisian to visit over 20 cities of Armenia
 Friday, March 29 2013 17:19

During the next rally at Liberty Square on Apr 5 the supporters of Raffi Hovannisian will consider their plan of action for Apr 9 – the day when Serzh Sargsyan will be sworn in as President of Armenia. 

During a rally on Friday Hovannisian urged his supporters to be present at the next rally as each of them will be able to express his opinion.

Hovannisian said that Apr 1-4 he is going to visit more than 20 cities all over Armenia.

Apr 1 he will visit Kapan, Goris and Sisian (Syunik), Yeghegnadzor (Vayots Dzor), Ararat and Artashat (Ararat), Apr 2 Yeghvard (Kotayk), Talin (Aragatsotn), Artik and Gyumri (Shirak), Armavir and Echmiadzin (Armavir), Apr 3 Abovyan (Kotayk), Martuni and Sevan (Gegharkunik), Ijevan and Berd (Tavush), Apr 4 Noyemberyan (Tavush), Alaverdi, Vanadzor and Spitak (Lori), Aparan and Ashtarak (Aragatsotn).

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Global Finance Magazine announces Best Bank of Armenia
 Friday, March 29 2013 14:47

Global Finance Magazine has announced Ameriabank as the Best Bank in Armenia. HSBC Bank has been announced the Best Bank in Asia-Pacific region. TBC Bank has been announced the Best Bank in Georgia and AccessBank the best one in Azerbaijan, Global Finance website reports. Global Finance magazine has announced its annual awards for the World's Best Banks in Developed and Emerging Markets. A full report on the regional and country selections will appear in the May issue of Global Finance. An Awards Ceremony for all winners will be conducted at the same time as the World Bank/IMF Meetings on the morning of Saturday, October 12, 2013 at The National Press Club in Washington, DC.

This is the twentieth year that the magazine has selected top banks by country and region. The report covers best banks in 22 countries, including North America, Latin America, Western Europe, the Nordic Region, Central & Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. The editors of Global Finance made the selections after extensive consultations with corporate financial executives, bankers, and analysts throughout the world. In selecting these top banks,
editors considered factors that range from the quantitative objective to the informed subjective.

Criteria for choosing the winners included growth in assets, profitability, strategic relationships, customer service, competitive pricing, and innovative products. Subjective criteria included the opinions of equity analysts, credit rating analysts, banking consultants and others involved in the industry. The mix of these
factors yields leading banks that may not be the largest, the oldest or the most diversified in a given region, but rather the best-the banks with which companies around the world would most likely want to do business.  "This year's winning banks have one thing in common, a focus on responding to the needs of their customers," says Global Finance's publisher, Joseph D. Giarraputo. "Specific market conditions certainly vary from region to region, and overall
conditions for the global financial market remain difficult. These banks are being recognized for outstanding accomplishments in the face of adversity."

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ICC Georgia is Accused of Import of Great Quantity of Opium Poppy to Georgia
 Friday, March 29 2013 13:32

Tbilisi. On Thursday, March 28, the Investigation Service of the Georgian Ministry of Finance brought accusations to company ICC Georgia of import of great quantity of seeds of opium poppy to the country.

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Hurricane Inflicted Georgia Damage Amounting to Approximately $3,6 mln - Kaladze
 Friday, March 29 2013 13:32

Tbilisi. The hurricane on March 24 inflicted Georgia damage amounting to GEL6 mln (approx. $3,6 mln), head of the Emergency Response Headquarters, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Kakhi Kaladze stated on Thursday, March 28.

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Resumption of Meetings under IPRM in Gali was Discussed During Geneva Discussions
 Friday, March 29 2013 13:32

Tbilisi. The participants of the 23rd round of Geneva discussions confirmed the necessity of resumption of meetings under Incidents Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) in Gali district of Abkhazia, Co- Chairman of the talks Philip Lefor stated on Wednesday, in the evening, after the meeting.   

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Amendments, Restricting President's Powers, Come into Effect
 Friday, March 29 2013 13:31

Tbilisi. The amendments, restricting, Presidents powers to appoint individually the Cabinet of Ministers in case the parliament is dissolved were approved by the legislative body of the country and signed yesterday by President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili. They were published on the web-page of the Legislative Bulletin of the Justice Ministry, correspondingly, they came into effect.

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Georgia Rejects Document on Non Use of Force, Offered by Russia- Karasin
 Friday, March 29 2013 13:31

Tbilisi. Georgia rejects a document on non use of force between Tbilisi and Sukhumi and Tskhinvali, Stats-Secretary, Deputy Foreign Minister of MFA of RF Grigori Karasin stated after the 23 round  of Geneva discussions on the Transcaucasus, which finished on Wednesday.

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Relations between Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan to Deepen - Davutoglu
 Friday, March 29 2013 13:31

Tbilisi. Foreign Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu thinks that the declaration, he intends to sign together with Foreign Ministers of Georgia and Azerbaijan, will promote strengthening relations between the countries. 

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More than 14,000 transport means are imported to Azerbaijan
 Friday, March 29 2013 13:30

Baku. More than 14,000   transport means were imported to Azerbaijan in January and February of this year in Azerbaijan. In February import dropped by 2.4% compared with the previous month.

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Azerbaijani Think Tank Does Not Agree with Idea of Unified Islamic Currency
 Friday, March 29 2013 13:30

Baku. Chairman of the Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD), Vugar Bayramov on passing these days in Cairo (Egypt), the next forum "think tanks" of Islamic countries opposed the idea of release of a single currency and a single economic space in Islamic countries. In his view, these ideas are without economic basis.

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